Our Living State

Democrat to File Ban on Abortion,” by Terry Woster, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 29 January 2005, Page B1, http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050129/NEWS04/501290302/1001/NEWS.

Frank Kloucek is the highest ranking opponent of the Janklow-Daschle despotism still standing in South Dakota. He was the only politician brave enough to publically criticism the Governor during his four terms. This makes his principled stand against abortion all the more gratifying

Sen. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, said Friday he has decided to sponsor a bill banning abortions in South Dakota. He said the measure is written to avoid problems that resulted in a similar measure being vetoed last year [for potentially legalizing some forms of abortion — Dan].

Kloucek had said earlier in the week he was being counseled by some anti-abortion lawmakers not to sponsor the bill but to allow the 2005 session to be focused on a bill to limit th procedure. He decided against it.”

The main opposition to this bill comes from Roger Hunt, who suggested bankrupting abortionists might be an easier approach

Republican Rep. Roger Hunt of Brandon was among those who had suggested the current legislative session focus not on a ban but on bills aimed at tightening restrictions on abortion.

He has introduced a measure that he said would allow a woman who had an abortion to sue the person who performed the procedure if she felt she had not been fully informed of the consequences of the action.

Kloucek rises even higher in my esteem for being a firm pro-life politician who recognizes post-conception birth control

The only loopwhole to a total ban the bill allows is the use of emergency contraceptives if done prior to a time when a pregnancy could be determined through conventional medical testing.

And, of course, Kloucek avoids the problems of last year’s version

If Koucek’s draft, if a federal court stopped the abortion ban because of a legal challenge, existing restrictions on the procedure would remain in effect.

Our Slave State

Medical marijuana bill fails,” by Brad Perriello, Associated Press, http://www.aberdeennews.com/mld/aberdeennews/news/10759565.htm, 28 January 2005.

Treat adults like adults? Have mercy on the sick? Not in South Dakota!

Marijuana should not be legalized for medical purposes in South Dakota, legislators decided Friday.

The House Health Committee voted 11-1 against a bill that would have allowed people with certain debilitating illnesses to use pot.

HB1109 would have given doctors permission to prescribe up to 5 ounces of marijuana for those who suffer from such diseases as cancer, glaucoma and AIDs, and for people with chronic pain, nausea or seizures.

Rep. Gerald Lange, D-Madison, said the bill provides a necessary alternative for patients who do not get relief from traditional medications.

“There are certain debilitating medical conditions that are rather untreatable by contemporary medical practices,” said Lange, prime sponsor of the bill.

The measure would have required doctors to certify in writing that patients suffer from qualifying diseases and explain the risks and benefits of marijuana use to them. In addition, both doctors and patients would have had to register with the Health Department.

The excuse? It’s because South Dakota, a state that blockaded Canada, the last state that fought to the Surpeme Court to allow 20 year olds to drink, a state courageously fights against Federal governments and its insane bantuland treaties, suddenly believes in federal supremacy

Charlie McGuigan, an assistant state attorney general, urged legislators to reject the bill. He said marijuana use would still be a federal crime if the bill became state law.

And let’s not forget that South Dakota, a state which bitterly fought against seat-belt laws and federal speed limits, suddely cares about your health

Marijuana causes many adverse health effects, McGuigan said…

And let’s not forget that South Dakota, where even our Republican Senator supports importing prescriptions from Canada, now cares about drug company profits

…adding that the active ingredient in marijuana is currently available in prescription form.

Remember…

It’s not your tax dollars, it’s the government‘s tax dollars
It’s not your child, it’s the government‘s child
It’s not your body, it’s the government‘s body

Oil Shock

Conservation Can Work,” by Andrew Sullivan, AndrewSullivan.com, http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_01_23_dish_archive.html#110686746926682550, 27 January 2005.

One of my first posts was on the need for cutting oil consumption. Even a margial cut in oil hurts the tyrants who enslave their people, and forces democratic reforms. Money is power, and taking money away from powerful forces can change history.

This is not saying that we need to boycott Middle East oil. Or that China and India should be prevented from making their investments. But marginal demand is power, and if we can reduce the marginal demand for oil we can spead reforms throughout the Greater Middle East.

A writer to Andrew Sullivan agrees

What Klingle doesn’t understand is that it is not about just states “sponsoring terrorism”, but forcing these sclerotic Middle East economies to face the same forces of dynamism that the rest of the world deals with it, resulting in more liberal societies. Not all countries in the Middle East have lots of oil. In fact countries like Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE have very little of it, and not coincidentally they represent the most liberal societies in the region. There is a strong argument that the societal unrest building in Iran is due in large part to their exploding population outgrowing the Mullah’s oil revenue, crippling their ability to buy off interests within society. We could help push them over the edge with a concerted effort to cut our oil demand.

Well said.

Juan Cole Crack-Up?

Feith Resigns Under Pressure of Investigations,” by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, http://www.juancole.com/2005/01/feith-resigns-under-pressure-of.html, 28 January 2005.

I have cited Juan Cole before. He is very informed and up to date, if a bit pessimistic. But what’s the deal with this?

Douglas Feith, the number three man at the Pentagon who went there from the pro-Likud Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Project for a New American Century, will leave the Pentagon as of this summer. Feith’s office is the subject of an FBI investigation as well as two Congressional investigations, one by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Feith helped set up an Office of Special Plans in the Near East and South Asia desk of the Pentagon to cherry-pick Iraq intelligence and create a case for Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and having operational links with al-Qaeda. At one point, contrary to Federal law, Feith’s people actually briefed officials in the Executive on intelligence. Feith sent David Wurmser from the Office of Special Plans, once its work was well under way, over to the staff of Vice President Dick Cheney, so that he could stove pipe OSP analyses into the VP’s office and thence directly to the president, doing an end run around the CIA and the State Department Intelligence and Research division.

Having a Likudnik as the number three man in the Pentagon is a nightmare for American national security, since Feith could never be trusted to put US interests over those of Ariel Sharon. In the build-up to the Iraq War, Feith had a phalanx of Israeli generals visiting him in the Pentagon and ignored post-9/11 requirements that they sign in. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was a vocal advocate of a US war against Iraq, who “put pressure” on Washington about it. (If Sharon wanted a war against Iraq, why didn’t he fight it himself instead of pushing it off on American boys?)

Feith has been questioned by the FBI in relation to the passing by one of his employees of confidential Pentagon documents to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which in turn passed them to the Israeli embassy. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating Feith. There seems little doubt that he operated in the Pentagon in such a way as to produce false and misleading “intelligence,” that he created an entirely false impression of Iraqi weapons capabilities and ties to al-Qaeda, and that he is among the chief facilitators of the US war in Iraq.

Feith is clearly resigning ahead of the possible breaking of major scandals concerning his tenure at the Department of Defense, which is among the more disgraceful cases of the misleading of the American people in American history.

There are several downsides to Feith’s departure, as welcome as it is for anyone who cares about US security in particular. The first is that now we probably have to see him forever on cable news channels as one of those dreary neocon talking heads flogged by the American Enterprise Institute, a far rightwing “think tank” funded by cranky rich people to obscure the truth. Another is that his departure now may help keep Bush from being blamed for his shady dealings in intelligence “analysis.”

It is important to note that what is objectionable about Feith is a) his playing fast and loose with the truth, producing poor intelligence analysis that has been shown to be completely false and b) his doing so on behalf of not only American nationalist aspirations but also on behalf of a non-American political party, the Likud coalition of Israel, which desired to destroy the Oslo peace process initiated by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (and which was therefore on the same side of this issue as the fanatic who assassinated Rabin). There is no objection to Americans having multiple identities or love for more than one country. Someone of Serbian heritage would make a perfectly good Pentagon administrator. But you wouldn’t want a vehement supporter of Slobodon Milosevic as the number three man in the Pentagon. It is ideological dual loyalty that is dangerous. Mere sentiment based on multiple ethnic identities is not dual loyalty, and hyphenated Americans mostly have other countries they wish well (and rightly so).

Juan Cole may be passing off Jewish conspiracy theories, but at least he isn’t bigoted.

It is also important to underline that only a small minority of American Jews support the Likud Party or its policies, and that a majority of Jewish Americans opposed the Iraq war. In short, the problematic nature of Feith’s tenure at the Department of Defense must not be made an excuse for any kind of bigotry.

*sigh*

So Dr. Cole is passing off conspiracy theories and half-truths in an attempt to discredit a Pentagon official who, horror of horrors, may have briefed higher-ups.

America’s Secret War is making me rethinking some of my analysis. Dr. Cole is making me rethink some of his.

At least it is not this bad.

The All-Consuming Fire

Burning Bush brandishes Dostoevsky,” The Guardian, http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,6109,1395563,00.html, 21 January 2005 (from One Good Move).

Having written before on Bush’s Second Inaugural Address, and its historic precedents, I’m delighted by this new info.

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
Bush’s New Order of the Ages

One of the models of American leadership is that of Moses, leading God’s chosen people – then the Jews, now the Americans – towards a promised land, following a pillar of fire. At one point, according to the Bible, Moses was shown a sign: “Behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.”

But the key fire passage in the Burning Bush speech – “We have lit a fire as well; a fire in the minds of men” – actually has its origins in a novel by the 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Devils, about a group of terrorists’ ineffectual struggle to bring down the tyrannical Tsarist regime.

One of the characters declares that it is pointless to try to put out a fire started by terrorists: “The fire is in the minds of men and not in the roofs of houses,” he says.

Nonetheless, it is not clear whether Bush is identifying here with the terrorists – or the tyrants.

Is The Guardian perfect? No. It too easily falls into an anti-Bush mind disease — a syphilis that destroys rational discourse. But here, they are on to something.

Czarist Russia was a monstrosity, a cruel on the world. An out of touch and kleptomaniacal regime moderned their country only enough to steal more from it. Friends of the Czar profited immensley while the people rotted in misery. While not without its high points (Czar Alexander II’s Emancipation Proclamation was a few years ahead of Lincoln’s) it was a blot on the world.

It also fermented terrorism. As Richard Pipes has documented, even Russian liberals were drawn to terrorism, and high state officials were sympathetic. Russian-inspired terrorism was responsible for the Great War, and in the end the terrorism succeeded in ending a liberal experiment.

Who does this remind you of? (A “good job” to anyone who answers “the Saudis.”)

When I first interpreted the fire line, I wrote

The Presient compares freedom to a fire. This is very important, especially considering his earlier analogy of Communism to a ship. Communism was artificial. It was created by men and in calling it a shipwreck it was destroyed by Nature. It could not lost.

But freedom is a fire. It cannot be destroyed It is part of the nature of the world. Even in a nightmare future where all fire is extinguished it has to come back. Through a bolt of lightning it may come anywhere at anytime.

Fire burns its enemies. Fire consums and destroys. It is an elemental force. We are on the side of destructive grandeur of the world.

The analogy also echos the Chicago School of economic thought. During the dark days of FDR and Keynes, the economy was thought of as a giant machine that could be “fine tuned.” The 1970s in the West, and the entire history of the Soviet Union, shows exactly what “fine tuning” does. Chicago economists realized that the economy was an ecological system where there are forces and flows that are impossible to resist.

Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens:

From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.

I stand by what I wrote before. But the hidden Saudi-Czarist tyrant analogy is inspiring. We recognize the nature of the Saudis. We warn of the dangers of terrors. We are watching. And we will act.

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

Shroud of Turin

Shroud of Turin: Old as Jesus?,” New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/27/science/27shroud.html, 27 January 2005.

Without comment

The Shroud of Turin is much older than the medieval date that modern science has affixed to it and could be old enough to have been the burial wrapping of Jesus, a new analysis concludes.

Since 1988, most scientists have confidently concluded that it was the work of a medieval artist, because carbon dating had placed the production of the fabric between 1260 and 1390.

In an article this month in the journal Thermochimica Acta, Dr. Raymond N. Rogers, a chemist retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, said the carbon dating test was valid but that the piece tested was about the size of a postage stamp and came from a portion that had been patched.

“We’re darned sure that part of the cloth was not original Shroud of Turin cloth,” he said, adding that threads from the main part of the shroud were pure linen, which is spun from flax.

The threads in the patched portion contained cotton as well and had been dyed to match.

From other tests, he estimated that the shroud was between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

Good Politicians

McCain, Clinton Nominate Presidents of Georgia And Ukraine for Nobel Peace Prize,” by Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton Online Office and U.S. Senator John McCain, http://clinton.senate.gov/~clinton/news/2005/2005126715.html and http://mccain.senate.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=NewsCenter.ViewPressRelease&Content_id=1509, 26 January 2005 (from South Dakota Politics).

Two politicians, neither of whom I want to be President, are both clear strategic thinkers. Either of them would be a good leader in the Global War on Terrorism

Both presidents have displayed a commitment to peace and the rule of law in removing authoritarian governments. Their leadership has allowed millions in Georgia and Ukraine to reclaim their democratic system and to build a society based on law and individual rights.

We believe that the actions of Presidents Saakashvili and Yushchenko testify to the power of peace and human rights in their battle against oppression. Recognizing these men with the Peace Prize would honor not only their historic roles in Georgia and Ukraine, but would also offer hope and inspiration to those seeking freedom in lands still denied it.

The peaceful revolutions in Georgia and the Ukraine are heartening. It shows the continual yearning of eastern Europeans for democracy. From 1989 to 1991 they threw off the bonds of Communism. And now they are liberating themselves from goonish Russian influence. Perhaps soon the peaceful revolutions will spread to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Muscovy itself.

Good for them. For the Clinton and McCain for coming together to reward them. And good for the world.

Fiscal Imprudence

Pataki for UN?,” by Robert Novak, Townhall.com, http://www.townhall.com/columnists/robertnovak/rn20050122.shtml, 22 January 2005 (from Dayton v. Kennedy).

An advantage of living near Sioux Falls is that during elections, you get triple the fun. The “Sioux Empire” media market extends to Minnesota and Iowa We get Iowa Caucus advertising every four years; additionally, we watched Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy’s rise from the sidelines. As small-government South Dakotans naturally despite Minnesota Democrats, and thus Senator Dayton, this news was all the more interesting

First term Sen. Mark Dayton of Minnesota, who depleted his fortune as Dayton-Hudson department store heir by spending $25 million in four statewide political campaigns, is being targeted by Republicans as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat in 2006.

Dayton spent $12 million of his own money to provide nearly all funding for his election in 2000, and his net worth is now officially disclosed as $5 million to $15 million. Facing the need to raise money for the first time, he recently fired his top fund-raisers after he finished the third quarter of 2004 with just $271,000 cash on hand.

In addition to money problems, Dayton slumped in the polls after he alone among U.S. senators closed his Washington offices because of an alleged terrorist threat. Former Rep. Bill Luther is considering a Democratic primary challenge against Dayton. The senator’s Republican opponent is expected to be a well-funded Rep. Mark Kennedy.

Way to destroy the family fortune, Mark!

Dayton is not sitting pretty. Hopefully Mark can knock him Mark in ’06.

Election, Still Stolen

GOP says it found 300 illegal votes,” by David Postman, Seattle Times, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2002161949_vance27m.html, 27 January 2005 (from The Corner).

The Kyiv on the Pacific scandal continues to grow

TUKWILA — The state Republican Party said in court papers filed yesterday that it has found 300 illegal votes and more than 400 that can’t be verified in the governor’s election.

With Christine Gregoire winning the governor’s race by 129 votes, Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance says he now has found far more than enough evidence to persuade a judge to nullify the election and call for a rematch between Gregoire and Republican Dino Rossi.

Lawyers and Republican staffers are continuing to look county by county for votes cast by felons, in the name of dead people or by people who voted more than once, casting second votes either in other counties or other states.

“I expect this number to literally grow every day,” Vance said.

I’m not surprised at the stolen election. I am surprised about how the issue is being kept alive. It is good for democracy that old Democratic tactics are no longer working. From Jim Crow to union thugs Jackson’s party has instutionalized tainted voting. It’s good they are being called on it.