Re: Doug Bandow’s The China Syndrome:
Doug Bandow has caught us dastardly Euro-weenies at it again! Curses, the light of truth shines on us again, the nukes bulging under our trench coats as the Reds hand over the envelope with the unmarked bills and the ticket to Marrakesh! Is there no end to our insolence?
Mr. Bandow’s piece is very cleverly tailored to appeal to some elements on the American conservative right. However, big parts of it are also incorrect. No doubt I was only ever taught revisionist history, but America did not liberate Europe all on her lonesome — the Allies did. Otherwise, my uncle, who according to the best of my knowledge and belief was not an American, wouldn’t have been shot in the neck aged 18 serving with the Highland Light Infantry in Normandy. It might be in bad taste to remind Mr. Bandow how long it took y’all to come to that particular party, seeing as my dad still has a scar on his right hand caused by the Luftwaffe dropping an incendiary bomb on him in 1940, when he was four.
His invocations of increased Chinese prosperity don’t really sit well with the realities of world-Sino relations:
– At least one million made homeless by the government’s rush to build the Three Gorges hydroelectric project.
– U.S. economic dependence on China as one of the biggest buyers of the $2 billion of securities the Treasury pumps out every day in order to finance a budget deficit the President seems disinterested in reducing.
– The threat to the security of Taiwan caused by that dependence. I mean, if the Chinese go for regime change on Formosa, is the U.S. going to bite the hand that feeds it? Or are the Chinese going to be (gasp) appeased? It’s only Euro-weenies who ever appease anyone — isn’t it?
As a lifelong resident of this continent, I keep looking for this “Europe” that commentators like Doug Bandow keep talking about. Perhaps I’m too close to it to see it — then again, it could all be in their imagination.
I think it’s the latter.
— Martin Kelly
BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Thunder Bolton:
Bravo! Bravo! Brilliant! Brilliant!
Keep writing these tremendous words of wisom until sweeping changes will generate change in our Great Country, The United States of a America.
May God Bless You and America.
— James E. Kane
Tuesday morning, prior to an EU strategy workshop, the Bolton nomination came from out of the blue! Comments and opinions came fast and furious. After the Bush-Rice (Charm) tours, what is he (Bush) thinking? Just when we thought it was getting better, that is, the Americans seeing out point of view, Bush does this! Actually, this is the work of Cheney, balancing out the influence of SecState Rice! A setback for multilateralism, more attacks on the U.N., a victory for neocons. No mention of the impact of the nomination on the weather though, remained cold, gray, and inhospitable. Now to await Bolton’s arrival at the U.N. and his first utterance! Non-attribution rules for the meeting require me to remain…
Re: Enemy Central’s That’s All, Folks!:
So, Mr. Rather invokes the memory of 9/11 in his final signoff. This is also the same guy who shed tears on late night television soon after 9/11 and was applauded by the audience for his empathy. Yet he and CBS have been persistent & disingenuous critics of every Bush policy enacted to avoid another 9/11, even to the extent of deliberately timing a politically disastrous and completely false story on the President with the express intent of affecting the election. Sorry Dan, no tears from me. Old Walter was right; you should have been history a long time ago.
— A. DiPentima
And here I thought that Jimmuh lusted only in his heart!!!
— Morrie Kleinbart
New York, New York
Re: Shawn Macomber’s Bad Dog, No Settlement:
Some adult should point out to little Kyle that by the time his lawyer takes his cut, he’ll get less than the original $200,000 offer! Shakespeare was right, “First we kill all the lawyers.” Too bad we don’t teach Shakespeare to second graders.
— Bruce Thompson
“If common sense didn’t stop the DeVitos from milking the litigation cow for all it’s worth, then shame should have.”
And since neither common sense nor shame will stop this bull market on litigation (irrational exuberance, anyone?), tort reform HAS to. These stories make me sick. Nothing more than a tax on society that goes directly in the pockets of lawyers. Why are we subsidizing this industry? In the words of George Jetson, “Jane, stop this crazy thing!”
— William H. Stewart
The death of the boy’s dog is tragic and maybe something should be done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. However, the real tragedy of this episode is the lesson he is learning from his parents: blame, victimization, greed, and love of the lawsuit.
— D.C. Norman
Durham, North Carolina
Re: David Holman’s Same Old Pre-9/11 Bill:
It has been said a couple of times that Hillary’s weakness is in foreign affairs, that Bill would be an asset for her as president because it’s a strength for him. Seems to me that the more we learn about his foreign affairs administration the more we have reason to think otherwise, especially when so many things can be traced back to pre-9/11. Even without 9/11 he has laid the groundwork for a big mess overseas and stateside. Bill is an unwitting asset to Republicans for 2008 and will help keep Hillary out of the White House.
—Sue Ellen Hirtle
Re: Jay D. Homnick’s Sharin’ Too Generously:
Re: Jay Homnick’s theoretical deconstruction of Charles Krauthammer’s abstract defense of the disengagement policy: a) the settlers, whether in Gaza or the West Bank are already being paid to be exactly where they are; outside of American tobacco farmers these are some of the most subsidized guys on the face of the planet; b) Israel does not have the money, manpower, or social resources to occupy Gaza, end of story. Having the ability to go “trach-boom” and engage in periodic military interventions into a territory is not the same thing as being able to occupy it. If Israel had been able to pacify Gaza to keep the settlers happy in their greenhouses, Israel would not be leaving.
But it wasn’t.
And yeah, eventually the same logic, wall or no wall, applies to the West Bank. Any war that comes will have to address the inability of Israel to administer Palestinian populations. If such a war can be delayed, let it be delayed. The Palestinians are not quite up to the intercontinental missile stage.
— Paul Freedman
Falls Church, Virginia
The conclusion of your article is that Israel is sheltering itself like a tenement owner in South Harlem. But I ascertain the facts a bit differently.
The preferred method of attack by the PLO has been the indispensable child bomber of late. This approach from the terrorist perspective brings both sympathy and rage simultaneously. They garner favor in the world at large while instilling rage from the parentage so affected, unlike what the use of a mortar or 122mm rocket can never engender. Now one can spend the time and effort to raze whole neighborhoods trying to eliminate the problem (which it does not) or one can merely prevent the bomber from reaching their target. For the latter purpose a wall works quite well.
In that light the wall so far has been extremely effective. In those areas where the wall has been constructed the bomb attacks have fallen. It is so effective that the PLO bemoans its existence not for that it is there but for the fact that it prevents its most effective political tool from being utilized.
The second observation is that the West Bank settlements were from a military perspective not a defensible position. The landscape offers little in the way of manageable redoubts to control the flow of persons. The perpetrators also mingled with the population at large making any reasonable control of the area politically, extremely hard to accomplish. Better to drop back to a defensible position than hold territory that cannot be controlled.
The last observation is more political. History has shown that terrorist-like organizations cannot long sustain themselves if there is not a perceived bogie man to blame externally for what is an internal ill. Once the external manifestation has been removed such organizations tend to self-destruct. Such is the state of the PLO. Lacking the chance to channel their angst against Israel proper, due to the existence of the wall, the Palestinians populace has to start asking some probing questions of the PLO leadership. And in light of the stirring in Lebanon, Egypt and Iran the internal dichotomy will become even more evident over time.
Is Sharon David the Sequel? No. But it is shrewd geopolitical maneuvers.
— John McGinnis
Jay D. Homnick replies:
The other Sharon, my friend Sharon Stone, is rightfully renowned as a great poker player. She tells me never to fold a hand unless I know that I have maximized what I can cash it in for by bluffing.
Of course, we don’t want Gaza, and maybe it does not pay to keep the West Bank and its administrative headaches. But they DO want it, to them it is valuable, which means that the smart way to negotiate (as we have for 38 years now) is to act like we want it very badly, so that when we finally relinquish it with a great show of reluctance, we receive something resembling peace in return.
This way we give what we have to give, we get next to nothing, and the negotiations return to Square One, with our pockets empty. Bad poker, bad chess, bad business, bad politics, and bad military morale.
NUTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE
Re: Mark Goldblatt’s Transient Certainties:
I have the roundtable NYT Book Review article in front of me. I was going to write a letter-to-their-editor, but I know it would fall on deaf ears.
Mark zeroed in on the discussion about Iraq, and how delusional these three (vanden Heuvel, Tomasky and Beinart) liberal/progressives still are. (Whenever I see the catchword “progressive” being used, I can’t help but link it to its communist antecedents.)
There are many wonderful liberal/progressive positions expounded on in the article. Each is fodder for conservative analysis. What stood out for me was Beinart’s musing, “There is an important debate for liberals to have about the role of the courts in pushing social change.” What this translates to is: If we can’t win in open elections, we can win in the courts!!!! How true a statement this is. The whining and gnashing of teeth of these three liberals was amusing. However, they do understand what they need to do –change their liberal rhetoric into something the great unwashed can handle yet still maintain their radical/secular/progressive agenda. Hillary is a master at this (change the rhetoric of her abortion position, while winking at NARAL and Planned Parenthood).
I say to Beinart-vanden Heuvel-Tomasky: Have courage in your convictions!!! Shout them from the mountaintop. Say it simply and clearly. “Liberal/progressives stand for government schools (no choice, no vouchers, whatever the NEA/AFT wants), government health care (Canadian wait-in-line style, unless you are of the elite Hillary, Kerry, Kennedy, Fidel Castro who won’t have to wait-in-line), government pensions (raise the FICA taxes, raise the retirement age), lower the benefits (same old solutions), government housing (ready-made slums, ghettos for the poor), food stamps (a non-nutritional program that ensures an increase in diabetes and heart disease), homosexual marriage, government subsidized abortion-on-demand (without parental notification by minors), tax-the rich (and everyone else), “Peace through weakness” (Jimmy Carter-Bill Clinton style), no God, no way, nowhere, Blame-America first, yield to the French and Germans… and on and on.
This is a small list of what liberal/progressives believe (demand). Yet they intend to hide it in a cloud of deceitful language.
— Fred Edwards
This is a commentary on the letters from Heather and Kate Shaw in response to James Bowman’s article, rather than a commentary on the article itself. The only thing I will say about the article is that it could be written about almost any Time article in the last forty years just by changing the title.
No, what is really revealing are the insights revealed in the two letters cited above. These are two women who embraced the purported goals of what has come to be known as the feminist movement. Those goals were worthy and simple, freedom for women from social stereotyping. The freedom for women to aspire to achieve their desires in the areas of work and education and even family, without being forced to follow a norm established by society. That the “norm” was a useful means for protecting women during times which were much less kind and gentle and much more violent, was irrelevant. For the practice was outdated and stifling to western society of the late twentieth century. It was time for it to be abolished and, thanks to pioneering women, and men, of the 1960s, ’70s and before, it was.
The controversy, of late, is not whether men and women have different brain structures. That has been pretty well documented and can be summed up using the modern scientific term, “DUH.” The controversy is that anyone, but most particularly a man, would dare point out a demonstrated statistical fact and pose the question of whether there might be a physical reason for it. The reaction was not what would have been expected of the academic community. Rather than laboratories on every campus in America, or at the least Harvard, being geared up to investigate and either prove or disprove this theorem, feminist academicians became ill and verbally railed against the posing of the question. Why? Simple.
The modest demand of the feminist movement at its inception was simply not to arbitrarily deny equal opportunities to women. The message was changed, as the leadership of the movement changed. It became, women were equal to men in every way and finally that men were in fact inferior to women, except when it came to lifting heavy furniture. The modern feminist movement lost its way as it evolved, but not its fears and insecurities. The biggest one is that men, as a group, might actually be superior to women, as a group, in some areas. To some women, this causes fear that social “norms” may rear their ugly head again. But the only “norm” that is presently rearing its head is the one that says that the notion of there being any differences between men and women is tantamount to heresy and must never be spoken.
There are differences between the genders and differences between the members within those genders. You simply have to read Ms. Shaw’s letter to see that. If there is a gender based physical difference that makes it easier for males to handle mathematical and spacial concepts better than females, as a group; this does not preclude the rise of a top female mathematician or engineer. There are top level female mathematicians and engineers in both fields today. If this postulated difference does not exist, than there is a societal mechanism at work that limits the number of female practitioners from rising to the top in these fields. Should this be the case, then that is something that should be changed. But, without investigation and study, we will never know the truth.
Both the women cited above, through intelligent investigation, based upon their life experiences have come to the truth. They did it by being open minded and critical. That truth is that everyone is different in her, or his, own way and that everyone should have the equal right to attempt to excel in any endeavor.
As the early feminist movement sought the abolition of certain restrictive social norms prevalent in the 1950s and ’60s, it is time for women to evaluate the current social norm that restricts questions about the physical, mental or emotional differences between the sexes. It is counter productive. It may well be time to abandon it in favor of a more enlightened social norm. Dare I say it? Viva la difference.
Those organizations that advocate a “truth” which, in fact, denies the truth and the investigation of the truth, may, very well, vanish as did the dinosaur. They are proving that their usefulness has come to an end, unless they evolve. But, irregardless of what the current feminist organizations do, women will simply discover the truth on their own. Ms. Shaw and Heather have proven women are certainly not inferior to men in the area of intellect.
— Michael Tobias
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
As a Plumbing Contractor in Manhattan for 50 years, I have been increasingly asked about why I have no female plumbers working for me. Sometimes it is very frustrating to answer the question honestly and not alienate the customer, or potential customer.
Here is an example of an interview I had with two very intelligent, very professional, female attorneys who were experts in real estate management. One was the vice president of facilities worldwide for one of the largest law firms on Earth. The other was vice president of facilities for about 60 floors of offices in three different New York City office buildings.
Lawyer 1: “Mr. Plumbing Contractor, are you able to take on our firm; will you give service within a half-hour of a service call?” Ans. Yes.
Lawyer 2: “How many plumbers do you regularly employ?” Ans. About 25.
Lawyer 2: “How many male, how many female?” Ans. All Male.
Lawyer 1: “Why no female plumbers in your employ?” Ans. There are 3,000 plumbers in the Plumbers Union and only two are females.
Lawyer 2: “Is the union against females?” Ans. Females do not take the apprentice test.
Lawyer 1: “Have you ever hired a female plumber?” Ans. Yes.
Lawyer 2: “Why isn’t she still working for you?” Ans. She quit after 1 Day. She didn’t like working in sewers.
Lawyer 1: “Where is she working today?” Ans. I heard that she is no longer in the trade. She now has eight discrimination lawsuits working their way through the courts against plumbing contractors.
Lawyer 1: “Is one of the Lawsuits against your Firm?” Ans. NO, she quit on her own.
Lawyer 2: “Do you know that the federal government mandates that employers should, on their own, recruit women and other employee groups?” Ans. (Somewhat frustrated) I think women just don’t want to become Plumbers.
Lawyer 1: (Somewhat annoyed) “Do you agree that females can do anything that males can do?” Ans. (Very frustrated; taking off my suit jacket; rolling up my right shirt sleeve; plopping my furry, four and one-half inch-thick-diameter right fore-arm on the polished mahogany conference table, and pointing to the 1″ long shaggy red hair that covered the top and most of the bottom of my arms, said), “GROW THIS!”
Believe it or not, I was given a four-year service contract. From my readings on Hinduism, I have developed the following mantra when discussing the real or imagined differences between male and female persons: “Male and Female are DIFFERENT Manifestations of the SAME organism. Accent on different; Accent on same.” It won’t work for NOW or Harvard!
— Jake diPluma
FEELING ALL ALONE
Am I the only one who wants to call it the “Bush Doctrine of Aggressive Democratization Strategery”? All I get here in the People’s Republic of Gainesville are pity and condescension when I dare to propose this. Sure, I was joking at first, but now I’m to the point of why not!
— Rick Lockwood