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Terror and Liberalism

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria


Polyarchy by Robert Dahl

The Nazi Seizure of Power

The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen

Terror and Liberalism

Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman

In Association with

The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck



God Bless Iraq?!?

(via Instapundit)

This weekend was a big anti-war weekend around the country. As some of these pictures show, the anti-war crowd just doesn't get it. If the anti-war people want respect, legitimacy and people to listen to their arguments, they need to abandon these ridiculous notions of "Iraq the Innocent." It couldn't be further from the truth. As long as the anti-war Left presents arguments that "Bush is Hitler" and other such outlandish claims and accusations, it is bound to lose time after time to the Right.

I especially like the poster that quotes incredibly out of context from "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu. Priceless.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 10:19:00 PM

Saturday, January 18, 2003  


Wait, Maybe This Will Work...

Why does the Bush administration feel that it must twist everything to fit their logic? Case in point, today's Pentagon briefing by Rumsfeld and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. In response to the report last week by Hans Blix that there was "no smoking gun" found to indicate Iraq's blame, Rumsfeld argued today that the logic of war's detractors was, well, illogical.

"If the inspectors had found new evidence, the argument might then have been that inspections were in fact working and, therefore, they should be given more time to work. I guess for any who are unalterably opposed to military action, no matter what Iraq may do, there will be some sort of an argument."

Apparently this is also the case for those within the administration who support military action as well. "No matter what Iraq may do, there will be some sort of an argument," indeed.

"Another way to look at it is this; that the fact that the inspectors have not yet come up with new evidence of Iraq's WMD program could be evidence, in and of itself, of Iraq's non-cooperation."

What? That makes no sense, Don. You're trying too hard.

It's utterly impossible to prove false a negative, and even more difficult when the accusations fly from the White House. While I personally believe that Rumsfeld and his administration cronnies do in fact have evidence that Iraq has the weapons that it claims not to have, it shouldn't be up to Iraq to prove that they don't have it. If the U.S. is so sure it knows where the smoking gun is hidden, as Ari Fleischer so eloquently explained, it should be up to the U.S. to prove it has the evidence to prove Iraq guilty. Guilty until proven innocent is not the way America works, even if the evidence to support guilt exists. If the administration is so certain of Iraq's guilt, and has the evidence to back it up, no matter how much Kofi Annan doesn't like it, he'll have to admit that Iraq must be toppled.

To spin Iraqi compliance as a sign of its non-cooperation is ridiculous. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 12:22:00 AM

Thursday, January 16, 2003  


Kiwi.. Anyone?

This is just a plain bad idea. Of all of the current Democratic contenders, or soon-to-be announced contenders for President in 2004, I could see myself voting for virtually any of them over Bush (and in light of my previous post Sen. Bob Graham is looking better and better). But I'll say it here and now, if former Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun of my home state, Illinois, runs and, god forbid, wins the nomination, Bush gets my vote. There, I've said it. I will vote for Bush if the Democrats mess things up that badly.
You would think that Moseley-Braun would have gotten the message when she lost her reelection bid to the Senate in 1998 to Peter Fitzgerald, the most dim-witted, and undeserving senator ever elected. She managed to mess up her own chances of reelection when she made a controversial trip to Nigeria to visit the late dictator Sani Abacha. There were also questions about her campaign finances that were never made clear. This is a woman arguably incapable of even being an adequate senator of one state, let alone the president of fifty of them.
You've had your time to shine and be trampled. Once you lose it's over. Thank you, don't come again.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 5:27:00 PM

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  


Rock The .50-caliber

The New Republic has a frightening article about the accessibility of .50-caliber rifles. It describes the lack of standards for buying such a high powered weapon and how this just might be the greatest threat from terrorists in a post September 11 world where terrorists must find new ways to wreck havoc in a more scrutinized and paranoid America. The threat of these largely unregulated weapons is shockingly large:

"A .50-caliber sniper rifle, experts say, would be more than capable of shooting down an airliner as it took off or landed. Indeed, aimed properly, this weapon could be as effective as a shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missile, such as the one used by terrorists in an unsuccessful attack on an Israeli passenger plane in Kenya in November."

With plenty of public areas just outside of airports, its amazing that a catastrophe such as this has not yet occured. That it hasn't happened is shocking enough, but that it hasn't happened in light of how appallingly simple it is to purchase a .50-caliber rifle makes it all the more reprehensible.

"Right now, .50-caliber guns are subject to the same lax federal regulations as hunting shotguns or smaller-target rifles. In most states, the purchaser needs only to have a driver's license, be at least 18 years old, and have a clean criminal and immigration record."

This is wrong and must be changed. The .50-caliber rifle is subject to the same standards as a normal hunting rifle. It should instead be under the same regulations that govern the sale of high powered machine guns and similar weapons which inflict comparable damage. There is no reason that a citizen should have such unrestricted access to a military grade weapon like the .50-caliber.
A vulnerability like this must be guarded against, and the only way to effectively do that is with federal legislation. It is unfortunate that much of Congress is in the pocket of the NRA, otherwise we might get some semblence of response to this problem from our elected leaders.
Perhaps we should take a cue from Chris Rock. He muses that the perfect way to get rid of gun violence and to effectively control the use of guns is to make each bullet cost $5000. "At that price you'd have a lot fewer innocent bystanders being shot."
Fewer bystanders, and fewer commercial airliners.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 5:02:00 PM


Bush Gets One Right

According to the Washington Times, Bush will submit a brief in the Affirmative Action case currently before the Supreme Court and will side against the University of Michigan. The university has a policy of awarding extra points to applicants from a racial minority. The university has argued that it is attempting to create a sense of diversity within its student body.
I agree with Bush's decision to support the white students in this case. The university has interpreted the word "diversity" very narrowly to only constitute a person's appearance. This is unfortunate, for true diversity comes from a collection of diverse ideas, backgrounds and creeds. A person's appearance should not be a factor in the creation of a "diverse" student body. While there may be a correlation between race and some of the other genuine criteria for diversity, race should not be used as a sole reason to elevate the status of an applicant. It amounts to nothing more than reverse discrimination, and should disgust everyone who thinks that the civil rights movement was a great period in American social history.
Discrimination can not be eliminated with more discrimination. In fact, the best way to overcome discrimination is with education. And what better way to foster the highest level of educational excellence than to create a student body based on universal diversity; one based on opinion, knowledge and individual identity, not racial preferences and blind adherence to an antiquated policy of reverse prejudice.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 10:30:00 PM

Tuesday, January 14, 2003  


Cleaning Out Death Row

Gov. George Ryan of Illinois was by and large a terrible governor. Any day now I'm expecting him to be indicted for his part in the license-for-bribes scandal that took place under his watch as Illinois Secretary of State. That said, his announcement that he will commute the sentences of all of Illinois' Death Row inmates from death to life in prison without parole was a decision that will earn him the only praise he could really get as governor. The Illinois criminal justice system had major, glaring flaws and it needed reform. I agreed with Ryan's call for a moratorium on executions back in 2000 when the largest flaws in the system were exposed and 13 inmates were exonerated, and I agree with his decision to leave office on a strong moral note like this.
While I do wonder about Ryan's heavy dose of quotations from Abraham Lincoln, in which he called Lincoln, "helluva hell of a guy," his heart was in the right place. Having a Republican who had voted for the reinstitution of the Death Penalty back in 1977 when he was a state congressman eliminate the Death Penalty as governor should open a dialogue across the nation about the morality and need for such an ultimate penalty. Hopefully Ryan's historic action will be just a start to a larger, nation-wide reform movement for state criminal justice systems.
Read more about this at TalkLeft: the politics of crime, here, here, here, especially here, and here.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 8:09:00 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2003  


Truth Hurts

David Brooks writes in the New York Times of all places, about why Americans won't be swayed by the Democrats plan to make Bush's recent tax cut all about class contrast. He says Americans don't vote in their self-interest because their aspirations get in the way of it. He says people have an inflated view of their economic position either in the present or in the near future, and this prevents them from seeing the truth of their economic condition. Brooks argues that Americans are more offended by social injustices than economic injustices because those economic injustices ( i.e. being too rich) may be their doing some day, while social affronts are a flaw in a person's identity.
Read this article. It makes a lot of sense, and just might explain why democrats won't win the tax debate. Oblivious to the truth, America still dreams.

  posted by Kris Lofgren @ 12:24:00 PM