Johnson v. Daschle

Zell Was Right,” by Rich Lowry, National Review Online,, 14 January 2005 (from South Dakota Politics).

When Tim Johnson escorted John Thune down the Senate aisle to be sworn in, it was a complicated moment. John and Thune had run against each other in 2002. If not for Daschle’s efforts to keep Johnson in office, Daschle would still have his job and Johnson would be a has-been.

But things would get more complex. Like the fact Jim Jordan, former spokesman for Tim Johnson and former John Kerry campaign manager, has jumped on the pro-Zell-Miller bandwagon

“We are too coastal. We are too urban. We are too secular. And, most of all, we are too dovish. The public simply doesn’t trust us to keep them safe”

Rich Lowry opines

All the Democrats who now say that the party has foolishly given up on the South, that it is unable to connect with religious voters, that it is too beholden to liberal orthodoxy on social issues, that Americans don’t trust it on national defense, and that it doesn’t speak the language of most Americans should take a deep breath and repeat after me: “Zell Miller was right.”

This turnabout is extraordinary given the kind of criticisms that were lodged at Miller last year, especially after he amplified the arguments in his book in a humdinger of a speech at the Republican National Convention. An AFL-CIO official said Miller had “lost his damn mind.” James Carville said Miller was being “cynically manipulated by people who are greedy to hold on to power at any cost.” Well, Miller appears, in light of events, to have been the shrewdest cynically manipulated lunatic in all of human history.

“In the eyes of Middle America,” Miller wrote of the Democratic party, “it has become a value-neutral party.” That is almost mild compared with what other Democrats are now saying. Even Miller’s battering of the party for being too extreme on abortion has gained a measure of acceptance. Howard Dean of all people — another candidate to lead the DNC — now says, “I have long believed that we ought to make a home for pro-life Democrats.”

Of course, if not for Daschle this would not have happened. A more competent democratic leader would not have alienated life-long Democrats like Miller and would not have allowed the national party to be tarred by blue-state extremism.

Ironic. Or is it fitting?

If that isn’t Right…

The Death of HB 1191,” by Eleanor J. Bader, Z Magazine,, May 2004.

Kranz,” by Chad. M. Shuldt, Clean Cut Kid,, 16 January 2005.

Clean Cut Kid read the same Sfal article on the collapse of the South Dakota Democratic Party and Herseth’s shift to the right, but he caught something I did not.

The legislator who accused Stephanie Herseth for “moving” to the right voted to end abortion. Period. No qualifiers. This is further than I would go.

For an idea of the text….

Thelma Underberg, executive director of the state’s NARAL chapter, was shocked by the callousness of the rhetoric and the frenzy that accompanied the bill’s introduction. “One woman who got up to speak said that she understood that rape was traumatic, but that she could not help but think it would be therapeutic for the woman to give birth to new life,” she reports. After debating this issue, Underberg says that lawmakers voted against including a rape or incest exception. They also voted down a provision to allow abortion in cases of fetal deformity. Legislators did, however, toss a sop at ambivalent, would-be allies, and agreed to allow abortion in cases of life or health endangerment.

Eventually, the Governor vetoed it because he felt it might inadvertantly make some abortions legal while it was being challenged. Rounds’ “style and form” veto only survived by one vote.

I want to thank Chad for bringing this to my attention. It shows what consequences Daschle’s unprincipled support of the most murderous abortions have wrought: a countermovement that will be extreme in the opposite direction.

Democrats, especially blue-state Democrats, need to realize this. Those who support abortion in all cases will end up ending abortion in all cases. This is not a battle that Democrats can win.

After Janklow-Daschle

“Daschle’s Defeat Spurring Debate Among Democrats,” by David Kranz, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Page 1B, 16 January 2005.

South Dakota democrat and political commentator David Kranz relays some thoughts on the continuing implosion of the South Dakota Democratic Party

The return of [Republican] Gov. Bill Janklow in 1995 “was a reversion to jugular politics that hit like a tsunami,” Lange said.

Daschle and the state Democratic Party leadership share the blame for the decline, he said.

The leadership of Sen. Daschle and the state party failed utterly in stemming this tidal wave that reduced us to nine seats in the Senate and 22 in the House,” Lange said.

Friendship between Daschle and Janklow was a “symbiotic relationship,” he said.

I don’t think rebuilding the state Democratic Party is the primary concern to any winning national candidate as long as their alliance with enough Republican voters holds,” Lange said.

I doubt whether Rep. (Stephanie) Herseth, who keeps moving further to the right, is going to be the spark to re-ignite the Democratic Party when she can when without it.”

In the 2004 election, South Dakotans knew that Tom lost touch with the state. His concerns were those of the national party, not South Dakotans.

Over time, the true damage the Janklow-Daschle duarchy caused to South Dakota becomes more and more known. Both attempted to destroy their political parties to help themselves. The difference is that the Republican Party can survive without Bill (Governor Rounds and Senator Thune are much more conservative and popular than Janklow ever was).

Can the Democratic Party survive without Daschle? With only closeted Republican Stephie Herseth and more-bland-than-humanly-possible Senator Johnson holding statewise seats, probably not.

Update: More recently, Bill took out a two-page ad praising Tom.

Salafists take a Ba’ath

I only have one question then,” by Thomas Freridge, tdaxp,, 14 January 2005.

I only have one question then……why the previous animosity between the baathist party and al-quaida?

There are clear ideological differences. The Ba’ath want a multireligious centralized Arab state. I do not believe it is slanderous that they admired the Nazi Party for nearly achieving this among “Europeans.” While National-Socialists could be Catholic, Protestant, Nordic Pagan, Mystic, etc, all were subordinated in a ethnic-based totalitarian state.

The Islamists (Wahabis, Salafists, al-Qaeda, “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (the old “Jihad and Polytheism”)) want a monoreligious centralized multinational state. al-Qaeda has recruited French, blacks, hispanics, Chinese, Arabs, Philipinos, etc.

I think the struggle in Iraq was so vicious because they were recruiting among the same group — the heavily westernized, mobile, and education Sunni Arab Muslim minority. As the sanctions and the Saddam tyrannt destroyed Iraq, each began to coopt the other’s rhetoric. But they have different utopias — each sees its own “future worth creating.”

Strafor hsa sad that anywhere from a half to two-thirds of insurgent violence in Iraq is Ba’athi. Most of the rest is al-Qaeda and copycats.

If I am reading Zen Pundit correctly, his argument is this: The Ba’ath are functioning in a terror-cell system devised before the war. The terror-cell system is reinforced on tribal and clan lines, which makes it more motivated but less resistant to counterattack. The plan of the terror-cell is to destroy the leadership and technocrats of any government or party that opposes them. They will attempt to do the same thing to our army (the have attempted assassinating U.S. civilian and military officials). They will do the same to any other army in Iraq (say if we leave and Iran, Saudi, Syria, etc tries to invade). If they are current more violent that the rest of the insurgency combined, then I assume that the Salafists will be the next to go after the drive out “foreigners.” And the numbers seem to be on their side.

Al-Qaeda has faith in God. If they win in Iraq, it is due to the glory of God. If they lose, it is part of God’s larger plan. If they die in Iraq, they shall be rewarded as martyrs.

They have common enemies, and they have long tried to use each other, but they are not friends. I remember seeing pictures of the Ba’athi general and his son who were burned alive in Fallujah. And we have to destroy them both.


North Korea’s Antique Food Rationing, by Andrei Lankov, Asia Times,, 15 January 2005 (from NK Zone).

North Korea is a nightmare in ways both big and small. Food rationing and starvation brings both.

Rations consisted of a mix of different grains. In the 1970s, in Pyongyang rice represented as much as 70% of the allowance, but even in those relatively prosperous times, in more remote areas rations consisted entirely of corn and barley, which have fewer calories than rice – but excessive weight has never been a problem in North Korea. The proportions between rice and other less valuable kinds of grains depended largely on one’s place of residence, with Pyongyang and other major cities being most privileged.

But what about meat and fish? Well, there were no regular norms for providing these luxuries. As a rule, a family was issued about a kilogram of meat two or three times a year, normally on the eve of major holidays – especially North Korean founder Kim Il-sung’s birthday. Milk was provided to schoolchildren in Pyongyang in very small quantities. Sugar was dropped from the rations in the early 1970s, and since then could be bought only by lucky owners of foreign currency (for a hyper-Stalinist regime, North Korea always had a remarkably relaxed currency-control system). Admittedly, fish was more available, but still not a part of daily diet.

The first downsizing of the rations took place in 1973 when the country’s economic growth began to decelerate. In September 1973 it was declared that “due to the dangerous international situation” the rations would be reduced: every fortnight two daily rations would be sacrificed for the strategic reserves. In 1989 the rations were cut further – by 10%: this was necessary, the authorities explained, to prepare the country for the forthcoming International Youth Festival. In 1992 a new 10% cut was imposed. These cuts meant that on the eve of North Korea’s Great Famine of 1995-99, the average worker received less than 500g of cereals. A retiree had to subsist on 220g – not exactly a generous amount.

From 1992 the North Korean media began to explain that for better health one only had to have two meals a day (the tradition of three meals was described as excessive and unhealthy). In those times people in some remote areas could not get food. They were still issued rationing coupons, but actual delivery of rations was delayed for days, and then for weeks.

The article proceeds to describe the breakdown of the rationing system. Food production fell by half, and food distribution halted. The nightmare only gets worse.

Life-long Infantilism

FDA panel rejects sales of Mevacor over counter,” by Diedtra Henderson, Boston Globe,, 15 January 2005.

John Ashcroft might be leaving the Department of Justice, but the “we know better than you, and we will imprison you to prove it” spirit lives on at the FDA

BETHESDA, Md. — Federal advisers rejected Merck & Co.’s quest to become the first American drug maker to sell cholesterol-fighting statins over the counter, saying the company’s own studies raised potential health risks while offering modest life-saving benefits.

In animal studies, lovastatin, as the drug is known generically, was linked to fetal deaths, malformed skeletons, and behavioral delays, according to Karen Davis-Bruno, a FDA supervisory pharmacologist. The FDA could not definitively link side effects reported by pregnant women who took lovastatin in their first trimester, but pregnant women are barred from taking the prescription product.

In Saudi Arabia, stripping citizen of rights because women (especaily women with child) are viewed as life-long infants is called the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice In the United States, we just call it the Food and Drug Administration.

Kommunist Krauts?

Still Giving Orders,” by Andrew Stuttaford, The Corner,, 15 January 2005.

Andrew Stuttaford has quotes a piece from Haaretz on the Nazi armband (this one’s for you, Joh)

“German politicians have called for a Europe-wide ban on Nazi insignia after Britain’s Prince Harry caused outrage by wearing a swastika armband and Nazi regalia at a fancy dress party… Markus Soeder, general secretary of Germany’s Christian Socialist Union opposition conservative party told the paper: “In a Europe grounded in peace and freedom there should be no place for Nazi symbols. They should be banned throughout Europe, as they are with good reason in Germany.” Soeder also urged the German government to push for a more balanced history program in British schools.”

No word yet on whether those German politicians, who seem to have a thing or two to learn about free speech, would support a Europe-wide ban on Communist insignia.

I wonder why not.

Old Europe: Anti-Speech? Of course. Anti-Jew? Typically. Anti-Communist?

Democracy Now!

Al Sadr warns Bush on poll interference,” Gulf Daily News,, 15 January 2005.

Muqtada al-Sadr continues his cries for democracy in Iraq:

BAGHDAD: Radical Iraqi leader Moqtada Al Sadr yesterday urged US President George W Bush and Iraq’s neighbours not to interfere with the January 30 general elections.

“This affair is none of your business,” the young Shi’ite leader said, addressing Bush in a Friday sermon read by one of his representatives at a mosque in his Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City.

“I call on all neighboring and non-neighboring countries, occupiers and non-occupiers, not to meddle in the country’s internal affairs, including the elections,” he said.

The obvious subtext is tht he wants other nations not to interfere in Iraq’s elections. Syria and Saudi oil millionaires are already interfering by supporting the terrorists. Some in Washington want to interfere by giving the Sunnis more seats than the actually win, in an attempt to buy-off the murderers. (Or more politely, “co-opt” them.)

Iraq’s future is Shia-Kurdish. A free election will reflect that. Long live the free Iraq!


Iran Parliament to further inhibit women,” Iran Mania,, 13 January 2005.

Career Day Speaker Advises Stripping,” Associated Press,, 13 January 2005.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, a woman who does not cover herself modestly is indecent. Might cause a scandal.

Recently the conservative-dominated Iranian Parliament has begun taking steps to make it obligatory for Iranian women to wear the chador, a black head-to-toe wrap. The move apparently comes after a rather freer atmosphere which prevailed in Iranian society as regards dress codes during President Khatami’s tenure.

In the U.S. public education, talking about a woman who does not cover herself modestly is indecent. Might cause a scandal.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) — A popular speaker at a Palo Alto middle school’s annual career day might not be invited back after he advised students that stripping — yes exotic dancing — could be a lucrative potential profession.

The school’s principal plans to send some apologetic letters home with students.

Growth Deficit

US trade gap a sign of growing economy: Snow,” AFP,, 12 January 2005.

‘We are growing faster than our trading partners,’ Snow told reporters,” by “Career Prole,” Democratic Underground,, 12 January 2005.

Snow says US trade deficit reflects strong economic growth,” Xinhuanet,, 13 January 2005.

Democratic Underground linked to an Agence France-Presse article, which quoted Treasury Secretary Snow

NEW YORK (AFP) – US Treasury Secretary John Snow said the record US trade deficit was the result of strong economic growth and the United States outpacing the growth of other countries.

The impression left by the article? Snow is insane. The first paragraph makes as much sense as saying “Record High Credit Card Debt by Me Sign of Improved Earnings.” Predictably, terms like ‘crazy’ and ‘psycopath’ soon appeared in Democratic Underground. But out of the darkness, one bright light

Another warning to the Europeans!
Snow went on a tour of Europe telling all comers that the problem with the American dollar was that European leaders weren’t “growing their economies” fast enough and he specifically mentioned labor and pensions.

Snow intends to let the dollar fall until Europe pledges to squeeze its workers like we squeeze ours.
He is trying to spread the disease. He wants the whole world to be “China-fied

The spin’s left, but the sentinment’s right. We want a richer world, and that implies Europe actually working.

Background: A strong dollar is like a credit card with a great interest rate. We can buy more than we could otherwise. Because it is so cheap to buy, we can rationally live a bit further beyond our means if we know we will keep growing. This can mean things like cheaper TVs and cheaper cars. If we can offshore some medical work (like X-ray diagnosis) we even get cheaper medicine! Great deal!

On the other side, a weak currency is like a money market with a great rate. You spend less because it makes sense to invest more. Japan, Korea, and China try to keep their currencies low because of this. They have less now, but they can grow much faster because more investment is encouraged.

There are also hidden implications. Because consumption is real, it really affects people’s lives. And the buyer chooses where and how to affect lives. This is most obvious in wars. If our dollar buys more, then everything is cheaper. Uniforms from China are cheaper. Bullets from Taiwan are cheaper. Fuel for our tanks is cheaper. Electronics for Predator unmaned aerial vehicles are cheaper.

It also makes unilateral economic embargoes more effective. We have chosen to punish Iran and Cuba by not buying stuff from them. They feel this.

But there is a cost. We can buy more, but sell less (because our goods are more expensive to both them and us). This hurts the long-term growth of the U.S., and threatens our ability to keep up the game in the future. Additionally, they eventually will want their money back, meaning we have to keep up our growth rate to pay for all the nifty gadgets & wars. And if we can’t sell to them, it’s much harder to grow.

For as much as we complained in the ’80s, Japan is a great friend. They are painfully restructuring their economy to get back to growth. As with the Republicans and Democrats in the U.S., the Liberal Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party fight it out, but all agree on the same basic plan. China, South Korea, Singapore — basically, the rest of Asia, are also on board. But as to old Europe…

The day after the DUer made his observation, Xinhua ran a longer version of the story which backs it up

“The trade gap reflects two things: that our economy is growing at a fast pace and we are growing faster than our trading partners,” Snow told reporters at the New York Stock Exchange, according to reports reaching here.

He also said that the Group of Seven industrialized countries will focus their agenda on the global economy when their finance ministers and central bankers meet in February.

“I think we’ll need more than one growth engine in the world. We need Europe to be an engine of growth. We need Japan to be an engine of growth,” he said.

Snow once again reiterated the US strong dollar policy on Wednesday.

“It’s always the same policy, our policy is the strong dollar. There’s been no change in that from the day I two years ago came into office to today,” he said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Everything falls into place. It’s even laid out neatly on the page.

1. We have a trade deficit because you are growing to slow.
2. This means you, Europe. We want you to grow…
3. …exactly as much as we want to keep the dollar strong.

A diplomatic threat. If Europe wants to continue with slow-growth policies, fine. We’ll just stop buying from then.

And there the most powerful feature of a strong dollar of all: we can threaten to make it weak.

The tDAxp eXPerience