Monday, January 30, 2006


'Classic Political Puffery'

As usual, it takes a federal court proceeding to reveal the truth

The people of Illinois got a surprisingly candid admission about truth and politics in our state:
Facing lawsuits from fired prison officials who say Gov. Rod Blagojevich broke his pledge to keep good employees, lawyers for the state offered a surprising defense: His promises were 'classic political puffery.'

In a political year, the premise that Blagojevich made promises he didn't intend to keep could be troublesome for the governor to explain. But the puffery defense proved to be a sound legal strategy.

A federal appellate court agreed with the administration's lawyers who argued in court filings that the governor's comments were not binding.
Insincerity seems to be the only thing our governor is capable of being candid about. Considering that Bill Clinton is Governor Blagojevich's role model, an admission such as this comes as quite a shock.


Where The Anger Is

Its endemic to one side

Denmark is under fire from Muslims offended by a cartoon:
Denmark has warned citizens not to go to Saudi Arabia and Gaza gunmen said any Danes or Norwegians who came there would face attack, as Muslim fury mounted over newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Denmark has defended the Jyllands-Posten newspaper's right to publish the satirical drawings that seemed to portray the prophet as a terrorist and which a Norwegian paper has run too.

Some Muslims, who deem images of prophets disrespectful and caricatures blasphemous, have reacted angrily, threatening Danes, calling for goods boycotts and demanding an apology.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its envoy from Denmark, Libya has closed its embassy, and thousands of Palestinians marched in protest yesterday.

The Danish Foreign Ministry warned against non-crucial travel to Saudi Arabia and urged Danes to be cautious in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories.
Danish media are under cyber attack; the AP reports:
Angered by the drawings, masked Palestinian gunmen briefly took over a European Union office in Gaza on Monday. Islamists in Bahrain urged street demonstrations, while Syria called for the offenders to be punished. A Saudi company paid thousands of dollars for an ad thanking a business that snubbed Danish products.
Michelle Malkin has a complete roundup, which includes the offensive cartoons. Verity offers some background details:
This is in response to the Jyllands-Posten having published 12 cartoons of Mohammad after a Danish writer complained that he couldn’t find anyone to illustrate a book he’d written about him. The cultural editor of the newspaper put out a call to illustrators, twelve responded and the paper published the cartoons. They were pretty tame stuff, but have rocked the Muslim world because under Islamic law – which they now seek to apply in the West – renderings of Mohammad are illegal.

The cultural editor of the Jyllands-Posen has remained unapologetic, saying he put out the call in response to a worrying trend he had observed in the Western media: self-censorship. The paper has received bomb threats and the editors and the cartoonists have received death threats from adherents of the Religion of Peace but all have stood their ground.

With great bravery, so has Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Rasmussen, who declined a requested meeting with the ambassadors from 11 Muslim countries, saying he has no control over Denmark’s press “and nor do I want such”.

This was last September and the Muslims aren’t letting this issue go away. They’ve already lodged a somewhat florid protest at the UN, where they got the sympathy of a tranzi ear or two. But their aim is an abject apology from Denmark for breaking an Islamic taboo - or else. They grow more threatening and the courageous Anders Rasmussen calmly declines to change his mind, saying publishing cartoons is not against Danish law, which is the law that applies in Denmark.
Given the European penchant for appeasement, one can't wonder how much longer this will be the case. Offensive speech is in the process of being criminalized in Western societies. In the process, Wretchard notes "whole categories of discourse are now being outlawed in the West." His post concludes:
Blasphemy is the end of argument. The high priest rent his clothes as though it settled something. The West is menaced not only by its declining fertility but by an assault on its intellectual core. We have become as the Ancients whose ideas of freedom went on to illuminate distant generations, but not their own descendants, who hastened to embrace the following dark.
Verity wonders where the anger about all this is. To me, the answer is as obvious as it is frightening.

UPDATE: From Doha, Bill Clinton offers his thoughts on the matter:
"So now what are we going to do? ... Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?" he said at an economic conference in the Qatari capital of Doha.

"In Europe, most of the struggles we've had in the past 50 years have been to fight prejudices against Jews, to fight against anti-Semitism," he said.

Clinton described as "appalling" the 12 cartoons published in a Danish newspaper in September depicting Prophet Mohammed and causing uproar in the Muslim world.

"None of us are totally free of stereotypes about people of different races, different ethnic groups, and different religions ... there was this appalling example in northern Europe, in Denmark ... these totally outrageous cartoons against Islam," he said.

The cartoons, including a portrayal of the prophet wearing a time-bomb-shaped turban, were reprinted in a Norwegian magazine in January, sparking uproar in the Muslim world where images of the prophet are considered blasphemous.

Clinton criticised the tendency to generalise negative news of Islamic militancy.

"Because people see headlines that they don't like (they will) apply that to a whole religion, a whole faith, a whole region and a whole people?" he asked.
Via Bryan Preston, who comments:
That’s dhimmitude in action. Clinton has never once publicly criticized any of the left’s appalling attacks on Christianity—the art exhibits featuring Mary made of dung, Piss Christ, any of that. Not one time, because he knows that Christians aren’t going to do much about it other than maybe send off a strongly worded letter to the museum’s curator, which will be ignored. Yet Clinton singles out a set of cartoons published in Danish newspapers as “appalling” because they offended Muslims. Which was the point of the cartoons, actually—to test and see if Muslim sensibilities pose a threat to European values like free speech. Guess what? They do. Yet it’s not the knee-jerk outrage that appalls Wild Bill, it’s the newspapers’ temerity to exercise its right of free speech.
The Black Iris has much more, including this about an apology from Jyllands Posten:
The newspaper attracting the widespread reaction of the Muslim world with the cartoon titled, "Mohammed's Faces," finally took a step back and published a letter with "an implied apology". The letter signed by Editor Carsten Juste was also translated into Arabic.

Jyllands Posten, earlier insisting on its attitude, apologized politely and admitted it had unintentionally offended all Muslims.

The letter read: "We are sorry that the incident reached this point. We want to express again and again that our goal was not to offend or disrespect anyone. We respect freedom of religion just as Danish society does."

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Möller had asked the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission to convene urgently following the boycott against Danish products that started in Saudi Arabia and spread to Kuwait and Egypt.

Möller said the boycott quickly broadened and he will bring the subject to the fore at the European Union if necessary. The opposition replied the biggest responsibility in this issue rests with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister.

Danish Industrialists, intervening as the boycott against Danish products launched in Saudi Arabia started to quickly spread, made the following address to Jyllands Posten:

"Freedom of expression requires responsibility. This responsibility requires Jyllans Posten to sympathize with the people offended by the cartoons published. It is time to break the silence." The newspaper's editor Carsten Juste rejecting the DI's claims said: "The DI blames us for keeping quiet. But, why were they quiet until now? They step in only now that the discussions are affecting their trade."

Friday, January 27, 2006


Alderman Wants Spy Cameras at Businesses

While we're on the subject of alderboobs (a Mike Royko term), there's this:
Chicago could be on the verge of taking an even deeper plunge into the brave new world of surveillance cameras -- on the backs of businesses that have had it with costly government mandates.

Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) wants to require every licensed business that's open more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period to install and monitor a 'sufficient number' of cameras to record what goes on inside the place and in the parking lot.

The edict would even apply to the management offices of residential high-rises and the convenience stores in those buildings. The only exceptions would be washrooms and changing areas.
Ald Suarez says he just wants to make crime ridden Chicago neighborhoods safer. A laudable goal, of course. (Though the proposal could be just a fetcher.) But regardless of the motive, if the city wants surveilance cameras installed in private businesses, the city should bear the cost, as it does now for the cameras it hangs from light poles in high-crime areas.

On a related note, I wonder if the City Council would ever mandate that existing businesses link their outdoor surveilance cameras to the citywide surveilance network Mayor Daley has been working to create.


Typical Union Politics

onIf they ain't union jobs then we don't want 'em!

Via OpinionJournal I caught this story about Walmart hiring near Chicago.
Eighteen months after the Chicago City Council torpedoed a South Side Wal-Mart, 24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.

The new Wal-Mart at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary.

Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.

Idiot Aldermen. Politics of unions and false demonizing of big-box stores isn't bringing jobs to those who need them. Sometimes I wonder if the politicians really want the populace to be stupid and unemployed. Makes for a more pliant voter I guess.

John O adds:

There's also forgone sales tax revenue to consider. Wal Mart's original proposal included an anchor store for a proposed large new shopping mall near the Dan Ryan Expressway near 71st. (For those who don't know, the 14 lane Dan Ryan is Chicago's busiest expressway; down its median runs the city's busiest el line. At least 200,000 different people must pass that location every week day.) A convient location, both for prospective customers and employees, it would certainly attract suburban commuters, with the added bonus of being situated on a route and very near a popular bypass route traveled by commuters from Indiana. Thus the potential for sales tax revenue to the city paid by people who live either in the suburbs or out of state was considerable. But in an exceedingly rare breach of protocol, the Chicago City Council over-ruled the local alderman and rejected this part of the proposal. Instead we get a Wal Mart 5 miles to the southwest, just across the city's border with Evergreen Park, half of the attendant traffic congestion and none of the tax money.

(Correction: I got the location of the proposed South Side Wal Mart wrong. The actual proposed location was one mile south, at 83rd and the Dan Ryan. Sorry.)

Bill C adds:
Chicago's aldermen often put self interest above the interests of their constituents. Whether it is a smoking ban or stringing out cable companies to squeeze as much as possible an alderman can be counted on to be a short term thinker. Of course, the people get what they deserve by reelecting them. A Chicago politician has a greater chance of leaving office by retiring or being indicted than of losing an election.

Bill O adds:
Immediately preceding the vote against the zoning change for the South Side WalMart on May 26, 2004, the City Council approved the construction of a WalMart on the West Side, due to open in the next few weeks. Two more WalMart locations within the city limits have since been approved, no others have been denied.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Google's Chinese Wall

To make all politically practical information available, just not to everybody

Google announced that it will assist China's fascist regime in censoring the internet:
After holding out longer than any other major internet company, Google will effectively become another brick in the great firewall of China when it starts filtering out information that it believes the government will not approve of.

Despite a year of soul-searching, the American company will join Microsoft and Yahoo! in helping the communist government block access to websites containing politically sensitive content, such as references to the Tiananmen Square massacre and criticism of the politburo.

Executives have grudgingly accepted that this is the ethical price they have to pay to base servers in mainland China, which will improve the speed - and attractiveness - of their service in a country where they face strong competition from the leading mandarin search engine, Baidu.

But Google faces a backlash from free speech advocates, internet activists and politicians, some of whom are already asking how the company's policy in China accords with its mission statement: to make all possible information available to everyone who has a computer or mobile phone.
Some bloggers, such as Vinny, take Google's side:
Like it or not, China has laws. If companies want to operate inside the borders of a country, they have to observe those laws. It really is that simple. Google’s position is absolutely correct. They have two real choices. Either follow the law or don’t do business there. By following the laws, they provide people in China with an internet search engine they’d otherwise have no access whatsoever to.

Isn’t that better for China than Google pulling out of the country altogether?
No. China's government is a repressive, facist dictatorship where the rule of law is, at best, capricious. Anything that helps such a regime maintain its grip on power is de facto bad for the Chinese people. (Remember Tiananmen Square?) Vinny, who is either indifferent to, or ingorant of, the plight of the Chinese people, continues:
The reality is that there are no private ISPs in China and the few internet cafes in the country are monitored heavily by the government anyway. In reality, even if Google were to open up every single document on the web, the government controlled internet of China would keep info out of Chinese hands anyway.
Though debatable, this is probably true. But for how long, given that all the dead or blocked links that many 'sensitive' searches would return would make obvious what was happening? And just why aren't there any private ISPs in China? Put simply, Google is facilitating information suppression.

On the upside, this issue will finally be getting some Congressional attention:
Google will be called to task in Washington next month following a controversial decision by the internet search engine to launch a China-based version of its website that will censor results to avoid angering the country's Communist government.

The decision by Chris Smith, a Republican congressman from New Jersey who chairs a House subcommittee on Human Rights, to call for a February 16 hearing to examine the operating procedures of US internet companies in China, represents the first signs of what could become a serious backlash against Google and other internet companies in Washington that are perceived as capitulating to the Chinese government.
This is a backlash which is long overdue.

UPDATE: Thomas Lipscomb observes:
Some years ago, as the Soviet Union was headed for its demise, a Moscow Book Fair was announced and publishers in the United States and throughout the world flocked to gain access to a huge potential new market. The Soviets promised an open market at the Fair to display what publishers felt were their best books most suited to the market. But as soon as the Fair opened, Soviet police moved in on publishers and confiscated books they felt might "feed agitation."

Other publishers, fearing this kind of action, had already self-censored the books they displayed or quickly removed them on the spot. Times Books, the general book publisher owned by the New York Times Company, immediately withdrew from the Fair, arguing that it was difficult to maintain First Amendment standards in the United States while conceding them elsewhere. A lively debate ensued, and the Moscow Book Fair was seriously diminished as a marketplace thereafter.

Perhaps in the 21st century, Google now believes the Wall Street film villain Gordon Gekko was right and "greed is good." It is hard to come up with any other explanation given Google's flexible definition of "evil." But thousands of American and allied troops are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring repressed peoples access to more democratic institutions just as they have died to protect American freedoms in many wars before. Isn't it time Americans and their elected representatives pay more attention to their own cherished freedoms? Aren't the giant keiretsu companies that control American media too willing to suspend those freedoms wherever they interfere with their pursuit of profit?

Matto adds:
from Pointfive:

See more at Michelle Malkin

Google comments about I'm not convinced. Still seems like their primary goal is $. While that is, of course, their main goal and their fiduciary duty to their shareholders, I believe that a great amount of Google's success is due to the good will that they have engendered by appearing as a young, scrappy, innovative company with a silly name. Most, I mean "most" as in 99.99% of web surfers, couldn't tell the difference between google search results and yahoo or jeeves (are they still around?) or Mamma, etc... Google's success is due to its popularity as a cultural phenomenon. Now many users' opinions have been tarnished, just a bit, and that can avalanche into severely diminished popularity.


Joel Stein...

... is an idiot.

I hate to call people names, but how else to describe someone who writes a column like this? Hugh Hewett exposes just how big a moron Stein is here.


Drug Run Thwarted At Mexican Border

Whether official Mexico is involved or not, its an act of war

An armed incursion into the US from Mexico was turned back:
U.S. law-enforcement authorities confronted several men in Mexican military uniforms and a camouflaged Humvee with .50-caliber machine guns who had crossed into Texas with suspected drug smugglers 50 miles southeast of El Paso, forcing an armed standoff along the Rio Grande, says a Texas sheriff.

Hudspeth County, Texas, Sheriff Arvin West said the incident began at 2:19 p.m. Monday when his deputies -- working as part of an anti-drug smuggling enforcement initiative known as 'Operation Linebacker' -- pursued three SUVs spotted driving north from a border area along the Rio Grande near Interstate 10.

Sheriff West said the pursuit, which began near Sierra Blanca, Texas, ended for one of the vehicles when it blew out a tire and the driver fled. He said deputies seized 1,400 pounds of marijuana from that vehicle.

As the southbound chase continued for the other two SUVs, he said the deputies and at least two Texas Department of Public Safety troopers who had joined in the pursuit encountered several men on the U.S. side of the border dressed in what he described as battle dress uniforms (BDUs). He said they 'appeared to be soldiers, in a Humvee vehicle with what appeared to the officers as being .50-caliber machine guns.'
Michelle Malkin has much more. Jason observes:
Proof positive: (1) that the Border Control is doing a very good job, and (2) that their effectiveness is increasing as time marches on.

Otherwise, there would be no need for those drug and alien smuggler-bots to bring in mercenary muscle.
Perhaps Jayson is right about Border Control's increasing effectiveness. But this shouldn't be mistaken for evidence that Border Control is doing a 'very good job.' I'm sure they are doing the best they can under the circumstances. But clearly it isn't enough. Not even close.

Also, Jayson is wrong to assume that mercenaries are protecting drug shipments into the US. It could be something more sinister:
‘‘We've had armed showdowns with the Mexican army,'' said a border agent who spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘‘These aren't just ex-military guys. These are Mexican army officials assisting drug smugglers.''

In one 2000 incident, more than 16 Mexican soldiers were arrested by border agents in a small town west of El Paso, in Santa Teresa, N.M., after Mexican soldiers fired on the agents, said T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a union representing the agents.

None of the agents was injured in the gun battle, and U.S. State Department officials forced the border agents to release the soldiers and return them to Mexico with their weapons, Bonner added.

‘‘If (Mexico) is going to put military across our border to threaten our guys, and if their own government can't control it, then we should be treating this as an act of war,'' he said.
It is an act of war. We should put an end to this situation -- one way or another.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Added New Link

just added Northeast Intelligence Network (NIN) to our link list. It's worth a read every now and then.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Irony of the Lefties

Seems that the obmusdman on the Washington Post's blog had the temerity to point out to readers that Abramoff gave money to both Republicans and Democrats. (also read this for a little chuckle. This is a cached page, for some reason the original link doesn't work.)

Well, it turns out that some of their well informed and deliberative readers didn't want to believe this and proceeded to swarm the blog with profanities and personal attacks (via Breitbart):
There were so many personal attacks that the newspaper's staff could not "keep the board clean, there was some pretty filthy stuff,"

Unfortunately this is what passes for informed discussion with some lefties these days.

In a related vein. It seems that AJ Strata was caught red-faced (red-fingered? red-keyboarded?) by believing to be true a satirical post by Jeff Goldstein. He quickly retracts his post upon realizing his mistake but the humor is in the fact that, given today's democrats, Goldstein's outrageous post is considered plausible! As commenter Mary Mapes writes on the above link:
Geez. Irony isn’t even distinguishable when it comes to left these days.

Dollars to donuts, it gets featured on Kos and Feingold ‘08 picks up MAJOR steam!

With today's left the line between satire and reality continues to get rubbed lighter and lighter.

Decision08 has a good take on this:
it is indeed unbounded, unreasoning rage that is at the very core of the Angry Left: a rage born of frustration at a world that doesn’t recognize the genious of the tortured worldview of the impotent purveyors of filthy discourse and lowest-common-denominator ‘arguments’ that amount to nothing more than the wretched gurgling of a drowning man determined to take the rest of the world down with him…

This is the face of the ‘progressive’ movement; this is the much-vaunted ‘base’ of the Democratic Party; these are the people who lifted Howard Dean out of obscurity into the role of Chairman of the Democratic Party. The party of hate will never be a winner in America, on that you can depend…

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Al Qaeda Reaches Out To Democrats

Osama bin Laden has offered Americans a truce. Powerline notes:
Bin Laden goes on to propose a truce that is "fair and long-term." The terms don't seem precisely clear, but they apparently have to do with us exiting Afghanistan and Iraq, which will give al Qaeda a chance to "build Iraq and Afghanistan," while enabling the U.S. (in addition, presumably, to avoiding attack) to save billions of dollars that would otherwise go to "merchants of war."
Its obvious who his intended audience is.

Matto Adds:
Tom Maquire has a pretty good summary of how even some in the MSM noticed that UBL was using DNC talking points.

Very strange, perverse actually, that comments from Howard Dean et al are indistinguishable from those of our enemy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Lobbying Reform

Captain Ed looks at the Republican lobbying reform proposal. He notes that lobbying and contributing money to political campaigns really can't be separated and comments:
Money will flow through any system put in place, find the loopholes, and exploit them as surely as water finds the crevices in rocks and splits them over time. Politicians and lobbyists have no stake in sealing the lawmaking process off from the enormous stacks of cash that activists generate to promote their causes, no matter how just or unjust they may be. And while the quality of leadership, especially in ethical transparency, needs an upgrade for both political parties, the only real solution is to take the money and the power out of the federal government. The true problem lies with the amount of power that the federal government wields and the vast sums of money it skims off of the American consumer and economic system to fund itself. As long as that continues, there will always be lobbyists looking to redirect it to their clients, politicians willing to take a piece of the action to deliver it, and the ethicists will always be one scandal behind in preventing it.
Andrew Ferguson comments:
Lobbying thrives on government -- specifically the government's willingness to meddle in every sector of national life, multiplying the number of aggrieved citizens who either want to protect themselves or to benefit from the meddling.

It's not a coincidence that while the lobbying community roughly doubled in size, the federal government's budget grew by nearly two-thirds. Big government raises big stakes.

It's possible that smaller government would have the opposite effect. Nobody will know until it's tried. The 1995 lobbying reform was passed by a Republican majority loudly and ostentatiously committed to shrinking government's scope and power.

Do you suppose the failure of lobbying reform is a consequence -- unintended, naturally -- of the failure to make good on that much more far-reaching commitment?
(Via The Corner)

They are right. Making government smaller would cut down on opportunities for insider mischief. So would making government more transparent. Too bad Republicans can't bring themselves to implement the agenda they have campaigned on for the last 2 decades.

As sunlight really is the best disinfectant, one fanciful notion on the matter that I like to entertain is a requirement that all lobbyists be wired for sound, 24/7. Every conversation with their clients and those they seek to influence would be recorded, transcribed and published on the internet. If only this were possible.

UPDATE: Michael G. Franc lists some good reform ideas:
  • End the practice, known as earmarking, of sending taxpayer dollars to specific entities for the narrowest of purposes;

  • Reform the budget process so that the deck is no longer stacked against lawmakers who want to reduce the level of spending;

  • Sunset all federal programs so that dysfunctional programs do not live on indefinitely;

  • Revive proposals from the heady days of the Gingrich-Armey Revolution that would prevent recipients of federal largesse from lobbying Congress;

  • Breathe life into a moribund House rule that, if it were ever enforced, would require witnesses before congressional committees to reveal any and all federal funds flowing to their organizations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Border Chaos

Nature may abhor a vacuum, but politicians clearly don't

Some in Congress seem intent on doing something about the chaos along the US/Mexican border:
On December 16th, the United States House of Representatives passed by 239 to 182 votes a bill sponsored by James Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin. This would make illegal immigration a felony, create a crime of employing or aiding undocumented migrants, and order "physical infrastructure enhancements" (ie, a fence) along more than a third of the 3,100 kilometre (2,000 mile) border.

The Sensenbrenner bill stands little chance of passing in the Senate. It is not backed by the Bush administration, which has campaigned for tougher enforcement to be combined with a guest-worker programme. This would help give legal status to some of the 10m or so migrants who are in the United States illegally (perhaps 60% of whom are Mexicans).

Nevertheless, the Sensenbrenner bill has caused outrage south of the border.
Indeed it has. Mexican foreign secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez reacts:
"Mexico is not going to bear, it is not going to permit, and it will not allow a stupid thing like this wall," Derbez said.

"What has to be done is to raise a storm of criticism, as is already happening, against this," he said, promising to turn the international community against the plan.
Foreign governments are making demands of the United States:
Diplomats from Mexico and Central America on Monday (January 9) demanded guest worker programs and the legalization of undocumented migrants in the United States, while criticizing a U.S. proposal for tougher border enforcement.

Meeting in Mexico's capital, the regional officials pledged to do more to fight migrant trafficking, but indirectly condemned a U.S. bill that would make illegal entry a felony and extend border walls.

"Migrants, regardless of their migratory status, should not be treated like criminals," they said.

The countries represented at the meeting - including Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize and Panama - created a working group to design a regional policy to avoid migrant abuse and to follow the course of the legislation.

"There has to be an integrated reform that includes a temporary worker program, but also the regularization of those people who are already living in receptor countries," Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Ernesto Derbez said.
Apparently the US isn't a sovereign nation and emigrating here is a universal entitlement. Nice.

If only the problem along the border was confined to illegal immigration:
Mexican alien smugglers plan to pay violent gang members and smuggle them into the United States to murder Border Patrol agents, according to a confidential Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by the Daily Bulletin.

The Officer Safety Alert, dated Dec. 21, warns agents that the smugglers intend to bring members of the international Mara Salvatrucha street gang also known as MS-13 into the country for the deadly mission.

"Unidentified Mexican alien smugglers are angry about the increased security along the U.S./Mexico border and have agreed that the best way to deal with U.S. Border Patrol agents is to hire a group of contract killers," the alert states.

MS-13, which has a strong base in El Salvador, is considered by the FBI to be one of the most dangerous gangs in the United States, with more than 20,000 members.

Gang members have been found in 33 states and connected to murder, racketeering, assault, rapes and extortion. Last January, Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided six cities and made more than 100 arrests of MS-13 gang members.

Intelligence officials last year reported that MS-13 gang members had been linked to terrorists seeking entry into the country.
Today, The Washington Times reports:
(Emphasis mine.)

The U.S. Border Patrol has warned agents in Arizona of incursions into the United States by Mexican soldiers "trained to escape, evade and counterambush" if detected -- a scenario Mexico denied yesterday.

The warning to Border Patrol agents in Tucson, Ariz., comes after increased sightings of what authorities described as heavily armed Mexican military units on the U.S. side of the border. The warning asks the agents to report the size, activity, location, time and equipment of any units observed.

It also cautions agents to keep "a low profile," to use "cover and concealment" in approaching the Mexican units, to employ "shadows and camouflage" to conceal themselves and to "stay as quiet as possible."

Border Patrol spokesman Salvador Zamora confirmed that a "military incursion" warning was given to Tucson agents, but said it was designed to inform them how to react to any sightings of military and foreign police in this country and how to properly document any incursion
Wow. The federal government knows that organized, professional military incursions into the US from Mexico occur regularly and all they can do is warn Border Patrol agents to hide? Maybe those foreign leaders are on to something after all.

What they, illegal immigrants, foreign police, criminal gangs, drug smugglers and Mexican military units all seem to know is that, as a large majority of our political class has a strong preference for mass immigration and strenuously objects to the proper enforcment of our laws, we have, in effect, ceded sovereignty on these matters to nobody in particular. The chaos we see today is the predictable result.

Thus we have a need for separation barrier on our southern border, to be guarded and defended by the US military. Even if it won't completely stop illegal immigration, it will restore US control to the border region. Not a permanent solution perhaps but it would be a big step in the right direction.

UPDATE: Tony Blankley comments:
The spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington did Mr. Zamora one better. Mr. Rafael Laveaga denied the incursions and asserted that Mexican military units have strict rules to stay at least a mile from the border. He then condescendingly suggested that some Mexican drug smugglers "wear uniforms and drive military-type vehicles" and might have been "confused" by U.S. authorities as Mexican military units.

I would suggest that Mr. Laveaga might have been confused by the fact that the men were drug smugglers into thinking they were not official Mexican military units.

Indeed, Mr. Seper went on to report the views of Mr. T.J. Bonner, 27-year veteran Border Patrol agent, and head of the 10,000-person National Border Patrol Council, that: "Intrusions by the Mexican military to protect drug loads happen all the time and represent a significant threat to the agents." He went on to say the incursions were not accidents as the Mexican military has global positioning systems.

Since 1996, 216 incursions have been documented according to the Department of Homeland Security. But yesterday, a Pentagon spokesman said she had no information on the reported incursion.

"What goes on at the border, stays at the border" would seem to be our government's guiding principle. The facts would suggest that it is the policy of the Bush administration to ignore these military raiding parties so long as they are not driving on toward Sacramento, Chicago or Washington, D.C. (They ignore the fact that an infection may intrude through a crack in the skin, and then proceed inward to the vital organs.)

The powers that be remain close-minded to the ever-growing dangers and national insults that flow from open borders.

It is said that pride goeth before the fall. But it is equally true that a nation that has so little pride in its own territorial integrity is also due for a sharp trip downward.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Media Distorts 60 Day Rape Sentence

An abundance of outrage

It seems there is more to the story of the 60-day sentence for child rape. The Anchoress quotes from this link:
In his order upholding Hulett’s sentence, Cashman laid out in detail the actual facts in the case and the only options before him — items overlooked so far in press accounts.

In cases such as Hulett’s, wrote Cashman, the court is presented with a “sentencing dilemma.” It’s a choice “between two less-than-ideal options. One option enhances the long-term risk to public safety, due to the future release of a hardened, untreated sex offender. This person would endanger our children and grandchildren. In order to avoid that risk, the other option would be to impose a low-minimum on a lengthy incarcerate sentence.”

The fact is, Cashman sentenced Hulett to up to 10 years on the first count, three years to life on the second count and two to five years on the third count. He will be on probation and under state supervision until the day he dies! If he screws up or refuses treatment, he’ll be behind bars for a long, long time. Hulett’s release conditions prohibit him from any alcohol or drug use, or even living in an apartment complex that has children. He cannot have friends who have kids, go to a bar or possess or view pornography, among other restrictions. One violation would put him back in the slammer.

Calling this “a 60-day sentence for raping a child,” as O’Reilly and Wilton have done, is a gross distortion of what happened.
It sure is. The WCAZX-TV report sensationalized the story, omitting the sound, logical elements of the Judge Cashman's legal rationale for the sentence. It was outrageously misleading; whether deliberate or not the reporter should be fired.

Judge Cashman clearly deserves opprobrium for his remarks about revenge and his attitude toward punnishing criminals. He deserves to be removed from the bench.

But the greatest outrage remains the sentence itself. Taking the judge at his word, that this was the most effectual sentence he could impose, the Vermont legislature seems to bear the bulk of the blame for creating this situation. It would seem public anger is best directed at them.

Diego adds: I might not have all the facts myself but as I understand it Hulett will walk the streets in 61 days. There is your outrage. I watched the initial report from O'Reilly and as I understand it Cashman's defense was that since Hulett could not receive treatment while in jail he would set him free so he could receive that treatment. Is Cashman required by law to set Hulett free to get treatment? I don't know that asnwer. If that is the case then there was indeed a lack of facts reported by the media. If that is not the case then I think the reports were accurate. I'm not impressed by any probation terms. Bottom line is that if Hulett is on the streets in 61 days as the result of Cashman's judgement then there is reason to fault Cashman. If there is something I missed here then I could agree with your notion of media (especially O'Reilly's) coverage. So far the "60 Day Sentence" headline remains credible in my mind but I could be informed otherwise.



Chris Squire's new old band, the Syn played at Martyr's in Chicago last night and I was fortunate enough to be one of the 60 (I counted) people there. Martyr's is a small venue (270 max) so it is a great place to watch a band play if you want to get up close. The Syn was the band Squire was in before he founded Yes with Jon Anderson. Squire reunited with singer Steve Nardelli to record a new Syn album last year and they have a few live shows scheduled in the U.S.

Alan White of Yes is playing drums for the U.S. shows and this was an unexpected bonus as he filled in last minute for the original drummer. The band played a great show and it was a real treat for me to watch them play and briefly meet Squire and White afterwards.

Nardelli did not play professionally after the Syn parted ways in the late 60's so he was not used to the live setting. His voice was fine as he had been singing and writing all the while but there was a humorous moment last night during the show. Nardelli started singing too early during one of the songs as the band was playing. Squire leaned over towards him and shouted, 'Not yet!'. Nardelli realized his mistake but was unable to cover it up smoothly and acknowledged the timing error after the song was over.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Respect for the Constitution

I like what I've heard so far of Alito's Supreme Court nomination hearings.

Via Powerline here:
"I don't think it's appropriate or useful to look to foreign law in interpreting the provisions of our Constitution .... I think the Framers would be stunned by the idea that the Bill of Rights is to be interpreted by taking a poll of the countries of the world," Judge Alito said.

and here:
ALITO: Well, Mr. Chairman, I think that the legitimacy of the court would be undermined in any case if the court made a decision based on its perception of public opinion. It should make its decisions based on the Constitution and the law. It should not sway in the wind of public opinion at any time.

John O adds: The New York Times (registration required) has more:
“The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to give Americans rights that were recognized practically nowhere else in the world at the time. The Framers did not want Americans to have the rights of people in France or the rights of people in Russia or any of the other countries on the continent of Europe at the time; they wanted them to have the rights of Americans.”

The nominee was, at least implicitly, finding fault with the Supreme Court’s ruling on March 1 that outlawed the execution of killers who were under 18 at the time of their crimes. That opinion, decided by a 5-4 majority, relied in part on the trend of international opinion against the death penalty, especially for youthful offenders.

But Judge Alito said he saw “a host of practical problems” if American jurists are to look overseas.

“You have to decide which countries you’re going to survey,” he said. “And then it’s often difficult to understand exactly what you are to make of foreign court decisions. All countries don’t set up their court systems the same way.” Foreign courts may have greater authority, or have policy-making roles, he said.
His testimony today echoed his response to a question on Wednesday, when he said: “We have our own law. We have our own traditions. We have our own precedents. And we should look to that in interpreting our Constitution."
(Via Bryan Preston)

Contrast Alito's comments with this:
Thus, Justice Ginsburg defends her use of foreign law on the theory that "U.S. jurists honor the Framer's intent 'to create a more perfect union' if they read our Constitution as belonging to a global 21st Century, not as fixed forever by 18th Century understandings." For Ginsburg, then, the Framers' general desire to achieve a more perfect union provides the pretext for ignoring, whenever convenient, fixed principles, adherence to which the Framers thought would make the union more perfect. Two centuries further down the road of progress than the Framers were, Ginsburg knows that History has gone "global," and that's reason enough to take the Constitution along for the ride.

Justice Breyer (usually regarded as the most moderate of the liberal justices) is, in fact, the most sophisticated Wilsonian-Hegelian of the group. As Professor Rabkin points out, Breyer considers himself free to draw not only on actual foreign court decisions, but also on other materials such as pronouncements of the Council of Europe (a collection of politicians, not judges). To Wilson and Hegel, this would make perfect sense; History is not revealed solely by laws.

Breyer is quite explicit about the nature of his quest. He has written of "the ever-stronger consensus" on protecting basic human rights that now is "near world-wide." Although "formally speaking," each American state still has its own legal system, Breyer contends that "practically speaking" these have merged into a "national" law, while "analogous developments internationally" tend to produce "cross-country results that resemble each other more and more, exhibiting common, if not universal principles in various legal areas." In short, History is producing a great convergence and the role It now assigns our Supreme Court is to nudge the United States along on this path.

But this view raises an obvious question: If History is producing this convergence, why do we need judicial review? Won't the interplay of political forces inevitably produce the inevitable global 21st century outcomes in the United States? For the answer to this question, a variation on the one posed of all forms of historicism by Leo Strauss, we turn again to Wilson. In his writings on the administrative state, Wilson called for a cadre of experts to deal not just with technical issues but with core policy issues, including the distribution of wealth. Such experts were essential because, in Wilson's view, they could see the absolute idea that would mark the end of History far more objectively than mere elected officials.

Today, virtually no one believes that our bureaucrats possess this kind of wisdom and objectivity, but some suggest that our best judges do. Thus, just as Marx placed "the party" at the vanguard of his historical process, modern liberalism flirts with the notion that judges can play that role in theirs. The robed step-children of the Wilson-Hegel marriage who sit on our high court are not quick to demur.
The fundamental problem with liberals is their disdain for our constitutional structure of government. (And, I might add, for democracy.)

On a related note, reading this last pagagraph of the Weekly Standard article reminded me that there actually are elitists in positions of influence in this country who do believe their own judgement is superior and that our bureaucrats do possess special wisdom. Michael Barone:
Here's James Risen, the New York Times reporter who coauthored the paper's December 16 story on NSA surveillance of foreign terrorists, flogging his new book on the Today show. He presents an interesting theory of governance.

Risen: Well, I–I think that during a period from about 2000–from 9/11 through the beginning of the gulf–the war in Iraq, I think what happened was you–we–the checks and balances that normally keep American foreign policy and national security policy towards the center kind of broke down. And you had more of a radicalization of American foreign policy in which the–the–the career professionals were not really given a chance to kind of forge a consensus within the administration. And so you had the–the–the principles–Rumsfeld, Cheney and Tenet and Rice and many others–who were meeting constantly, setting policy and really never allowed the people who understand–the experts who understand the region to have much of a say.

Couric: You suggest there was a lot of power grabbing going on.

So, "the career professionals were not really given a chance to kind of forge a consensus within the administration." Evidently, such consensus-building is how government is supposed to operate. Instead, you had folks like "the principles [sic, presumably transcriber's mistake]—Rumsfeld, Cheney and Tenet and Rice and many others—who were meeting constantly, settling policy, and really never allowed the people who understand—the experts who understand the region to have much of a say.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Politics & Multiculturalism in Chicago

Finding advantage in Liberalism's inherent contradictions

Parents in Little Village, a predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood in Chicago situated about 5 miles southwest of the Loop, are unhappy that a new high school campus in their neighborhood won't be able to accommodate all the area students who wish to attend:
"Why have they divided our children?" asked a tearful Maria Ibarra, whose 14-year-old daughter is attending a private school because her home is outside the boundary line. "We feel violated, defrauded, after suffering so much to fight for this school."

Officials said they drew boundaries to make the school racially diverse enough to meet federal desegregation rules and to avoid overcrowding by keeping classroom populations reasonably sized. The Little Village neighborhood is overwhelmingly Latino, while the (adjacent) Lawndale neighborhoods are predominantly black. As a result, the roughly 400 freshmen on the campus are about 73 percent Latino, with the rest being black, school officials said.

The debate underscores just how difficult it is to draw boundary lines for new schools in a city that is as racially and ethnically segregated as Chicago.

The issue is coming to the forefront now because parents with children approaching high school age are learning that they live outside the boundary lines. And they have found a sympathetic ear in state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who wants to redraw the boundaries to include the entire Little Village neighborhood
It seems to me this issue is coming to the fore now because the Illinois primary is two months away and there is political advantage to be had in raising the issue.

What I find most interesting about this story is that it is rife with liberal/multicultural ironies and contradictions. There are four schools on one campus, partly to keep enrollment at each managable but partly to allow each to offer a unique curriculum. (See below.) Much to the consternation of Little Village residents, the student body of each school must be diverse enough to satisfy federal desegregation rules. But the champions of diversity seem silent on the matter. Where are they? Considering the names and descriptions of the four schools, perhaps they're busy indoctrinating the students:
Multicultural Arts School — focuses on the arts, in particular drama, visual arts, radio and dance. The school partners with community organizations, such as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and artists to provide a strong arts environment.

Infinity High School — links the school to the North Lawndale and Little Village communities. The school creates a community-based and student-centered learning environment. Students are taught to celebrate their community’s strengths and study its contributions and challenges.

Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice — prepares students for post-secondary education. The curriculum is designed to support students in reflecting on real-world issues. Students will be required to complete investigations on real life social issues.

The World Language High School — offers a college-preparatory curriculum, accompanied by an intensive study of world languages and career-preparatory opportunities. Students take part in job shadowing, internships, the College Bridge and College Excel programs.
Perhaps the students of the four schools could put together a community presentation that focuses on the costs of achieving 'diversity' and explains why racial classifications are so important in designing school boundaries. Or maybe they could just perform a multilingual play celebrating the real-world effect multiculturalism has in achieving social justice for their particular community.

La Raza notes the impact CPS's restrictive enrollment policies will have on some by offering this example:
Martín H. Fuentes was an exemplary student, one of the most outstanding graduates from Ruiz Elementary School, noted for his unprecedented dedication to earning the very best grades. An example to be followed, he was also hostile to whoever contradicted his view of the world or accidentally got in his way. He was one of those who need to be placed under the magnifying glass, as he would jump from one extreme to another at any time.

Martín was part of the school scene until he found himself rejected by Benito Juárez High School for continuing his education.

Student overcrowding at that well-known institution situated in the Pilsen neighborhood was why he was denied permission to enroll. Instead, they offered to send him to a high school located over an hour away from where he lived.

At fourteen years of age, he found in that decision the reason to leave school. He would go to the neighborhood school or cease his studies. The latter option won out.

At that age he was arrested for taking part in a fight which left others severely injured. He spent two years undergoing correctional treatment. He got out last August on good behavior. During the course of his social rehabilitation, he became severely distant from school. He is now a free man but is openly against going back to classes. This rejection changed his life.

(Emphasis mine.)
Maybe La Raza or some articulate left wing activists could explain why the lesson in the tale of young Mr. Fuentes isn't that he would have been better served had he recieved a voucher to attend the nearest private school. From the Tribune article:
Sandoval said he is simply giving voice and political muscle to upset parents.

"It is very arrogant of [the alderman] to think I wouldn't do this for anybody, especially when their lives are at stake," Sandoval said. "I am not blaming anyone in particular. I am joining with the moms in calling for change. I can't fix the past. I just know that today, the children of the Little Village community cannot attend Little Village High School. That is a problem and I am going to try to fix it."

Ibarra, her voice cracking amid tears, said she is working nights and using savings to pay for her daughter to attend a private school. That money will soon run out, she said.
The Archdiocese of Chicago's Catholic school system, once the 11th largest in the country and still the nation's largest non-public school system, offers a solid, cost effective education. According to the Archdiocese, 93% of its students go on to attend college. But enrollment has been shrinking and the Archdiocese has been closing schools at an accelerating rate. Considering the plight of people like young Mr. Fuentes and communities like Little Village, this is a terrible shame. Would that reporters, rather than simply accepting at face value the motives of pandering politicians, actually questioned them about things like this instead.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


Brain Droppings Brokeback Mountain Survey

How many of you have seen the movie or plan to see it?

Count me as no.

It's true, the movie "Brokeback Mountain" does provoke what one researcher calls "a very strong ick factor" in some straight men.

David R. Usher's Response, Why Brokeback Mountain is revolting.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Sometimes America Sucks

Last night I had the second worst attack of gout in my life. Gout is the result of the bodies inability to process uric acid. It builds up in the joints, usually in the big toe or ankle for me, and it is very painful. Imagine a swollen ankle that feels like a thousand needles under your skin. If my ankle touchs anything it is terrible pain.

There are drugs to control this. One drug would almost eliminate the gout. The problem with this is that I would have to take it for the rest of my life. I opted just to try and control it using anti-inflamitories. That works great when I have the prescription but I ran out of it while I was in Russia. That wasn't a problem because they sold the same drug over the counter. In fact, I have it backed in my bags somewhere, I think. A cursory search last night yielded me nothing so I called my GP today to get a refill which leads me to another story. My regular doctor moved to Indiana so I started to see a partner of his. Apparently this doctor is too busy to pick up a phone and call the pharmacy to renew my prescription so I am sitting at home in pain comtemplating going to the pharmacy and appealing to the pharmacist's humanity.

If I don't get my drugs today I am naming names. Being in pain makes me irrational but being in pain for no reason enrages me.


Doctor, no receptionist called in the prescription, yesterday evening. Feeling much better so almost all is forgiven. Can walk with a limp today so I am off to but a few essentials for our new apartment.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Child Rapists Undeserving of Punishment?

If they don't deserve punishment, who does?

Vermont Judge Edward Cashman sentenced 34 year old confessed child-rapist Mark Hulett to 60 days in jail for repeatedly raping a young girl. The abuse took place over a 4 year period, beginning when the girl was just 7. Like a good liberal jurist, Judge Cashman intended the sentence to send a message -- not to child rapists, of course, (though its one they'll like hearing) but to society:
"The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn’t solve anything. It just corrodes your soul," said Judge Edward Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the on-lookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by Mark Hulett who was in court to be sentenced. . . .

"I discovered it accomplishes nothing of value; it doesn’t make anything better; it costs us a lot of money; we create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger,"Cashman explained to the people in the court.
Outrageous. Clearly, this guy has been on the bench too long. Its rulings like this that corrode public trust in the judicial system. For Vermont not to have a prison rehabilitation program for pedophiles like him is foolish. But what's the hurry to try and rehabilitate this rapist? Couldn't a likely futile rehabilitation attempt wait 8 years, as prosecutors requested?

Society deserves as much protection as possible from pedophiles like Hulett.
Life in prison without the possibility of parole would be a more appropriate sentence.

Via TheAnchoress, whose excellent post on the matter concludes:
So, let’s let this guy walk the streets again and try the rehab that may work for a little while, or not at all! Gee, that doesn’t create any expectations, now, does it? The judge feels jailtime accomplishes nothing of value? So what?

This girl’s life has been stolen. This man, therefore, no longer needs to walk free in America and have the opportunity to steal another, and another, and another child’s life. Putting him in jail accomplishes something of value: it tells this little girl that he’s not going to harm her again. And it precludes anyone else’s little girl from having to endure this hell.

But I guess the judge, having become so enlightened as to have conquered his own impulse to anger, does not understand what he has done.
He should be removed from the bench.


Arrogance & Synthetic Outrage

George Will writes about the artificial dilemma the University of Illinois faces:
The University of Illinois must soon decide whether, and if so how, to fight an exceedingly silly edict from the NCAA. That organization's primary function is to require college athletics to be no more crassly exploitative and commercial than is absolutely necessary. But now the NCAA is going to police cultural sensitivity, as it understands that. Hence the decision to declare Chief Illiniwek "hostile and abusive" to Native Americans.

Censorship — e.g., campus speech codes — often are academic liberalism's preferred instrument of social improvement, and now the NCAA's censors say: The Chief must go, as must the university's logo of a Native American in feathered headdress. Otherwise the NCAA will not allow the university to host any postseason tournaments or events.
The question I have is why the NCAA feels it must take it upon itself to protect the sensibilities of people it designates worthy of such protection. Why is it up to them to make these judgements? Just who do they think they are?

One can't but wonder what are they really trying to accomplish. After citing a recent poll, Will asks a good question:
In 2002, Sports Illustrated published a poll of 352 Native Americans, 217 living on reservations, 134 living off. Eighty-one percent said high school and college teams should not stop using Indian nicknames.

But in any case, why should anyone's disapproval of a nickname doom it? When, in the multiplication of entitlements, did we produce an entitlement for everyone to go through life without being annoyed by anything, even a team's nickname? If some Irish or Scots were to take offense at Notre Dame's Fighting Irish or the Fighting Scots of Monmouth College, what rule of morality would require the rest of us to care? Civilization depends on, and civility often requires, the willingness to say, "What you are doing is none of my business" and "What I am doing is none of your business."
The NCAA should butt out and focus on its core business, the commercial exploitation of young athletes. A university's choice of nickname and mascot is none of its business.

Diego adds: How can the NCAA ban Native American symbols?! This is racism! I think racial sensitivity classes should be made mandatory for all NCAA officials.

As far as the exploitation of young athletes goes, if anyone needs a union it is NCAA basketball and football players. NFL and NBA players should assist them in the start up.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Gun Control Foolishness

When ideology trumps common sense

San Fransisco is squandering recources defending a gun ban city officials know won't hold up in court and which effectively endangers its law abiding citizens:
The NRA's Chris W. Cox argued that Proposition H stands to 'send a very clear message to the criminal element in San Francisco, that lawful residents in San Francisco are unarmed and unable to protect themselves from criminal attack.' (I should note that residents will be able to keep an existing rifle in their homes, even if the entire law is upheld. That said, the law requires residents to surrender their handguns to police by April 1 and provides no compensation in return.)

Here's an interesting statistic, compiled by the SFPD and reported in The Chronicle last month: Of the 94 homicides recorded in the city through Dec. 12, no arrests had been made for 74 of those murders. Only eight cases have resulted in prosecutions.

Sorry, but if gang members think they can kill without getting caught, I don't think a handgun ban is going to crimp their style.

Police say that witnesses often are reluctant to testify. This suggests it would make more sense to put the resources used to defend Proposition H -- which by the mayor's own admission is a very expensive public-opinion poll -- into witness protection and investigative programs.
Less than 10% of homocides result in prosecution and the mayor is instead trying to make a political statement. Yikes.

Via Bookworm, who quotes the following from this article about the effects of Washington DC's 30 year old gun ban:
What does stop a criminal? Evidence suggests even more than increased police patrols, the fear of an armed citizenry makes a criminal have second thoughts. A number of studies dating back to the 1980’s indicate a majority of criminals say they will not engage in a criminal act against someone they believe is armed.
I really like Bookworm's analogy:
As you know, not everyone needs to be vaccinated against measles. You simply need a critical mass of vaccinations to make it impossible for measles to take hold in a community. In the same way, I want guns to be legal in my community so that a critical mass of upstanding community members can own weapons, making it more difficult for crime to take hold in the community. Once you ban guns entirely, your immunity vanishes, and all you can do is sit back and let the gun violence virus begin.

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