Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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28 July 2006

Keep Your Hands to Yourself, Stadium-boy

A federal judge has ruled that pat-down searches at Tampa Bay Buccaneer games are unconstitutional. Any hope that the humiliating, de-humanizing practice of herding fans like cattle into security checkpoints might end any time soon is probably overly sanguine, but this is at least one small step in the right direction.

Anyone who has experienced this insufferable indignity knows that it has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with the NFL monopolists maximizing their control over their tame (or cowed) customers. Prior to 9/11, searching each and every ticketholder would have been met with outrage, but now it provides the owners with the perfect excuse to enforce their prohibitions against beer, water bottles, cameras and anything else that might interfere with their quest to extract every last red cent out of their fans.

The venue owners are similarly pleased with the after-effects of 9/11. Lincoln Center in New York, for performances of the New York Philharmonic, stop every 5'1", hunched-over grey-haired old lady to rummage through her hand bag. The idiocy of this is overarching; but it is an essential ingredient in our modern day madness. No one person, for any reason, can be thought to pose more of a risk than any other, yet the risk is nevertheless thought to be pervasive and omnipresent, requiring that little old ladies be searched. Anyway, cheers to U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore.

26 July 2006

Not A Bright Spot To Be Found

Charles Murray's WSJ op-ed on the deceit behind Bush's No Child Left Behind combined with Bill Buckley's recent de-certification of Bush as a conservative got me thinking whether there is anything in this administration's record that is positive. The Afghanistan campaign was certainly a bright spot, but the quagmire next door has allowed the situation there to deteriorate recently. Beyond that, is there anything even close?

His tax cuts have been followed by a rather tepid recovery, featuring lots of new government jobs, service-sector jobs for immigrants and Sarbanes-Oxley jobs for accountants driven by corporate scandals. The tax cuts no doubt helped people keep their spending up, but the clear beneficiary there has been China. There's no sign that they have led to any significant capital investment. Meanwhile our trade deficit is hideously large - and this is one deficit that we most certainly don't "owe to ourselves."

Far from reforming Social Security - a political failure - he perpetrated one of the most fiscally irresponsible acts in history by pushing through an inefficient and poorly thought out prescription drug plan. That program will surely have to be scrapped once the bills start coming due. And since foreign interests own much of our treasury securities, this is most unsettling.

While no one expected him to push an environmentalist agenda, he has failed to enact any kind of energy poliy because his only approach was to have the energy industry write on for him. He has ceased (except for some recent politically-expedient activity) to enforce our borders, allowing millions to invade our country during his presidency. He has promoted a vision of the presidency as an office that is above the law, not beholden to congressional authority - a very dangerous precedent.

The ill will he has created abroad is unfortunately exacerbated by his lack of success in pursuing his agenda. Ignoring the debacle in Iraq, we now have a very hostile Iran and an out of control situation in Leganon. The world sees the U.S. as a puppet of Israel - an image that is hard to refute as we helplessly watch the country of Lebanon being wrecked over a couple of kidnapped soldiers.

I don't know - I must be in a particularly bad mood because I can't think of anything that this administration can point to proudly right now. What am I forgetting?

21 July 2006

An Ironist Like No Other

Glenn Reynold's sense of humor can be so dry that one can hardly be sure when he's kidding. For example, yesterday, on Instapundit, he deftly tossed off this sublime bit of irony:
BLOG CENSORSHIP IN INDIA? It's going to be hard for India to make it as a technology leader if this kind of thing goes on.
Brilliant, yes, but shouldn't he be concerned that a number of his readers might think he's being serious?

19 July 2006

Bush Vetoes Stem Cell Bill: So What?

While I do not share Bush's sentimental attachment to frozen embryos, I am not the least bit perturbed by his refusal to go along with federal funding of ESC research. While little will come out of ESC research for decades at least (think back to all the other supposed medical miracles since the polio vaccine and tell me I'm wrong), we should expect some fair amount of fraud, spending irregularities, and constant false hope should the federal troughs be thrown open to this research.

Over at Gene Expression, Rikurzhen defends ESC research - not as a miracle cure, but as a foundation for better understanding of diseases that can lead to better treatments and perhaps even cures (at least I think that's his argument). Certainly sounds reasonable, but a far cry from the spectacular advances that people think they'll be getting for their tax dollar. According to the Washington Post:
Democrats said voters will penalize GOP candidates for the demise of a popular measure, and predicted the issue could trigger the defeat of Bush allies such as Sen. James M. Talent, who faces a tough reelection battle in Missouri.
The idea that a Senator could lose an election because of a vote against funding a medical research program that has so far been marked by fraud and not even the remotest hint of success is rather disheartening.

17 July 2006

Progressive Realism

Robert Wright's op-ed in Sunday's NYT proposing a new "Progressive Realism" is worth reading, but what he proposes has little value. It's thesis seems to be grounded in this thought: "Free markets are spreading across the world on the strength of their productivity, and economic liberty tends to foster political liberty." His example is China. Since there are about a billion people in China, you could argue that any trend in China equates with "spreading across the world," but otherwise there's little evidence of such a contagion. Africa? Where exactly - Sudan, Angola? South America - Venezuela, Bolivia? Free markets will work where you have an intelligent, productive populace - the kind of people who can make a democratic society work. Otherwise, neither the free market nor democracy have a fighting chance.

What Bush 'Curse'?

Excuse me, but Bush did not "curse" in his recent caught-off-mike musings (though 'musings' may be overcrediting the content). He used a scatology. Had he said "...thing is what they need to do is to get Syria, to get Hizbollah to stop doing this goddamned stuff and it's over" then that would have been a curse. But he didn't - he said 'shit', which is not a curse. Is there no end to the distortions of the MSM?

Flight 800

Flight 800 went down 10 years ago. It was one of the more horrific plane crashes, as the plane split in two several thousand feet in the sky giving its passengers a couple minutes to contemplate their fate until the plane crashed into the waters off Long Island. There were also a number of eye-witnesses who claim to have seen something like a missile soar into the sky which then burst into a mid-air explosion.

During the "breaking coverage" when the crash occurred, I recall an expert (of some sort) stating unequivocally that this was absolutely an attack, that this could not possibly be an accident. Another guest cautioned that we really must allow the investigation to go forward before jumping to any such conclusion, but the other analyst was adamant. Well the second analyst's caution was sure vindicated by the subsequent investigation. Unless of course you prefer the conspiracy theory angle to this, in which case Flight 800 was indeed taken down by a terrorist's missile and the Clinton administration covered it up in order to avoid having to do anything about it (here's the last of a series published today by WorldNetDaily). The left-wing version of the conspiracy has it as the victim of an errant navy missile test

The official story seems reasonable enough to me. I talked to an eye witness once, and she believes she saw something like a missile fly up into the air followed by a huge explosion. But trying to figure out what's going on in the night sky is nearly impossible (as with UFO sightings) and so I can't put much credence in the eye-witness accounts. For me this accident reinforces how scary flying is - while the odds of being a victim are vanishingly small, it's a terrible way to go.

07 July 2006

Is It Really About The Oil?

Update: There are several comments worth reading, and as if on cue Kevin Phillips answers in the affirmative in The American Conservative.

For those of you who think that our adventures in Iraq are about the oil, I have a little challenge for you. I happen to think it's not about the oil at all, but all about neoconservative ideology within the Bush Administration. I believe they believe they can transform the world into a better place by defeating radical and despotic elements within Islam and establishing democratic societies in the Mideast.

As for the oil angle, anecdotal evidence such as our securing the Iraqi Oil Ministry after the invasion while we let every other institution be looted beyond usefulness is consistent with a neocon attitude that there were no institutions worth saving in Saddam's Iraq other than the oil industry. And from 9/11 on, it has been the neocons cheering for the war. Conspicuously silent, ambiguous, or outright skeptical were former Bush 41 officials, including GHWB himself.

So my challenge to the oil-based motivists: How do you explain the administration's hostile dealings with Iran in terms of the petroleum factor. Bush sure seems to be hankering for an attack, which seems perfectly consistent with the trasformation strategy, but I don't see the oil angle? What am I missing? For background, here's Seymour Hersh's latest on Iran in the New Yorker.

05 July 2006

How Ike Sent Them Scurrying Home

A terrific op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor about how Eisenhower turned away a flood of illegal immigrants in the early 50's in the face of entrenched business and political interests. He put a no-nonsense retired general to run the INS - someone who couldn't be intimidated by the likes of LBJ. And then the INS ran sweeps up and across the west, capturing illegal immigrants by the tens of thousands, which led to hundreds of thousands leaving voluntarily rather than be caught in a raid. And when they deported them, they sent them down into deepest Mexico - not just across the border. The 3 million illlegals were reduced to a handful - and all without any 'comprehensive' immigration reform. All it took was just a little bit of integrity on the part of the chief executive - yeah, I know, that's an awful lot to ask these days.

Also included is a sidebar with tips on curbing illegal immigration from former border patrol agents: "Some say we cannot send 12 million illegals now in the United States back where they came from. Of course we can!" (former agent) Edwards says.