Instapundit.com Instapundit.com

March 08, 2003

DON MCARTHUR has a video report from Bike Week in Daytona. Here's the Realmedia link, and here's the Windows Media link.

HERE'S SOME ADVICE ON DEALING WITH TECH SUPPORT that's worth reading.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD examines French anti-Americanism in this essay from Foreign Affairs.

SENATOR TED STEVENS IS DEMANDING AN INVESTIGATION OF French spare parts sales to Iraq:

"There is no need for France to sell equipment to Saddam Hussein," said Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. "It is international treason. ... It is in violation of a U.N. resolution, and there should be no question — no question — about French officials. They should come forward quickly to deal with the story."

Indeed.

WARBLOGGING: Here's a blog by a reservist who's on his way to war. Check it out.

THE VICTIMS OF THE GREAT WHITE CLUB FIRE deserved to die, and weren't good people, according to a rather unpleasant religious site.

To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, I think every good Christian ought to kick their ass. In a figurative sense, anyway.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

While I think the advert was wrong, I think you may be misinterpreting what they said (or meant - but what do I know of what they meant). The orthodox Christian position is that deserving death *is part of the human condition* (that is to say, it applies equally to the authors of the advert). The fundies would argue Mother Theresa was not good enough, in herself, to deserve salvation - and no monster has sunk so low that, after repentance, and trusting in the saving work of Christ, they are beyond salvation. They would argue that, since you must get right with God (which is not something you acheive yourself, ask God to do on your behalf) before you die, and you don't know the day or the hour of your death, then act now - or a tragedy like the fire, awful as it is, will be infinitely more awful. Again, from the Christian perspective, death is far from the biggest deal in eternity. Being separated from God is the ultimate tragedy.

As a Christian, I'm inclined to be very careful how one draws spiritual conclusions from current events - even if your perspective is right (and how often is that the case), when emotions are running high, who is going to be in a position to respond to what you are actually saying (as opposed to what they though they heard). Especially if you are going to misspeak as grossly as some did right after 911.

Yes, well, I'm familiar with the doctrine -- the whole tiniest-leak-can-sink-the-greatest-ship rule (which, by the way, is actually wrong as applied to ships, or none of them would float) -- but I'm not prepared to cut them much slack. Sure, you can explain this away, just as you can explain away Marcy Kaptur's recent idiocy. But you can explain away anything. They said this the way they said it in order to attract attention. Well, they've got it.

MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: HERE'S AN A.P. PHOTOGRAPH of an antiwar protester assaulting a pro-liberation protester at UCLA.

This was reported earlier at The Volokh Conspiracy, which advises people to take video cameras to protests to document this sort of thing.

Good advice. Video cameras are cheap, and compact nowadays, and you can't count on there being an A.P. photographer around all the time. I suspect, too, that the mere presence of cameras encourages better behavior.

JIMMY CARTER HAS AN OPED IN TOMORROW'S NEW YORK TIMES -- and it's already been Fisked by Josh Chafetz.

I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE showed up for this pro-liberation rally in Milwaukee (the report estimates 600-700, but that's just an amateur eyeball estimate) but it was a lot more than showed up at Knoxville's anti-war rally today. Here are some pictures.

UPDATE: And a crowd estimated at between 2,000 (authorities) and 5,000 (organizers) assembled in Omaha as well:

People waving flags and singing "God Bless America" covered a downtown Omaha hillside Saturday afternoon in a show of support for the U.S. military and President Bush.

Talk show host Gary Sadlemyer and other organizers from Omaha radio station KFAB stressed the rally was "pro-America," not pro-war. But signs in the crowd and interviews with participants indicated strong support for using force if Bush deems it necessary. . . .

Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran and former U.S. senator from Nebraska, spoke at the event. So did Omahan Charles Lane, one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

Kerrey, now president of the New School University in New York City, said war is likely, unless "dictator Saddam Hussein" does in the next 12 days what he has refused to do in the last 12 years - disarm.

If war becomes necessary, America will come together to support its troops, Kerrey said.

"It is not for oil," he said. "It is not for property. It is not for glory. It is for the freedom of others who have suffered mightily."

You don't see a lot of university presidents taking that kind of position. My wife, an alumna of the New School, is proud of him.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's more rally information, including plans for rallies in Atlanta and Philadelphia next weekend. Talk radio definitely seems to be providing the organizational infrastructure for these.

MY EARLIER POST ABOUT THE RETURN OF "THE SPONGE" produced this email from Dr. Wendy Kroi:

Dear Professor Reynolds,

In response to your comment "Somebody needs to work on that."--oh, but I am!

I have put together a book listing ALL the contraceptive options available. At the very least, American women deserve to know how few methods they have access to. Here is a link to the Table of Contents (Link. ) For more background on the lack of options see (Link).

Here are just a few of the facts:

1) the U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where women don't have access to hormonal implants or combination injections

2) the only hormonal Intrauterine device (IUD) available in the U.S. is Mirena, an older type of IUD (more prone to causing side effects)

3) although a step in the right direction, the Today sponge is the only brand which contains the highest amount of the spermicide Nonoxynol 9 (N-9). N-9 has been clearly linked to an increased risk of HIV transmission (relevant articles: http://www.g-h-o.co.uk/id49.htm)

4) between 2000 and 2002 only 3 birth control books aimed at a general audience have been published in the U.S. None cover all the available contraceptive options. Any book published before 2000 is obsolete because new methods have become available and because of the N-9 research.

And just one quick example to personalize all the statistics: there are 199,613 active duty women in the military. For these women, avoiding an unintended pregnancy and maintaining top physical form are essential work requirements. However, a survey* of 158 female freshman cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, found that 60% of respondents experienced premenstrual and menstrual symptoms (various birth control methods can be used to control these symptoms) that interfered with their activities--physical more than academic. If the West Point cadets experience these problems, imagine what those brave women soldiers have to put up with in the middle of the desert!

*Schneider MB, Fisher M, Friedman SB, et al. Menstrual and premenstrual issues in female military cadets: a unique population with significant concerns. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol.1999;12:195-201.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I am quite passionate about this subject. And, after all, you did bring it up :-).

Once the book is published, I plan to use blog ads. . . . Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure: I am an Ob/Gyn, I am the medical advisor for the Global Health Options site ( http://www.g-h-o.co.uk/index.htm) and I have no connections (financial or otherwise) with any of the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture contraceptives.
Best Regards,
Wendy Kroi

Well, it really is a problem, and I'm glad somebody's addressing it. I suspect, however, that the fallout from the Dalkon Shield litigation, coupled with political opposition from "social" conservatives, has chilled pharmaceutical companies' interest in investing in this area, which is unfortunate.

UPDATE: Dr. Mark Littlehale emails:

I too am an OB/gyn. Here are a couple of points worth adding about birth control.

1) Norplant an implantable contraceptive is primarily off the market because of a large number of lawsuits associated with its use....too hard to get out too many side effects etc. It is widely available around the world but here we are too lawsuit happy...

2) Lunelle, a monthly injectable combination hormone, is available in the U.S.

3) Mirena is actually associated with fewer side effects than the Copper T IUD. Less bleeding, less cramping and less pelvic pain particularly in people with endometriosis

4) "Contraceptive technology" by Dr. Robert Hatcher (Emory U) is updated every couple of years and is available to the general public.

Interesting.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Medpundit Sydney Smith has further observations and corrections.

SPEAKING OF MALLS AND PROTESTS, there was another one at my local mall. I drove by about noon, and was stuck at a traffic light long enough to count the protesters. They were arranged around the corner of Kingston Pike and Morrell Road. I counted 32 on the Kingston Pike side. There looked to be roughly the same number on the Morrell road side (I couldn't count them precisely because of the angle), plus a few scattered on the hillside. Call it more than 50, but fewer than a hundred. The weather was gorgeous -- sunny and in the 60s.

They claimed 500 last time when it was cold and rainy, and probably actually got 200. This was less than half that, despite better weather. No obvious sign of growing momentum here.

GUESS WHO GOT FIRED OVER THE CROSSGATES MALL INCIDENT:

The security officer at Crossgates Mall who signed a trespassing complaint against a war protester was fired Friday.

Robert Williams said he was called into the mall security office about four hours into his shift and told he was fired because of Monday's incident and for signing the complaint against Steve Downs, 60, of Selkirk.

Downs' arrest brought Crossgates national notoriety and sparked a protest march against the facility's policies. He was arrested for trespassing when mall officials told him to leave or remove an anti-war T-shirt he had purchased there.

Williams, who has worked in security at the mall for more than nine years, said he signed the complaint on the orders of his boss, assistant director of security Fred Tallman. Those orders came after Tallman told the Guilderland police officer working the case that he (Tallman) was too busy to come to the police station and that Williams represented the company and should sign.

"I just followed directions of management of that mall to the letter," Williams said Friday evening. "And I get fired for doing my job."

I don't think this makes Crossgates Mall look any better.

DEAN ESMAY says that Bush's critics (especially those on the right) aren't giving him enough credit:

As for offending people, alienating people, losing public support: I frankly am not sure that any of that has happened, or will happen.

A year ago, support for invading Iraq among Americans was varying from about 50% to about 70%. It's now pretty consistently on the high end of that range. Despite the anti-war protests, the polling still shows that a majority are still basically on board with the President if we invade.

Further, Bush was able to strongarm the Congress into giving him the authority he wanted over six months ago. Which means the domestic debate is essentially over, no matter what the protesters do. Furthermore, there's even evidence that the peace protests are helping President Bush domestically far more than they're hurting him. And that the only thing that's really hurting him is that people are sick of waiting for him to decide.

On the other hand, despite widespread anti-war sentiment in Germany, Schroeder is being punished regularly by voters, which tells me that many Germans may disagree with war but don't feel all that strongly about it--and possibly value their relationship with America more than they value avoiding war. France is increasingly a laughingstock. With every report, Hans Blix says nice things but admits openly that the Iraqis are still not complying with the non-negotiable demands. More Americans than at any time in history view the U.N. with suspicion and wonder why we even bother with the organization.

Meanwhile, in the last year, literally dozens of nations have stepped forward to offer their support. In the last six months, that number has grown substantially. We have, inarguably, far more allies today than we did in March 2002. Most remarkably, Arab countries are spending most of their time bickering with each other, and doing their best to talk Saddam into leaving the country.

Hmm. That may be the answer to the question I asked below, about why Bush took this route.

THE NEW YORK TIMES has angered the Australian Street. Tim Blair notes:

THE NEW YORK TIMES describes America's allies as "powerless" and "motley and ad hoc".

That's Australia and Great Britain the Times is talking about, among others. Remember when the Times was worried about George W. Bush insulting and alienating friendly nations? Now the Times is doing the same.

It's interesting to contrast Bush's careful courtesy toward nations who don't deserve it, with the language that the antiwar folks -- who are supposedly the internationalists -- use to describe the rather large coalition that Bush has put together. Remind me again -- who is supposed to be blundering and insensitive here?

WILLIAM SALETAN WRITES that France and Germany are running a "con game:"

In Friday’s council debate, they made two arguments against a U.S. invasion of Iraq. First, they said it was unnecessary because Iraq has begun to comply with U.N. inspections. Second, they warned that an attack on Iraq without U.N. approval would ruin the credibility of the United Nations, on which the security of every nation, including ours, depends.

Are inspections more effective than force? Is the United Nations a better guarantor of U.S. security than American power is? Both questions are fraudulent. Inspections depend on force, and the United Nations depends on the United States. The French and Germans are telling us not to mess with the status quo, when the status quo is us. . . .

Should the United States yield to the United Nations? The question makes no sense. The United States practically invented the United Nations. Franklin D. Roosevelt coined its name. The U.N. charter was drafted and debated here. We host the organization’s headquarters and fund the lion’s share of its budget. Other members are important, but the United Nations needs us a lot more than we need it. Fischer is asking us not to put our national interests ahead of an organization we built to advance our national interests.

Nice try, Joschka and Dominique. We aren’t fooled. We’re touched by your pleas for relevance. And we’re flattered that the only rival you can put up against us is ourselves.

I really don't think that these guys realize how much damage they're doing, mostly to themselves and to institutions that they need.

ABUSE OF POWER:

WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- The president of a California college is sending a letter to President Bush apologizing for an instructor who gave students extra credit for writing anti-war missives to the White House.

Citrus College President Louis E. Zellers wrote that Professor Rosalyn Kahn "did abuse her authority" in assigning students in her Speech 106 class to write letters to Bush protesting the possible war with Iraq.

"Students were clear in their understanding that they would only receive credit if they wrote 'protest' letters," Zellers said in a letter of thanks to FIRE -- the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education -- a Philadelphia-based campus watchdog group.

FIRE's Chief Executive Officer, Thor L. Halvorssen, praised the school. "When fully informed of a frightening violation of freedom of conscience, the college administration responded swiftly and boldly to restore liberty and to undo the harm already done," he said.

An apology to Bush? How about an apology to the academic community, for making it look like a bunch of politically-driven weasels?

March 07, 2003

PERSPECTIVE, from Walter Russell Mead:

The sad truth is, the Security Council doesn't count for much when nations contemplate war. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, since 1945 there have been 26 international wars, with total deaths estimated at 3.5 million. Only three of those wars had Security Council authorization, including the recent conflict in Afghanistan; the largest, the 1950-53 Korean conflict, was only a U.N. operation because Josef Stalin was in a snit and had ordered his Soviet representative to boycott council meetings. . . .

The United States may be a diplomatic cowboy, but we aren't riding the only horse on the range. Every permanent member of the U.N. Security Council has
undertaken at least one war without the council's permission or endorsement. . . .

The plain if slightly sad fact is that from the day the U.N. Security Council first met in 1946, no great power has ever stayed out of a war because the council voted against it, and no great military power ever got into a war because the Security Council ordered it to.

Read the whole thing.

MY DAUGHTER HAS STREP THROAT, and I've been busy with her. Sorry for the lack of posts. But there's new stuff over at GlennReynolds.com for your amusement.

UPDATE: And there's a lot of new stuff over at Virginia Postrel's page, too.

HERE'S A LINK to a webcast of a Duke University panel on the Korematsu case, featuring law-blogger Eric Muller and Prof. Peter Irons.

ELAINE WILL BE HAPPY: The Sponge is back! And here's a sad-but-true comment:

"You can get affordable, safe contraceptives better in Bangladesh than you can in New York City," Ms. Bell said, "and that's wrong."

Somebody needs to work on that.

SADDAM IS LOSING POPULARITY among the Arab masses:

Saddam once was applauded as a hero who stood up to the United States when no other Arab leader would. Today, Arabs increasingly portray him as a reckless despot who is not doing enough to save his people or his neighbors from a conflagration, and who has taken the region to war twice before.

Sadly, it's not really because of stories like this:

As she stepped up to the Iraqi checkpoint, a military policeman suddenly pulled a knife, slashed open the flimsy plastic containers and splashed petrol all over her.

Then the head of the Iraqi border guard casually walked up to her, pulled a lighter from his pocket and set her ablaze. Soaked in fuel, she began to burn like a torch. That was on Monday afternoon. Yesterday Nazif lay in Sulaimania emergency hospital, on the Iraqi side, whimpering with pain. She had third degree burns and doctors said she was lucky to be alive. . . .

In a faltering voice, she said: "They said absolutely nothing, just looked at me with hatred. Then they set me alight. My whole body was in flames. I can't describe the pain.

"If it wasn't for an old man who smothered me with his coat I would have burnt alive.

"The border guards just stood and watched. Even after the flames were out they refused to let me return to the hospital in Kirkuk."

Get their names.

THE "CHILD ONLINE PROTECTION ACT" has been struck down. Here's a link to the opinion, styled ACLU v. Ashcroft, in PDF format.

MICHAEL MORAN writes that France is seeking paybacks for Suez.

I think that Eisenhower was wrong to do what he did then, though I regret it a lot less when I reflect on the consistent pattern of French fecklessness over the past century. But France's efforts here -- which have everything to do with parochial concerns and nothing to do with promoting "world peace" -- merely serve to demonstrate even more clearly that the United Nations is a purely political body with no moral component whatsoever.

JACK VALENTI'S NIGHTMARE: Except that the movies they're making these days mostly aren't worth stealing anyway.

ARAB LIBERALS seem supportive of a U.S. invasion, which might create a "window of opportunity" for democratizing the region.

NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME -- the FBI is in trouble for dishonesty in search warrant applications. But meanwhile it seems to be covering up failures in anti-terror investigations.

And nobody's being fired for either lapse. But then, nobody ever is. Except, sometimes, the people who call attention to the lapses.

FRANCE IS ARMING IRAQ:

A French company has been selling spare parts to Iraq for its fighter jets and military helicopters during the past several months, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

The unidentified company sold the parts to a trading company in the United Arab Emirates, which then shipped the parts through a third country into Iraq by truck.

The spare parts included goods for Iraq's French-made Mirage F-1 jets and Gazelle attack helicopters. . . .

Other intelligence reports indicate that Iraq had succeeded in acquiring French weaponry illegally for years, the official said. . . .

An administration official said the French parts transfers to Iraq may be one reason France has so vehemently opposed U.S. plans for military action against Iraq. "No wonder the French are opposing us," this official said. . . .

France has been Iraq's best friend in the West. French arms sales to Baghdad were boosted in the 1970s under Premier Jacques Chirac, the current president. Mr. Chirac once called Saddam Hussein a "personal friend."

More support for the Den Beste theory that the French and Germans are blocking the war to conceal evidence that they've been violating sanctions. Of course, the French government may not have known about this -- but even if that's true, it's going to make it rather hard for them to credibly claim that the current "containment" regime is working.

UPDATE: "Treachery of the lowest order."

THE PAK TRIBUNE IS REPORTING THE ARREST OF OSAMA BIN LADEN ("or his son") -- and I have no idea how much credence to give this. I've been of the opinion that he's dead; I could be wrong, though, of course.

The problem is that this report could be wrong, or it could be disinformation. Or it could be true, and the government could want it kept quiet for all sorts of fairly obvious reasons. We'll know soon enough, I imagine, if it's true.

UPDATE: It's two of his sons, according to a Pakistani official. But U.S. officials say it's not true. Well, kind of.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Austin Bay emails:

Our offensive action in the MIddle East --the build up to strike Saddam-- intentionally provokes Al Qaeda. They stir and we watch for the stir. A terrorist's ace is surprise. AQ is now operating on our timeline, the one we create by action against Iraq. I see you hit that point again in a post. It's an important one.

Indeed.

A LOT OF PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK that Bush's comments last night about Iraq being a threat to the United States and its neighbors were merely policy justifications.

But they're also laying the groundwork for justifying an attack on Iraq, even without Security Council approval, as self-defense under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. Many among the international-law professoriate will opine that this isn't enough -- but that's only one opinion, and one that has little credibility given that the organizing principle of the international-law professoriate and commentariat sometimes seems to be "whatever the United States wants to do is against the law."

Bush seems to be trying very hard -- harder, I think, than I would in his place -- to preserve the viability of the United Nations. I'm not sure why, but I am sure that he will get scant credit for it.

JAMES DUNNIGAN WRITES:

Iraq, unlike Germany, is sitting on several trillion dollars worth of oil and will be largely intact after a war. But like post-World War II Germany, Iraq has been governed for a long time (over 30 years) by the Baath party. Moreover, the nazi and Baath parties have a lot in common. Nazi is short for "National Socialist" and that certainly describes the Baath party. But, unlike Germany, the Baath party largely serves one group, the Sunni Arabs (about 20 percent of the population.) The Nazi party only excluded Jews (as does Baath.) Because most Baath party members are Sunni Arabs, it will be easier to expel them from the government bureaucracy.

Read the whole thing.

RACINE RAVE UPDATE: Lawsuits are being filed, and rightly so.

THE FBI "RECKLESSLY MISLED" JUDGES to get search warrants in a kiddie-porn investigation. (“[T]here was more than a mere failure to investigate or an innocent or negligent mistake.” )

Will anyone be sacked, or charged? Don't hold your breath.

This is why the FBI is not up to its homeland security duties. It's not even up to its regular job.

EVAN COYNE MALONEY, who made the compelling interview video at the antiwar protests a couple of weeks ago, has answered some questions about it, and about what he plans to work on next. Drop by, and hit his new PayPal button if you think that's worth supporting.

ANDREW SULLIVAN:

Alas, it's pretty clear by now that the French, Germans and Russians simply don't care if Saddam is flouting the U.N. They just don't want American military power exercized in the region - ever again. I doubt if they had videotape of Saddam making anthrax in his bathrobe that they'd agree to enforce their own resolution. I still think forcing a vote is the right thing to do, even if we lose badly. After these past few weeks, watching the extraordinary duplicity and blindness of several Security Council members, I've reluctantly come to the verge of hoping that this crisis helps destroy the United Nations as a credible international body. And I don't think it would harm Bush badly on the home front.

I agree, except that I think France, et al., have already destroyed the U.N. as a credible international body, to the limited extent that it ever was one.

Read this post by Steven Den Beste, too.

March 06, 2003

FORGET RUGBY: I don't think I'm tough enough for modern dance. Sheesh.

TRAFFIC: Just broke 135,000 pageviews. I'm not sure what the previous record was, but this beats it.

Does this make me a "war profiteer?" Only if pageviews count as "profits." I think they did for a while, back in the nineties. . . .

JIM HENLEY OFFERS THE BEST ARGUMENT against torturing Khalid Shaikh Mohammed: "Because we're the fucking United States of America!"

He also has some interesting observations about Saudi/Al Qaeda relations.

NOW I'M WATCHING GARY HART: He's not doing any better than Bush. He seems tired, and confused, and sounds like he has a cold.

Biggest weak point: saying that Korea is a bigger threat than Iraq, but not saying what we should be doing about it, when it seems that his objections to moving against Iraq (retaliation, etc.) would apply there, too. (The "retaliation" point sounded distressingly like this antiwar graffiti -- "Leave Terrorists Alone -- They Might Strike Back!").

I've seen Hart absolutely tear up hostile interviewers -- his on-air Fisking of Ted Koppel on Nightline was a thing to behold. This was nothing like that.

UPDATE: Hart should read this post on Korea by Eugene Volokh. So should everyone else.

"WHEN IT COMES TO OUR SECURITY, we really don't need anybody's permission." The most significant statement so far in Bush's news conference.

UPDATE: Not much of a performance, razzle-dazzle-wise, even for Bush.

Downside: He looked tired, distracted, and not especially interested in being there, even for Bush.

Upside: He looked very sincere, deeply concerned (showing a very real desire to avoid war and a real sensitivity to civilian casualties), while the questioners, as always, looked smug and irritating and superficial, making Bush look better by contrast.

He made some very simple points: Saddam was supposed to disarm, and hasn't. He's a threat to the United States, and the risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk of doing something. And the United States will play out the UN game, and won't let France, Russia, et al., off the hook, but will ultimately act in its own self-defense regardless.

I don't think he changed any minds. People who saw him, though, will find it hard to see him as a thoughtless warmonger.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg thinks this was for foreign consumption.

ANOTHER UPDATE: David Hogberg comments. And Nelson Ascher emails from Zurich:

I've just seen Bush's performance on TV. Whoever expected something in the Churchillian vein must have been disappointed. And I'd say that was quite intelligent. Why? Because the Churchillian style works well once you're already in the midst of total war. Otherwise it may sound demagogic and, for those who disagree, as pure warmongering. What seemed to be Bush's goal was not only to disarm his national and foreign critics but to show the non-bellicist face of a country that only goes into war reluctantly

The point is: day by day the so called pacifists look more agressive, more filled with hate. Indeed, it is as if they were those who were at war: against America. Bush has chosen exactly not to answer them in kind, stressing the protesters' right to protest, the allies' right to disagree and, of course, his own right to think differently. He didn't threaten France, Germany, Russia and so on: and that is very good. Many questions were about those countries' attitudes and he managed not to answer them without ever giving the impression he was running away from an argument: on the contrary, he spoke as a grown-up underlining that we shouldn't be too tough on the kids because, well, they're nothing but kids.

I don't know if this will work in Europe, although it won't be easy to use his performance to portray the president as a bloodthirsty imperialistic murderer. But I think that it reassures the domestic audience that the decision to go to war is being taken in a serious, sober, dispassionate way.

Well, that supports the "it's aimed abroad" theory. Meanwhile Stephen Pollard writes in The Telegraph that the U.S. (and Britain?) may stage a U.N. walkout if the obstructionists carry the day at the Security Council:

Well-connected advisers tell me that if, as now seems likely, the UN refuses to back action against terror, Mr Bush will announce a "temporary" suspension of America's membership, to be accompanied by an offer: if the UN gets its act together and carries out long-overdue reforms, America (and its money) will return. But if there is no reform, the temporary withdrawal will, de facto, become permanent.

Interesting. Here's a transcript of the speech. And here's a Chirac response. Heh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Nathan Traxler emails:

You obviously watched it on TV, and drew much of President Bush's comments based upon his appearance. I was running at 5pm today, and listened to it during Hugh Hewitt's daily broadcast on the radio. Therefore, I couldn't see him, only hear him. I had no clue where the following statement came from:

"He looked tired, distracted, and not especially interested in being there, even for Bush." -instapundit.com

He did not come off tired or distracted on the radio. In fact, he came off pensive and genuine, in the face of some really tough questions. I feel that the real George Bush came through quite well through the radio, and felt that the contrast from his normal speeches was actually refreshing. He responded to every reporter consistantly, and stuck to his guns no matter how offensive the premise of the question. He sounded different than he usually does in the media, and to my ears, much better.

Interesting.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Zach Barbera wasn't impressed. On the other hand, I got this email:

I am an American who has lived in Japan since 1984. I've been watching presidential speeches for a while (I saw JFK's inaugural speech live as a 6th grader; we were off from school because it was a snow day).

I know that I do not see many speeches by American politicians lately. Perhaps your opinion is due to the frequency with which you see speeches from Bush and others. But--

I do not think I have seen a more direct, plain-spoken, and eloquent speech by a US president in my life. Richard Nixon used to say, "let me be perfectly clear...". Well, George W. Bush actually _was_ perfectly clear, and seemed perfectly sincere. I was very impressed, and also very moved.

Bill Sakovich
Saga, Japan

And he wasn't listening on the radio.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Porphyrogenitus explains Bush's manner.

SGT. STRYKER:

Now I don't know what the hell is up with the Europeans, but I can't help but compare them to International Ice Skating Judges. They try to give the appearance of straight-laced professionals interested in fair play and sportsmanship, but you know they're just a bunch of hucksters on the take. And why are European bureaucrats the worst liars? I don't know if any Europeans read this thing, but do they sound as fake to you as they do to me? It's like they're not even trying and that's the most insulting part of it.

Indeed.

UPDATE: Well, this sounds pretty honest:

"This is not about Saddam Hussein, and this is not even about regime change in Iraq or even the million people killed by Saddam Hussein or missiles or chemical weapons," Pierre Lellouche, a legislator who is close to Chirac, said in an interview. . . .

"It's about whether the United States is allowed to run world affairs and battle terrorism and weapons proliferation essentially with a small group of trusted allies," or whether many nations should have a say, he said.

France is also described as "a middle-size power whose military has been allowed to atrophy for lack of funding in the past decade." That's true, too -- but it's not the French talking.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I wonder if Sgt. Stryker is really Pascal Bruckner:

I see today in France a kind of destructive other-worldliness. Certain Europeans imagine they can escape History's difficulties by making a show of their finer feelings, as if they can create a progressive ideology out of demonizing the United States. They compare Bush with Hitler while accommodating the Islamists. There hasn't been much [European] intellectual progress since the fall of communism. Rather, things have gotten worse.

You never see them photographed together. . . .

THE COMMENTS accompanying this now-famous Asparagirl post are quite amusing.

UPDATE: Simone Koo agrees.

ARTHUR SILBER is fact-checking Jim Henley -- or, more accurately, an article about our allies that Henley relies on.

EVIDENCE THAT STANFORD CAN'T BE THAT HIGHLY SELECTIVE: Pictures from the Stanford "walkout," including pro-Saddam graffiti. "At least Saddam was elected!" and so on.

UPDATE: Here's a report of anti-war violence from U.C.L.A.

It's "crushing of dissent," if you ask me.

GERMAN WEAPONS INSPECTOR SAYS IRAQ NOT COOPERATING: Here's a report from Tagesschau.de (Google translation here) saying that Iraq isn't cooperating. He compares the inspection process to politely asking a criminal to turn himself in. (Tagesschau is a nightly news program in Germany; this is its website. It's rather well-respected.)

THE VOLOKH EMPIRE has a report from a pro-war protester at Wisconsin-Madison. Excerpt:

The anti-anti-war protest wasn't necessary, though, as the anti-war organizers whom we had here yesterday alienated a good portion of their listenership straightaway. Instead of focusing on what I believe are legitimate arguments against the war (I recognize that the proper arguments against the war can't be made into good soundbites, but longer speeches, as we had here, can focus on legitimate foreign policy and morality concerns), speakers yesterday intimated firstly that the war against Iraq was a ploy by our president to rid the world of Arabs, as he cares only for Caucasians, and, further, that the war was an additional ploy by which to rid the nation of African-Americans, who presumably would be more likely per capita to die in a war (which the statistics no longer bear out), or at the very least to keep them out of higher education, inasmuch as, being statistically poorer than Caucasians, they must enlist in the army after high school.

The predominant chant was, "Hey! Hey! Ho! Ho! This racist war has got to go!", after which probably one-third to one-half of the crowd was lost. Groups such as "Veterans against the War", whom I'm sure proffer up legitimate arguments, were ostensibly turned off as well and left forthwith.

Indeed.

TRAFFIC: over 100,000 pageviews by 5:30? Jeez.

AMITAI ETZIONI, who has just started blogging, has a firsthand report on anti-Americanism at Davos.

UPDATE: E. Nough has an amusing post on anti-Americanism, too.

HERE'S A LIST OF PEACE RALLIES scheduled for next week.

RICHARD BUTLER SAYS the Security Council is irrelevant now.

HERE'S A REPORT that Iraq is already destroying its oil wells. I don't know how reliable it is. But it fits with this report from Salam Pax.

HERE'S ANOTHER REPORT saying that Iraq is blowing up oil wells. For what it's worth.

THUGS FOR PEACE: Pretty lame:

An anti-war march against the U.S. policy on Iraq by about 500 Canoga Park High School students turned ugly Wednesday when some in the crowd started looting a gas station convenience store and disrupting traffic. . . .

Store owner Masood Behroozi said his clerk saw several students knocking over racks, breaking glasses and swiping snack foods. The whole incident was recorded on a surveillance tape that was turned over to police, he said. "They were just joking and laughing and doing this for fun."

Protesting for imaginary Arabs, while robbing real ones. Yep. (Later: Or maybe not -- Behroozi appears to be an Iranian name.)

UPDATE: Arabs, Jews -- these "peace" demonstrators will rough up anyone who gets in their way:

A protest at York University over a possible war in Iraq ended in violence yesterday when opposing groups crossed paths.

Miriam Levin, a Jewish student, said she was intimidated and roughed up by the protesters. And a group that had a U.S. flag at its booth said members were attacked by demonstrators who marched through the university. . . .

She said she could not understand why the man was shouting anti-Semitic remarks at her until her friend, Hannah Wortsman, observed she was wearing earrings with a Star of David design. . . .

Levin pulled out her camera to take photographs of the scene and the group tried to take it away from her, she said, adding a security guard did nothing when she and Wortsman called for help. "I asked why he didn't do anything and he said, 'Well you shouldn't have been there,' " Levin said.

Antisemitic violence. Authorities who refuse to intervene. And in Canada! Sadly, this almost isn't news anymore.

A MORAL DILEMMA FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: Jay Zilber wants your input.

THE FRENCH EMBASSY PROTEST, and Asparagirl's views on the Lysistrata project, made Best of the Web today.

POLLS ARE ALWAYS SUSPECT, but this one reports a "huge shift" in British sentiment in favor of war.

If it's true, then it's terrible news for Saddam. And, I suspect, just as bad for Chirac.

UPDATE: Well, here's the meat of it from the pollsters' site:

Three quarters (75%) of people in Britain would now be prepared to support British troops joining any American-led military action against Iraq. However, this support is conditional both on UN inspectors finding proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, and on the UN Security Council voting in favour of military action.

In the absence of these two conditions, only a quarter (24%) would support British involvement, and opposition rises from 18% to 67%. But opposition falls to two in five (41%) if the inspectors do find evidence that Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction - even if the UN still does not vote in favour of action.

Not as dramatic as The Sun makes it sound (no!), but "there has been almost a 10% swing in his favour since mid-January." So if delays in the war were designed to let Blair shore up his position, well, I guess they've worked.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I guess they have -- Blair now says the UK will go ahead even in the face of a Security Council veto.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: I don't know how I missed it, but here's a piece by Iain Murray from NRO on the topic.

(RADIO) FRANCE SURRENDERS! Franco-blogger Emmanuelle Richard organized a worldwide strike and won a swift victory. It's all because of the Internet, too, she reports:

The 56 strikers of Spartacus (I'm among them), from Bangkok to Rio to Athens, are very excited they could gather by e-mail and launch a strike that is paving the way for a better treatment of the correspondents in this great public service radio station.

You go, girl.

ABC NEWS is reporting that Crossgates Mall plans to drop trespassing charges in the t-shirt case.

(Via Naked Writing).

Meanwhile I've got some discussion of the First Amendment issues -- and more -- involved over at GlennReynolds.com.

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs calls this a success story for "collaborative peer-reviewed journalism" aka the blogosphere.

EUGENE VOLOKH has a report from the pro-war demonstration at UCLA.

KEN LAYNE seems a little more enthusiastic about his move to Reno than does GirlVinyl. I guess it's all a question of what you're looking for.

Meanwhile, here's the perfect job for Layne -- serving as Jesse Ventura's foil on MSNBC. The article suggests that Jesse needs a Stephanopoulos type, but I think that he needs someone a bit, well, more rough-and-ready. Layne's perfect.

I'M NOT VERY ENTHUSIASTIC about UCITA. Neither is John Dvorak.

TIM BLAIR is Fisking Fidel.

IS OSAMA NEXT? Here's a story suggesting that he may be in Baluchistan, and on the verge of capture. I'm somewhat skeptical, since I still think he's probably dead, but some other folks seem to think that this story may be true. Could it be that the interminable delays on the war have been caused by efforts to round up top Al Qaeda leaders first? Could it even be that, as Austin Bay suggests, the war buildup has been, in part, designed to smoke out Al Qaeda?

Meanwhile Gotham seems to have confirmed Salam Pax's report from Baghdad that Uday Hussein (Saddam's son) is in Belarus.

UPDATE: Hmm. I wonder if this means we've got him?

ANOTHER UPDATE: &c rounds up the evidence pro and con. I remain skeptical, but we'll know soon enough.

KARL ROVE'S AGENTS PROVOCATEURS have apparently been earning their money.

ON BEING GEEK -- an essay that's worth reading.

Geeks have a lot more status than they ("They?" -- Ed. Okay, okay: we -- now get back to Kaus's page where you belong!) used to, but not as much as is deserved. The modern world and economy would stop running without geeks. In fact, they would come damn close to stopping if geeks just quit giving away their time and expertise for free.

A READER SENDS THIS LINK and opines that Marcy Kaptur hasn't learned from Patty Murray:

When America "cast off monarchical Britain" in 1776, it involved the help of many religious people who had fled repression in other countries, the 11-term Toledo congressman said. Among the nontraditional American revolutionaries were the Green Mountain Boys, a patriot militia organized in 1770 in Bennington, Vt., to confront British forces, she said.

"One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown," Miss Kaptur said.

Yes, I remember Ethan Allen and Johnny Stark blowing up buildings full of civilians as their key tactic. Jeez, how pathetic. But then, we heard Mao and Ho Chi Minh compared to America's founders once, too.

But there were two rather crucial differences, then and now: their tactics, and their goals. The tactical difference is obvious. But you're not a freedom fighter unless you're actually fighting for freedom, a distinction that appears to elude many on the left. Bin Laden, like Mao and Ho, wanted to create a variety of strongman theocracy with himself at the head. That was hardly the goal of America's founders. Those who can't tell the difference don't belong in politics. Neither do those who can tell the difference, but who choose to ignore it.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer offers a rather more extensive historical critique of Kaptur's statement. It's worth reading.

JEFF JARVIS has done a vlog on what he'd say to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

BILL FRIST IS RUNNING AN ONLINE POLL regarding war with Iraq. Meanwhile Lee Harris is sticking up for Neville Chamberlain.

THE GOVERNMENT'S NEW ANTI-COUNTERFEITING STRATEGY seems to involve making the money so damn ugly that people will be embarrassed to make copies.

NOTE TO PROTESTERS: If you're going to have a naked protest, you need to actually get naked. Otherwise it's just pathetic. Someone sent me an email about a similar debacle in Asheville, but I can't find it now.

March 05, 2003

JOE KATZMAN HAS A ROUNDUP on the case of Maine teachers harrassing the kids of military folks -- and some similar incidents elsewhere.

AUSTIN BAY LOOKS AT THE NEAR FUTURE. He's got some good observations.

STILL MORE ON WHY Gerhard Schroeder is trying to focus on war and America instead of the German economy. Germany is called an economic "dead weight."

THERE WAS ANOTHER PROTEST AT THE FRENCH EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON today. Report:

Oddly enough, local Georgetown residents didn't seem too receptive to our message. On the other hand, truck drivers and construction workers passing by exhibited a decidedly more positive response. Whoda thunk it?

Yeah, go figure. There's a photo gallery with lots of pictures here.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Emmanuelle Richard has brought Radio France to its knees! No, really. Even the French bloggers are giving the French fits. . . .

VIDEO BLOGS AND TOOLS THAT WORK: They're discussed over at GlennReynolds.com today.

IT OUGHT TO BE ABOUT OIL, writes Duke University's Professor Joseph Grieco:

Oil resources located in the Middle East are vital not just to the prosperity of rich countries, but for the prospects of growth in developing nations. According to the IEA, future increases in demand for oil will come largely not from the world’s rich countries, but from fast-growing developing countries, especially China.

This trend highlights a link between oil access and world peace. According to the IEA, China over the next 30 years will become a "strategic buyer" in international energy markets. If those markets are periodically thrown into turmoil because of supply disruptions in the Middle East, China might decide to take control of the oil reserves thought to be under the South China Sea. That would bring it into serious conflict with such neighbors as Vietnam and Indonesia, and ultimately with the United States.

War: It's for the children!

AMERICAN TROOPS are honoring Martin Sheen.

ANIMATED OPINIONS is a political cartoon site that's worth checking out.

ASPARAGIRL ain't Lysistrata.

DON WILLIAMS writes that the Army's Center for Military History needs to be saved. The Army wants to contract it out to academics; Williams fears that they'll be Bellesilesean academics.

OKAY, ON THE TORTURE QUESTION, this certainly seems like a good approach. . . .

A GUY WAS ARRESTED AT ALBANY'S CROSSGATES MALL because he was wearing an antiwar t-shirt and refused to take it off or to leave when asked.

A reader wonders if he's got a First Amendment lawsuit. The answer is no, because the mall is a private entity and doesn't have to observe the First Amendment (he may, however, have an action under New York law or New York's state constitution).

Unlike the government, though, the Crossgates Mall is regulated by the market. The "crossgatesmall.com" website is one of those bogus entities run by an outfit that hits you with popups and tries to hijack your homepage. But this page lists businesses at the Crossgates Mall, with their phone numbers and websites, in case you want to contact them and express your disappointment with the mall in which they operate.

I think anti-war t-shirts are dumb and wrong, of course, but that doesn't mean that people should be thrown out of malls for wearing them. And as these shirts were entirely unobjectionable in terms of their presentation, the only possible reason for the mall to act this way was because it didn't like the message. As a private business, the mall is free to take that attitude, of course.

But other people are free to take their business elsewhere.

UPDATE: I 've gotten a lot of email about this. If you're interested in free speech and shopping malls -- and you should be -- you'll be interested in this article by a former student of mine on the subject. It started out as a paper for my Advanced Constitutional Law seminar.

And, even more bizarre, apparently the t-shirts were bought at the mall. Jeez.

And Michele emails:

The man in question, Stephen Downs, is the director of the Albany office of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. His office has been made all but obsolete by the recent ruling regarding the free speech limits of judges running for election.

While I totally disagree with those security guards, I just thought this was an interesting ironic twist in the story.

A censor censored. Heh. Bill Hobbs is offering comments from a journalist's perspective.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Eugene Volokh has comments.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A media reader sends a copy of the mall's press release in reply:

STATEMENT BY TIM KELLEY, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS,
PYRAMID MALL MANAGEMENT REGARDING CROSSGATES MALL

On the evening of March 3, Crossgates Mall security received a complaint regarding two individuals disrupting customers. The individuals were approached by security because of their actions and interference with other shoppers. Their behavior, coupled with their clothing, to express to others their personal views on world affairs were disruptive of customers.

Crossgates’ management is committed to maintaining the mall as a family-friendly facility that provides a secure and enjoyable experience for all its visitors while allowing merchants a prosperous place to do business. While Crossgates Mall is perceived by some to be a public place, it is privately owned. The courts have affirmed that private properties, including shopping malls, have the right to restrict actions and behaviors deemed inconsistent with its intended purpose -- in this case a shopping environment.

The existing rules of conduct at Crossgates Mall strictly prohibit loitering, disorderly or disruptive conduct, harassment, offensive language, fighting or any illegal activity. The Mall will not tolerate violations of these regulations. In this instance, mall management given the information provided to them, determined the customers in question were violating mall policy.

Information has surfaced regarding future demonstrations at Crossgates Mall. Mall management cannot and will not allow this type of activity to occur and will be vigilant in enforcing the rules of conduct which provide a safe and comfortable environment for visitors, merchants and employees.

In light of recent events, it is important to note that Crossgates Mall has long been a safe, friendly atmosphere for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Well, there you are. Somewhat short on details, though.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: The Smoking Gun has the police report. It seems there was more to this story than just t-shirts.

TOMPAINE.COM is trying to set up a three-way cage match between Eric Alterman, Ann Coulter, and Bernard Goldberg.

THE AMERICAN STREET: Literally, in this case, since that's where I saw this bumper sticker. "Terrorists Beware: Rugby Player On Board." I think Mark Bingham would be proud.

And rightly so.

It's almost enough to make me wish I played rugby, instead of just being part of the "rugby of opinion peddling." But only almost. When I was in college, I dated a member of the women's rugby team, and I know that I'm not that tough.

HERE'S MORE EVIDENCE that John Ashcroft's misplaced priorities are hurting the credibility of antiterrorism efforts. And of Ashcroft.

MERDE IN FRANCE emails this picture -- taken by cellphone -- of a rather limp anti-war protest in Paris today, and notes:

Here are some photos taken with a Nokia 7650
from the Bastille Opera just 1 hour ago.

As you can see the organisers are having trouble drumming up a crowd even though France is supposed to be leading the opposition to military action against Iraq. The French work only 35 hour [weeks], have long lunch breaks, and it is a mild pre-spring day here in Paris, the Bastille is one of the major 'meeting places' in Paris, and this is the best they can do.

Looks like Chirac is taking French support for granted.

Interesting. I love getting pix by cellphone. Here's the full-size image, by the way.

Visit Merde in France later on, where I presume he'll post some comments once he makes it to a computer that'll let him access his blog.

UPDATE: A followup:

Thanks much. I was just out again at the same spot (exactly 1 hour later) and everyone and everything had left.

Incredible. No sign of life.

Lame.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More bad news for the French -- Daniel Drezner reports that the E.U. is becoming an English-speaking zone.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Go here for more pics from Paris -- including some more from the "big" march later that turned out not to be especially big either.

HERE'S THE WEBPAGE for the Oxford Democracy Forum, yet another of the many student pro-war pro-liberation groups springing up everywhere. Check it out.

I'm also told that Brandeis's group will be featured in a Fox News story tonight.

UPDATE: And check out the St. Andrews Liberty Club at St. Andrews University, Scotland.

VIRGINIA POSTREL noted the other day that the percentage of spam in her inbox was way, way, up. I just noticed that of the last 25 messages I got at my personal, non-instapundit account, 20 were spam.

When the war is over, if there are any JDAMs left, I can suggest a few targets. . .

March 04, 2003

CHECK OUT SUSANNAH BRESLIN'S audioblog.

IS THE CASE FOR USING TORTURE against Khalid Shaikh Mohammed really "quite strong"?

I don't think so. And others are, at least, ambivalent.

UPDATE: Howard Veit has some thoughts on how to get him to talk.

IF YOU'RE AN AMERICAN IN BULGARIA, the U.S. Embassy could use some help.

MARK STEYN on the Chretien / Musharraf connection:

The Liberal Party of Canada, on the other hand, seems to reckon you can insult the Yanks with impunity while being utterly dependent on them. Some of us -- on the "right," as Lawrence Martin sees it -- figure it would be honourable for Mr. Chrétien to put his mouth where Canada's money is. But he can't do that. He's in the position of General Musharraf: Political reality necessitates being pro-American, or at least not overtly anti-American, but the inclinations of Ms. Parrish and many other of his supporters are to jump up and down shouting "Death to the Great Satan!" This is par for the course in a basket case like Pakistan, but it's not really healthy for what's supposed to be a stable, settled Western democracy. . . .

Read the whole thing, as some people say.

EDWARD BOYD has the reason that Hillary Clinton was so supportive of war today.

ONE WAY TO GET PUBLISHED: Threaten a lawsuit! David Appell and Rishawn Biddle (who calls Gary Taubes' piece a "bruised ego-soother ") have the scoop, with links.

BBC LISTENERS: Here's the list of weblogs that I mentioned.

I'LL BE ON THE BBC in about 15 minutes, at around 9:20 Eastern time.

ANOTHER ANTI-WAR SPEAKER WHO HATES AMERICA?

Between songs, the pugnacious Hynde, in a classic black T-shirt and jeans, bantered and battled with the crowd. She dedicated "You Know Who Your Friends Are" to "all you junkies and f--," gave a shout-out to the late Joe Strummer, opined that she hopes the United States loses if it goes to war with Iraq ("Bring it on! Give us what we deserve!"), and introduced the song "Fools Must Die" with the self-deprecating quip, "I'll show you how it's done."

Too bad. I used to respect her.

UPDATE: Reader Thomas Healey points out that Joe Strummer supported war in Afghanistan, saying:

I think you have to grow up and realise that we're facing religious fanatics who would kill everyone in the world who doesn't do what they say.

The more time you give them the more bombs they'll get. Bin Laden is going to try and kill more people.

"The more time you give them the more bombs they'll get." Hmm. Some of us think that applies to Saddam, too.

WALT ERICKSON EMAILS:

Has anyone considered the possibility of Saddam killing one of his many doubles and having a selected general declare a successful coup, and to prove it, producing a body? Would the invasion be put on hold while we argue about it being the real Saddam? Or am I being paranoid?

I think we've got DNA. Great spy novel plot, though.

THE WAR ON TERROR MUST BE GOING WELL: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front is willing to cooperate with authorities in order to escape our wrath, or public opprobrium, or some combination of the two.

GERHARD SCHROEDER'S SUPPORTERS ARE GETTING NASTY. That's probably because they're also getting desperate.

UPDATE: Amiland writes that I've missed the context. He says that Schroeder actually got treated worse than this.

A BLOGGER GOES TO WAR: Read about it here.

SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE: Simon Schama writes in The New Yorker that Europeans have never liked America much. Excerpt:

In the early nineteenth century, with Enlightenment optimism soured by years of war and revolution, critics were skeptical of America’s naïve faith that it had reinvented politics. Later in the century, American economic power was the enemy, Yankee industrialism the behemoth against which the champions of social justice needed to take up arms. A third generation, itself imperialist, grumbled about the unfairness of a nation’s rising to both continental and maritime ascendancy. And in the twentieth century, though the United States came to the rescue of Britain and France in two world wars, many Europeans were suspicious of its motives. . . .

Other characteristics of American life alienated the Romantics: the distaste for tragedy (a moral corrective to illusions of invincibility); the strong preference for practicality; the severance from history; and, above all, what the Germans called bodenlosigkeit, a willed rootlessness, embodied in the flimsy frame construction of American houses. Europeans watched, pop-eyed, while whole houses were moved down the street. This confirmed their view that Americans had no real loyalty to the local, and explained why they preferred utilitarian “yards” to flower gardens. No delphiniums, no civility.

Same old, same old. I guess that means you can't really blame Bush, or the response to 9/11, for creating some new variety of alienation. (Via Gary Farber).

IS WI-FI LIKE A TOILET? These and other questions are addressed over at GlennReynolds.com today.

COOL-2B-REAL: In the faux-rilla marketing vein, Radley Balko sends this link to a site run by the beef producers.

FROM TIME TO TIME, I (like most academics) get asked to review the scholarship of someone who is up for tenure or promotion at another University. You read the articles or books, write a letter saying whether you think they're good enough or not, and send it off. Sometimes they pay you a token honorarium (say, $100), sometimes (most times) they don't.

Today I got a letter thanking me for one of those reviews, and saying that my letter was very helpful. That's nice, since usually once you send the comments off you never hear any more. But the letter didn't say how it turned out. Why not?

You get something similar with letters of recommendation for students -- people hardly ever respond once you send them. However, a few years ago I wrote a letter recommending a student who had been on the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Team that I coached. He got the job, but what was really nice was that about a year later I got a letter from the law firm that had hired him, saying that he had turned out so well that I should please let them know if I had any other students as good as him.

That was a terrific thing to do, and I think that more places should do something like that. Of course, I say this as someone who's slowly losing the battle to keep up with his email. . . .

FACT-CHECKING THE COW: Want to know who's behind the faux-rilla media campaign? It's all here, including a list of other affiliated sites that are Getting Behind The Cow.

We also learn: "The Raging Cow's primary utterance is a primal moo!"

I think that Tony Pierce is behind this campaign, somehow.

RAGING COW UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis offers some advice to the Dr Pepper marketers. I'll bet they wind up wishing they'd taken it.

It's good advice for other folks, too.

EMBARRASSING, IF TRUE:

Yesterday Williams's communications director, Tony Bullock, told us he thinks he knows why McLaughlin slammed the mayor: Immediately after the blizzard, city officials didn't grant the TV host preferential treatment when minions for "Dr. McLaughlin," as they refer to their boss, repeatedly phoned and demanded that a snowplow be deployed to McLaughlin's residential street in the pricey Massachusetts Avenue Heights neighborhood.

And I guess it's true, because McLaughlin isn't denying it. (Via Romenesko).

UPDATE: Reader Gary Imhoff emails that it's not true:

You should know better than to believe DC's Mayor Tony Williams or his press secretary, Tony Bullock. Actually, McLaughlin was out of town when the snowstorm hit, and he didn't call to try to get his street plowed. Neither did Matthew Faraci, the producer of McLaughlin One-on-One, whom Bullock unprofessionally derired as "McLaughlin's chief twit." McLaughlin's driver did call because the street was snowed in for days and never plowed. But the Mayor and spokesmen for his administration had told citizens to call for service and report if their street hadn't been plowed, and now the mayor is deriding a citizen for taking the administration's position seriously and calling for service.

The principle Mayor Williams is stating, which is consistent with his positions in the past is that Washington's residents have no right to complain about bad service from his administration if they personally receive bad service.

I know the above facts because my wife, Dorothy Brizill, was a guest on the McLaughlin One-on-One show about which the mayor is complaining. Dorothy was invited on One-on-One because she is the executive director of DCWatch, which is a good government watchdog group.

Hmm. Okay. Seems like McLaughlin should've said this himself, though.

PORPHYROGENITUS has moved to a new bloghome. Drop by, say hello, and adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

I NOTICE THAT AIMEE DEEP'S BLOG is featuring more and more photos of attractive, scantily clad women.

This isn't a complaint, or anything.

VIA DAVE WINER I find this story from Wired News, containing the following hard-to-argue-with assertion:

"When your medical records are indexed in Google, something's wrong."

Yep.

STEFAN SHARKANSKY emails:

Remember Diablogger's story last week about the lefty professor from Germany who ridiculed him for being uninformed because he didn't read the German press? Well I read the German press, and I do find all kinds of good stuff you don't get in US newspapers -- like this interview where an Iraqi civilian says that the French and German anti-war position doesn't make any sense...

Imagine that.

FAUX-RILLA MEDIA: My new TechCentralStation column is up. It's inspired by the "Raging Cow" blogger-promotion scheme. There's an amusing graphic.

Get behind The Cow! (Nope, that slogan just doesn't work. . . .)

INTERESTING PIECE on America's military future:

The shrillness of the debate about French and German opposition to war on Iraq has concealed the change in fundamental American strategic thinking that lies at its heart. The Pentagon is returning the US to its traditional role as a maritime power. In that strategy, western Europe, indeed Europe as a whole, will matter less than it has done.

This seems right to me.

AUSTRALIA'S INTERNET LAWS ARE BASICALLY USELESS, according to this report:

Following a survey on Monday showing 84 per cent of boys aged between 16 and 17 were exposed to pornography on the internet, the Australia Institute on Tuesday released a second report saying Australian regulatory authorities had manifestly failed.

Australia Institute executive director Clive Hamilton said the survey results showed the present system of internet regulation managed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) was next to useless.

"It is inexplicable why the ABA and the minister for communications say they have the problem under control," Dr Hamilton said.

Oh, probably because they're bureaucrats. This is no surprise, of course, and ought to serve as a reminder that similar proposals for Internet regulation in the United States are likely to prove equally useless.

March 03, 2003

CASTRO IS WILLING TO MEDIATE IN KOREA? Don't call us, Fidel. . . .

RADLEY BALKO OFFERS "something you don't get from InstaPundit." Yep.

GAWKER AND GIZMODO are looking for interns. A very cool job for the right person, and you'd get to work with cool folks.

THERE'S LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF OVER AT RANTBURG. And yeah, I know, I could say that most days.

DOES GEORGE TENET know about this?

YALE WORKERS are on strike. Lily Malcolm, who files a first-hand report, is "underwhelmed."

They had a strike when I was going to law school there. When the janitors left, the students took over cleaning the bathrooms in the dorms. They were much, much, much cleaner during the strike than they were before or after.

I DON'T LIKE THIS STORY ONE BIT:

Election.com, a struggling Garden City start-up scheduled to provide online absentee ballots for U.S. military personnel in the 2004 federal election, has quietly sold controlling power to an investment group with ties to unnamed Saudi nationals, according to company correspondence.

In a letter sent to a select group of well-heeled Election.com investors Jan. 21, the online voting and voter registration company disclosed that the investment group Osan Ltd. paid $1.2 million to acquire 20 million preferred shares to control 51.6 percent of the voting power.

In a Newsday interview in October, Charles Smith, a representative of Osan who sits on Election.com's board, declined to name the Saudi Arabian investors with a stake in the company, other than to say they were "passive” and part of a larger group that included Americans and Europeans. Smith didn't return phone calls Wednesday.

There could be less to this than meets the eye, I suppose, but as I believe I mentioned, I don't like it one bit. (Via Welch, who got it from Kleiman, who got it from Yglesias who -- or is that backwards? Oh, hell, I'm stopping here.)

UPDATE: Okay, one more thought. Bush's Achilles' heel is his close relationship to the Saudis. Democrats haven't done much with this, and I don't understand why.

To be clear, I don't have any particular reason to think that there's a Bush connection here. I just wonder why the Democrats aren't doing more with this issue.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here are the results of some research into Election.com.

ANDREW SULLIVAN AND BILL QUICK have had "pledge weeks." Tim Blair, on the other hand, is having pledge day. Give till it helps.

JUDGING BY THIS REPORT, the war has already started:

Several thousand allied special forces, including more than 300 SAS personnel, are already operating inside Iraq.

This suggests that, despite efforts to secure a United Nations resolution backing force, the war has begun.

Defence sources said last night that two SAS Sabre squadrons - about 240 men - plus more than 100 support troops were engaged in various parts of Iraq.

The scale of the operations in the south and west is unprecedented. British special forces did not enter Iraq during the 1991 Gulf war until the ground offensive began.

Interesting, if true. And, if true, proof that Tom Holsinger was right when he wrote back in December that "America's conquest of Iraq will be a gradual process, not an event."

I'm inclined to believe it myself, but as I've said before, the disinformation is likely flowing fast and furious at the moment, meaning that all reports should be viewed with more (even) than the usual skepticism.

CHINA'S SPACE PROGRAM: Slow, steady, and, apparently, ambitious:

China has revealed further details of its plans to explore the Moon - the first unmanned probe could be launched by 2005, say officials. They also hinted that the motivation for the missions is to mine the Moon's resources. . . .

Furthermore, Luan Enjie, director of China National Space Administration, hinted that China would be interesting in exploiting rare resources found on the Moon's surface.

"The prospect for the development and utilisation of the lunar potential mineral and energy resources provide resource reserves for the sustainable development of human society," he told the newspaper.

Hmm. I wonder if China will look for technologies that might provide a great leap forward in this department. To, er, coin a phrase. Well, there's this quote from James Oberg:

Oberg adds that China has set itself a number of ambitious goals. "As with their manned programme, they don't intend to recreate the US and Russian programmes," he says. "They intend to go to the head of the queue in terms of capabilities."

Food for thought.

MORE SUPPORT for Steven Den Beste's theory that the French are trying to prop up Saddam for fear of what we'll learn about their dealings with him once he falls:

Here's what Saddam said:

As for financiers, industrialists and above all those responsible for military industry, the question must be put to French politicians: Who did not benefit from these business contracts and relationships with Iraq? . . . With respect to the politicians, one need only refer back to the declarations of all the political parties of France, Right and Left. All were happy to brag about their friendship with Iraq and to refer to common interests. From Mr. Chirac [now the center-right president] to Mr. Chevenement [the socialist former defense minister] . . . politicians and economic leaders were in open competition to spend time with us and flatter us. We have now grasped the reality of the situation [of France's support for the 1991 Gulf War, a betrayal in Saddam's eyes]. If the trickery continues, we will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French public.

Author-journalists Claude Angeli and Stéphanie Mesnier had prompted this response by asking Saddam about financial ties between his regime and French industrialists and politicians, specifically inquiring: "Has Iraq financially supported French politicians and political parties?"

Sounds like blackmail to me.

THERE ARE MORE BLOGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH, than are dreamt of in the Blogosphere. Here's a webring of Knoxville-area blogs, most of which I've never read. They're of the daily-diary variety for the most part. Different from the political part of the blogosphere, but more numerous.

DAVID DUKE was hounded out of Richmond:

Originally promoted on Duke's Web page as a major policy address on the potential war with Iraq — Duke opposes the war, predictably arguing that it is the product of a conspiracy among the Sharon government, American Jews and the American government — the speech was supposed to have been Duke's swan song.

No major hotels were willing to rent him a conference room, so he wound up at a Quality Inn that was, to his horror, owned by an Indian. Meryl Yourish has the scoop on what she calls his "feeble last hurrah."

MORE BLOOD-BLOGGING. Did I mention the free cookie?

JESSE WALKER IS ACCUSING ME of "smearing" the Catholic church. I think that Jesse's post is somewhat unfair, for reasons I've answered in the comments. But just because Jesse's post seems unfair to me doesn't mean that the issue is. The question is, why do I think that the Church is displaying antisemitism here?

Basically, it's because it seems that the Church sides against Israel, and with Arab terrorists and dictators, at every opportunity. Now there could be other explanations for that, I guess. I posited a couple over in the comments to this post of Tacitus's, but here they are again:

If you want to be charitable, you can argue that they're pandering because they (1) want to distinguish Christians in Arab countries from Jews; and (2) think that, long-term, Jerusalem is likely to be in Arab hands. I'm skeptical, though. I think a lot of them probably *are* antisemites. The Vatican has been too consistently anti-Israel to explain it other ways.

Note that these alternative theories, which Tacitus thinks are more persuasive explanations than antisemitism, don't make the Church look better, really: they merely suggest that it's willing to sacrifice moral principle for the sake of expediency rather than for the sake of prejudice. Is that better? Not much, if at all.

Alisa says that we have to understand the Catholic church as a European institution run by Europeans, though I'm not so sure that gets rid of the anti-semitism charge. Perhaps -- as another comment in the Tacitus thread suggests -- it's enough to say that the Church isn't any more anti-semitic than the rest of Europe, though that's not much of a defense, these days.

But what really set people off was this picture. And, Walker's rather misleading characterization notwithstanding (he puts it this way: "A cardinal has been photographed with Yasser Arafat. Got that? A church leader posed with a political opponent of a state run by Jews, therefore his church is anti-Semitic."), it's not just a picture. It's a picture of Cardinal Etchegaray, representative of the Church in full Church regalia, holding up joined hands with Arafat, terrorist murderer, at a press photo opportunity.

Now here's my question: Is it even imaginable that he would do the same thing with Ariel Sharon, elected leader of a democratic country?

I don't think that it is. But why? I think that the reason is anti-semitism -- or, perhaps, if you want to bend over backwards, pandering to anti-semitism. If it's not that, and if Etchegaray really thinks that Arafat is less objectionable on a moral level than Sharon, then what does that say about the moral judgment of the Vatican?

Nothing admirable, as far as I'm concerned.

Walker asks if it's possible to criticize Israel without being anti-semitic. Sure. It's possible. But when you criticize Israel while -- literally -- holding hands with terrorists, well, you shouldn't complain if people doubt that that's how things are.

UPDATE: Reader Christopher Badeaux emails:

I doubt you could care less, but at least one of your readers and writers might: The Church hasn't come out against war in Iraq *ex cathedra*. What that means is that the Pope, the College of Cardinals, and my Aunt Lulu could all say, "War in Iraq is wrong and bad," and Catholics can -- and I'd argue should -- in good conscience dissent without risking excommunication. (What that further means is that, if as you suggest the Vatican is on another long bout of anti-Semitism, it's a bout of anti-Semitism that the Church has been very careful not to make binding on the faithful -- which sounds like weak anti-Semitism to me.) I'll spare you the Catholic doctrine and cut to the chase:
I'd rather have a Pope (Vicar of Christ, and all that) calling for calm and peace than one calling for blood -- even if the call for blood is, as I believe, ultimately just.

Well, I understand that nobody's speaking ex cathedra here -- this is more about politics than doctrine. (Jesse Walker does use the term "ex cathedra," but he's talking about me. Which is silly. I never speak ex cathedra -- these are my opinions, and while I may sometimes feel that people who disagree with me can go to hell, I don't mean it literally, and I don't think anyone takes it that way.)

I guess that my problem is that when Arafat and his ilk call for blood, it doesn't seem to bother the Church all that much. You can call that double-standard anti-semitism, and I think it is, or you can call it something else, but either way it stinks.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Rick Meyer emails:

One of the items that convinced me that the Catholic church sides with the Muslims was last year when the IDF had blocked Arafat in his compound and the group of Muslims took hostages in a standoff in the Church of the Nativity.

During the entire standoff, I don't remember once hearing the Pope or some other church leader condemning the Muslims for taking control of one of the most revered of all Christian sites, which btw is considered a War Crime under the UN's rules for these things.

I think its pretty safe to say that had the roles been reversed the church would have felt free to at least criticize the Israelis.

Yes, and that's the context for the original post and photo, of course. Meanwhile blogger-on-hiatus Chris "Spoons" Kanis emails:

I'm an ex-Catholic largely because of the official Church's shameful record of kissing up to dictators, tyrants, and terrorists. Unfortunately, some (hopefully few) individual Catholics prefer to dismiss all critics as bigots, rather than to ask whether there might be a moral failing in their Church.

Glad (but not surprised) to see that you're not letting cries of bigotry stop you from calling a spade a spade.

I think that this stuff generates such a response because, well, it's true. And sometimes the truth hurts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Micael O'Ronain sends something interesting:

I believe that you analysis of the situation between the Jews and the Vatican is not going deep enough. Yes, the Vatican is anti-Semitic but the reason that they are anti-Semitic is because they are anti-Capitalist. At its core values, Christianity was and still is a collectivist philosophy. For most of its two-thousand year history, the Catholic Church has done everything it can to suppress the emergence of Capitalism and and is still doing it, even today. The reason why Jews had such a predominant position in European banking was because Christians were forbidden to engage in usury (i.e. Banking) by the Vatican.

Ask yourself the the following question: why are the conservatives in the Church of Rome and the liberals in the Church of England all marching shoulder to shoulder with the Communists, Socialist and Fascists in support of Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat? The answer is that they all hate Capitalism and the center of the global Capitalism is the United States. The Jews have the misfortune of being in the middle.

Now this seems to have a lot of explanatory power, and it's certainly different from classical antisemitism. On the other hand, Israel is far more Euro-socialist than the United States (Is Israel really more capitalist than, say, France? Not obviously). So if Israel is suffering from "anti-capitalism," isn't it because of stereotypes of Jews as capitalists, as much as from reality? And aren't those stereotypes, well, you know, anti-semitic?

Meanwhile Meryl Yourish offers a lot of rather concrete reasons why one might suspect the Vatican of antisemitism. Excerpt:

The Vatican did not establish full diplomatic relations with Israel until 1997, nearly fifty years after Israel's birth.

The Pope said that Israel was "desecrating Christian holy sites" when the IDF surrounded the Church of Nativity during its takeover by Palestinian terrorists, yet didn't mention later how the church really was desecrated—by those selfsame terrorists.

When Kurt Waldheim's Nazi past was revealed, the Pope didn't let that stop him from honoring the man that no one else in the world would meet with.

The Vatican signed an accord with the Palestinians condemning any "unilateral action" on Jerusalem by Israel. No such accord was signed with Israel when Jordan ruled Jerusalem, threw out all the Jews, forbade Jews to visit the Western Wall, and descrated Jewish holy sites and graveyards.

Yeah, he issued a document condemning the Holocaust. But it took a long time, said some things that made you wonder if he really meant it, and didn't stop him from allowing crosses to spring up over Jewish remains in Auschwitz, or the beatification of Edith Stein, or other acts that show he doesn't really seem to give a damn about what Jews think.

There's more, and she's got links. I thought that most people in the blogosphere knew all this stuff, but maybe not.

ONE MORE: Christopher Johnson emails:

Dear Glenn, Although I'm a conservative Protestant, I generally agree with you on your assessment of anti-Semitism and the Catholic church. I would mitigate it somewhat by saying that all the mainline churches have been disgraceful regarding Israel and I don't even think the Vatican is the worst offender in this area. I think the Anglicans beat them out. I'm getting to the point where I can write Anglican pronouncements on the Middle East in my sleep.

I think they write them that way, too. . . And you're right, the Catholic Church isn't the worst. But its position -- as today's dispatch of a Papal envoy to the White House illustrates -- is somewhat unique, as is its history. Meanwhile The Grille says I'm wrong, and that the real problem is that the Church no longer believes in the existence of evil.

Finally, reader Mark Cameron emails:

As a Catholic who is pro-Israel and, with reservations, pro-war with Iraq, I understand (and share) your frustration with the Vatican's cosy dealings with tyrants, and particularly Arab dictators. However, the accusation of anti-Semitism is, I believe, unfounded. I think you have to separate Vatican diplomacy which, I agree, is quite unbalanced and anti-Israel, from Catholic theology towards Judaism, which has seen remarkable changes in the past forty or so years. Since Vatican II's Nostra Aetate (1965), the Church has unequivocally condemned anti-Semitism. Even before then, the Church had moved to remove anti-Semitic remnants from the liturgy and had distanced itself from priests (like Fr. Coughlin and Feeney in America) who published anti-Semitic materials.

Pope John Paul II, in particular, has been a genuine friend of the Jewish people. His oldest childhood friend, Jerzy Kluger, was a Jewish Holocaust survivor. He was the first to visit a synagogue, the first to recognize Israel, and the first to talk of Jews as "our elder brothers in faith". . . .

All of this being said, the Vatican has problems with the State of Israel for several reasons. First, there is the presence of a Christian minority in the Palestinian territories which has not been particularly well treated by Israel - or by Palestinian Muslims, for that matter, but Israel is the dominant power. Second, some of the holiest sites of Christianity, including the Holy Sepulchre, are in East Jerusalem. The Catholic Church has long advocated that the holy sites of Jerusalem be placed under international administration.

Furthermore, the Church has a long tradition of maintaining cordial relations with dictators of all stripes - East European Communists, South American military juntas, and Arab dictators alike - in order to prevent persecution of Christian minorities and to allow freedom of action for the Church. Over the centuries, the Vatican has come to believe that accomodating with brutal governments in order to allow Catholic churches, schools, and hospitals to stay open is a worthwhile bargain. This pragmatic approach may not be admirable, but perhaps it is worthwhile to keep the Church present as an independent outpost in the midst of tyranny. A denunciation of the regime will last for a week or two in the media, but may result in the Church being cut off from access to millions of people for whom their faith and its institions are their only lifeline.

Finally, undoubtedly many Vatican diplomats in the Secretariat of State are very much representative of "Old Europe", including a romanticism towards the Arabs, and these attitudes may colour their thoughts and actions towards Israel.

This combination of longstanding diplomatic difficulties with Israel, a generally accomodationist position towards dictators in order to preserve religious rights, and an "Old European" Arabist diplomatic corps, may add up to policies which are so harshly anti-Israel as to seem anti-Semitic. But if this accusation can be justly directed towards Vatican diplomats, I think it is unjust to accuse this Pope or modern Catholic theology of retaining an anti-Semitic tinge when they have made such enormous strides to reverse them.

Well, yes. Actually, I think this post matches my own feelings pretty well, and it makes me wonder if, in some of the earlier discussions, I and my critics haven't been talking past one another. Though there have been a few minor signs that theological antisemitism is stirring again (and as far as I know, more outside the Catholic Church than within it), my complaints really have to do with the Vatican's foreign policy. I think that John Paul II tried to build bridges to the Jewish community -- but I don't think he's really running things anymore, at least where the Vatican's diplomatic efforts are concerned. And those are what have offended me.

HOW NOT TO MAKE NIGHTCLUBS SAFER:

Things between the city and club owners have gotten so bad that some owners are even reluctant to dial 911—not because, pace Public Enemy, it’s a joke but because they’re issued a “disorderly premise” violation every time they seek assistance. “Very often you do everything in your power not to call 911,” says Rodrigue. “What could be more dangerous than that?” One owner says he got a violation after he called cops to stop a man from beating his girlfriend with a pay-phone receiver.

And you can't just blame Nurse Bloomberg for this one, as it was the same under Giuliani. Not very smart.

WAS PAUL HARVEY the original blogger? Hmm. . . .

PRO-WAR PROTESTERS ARE FINALLY CATCHING ON to the importance of costumes. No stilts yet, but check out the guy dressed as Bush carrying the heads of Osama and Saddam on a platter. In the old days, if you saw a guy in a Bush mask, he just had to be a lefty protester. Now, you can't be sure. That's semiotic warfare for you . . . .

And it seems clear that talk radio is starting to do for the pro-war side what Stalinists are doing for the anti-war side:

Two weeks after antiwar demonstrators marched on the world's capitals, a crowd of more than 7,000 gathered north of San Antonio on Saturday to salute U.S. troops.

Meanwhile, thousands more jammed into a downtown Houston plaza, cheering and waving flags, also to support the troops.

Both events were organized by radio stations owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc., the San Antonio-based media conglomerate.

Well, better conglomerates than communists.

UPDATE: Reader Lee Goldston emails:

Let me tell you that the weather here on Saturday was high 40s to low 50s, foggy and drizzling all day. Miserable.

If this paper reported 7,000, you can bet that was the most conservative crowd size estimate they could get.

Although there was a teaser about the story at the bottom of the front page, the story itself was below the fold on B 1.

Well, that's miserable by San Antonio standards, but I'll bet it was a lot nicer than Cleveland. Though it was much nicer here in Knoxville.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT needs to get a clue on its reflexive anti-encryption stands. This article from The Register notes problems with the latest proposals:

One such proposal -- which has been floated out many times before -- is the idea of making a new crime out of using encryption in during the course of commission of a different and unrelated crime.

The language would create a new offense which would punish anyone who "during the commission of a felony under Federal law, knowingly and willfully encrypts any incriminating communication or information relating to that felony." It defines encryption as referring to "the scrambling (and descrambling) of wire communications, electronic communications, or electronically stored information, using mathematical formulas or algorithms in order to preserve the confidentiality, integrity, or authenticity of, and prevent unauthorized recipients from accessing or altering, such communications or information."

This is a bad idea.

A few preliminary observations: the proposed law applies to any federal felony, not simply terrorism or related offenses. And it punishes the encrypting of any communication related to the offense -- not simply encrypting communications with the intention to conceal or obstruct the offense. It also takes an expansive definition of encryption to include not only encryption that is used to protect the confidentiality of the communication, but also encryption that may be used to authenticate -- such as digital signatures.

If you order a book from Amazon.com and fail to pay state tax, the SSL session with Amazon supports a five year felony.

Federal prosecutors will love the, er, "flexibility" that this will give them. But it's wrong, it's cheesy, and it should never become law.

And the more that the Justice Department uses "anti-terrorism" as a slogan for grabbing more power against ordinary crimes, the more convinced a lot of people will become that the Justice Department isn't serious about terrorism at all.

THEY WERE PLANNING ANTIWAR PROTESTS before there was even a war. And look who was doing the planning:

The organizers say the February rallies were first agreed upon at a small strategy session in Florence in November. But their roots go back to the days just after Sept. 11, 2001, when activists say they began meeting to map out opposition to what they anticipated would be the U.S. military response to the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

In Britain, according to organizer John Rees, several hundred activists first got together the weekend after Sept. 11. Most were from the hard core of the British left -- the Socialist Workers Party, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the anti-capitalist organization Globalized Resistance, along with Labor Party legislators Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway. Within weeks, they had combined with representatives from two more important elements -- Britain's growing Muslim community and its militant trade unions. By October they had a name: the Stop the War Coalition.

I guess "Communists and Islamists Who Hate America" was already taken. It's pretty obvious who's behind this, and how little the agenda really had to do with "peace," isn't it?

UPDATE: I wonder if any of these marchers will write something like this thirty years from now?

THE SPONGEBOB BARBIE post is still generating email. This seems to have tapped a rich vein of, well, something.

MAX BOOT WRITES about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed:

He is only the latest senior al Qaeda cutthroat to be neutralized in the past year:

* Abu Zubaydah, a top recruiter and trainer, was picked up in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

* Ramzi Binalshibh, part of the Hamburg cell, was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan.

* Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, organizer of the Cole bombing, was incinerated in Yemen by a Predator drone.

And all this while preparations for an Iraq war have been heating up.

Apparently, as he notes, Uncle Sam can walk and chew gum at the same time. He also observes:

Remember: Al Qaeda flourished in the '90s - precisely when America was doing its utmost to appease the Arab world by sponsoring the Oslo peace process and limiting its response to terrorism to pinprick strikes. This only convinced the Islamists that America was ripe for attack.

And when the United States finally took firm action, by invading Afghanistan, there was no rejoicing in the Arab street and no sign of increased recruiting for al Qaeda. The prospect of spending the rest of their lives in Guantanamo Bay may even dissuade some of the more faint-hearted Islamists from taking up arms.

Whatever its impact on enemy morale, the conquest of Afghanistan definitely denied the terrorists an important base of operations. The ouster of Saddam Hussein will achieve the same purpose.

Yes. And momentum matters.

VANESSA JEAN ASKS SOME QUESTIONS that deserve answers.

LOTS OF INTERESTING NEWS OVER AT AFRICAPUNDIT. In particular, note this post about high-level cooperation -- after 9/11 -- with Al Qaeda by the governments of Liberia and Burkina Faso.

HOW BAD IS WHITNEY HOUSTON'S NEW RECORD? Bad enough that heads are already rolling. Interestingly, Aimee Deep reports that this was predicted by file-sharing numbers.

FROM BADASS to dumbass. Heh.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE:

Dozens of young Iranians have been detained for "unlawful actions" after using a website to arrange dates, officials say.

A militia commander said 68 men and women were arrested in the capital Tehran, according to a report by Iran's official Islamic Republic News Agency (Irna).

The Basij militia also detained the operators of the dating website, Irna said.

Correspondents say the Basij enforce Iran's strict morality laws and often raid mixed parties and gatherings, but this is the first time an operation against internet users has been reported.

Pathetic. And futile.

WHY SCHROEDER KEEPS TRYING TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT:

BERLIN - Every week brings Germany more grim economic news. Bankruptcies hit a record high. Growth grinds to a halt. In Berlin 313,500 unemployed people chase an estimated 20,000 job openings. . . .

The postwar German economic miracle has run its course. Soaring labor costs and taxes, subsidies to prop up the former East Germany, foreign competition, an aging population and a global economic slowdown have come together to pull the economy down.

There's more. Schroeder's strategy doesn't seem to be working, though, as Schroeder's party has suffered another electoral defeat:

More defeats for Schroeder's SPD

Communal elections in Germany's northernmost state of Schleswig-Holstein have delivered more hefty defeats for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats. Compared to polls in 1998, nearly a third of voters abandoned the Social Democrats on Sunday, leaving it on 29.3 percent, while Schleswig-Holstein's CDU conservatives soared from behind to 50.8 percent. The Social Democrats came close to losing the mayorality in the port city of Kiel for the first time since 1946. That post is to be decided in a run-off on March the 16th. Federal opposition CDU leader Angela Merkel said the result for Schroeder was "disasterous". Schroeder's colleague, Schleswig-Holstein's premier, Heidi Simonis urged party headquarters in Berlin to reassert itself. Four weeks ago the SPD lost heavily in Lower Saxony and Hesse states.

This loss isn't comparable to that earlier one, of course, but it can't be making Schroeder, or his party, happy. It isn't all bad news, though, as Scott Hanson emails:

But there is also good news for Schröder. His singing double (the one who did the tax song a couple of months ago) is one of the favorites to become Germany's nominee for the Eurovsion Song Contest.

Oh, I'm sure he's celebrating that development.

March 02, 2003

SARAH EVE KELLY is feeling old already.

WAR BY NEXT THURSDAY? If so, let's hope that this part turns out to be true: “American forces will go in hard and fast and we expect minimal resistance from the Iraqi military."

But I expect that the disinformation is flying fast and furious enough that reports like this should be treated with considerable skepticism.

UPDATE: Well, we're certainly bombing more all of a sudden.

Meanwhile here's a report from Baghdad about trenches being filled with oil to create a smokescreen.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tacitus agrees about the date.

ROSS NORDEEN has a page of photos from a pro-liberation rally in Melbourne, Florida.

UPDATE: Matt Crandall has pictures from a pro-war rally in Cleveland that reportedly drew 10,000 people. And there are more pictures here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more pictures from Cleveland! Looking at these pics, I can't swear that there weren't 10,000 people there, but the number looks maybe a shade optimistic to me. But, as I noted in an earlier post, organizers tend to overestimate.

But hey, if it was really just 6,500 people, that's one-tenth as many as turned out for the huge-huge-huge rally in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. And this was Cleveland, in the winter. And without the undisputed organizational talents of Stalinists. But as I wrote last week, the pro-liberation protest movement is just getting off the ground. The antis have 40 years worth of cadre, experience, and infrastructure to draw on.

But with this rally, and the Houston rally of comparable size, as well as events in Nashville, etc., the movement is clearly growing.

OKAY, ONE MORE: Cinderella says that calling 'em "Stalinists" is letting them off the hook.

LAST ONE: Blogger Jack Burton, whose pictures are linked above, says that I'm wrong to be skeptical of the Cleveland attendance estimates:

Thanks for the link to jackburton.blogspot.com - just wanted to let you know that the Cleveland rally was at least 10,000 - some of those pictures were taken early. About 30 minutes after the rally started, the people were still trying to get to it, the Cleveland flats area where the rally was had only two-lane streets for access. The people had spilled over into the parking lot and all the way up to the river (you can't see it in the pics). The 'center' area held 5,000 - which was packed. I'd say there was at least 10,000 - if not more.

Well, he was there, and I wasn't -- but crowd estimates are notoriously tricky. Still, it was obviously a large turnout. And -- as another reader suggests -- it was all on one issue, without a bunch of "Free Mumia," "Legalize Hemp," etc., etc., hangers-on.

A KLAN RALLY IN FULTON, TEXAS turned out badly -- for the Klansmen:

Donning robes and carrying a Confederate flag and an American flag, six Ku Klux Klan members paraded outside the entrance to the 24th annual Oysterfest on Saturday in Fulton.

"People were yelling at them, and others at Oysterfest were getting really upset," said Aransas County Sheriff Mark Gilliam. "I was worried about a riot." . . .

"The crowd was definitely offended," Gilliam said. "There weren't many takers for their fliers. I was really more worried about the safety of the Klansmen."

Losers.

DANIEL DREZNER is offering some advice for liberal hawks.

THE BLOGOSPHERE ECOSYSTEM IS BACK! Drop by and thank the Bear.

AT LONG LAST, BLOGCRITICS.ORG is once again at BlogCritics.org and not at some godforsaken, tilde-laden hard-IP address. Check 'em out.

THERE WAS A HUGE PRO-AMERICAN RALLY in South Korea:

A large-scale pro-U.S. rally opposing the withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed here was held last Saturday in front of City Hall, downtown Seoul.

Some 100,000 members from the 114 conservative civic bodies, such as the Korean War Abductees' Family Union and the National Council for Freedom and Democracy, gathered to protest against the North Korean nuclear plans and against Kim Jong-il on the occasion of the 84th anniversary of March 1 Independence Day.

You can see a picture here.

UPDATE: Here's another.

THERE'S GOING TO BE A NEW BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINISERIES PRODUCED, starting this month, for broadcast in late 2003. The Starbuck character will be a woman this time, played by Katee Sackhoff.

IT'S COLD AGAIN. Yesterday it was sunny, and warm enough that the InstaWife -- notoriously averse to cold -- was happy outdoors in no more than jeans and a stylish InstaPundit babydoll t-shirt.

Today it's gray, cold, drizzly, and miserable. I won't miss this winter. I'm already planning beach trips, scuba-diving trips, and other expeditions to tropical locations.

Of course, if I had any sense, I'd be on one of those expeditions now. But nooo. . . .

SWEDES AGAINST RECYCLING: They say that it's actually bad for the environment:

Throw away the green and blue bags and forget those trips to the bottle bank: recycling household waste is a load of, well, rubbish, according to leading environmentalists and waste campaigners.

In a reversal of decades-old wisdom, they argue that burning cardboard, plastics and food leftovers is better for the environment and the economy than recycling.

They dismiss the time-consuming practice - urged on householders by the Government and "green" councils - of separating rubbish for the refuse collectors as a waste of time and money.

The claims, which will horrify many British environmentalists, are made by five campaigners from Sweden, a country renowned for its concern for the environment and advanced approach to waste.

Go figure.

SOME THOUGHTS ON CULTURAL WAR.

PAUL JOHNSON offers five lessons from Iraq. The first: "France is not to be trusted at any time, on any issue. . . . French support always has to be bought." He goes on to note:

What the Americans and British now have to decide is whether formal alliances that include France as a major partner are worth anything at all, or if they are an actual encumbrance in times of danger.

We also have to decide whether France should be allowed to remain as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, with veto power, or whether it should be replaced by a more suitable power, such as India. Linked to this is the question of whether France can be trusted as a nuclear power. The French have certainly sold nuclear technology to rogue states in the past, Iraq among them.

And that's just in lesson one! I agree with Steven Den Beste that French obstructionism is likely motivated in no small part by the fear of what will come out after an American victory in Iraq. I also think that, if Saddam remains in power -- even if he is "disarmed" -- he will wind up buying more weapons, from the French.

JUAN PAXETY REPORTS that International A.N.S.W.E.R. is planning an aggressive war.

I thought they were supposed to be against that sort of thing.

JIM BENNETT ANALYZES TONY BLAIR'S SITUATION and observes:

Blair is in the ironic position of being opposed by so many who once adored, or at least supported him: the BBC, the radical bishops of the Church of England and many members of his own party in Parliament. . . .

Although Blair triumphed over Clause Four in domestic policy, he had never seriously challenged its foreign-policy equivalent: the rampant anti-American sentiment of Labor's "looney left". They are the same sort of people, and often the same people, who marched in previous decades against NATO missile deployments in Britain and [in] other dubious causes.

One might call them transnationalists, but their actions make no sense even from the perspective of one who sincerely believes in building the power of transnational institutions.

That's why they're called the "loony" left, Jim.

PUNDITWATCH is up! I especially like the "surreal" section.

DR PEPPER is trying to use weblogs to promote a new product. I don't think it'll work, though, and the reason isn't weblogs, but the drink, "Raging Cow," which is described as a “milk-based product with an attitude.”

The last time I had a milk-based product develop an "attitude," it was because of insufficient refrigeration.

SOME READERS HAVE CHALLENGED my statement below about increasing anti-semitism from the Vatican. But the Vatican has consistently taken the side of Palestinians, and Arab Muslims generally, against Israel and Jews, to the point where I can't really believe any excuses that it's not about antisemitism. (I think that there have been a few minor condemnations of the increasing anti-semitism in Europe, though I looked and couldn't find any.) Then there's this damning picture. (Yeah, he's French, but he's also a Cardinal.)

Sorry -- readers can defend this sort of thing if they like. But to me it's just another sign that the Vatican -- whose retreat from antisemitism was at any rate recent and shallow -- has no moral ground to stand on.

UPDATE: For those seeking context, the original Yahoo story has died, but here is a Guardian story on the meeting, and here's Craig Schamp's blog entry. Here's my original post on the topic.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers have emailed. Reader Peter Hanna emails from New York:

Hey Glenn, long time reader, law student in NYC. I'll be brief - I'm a Coptic Christian (Egyptian), and I can readily attest to the existence of virulent anti-semitism not just among Arab Muslims, but Christians as well. It's very bizarre, but an unnaturally high number of Christians are complete bigots- the things I've heard at my church (of all places) would make your head spin. I've been trying to explain this to myself for a while, and I think I've gotten to the bottom of it, or at least one facet of it. The Coptic Pope (Pope Shenouda, aka the Patriarch of Alexandria) has adopted a very, very hardline pro-Palestine stance. Needless to say, this stance has trickled down to the lesser clergy and been adopted by the Coptic community en masse. Furthermore, the way it's trickled down - without debate, discussion, etc - has obviated the possibility of any real dialogue on the 'question of Israel' entirely.

It's really quite striking (and to me, annoying) hearing my fellow Christians go to such extraordinary lengths to defend not just Palestinians, but any Islamic endeavor at all (e.g., Saddam in Iraq, Taliban in Afghanistan). A number of family members (still in Egypt) have contacted my immediate family (over here) specifically to berate us as if we were responsible for the "American Crusade." It's funny (but sad), cuz there's a well-known saying in Arabic: "In aharda il Yahoud, bokra il Massihian" -which means "Today the Jews, tomorrow the Christians" - and it's just oddly amusing seeing Christians side with, almost adopt, an ideology bent on their destruction as well as the Jews.

Indeed. Reader John Cross emails:

Being a good Catholic, I have tried to reason the Church's anti-war stance, but I am afraid that the similarity between its stance now, and the stand it took having to do with the Nazis and Fascists, is too strong to ignore. I won't renounce my Catholic beliefs, but I renounce the stand the Catholic Church has taken on this matter. If that breaks me with the Church, or I am under excommunication (official or not) then fine. Me and St. Peter can discuss it later.

Reader Joel Merriam adds this:

I am a Roman Catholic and have been for all of my 45 years.I am very active in my church and belong to a lay ministry that takes communion to hospitals and shut ins.

Last year our parish priest came out very strongly against the pedophile priests and received a standing ovation in the church. Recently he has been giving anti war sermons and several of us walked out during a recent service. I have not been back in the last couple of months. Our diocese got into bed with ANSWER for the protests. Now the Vatican is saying the war is unjust and allows the murderer Aziz to visit with the pope. This is the equivalent of Gobbels having a papal visit in mid 1939.

25 years ago a much younger pope helped liberate eastern Europe. Today he wants to keep another area of the world enslaved while lecturing the democracies around the world while my church is repeating the same antisemitic behavior the pope apologized for a couple of years ago.

I am seriously considering a complete break from my church and that pains me a great deal.

Yes, I can imagine that it would. But the Church has disgraced itself immensely over the past year, on a number of fronts, so I sympathize.

Justin Katz, meanwhile, sends this:

I, for one, had only written to see if you had come across something
more recent than that picture with Arafat from last spring. You're
right, though, that picture is shameful and caused many an angry word among Catholics. As I've noted (link), that grinning bishop is the very same Etchegaray who recently met with Hussein (that link also suggests that some French bishops are acting more French than Catholic).

To offset the implication of "readers [who might] defend this sort of
thing," I thought I'd point out that many Catholics are agonizing over
the issue: Link.

As the tone of that link will convey, it's a painful situation for Catholics, and I've found that many in the blogosphere, big names and small, seem more than willing assume the worst of the Vatican and to condemn the Church and all its followers for the quotations of a few.

At any rate, I found this picture from a couple of weeks ago that might be relevant to questions of the Vatican and hatred of Jews: Link.

Well, I thought that my comments were pretty clearly aimed at the Vatican, not at catholics in general, and I am -- obviously -- aware that it's causing a lot of people pain. I'm sorry about the pain, but I am not its author. The Vatican has, in fact, been consistently supportive of Arab tyrants, for reasons best known to itself, as they mystify me. The final photo, of the Pope meeting with a rabbi, is not, to me, enough to offset the photo shown above, or the rest of the Vatican's shameful record in this area.

Finally, to the one guy who emailed with the old "Arabs can't be anti-semitic because they're semites themselves," -- grow up and get a clue.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Took down the big picture -- some people with dialup connections were complaining it was slowing the page down too much -- but you can still see it by following the link.

HERE'S ANOTHER REPORT FROM THE GROWING PRO-WAR MOVEMENT:

Cheering, chanting and waving flags, thousands jammed shoulder-to-shoulder into downtown Houston's Jones Plaza on Saturday to hear politicians, soldiers and entertainers praise God, America and President Bush's firm stand against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. . . .

The only speaker who was opposed to military intervention in Iraq, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston, was greeted with some boos as she stepped onto the stage midway through the two-hour rally. She and her party later were led from the plaza under protective police guard.

KPRC spokeswoman Melissa Brezner said 8,000 to 10,000 people attended the event. . . .

Michael Hambright, an ex-Marine and one of few blacks in the crowd, said he believed the rally achieved its goal by demonstrating public support for the troops.

He likened Saddam Hussein to Adolf Hitler in pre-World War II Europe, and said the United States has "given peace a chance."

"Now," he said, "I think it's time for a different method."

No Stalinists were involved in the event's organization, so far as I can tell.

UPDATE: You can see pictures posted here and here. (There's an alarming shortage of stilt-men, though). Laurence Simon has a blog account of the rally.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dave Schipani emails:

>From the newspaper article:


"Michael Hambright, an ex-Marine and one of few blacks in the crowd"


Hmm. I don't recall any mainstream-media news reports pointing out the lily-white composition of the antiwar protests.

Well, to be fair, they didn't really point out that they were organized by Stalinists, either. . . .

THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT IS rushing to repair ties with the United States after the vote to refuse support.

A couple of readers suggest that the actual bone of contention between the U.S. and Turkey had to do with how much autonomy the Iraqi Kurds would have. I hope that's true, but I don't know. At any rate, it's certainly a reason to adopt a more expansive view on the subject than we would if the Turks were, you know, cooperating.

UPDATE: Dave Kopel suggests that we use the money that was going to go to Turkey to build another aircraft carrier. Heh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Lynxx Pherrett is less optimistic.

BUSH JUST CAN'T WIN: The old rap was that Iraq was a "distraction" from the war on Al Qaeda. But now the problem seems to be that the war on Al Qaeda is going too well, leading Nick Gillespie to ask:

Mohammed's detention raises an interesting possibility regarding Iraq: If the US effectively destroys Al Qaeda before any shooting on Baghdad begins, what effect will that have on the question of war with Iraq?

There's just no pleasing some people. . . .

HUMAN SHIELDS (WELL, SOME OF THEM) ARE WAKING UP TO THE FACT that there's a war on, and that they're being shamelessly used by Saddam for evil purposes.

Well, duh. Welcome to reality, guys -- I just hope we don't have to send the rest of the "peace" movement to Iraq for them to get the message. Though as the story indicates, some are beyond hope.