Thursday, June 30, 2005

Sullivan says: Give aid and comfort to the enemy

Good old Andy. He quotes a military guy on the question of why our military policy re: Syrian border jumpers makes no sense:

We certainly can do what you suggest, and with a handful of guys on the ground. The Bush Administration is choosing not to do so. This may be for reasons we can learn from open sources (e.g., the political fallout from that incident in which the bus full of fighters we bombed was claimed to be a bus full of Mother Theresa clones) or, it may devolve from circumstances we are not privy to.
So what he is saying is that it may be a good thing that we do not know why things are being done in a certain way. It may be to our advantage. Kind of like not telling the Japanese in the middle of the war that you have broken their codes. Well Andy has an answer for that:
Good question. I'm sorry but the time when we gave the administration the benefit of the doubt re: grand strategy is over. If leaving the Syrian border open is a choice, we have a right to know why. If we have a "flypaper" strategy, we should be informed by the president. I'm all for keeping operational issues secret, but in a war where public support is crucial, you have to explain overall strategy. When there's an obvious question hanging in the air, we deserve an answer.
Even if it means more of our guys getting killed Andy? A true leftist patriot for sure. There was a time when this guy made sense. Gone are the days.

I'd give a link to this crap fest except I've already promoted it way more than such a "kill the troops so we can understand what is going on" idiocy deserves.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers

If you blog without legal staff this might save you alot of trouble. At least until the FEC rules.

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers

Atlas has mountains

Four mountains.

Two mountains.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Rapid Change

Responsible Nanotechnology talks about how the next 30 years will see as much change as the last 100. If the past is any indication the discoveries powering the last decade of that period will be developed in the second decade and the stuff done in the first decade will mostly be foundational but technologically useless at the end of the 30 year period.

What is to be done?

New technologies should be retarded to some extent. Something better is likely to come along and the capital put into early technology would be to some extent wasted.

Practically this means subsidize R&D thru pilot production. Do not subsidize markets.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Libertarian Legal Theory

Lawrence Solum at Legal Theory Blog has a very nice piece on Libertarian Theories of Law. Here is why you should read it:

Libertarian legal theory is interesting on the merits—as one of the most significant normative theories of law. But there is another important reason for legal theorists to be interested in libertarianism even if they ultimately reject it. Libertarian legal theories call into question the very purpose of law and government. A really careful evaluation of libertarianism requires that one form views about the function of law and the purposes of government, and to confront a variety of criticisms of conventional views about those topics. For that reason, thinking about libertarian legal theory is an excellent way of thinking about the most fundamental questions in normative legal theory.

Novel Way to Celebrate 4th of July

Our German friends in Berlin have a novel way to celebrate the 4th of July.

They plan to buldoze a monument built at Checkpoint Charlie to those who died trying to cross the wall into freedom.

Now it is being done all nice and legal like (they are Germans after all), but perhaps they had not considered what the response of ordinary Americans might be.

Click on the above link. It provides e-mail address clickable links to the German authorities.

And here is one for our President. The German Chancellor is coming to visit soon. Give the Pres a heads up.

Via LGF which has some interesting comments. One of the commenters thinks Daimler Chrysler may try to fix this.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

No Law

It appears, according to the New York Times, that the government can find no law requiring people to file an income tax return. Now that is very interesting.

The verdict stirred concerns that it would encourage more Americans to refuse to pay taxes, which the Treasury, I.R.S. and the Justice Department have all acknowledged is a growing problem. The problem has prompted a renewed effort to seek civil injunctions against promoters like Mr. Banister and in some cases prosecutions of both tax protesters and their professional advisers.

"This is going to encourage thousands more people who were on the fence, who were paying taxes only because they were afraid they would be criminally prosecuted," said J. J. MacNab, a Maryland insurance analyst. She is writing a book about people who deny the legitimacy of the tax laws and attended the trial, which began June 14.

"If too many people do this, the tax system will collapse because it is based on people voluntarily complying" with the law, Ms. MacNab said.
How can a tax be voluntary? Either you owe it or you don't. The question is are you liable for not volunteering to the government a sum of money that they suggest you calculate on your own and then volunteer? I'm sure if it came before the Suprme Court they would find a way. Well any way the collapse is well underway. Every time the government brings one of these trials and loses a new batch of folks get educated about the fact that the income tax laws as enforced are a sham.

Give Me Liberty has this to say:
During the trial, Banister's former supervisor at IRS’s San Jose CID office, Robert Gorini (who testified via video recording) when pointedly asked, was unable to cite any U.S. law that required Banister to pay income taxes.
It appears that the 861 folks may have been correct after all.

If you want to read more and get some more links Joe Bannister has a blog

Larkin Rose has been saying Please prosecute me for several years. He has filed no taxes since 1997. I wonder why they do not prosecute him?

Mr. Rose has a few more things to say about Theft by Deception. He also has something to say at Taxable Income.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Story on Kelo

"It seems to be the general opinion, fortified by a strong current of judicial opinion, that since the American revolution no state government can be presumed to possess the transcendental sovereignty to take away vested rights of property; to take the property of A. and transfer it to B. by a mere legislative act. A government can scarcely be deemed to be free, where the rights of property are left solely dependent upon a legislative body, without any restraint. The fundamental maxims of a free government seem to require, that the rights of personal liberty, and private property should be held sacred. At least, no court of justice, in this country, would be warranted in assuming, that any state legislature possessed a power to violate and disregard them; or that such a power, so repugnant to the common principles of justice and civil liberty, lurked under any general grant of legislative authority, or ought to be implied from any general expression of the will of the people, in the usual forms of the constitutional delegation of power. The people ought not to be presumed to part with rights, so vital to their security and well-being, without very strong, and positive declarations to that effect."

-Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story.

Hat tip: Samizdata

More Thomas on Kelo

The consequences of today's decision are not difficult to predict, and promise to be harmful. So-called "urban renewal" programs provide some compensation for the properties they take, but no compensation is possible for the subjective value of these lands to the individuals displaced and the indignity inflicted by uprooting them from their homes. Allowing the government to take property solely for public purposes is bad enough, but extending the concept of public purpose to encompass any economically beneficial goal guarantees that these losses will fall disproportionately on poor communities. Those communities are not only systematically less likely to put their lands to the highest and best social use, but are also the least politically powerful. If ever there were justification for intrusive judicial review of constitutional provisions that protect "discrete and insular minorities," United States v. Carolene Products Co., 304 U. S. 144, 152, n. 4 (1938), surely that principle would apply with great force to the powerless groups and individuals the Public Use Clause protects. The deferential standard this Court has adopted for the Public Use Clause is therefore deeply perverse. It encourages "those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms" to victimize the weak.

via Crescat Sententia


Once again the left would rather empower government than protect the weak from the strong.

I expect before long people will begin to notice.


Five so called grown ups who cannot read simple words in a simple way.

Who said my name was Simon?

Oh, yeah.

Stare decisis

Stare decisis - it has been decided - government will grow and the citizen will shrink.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Your home is your castle

Except when your local government decides it is needed for a strip mall. The Supreme Court has come down solidly on the side of socialism this term. First Raich, now Kelo. In Raich it was determined that growing your own pot, in your own yard, which was never sold was interstate commerce. In Kelo the Court has decided that government can take your property and give it to another if government deems that the party wanting the property will make "better" use of it than the original owner. Better generally meaning "generate more taxes".

Two hundred years of settled law. Poof.

Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy echos Raich when he ponders:

No word on whether they simultaneously announced the seizure to be in "interstate commerce." But I would check the footnotes just in case.
As usual Justice Thomas is stellar.
Long ago, William Blackstone wrote that “the law of the land … postpone[s] even public necessity to the sacred and inviolable rights of private property.” 1 Commentaries on the Laws of England 134—135 (1765) (hereinafter Blackstone). The Framers embodied that principle in the Constitution, allowing the government to take property not for “public necessity,” but instead for “public use.” Amdt. 5. Defying this understanding, the Court replaces the Public Use Clause with a “ ‘[P]ublic [P]urpose’ ” Clause, ante, at 9—10 (or perhaps the “Diverse and Always Evolving Needs of Society” Clause, ante, at 8 (capitalization added)), a restriction that is satisfied, the Court instructs, so long as the purpose is “legitimate” and the means “not irrational,” ante, at 17 (internal quotation marks omitted). This deferential shift in phraseology enables the Court to hold, against all common sense, that a costly urban-renewal project whose stated purpose is a vague promise of new jobs and increased tax revenue, but which is also suspiciously agreeable to the Pfizer Corporation, is for a “public use.”

I cannot agree. If such “economic development” takings are for a “public use,” any taking is, and the Court has erased the Public Use Clause from our Constitution, as Justice O’Connor powerfully argues in dissent. Ante, at 1—2, 8—13. I do not believe that this Court can eliminate liberties expressly enumerated in the Constitution and therefore join her dissenting opinion. Regrettably, however, the Court’s error runs deeper than this. Today’s decision is simply the latest in a string of our cases construing the Public Use Clause to be a virtual nullity, without the slightest nod to its original meaning. In my view, the Public Use Clause, originally understood, is a meaningful limit on the government’s eminent domain power. Our cases have strayed from the Clause’s original meaning, and I would reconsider them.

I love GITMO

I was over at The Daily Demarche and found this lovely campaign complete with bumper sticker.

I love GITMO

Muddling through

Andrew (you know the one) makes a big deal about how the DSM showed that plans for post war Iraq were weak to non-existant. True.

Here is a letter I wrote him:

There comes a point in evrery plan where you have to say - because the problem is so complicated and the situation is so fluid - at this point we muddle through.

Surprising that you - a Brit - do not understand the concept.

It is only Communists who have rigid plans. Capitalists are more adaptive.

But I do understand your obsession with planning. It goes with your politics.

Ever read Hayek? Well as economics is not your thing, it would be surprising if you had.

BTW the American military are probably some of the best improvisers in the world.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Flag Burning -- Again

The House today passed a Flag Burning Amendment. You know making it illegal to burn a flag as a political statement.

Now they are unlikely to get enough votes in the Senate.

But let me state my position. I'm a vet. I honor the sacrifices of our vets. One of the most important things I fought for is the right to disrespect America and its symbols. Patriotism must not be mindless. It must not be mandated by law. It must be earned (you listening Washington?).

The Amendment would read: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." So now according to the Constitution the flag will get treatment equal to Korans in Gitmo? Why am I not impressed? Why would I want enforced reverence? How is desecration going to be defined? The courts are not full enough with drug offenders? We need to add flag offenders? The charge? Insufficient reverence? Surely you are joking?

If this gets made into law, the night before this goes into effect, I'm going to burn every flag I own. And I will not salute that flag again until the Amendment is repealed.

The Flag Burning Amendment in my opinion is unAmerican. And so is every Representative who voted for it.

Charles of LGF agrees totally. The Captain is in some agreement but thinks we have too many judge granted rights. He need to get out his Declaration and read it to find out where rights come from. Eugene Volokh has an opinion.

Here is a bit I wrote for the comments:

I predict if this passes you will only see flags at government functions.

Who would want to display a flag and risk being brought up on charges?

Raise the cost of flag waving and you get less of it.

See what will happen is that the moonbats will report desecrations done inadvertantly by flag wavers.

End result. Only governments will display the flag.

You can see it coming.

Today's hot topic - Republican economics

Well actually if you read Instapundit the hot topic is actually pornography. We will get to economics in a minute.

I'm reminded of what Oscar Levant said when Johnny Carson asked his opinion of pornography.

Oscar said "It helps".

If archeology can be trusted it appears that pornography has been ruining lives for 7,500 years.

Yet to be determined:

Will outlawing war save more lives than outlawing pornography?

Will outlawing either stop the practice? Or is the pornography progrom just another make work program for police? Who will inevitably be corrupted by having to look at the stuff in the course of arrest and prosecution. Now why you would want to corrupt the police (because we all know pornography corrupts) is beyond me. Perhaps drug prohibition is not doing a good enough job.

Well like all socialist programs prohibitions of widely desired goods are bound to fail. Why? Because prohibition amounts to a price support program. It is amazing to me the number of people who are against socialism who favor prohibitions.

I have a quaint term for it "Republican socialism". Definition: a price support program for socially unacceptable products.

In other words Republicans like to make vice more profitable and put its distribution in the hands of criminals. Strange but true.

It is a strange world we live in.

And that is your economic lesson for today.

A letter to Sullivan

The West is a civilization built on arms and murder. Like any other civilization.

What is different is that the people are armed and there is less murder.

Are you forgetting WW2? The West can murder with the best of them. In fact we are better at it than the rest of the world combined. What we also have is better restraint. Not perfect but better.

Perfection is not an option. Especially when murder is a necessity.

"Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

And if that doesn't work for you try Kiplings's "Tommy".

Or try this:

An essay on September 11

May I quote:

But whenever Americans have been challenged, they have risen to the task. In some awful way, these evil thugs may have done us a favor. America may have woken up for ever. The rage that will follow from this grief and shock may be deeper and greater than anyone now can imagine. Think of what the United States ultimately did to the enemy that bombed Pearl Harbor. Now recall that American power in the world is all but unchallenged by any other state. Recall that America has never been wealthier, and is at the end of one of the biggest booms in its history. And now consider the extent of this wound - the greatest civilian casualties since the Civil War, an assault not just on Americans but on the meaning of America itself. When you take a step back, it is hard not to believe that we are now in the quiet moment before the whirlwind. Americans will recover their dead, and they will mourn them, and then they will get down to business. Their sadness will be mingled with an anger that will make the hatred of these evil fanatics seem mild.
The fellow is dead now (more is the pity) but he sure could write.

Well any way. Some of us are still angry. Others of us have gotten over it. I know how it is; life as a Copperhead is never fun. I went that route in an earlier war. It didn't work out the way I thought it would.


The Democrats have forgotten their anger. The nation has not.

And there is the Dem's problem.

Daniel Pearl vs Gitmo. Which is the bigger problem?

Running against the Party

I think I can see the beginnings of the Republican Campaign in 2008.

The focus will not be running against the candidate. It will be a run against the Democrat Party.

The Democrat's leaders in the past couple of weeks have given the Republicans issue after issue. The main issue they have given is national security. The very place they were weakest.

I wonder - have they thought this through? Or to be perfectly George Galloway - are there sinister forces at work?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Durbin Supports President and Military

You can read all about it here.

Hat tip Instapundit

Upsurge in Defeatist Rhetoric

I think it is pretty evident that there has been an upsurge of defeatist talk this week. Calls for a deadline for a pull out. Mistreatment of prisoners etc.

What could it mean? I think it tells us two things. First thing it tells us is Red on Red. What does that mean? The "insurgents" are fighting among themselves. This shows they are on the ropes.

So what is the second thing it tells us? It tells us who the agents of influence for the enemy are. Keep your eyes on those who were the most defeatist in the past week. They are not on the side of America or liberty.

Welcome Instapundit readers.

Iran in Free Fall

The voters in Iran did not go to the polls. Estimates are that voter turnout was around 10% nationwide.

Of course the regime says the election was not rigged.

Other folks say they have gotten a message - vote or else.

The real story is that the Powers that Be in Iran are fighting among themselves.

Michael Ledeen chimes in. He runs down the election as a farce.

Hoder thinks there is a power vacuum. He is also trying to get out of the country before the next run off vote.

The situation is unstable for sure. Let us hope the people of Iran can take advantage of the regime disarray.

Stephania from Cagliari,Sardinia (Italy) has some thoughts.

And of course Instapundit with the link that got this thread started. And the Instalink that started the Instalanche.

Cox and Forkum have their usual outstanding cartoon a link to this piece and a number of links not found here.

Tales of Tadeusz Has some thoughts on Iran and my views on drug prohibition.

Looking for Ming

Cheer up Senator Richard "call me Dick" Durbin.

When you contact him tell him Bush is just like Hitler and Stalin. The Boy needs some cheering up.

In addition it would be helpful if some one could contact the Army and get the firing squads cranked up. Dick needs some bodies.

No doubt Dick Durbin should stop with the Hitler comparisons already.

What he needs to do is to pick some really bad guy. Like Ming the Merciless. Do you remember how he made Flash Gordon shovel coal into the atomic furnaces? It was truly evil. Flash was actually starting to sweat.

And what about the treatment of the Mole People?

Something must be done.

Koran desecrators must be shot. That would be 5 of ours and 15 of theirs. A fair exchange all in all.

I understand why Dick would do what he did. The islamic fascists need all the help they can get. Dick is just doing his part. Kind of like what the left did in the 30s with the Hitler is worse than Stalin bit. Except for that period when they had a treaty. When Hitler was just as good as Stalin. Until Hitler attacked Stalin. When he became bad again. Or worse. Depending.

In any case Stalin filled more graves, but he had advantages. A bigger population to work with.

The saddest part of the Durbin story is that we are falling way behind in our feeble attempt to be truly evil. Did you know that so far in three years of war only ten or twenty prisoners have died in captivity? Stalin could do ten times that in an hour. And Hitler? The man ran a production line.

I wonder what is the cause of our striking lack of efficiency? We need to put some one in charge whose heart is in it. Where is Ming when you need him?

Sunday, June 19, 2005


It is all very clear to me now. I know the meaning of DSM.

DSM means Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

You can look it up.

Too Much Blood

The Left and some of the right are calling for a pull out from Iraq, leaving the Iraqis to fend for themselves.

For them it is allways too much blood and never enough.

Ours and theirs.

Note to Jihadis

Our women are better than your men.

Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester of the 617th Military Police Company, a National Guard unit out of Richmond, Ky., received the Silver Star, along with two other members of her unit, Staff Sgt. Timothy Nein and Spc. Jason Mike, for their actions during an enemy ambush on their convoy. Other members of the unit also received awards.

Hester's squad was shadowing a supply convoy March 20 when anti-Iraqi fighters ambushed the convoy. The squad moved to the side of the road, flanking the insurgents and cutting off their escape route. Hester led her team through the "kill zone" and into a flanking position, where she assaulted a trench line with grenades and M203 grenade-launcher rounds. She and Nein, her squad leader, then cleared two trenches, at which time she killed three insurgents with her rifle.

When the fight was over, 27 insurgents were dead, six were wounded, and one was captured.

Hester, 23, who was born in Bowling Green, Ky., and later moved to Nashville, Tenn., said she was surprised when she heard she was being considered for the Silver Star.

"I'm honored to even be considered, much less awarded, the medal," she said.
BTW nice picture of the Sgt. Recieving the Medal at the above link. Sgt. Hester is the first woman to recieve the Silver Star since WW2.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Who do you hate

So far the Democratic Party hates white Christian Republicans according to Dean. The Military according to Durbin and Jews according to a forum organized by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan.

So let us do a Venn diagram to see what is left of the Democrat party.

Here is the list:

The military

Now of course there is overlap but that list must include 70% to 80% of all Americans. I must say, short of Nixon's resignation, this is one of the most amazing weeks I have ever witnessed in American politics. The Democrat Party is shrinking faster than the Wicked Witch of the West.

Durbin is Called Dick

That is correct. Dick is Senator Durbin's first name. Mr. Durbin, Dick to you, has insulted our Gitmo troops and emboldened our enemies by comparing the Gitmo guards to Nazis, the masters of the Gulag, or the minions of Pol Pot. Take your choice.

Now surprisingly enough my other Senator form Illinois, Barack Obama, has come out in support of the war and the treatment the prisoners are getting at Gitmo.

Well all America is howling about Gitmo. If you read the what the lefties have to say about Obama they are mad about Obama's support for Gitmo, the war, and our troops.

On the right the howls are equally loud about Senator Dick Durbin.

It looks like Minority Whip Dick Durbin is about to get whipped. Glenn Reynolds has a round up of blogs calling Senator Dick Durbin to task. Roger Simon. points out that a group of GOP freshman Senators who have called in the past for more civility in the Senate are calling for Senator Dick Durbin to apologize for his remarks.

In my opinion it is the least he could do.

Update: Sat. 08:24z 18 June 2005

The Dick Durbin official Senate www site should you wish to contact Senator Dick Durbin.

Update: Sat. 10:08z 18 June 2005

Bill Roggio posting at Winds of Change has some advice for Democrats.

Update: Sun. 01:46z 19 June 2005

You can e-mail Dick Durbin

Hat tip:Michelle Malkin

Update: Sun. 01:51z 19 June 2005

Dump Dick Durbin is trying to give Dick Durbin the push he needs. Over the cliff.

Update: Sun. 02:08z 19 June 2005

Just in time to help Dick Durbin: A petition for Dick Durbin's resignation.

Update: Sun. 19:58z 19 June 2005

Black Five has a few choice words for Dick Durbin.

Update: Sun. 21:16z 19 June 2005

Chicago knows how to get confessions. Torture. The real thing. Has Mayor Daley heard about this?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment Vote

To find out how your representative voted go here. I don't have a breakdown by party yet. I'll update when I have it.

Update: Friday 08:343z 17 June 2005

Pete Guither of Drug War Rant informs me that the above link is for the vote in '04.

The actual vote took place Wednesday and was 264 against and 161 in favor. With 145 Democrats and 15 Republicans voting for.

This is a gain of 13 votes from last year.

Drug Policy has more details. Here is a link from them to thank or spank your Rep.

Considering, Identifying, Lying, Expressing Negative Emotions

The title of this post is explained by Gurdjieff and Ouspensky.

If you want a real life example read this.

Sunshine Patriots

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.

Thomas Paine 1780
Note that the war had one more hard year to go and three years until a peace treaty was signed. For a war whose beginning was 1775.

Well the summer soldiers and sunshine patriots are out in force today. Who are these summer soldiers?

Let us start with Rep. Walter Jones.
Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina conservative, said on ABC's "This Week" that he would offer legislation this week setting a timetable for the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.
What effect will this have on the Islamic fascists? It will tell them how long they have to hold on to win. In other words this is an encouragement to the enemy. If the legislation actually passes God help the Iraqis. Or perhaps the Rep. don't give a damn about them. Perhaps purple fingers mean nothing to him.

And who does Jones think is to blame?
Jones, a member of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, said "primarily the neoconservatives" in the administration were to blame for flawed war planning.

"The reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there," he said.

Jones joins some of Congress' most liberal Democrats in demanding a deadline to withdraw troops from a conflict they said has been too costly in U.S. lives and money.
Them evil neocons (who are not our kind) are to blame. Not Saddam for making inspection for weapons all but impossible. Not Saddam who was shooting at our aircraft. Not Saddam who was running a murderous fascist state. Nope. Neocons.

Is he talking about the cost to the Iraqi people of an American defeat? How it would dishearten democrats in Syria and Iran? Why no. Just leave. Put it all behind us. The hell with them.

And then we have another stalwart Sen. Lindsey Graham. What does he have to say?
"The insurgency is alive and well. We underestimated the viability of the insurgency," Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said on CBS' Face the Nation. He said the administration has "been slow to adjust when it comes to troop strength and supporting our troops."
So what is the Senator proposing? Adding more divisions to the Army? Raising pay to attract more soldiers? An appeal to American patriotism and Iraqi freedom? Nope. Just talk up how enlistments are down and public opinion is on its last legs. Is he trying to rally the nation or tuck in his tail and crawl away in defeat?

At least Graham gets one thing right in part. He does not want to set a date.:
Graham opposed setting a date. "If the insurgents drive us out ... we've lost a big battle in the war on terror," he said.
Here is another complainer:
Rep. Curt Weldon, a Pennsylvania Republican who just returned from Iraq, joined several Democrats saying the administration must be more candid and acknowledge that it could take about two years to train Iraqi forces to replace U.S. soldiers and allow a significant pullout.
Now here is where the complaints get interesting:
Weldon also said the administration must "come to grips" with a rising insurgency, boosted by fighters from Syria and Iran, "which for some reason our intelligence community does not want to acknowledge or deal with."

Weldon said he heard "a common theme" in Iraq that the largest number of foreign insurgents may be coming from Syria, but that "Iran overwhelmingly has the quality behind the insurgency."
Now I think he gets it. At least he knows what the next targets are.

And lest you think all our politicians are totally stupid they are working on The Saudi Accountability Act
ON TUESDAY, June 7, Sen. Arlen Specter took an action that may substantially improve the difficult--some might say despicable--state of U.S.-Saudi relations. Specter dropped the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act of 2005 into the hopper; the text was designated Senate bill 1171. Its cosponsors, so far, are Sens. Evan Bayh, Susan Collins, Tim Johnson, Patty Murray, Russ Feingold, and Ron Wyden.

The legislation is concise. The bill's text stands as an indictment of Saudi Arabia, since it is mainly an inventory of evidence against the kingdom and the role of its rulers in enabling terrorism. S. 1171 summons the rulers of the Saudi kingdom to comply with United Nations resolution 1373, calling on states to refrain from supporting terrorism, to combat terrorism, and to deny safe haven to financiers and planners of terrorism. As the home of Wahhabism, the state cult and Islamist ideology underpinning al Qaeda and its allies, Saudi territory is a rich field of targets for serious counter-terrorism.
Well war is painful and resolutions are easy, but there may be hope for some of these Congress critters yet. At least they have identified some of the sources of the problem.

Monday, June 13, 2005


I was over at Dadmanly's reading about losses. Two officers killed while playing chess.

One of the commenters (devildog6771) suggested that families with children who have lost a father or mother in Iraq contact Project Linus which makes and distributes comfort blankets to children of the fallen.

Contact them. They deserve your support.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


This article appeared in several places in Jan/Feb of 2003. One of them was Winds of Change. A comment of mine from the WoC site has been included at the end here.


Why can't we have the fuel efficient cars we see and hear about in magazines and on television filling the auto company's show rooms in the next model year? Why don't we already have them this year? There's a reason, a one word reason. That word is logistics.

I'd like to discuss here the difference between a prototype built by a school or an auto company and a production auto that you can buy off the show room floor.

I'm going to start out with the very simplest of the new technologies, the Integrated Starter Alternator (ISA). This is a starter motor that's also the alternator (electrical generator) of the car. If this device was made part of the engine we would get a number of valuable improvements:

First, it would be a more efficient electrical generator than the current separate alternator for two reasons. One is that losses from the rubber belts needed to transmit force from the engine to the alternator would be eliminated. Second is that because the ISA would have a larger diameter, it's magnetic structure could be much more efficient than the structure of current belt-driven alternators.

There's a second advantage to a more efficient magnetic structure. In the starter mode the starter motor becomes more powerful and more efficient. Coupled with a higher battery voltage (36 volts nominal, about 42 volts while the engine is running) an engine on demand system becomes viable. That means that when the car is stopped at a stop light the engine can be turned off to save fuel.

A third advantage of an ISA system with a larger battery is that instead of engine braking where the engine absorbs some of the energy needed to slow an auto, the generator/battery system can absorb some of that energy. Better yet, it can return it to the motor on the next start up cycle. In effect, the energy needed to start the engine in stop and go driving is energy that would be otherwise wasted in heating the brakes.

This is a lot of payback from what seems like a simple design change. It has already seen prototypes on the road. So what prevents the car companies from going from a proven design to a million vehicles? Well, we are back to that word: Logistics.

A good place to start is batteries. Twelve volt batteries are easy to find. Twelve volt lamps are manufactured by the billions. Twelve volt accessories like radios and heater fans are commonplace. Where do you get 36/42 volt equipment? Right now, you don't get it anywhere. Now the engineers need a 42V-12V converter and an auxiliary 12 volt battery. Thirty six volt batteries? Fuggedaboutit. In the initial production models they will likely be made from three twelve volt batteries strung together.

The battery design also will have to be different from the current design. A battery called on to make 5-10 starts a day is very different from one that can reliably deliver 500-1,000 starts a day. So the car companies must go to the battery companies with a specification, then ask them to design a battery that will fit in a currently produced 12V case and still do the job. The battery company then asks their battery engineers to take a whack. They come back with a design after a few months of effort. Then the prototype shop comes back with a few copies after a few months more of effort. More back and forth with the engineers.

Now the real fun begins. The battery must be cycle tested. Charged and discharged 1,000 times a day to simulate operation in the new vehicle design. There are problems. There are always problems. So the engineers come up with a new set of compromises (otherwise referred to as the revised design), and the testing begins again. The months tick by. Finally, the design works acceptably at the normal temperature range.

As well all know, however, cars do not operate in a normal temperature range. They must work reliably from a -40 degree arctic environment to a 120+ degrees summer desert environment. More testing. More redesign. More compromises. After 18 to 30 months the battery company finally has a pre-production prototype lot of a few hundred batteries to deliver to the car companies.

Now the serious fun begins. All the suppliers to the car company have been going through a similar drill to get their parts ready for the preproduction prototypes. The parts are all there, and they are then hand assembled into a few hundred pre-production prototype vehicles. Any problems in assembly are noted for further revisions in the delivered parts. Time to live test. The vehicles are first test driven on the auto company's proving ground tracks to shake out the bugs in the hardware and software.

Did I mention software? Most of the function of a vehicle with an ISA system are controlled by software. So now not only do the parts have to work as specified but they also have to work in the way the software commands. If not, either the parts or the software must be modified.

Finally everything passes the track test. The pre-production prototypes can now be parceled out to the auto company executives and their families for a year of test driving in all weather conditions. A few more are parcelled out to writers in the field to test drive and give their opinion. During this year, known modifications are being made and possible changes are being anticipated from the early driving reports. If all goes well, 3-6 months after the year of test driving is done the new component designs are ready for production.

Home free at last? Not by a long shot.

Now the factory designers must come in and design a factory to produce the newly designed and proven components. Orders must be placed for the special tooling required. Orders for plastic cases and plastic grid separators goes out. Orders for lead of a certain chemical composition and thickness. Orders for lead oxide paste.Orders for tank cars of sulfuric acid. Even orders for new software to track the manufacturing process. Orders for machines. Orders for punches and dies. Orders for bins to recycle the scrap produced by the production process. Orders. Orders. Orders.

Now of course, you would like to compress this schedule where possible. It costs money to keep all these testing facilities and engineers and technicians and designers on a project. So it would be good if the design of the factory could be started while final testing was going on. Yet this entails real risk. What if testing reveals that the final design needs to be radically altered? Suppose a light went on in some really bright engineer's head and he found that with a different factory design he could shave ten million dollars off the production of a million batteries for 350,000 cars and reduce the scrap produced by one half million pounds, or because of a serious design flaw it was found that all the batteries built according to the original factory design would be scrap after six months on the road. To accomplish such a change, the battery company would need to adjust it's factory design, take a three month schedule slip, and order two million dollars of new tooling. Ouch. Maybe they'd rather play it safe istead, and start the design of the factory a bit later.

What I've presented here is just one component of a radically new car design, most of whose engineering parameters are reasonably well known from over 100 years of manufacturing experience. I haven't even begun to cover the power electronics required to make all this a going proposition, and we don't have a hundred years or more of experience with multi-kilowatt power electronics on mass produced vehicles. Instead., we have is roughly zero years of experience. This is not a trivial problem.

Especially if these problems lead to designs whose flaws are not immediately obvious. What happens when they have a problem that shows up in one out of every 300 vehicles after two years on the road, and they have made a million of them due to strong demand? Disaster. They now have 3,000 odd dissatisfied customers, and a million vehicles to recall.

It's not easy for an auto company to put a brand new design into the field. The risks are huge. Which is why the changes will not come all at once except in research and development vehicles. So when your favorite greenie asks why we can't have in the show room tomorrow the vehicle he read about in a magazine yesterday you can give him or her the one word answer:


P.S. The good news is that such American made vehicles will be available in the 2004 model year. Happy driving.


The problem with earlier attempts at ISA was the slow speeds of the processors required to control the unit and the low efficiency, high cost, weight, and volume of previous designs.

All these things have come together in the last three or four years. With continued improvements in sight.

As time goes on all auxiliarys (air conditioners, power brakes, power steering etc.) will be electrically powered to eliminate the continuous power rob of belts and pulleys).

In addition valves will be electrically powered. Engine tuning will be changed by changing a chip not grinding a new cam.

The ISA is just a beginning.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Scalia legislates from the bench

Scalia was never a constitutionalist. He always favored legislating from the bench. The only difference between Scalia and the liberal judges is his political orientation. Their judicial philosophy is the same.

And how about that Thomas. No longer can he be called Scalia's water boy. Scalia may have 20 IQ points on him. Scalia may be the nicer person. Scalia may be better in front of a crowd. But boy can that Thomas write clear and effective opinions:

Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything–and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.
How could Scalia join the "legislate from the bench" majority with such a clear effective statement of what was at stake?

You can read Thomas' opinion in html here. It is good.

Kerry does a hidden 180

I was making a point over at Matt Y.'s place about Kerry's "release" of his military recods. He signed the 180 an the Boston Globe (only) got a look at the results.

Well he is just a little late.

Bush released them before the campaign. Kerry long after. He didn't keep his original promise in a timely fashion. But OK, technically it counts.

Here is the kicker: what he did release (an no one knows exactly what) was not put up for public scrutiny. [Bush made them available to a number of reporters - they may have been on the www too can't remember - ed.]


So there is one vote I'm quite happy about.

Then Obama comes out and says we can't leave the Iraqis high and dry.

And here I thought I was voting for a Move.On communist. To avoid the theocon Keyes.

So there is another vote I'm quite happy about.

Yeee ha.

I think Obama has a future in politics if only some of those UChicago guys can pound some Nobel Prize winning economics into his head.

Well any way: today I'm pleased.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Conservatives Against the Drug War

Who woulda thunk it? Are you surprised? Didn't get the news? Not surprising. It is the Conservatives in Colombia.

"This drug war has moved beyond a question of crime," says Apolinar Salcedo, the mayor of Cali, Colombia's second largest city and the scene of much of the killing. "This is now a question of national security."

This hurricane of violence has led a growing number of Colombians, including leading members of the venerable Conservative Party, to question the drug policies that have helped make their country one of the world's most dangerous. "We Colombians have had enough," says Ferney Lozano, director of the Legalization Now movement, which was founded in 1999 and claims more than 100 elected officials across the country as members. "We're sick of paying the consequences of this war against drugs with thousands killed each year. People are seeing that if anything things are getting worse, with more people becoming addicts, and they are now questioning whether the costs of this drug war are worth it."
Evidently Americans have a much larger appetite for crime in violence in our country than the Colombians do. We also seem to have learned nothing from alcohol prohibition.
By itself Colombia can do only so much, since both the demand for cocaine and the demand to eliminate its production come from abroad.
Now where is the demand and the call for elimination of suppy strongest? Why from the good old USA of course. You see if your country does not have a large enough criminal class America will force you to adopt polices that will create or enlarge such a class. After all we are doing it in America. And as we all know because of the strong religious impulse of this country whatever we do is good. So the thinking goes. Which is why early in the 1960s America forced the Single Convention Treaty On Narcotics on the world. However, the idea goes back farther to a time when alcohol prohibitionists were strongly agitating in America; it goes back to the International Opium Convention, signed at The Hague early in 1912. You see there is only one way to treat this problem, the American way.

Well maybe not for much longer.

Raich Blog Links

I'm going to post some of my favorite Raich decision blog links. If you have more add them to the comments:

Do something









Legal Theory Blog

The Agitator

The Agitator

The Volokh Conspiracy

Vice Squad

Crescat Sententia

Drug War Rants


Knox News

US Marijuana Party

Andrew Sullivan

Balloon Juice

Balloon Juice


Patterico's Pontifications

The Moderate Voice

LA Times


Nobody's Business

Blind Mind’s Eye

Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Musing's musings

Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

Johnathan Adler - NRO

Hootsbuddy's Place

Lockjaw's Lair

Leviathan Slayer

Pro's and Con's

Sir BlogsaLot


Lex Communis

Combs Spouts Off

The Spoonbender

Star Bright

Poli Tech

De Novo

John Lott

Chicago Tribune

Mader Blog

Crime & Federalism

The Daily Brief

Tom Paine

Professional courtesy

Does any one think that the fact that doctors can prescribe opiates doesn't interfere with opiate prohibition?

The question is not if the availability of the drug makes it easier to avoid interfering with a prohibition regime.

The question is: is it medically useful?

A lot of doctors seem to think it is.

Well you know how it is. The Congress knows best.

Proof of that? Look at the success of alcohol prohibition.

Prohibition is a price support system for criminals. Heaven knows the criminal class needs all the help it can get. But I understand why Congress would favor such a regime.

Professional courtesy.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Well the debate about the correct way to change the dug laws in America is over. Claiming rights and limits on Federal power is useless. A different tack is required.


If as I have claimed in:

Addiction or Self Medication?
Genetic Discrimination
Cannabinoids - the Key to many Pains?
Big Mac - heroin attack

and may other articles on the subject that chronic drug use is a symptom of chronic pain/fear then we must do to Congress what we have done in the states. Appeal to the compassion of the public and the legislature.

As Dennis Peron once said: all use is medical use. I think he was correct. Science is beginning to show that this is in fact the case. The anti-prohibitionists need to get with the program.

Rights are tissue paper. Gossamer. Of no practical use.

What we need to do is to change peoples' hearts. Appeal to compassion.

It worked in California and Montana. It can work in Congress. If we push hard enough in that direction.

The Constitution is evolving

I got this bit from Legal Theory Blog in the discussion of the Raich case. Justice Stevens says:

In assessing the validity of congressional regulation, none of our Commerce Clause cases can be viewed in isolation. As charted in considerable detail in United States v. Lopez, our understanding of the reach of the Commerce Clause, as well as Congress? assertion of authority thereunder, has evolved over time.
And which way has it evolved? Is it expanding the rights of citizens and reducing the powers of government? Well no. Justice Stevens explains:
The Commerce Clause emerged as the Framers? response to the central problem giving rise to the Constitution itself: the absence of any federal commerce power under the Articles of Confederation.25 For the first century of our history, the primary use of the Clause was to preclude the kind of discriminatory state legislation that had once been permissible.26 Then, in response to rapid industrial development and an increasingly interdependent national economy, Congress ?ushered in a new era of federal regulation under the commerce power,? beginning with the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887, 24 Stat. 379, and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890, 26 Stat. 209, as amended, 15 U. S. C. §2 et seq.27 Cases decided during that ?new era,? which now spans more than a century, have identified three general categories of regulation in which Congress is authorized to engage under its commerce power. First, Congress can regulate the channels of interstate commerce. Perez v. United States, 402 U. S. 146, 150 (1971). Second, Congress has authority to regulate and protect the instrumentalities of interstate commerce, and persons or things in interstate commerce. Ibid. Third, Congress has the power to regulate activities that substantially affect interstate commerce. Ibid.; NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U. S. 1, 37 (1937). Only the third category is implicated in the case at hand.

Our case law firmly establishes Congress? power to regulate purely local activities that are part of an economic "class of activities" that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. * * * As we stated in Wickard, ?even if appellee?s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.? Id., at 125. We have never required Congress to legislate with scientific exactitude. When Congress decides that the "total incidence" of a practice poses a threat to a national market, it may regulate the entire class. (emphasis added)
So let me ask my Republican friends who used to think that Wickard was an over reach by FDR into areas the Federal Government had no authority to regulate. Do you agree with the ever flexible Constitution theory? Your most vaunted conservative Judge, Scalia, concurs with the opinion and substantially agrees that the Federal Government has regulatory power over items that are not actually sold, and do not cross state lines.

So where is the Conservatism of the Court? Thomas. He says that there are well defined limits to Federal power. He goes back to the original understanding of the Constitution.

And to my lefty friends, is Thomas still your Uncle Tom? Scalia's water boy?

The Federal government now has unlimited police powers in the nation. It could prosecute simple theft. Why? Well the object of the thief could be sold in interstate commerce. Thus the thief is interfering with interstate commerce. Thus thievery could be a Federal crime. This is especially true for shoplifting.

There are now no understandable limits on the Federal Government. The limits are whatever five Justices decide (they decided for States Rights in Lopez). God help us all when Congress is in session.

Raich - the Decision

The case of Raich vs. Gonzales has been decided. The decision as far as this non-lawyer can figure out says that there are no limits to what Congress can regulate.

So let me see if I get this.

Water is sold in interstate commerce.

Does this give the Congress the power to legislate all uses of water in America?

For instance it may be used for brushing your teeth but not be used after flossing? It may be used for one minute showers but not baths? If Congress so decides? You can drink it out of a tap (which is paid for) but not from a stream for which no price has been paid?

Slam dunk for sure.


The bottom line is that every object of commerce in Ameria is sold between states. This means that Congress can not just regulate items that actually cross state's borders but anything which might potentially cross a state's borders. Which is everything.

We no longer live in America. We now live in France.

Instapundit has a nice round up. No doubt there will be more in the coming days.

I have some pre-decision posts on the subject here and here.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I was visiting Babalu Blog and came across this story about power shortages in Cuba.

There are major power problems and electricity is shut down for the greater part of most days and no power means that pump stations are idle, thus no water service is available basically anywhere.

Cubans use buckets to procur the water they need. A truck with a tank of water comes by their neighborhood and Cubans line up with their buckets and containers to get their supply of water. There is a quota, of course. Water, like anything and everything else in Cuba, is rationed.
What a far cry from America where even the poorest usually have running water themselves or at minimum acess to it.
Apart from all the uses of water I mentioned above, there is one more very important need for water: The flushing of toilets.

If you only have a few gallons of water per day you need to prioritize your use of it and flushing the toilet is way down on the totem pole. So what kind of measures do Cubans take? Well, some only have the luxury of flushing their toilets once a day, at the end of the day, after all the family members have had their use of the facilities. It's difficult to picture that isnt it? Having to sit down on the toilet to defacate atop the excrement of your family members. Mom's, dad's, abuelita's, your sister's, brother's shit all piled up in the toilet bowl like that for the entire day. It's pretty disgusting.
Not only is it disgusting it is depressing. This happened to me once when I got behind in my water bill. But it was not so hard for us. We had laundromats for the clothes and our kind neighbor Mike (thanks again!) let us use his garden hose when we needed it to fill a bucket to flush. The only real major annoyance was bathing with cold water. At least it was summertime. America is truly a flush country. A several times daily miracle we take for granted. Well what do they do in Cuba?
"Some people just cant stand it," my neighbors uncle told me and I have no doubt that they could.

So some Cubans have taken a different approach to this problem. In order to conserve their precious allotment of water, and to not have to deal with the humiliating and disgusting, not to mention incredibly unsanitary, need to defecate on each other's excrement they have resolved a new plan.

Some families, especially those that live in the upper floors of apartment buildings with no access to private areas on the ground, now simply defecate into plastic bags, seal them up with a knot and toss them out of their apartment windows onto the street. Yes, that's right. They shit into bags and toss them out onto their streets.

So, not only is there no running water and no viable way of cleaning the streets, but now some streets are littered with little feces filled plastic bags.
So that is Cuba today. High literacy, free medical care, rationed food, rationed water, rationed electricity, and streets full of crap. Truly a workers paradise.

There was a time when the Cuban economy was the best in Latin America. Now it is the worst. Way to go Fidel.