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Something Old

Clintons and the draft. Liberal kvetching. Music men. NATO and the Bear. Gays of wine and rose. Plus much more.

12.1.03

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BAGHDAD LADY
Re: The Washington Prowler's Tokyo Hillary:

What you are saying is nothing new and yes, she like her husband does not get it. Because the military swears an oath and are apolitical (to the point of sending people to jail), she believes that they are stupid. As a result, whatever she says will be greedily slurped up by these people that have neither the brains or ambition to do anything worthwhile, like run Blockbuster.

In 1999 I was deployed to Germany in support of Allied Force in Kosovo. When the President blew through on his way to meeting the Euro Pols and wanted some photo ops with the troops. Our commander asked for volunteers, when none came we ordered two airmen and one Sgt. to go.

Though I could have retired in 2000 I waited until 2001 to put my papers in so that my certificate would not bear the signature of our President at the time.

No, Hillary does not get it, but the boys and girls do. And someone should/must explain to her that second guessing the leadership (when you are the leadership -- i.e. a Senator) is VERY bad for morale.
-- John Mahaffey

I was appalled when I read the reports of Hil's visit to our troops. She certainly didn't come off as a commander in chief. What a shame that just for once in her life she couldn't visit the troops on Thanksgiving and cheer them up. Her comments unfortunately spoiled the whole picture and she showed the visit to be just what it was -- another political slam against our President. She has accomplished the same thing right at home and didn't need to show her selfish agenda in front of our troops. Hillary Clinton has absolutely no class and would shame the White House -- again -- if she ever fools the public into voting for her for president. I'm sure she didn't fool the troops. What a disgraceful rhetoric she brings to our hope for peace.
-- Jane McNair
Connecticut

SPEED READ
Re: Jerry Carter's Clinton By the Book:

Clinton's list of books reads more like an uneducated guess at what would make one look educated.
-- Samuel Goodin

IS EVERYBODY HAPPY?
Re: Colby Cosh's Two Steps Forward:

Mr. Cosh misses the biggest error of Gregg Easterbrook's premise (even if the guy can turn a phrase).

Mr. Easterbrook is, indeed, correct when analyzing that we are doing extremely well by a broad series of objective and subjective measures.

He then presents a question "why are we so unhappy?"

Almost all the polling and research I have seen on Americans shows we are actually quite a happy people.

Usually, the stories are written by scribblers that let their astonishment of the poll and research results show through.

The cognitive morons, like Easterbrook, still don't get it.

Even if we say we are happy, they seem to "know" it can't be true since we work longer than almost anyone else in the world and we aren't as sophisticated as Europeans.

Mr. Easterbrook should combine his conclusions about our progress with actual work done evaluating our overall satisfaction with life.

The conundrum will be instantly solved.

No need to buy a flawed book.
-- Chris Harley
Piedmont, California

PROPERTY RECORDS
Re: Theodora Blanchfield's Stinging the Fans:

I'm afraid Ms. Blanchfield's article is somewhat flawed. One would think that a conservative publication would have at least some concern for property rights. This should not be different if the rights in question are intellectual property rights. There is a natural tendency to disregard the intangible (intellectual property) and credit only the tangible (real property, personal property), and that seems to be the case here. The author seems to think that the government and the RIAA are cracking down only because we are "enjoying ourselves overmuch" and therefore should be allowed to continue to download. But the key question is whether what we are enjoying is stealing (and illegal). I doubt many conservatives would take the benevolent view that looters or shoplifters are "enjoying themselves overmuch" and the killjoys should just leave them alone. How are music downloaders any different? Ms. Blanchfield doesn't say.

Contrary to what Ms. Blanchfield says, it is not "perfectly legal" to videotape movies on television if they are for noncommercial reasons. The Supreme Court in Sony v. Universal Studios (1984) stated that one can only record TV programs to "time-shift" -- that is, to record, watch later, then to erase -- not for archival use, though that, of course, widely goes on anyway. This has almost certainly gouged potential VHS/DVD sales -- how many more would they have sold if not for VCRs recording off of TV? DVDs may be bringing in a lot of money right now, but how long will that last once people download DVDs online, just as they're doing with CDs now? This is why the film industry is becoming active against online piracy (some movie trailers have been made on the subject) -- it sees the danger that Ms. Blanchfield does not.

Also, Ms. Blanchfield asserts that the RIAA is suing over intellectual property that it doesn't own. Untrue. The RIAA is a trade organization made up of record labels -- they are the record companies and have legal standing to sue copyright violators.

The RIAA certainly has a tough row to hoe, and is certainly alienating fans, as Ms. Blanchfield correctly points out. But that does not end the analysis. The question is whether downloading music is theft or not. This question she skirts around by regaling us with how fun downloading is and the RIAA is being a big meanie for protecting its own property.
-- Sean Fama

Quoting today's article: "In 1999, the big bad wolf (a.k.a., the RIAA) decided to begin suing individuals for copyright infringement on behalf of the record companies. Yes, the RIAA is suing over intellectual property that it does not own. Copyrights belong to the artists or the record companies, not the RIAA."

Is this a joke? Literally hundreds of record labels have explicitly authorized the RIAA to represent them in copyright infringement cases. None, to my knowledge, have told the RIAA not to litigate on their behalf. Most artists, through their record contracts, have authorized their labels to protect their copyrights. This is, in fact, one of the primary reasons for the existence of the RIAA. A simple glance at the RIAA's website confirms this.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade group that represents the U.S. recording industry. Its mission is to foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality. Its members are the record companies that comprise the most vibrant national music industry in the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 90% of all legitimate sound recordings produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect intellectual property rights worldwide and the First Amendment rights of artists; conduct consumer industry and technical research; and monitor and review -- state and federal laws, regulations and policies.

To say that the RIAA has no standing to sue because it doesn't hold the copyrights is simply wrong. Attorneys rarely hold copyrights, yet they are still entitled to pursue infringement cases on the plaintiff's behalf and at the plaintiff's request. Musicians may not like the heavy-handed actions of the RIAA, but they signed their recording contracts voluntarily, and there are probably plenty of other provisions they'd like to get rid of before putting their intellectual property in the public domain.

Perhaps in the future you could spend an extra 2 minutes actually researching your subject?
-- Judd Bourgeois
Las Vegas, Nevada

I read with interest Theodora Blanchfield's article, "Stinging the Fans." Although the issues of the RIAA and online file sharing have been covered almost completely, I thought the last paragraph of her article summarized the relationship exquisitely. If not exactly "another perspective," the article nailed the crux of the property rights issue.

Thanks,
-- Lance

Theodora Blanchfield replies:
I was surprised Judd Bourgeois (surely a nom de plume!) devoted so much effort to refute what was basically a throw-away line.

For the record, nowhere in the article did I say the RIAA lacked "standing" to sue downloaders. However, Mr. Bourgeois inadvertently makes my case when he says that a large part of the rationale for the RIAA's existence is to sue renegade song-swappers.

Many musicians are realizing what a wedge this drives between themselves and fans, and are rightly expressing concern. The present highly litigious environment is not in the best interest of the music industry or the fans, and the industry stands most to lose from such a ham-fisted approach.

NATOTORIUM
Re: Jed Babbin's Would You Believe? (Neither Do I):

Mr. Babbin's may have been an instrumental part of the DoD team under Bush I, but I for the life of me do not understand the line -- "We need NATO, but not if NATO's only a shell." For clearly the mission of NATO is over with or at least U.S. involvement in it is.

NATO was conceived at a time when the then Soviet Union could amass 70 divisions on the East German border. No country in Europe at that point had the resources to counter the threat -- even the U.S. as we had rapidly demilitarized after WWII. Only by providing a common defense would it be possible to stem the tide.

Today, the threat that conceived NATO, is increasingly facing its attention and forces to the East, China and the south, Islamic border states like Iran. The western facing forces of the Russian Republic are at best 12 divisions. Only half of which would pass for modern in the Western sense. And rather than having compliant satellite states in which to march to the Channel, they have wary neighbors that they would have to invade to get near the East German border. Even more ironic, the states of Estonia and Latvia are now tooling their armed forces with U.S. equipment. The Russian bear's road is now filled with pot holes on the way to Bremen.

On the U.S. military front only Britain stands near equal to the U.S. in military capability and commitment. Neither German or French forces are capable of the low level night raids as evidenced in the Gulf Wars. Neither have stealth technology in their air arms. For France to even engage an armed enemy of any distance outside of its own soil requires U.S. airlift capability. And for further insult, the last time that the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle attempted sea trials the propeller fell off in the harbor. Both countries lack the integrated arms/theater intelligence systems possessed by most of the U.S. divisions. Rather than shrinking, the capability gap widens every year. NATO therefore is already a shell.

NATO also possesses a political arm as well. But considering that the EU's long term goals are for a Eurocentric view, the political aims of NATO will be inconsistent with EU worldview. The aims of NATO in this sphere are hence short lived as the EU influence expands.

The U.S. would be better served by the U.S. stating the original NATO mission has been accomplished. It is time to take the 57,000 troops home or put them where they could be of some use in Iraq. But considering that France and Germany today seem willing to go it alone, I say -- let them. They can attempt to shoulder the burden, they can live with the loss of revenue to the local economies. Hopefully it would give them pause. But America's military interests are no longer centered on the West German plain attempting to hold back Russian hordes.

It is time for the EU fledglings to attempt to soar, or die trying on the canyon floor below.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Jed Babbin replies:
Mr. McGinnis: I think we're moving along parallel lines. I agree that NATO's original mission is accomplished. We have, though, a need for a military alliance with those nations such as Britain, that have (a) a significant military capacity; and (b) the will to fight our common enemy, Islamic fascism. NATO -- like it or not -- is a powerful "brand name" around the world and thus worth saving. As I said in the article, those members of the Axis of Weasels who lack the will to defend themselves are not worthy of our defending them. NATO can be more than a shell. But that will require tossing several members out, and cajoling others into spending on military affairs at an adult level. There's not much hope they will, and if they do not, they should be left to sink into the sunset with France.

BROOKS BOTHER
Re: George Neumayr's Babbling Brooks:

I warned Donald Lufkin at NRO that Brooks is no conservative.

Brooks argues nothing from first principle because he doesn't really have any. The most common phrase from Brooks is "polls show."
On top of that he has an obsequious personality, as if based on him being a geek in Jr. High who wants to be liked by the "cool kids." Thus, he will never take a conservative position on a social issue that might "rile" liberals. He wants to be their friend.
-- Darrell Judd

SARTORI SPLENDOR<</b>
Re: Bill Sartori's letter (under "Fox Wars") in Reader Mail's Headliners:

Never have I seen such a beautiful display of ignorance of the "Real World." Mr. Sartori (I wonder if he dresses "sartorially") has used up just about every mindless misapprehension of today's unreasoning hatred of all things Bush. Maureen Dowd could do no better! Perhaps Bill will be visited by the Pulitzer Committee in the very near future.

Wondering how such a devoted lefty blundered onto something published in The American Spectator, I bopped on over to buzzflash.com and it all came clear. If this collection of crap is truly "one of my favorite website haunts " then it is no wonder his brain, such as it is, has ossified.

As for "FAUX" News (clever, that), it may be too commercial for some people, needing, as it does, to attract viewers so as to attract advertisers, but at least some effort is made to balance out the good with the bad in Iraq. I rarely miss Brit Hume's show, even putting up with the two NPR members of his "All Stars" just to keep up with the Left. Those who are offended by Fox can "vote with their remote" and watch Dan Rather and his ilk.

As for The American Spectator, no one could accuse you of not being "Fair and Balanced" when you publish such vapid screeds as Mr. Sartori's. No wonder all the Democrats campaign in New Hemp-shah.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

SOME LIKE IT HOT
Re: R.H. Sager's Guess Who Came to Dinner:

Something to think about:

If you approve Gay marriage, how many Gays? Two, three, or five people? You say two, but their activists (whom many have heard, and I have read) say, "we will challenge that in court immediately."

A lot of Gays prefer group sex or at least an "openness" in their choice of partners (multiple studies prove this as documented in the book The Male Couple). How do you quantify the limits? Even if your just considering what is good for the Gay people, Gay marriage is a two-edged sword. Several studies have indicated that almost all Gays want marriage for the bene's (financial rewards) more than anything else. What they don't realize is that long-term relationships among Gays is more dangerous. In the last five years two AIDS studies have shown that when Gay males engage in long term relationships (as a result of new Domestic Partner laws) they dramatically increase the incidence of risky sexual behavior. This has resulted in an increase in AIDS cases after more than eight years of decreases.

Marriage can become useless because we could end up minimizing its importance until it was trivial and ineffective. Once you've opened Pandora's box, the Constitution has no limits built in to prevent society from eliminating Marriage all together.

Every civilization since the beginning of man has recognized the need for marriage. This country and healthy societies around the world give marriage special legal protection for a vital reason - it is the institution that ensures the society's future through the upbringing of children. Furthermore, it's just common sense that marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

There is an ocean of empirical data showing that the union between a man and a woman has unique benefits for children and society. Moreover, traditional family breakdown is the single biggest social problem in America today. In study after study, family breakdown is linked to an increase in violent crime, youth crime, teen pregnancy, welfare dependency and child poverty.

Carefully consider the effects to society before you support an experiment that has destroyed every civilization it's controlled throughout known history....
-- Randy Martin

P.S. Homosexual activists have long understood the radical power of achieving official recognition for homosexual relationships as "marriage." Here is a sample:

"A middle ground might be to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society's moral codes but rather to debunk a myth and radically alter an archaic institution." --Michelangelo Signorile, "Bridal Wave," OUT magazine, December/January 1994, p. 161.

"[E]nlarging the concept to embrace same-sex couples would necessarily transform it into something new....Extending the right to marry to gay people -- that is, abolishing the traditional gender requirements of marriage -- can be one of the means, perhaps the principal one, through which the institution divests itself of the sexist trappings of the past." --Tom Stoddard, quoted in Roberta Achtenberg, et al., "Approaching 2000: Meeting the Challenges to San Francisco's Families," The Final Report of the Mayor's Task Force on Family Policy, City and County of San Francisco, June 13, 1990, p.1.

"Being queer is more than setting up house, sleeping with a person of the same gender, and seeking state approval for doing so. ... Being queer means pushing the parameters of sex, sexuality, and family, and in the process, transforming the very fabric of society. ... As a lesbian, I am fundamentally different from non-lesbian women. ...In arguing for the right to legal marriage, lesbians and gay men would be forced to claim that we are just like heterosexual couples, have the same goals and purposes, and vow to structure our lives similarly. ... We must keep our eyes on the goals of providing true alternatives to marriage and of radically reordering society's view of reality." --Paula Ettelbrick, "Since When Is Marriage a Path to Liberation?", in William Rubenstein, ed., Lesbians, Gay Men and the Law (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 401-405.

And there's this from pro-homosexual and pro-pedophile author Judith Levine:

"Because American marriage is inextricable from Christianity, it admits participants as Noah let animals onto the ark. But it doesn't have to be that way. In 1972 the National Coalition of Gay Organizations demanded the 'repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers.' Would polygamy invite abuse of child brides, as feminists in Muslim countries and prosecutors in Mormon Utah charge? No. Group marriage could comprise any combination of genders." -- Judith Levine, "Stop the Wedding!: Why Gay Marriage Isn't Radical Enough," The Village Voice, July 23-29, 2003.

Levine declines to mention that the 1972 Gay Rights Platform also called for abolishing age of consent laws. This is a curious omission since Levine herself has written in favor of lowering the age of consent to 12 for sex between children and adults in her book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex (p. 88).

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