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Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Jude Wanniski (1936-2005)
There are two things you should know about the man who coined the phrase "supply-side economics." First, he was a pretty decent amateur economist. His book The Way The World Works adroitly illustrates the principle of the Laffer Curve, the theory that tax rates have a point of diminishing returns. WorldNetDaily, which carried his column, cites the book's most significant chapter in its obituary:
At the heart of the book is his 1978 discovery of the cause of the 1929 stock market crash, a discovery that vindicates the classical economics, which had been blamed for the crash and the Great Depression.
The book successfully illustrates how the stock market responded to Congressional action over the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill; the stock market's fortunes were inversely related to the changing odds of the bill's passage. A 1999 National Center for Policy Analysis report, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Crash, agrees with this point:
One of the most hotly debated causes of the crash is the Smoot-Hawley tariff. Protectionists like Alfred Eckes and Pat Buchanan argue that it could not have affected the market because the law was not passed until 1930, long after the crash. Although this is true, much of the legislative activity took place in 1929. As economist Alan Reynolds convincingly demonstrated in National Review (November 9, 1979), actions favoring passage of the tariff bill correlate quite well with declines in the stock market during 1929, culminating on October 29.
The reason why the market crashed well in advance of the tariff becoming law is because markets are forward-looking, and quickly capitalize any policy that will impact on future profits. Fred Kent, Director of the Bankers' Trust Company, confirms that this is what happened in 1929. In a speech on November 11, 1929, Kent said, "As soon as dealers in securities, who were constantly on the watch for indications as to business conditions, realized that this feeling of uneasiness (on account of the tariff bill) was spreading throughout industry, they began selling stocks."
But Wanniski does not demonstrate the relationship between the Crash and the Depression. NCPA sees Smoot-Hawley as having exacerbated a decline that was already in process without its help, placing the primary blame for the Depression on Fed monetary policy. Read the whole thing.
His friendship with Farrakhan (and his occasional preoccupation with Zionists in the US government) attracted accusations of anti-semitism. In 1998 he arranged an interview between the Nation of Islam leader and Jeffrey Goldberg, who at the time wrote for the Jewish weekly, The Forward. The interview was never officially published, but Wanniski posted a complete three-part transcript here, here, and here. In a truly bizarre moment, Wanniski recommended that Louis Farrakhan be enlisted to negotiate Daniel Pearl's release. How he could conclude that anyone could reason with a terrorist guerilla force is a mystery.
Pejman Yousefzadeh has retired the Pejmanesque blog (still out there for the sake of posterity) and has started a new blog, A Chequer-Board of Nights and Days. It will be a group blog as soon as Pej assembles the group together.
Imagine that appeasement mom Cindy Sheehan gets her way, and we pull out our troops before Iraq is politically and militarily stabilized. What would happen? I am quite certain that both would occur:
The loose bands of guerilla forces originating from within and without Iraq (the so-called "insurgents") would escalate their attacks against Iraqi soldiers and civilians.
In the fashion of Fidel Castro's guerilla war against Batista, one or more terrorist leaders would attempt a coup against the central government.
I also wonder if two other results are possible:
Iran will arm some "insurgent" groups in order to weaken and distract Iraqi forces, and at the right moment will stage a full-scale invasion, taking the Shi'ite regions at the very least.
If the national government is overthrown or otherwise loses effective control over the nation, the Kurds could seek permanent independence, or may put together a provisional government and promise the enraged Turks that it's only temporary measure to last until Iraq gets put back together again.
Opinions? I'd especially like to hear some input on Iran's reaction to a destabilized Iraq. The presence of coalition forces in Iraq is certainly one reason Iran doesn't invade now. Is there any reason why the mullahs would hold back from invasion even if they knew that a wussified White House would let them get away with it?
My initial reaction matches this remark by Mark Daniels:
But there can be no possible Biblical justification for a Christian to call for the execution of a leader of a nation with which our country is not at war.
My second thought was: There are a lot of snarky remarks that half of the public says in private that you shouldn't say in public.
Third thought: I wonder if any of these people are railing against Robertson for condoning violence?
Fourth: offing an autocrat doesn't guarantee that his replacement will be any better. Never depose a leader without having a heavily-armed force to manage the transition process (*coughIraqcough*).
Lastly, I suspect that many of the people least offended are conservatives who normally can't stand Robertson. (You'll find some of those people - perhaps many - at this comment thread at Misha's.) Maybe Pat's trying to expand his base in anticipation of another presidential bid? Has he been spotted in Iowa or New Hampshire lately?
The Big Pharaoh The Pharaoh objects to the treatment of Islam in the provisional Iraqi constitution, and links to a Washington Institute for Near East Policy article on Egyptian elections.
Chinese Adventure Blog "Current events, technology and humor from Gerald Hibbs at Chinese Adventure Blog." The bloghost, known locally as Mr. Lee, is a Missourian currently living in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China, and is pursuing a career as an independent film maker. His special effects department still needs funding :-) He occasionally does a Chinese News Roundup - check out the most recent entry. Here is a long list of documented Cindy Sheehan quotes.
Glenn Reynolds has stumbled across an email campaign aimed at ending the criticism of Jamie Gorelick. The email reads thus:
I am disturbed by your continual smears of honorable Americans like Jamie Gorelick. If you disagree with the opinions of Ms. Gorelick, then please voice that at your discretion, but engaging in personal smears campaigns at the behest of Karl Rove and Grover Norquist really do a disservice to your readers. Jamie Gorelick’s memo did not disallow sharing of information between the military and the FBI. Please issue a correction in your next blog.
This is evidently being sent to all sorts of people, whether they have or haven't written about Gorelick and Able Danger.
Officials at Australia's Parliament House on Friday overturned a day-old ban on guards and attendants using the word "mate" to address lawmakers and visitors after the new rule sparked outrage among prime ministers past and present.
The Allstate Insurance Company is being sued by a former worker in Illinois who has alleged he was fired for writing articles opposing same-sex marriage and the gay lifestyle.
J. Matt Barber, of Villa Park near Chicago, was fired from his job as a manager in the corporate security division of the company three days after meeting with supervisors in December 2004 who confirmed that he wrote the articles.
Barber, 35, and a Christian, says he had written the opinion articles on his own time, which were later posted on conservative websites. The titles of the writings included "Intolerance Will Not Be Tolerated!" and "The Gay Agenda vs. Family Values."
As part of the plan, the US president has been playing host at the White House to leaders of African countries that he didn’t know existed, but that the US intelligence services did.
Love that objective journalism.
At the same time, Washington is charging full steam ahead to establish US transnationals like Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Marathon Oil, Amerada Hess and Ocean Energy in the extremely rich Gulf of Guinea, which has become a priority for the U.S. – not for humanitarian reasons, but for its huge reserves of hydrocarbons and gas.
Hey Señor Oramas, let's compare the quality of life between the average Cuban and the average hourly worker at each of those transnationals, and see who lives the more humane existence.
Palestinian Arabs and indeed all the Arab states of the Middle East hate Jews. They hate Jews so ferociously that they can't live alongside them. Not even if there are 8,000 Jews living among 2 million Arabs. There is not an Arab state or an Arab controlled piece of territory in the Middle East that will allow one Jew to live in or on it...
The ethnic cleansing of the Jews from the Middle East began in 1921 when Churchill created the state of Jordan out of 80% of the Palestine mandate. The order creating the state of Jordan said no Jew is allowed to live on this land. That was what the Arabs wanted. No Jew should dirty this land. Seventy-percent of the population of Jordan is Palestinian Arabs. But they don't want Jordan as their Palestinian state because there are no Jews there to drive into the sea. Palestinians have shown twice -- in 1948 and again in 2000 that they want to kill Jews more than they want a Palestinian state. Jew-hatred is the cause of the Middle East conflict and it is the only reason the Jews in Gaza are an issue at all.
The United Nations bankrolled the production of thousands of banners, bumper stickers, mugs, and T-shirts bearing the slogan "Today Gaza and Tomorrow the West Bank and Jerusalem," which have been widely distributed to Palestinian Arabs in the Gaza Strip, according to a U.N. official.
We're sorry about Ms. Sheehan's son, but the entire nation was attacked on 9-11. This isn't about her personal loss. America has been under relentless attack from Islamic terrorists for 20 years, culminating in a devastating attack on U.S. soil on 9-11. It's not going to stop unless we fight back, annihilate Muslim fanatics, destroy their bases, eliminate their sponsors and end all their hope. A lot more mothers will be grieving if our military policy is: No one gets hurt!
Ann proceeds to rip apart an anti-intellectual argument from one of our favorites of the lapdog press:
As Maureen Dowd said, it's "inhumane" for Bush not "to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."...
The logical, intellectual and ethical shortcomings of such a statement are staggering. If one dead son means no one can win an argument with you, how about two dead sons? What if the person arguing with you is a mother who also lost a son in Iraq and she's pro-war? Do we decide the winner with a coin toss? Or do we see if there's a woman out there who lost two children in Iraq and see what she thinks about the war?
This statement encapsulates the vacuousness of Sheehan's supporters:
But now liberals demand that we listen to the same old arguments all over again, not because Sheehan has any new insights, but because she has the ability to repel dissent by citing her grief.
"We seem to have a botwar on our hands," said Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure.
"There appear to be three different virus-writing gangs turning out new worms at an alarming rate, as if they were competing to build the biggest network of infected machines."
Hypponen said in a statement that varieties of three worms -- "Zotob," "Bozori" and "IRCbot" -- were still exploiting a gap in Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 operating system on computers that had not had the flaw repaired and were not shielded by firewalls.
"The latest variants of Bozori even remove competing viruses like Zotob from the infected machines," Hypponen said in a statement on the company's Web site. (http://www.f-secure.com)
I recently learned from a Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi email about a recent Internet phenomenon. Members of the Norwegian Army's Telemark battalion created a music video of a song parody of the Beach Boys' "Kokomo" titled "Kosovo." The song was originally recorded by KZOK/Seattle's "Bob Rivers Show" in 1999. This ruffled a number of diplomatic feathers; Winds of Change covered the story here and here (lyrics posted at first link).
The song has been stolen, video put to it, and I wish there were a way to stop it.
His explanation of the inspiration for the song raises some eyebrows:
Let me start by saying that the intent of the song was to mock my own country for its bullying ways around the world. The idea was to point out how casually the US plays World Police. The song takes on the persona of the US government, ridiculing the fact that we push others around without much concern. It is satire, which some have mistaken for literal propoganda. It was meant to be heard in the US and cause a US citizen to realize of how stupid our actions sound when put to music.
Here in America, while we love our country, a good many of us have real problems with our foreign policy. And it isn't just President Bush. After all, the Kosovo policy occurred under Clinton.
(Was he referring to the current Bush, or the one whose Somalia catastrophe - cited in the song - was made a bigger catastrophe by Clinton?)
Good satire is rooted in truth and sends a clear message. Bob Rivers accurately refelects the incompetence of the Kosovo campaign - drop a bunch of bombs without any long-term plans on what the heck to do with the aftermath. But I don't see anything in the lyrics that connects this sort of "shoot to kill, figure out what's really going on here" approach, or any other kind of perceived common trend, to overall foreign policy.
Somalia, Grenada, Or rescuing Kuwait-a We screwed ya Rwanda Wish we coulda helped ya Iraqi embargo That's where we got hustled
The lyrics themselves don't reveal any criticism of our actions in Somalia or Grenada, and "rescuing Kuwait-a" could be interpreted as positive - to those who believe that Kuwait-a was worth rescuing, or at least that Iraq wasn't worth having it. (To prod your memories, Somalia was an understaffed humanitarian effort that morphed into an understaffed manhunt, and Grenada was rescued from a Communist coup.) The song accurately cites nonintervention as our failure regarding Rwanda. Don't know how Rivers thought we got hustled back in 1999, but we did indeed get hustled. Hearing this song without knowing Rivers' full intent, the above refrain simply sets up the fact of US interventionism, and takes some brief swipes at a few but not all episodes (and the one non-episode in Rwanda).
The juxtaposition of the song with a UN peacekeeping force is darkly amusing but a bit weird. Most of the refrain doesn't fit the image. Neither does the line about "dropping our bombs wherever Serbian bad guys hide." UN police operations are quite the opposite: an armed presence large enough to deter minor skirmishes but way too small to do anything about significant military threats. The "bad guys" remark is especially ironic, since the main bad guys these days are Islamist terrorists and not Serbs. Perhaps a minor change to one verse needs (in italics) would make this a better fit for our UN friends:
Ooo so now we're helping out in Kosovo We'll make a show and then we'll see how it goes And then we really don't know Good luck to Kosovo
I got one of those bogus emails today. Here's a partial transcript:
Unauthorized person tried to reset the password from your paypal account.We would like to ensure that your account was not accessed by an unauthorized third party. Because protecting the security of your account is our primary concern, you have to fill in the affidavit form. To download the form click [embedded hyperlink removed]. Please send a fax in the next 24 hours to 1(800) 479-6795 with affidavit form completed.
(That 800 number does not exist.)
Any time you get an email from someone claiming to be PayPal (or eBay, which owns PayPal) requesting some kind of response from you for security reasons, don't take the bait - not even if you see the PayPal/eBay logo in the email. These are scams to get you to unwittingly send the phishers your PayPal/eBay password.
I reported this email to PayPal, and got this emailed response:
Commonly referred to as phishing, these emails are sent by fraudsters in an attempt to collect sensitive personal or financial information from the recipients. PayPal takes phishing threats seriously. Our fraud prevention specialists are working 24/7 to help protect you and enable the community to stay safe.
After review, we can confirm that the email you received was not sent by PayPal. Any website which may be linked to this email is not authorized or used by PayPal.
Our fraud prevention team is working to disable any website linked to this email. In the meantime, please do not enter any information into this website. If you have already done so, you should immediately log into your PayPal account and change your password, as well as your security questions and answers. We also recommend that you contact your bank and credit card company immediately.
If you notice any unauthorized activity on your PayPal account, please report it to us by following the instructions below:
1. Log in to your account only from the PayPal website. Do not use links provided in any email.
2. Click on the Security Center link at the bottom of the page.
3. Click on the 'Unauthorized Transaction' link under the Report a Problem column.
4. Follow the instructions on this page in order to access the appropriate form.
Lastly, we recommend taking a few steps to protect yourself from identity theft:
> Download the SafetyBar, a toolbar for Outlook and Outlook Express, which identifies known spoof emails. > Get eBay Toolbar with Account Guard which warns you when you're on a potentially fraudulent (spoof) Web site. > Frequently monitor your account for suspicious activity.
Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Watts Riots. The Kerner Commission Report put the blame on poverty and discrimination, thus giving an air of legitimacy to Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" welfare programs. One of a number of reports emanating from the Eisenhower Commission, Jerome Skolnick’s The Politics of Protest, also blamed "black rage" - that the riots were a natural and expected reaction to many years of blacks' pent-up anger toward white oppression.
At FrontPage Magazine, Abraham H. Millertears down the myths. He begins with this observation: if discrimination was a factor, then why didn't black rioting occur when and where discrimination was worst?/p>
What the social scientists and revolutionary romantics failed to comprehend was that the riots were taking place in those American cities most receptive to blacks. Los Angeles, one of the best places in America for blacks to live, belched forth the smoke of civil violence. Conversely, areas with a darker racial past did not fall into the grip of riots. In Birmingham, Alabama, for instance, the only smoke climbing upward was from the steel plants. Mississippi burned not from black unrest, but from Klan violence. Beyond that, deprivation, poverty and discrimination within the black community had been far greater in other decades.
One Ivy League professor has an alternate explanation for the riots:
Harvard sociologist Edward Banfield observed that the rioters were primarily young males whose politics led them to target liquor stores, and noted that the riots occurred on hot, sultry summer nights. This led him to conclude that the riots erupted merely “for fun and profit.” To Banfield and other observers, the riots had all the political content of a late spring panty raid on a college campus.
So why is rioting confined largely to young males? Because this behavior is confined largely to young males:
Damian Williams, the man who beat and actually danced around the unconscious body of white truck driver Reginald Denny, during the 1992 Rodney King riots, claimed he had no idea what the Rodney King verdict was. He justified his actions by claiming he got caught up in the violence itself. Most of us, of course, choose to walk away from violence and not get “caught up” in it. Similarly, British soccer rioters do not themselves complain of grievances, oppression or deprivation (albeit some social scientists have been happy to reconstruct their behavior in those terms). Rather, soccer rioters talk about “getting off” on the sheer pleasure of the riots or having an “aggro,” as they refer to the ecstasy derived from engaging in violence.
So how do we deal with riots?
One who took up that suggestion was the journalist Eugene Methvin. Methvin was, perhaps, the first to undertake such a systematic analysis, and he documented how to prevent riots. But it was hardly what the liberal establishment wanted to hear. Methvin found that the greatest deterrent to a riot was not an understanding of root causes or implementation of social programs but a fast and decisive police response. In a comparative study of the Watts riots and the Rodney King riots, I later found that Methvin was uncannily correct.
The Watts riots were quenched when then Inspector Daryl Gates decided that the tactics of riot control where not applicable to the mobile hit-and-run rioting the Los Angeles police encountered in Watts. Gates teamed police cars filled with heavily armed officers to intercept the rioters, and then proceeded to process and detain rioters at the scene. This way, officers would not be going back and forth from the riot scene to book the rioters. Once these alternations in police response were implemented, the Watts riot began to subside
Did Los Angeles learn its lesson? Heck no.
Unfortunately, the police failed to heed that lesson. During the 1992 King riots, the Los Angeles police, for reasons that one can only speculate about, did none of the things they had learned from Watts. Gates, then chief of police, lingered at a dinner and then took a helicopter ride over the city as it burned, while the police response remained without a central command structure or decision making authority.
To be sure, some observers have opined that in the racially tense atmosphere of Los Angeles in 1992, the police did not want cameras instantly televising live coverage of scores of young black males in handcuffs, surrounded by heavily armed police. But it remains the case that by adopting a less assertive approach, the LAPD allowed the riots to escalate to ever greater heights of destruction. When the police backed off, as had police in other cities in the 1960’s, riots grew in intensity, numbers and duration. The flames burned out of control.
Sixty years ago today, a 22-kiloton plutonium bomb was dropped over an industrial region on the outskirts of Nagasaki, a major port on the western coast of Kyushu, the southernmost of the "mainland" Japanese islands.
Aside from ethical considerations, politicians, academics, and armchair pundits will argue over whether the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki really did spur the unconditional surrender. Victor Davis Hanson frames the debate:
Postwar generations argued over whether the two atomic bombs, the fire raids, or the August Soviet invasion of Manchuria - or all three combined - prompted Japan to capitulate, whether Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a stain on American democracy, or whether the atomic bombs were the last-gasp antidote to the plague of Japanese militarism that had led to millions of innocents butchered without much domestic opposition or criticism from the triumphalist Japanese people.
A clue can be found in the Gyokuon-hoso (full transcript here, along with text of "simplified interpretation"), Emperor Hirohito's August 15 radio address announcing the unconditional surrender. Hirohito never utters the word "surrender" - Japan's unconditional surrender was a chief demand in the Potsdam Declaration (the "Joint Declaration") Emphasis is added.
TO OUR GOOD AND LOYAL SUBJECTS:
After pondering deeply the general trends of the world and the actual conditions obtaining in Our Empire today, We have decided to effect a settlement of the present situation by resorting to an extraordinary measure.
We have ordered Our Government to communicate to the Governments of the United States, Great Britain, China and the Soviet Union that Our Empire accepts the provisions of their Joint Declaration.
To strive for the common prosperity and happiness of all nations as well as the security and well-being of Our subjects is the solemn obligation which has been handed down by Our Imperial Ancestors and which lies close to Our heart.
Indeed, We declared war on America and Britain out of Our sincere desire to ensure Japan's self-preservation and the stabilization of East Asia, it being far from Our thought either to infringe upon the sovereignty of other nations or to embark upon territorial aggrandizement.
But now the war has lasted for nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone - the gallant fighting of the military and naval forces, the diligence and assiduity of Our servants of the State, and the devoted service of Our one hundred million people - the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest.
Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is, indeed, incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, not only would it result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization.
Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects, or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers.
We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to Our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia.
The thought of those officers and men as well as others who have fallen in the fields of battle, those who died at their posts of duty, or those who met with untimely death and all their bereaved families, pains Our heart night and day.
The welfare of the wounded and the war-sufferers, and of those who have lost their homes and livelihood, are the objects of Our profound solicitude.
At this point the speech turns its attention from the past to the near and distant future. Examine what has already been said - and what hasn't. As the linked Wikipedia article on the Gyokuon-hoso states (quoted excerpt is from the "simplified interpretation"):
He then cites "The enemy now possesses a new and terrible weapon with the power to destroy many innocent lives and do incalculable damage."; the remark is interpreted to refer to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki days before. He, however, never mentions the Soviet's invasion.
A direct reference to the atomic bomb, but no mention of Russkies in Manchuria. (Wikipedia's hedging its bets on absolute certainty on what "new and terrible weapon" means is laughable.) If the latter were the critical factor, why not bring it up?
Victor Davis Hanson believes that Hiroshima/Nagasaki actually led to halting the Soviet advance in Manchuria - and to halting another threat:
With the far shorter missions possible from planned new bases in Okinawa and his fleet vastly augmented by more B-29s and the transference from Europe of thousands of idle B-17s and B-24, the "mad bomber" LeMay envisioned burning down the entire urban and industrial landscape of Japan. His opposition to Hiroshima was more likely on grounds that his own fleet of bombers could have achieved the same result in a few more weeks anyway.
Global Security.org's account of the bombings sizes up the war situation and makes this salient point (emphasis added):
Using the history and projections available to him, President Truman made the grave decision to use the atomic bomb in an effort to end the war quickly, thus avoiding a costly invasion.
Determining how an enemy will respond to a given attack is always an educated guess. Truman couldn't know if Soviet entry into the war against Japan would lead to a rapid victory. I, for one, would be leery of any war strategy likely to expand the Soviet Union.
In comments to this post at It Comes in Pints, I pondered the results of a protracted war, not raising the probability that the blogosphere would have at least one less blogger. I predict a Russian attempt to take Hokkaido (a goal that seems to have been part of Stalin's Far East plans). Cullen doubts that the Soviets had the might at the time to pull off a successful conquest. Then Ken Summers says those three magic words: Partitioned like Germany. I postulated that a token force in Hokkaido might be enough to secure Russia a partition share (beyond the Kurils and Sakhalin), and tried to guess what the partition might have looked like:
My prediction: The US and UK get Honshu. USSR gets Hokkaido. Korea gets Shikoku. Red China gets Kyushu.
Oh yeah, Commies on both ends of Japan. I like that.
The Bomb is looking like the lesser of evils more and more.
Interesting thought, Alan. Only point of contention: Red China wouldn't have Kyushu, it would likely be a second Taiwan.
And there would be no Japan. The grudges earned by the Japanese in the first half of the 20th century (especially after a ground fight to take the islands) pretty much guarantee that even if any Japanese were still alive after the last fight.
No Japan? Possible. It would at best be much smaller. I could imagine a massive influx of Japanese into the Magadan branch of the Gulag Archipelago; no reason why the USSR should stop its policy of relocating masses of conquered enemies. Any part of Japan falling under Chinese or Korean control would certainly face some of the most vicious pogroms history has seen. And when Mao's Great Leap Forward gets underway? According to the Wikipedia, it killed 1.2 million in Tibet; Chinese territories in historic Japan would be similarly hit. Honshu (assuming my prediction) might survive as a fragile Japanese state, with US bases in its major ports to defend it against the Commie hordes, perhaps to reunify with Hokkaido in 1979. Godzilla never did that much damage.
There will always be debate over the ethics of the decision to drop the Bomb. But we should all look with optimism at what we did with the aftermath. Following is the main portion of my Pearl Harbor post of 2002:
When I was in hospice training, I was taught that no one ever recovers fully from grief. There will always be times when memories of a loss, whether over someone's death or some other tragic event, will trigger feelings of remorse. What one who has suffered a loss must do is to recover to the point that the loss is manageable, when it no longer interferes with everyday normal life. Pearl Harbor, and WWII in general, provoke strong feelings - and strong disagreements - in both the United States and Japan, even among those who have no conscious memory of December 7, 1941. But this day has scarcely any effect whatsoever on relations between our governments or our citizens. The vast majority of us refuse to blame events of the past on those who weren't there.
Wars do not always end with such peaceful results. In many cases, virulent bitterness is passed from generation to generation. Such lies at the root of the current war we fight against terrorism. Afghanistan and Iraq are only the beginning. Terrorism will never go away completely, but if we fight this war right we will fight every government that willingly aids and abets our enemies and we will be victorious, and if we do our postwar job right as we did in Japan, today's enemies will be tomorrow's allies.
Such was the vision Emperor Hirohito painted in the remainder of his surrender address:
The hardships and sufferings to which Our nation is to be subjected hereafter will be certainly great. We are keenly aware of the inmost feelings of all of you, Our subjects. However, it is according to the dictates of time and fate that We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is unsufferable.
Having been able to safeguard and maintain the structure of the Imperial State, We are always with you, Our good and loyal subjects, relying upon your sincerity and integrity.
Beware most strictly of any outbursts of emotion which may engender needless complications, or any fraternal contention and strike which may create confusion, lead you astray and cause you to lose the confidence of the world.
Let the entire nation continue as one family from generation to generation, ever firm in its faith in the imperishability of its sacred land, and mindful of its heavy burden of responsibility, and of the long road before it.
Unite your total strength, to be devoted to construction for the future. Cultivate the ways of rectitude, foster nobility of spirit, and work with resolution - so that you may enhance the innate glory of the Imperial State and keep pace with the progress of the world.
One day, a United States president and a Japanese prime minister will stand together at the USS Arizona monument, and dwell not on the disagreements over the war, but on what good we built out of its conclusion.
What event could this be about? The bombing of Nagasaki? Nope, that anniversary is tomorrow. Soviet invasion of Manchuria? Right date, wrong event. Nixon's resignation speech? Not exactly a festive occasion (except for Democrats), but not what I had in mind. Opening of Mauthausen? Some genuine horror there, but I'm thinking of a travesty that continues to this day.
On August 8, 1945, the United States ratified the United Nations Charter, becoming the third nation (after Nicaragua and El Salvador) to join the UN.
The UN and its charter are worthless. Aggressor nations (and pretenders to nationhood, in the case of the Palestinians) don't care about anything emanating from the UN they don't find agreeable. FrontPage Magazine has an example from the UN's earliest days:
After World War II the General Assembly of the United Nations confirmed the inalienable right of the Jewish people to a state of its own in its ancient homeland, which would be divided into two states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jewish people formally accepted the famous resolution adopted by the General Assembly on November 29, 1947; the Arab nations rejected it out of hand. On May 15, 1948, with the conclusion of the British Mandate, seven Arab armies invaded Palestine with the avowed purpose of destroying the State of Israel in its infancy.
The article quotes Trygvie Lie, the first UN Secretary-General:
"During the next hours and days, events crowded upon us. The Arab states launched their invasion of Palestine with the end of the Mandate. This was clear aggression, and that. failure to meet it could easily lead to the ultimate downfall of the United Nations, just as the mishandling of the Manchurian and Ethiopian cases in the 1930's had led to the collapse of the League of Nations."
Let's go to something more recent - Darfur. FPM has the floor once again:
Earlier this month, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Darfur released its report on the crisis in Darfur and concluded that while it appeared that there had been serious breaches of international humanitarian law committed by the perpetrators of the atrocities (which according to the report included Sudanese officials), the legal elements of the crime of genocide have not been satisfied. The significance of this conclusion cannot be over-emphasized, because what was classified a year ago as the worlds worst humanitarian crisis, will now be placed on the "backburner" in terms of priority on the United Nations agenda.
What does the Charter say about the UN addressing such issues?
[T]he principle of non-intervention/interference is subject to the provisions of Chapter VII [quoted verbatim earlier in the article]. Under Chapter VII however, before states can act militarily towards another state or entity, the Security Council must first establish that a breach of peace of act of aggression exists (article 39). The Security Council can then, in the interim period, ask the transgressing state to cease and desist its actions, thus giving it a chance to right itself (article 40). If that fails, then and only then, (legally speaking) can the Security Council "take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security".
So has the UN played by its own rules? No.
The situation in Darfur has been a textbook example of just how the enforcement provisions of Chapter VII hinder states from acting collectively or unilaterally fro[m] protecting. On 30 July 2004, nearly a year after the atrocities began, the Security Council finally passed a resolution determining that a threat to peace and international security existed in Darfur, and formally invoked Chapter VII. Eight months later no action has been taken, and massacres and displacement occur on a daily basis.
A year ago, Rush Limbaugh fashioned a Commander-in-Chief Test, asking the hypothetical test-taker how he or she would have respond to certain situations faced by past presidents. At the end is a long list of hyperlinks related to foreign policy issues of today, particularly concerning Iraq. Here are the links under the subheading "Why the Iraq War Was Legal."
Note how many of the links pertain to the United Nations.
If even the UN won't pay attention to what the UN says, who will?
The downfall won't come soon enough.
Update: The US government could raise a lot of money if it auctions off the right to rip the UN flag to shreds, should our leaders ever develop the spine to evict those thugs and appeaseniks from Manhattan.
Update:Here I recommended transforming a vacated UN building into "a hostel for refugees fleeing the sort of oppressive regimes the UN ignores." That sentiment also mentioned here.
Moderate Republican Wins In Ohio Despite Moderate Voter Turnout
Two years ago I wrote this about Bush's leftward policy trends (emphasis added):
Hey, Bush is only continuing the trend that started in the wake of the budget debacle of 1995. Since then, the GOP's chronic vacillation on domestic issues has eroded the presence of conservatives at the polls on Election Day. Memo to the GOP leadership: if you won't fight for us we won't fight for you.
That principle was demonstrated in the special election in Ohio's Second Congressional District earlier this week, as Rush Limbaugh explains (emphasis added):
Here are the returns, the total votes from the last three elections, including yesterday's in this district in Ohio. In 2002, there were 184,100 total votes casts. In 2004, there were 310,000 votes casts. Yesterday, 111,000 votes cast. So if you go back to 2002, and then you look at 2005, and then you add up the fact that this is a heavily Republican district, what do you find? You find that Republicans stayed home. The Republicans didn't show up and vote against somebody. They didn't show up and vote for Hackett. They stayed home.
What was it that Jean Schmidt did that so upset Ohio Republicans? (Emphasis added yet again):
[Y]ou've got an unpopular governor in Ohio, Mr. Taft. He has raised taxes. Jean Schmidt voted for those taxes, and we had calls from people yesterday, and I'm telling you what, you've got a moderate governor, and this Jean Schmidt is said to be a Reagan Republican, but today's the first time I heard that. I know she ran a positive, uplifting campaign, she didn't do a dirty campaign, but the fact of the matter is, folks, the conservatives do the heavy lifting in this party, and then if they're represented by a bunch of moderates who undo the work the Republicans say, "Okay, screw you, I'm staying home. I'm voting for you, I put you in office and you raise my taxes?"
If you want our votes, get your dirty stinking hands out of our pockets. We're trying to meet obligations and get ahead in life. Get out of our way.
On this day in 1948, Whittaker Chambers accused Alger Hiss, a State Department official and co-founder of the United Nations, of conducting espionage on behalf of the Soviets. Court TV's crimelibrary.com has extensive background info.
One intriguing episode was Soviet general Dimitri Volkogonov's attempt to clear Hiss' name in 1992. He had searched KGB records, and claimed that "not a single document has been found that substantiates the allegation that Mr. A. Hiss collaborated with the intelligence services of the Soviet Union." (See Chapter 12 of the crimelibrary.com article - or click here). Accuracy in Media immediately published a response, chiding the general for refusing to give specifics about his research, and suggesting where in the KGB archives and elsewhere he should do some digging:
Volkogonov should check the Comintern records of J. Peters, the man Whittaker Chambers identified as his Soviet "control" for his espionage activities from 1934 to 1938. Peters was a Hungarian-born Comintern agent assigned to work with the Communist Party, USA. His name crops up frequently in Soviet espionage literature. Peters' predecessor as Chambers' control was Alexander Ulanovski, whose wife Nadya Ulanovskaya, after surviving the Gulag and migrating to Israel, verified the accuracy of Chambers' account of his espionage activities from 1932 to 1934. If he learns nothing else, he will find that he was wrong in saying that there is evidence that Chambers was a Communist but none showing that he had any contact with Soviet intelligence.
Volkogonov should also check the KGB's Iskhak Abdulovich Akhmerov file. He was identified as "Hiss's wartime controller" by Oleg Gordievsky, a high-level KGB defector and co-author of the book KGB: The Inside Story. Gordievsky says in the book that he once attended a secret lecture at which Akhmerov "mentioned Hiss" in the context of discussing wartime agents in the U.S.
The general admitted a few weeks later that his research had not been thorough.
(In other news, I have done a cursory examination of the employee records at the University of Tennessee, and not a single document has been found that substantiates the allegation that Mr. G. H. Reynolds is a professor at that university.)
In 1995, the government declassified the Venona documents - decrypts of Soviet diplomatic communications intercepted by the Signal Intelligence Service. One page of the decrypts in particular implicates Hiss in Soviet espionage. Such was the conclusion of the 1997 Moynihan Commission on Government Secrecy (see Appendix 6 of the report):
It is not even clear how widely the VENONA revelations were shared within the United States Government. Thus, a Soviet cable of March 30, 1945 identified an agent, code-name ALES, as having attended the Yalta Conference of February 1945. He had then journeyed to Moscow where, according to the cable, he and his colleagues were "awarded Soviet decorations." This could only be Alger Hiss, Deputy Director of the State DepartmentÂ?s Office of Special Political Affairs; the other three State Department officials in the delegation from Yalta to Moscow are beyond suspicion. The party was met by Andrei Vyshinsky, the prosecutor in the Moscow trials of 1936-38. By no later than June 1950, the U.S. Army was persuaded that ALES was Hiss.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel, beloved editor of The Nation, describes the split [within the AFL-CIO] as a regrettable but probably necessary step needed to rejuvenate a labor movement "that can provide an organized and intelligent moral center to a majoritarian progressive politics - the folks who brought you the weekend, the eight-hour day, and so much else that makes this country (almost) civilized."
She has it all wrong, says Cavanaugh. The money quote (excerpted in this week'sEIA Communiqué as Quote of the Week):
"The death of organized labor has been going on now for more than 40 years. It has proceeded under liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, in boom times and bust, through every change in work environments, job types, and worker demographics…. [The Change to Win unions] could start by recognizing that this is now a free-agent nation. If there's a model for labor negotiations in the future, it's the model of the Major League Baseball Players Association, which works out very bare-bones collective agreements featuring salary basements and basic work rules and benefits, but doesn't punish high achievers for the good of the benchwarmers. Unions have been grotesquely slow to learn the benefits of flexibility in the workplace."
Unionism must either evolve, or go the way of the dinosaurs.