Scam Takes Down Blogs on Google

A Stupid Mistake,” by Rob, Say Anything, http://sayanythingblog.com/2005/03/25/a-stupid-mistake/ (from Dawn’s Early Light).

DEL alerts the world to a scam. From one victim:

Recently you may have noticed the appearance of a new link on the left sidebar here at Say Anything. The link read “Sponsors” and was located near the top of the sidebar just under the chat room link.

The link was the result of an email sent to me by Business Barn LLC. The company offered to pay me $300/month for the use of a subdomain off of my “sayanythingblog.com” domain. I would point the subdomain to a page of advertising hosted on their servers and they’d send me the money via Pay Pal. I checked out the advertising and there was no porn or anything involved so I agreed. Seemed like a good deal to me and with hosting costs rising as this page gets more and more popular I’m not much inclined to turn down opportunities to make money from this page.

Turns out this was a mistake. This company is involved in something called link farming, a practice Google frowns upon. They frown upon it so much, in fact, that Say Anything has now been removed from that search engine’s indexes.

Coinciding almost exactly with this removal from Google was an email from Business Barn stating that they were ending our arrangement together. Which makes perfect sense. They were after my Google page rank. Now that I have no Google page rank I’m of no use to them.

Looking back on it all I believe I’ve been more than a little naive. I should have known better than to trust in an unsolicited offer, but the money was enticing and I honestly didn’t think that their methods were anything to be worried about.

I’ve removed the link and am in the process of killing the subdomain. Once that is done I’ll be sending an email to Google begging for mercy. Hopefully they’ll take pity on me.

So take heed, fellow bloggers. Before you accept any offers similar to the one I accepted be sure to check out the practices the company will be engaging in lest you face the same consequences I am now facing.

Captain’s Quarters was also hit. Power Pundit was also targeted.

Update: The sites are back up. As you can see, the traffic hit was pretty serious


Captain’s Quarters Blog Traffc

People Power Coming to Zimbabwe?

Oust Mugabe peacefully: Archbishop,” Herald Sun, 29 March 2005, http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,12683192%255E663,00.html.

Democracy may be coming to Zimbabwe (old South Rhodesia), if Archbishop Ncube has his way

A Zimbabwean church leader has called for a Ukranian-style, peaceful, popular uprising against President Robert Mugabe.

Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube made his call less than a week from the national poll.

medium_archbishop_ncube.jpg
The Archbishop

Archbishop Ncube told The Sunday Independent he hoped for a mass uprising against Mugabe, his country’s controversial long-time leader who seems set to romp to victory in Thursday’s poll.

I hope that people get so disillusioned that they really organise against the government and kick him (Mugabe) out by a non-violent, popular, mass uprising,” the archbishop said.

Zimbabwe has a history of positive Church involvement in liberation. Bishop Muzorewa was a vital bridge between colonialism and local control. It looks like Archbishop Ncube is just as good.

Will the Big Bang echo in Harare? Let’s hope!

No to Balkanized Republics

Reductio ad Hitlerum,” by Ken Blanchard, South Dakota Politics, 27 March 2005, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week12/index.html#a0004101402.

SDP was kind enough to link to me a few days ago, which I guess is why I have to disagree with them today…

It is obviously a serious concern that free elections in Arabia might bring to power the worst sort, though it is equally obvious that the lack of elections keeps a lot of very nasty sorts in power. But I think that a little more analysis is in order.

Hitler seized power with this small plurality because there was no part of society that had the will to resist him. For precisely this reason, places like Iraq are better off for being ethnically and religiously diverse. One thing the Sunnis and Kurds and Shiites can agree on is that they don’t want to be ruled by an autocrat of a different color. This can be a bulwark against a new tyranny.

Another lesson that 1932 teaches is that outside influences matter. The world should put every pressure it can bring to bear in order to ensure that the governments develop along liberal and constitutional lines. It is a pipe dream to believe that autocrats in the Middle East can create the conditions for future democracy. Its better to try to help them emerge now.

Ken draws the wrong lessons from Hitler’s Rise to Power. The most important brake on a Hilterian direction for Iraq is the Basic Law’s weak executive. Iraq’s purposefully unstable National Assembly could not have given Hitler his powers. But more to Mr. Blanchard’s point…

True ethnic diversity may be a good thing. But ethnic balkanization is not. You do not have an even mix of Shia, Sunnis, and Kurds throughout Iraq. You have a riven, trifurcating state where each ethnic group has a substantial majority in its own area. This leads to the worst sort of nationalism.

Nationalists are always the most virulent when other nations have a majority nearby. Hitler grew up on the borders of the German nation, Napoleon grew up on the borders of the French nation, etc. Iraq is a made-up state that contains the frontiers of three nations (Sunni Arab, Shia Arab, Kurdish). As long as it exists, it is a call to violence.

MyDD and the Democrat Implosion

More Self-Hating Democrats,” by Chris Bowers, MyDD, 28 March 2005, http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/3/28/104751/322.

A Bigger Problem For Democrats Than Lieberman’s Loyalty,” by Chris Bowers, MyDD, 28 March 2005, http://www.mydd.com/story/2005/3/28/14355/5543.

2004 was a great year for American Tory Democrat unity. The left really, really, really didn’t like President Bush, so they put aside a lot of differences to unite behind Senator Kerry. Not that such unity could last forever.

Virginia’s Democrat favorite for Governor criticizes Senator Kerry

Speaking of loyalty problems, would it be too late for Virginia to pass a law allowing Mark Warner to run again, as he could in any other state? You would think that the new Democratic nominee, LG Tim Kaine, was running for governor of Alabama, not of swing state Virginia. Consider these recent comments:

I think that John Kerry demonstrated much more comfort talking about windsurfing and hockey than he did talking about his beliefs,” says Kaine, admitting that he does have a limited amount of sympathy for the Massachusetts senator’s reticence.(…)

The second thing that Democrats have to do better on is not attacking the `religious right,’” he said. “I think that has been a standard bogeyman that Democrats have often used in campaigns, including campaigns in Virginia. If somebody advances an idea or position that’s wrong, then attack them for having a bad idea. But they are not wrong because they are religious.

“When Democrats kind of cavalierly attack the religious right or go after Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, our candidates have sent the signal to a lot of religious people, `Well, I guess they are not interested in me.’ And I think this includes a lot of people who would fit very naturally within the Democratic Party.”

This is, um, not exactly what Democrats need in the only southern state that is moving in our direction. How can we hope to build the party in Virginia, and make it a true swing state, when our new standard bearer in that state happily spouts off some of the worst Republican Noise Machine lies about Democrats? Further, he said these things in an interview with the American Prospect for crying out loud, not exactly hostile territory for Democrats.

Meanwhile, the grassroots turn on the 2008 Leadership

It would be easy to dismiss the Biden revival as a cheap stunt by a discredited party hack with all the national appeal of the streptococcus virus, except for one thing. Biden’s “national security” camp includes all four of the expected main contenders for the Democratic nomination–Biden himself, Hillary Clinton, Indiana senator Evan Bayh, and John Edwards. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, another outside contender, is also a member of this camp. We are going to be hearing a lot about “National Security Democrats” in the next three years.

However, Tabai’s slander aside, I have had enough of Democrat hawks consistently wailing about our “credibility gap” on national security and foreign affairs. This is epitomized by a group of Democrats coming together under the unofficial term “National Security Democrats.” Let’s see–what is the first thing that labeling yourself a national Security Democrats would serve to differentiate yourself from? Call me crazy, but I have a feeling that it is other Democrats. If some Democrats are called “National Security Democrats,” a Richard Holbroke term, this simultaneously labels the rest of the Democratic Party who do not join their group as not-National Security Democrats. This thereby perpetuates exactly the same lie that the Republican Noise Machine has worked for decades to construct: that Democrats in general are neither interested nor very good at National Security.

Gotta love strategic despair — when it is on the other side.

Fisking Mark Steyn on Terri Schiavo

No compelling reason to kill Terri Schiavo,” by Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times, 27 March 2005, http://www.suntimes.com/output/steyn/cst-edt-steyn271.html (from Right Wing News).

I was going to call this “Mark Steyn Wrong on .” And then “Mark Steyn Twice Wrong and Terri Schiavo.” Then, “Mark Steyn Thrice Wrong on Terri Schiavo.” But Steyn’s errors and misrepresentations were so many and varied that only a fisking would do.

Let’s start at the top.

This is not a criminal, not a murderer, not a person whose life should be in the gift of the state. So I find it repulsive, and indeed decadent, to have her continued existence framed in terms of ”plaintiffs” and ”petitions” and ”en banc review” and ”de novo” and all the other legalese. Mrs. Schiavo has been in her present condition for 15 years. Whoever she once was, this is who she is now — and, after a decade and a half, there is no compelling reason to kill her. Any legal system with a decent respect for the status quo — something too many American judges are increasingly disdainful of — would recognize that her present life, in all its limitations, is now a well-established fact, and it is the most grotesque judicial overreaching for any court at this late stage to decide enough is enough. It would be one thing had a doctor decided to reach for the morphine and ”put her out of her misery” after a week in her diminished state; after 15 years, for the courts to treat her like a Death Row killer who’s exhausted her appeals is simply vile.

Mark’s first three paragraphs were an anecdote about Canada, but he makes up for wasted time in a error-ridden paragraph. The offending portions are bolded.

First, his complaint about legalese is at best nonsensical, at worst dangerous. What is he really complaining about? That a custody dispute be settled in the law courts? That a matter of life and death be settled in the law courts? That law courts can be hard to follow? If it’s the first two, he’s condemning the rule of law. If it’s the last, then his concern for Plain English law jargon is parocial in a case that’s captivated the nation.

Second, his “status quo” comment is weird. Courts should have a decent respect for the law. If a law is unjust but otherwise Constitutional, it is the Legilsature’s duty to change it. If Mr. Steyn wants a Constitutional amenmdent stating “Changing things should be assumed ot be bad,” let him push for it!

Third, his repitition of the death-row meme is incoherent. In other places he accuses the court of treating her worse than a killer. So which is it? Got intellectual consistency?

There seems to be a genuine dispute about her condition — between those on her husband’s side, who say she has ”no consciousness,” and those on her parents’ side, who say she is capable of basic, childlike reactions. If the latter are correct, ending her life is an act of murder. If the former are correct, what difference does it make? If she feels nothing — if there’s no there there — she has no misery to be put out of. That being so, why not err in favor of the non-irreversible option?

At best ignorant. At worst dishonest.

If she is in a persistent vegetative state, her actions are governed by her spinal cord. She has the awareness of a lizard. Not a child. Even if she is in a state of minimal consciousness, which her parents and Governor Bush claim, she would be barely aware of her surroundings. In either case, a child is much more aware of his surroundings than Terri is.

The here’s-your-shroud-and-what’s-your-hurry crowd say, ah, yes, but you uptight conservatives are always boring on about the sanctity of marriage, and this is what her husband wants, and he’s legally the next of kin.

Michael Schiavo is living in a common-law relationship with another woman, by whom he has fathered children. I make no judgment on that. Who of us can say how we would react in his circumstances? Maybe I’d pull my hat down over my face and slink off to the cathouse on the other side of town once a week. Maybe I’d embark on a discreet companionship with a lonely widow. But if I take on a new wife (in all but name) and make a new family, I would think it not unreasonable to forfeit any right of life or death over my previous wife.

Michael Schiavo took a vow to be faithful in sickness and in health, forsaking all others till death do them part. He’s forsaken his wife and been unfaithful to her: She is, de facto, his ex-wife, yet, de jure, he appears to have the right to order her execution. This is preposterous. Suppose his current common-law partner were to fall victim to a disabling accident. Would he also be able to have her terminated? Can he exercise his spousal rights polygamously? The legal deference to Mr. Schiavo’s position, to his rights overriding her parents’, is at odds with reality

For another opinion, Jesus of Nazareth

What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate

Oh, but maybe Mike committed adultery…

Wait, Christ again:

You have heard that it was said, ‘You Shall Not Commit Adultery’;
but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So Mike fails the test for perfection, as does every mere mortal.

Steyn is arguing for a radical devaluation of marriage, so that it may be seperated by one man without law-court or direct intent without the wife’s consent. That may be Wahabi Sharia (strict Islamic) law. It certainly isn’t American.

As for the worthlessness of Terri Schiavo’s existence, some years back I was discussing the death of a distinguished songwriter with one of his old colleagues. My then girlfriend, in her mid-20s, was getting twitchy to head for dinner and said airily, ”Oh, well, he had a good life. He was 87.” ”That’s easy for you to say,” said his old pal. ”I’m 86.” To say nobody would want to live in an iron lung or a wheelchair or a neck brace or with third-degree burns over 80 percent of your body is likewise easy for you to say.

Anyone whose family has faced that choice would answer, “No, it’s not.”

But that’s easy for us to say. We can’t know which camp we’d fall into until it happens to us. And it behooves us to maintain a certain modesty about presuming to speak for others — even those we know well. Example: ”Driving down there, I remember distinctly thinking that Chris would rather not live than be in this condition.” That’s Barbara Johnson recalling the 1995 accident of her son Christopher Reeve. Her instinct was to pull the plug; his was to live.

He woke up within a decade. Terri didn’t.

As to arguments about ”Congressional overreaching” and ”states’ rights,” which is more likely? That Congress will use this precedent to pass bills keeping you — yes, you, Joe Schmoe of 37 Elm Street — alive till your 118th birthday. Or that the various third parties who intrude between patient and doctor in the American system — next of kin, HMOs, insurers — will see the Schiavo case as an important benchmark in what’s already a drift toward a culture of convenience euthanasia. Here’s a thought: Where do you go to get a living-will kit saying that in the event of a hideous accident I don’t want to be put to death by a Florida judge or the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals? And, if you had such a living will, would any U.S. court recognize it?

Misdirection. Steyn opens talking about those who oppose force-feeding Mrs. Shiavo because of a love of the Constitution and federalism… and ends saying it is unlike that the reader will be effected by the case.

What?

Steyn is a brighter writer than this. He never addresses the concern. An injustice against the Constitution, against our ancient States, is wrong whether or not it effects me.

Elian Gonzales and Terri Schiavo

Selective Restraint,” by John Fund, Opinion Journal, 28 March 2005, http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=110006480 (from Drudge Report).

Amid the sloppy arguments and emotional appeals of the Terri Schiavo case, John Fund has wise words.

The sad case of Terri Schiavo has raised passions not seen since five years ago. Then another bitterly divided family argued in Florida courts over someone who couldn’t speak on his own behalf: Elian Gonzalez.

In both cases, those who were unhappy with the courts’ decisions strained to assert the federal government’s power to produce a different outcome. The difference is that in Mrs. Schiavo’s case, Congress backed off after passing a bill that merely asked a federal court to hear the case from scratch, something that U.S. District Judge James Whittemore declined to do. By contrast, those who wanted the federal government to intervene in Elian Gonzalez’s case went all the way, supporting a predawn armed federal raid on the morning before Easter to seize the 6-year-old boy despite a federal appeals court’s refusal to order his surrender.

Both cases were marked with hypocrisy and political posturing galore. Both times some conservative Republicans talked about issuing subpoenas to compel the person at the center of the case to appear before Congress; they swiftly backed down when public opinion failed to support their stunt. Rep. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, argued that by opposing Elian’s return to his father in communist Cuba, conservatives were abandoning the principle that “the state should not supersede the parents’ wishes.” In the case of Terri Schiavo, many conservatives who normally support spousal rights decided that Michael Schiavo’s decision to abandon his marital vows while at the same time refusing to divorce his wife rendered him unfit to override the wishes of his wife’s parents to have her cared for.

But liberals have gotten off easy for some of the somersaulting arguments they have made on behalf of judicial independence and states’ rights to justify their position that Terri Schiavo should not be saved. Many made the opposite arguments in the Elian Gonzalez case.

Well said. If one believes in law-courts and states rights, then Attorney General Reno was wrong to seize Elian Gonzales. If one believes in law-courts and states rights, then Mike Schiavo has the power to make decisions for his wife.

Fund closes with a quote by Governor Bush

According to some reports, Gov. Jeb Bush considered seizing Mrs. Schiavo, à la Elian, and taking her to a hospital so she could be fed. But he did not do so. “I’ve consistently said that I can’t go beyond what my powers are, and I’m not going to do it,” the governor says. Janet Reno and the Clinton administration showed no such restraint when it came to Elian Gonzalez.

Exactly right. Stop the madness. Bush in 2008!

Bush Against Bantustanism

BIA gets $108M cut in Bush budget,” by Larry Bivins, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 28 March 2005, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050328/NEWS/503280306/1001.

I almost jumped for joy at the news

That’s because the House and Senate approved budget blueprints that leave intact President Bush’s proposed cuts in funding for schools and housing for Native American tribes.

Bush’s budget plan would provide $2.2 billion to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, $108.2 million less than what was appropriated for the current fiscal year. The reduction, Johnson said, includes a cut of $90 million – or 33 percent – for school construction.

Great news. The Reservation system is a cruel joke. It is sadism in action. Dirt-poort non-integrating bantustans victimize almost everyone involved. They are a form of cultural obliteration and mass improverishment which may have made sense a century ago, but only cause pain now.

“If we’re ever going to break the cycle of poverty in Indian Country, education is going to be a key part of the strategy,” Johnson said.

The pseudo-entitlement of reservation land and checks, the mass rapes of Indian Country, and rampant alcoholism may be key steps. Throwing money at a broken system is not.

Bush also wants to cut $107 million from the Native American Housing Block Grants Program under the Department of Housing and Urban Development and $46 million from the Indian Housing Loan Guarantee Fund.

The Argus is known for slopping writing, but it sounds like this is on top of the previous cuts. If so, even better!

Real progress will start when Congress dissolves the tribes. Until then, reducing bantuwelfare is a good start.

Update: SDP thinks the article means “reduction in planned increases” when it says cuts. No one is sure. In the battle between Clarity and Argus Leader staff writing, clarity loses again.

Abortion and Global Roadsterism

This is an important post. I hope I do it justice.

Is this a conservative statement?

Actions taken according to the Way are more productive than actions against the Way.

Translate the Way (tao) as “nature”, and you get:

Actions taken according to Nature are more productive than actions taken against Nature.

Of course it’s conservative. The Revolution and the Constitution were actions taken according to Nature (and Nature’s God), and they are the heart of Americanism.

Now, translate the original word of “Nature” (tao) literally according to John 14:6

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

and you get

Actions taken according to Christ are more productive than actions taken against Christ

and you get a Cosmic and Biblical truism. So where’s this going? Now translate “tao” as Forces of History

Actions taken according to the Forces of History are more productive than actions taken against Forces of History.

Suddenly (for me, a slow-on-the-uptake blogger) the capitulation of the post-War British Conservative Party and the Supreme Court’s recent actions make a lot more sense

medium_laozi3.jpg
Lao Tzu, Founder of Chinese Taoism

Retreating from untenable positions and “going with the flow” is a valid Conservative philosophy. Evolutionary shifting positiosn keeps a culture’s vertical and horizontal controls appropriate to the situation. A king that has eyes but does not see will not make appropriate laws — government and policies cannot be blind to reality.

This is why Conservatives embraced the post-War consensus. It appeared to be a new reality. The unique combination of rapid economic development, the colossal genius of Karl Marx, and the facile specious logic of Lord Keynes was a once in a millennium tragedy. The Conservative approach should have worked, as it did in most other times and places.

And finally, the point. The Conservative approach that ends abortion will be a Supreme Court decision invoking international law.

Mark at Zen Pundit alerted me to the Court’s International Law-yering. My original response, while technically accurate, missed the point. The Court’s actions should be viewed as Conservative. The youth execution case follows a similar logic. This is Global Roadsterism, which attempts to steer American law on a global path.

Was this conservative impulse behind with votes of the liberal justices — Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer? Probably not, and I don’t care. Conservatives control the Court. The liberal justices are merely tools of different Conservative factions.

medium_supremecourt.jpg
The Supreme Court of the United States
Global Roadsters Against Deviationism?

And the upshot: this is how most abortions will be stopped in the United States. It is unlike the Neoconservative branch of the court will expand. Men like Scalia, Thomas, and Rehnquist are rare and they are opposed when their intentions are clear. Bush may get away with “saving” these three votes by appointing carbon-copy replacements, but he will not be able to repalce any of the other six like that. The replacement for a Stevens, a Souter, a Ginsburg, or a Breyer will be a Conservative, like O’Conner or Kennedy. A Global Roadster.

Death Punishers are losing the Supreme Court battles because they tide of years is against them. Ever fewer nations and states have capital punishment. The “life” faction appears too strong, too universal, too overwhelming to resist.

Happily, the same universality works against abortion. America has shockingly lose infanticide laws. Even the Europeans don’t kill their children as we do. America stands alone as a butcher of innocents.

In both cases, there is a rights-absolutist faction (“A state has the right to kill because of … “, “A woman has the right to abort because of…”) that faces off against world legal opinoin. In the end, for most cases, both acts will be forbidden.

And the secular hagiography. This is why George Walker Bush is a pivotal world figure. If the United States supported abortion worldwide, as it did under Clinton and would have under Kerry, the pro-life movement would be terribly undermined. The United States has the ability to set the tone for the world. We can affect changes in other countries that change the global legal environment, and so under Global Roadsters will change our legal environment. From the January 22, 2001, when President Bush restored the Mexico City Policy, he was paving the road for a pro-life America.