Archive for June, 2006

‘Poverty’ in America

Friday, June 30th, 2006

Great post over at The Will to Exist concerning poverty in America. Citing some telling statistics, Trevor argues that America has a major poverty problem – not material, but mental:

In my opinion, the real poverty crisis in America is not nutritional or financial. America’s real problem with poverty centers on the minds of Americans. What are we teaching our children in America’s public school system? Do we teach them appropriate moral values? I don’t think so. Do we teach them sound personal financial management principles? I haven’t seen it. Do we teach them basic economics? Not really, from what I can tell. Do we teach them to be responsible, civically minded citizens? I am dubious.

What we do seem to be teaching our children is that they live in a culture where individual responsibility is dead and the culture of entitlement is their birthright. We’re inculcuating the idea of the state as nanny, caregiver and overlord. We’re pursuing mantras of materialism, hedonism and the herd mentality.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.

Anti-Communism Rally in Bolivia

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Plubius reports on an anti-communist, anti-Morales rally in Bolivia:

Not every Bolivian likes to be under the thumb of Hugo Chavez’s minime, Evo Morales.

Residents of the eastern province, Santa Cruz, which is full of industrious immigrants and enterprising native-indigenous Bolivians who’ve moved there, want instead to have autonomy.

They hate communism and want freedom.

This weekend’s coming vote is seen by some as a first step toward secession, but that is probably going too far at this stage. The vote, for now, is just on autonomy, to decentralize an all too powerful and all too unaccountable state, whose every decision is made by the federal government, even that of tax collecting and local funding. And which is now run by a retrograde communist who is leading Bolivia to perdition.

Yahoo News has lots of photos, but here are my personal favorites:

Images From the Eagle’s Nest

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

The Eagle’s Nest, or Kehlsteinhaus, is a chalet located high in the Bavarian Alps, near Berchtesgaden, Germany. It was originally a 50th birthday present from the Nazi Party to Hitler, although he rarely visited it. Today, it is a tourist attraction for it’s lovely restaurant and amazing view.

Most German mountains have a cross on the peak to symbolize that they were “conquered for Christ.”

Court Rules Against Bush

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

From the SCOTUSblog:

The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Congress did not take away the Court’s authority to rule on the military commissions’ validity, and then went ahead to rule that President Bush did not have authority to set up the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the commissions illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention. In addition, the Court concluded that the commissions were not authorized when Congress enacted the post-9/1l resolution authorizing a response to the terrorist attacks, and were not authorized by last year’s Detainee Treatment Act. The vote against the commissions and on the Court’s jurisdiction was 5-3, with the Chief Justice not taking part.

The Court expressly declared that it was not questioning the government’s power to hold Salim Ahmed Hamdan “for the duration of active hostilities” to prevent harm to innocent civilians. But, it said, “in undertaking to try Hamdan and subject him to criminal punishment, the Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction.”

Four Justices concluded that Salim Ahmed Hamdan could not be charged with conspiracy before a military commission, but that did not have majority support, so its binding effect is uncertain.

Captain Ed sums up my thoughts well:

I haven’t read the decision, but the reliance on the Geneva Convention seems strange. The convention binds nations when dealing with other signatories, not with those who have not agreed to reciprocity. The terrorists we have captured do not wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from civilians; in fact, they take great pains to hide themselves among civilians, deliberately target civilians, and use civilians as human shields. Applying Geneva Convention protections to these terrorists undermines the primary reason for these conventions: protection of civilians. They now will pay no penalty for their disregard for the rules of war, thanks to SCOTUS.

Bush Sings U2

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Via Dean.

Images From Munich, Germany

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Munich is located in southern part of Germany in Bavaria. It is notable for BMW World Headquarters, the site of the infamous 1972 Olympic murders of Israeli athletes, the roots of Nazism, and unbelievable amounts of beer.

The streets of Munich.
A restaurant where we had dinner, founded in 1328.

Munich Cathedral.

The Feldherrnhalle, the “spiritual center” of Nazism. During the Third Reich, SS agents were stationed outside around the clock, and everyone who walked by was required to give the Nazi salute.

What about those who opposed the Nazis? There is an alley behind the Feldherrnhalle that they would cut through to avoid having to give the salute. The golden bricks are in memory of them.

The Hofbrauhaus, possibly the most famous bar in the world.

A memorial to those who resisted the Nazis.

The German WWI Memorial. Note the soldier still has his gun and is still in uniform. What does this suggest to you?

A memorial to the Germans killed in the Napoleonic wars.

The cathedral on a cloudy day.

Cannon On Target

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) has survived a primary challenge from John Jacob, who was strongly backed by the Tom Tancredo’s Team America PAC and Bay Buchanan (sister of Pat Buchanan).

Cannon is a staunch conservative who has earned a lifetime rating of 97% from the American Conservative Union, but because he dared dissent from Tancredo orthodoxy on immigration, he found himself in the crosshairs of anti-immigrant groups. To his credit, Cannon didn’t back down, and even did what many seem afraid to do: he pointed out the obvious ties between anti-immigration activists and the sleaze they often choose to associate with.

Fortunately, the voters of his district were wise enough to reject the xenophobia and sent Cannon back to Washington with a double-digit primary win. Is this a test case for the rest of America? Does it indicate that the strategy advocated by the hardliners (”deport ‘em all, build a wall!”) will not be as successful as they hope? I don’t know, but this is a positive sign to be sure. Republicans should think twice before they embrace the nativist strategy.

Remember This Guy?

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Ken Jennings, who gain cult status after winning an amazing 74 days on Jeopardy, has started his own blog.

Foreign Aid Fallacies

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Dr. Walter Williams contrasts the situation in Botswana with that of Zimbabwe, and tackles foreign aid:

Botswana shares a heritage with Zimbabwe, for it, too, was a British colony. What it doesn’t share with Zimbabwe explains its success: the rule of law, minimal corruption and, most of all, respect for private property rights. No amount of western foreign aid can bring about the political and socioeconomic climate necessary for economic growth. Instead, foreign aid allows vicious dictators to remain in power. It enables them to buy the allegiance of cronies and the military equipment to oppress their own people, not to mention being able to set up “retirement” accounts in Swiss banks. The best thing westerners can do for Africa is to keep their money and their economic development “experts.”

There are some circumstances where foreign aid works, but only when a ruler has at least some concern for his people. Zimbabwe’s Mugabe lacks such concern, as do virtually all dictators and some democratically elected officials.

The same holds true of embargoes and economic sanctions. I am not aware of any instance where such measures have worked. Instead, they simply give dictators anti-American ammunition to instill in the people (who ultimately are punished by the sanctions far more than their authoritarian leaders).

Courage in Kuwait

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Kuwaiti women are working to gain political power:

Despite what we might say about our least favorite elected leaders, it does take guts to go into politics – especially if you’re a woman in Kuwait. There, women are taking advantage of their recent admission to politics not only by voting, but by joining the race for the 50 spots in the national parliament. But not all their fellow citizens appreciate their enthusiasm, and some are doing their best to persuade the 32 female hopefuls to step out of the limelight and back into the home.

Several female candidates have seen their billboards vandalized and have received threatening phone calls from phony police officers demanding that they withdraw from this Thursday’s election, the first general election since women were granted suffrage in 2005.

It’s good to see that progress is being made in the Middle East. A stable democracy in Iraq will also work wonders.