19 August 2004

What target? I don't see the target


And for that matter, I’d have taken a strong position in favor of file-sharing, with an appropriate slogan (“Keep your grubby laws off my computer!”). Instead of Orrin Hatch’s dumb INDUCE Act, I’d be supporting user-friendly legislation, short copyright times on motion pictures (10 years? Do I hear 5?), a ban on DVD encryption (or at least an end to DMCA penalties for cracking it) and all sorts of other consumer-friendly measures where digital media are concerned.

Now I support a lot of these measures (not actually the short copyrights) anyway. But here are the advantages for the Bushies:

  1. It’s cool. Right now, being pro-Bush isn’t cool in many sectors. If they’d started this move a couple of years ago, it would have helped a lot.
  1. It hurts an industry that hates them and gives a lot of money to the Democrats. And doing that is cost-free to the Republicans.
  1. Because it hurts that industry, it would make the anti-Bush stuff from stars and celebrities look self-serving, and let the Administration dismiss it all as the economic self-interest of rich people trying to hold down the little guy.
Why didn’t they do this? Beats me.

I have to concur that Republican support for Old Media and especially the music industry is quite odd. It’s exceptionally odd for a Republican White House that has shown no interest in schmoozing with the glitterati. Someone should call get NRO on the case to ask a senior staffer about this.

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The touch of evil

[source, source]

On Monday, during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush announced that he intends to modify the configuration of American forces in both South Korea and Europe. On Wednesday, Sen. Kerry, speaking before the same audience, sharply criticized the president’s decision.

Appearing on ABC’s This Week on August 1, however, Sen. Kerry responded to a question by host George Stephanopoulos on Iraq. Stephanopoulos asked Kerry whether, as president, he could “promise that American troops will be home by the end of your first term?” Kerry’s answer:

“I will have significant, enormous reduction in the level of troops. . . . I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps. There are great possibilities open to us. But this administration has very little imagination.”

It seems that President Bush is so evil that his support taints any policy beyond acceptability, even if it was a good policy before.

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The final dance

[source, source]

An Iraqi Cabinet minister said Thursday that Iraqi forces could begin an offensive against Muqtada al-Sadr within hours, despite the firebrand cleric’s acceptance of a peace proposal.

To prevent an imminent attack on his forces, who are holed up in the revered Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, al-Sadr must immediately disarm his Mahdi Army militia and hand over its weapons to the authorities, Minister of State Qassim Dawoud said.

The cleric must also sign a statement saying he will refrain from future violence and release all civilians and Iraqi security forces his militants have kidnapped. In addition, al-Sadr must hold a news conference to announce he is disbanding the Mahdi Army.

That’s hardcore. I wonder if this is really the end for Al-Sadr because the Iraqi Government will become despised if it backs down from this stance. If Al-Sadr accepts these terms, that’s effectively a complete surrender. It looks like this is finally going to get resolved, one way or another.

P.S. Astute readers may wonder why the Coalition can back down but not the Iraqi Government. This is because the Coalition conquered the entire country in a few weeks with historically unprecedented ease and low cost (in casualties) and because the Marines and 1st Cavalary have been killing Sadrites in job lot quantities. The Iraqi Government hasn’t achieved any remotely similar victory. If they get Al-Sadr then that will change, which is why this is such a test of that government.

Posted by orbital at 10:44 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to oppose evil

[source, source]

Few Americans have made an issue of Vietnam’s harsh denial of political and religious liberty. One who has is Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, author of a bill linking growth in US aid to Vietnam to “substantial progress” in Vietnam’s human rights record. Smith’s bill, the Vietnam Human Rights Act, passed the House by an overwhelming 410-1 vote in 2001. But it never got a hearing or a vote in the Senate, where it was blocked by the then-chairman of the East Asian and Pacific Affairs subcommittee — John Kerry.

Didn’t it used to be the Right that coddled dictators because they were cooperative dictators? Now it seems that I’m reading about Democratic Party support for oppressive regimes on a regular basis, except now it seems that these regimes are supported because they’re opposed to American foreign policy.

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We're not here to argue facts

[source, source]

The controversial idea that cosmic rays could be driving global warming by influencing cloud cover will get a boost at a conference next week. But some scientists dismiss the idea and are worried that it will detract from efforts to curb rising levels of greenhouse gases.

Yes, it’s the political results of climate theory that matters, not the ugly little facts.

Posted by orbital at 8:21 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Love/Hate relationships

[source, source]

A campaign to sanctify the European Union through the beatification of its founding father, Robert Schuman, has run into stiff resistance from the Vatican and now appears likely to fail.

Isn’t the point of the EU to effective recreate the Holy Roman Empire except under the secular guidance of the French ruling class? Shouldn’t Schuman’s associate consider this effort an insult?

Posted by orbital at 8:19 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Birds of a feather

[source, source]

Harkin first came to national attention in 1970 when, as a staff aide to the House Select Committee on United States Involvement in Southeast Asia, he accompanied a fact-finding mission to South Vietnam and worked with two radically leftist committee members to develop sensational charges regarding so-called “tiger cages” being used at the Con Son prison complex in South Vietnam. The alleged mistreatment of the pro-Marxist and terrorist prisoners in the “tiger cages” was effectively propagandized to undermine sympathy in the U.S. for the government of South Vietnam at a crucial point in that nation’s struggle against Communist aggression and subversion. Subsequent investigation revealed that the conditions at the prison, and the charges leveled by Harkin, were grossly exaggerated.

The infamous “tiger cage” incident was bolstered by photographs taken by Harkin during a half-hour “investigation” of prison conditions. He subsequently refused to turn the photographs over to the House committee on grounds that he had “a higher obligation to those 500 human beings who are jammed in those cages.” He then sold them to Life magazine for a reported $10,000. Harkin even granted an interview to the Daily World, official newspaper of the Communist Party, USA, in which he made additional charges regarding the prison situation in South Vietnam. The Red propaganda organ promptly put them to good use in its own campaign to enhance the Communist position in Southeast Asia by undermining the Saigon government.

No wonder he’s acting as a character witness for Senator Kerry.

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