"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What are we going to do with Iraq?

The Columbia Critic, the left-leaning blog of one of my friends, Brian Wagner, has a great post entitled "What are we going to do with Iraq?" Although a bit lengthy, the article addresses several interesting issues with a moderate, logical tone that avoids partisan influence.
For three years we have critiqued the Iraq invasion for insufficient intelligence of a threat and the non-existence of WMDs...It seems however with this recent revelation by General Sada that soon the left and the right will be on the same page. We on the left will still not understand why we shifted from Afghanistan to Iraq, but we will acknowledge the threat Saddam posed with WMDs

It is refreshing to see someone who has spoken out against the war recognize evidence that contradicts his argument. It is something that we do not see enough of on either side of the debate over the War in Iraq.

I, for one, probably would not have supported the invasion had I known what we know now. However, even "what we know now" is an unsettled subject, full of faulty intelligence, with weighty evidence for both sides. We have accounts by John Shaw and George Sada, as well as Iraqi documents that seem to show the existence/intent to develop WMD's. However, the fact remains that no WMD's have been found, and there are other Iraqi documents that provide evidence that Saddam had lied to his military about Iraq having any WMD's.

There are a lot of issues that I do not agree with President Bush on. There are a lot of issues that I support him on. The war lies somewhere in between for me. However, Wang at The Columbia Critic aptly covers it all..."The million dollar question is how we proceed with the 'War on Terror'"

Sunday, March 26, 2006

SB840: Bringing the Failures of Canada to the Golden State Part I

Cross-posted at

SB840 should be a household word term for any Californian concerned with employment, economics, and taxation within the state of California. The bill, currently in the State Legislature, would create a socialized health care system within the state of California, similar to the failing Canadian health care system (more, here). Currently, the Canadian health-care industry is reverting back to privatized health-insurance due to hospital closures, underfunding, and a decrease in the quality and timeliness of health care. Yet, instead of shunning this system, Democrats are attempting to bring it to California. In short, the State would criminalize private insurance companies, shifting all health care coverage to the state. While providing affordable health care to the greatest number of people is a noble cause, SB840 will do so with great cost to the citizens of California, with a disproportiante cost to the middle class.

The group Health Care For All provides a summary of the Bill. This summary claims that
All federal, state and county monies currently spent on health care will be reallocated to the state Health Care Fund. This will supply about one-third of the needed funding. Federal waivers are required for allocation of federal dollars to the state Health Care Fund. The remaining funding will come from state health taxes that will replace health insurance premiums now paid to insurance companies and co-pays and deductibles now paid to providers. Premiums will be affordable for every Californian and every business because what families pay is in proportion to their income and what employers pay is in proportion to wages(emphasis added)
This means that middle and upper class workers will be required to pay a disproportionate amount compared to their coverage. A more complete summary claims that 12% of individual wages, plus "some other taxes" should be adequate. While 12% is already higher than what my wife and I currently pay for our insurance, I recognize the danger of "some other taxes" - ambiguity in taxation is a dangerous allowance for any program, let alone one with this massive a scope. Furthermore, the summary states "When cost control measures are insufficient [the] commissioner may ask the Legislature for an increase in health care taxes." While they say this will be covered by current taxation, they are planting the seeds for increasing current taxes, and creating new ones.

The plan will not only affect employees taxation rates, it will also hurt businesses and weaken California's economy. SB840 provides a disincentive for businesses to raise wages; any business willing to do so will have to pay proportionally higher taxes. Furthermore, it will provide an economic incentive for lowering the number of employees a company has. To add insult to injury, SB840 will create a disincentive for businesses to remain in California. Because the bill would eliminate choice amongst health care providers, those companies willing to provide coverage for their employees would be required by law to participate in the state's monopolistic health-care program.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A New Enemy in the War on Terror

The United States has another enemy in the war on terror. It's not Iran, Syria, or even France. It is Russia. A few weeks ago I wrote about some of the evidence about what happened to the WMD's in Iraq (It has more recently become a favorite topic for bloggers), evidence mysteriously missing from the MSM.
What startles me more, however, is the accusations that Russia was implicit in the transportation of WMD's from Iraq to both Syria and Lebanon...Why would Russia be involved in the movement of Iraqi WMD's? These were weapons that were prohibited under 17 UN Resolutions, so why would Russia be involved in hiding them? Because most of the weapons are of Russian origin.
These accusations were made by John A. Shaw, the former undersecretary of defense. However, his accusations went mostly unnoticed or ignored by the MSM.

While moonbats all too often seem to claim that this is a war all about oil, it should be remembered that Russia had lucrative oil contracts with Iraq prior to the war. While this may be one the reasons why they disputed UN Security council 1441, I think protecting the secret that they had illegally supplied Iraq with contraband weapons would be a stronger motive for Russia to lobby against passing the resolution.

Yesterday, new accusations came out from the pentagon that Russia fed US war plans to Iraq. This is a very disturbing accusation. While Russia not only ignored the UN security council in order to arm Iraq and may have been integral in moving these weapons from Iraq into Lebanon and Syria, supplying US war plans to Iraq is a much more serious offense. If true, it would mean that Russia is not an ally of the United States, or the war on terror.

Rightwinged.com chimes in with regard to the recently released Iraqi documents, saying
Many have wondered if the administration's reluctance to release the documents might be over concern of embarassing and alienating our Russian "allies", because we think we're going to need their help with the current Iran situation...Personally I say "screw Russia"
Rightwinged is right. In light of Russia's recent actions regarding Iraq, both before and after the beginning of the war, I do not feel that Russia can be trusted. The US should not allow the plan to allow Russia to supply Iran with fissionable material for use in nuclear power plants. Considering Russia's actions, allowing such a close relationship between the two countries makes me as nervous as allowing North Korea to supply Iran with the same material. The security of Israel, the US, and the entire world may very well rest upon how the current Iran situation can be resolved. I would not feel comfortable knowing that Russia is keeping me safe.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

...Spoke too soon

Alright, in my last post I said I had nothing I felt compelled to blog about. I spoke too soon. Soon after posting I read this, Hillary Clinton saying, in regards the Rep. Sensenbrenner's border security bill, "This bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself." WHAT? Does Hillary, the senator from New York (which is 2000 miles from Mexico, according to mapquest) actually believe that building a fence along the border would criminalize Jesus Christ?

Illegal immigration is a huge problem in the US, and one that few people are taking seriously. President Bush' non-amnesty amnesty proposal is a slap in the face to those who are attempting to protect our country from drugs, crime, dire economic effects (diluting the labor pool, decreasing wages, and exporting money), and a potential invasion, and Hillary's comments seem to highlight her disregard for our countries security, and/or her lack of understanding of the issue.

So, does Hillary actually believe that the Sensenbrenner Bill would criminalize Jesus Christ? The answer must be no. See, Hillary's comment does not refer to Jesus as in Jesus Christ, the lord and savior. No, Hillary must have meant Jesus the common Hispanic name. In that case, yes. Hillary is correct. The Sensenbrenner bill would make illegal-alien-rapist-burglars like Jesus Del Carmen Gomez-Rodriguez a felon. And for that, I support the Sensenbrenner Bill.

Slow day, but some great Editorials.

I've very little I feel compelled to write about today. However, for the sake of posting something, here are a few of the Editorials I'm reading today. Check them out.

Go Bush, Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle
This is a great look at the President, and why the author supports him not only while his poll numbers dwindle, but because his poll numbers are dwindling!

In Florida, 'Uniform' Foolishness, George F. Will, Washington Post
A look at the Florida Supreme courts ruling against School Vouchers. In short, teacher's union opposes education, NAACP opposes black students. The Supreme court says that students can not participate in a voucher system that takes them away from a failing public school to a great private school (at a lower cost to tax-payers, by the way) because the state must have a monopoly on education. The two republican-appointees on the bench dissent, NAACP, Teachers Union, and five democrat-appointees support sending the students, many of whom are black, back to the failing public school.

Poll: Americans Love Coulter Columns!, Ann Coulter, Humaneventsonline.com
Coulter takes look at the relevence and accuracy of opinion polls, showing that public opinion of Iraq and President Bush seemed to start low, get lower, get even lower...yet he was still elected by a majority (something Democrats have not had since one-term President Carter). My favorite quote:
-- Most Americans Find Cindy Sheehan Attractive, Interesting (2/8/06). OK, I made that one up. The rest were made up by the Times.
That's it for now. Probably more to come later in the day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

ACLU Vs. The Matrix

I was recently made aware of a little flash movie by the ACLU, in which during a phone call to order a pizza, the pizza company has a whole host of personal information. The animation and accompanying article entitled "Urge Congress to Defang the Matrix" are in response to a 'mulit-state data-mining program' (although the article does not list the states, or reference any bill numbers) where the government can collect personal data. The article seems to present a doomsday scenario, in which the government presumably would use the information for profiling. I'm glad that the ACLU has this in their sights, but I think their worries are for nothing. The article states:
"government sources report that it includes names and address of family members, property ownership, marine vessels, bankrupcies, liens and judgments, voter registrations, and criminal offender information"

To the best of my knowledge, all of this is public information (with the possible exception of marine vessels). Therefore, the scope of this project does not cross the line of illegal search and seizure, and thus should be acceptable. The article does claim that the hope is to also include "commercially available data". Without mentioning what sort of data this is, it is difficult for me to feel emotional or concerned about the program, particularly in light of the potential successes of Able Danger.

In general, I approach the subject with what I would consider a healthy optimism. In it's current form, the project appears legitimate and constitutional. However, the concept of data-mining, much like the recent fiasco over wiretaps, does have the potential for abuse.

For more, see: The Grich and View From Vernon Hill.
Cross-posted at 123Beta

Inspired by Autumn Ashante

I recently read on Malkin about a home-schooled prodigy. She is 7-years old, and is already fluent in several languages, and able to write "great poetry"....unfortunately, she's a racist. Nonetheless, I was inspired by her poem about white nationalism, and decided to write my own poem. Hope you like it.

I wish I lived with a blue-state state-of-mind
I’d watch Fahrenheit 9/11,
And repeat everything I heard.
I’d call Bush a racist,
And cast my ballot for Robert Byrd
I could donate to terrorists,
Disguised as Code Pink
And I could hate them old neo-cons,
Who won’t flush baby’s down the sink


Oh, yes, I wish I had a blue-state state-of-mind
Where child porn is expression,
A first-amendment right
Where guns to protect your family,
Is an un-American plight
Where Malkin and Coulter are stupid,
I’d rather read the Daily Kos
Where home-schooling is un-American,
Unless racism or abortion is the cause.

How peaceful it would be in a blue-state state-of-mind
Where WMD’s don’t exist,
No matter the documents,
No matter the yellowcake,
Forget General Sada.
No Chemical weapons,
They’re in Syria now
No Nuclear program,
It was buried underground.

Here I come, to a blue-state state-of-mind
There I won’t pray,
But all day demonstrate
About Zionists, and anarchy,
And my right to terminate
Where Clinton reigns forever
And he can follow his every urge
With impeachment for anything…
Except when one perjures

Saturday, March 18, 2006

San Francisco Anti-War (anti-jew, anti-police, anti-Bush, anti-establishment) Rally

Today, in honor of the anniversary of the third year of the Iraq war, San Franciscans came out in droves in order to protest the war. Nothing surprising about that. My wife and I had seen ads for it recently, and were not interested. We decided to go shopping, and upon leaving Old Navy the march began to pass where we were at. While I was not surprised by the large number of people involved in the march, I was surprised at the seeming lack of coherence. What I thought was supposed to be about the Iraq war turned out to be nothing of the sort. While, of course, there were some signs about the war, the majority of the signs I saw were Pro-Palestine, Anti-Jew, and Pro-Anarchist.

Unfortunately, I did not have my camera on me, as I didn't expect to need it. All I had was my palm pilot, with limited memory-stick space and poor resolution. So, below each picture is a caption.

These two gent's are carrying signs that say "No More Wars for Israel". The taller of the two seemed to want to hide behind his sign the instant I pointed my camera at him. I wouldn't want to be seen with that sign, either.


This is another stunning example of the advanced thought process displayed by most of the crowd. Lest I remind her of President Clinton's (and Kerry's, Boxer's, Feinstein's...) statements in regards to Saddam in 1998, suffice it to say I'm not sure that she has thought past the Liberal war-cry/mating call of 'impeach Bush'. Impeachment does not mean removal from office, and I sincerely doubt that the Republican dominated senate would do anything of that sort. She must have missed Sen. Feingold's pathetic attempts at censure this week.


This was the frosting on the cake. The sign reads "No to UN Aggression Against Iran's National Sovereignty/ No to Theocracy in Iran." No comment.

I really wish that I had been equipped with a more suitable camera, as there were SO many more signs I wanted to capture. I wrote them down as fast I could, and so I will at least recall them here:

"Boycott Jerusalem"
"Stop the Racism, end the War"
"Palestine WILL be Free"
"Fight the real enemy" (with a picture of Bush)
"End the Occupation" (with a picture of an American Soldier on one half and a sad little girl on the other)
and, of course...."Fuck the Police"

With all of the excitement, I wish I would have come prepared......


UPDATE I 3/20/06: Welcome to The Gentle Cricket to everyone visiting from Michelle Malkin. Glad to have you stop by and share your opinions.


UPDATE II 3/20/06: Welcome to those linked here from California Conservative. I have a lot of respect for their blog, and am honored by the hat tip. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cameron Diaz was (almost) right? Rape is legal!

In September of 2004, while appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show, Cameron Diaz spoke out in harsh opposition to the reelection of President Bush, saying "If you think rape should be legal then don't vote." At the time this was great fodder for people like Michelle Malkin, who obviously reveled in the absurd statement implying that if President Bush were reelected, rape would be legalized. But, that was 2004. Times are certainly different, and it now seems as though Ms. Diaz was on to something, though she seems to have gotten the party involvement incorrect.

Bill O'Reilly of Fox news is now reporting about a case involving a Judge from Ohio named John Connor who gave absolutely no jail time to man accused of child rape. Andrew Selva, despite admitting to 20 counts of rape involving two boys, one twelve and the other only five years old, the "honorable" Judge Connor sentenced him to one year of house arrest. It is hard to argue that punishment fits the crime. Fortunately, some in Ohio are attempting to unseat the Democrat Judge .

This story comes only a month after a similar story involving a Vermont Judge. Judge Cashman, appointed by Republican Governor Sneeling of Vermont argued that punishment was not necessary, and was a believer in the leftist idea of "restorative justice".

Here in California we have seen some frightening recent developments as well. California Conservative recently reported on a California Supreme court decision which essentially claimed that oral sex with children is not an agregious enough act to label someone a sex-offender. The near unanimous decision sends a dangerous message of legitimizing these actions.

Yet, while Judges were busy decriminalizing the rape of children, California Democrat Assemblyman Mark Leno took a more direct approach. Leno recently argued on the floor of the legislature against making the possession of child-pornography a felony. Leno argues that people should be able to possess up to 24 peices of child-pornography without facing felony prosecution (though it seems unlikely that the California Supreme court would uphold any punishment). Leno introduced an Amendment to a bill that would make this allowance.

The San Francisco Chronicle claimed that the ensuing outrage by Republicans against Leno as an affront to decency, writing in support of Leno's amendment. While supporting the essential legalization of child-pornography, The Chronicle couldn't avoid showing their true agenda, being disingenuous in regards to previous, completely unrelated comments by Bill O'Reilly about Military presence in SF. While Leno and The Chronicle believe that "personal use" of child pornography is acceptable, they fails to realize the simple concept of supply and demand. As demand for child-porn increases (which legalization would do), supply will increase in order to meet the demand. The passage of Leno's amendment would undoubtedly lead to an increase in production of child-pornography.

So, in summary:
1. A Democrat Ohio Judge feels that 20 counts of raping two pre-teen boys deserves no punishment.
2. A Vermont Judge feels that punishment for a child rapist is not in the best interest of children, citing a far-left idea.
3. The liberal California Supreme court does not think that engaging in oral sex with children makes someone a sex-offender.
4. California Assemblyman, Democrat Mark Leno, thinks everyone should be able to have child-pornography without penalty.
5. The agenda driven San Francisco Chronicle (don't believe that statement? Check out Marooned in Marin for examples) believes that child-porn is a right

With all of this in mind, it would appear as though Cameron Diaz was close to accurate in her statement. Child rape seems to be more and more acceptable, at least to many Democrats. Diaz simply got the party's mixed up. A simple mistake to make. Yet, while there seems to be a concerted effort to allow sex with children by these judges and politicians, the Bush Administration, at least, is doing something to protect children.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Denmark Rally: Part II

For those of you who read the first Denmark Rally post, here are some more photos from the hour to enjoy.

The first here is of the group, as it was still forming. This was still early in the hour and several more people came later in the hour. Even in the small group we had quite a few people with great signs and showing both American and Danish flags.

This girl, Anna, was passing out treats from the great country of Denmark. Others also showed support for buying Danish products in order to offset the effects of the boycott of Denmark.


Long live free speech.

Friday, March 10, 2006

over the rainbow

blah

Denmark Rally: Part I

Here in San Francisco today a rally in support of free speech and in support of Denmark was held at the Danish Consulate. Conservatives are not usually the rally type of crowd, but we nonetheless had a decent turnout. Personally, I greatly enjoyed the experience. It is such a liberating feeling to exercise your freedoms of speech, press, and peaceable assembly. Doing say makes it seem all the more worth fighting for, and all the more worth supporting around the world (Denmark, Yemen, etc...).

The rally was organized by Cinnamon Stillwell and had a small (~75 people) but supportive crowd.


Despite the paucity of local news coverage, there were many with video cameras, as well as fellow bloggers taking pictures, including this guy, The Only Republican in San Francisco (whom I almost didn't recognize without his swim cap).


Many people brought signs and flags to show their support for Denmark. My favorite sign read "Free People Say NO to Kartoonnacht". Here are some of the various signs.



While the crowd was still growing, Nathan took it upon himself to address everyone in attendence, declaring his opinions on the importance of free speech, the blessing it is for America, and how it is worth fighting for and supporting. At the end of his improptu speech the crowd gaving him a well-deserved applause.

More pictures to come. Right now it's time for lunch and a Carlsberg.



Related:
'SAMMENHOLD IN SAN FRANCISCO' by Michelle Malkin
'Reminder: free speech rally today at noon' by The Only Republican in San Francisco

Chicken or the Egg?

The recent developments with Iran have caused a lot of people to question the availability of oil in the near future. Even though we do not buy oil from Iran, if Iran chose to withhold oil from the Global market, it would still have dramatic effects upon America. The controversy again sparked my interest in the turn away from oil as our primary transportation energy source.

Recently the debate of alternative fuels has been in regards to corn. Corn, as well as other biomass, can be fermented to make ethanol, which can be used as a fuel source. Could corn be the saving grace of the American economy? Some have argued 'no', on the basis that there simply is not enough farmland in America to produce nearly enough fuel. I disagree. While I recognize that corn and ethanol fuels will most certainly not be the fuel of the future, but ethanol has some desirable characteristics that can, and may, be the energy that helps us get to the future.

Most people agree that a Hydrogen energy economy is the desired, and only sustainable, direction we should be moving. However, it causes a chicken or the egg problem. Currently there is no incentive for car companies to invest billions to mass produce a fuel cell car, even though the technology exists. They have no incentive because potential buyers have no access to hydrogen gas fuel. On the other hand, a hydrogen gas fuel distribution system is not in the works because there are no cars to utilize the fuel. So, which comes first; the chicken or the egg?

The answer, in my opinion, should be neither. The first step should be the production of "flex-fuel" vehicles (GM produces many) that can run on either traditional gasoline, or E85, a gasoline and alcohol (85%) mixture. As E85 distribution becomes more and more available, fuel cell cars could rise with it. What is looked over by most in the debate about the future of energy; with only minor alterations, fuel cells can also use ethanol as a fuel! This means that as a distribution system for ethanol develops, fuel cell vehicles could, potentially, begin to develop alongside of them. As more and more fuel cell vehicles begin to roam the streets, running on ethanol, an impetus for a hydrogen distribution network would be established.

Ethanol is not the future of transportation. It simply does not have the capacity to eliminate our foreign dependence, and it would, potentially, continue to produce carbon-dioxide (which contributes to the greenhouse effect) when it is burned. However, it has the unique potential to act as a transition fuel between our current oil-dependence, and a cleaner, self-sufficient Hydrogen economy. It would do so seamlessly for the consumer, which is a necessary feature of such a fuel, and without a large increase in price (though the price may match prices of gas in the future). I think support of legislation that promotes ethanol fuels is vital.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

War Crimes Trial of President Bush

As most people who follow the news should know, a New Jersey High School is holding a mock-trial, allegedly charging President George Bush with war crimes. This comes at a time when another teacher, Jay Bennish, was suspended for blatantly presenting his own political viewpoints to his students, without providing opposing viewpoints. Bennish was suspended after a father a boy who taped Bennish' "lectures" heard the tapes. The New Jersey school board is claims to be upset by the mock trial, and has already stated that appropriate action will be taken.

These are certainly not isolated cases of teachers crossing the line of political neutrality. Prior to these stories there has been a debate about uber-liberal college professors. I, personally, have been affected. In 2004, during a medical school interview, I was asked about my opinion on the war in Iraq. After calmy and succintly expressing my views, the professor who was interviewing me began berating me, claiming that "you can't really believe that," or "you have to admit this is about oil". I consider this inappropriate conduct, considering the circumstances.

While all of this does disappoint me (as well as anger me, frustrate me, annoy me, etc...), I think it provides something useful to me, as well. I think this is a great incentive to support voucher programs. While a schoolboard may consider suspension of a teacher who claims that Bush and Hitler are very similar, the parents of students at the school can do very little about it, other than petition their school board. They are still forced to send their child to that school. In a free-market educational system, they could take their business elsewhere, to a school more concerned with a neutral education system.

I am not advocating "liberal schools" and "conservative schools" (I think neither should exist), but rather the fact that if one of these schools arises, parents would have to option to remove their impressionable child from the school that presents such an agenda.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Murdercide

The Article
I was recently rereading the January '06 issue of Scientific American and came across an article by Michael Shermer, the publisher of Skeptic. The issue is suicide bombings, and the argument is one of semantics, that "suicide bombings" should more accurately be described as "murdercide", or "suicide by murder".
Police have an expression for people who put themselves into circumstances that force officers to shoot them: "suicide by cop." Following this lingo, suicide bombers commit "suicide by murder," so I propose we call such acts "murdercide": the killing of a human or humans with malice aforethought by means of self-murder

...[S]suicide has drawn the attention of scientists, who understand it to be the product of two conditions quite unrelated to murdercide: ineffectiveness and disconnectedness. According to Florida State University psychologist Thomas Joiner, ..."People desire death when two fundamental needs are frustrated to the point of extinction; namely, the need to belong with or connect to others, and the need to feel effective with or to influence others."

...The belief that suicide bombers are poor, uneducated, disaffected or disturbed is contradicted by science. Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, found in a study of 400 Al Qaeda members that three quarters of his sample came from the upper of middle class..."The vast majority-90 percent-came from caring, intact families. Sixty-three percent had gone to college, as compared with the 5-6 percent that's usual for the third world...Far from having no family or job responsibilities, 73 percent were married and the vast majority had children...Three quarters were professionals or semiprofessionals. They are engineers, architects and civil engineers, mostly scientists...and quite surprisingly very few had any background in religion."

Joiner postulates that a necessary condition for suicide is habituation to the fear about the pain involved in the act. How do terrorist organizations infuse this condition in their recruits? One way is through psychological reinforcement...[T]he celebration and commemoration of suicide bombings that began in the 1980s changed a culture into on that idolizes martyrdom and its hero. Today murderciders appear in posters like star athletes.
One method to attenuate murdercide, then, is to target dangerous groups that influence individuals, such as Al Qaeda. Another method, says Princeton University economist Alan B. Krueger, is to increase the civil liberties of the countries that breed terrorist groups. In an analysis of State Department data on terrorism, Krueger discovered that "countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which have spawned relatively many terrorists, are economically well off yet lacking in civil liberties. Poor countries with a tradition of protecting civil liberties are unlikely to spawn suicide terrorists. Evidently, the freedom to assemble and protest peacefully without interference from the government goes a long way to providing an alternative to terrorism."
Let freedom ring.

Conclusions
A few things come to mind after reading this article. First, I support the decision to refer to these terrorists as murderciders. It may be a cumbersome word, but what they do is first and foremost, murder. The scientific backing is also an argument for semantics.

Also, after first reading it, I was struck by the (seemingly) glaring contradiction which is Iraq. When freedom was introduced in Iraq by the collation's' overthrow of the dictator, why did the number of murdercides increase (and continue)? Before the toppling of Saddam, although Iraq was poor nation, it had virtually no civil liberties. So, why were there no suicide bombings against the Iraqi dictatorship? This was my first thought, but it is a neglectful notion. It neglects one vital difference between the two Iraqs; Saddam. Prior to the overthrow of the tyrant, a suicide bomber would not be revered and admired by fellow citizens. Rather, his family would be tortured and killed. This is a strong disincentive to potential murderciders.

Adding to the number of murdercides in Iraq are the invasion of terrorists from surrounding countries. Do Syria and Iran, for example, fit the profile of 'rich with stifled civil liberties' as posed by Krueger? I would imagine that a large portion of the 400 Al Qaeda terrorists that Sagemen studied would have come from countries like Saudi Arabia and Syria.

I think this was very interesting article, and I hope that anyone who reads my post will join me in referring to these terrorist acts with the correct term of murdercide.

Understanding the basis for murdercide is one thing. Preventing it is altogether another. The phrase "let freedom ring" certainly is not enough, as is evidenced by the consistent stream of suicide bombers in Iraq. I think that removing the commendation for murderciders is key. "Martyrdom" is somewhat contradictory, since most are not religiously educated, yet they are likely led to believe that carrying out such acts would be. Dispelling this idea is one step. A second may be punishment for the families (perhaps fathers) of murderciders. Knowing that your father may be imprisoned, or your wife and family may be fined and/or sued if you perform murdercide is a strong disinsentive (though in some cases it may be an incentive). While torture and murder helped Saddam keep these acts in check, legal and economic repercussions could help the coalition and the developing Iraqi government diminish these attacks. Lastly, promoting civil liberties throughout the region may prove to be the most effective technique. Something to keep in mind with the current situation with Iran.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

MSM: Three bogus stories

Gateway Pundit has the real facts on three bogus stories reported over the past few days. Very interesting.

Howard Dean Hypocrisy

Today Howard Dean was interviewed by Wolf-Blitzer. When asked by Blitzer about his statements that "This war is unwinnable," Dean said that
The war is not winnable under this administration. Here we are 5 years into the Presidency of George Bush; North Korea still has Nuclear Weapons, Iran is about to get them
Aside from dodging the question and providing any support for his position, the ensuing statements are absurd. Might I remind you, Mr. Dean, that the person currently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is John Bolton. The nomination stems from his significant involvement in uncovering Iran's Nuclear Weapons program. I seem to recall that, due to such staunch opposition by your party, Mr. Dean, President Bush was forced to use a recess appointment to place Mr. Bolton as our UN Ambassador.

Dean makes the argument that Iran developing Nuclear weapons is a result of the Bush Presidency. I say that it is precisely because of President Bush that Iran was found out to be developing weapons. I have the benefit of having facts on my side.