Definitions of Marriage

Utah State Lawmaker Defends Polygamy,” Associated Press, http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-brf-defending-polygamy,0,6947345,print.story?coll=sns-ap-nationworld-headlines, 22 January 2005.

Not much comment on the story itself. It is mainly presented as a comparison to some blogs that have been trumpeting homosexual marriage. Considering that “homosexuality” does not exist historically, homosexualists are arguing for an institution that is new to history. The most likely long-term effect of a move to legalize same-sex bigamous marriage will be legalize polygamous marriage.

Like racism, feminism, and other artificial -isms, homosexualism will one day fade and die away. But what will be its legacy? Will it be the normalization of this?

SALT LAKE CITY — A Republican state lawmaker countered a Senate colleague’s dispersal of an anti-polygamy book by passing out materials to fellow legislators defending the practice as natural and not necessarily harmful.

State Sen. Carlene Walker said she was offended by the book, “God’s Brothel,” that Democratic Senate Minority Whip Ron Allen distributed to legislators Tuesday.

Walker said she has known polygamists who are “fine, honest, educated, wonderful people.”

“To characterize the whole polygamy community as abusive to children and the welfare system is inaccurate,” she said.

Dam Them All

Governor summit won’t gain much water leverage,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050123/OPINION01/501230301/1052, 23 January 2005.

This article combines two themes of South Dakota politics. One is a yearning to conduct an independent foreign policy. Several times under Governor Janklow we blockaded Canada, in spite of the obvious difficulty of not sharing a border with that Northern Despotism. It wasn’t just symbolic, though. The Highway Patrol was quite active in interdiction activities and it caused real headaches for Canadians trying to drive through our interstate-stradling state.

The other theme is the Missouri River. The River defines the state (there is “East River is East River, West River is West River, and Never the Twain Shall Meet”), and we use it heavily for recreation and hydoelectricity. However, our desire for a high water level is constantly trumped by downstream states and the Army Corps of Engineers. While downstream states use the river only for shipping, and that traffic is minuscule, that special interest lobby has enough influce in Washington to prevent rational water management. During the last gubernatorial election, the President of the University of South Dakota suggested South Dakota and other northern states simply buy-out the downstream barge industry. The victor, Mike Rounds, is working with other states, but with little progress.

In that context, the Sfal’s modest proposals:

Gov. Mike Rounds has proposed another summit with eight governors from Missouri River states.

The goal would be to get everyone together and persuade the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to keep more water in South Dakota reservoirs this year.

He’s proposed keeping more water as a method – during drought – of ensuring a better barge season next year. It also would help recreation in upstream states.

While the governor will have a tough sell with downstream states …

Oh, who’s kidding whom? There’s no way in the world we’d persuade Missouri and Iowa, especially, to go along with such an idea.

The corps won’t help. It’s already has flatly rejected Rounds’ suggestion.

And we can’t expect any aid from Congress.

So getting some governors together to flap their jaws – never agreeing – won’t accomplish anything.

Maybe it’s time for South Dakota to take the bull by the horns. It seems we’ve got two choices:

# Rounds can call out the National Guard – once they all return from Iraq – and we can take over the dams. After all, they’re run by the Army’s engineers, not the Green Berets.

# Or we can build our own dam and trump the corps.

The second option seems best. There might be some objection to an armed insurrection. The USA Patriot Act probably has a provision against it.

If we built our own dam on the lower stretch of the river, we’d have the hand on the final spigot.

Why not? Governor, the ball’s in your court.

Unilateral Continent

“Trade Trouble Ahead: The fast spread of genetically modified crops means transatlantic trouble,” The Economist, pg 59, 15 January 2005.

News of the worldwide scientific revolution to increase food production and decrease food prices, and the dying Continent’s predictable response

As the world marches ahead…

After an 11% rise, America still accounts for nearly 60% of the total, but GM areas in other big food exporters, bar Australia, were rising fast: in Argentina by 17%, Canada by 23%, Brazil by 66%…

Europe reacts unilaterally, shutting its doors to farmers from the developing world and my brethren South Dakotans

The European Union (EU), whose consumers mostly fear GM, is already underfire from America, Canada, and Argentina for its past ban on their GM exports. And though the ban has gone and the EU recently approved some GM varieties of maize, its news GM rules look — from the pairies — just as obstructive…

Fortunately, there are elements inside the EU which work to subert Brussels. They are our friends.

Yet the EU has a fifth column inside: Spain plants a small but rapidly increasaing area with GM maize and Romania, which is likely to join the EU in 2007, grows GM soya.

The Jordanian Candidate

Iraq to arrest Ahmad Chalabi after Eid,” Reuters, http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&storyID=658423, 22 January 2005.

Allegations of dirty tricks fly before the Iraqi elections

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iraq’s interim defence minister says the government will arrest Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmad Chalabi after the Eid al-Adha holiday on suspicion of maligning the defence ministry.

“We will arrest him and hand him over to Interpol. We will arrest him based on facts that he wanted to malign the reputation of the defence ministry and defence minister,” Hazim al-Shaalan told Al Jazeera television on Friday.

The satellite channel quoted Shaalan as saying Chalabi would be handed to Interpol over his conviction in absentia by a Jordanian court in 1992 of embezzling millions from Petra Bank, whose 1989 collapse shook Jordan’s political and financial system.

Shaalan told London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat in remarks published on Friday he would order the arrest after Chalabi accused the defence minister in an interview of stealing $500 million from the ministry and posted documents on a Web site accusing Shaalan of links to Saddam Hussein’s government.

This sounds very political. And stupid. And it might work.

Both Chalabi’s speech and Shaalan’s rants are examples of negative campaigning. Chalabi’s anti-military-clique patriotism had led him first to oppose the Ba’athi government, and then to ally himself with Iranian forces. Chalabi’s early purging of Ba’ath officials shows his true fears — that a sufficient number of Ba’ath in the Iraqi army and bureucracy could launch a bloddy coup and reestablish the Sunni order as a fait accompli.

Note that I said a Sunni order, not necessarily a Ba’ath tyrannt. The INA (Iyad Alawi’s party, part of The Iraqi List) is composed primarily of Ba’ath officers who eventually fell out with Sadaam Hussein. They are also patriots. They see Sunni predominance over Iraq as “natural” and blame Saddam for being paranoid and stupid.

The Iraqi List and the INA has to prevent a Untied Iraqi Alliance landslide. If the UIA, the “Shia” party in Iraq, winds a landslide the Sunnis may be shut out for ever. Suppose that the UIA gains only two-thirds of the Shia vote, or 40% of the total possible vote. Presuming that all Kurds vote for the Kurdistan Alliance, a coalition of the UIA and KU would have 60% of the seats. But for the Iraqi List it gets worse, because Sunni turnout will be depressed by boycott moves. If half of the Sunnis boycott a UIA-KU alliance that gains 60% of the possible vote gains 66.7% of the seats.

A UIA-KU alliance is quite likely. In its own sphere, each could take extreme positions and rely on the other for support. KU could demand autonomy, Kirkuk, and revenue from Kurdish oil, UIA could demand a military alliance with Iran and some form of Sharia in the Arab lands, and each would vote for the ohter. In the scenario above, this could be accomplished in spite of any Iraqi List efforts, and in spite of a Sunni opposition.

Hence, the dirty trick. The Iraqi List is trying to paint the United Iraqi Alliance as “the foreign candidates.” Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s Iranian birth and accent are talked about, as it the very Iranian Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (part of the UIA). By publicly descring Chalabi as a Jordanian, and worse a Jordanian thief, the Iraqi list is trying to drive this point home.

I don’t like dirty tricks. But I’m happy Iraqis are fighting with words, not bullets. The Iraqi elections are monumental in Iraqi history, and they are the way to resolve this dispute.

Pension Health

“Raw Nerves in Motown: Making money remains tough for America’s big three carmakers,” The Economist, ppg 58-59, 15 January 2005.

It’s hard to find a more apt example of the Social Security crisis than what is happening to pensions in the car industry. Huge greying behemoths, tied down by increasing unaffordable pensions, are becoming a shadow of their former selves. New competitors, relying on 401ks and more modern retirement vehicles, are winning market share hand-over-fist. Perhaps not coincidentally, the inflexible 1930-era dinosaurs are based in a blue state (Michigan), while the nimble new entrants are in red states.

One reason for the (belated) success of Japanese firms in light trucks is their effort to promote themselves as “domestic.” Last year, Nissan sold 985,000 vehicles in America — and built 950,000 of them in Tennessee and Mississippi. Toyota’s TV ads stress the billions of dollars it has invested in America and the size of its American payroll.

Faced with this, it was hardly surprising that GM’s chairman, Rick Wagoner, could manage only a strained smile when he posed in front of the Sequel, a prototype fuel-cell vehicle. The hydrogen-powered car, he said, would put GM at the forefront of automotive technology. But few expect the technology to be ready for mass production soon. Meanwhile, GM must content with the crushing burden of health-care costs for current and retired workers: $4 billion a year, roughly $2,000 for each vehicle it makes in America.

Pensions aren’t the only mess. America’s wildly unaffordable health care system are also dragging workers down

Without its health-care costs, GM would show decent profits in its North American business

.

No Longer Jordanian Candidate

Iraq’s interior minister says no arrest warrant for Chalabi,” AFP, http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/focusoniraq/2005/January/focusoniraq_January178.xml&section=focusoniraq, 22 January 2004.

Another explanation for the news is that if the UIA is the pro-Iran ticket, threatening a candidate wanted by Jordan would make the Iraqi List a pro-Arab ticket. But now…

Apparently, no arrest warrent will be issued for Dr. Chalabi. Did the minister just Howard-Dean out? Was there a plan, but ruled out by a higher up? Did Ambassador Negroponte point out how bizarre it is for a modern state to arrest someone for defaming a government official?

Who knows.

The Interim Iraqi government is undeniably brave. But a democratically elected one will be better.

Aikokushin

Playing with fire: Japan’s ruling party wants to inject patriotism into schools,” The Economist, http://economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3578090, 20 January 2005.

There are those who hate patriotism. They hate patrios, everything that is of the fathers. They purposefully attack our traditions hopign to divide us from our pasts. Their aim is radical social change. Fortunately, these attacks are weaker now than they have been in a long time. A century of calamnities caused by these reformers, including the disasters of Germany, Russia, and China, have made humanity skeptical of their claims that they can create a New Style Man. They purposefully attempt to destroy the way, the tao or the sharia, of Man so that they can create not just a New Style Tao, but a Perfect Sharia.

Pol Pot was one of these revolutionaries, a very highly educated man who studied in France. The painfully ignorant and simple Mullah Muhammed Omar was too. Because their new styles are unnatural styles, they will either see the people reject or subvert their ideals, or they will kill the people. In the case of Maoist China, both happened.

The postwar politics of Japan are convoluted, but the patrios of Nihonkoku suffered severe setbacks after the war. Many of these were necessary, but the foundation of Sun-Root-Land was almost destroyed.

I bring up this because I believe that there are those who would send the same cultural devestation to us that we unleashed on Nippon. And not foreigners. I believe that a significant fraction of “liberals” in American politics would destroy popular respect for symbols of America in order to make the people more ameniable to radical politics. I believe the athiest-pledge controversy is a symptom of this. (I believe there is also a smaller but real threat from some religious conservatives, but that discussion is for another time).

In that context, I am heartened by Japan’s plan to reintroduce aikokushin, or patriotism, into their educational system. It would be better if there were no state schools. But if there must be, they can at least reinforce the stability of culture and society.

The draft revisions, which include platitudes about modern learning and better teaching, say that Japanese schools should foster a sense of aikokushin among pupils. This word could be translated as “love of country”, but to most Japanese it has other—and liberals would say darker—connotations. Many Japanese are indeed discovering things to love about their country these days, but aikokushin, say worried liberals, implies devotion to a particular idea of Japan: as a uniquely entitled nation supported by hard-working but unquestioning citizens. And although a return to militarism and rampant chauvinism seems hugely unlikely, the LDP’s latest ideological games risk antagonising Japan’s neighbours and reopening deep domestic wounds.

The LDP’s educational revisions could do even more damage at home. During the cold war, many left-wing teachers embraced extremist notions about Japan’s government and its alliance with America, and they were fond of using war guilt as an ideological weapon in classrooms. Over the past 15 years, however, those divisions have faded from politics, and from many classrooms as well. Enacting the patriotism clause now could erase that progress and reignite the ideological wars. Many teachers are already upset with the nationalist governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, for pushing devotion to the national flag and anthem in the capital’s schools.

Not the Reagan Doctrine… but better

Overall, A Tough Week for Pyongyang,” by “joshua,” One Free Korea, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/01/overall-tough-week-for-pyongyang.html, 21 January 2005.

Fellow blogger-of-South-Dakota-extraction Joshua sees Bush’s Second Inaugural Address as a reanimation of the Reagan Doctrine. He suggests comparing the first passage from Reagan to the Bush quotes bellow (all emphasis mine)

We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives…on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua … to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense

..”

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

Here’s Bush from yesterday:

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause. This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities.
. . . .

Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it. Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country. The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

Summing up, Joshua writes

the Reagan Doctrine, quietly undone by Bush’s father, is back. It doesn’t take much guessing to see where he intends to apply it; indeed, the last sentence almost seems to have been meant for Kim Jong Il.

In the words of President Bush: I disagree… strongly disagree with that.

Joshua underestimates the importance of Bush’s speech. As I have written, the Second Inaugural may be the greatest speech in American history. I won’t go over all the details now, but the basic difference is that the Reagan Doctrine was a negative strategy, while the Bush doctrine is a positive one.

The Reagan Doctrine, like the Monroe Doctrine or the Carter doctrine, sought to prevent the growth of outside powers. The Reagan Doctrine was an inexpensive response to the Soviet’s attempt to build countries of socialist orientation. Reagan’s response to massive state-building efforts by the Soviets was “fine, we’ll find some angry guys, give them guns, and create a revolution-in-a-box.” George Crile has written that what was extraordinary about the Secret Afghan War was that we tried to win, while in every other theatre our goal to make the Soviets lose (which was cheaper).

In other words: The Soviets were attempting to connect as much of the globe as they could to their command-and-control economy. For them this was a future worth creating. Reagan didn’t have a future worth creating. He saw a future worth destroying. We sought to disconnect every state the Soviets connected, and we succeeded.

While Reagan’s decisions were correct, they suffered from a schizophrenia. Which regime should be support in the Falklands, anti-communist Argentina or anti-communist Britain? We fudged it, and covertly helped both. Who should we support in Afghanistan, salafists or tribalists? We did both.

Bush has a positive vision. He wants to spread Globalization’s rule sets — making the world’s economies more American while making America’s culture more worldly (socially conservative). It is hard and it is expensive. He eloquently defends this as a war of self defense, which it is. No President has ever proposed anything this grand, and no President has ever been more right.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

You Are Always A Child

No Smoking,” by John Schaff, South Dakota Politics, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week3/index.html#a0003290843, 20 January 2005.

for the children… (and from South Dakota Politics).

According to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader this morning, the South Dakota legislature is considering a comprehensive ban on smoking in public places. I am sorry to see that two legislators from up here in Aberdeen are promoting the ban. Now, I am not pro-smoking, but I must say that I am anti-anti-smoking. I think it is a smelly and unhealthy habit, but I don’t think the public has any business telling private people in private places how they should deal with their own health

There is this cult of the body that suggests that anything we do that is unhealthy is not only imprudent, but immoral. Anyone who thinks Americans are no longer puritanical should consider the rhetoric surrounding smoking and fast food. One the sponsors of the bill says this: “I’m serious about this. Tobacco is killing our kids.” This is humorous because the picture that is included with the story is of a guy who looks to be older than spit smoking a cigarette in a bar. This elderly gentleman indicates that he is against the ban. I guess it depends what your definition of “kid” is.

Veritas

Harvard Chief Says His Remarks on Women Were Wrong,” by Greg Frost, Reuters, http://reuters.myway.com/article/20050120/2005-01-20T161255Z_01_N20197396_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-LIFE-HARVARD-DC.html, 20 January 2005 (from Drudge).

Harvard Univeristy demonstrates that it is a university in the truest sense of the world — it is a place for free expression of ideas, no matter how controversial.

Just kidding.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (Reuters) – Harvard University President Lawrence Summers has written a lengthy apology, admitting he was wrong to suggest women do not have the same natural ability in math and sciences as men.

In his third and most repentant statement this week, the Ivy League school chief sought to make amends to faculty not just at Harvard but across the country who were offended by his remarks at a conference last Friday.

“I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologize for not having weighed them more carefully,” Summers said in a letter to the Harvard community posted on his Web site and dated Wednesday. “I was wrong to have spoken in a way that has resulted in an unintended signal of discouragement to talented girls and women.”

If I was snide, I would say this is great news. After all, now that Harvard University has made is clear that some speech is unacceptable, we can expect all anti-Semitic speech to end. Likewise anti-American will soon end on college campuses, because it is it an “unintended” signal of discouragement to our troops.

But that’s not going to happen, so I won’t say anything.

The tDAxp eXPerience