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Freezing Dictator Assets: Good Idea?

money-foreign-currency-2

Wouldn’t we be better off offering besieged rules exile in relative comfort in exchange for graceful exits?

Frustration and Ideology

red-tape

Radley Balko “got a little more libertarian” yesterday after a frustrating experience with his income taxes.  Essentially, his e-file was rejected because of an invalid Social Security number which wasn’t invalid at all, the Social Security office wouldn’t help him by phone, and the office was closed by the time he got there.  And he […]

NYT Apologizes for Singapore Truth

Lee_Kuan_Yew

The following Correction ran in the March 24 NYT under the headline “Apology.” In 1994, Philip Bowring, a contributor to the International Herald Tribune’s op-ed page, agreed as part of an undertaking with the leaders of the government of Singapore that he would not say or imply that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had attained […]

Police Tasering Pregnant Woman ‘Justified’

Taser Stun Gun

The 9th Circuit ruled yesterday that police can Taser pregnant women posing no risk so long as judges can concoct an implausible risk years later. Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in […]

The Recipe for Tyranny

I’m a skilled amateur chef and, indeed, one of the many (many) jobs I’ve held over the years is that I’ve worked as a cook. Given that background I can say with confidence that it’s very disconcerting when the recipe you’ve got in hand lists an ingredient that’s not mentioned in the preparational steps. This […]

Munich Revisited: Is Putin Hitler?

travel-suitcase

Andrew Sullivan lambasts John McCain’s bellicosity on Russia as displayed in his “Today We Are All Georgians” speech: Sully retorts: All of this is quite potty. Russia is no longer the Soviet Union. You’d think conservatives would understand this distinction. There is a difference between totalitarian states seeking world expansion and authoritarian petro-states in demographic […]

Authoritarian Schmauthoritarian

Bush China Costume Photo

Alex Tabarrok muses, There’s nothing like visiting a foreign country like China to get an appreciation of what it’s like to live under an authoritarian regime. I was reminded of this when I arrived home and found that the TSA had rifled through my baggage. That’s the entirety of his post. I presume he means […]

Obama = Charismatic = Hitler = Armageddon

us-politics

Arthur Silber is, as am I, fascinated by the cult of personality surrounding Barack Obama.  He notes some anecdotal creepy gushing on a local radio show and then Reactions of this kind to Obama are fairly common. No, they are not this extreme much of the time, but such statements are far from unusual. And […]

Manhattan Dirtier than Singapore

Pulaski Skyway Photo

The lovely and talented Belle Waring is visiting her native New York from her home in Singapore and was shocked to find how dirty Manhattan, and in particular the Pulaski Skyway (pictured right), is. Old metal that’s just black with soot! And graffiti! Man, if I fully acclimatize to the level of cleanliness, safety, and […]

“Storm Troopers In Clown Shoes”

intellectual-invention

That’s how Instapundit refers to James Hansen, apparently the most intemperate of the global warming alarmists (yes, he’s worse than Gore because he’s Gore’s science advisor). Here’s Hansen’s latest proposal: James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on […]

McCain the Interventionist

money-investing

I’ve long thought that American politics and the fact that we have an activist/interventionist government when it comes to economic policy leads to a race to see who can pander the most to voters, or at least a sub-class of voters. John McCain’s new “plan” to bail out the greedy and stupid when it comes […]

The Real McCain vs. the Newspaper McCain

us-politics

Matt Welch has an excellent, link-filled article asking newspaper editorial boards to, if they are going to endorse McCain, endorse the real McCain, rather than the “straight-talking”, “maverick”, “Iraq war skeptic” that newspaper editorialists tend to tag with the name “McCain”. Considering that McCain in New Hampshire this month railed against “negative ads” while running […]

Fallout From NIE Iran Nuke Assessment

Iran Nukes NIE 2005 versus 2007 (NYT)

Yesterday’s release of a National Intelligence Estimate reporting that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003 has, as Steven Lee Meyers points out, dramatically shifted the landscape. Rarely, if ever, has a single intelligence report so completely, so suddenly, and so surprisingly altered a foreign policy debate here. An administration that had cited Iran’s […]

Putin Wins Big in Undemocratic Election

Putin Wins Big in Undemocratic Election

Chávez Narrowly Loses Referenda Votes

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Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez will have to make do with the powers he currently has after voters narrowly rejected two packages of constitutional amendments proposed by Chávez and the Chavista-dominated national legislature: Venezuelan voters narrowly rejected a constitutional referendum that would have bolstered President Hugo Chavez’s embrace of socialism and granted an indefinite extension of […]

The More Things Change…

us-politics

America’s greatest journalist, Radley Balko, has an excellent piece on why a Clinton II Presidency would differ very little from the Bush II Presidency. For seven years, the left has been up in arms about President Bush’s aggressive foreign policy, his secrecy, his partisanship, and his expansive claims on executive power. It’s odd, then, that […]

France to Rejoin NATO Military Command

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All signs point to France rejoining NATO’s military structure more than forty years after declaring its independence and kicking the alliance headquarters out of Paris. Norman Polmar provides some background: France is expected to soon rejoin NATO’s military command after a 40-year absence. The French government withdrew from the NATO military structure in 1966 (although […]

O’Reilly: Blacks Order Tea without Cursing!

us-politics

Bill O’Reilly made some, um, interesting comments on his radio show Wednesday that have sparked some controversy in the blogosphere after being highlighted by Media Matters. Here, in context, is what he said. All emphases from the Media Matters transcript: O”REILLY: Now, how do we get to this point? Black people in this country understand […]

Edwards Opposes Medical Choice

money-investing

If John Edwards is elected president, Americans will have no choice but go to the doctor when told. Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care. “It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive […]

Sarkozy: Bombing Iran an Option

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy caused quite a stir by raising the specter of bombing Iran to prevent it becoming a nuclear weapon state. The biggest challenge to the world was the avoidance of conflict between Islam and the West, President Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors. Iran was the crossroads of the Middle […]

Centripetal Force

military-soldier-sunset

Iraq is flying to pieces. The people of Iraq just can’t get along with each other, they were only held together by authoritarian force, the country is fracturing along sectarian and ethnic lines, and it’s inevitable that with its Shi’ite majority Iraq will become a Khomeinist theocracy, dominated by Iran. Right? Maybe not. Consider this […]

Eco-Terrorists Vandalize Hummer

Hummer Dude

The story about a man whose Hummer was vandalized by angry environmentalists, which fronted the Metro section of yesterday’s Washington Post, has gotten quite a bit of attention in the blogosphere.

More Directions on Iraq

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Back in December of last year I hosted something I referred to as a “blog colloquium”, “Directions on Iraq”. At that time I attempted to recruit contributors who could present practical alternatives other than slogging through for dealing with the situation in Iraq. I received several dozen polite refusals (and a good number of tacit […]

Administration Rebukes Putin

The Bush administration has called Putin out for his continuing slide into authoritarianism: A top Russia expert at the State Department issued an unusually sharp public criticism on Thursday of Moscow’s behavior under President Vladimir V. Putin, describing the Kremlin as bullying its neighbors while silencing political opponents and suppressing individual rights at home. That […]

Chávez Attacks Globovision in National Address

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Cross-posted from PoliBlog: Via the BBC: Venezuela head in new TV warning In a national address shown by all TV stations, Mr Chavez defended his decision to close RCTV as a public service, denouncing the 53-year-old station – Venezuela’s most popular – as a “permanent attack on public morals”. He also called news network Globovision […]

Chávez Shutting Down Opposition TV Station

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Cross-posted from PoliBlog: Via the BBC: Venezuela court orders TV seizure: Venezuela’s top court has allowed the government to take control of private TV transmitters as it prepares to replace commercial with state-run TV. Radio Caracas Television, a station critical of the government, is being forced to stop broadcasting on its public frequency. At a […]

Thomas Sowell Pines for A Military Coup

us-politics

A “random thought” from Thomas Sowell: When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup. Steven Taylor, who studies Latin American politics for a living, […]

Whither Britain’s Conservatives?

Christopher Hitchens wonders, “Whatever happened to Britain’s Conservatives?” Specifically, the party long dominated by upper crust men steeped in noblesse oblige, a sense of military duty, and a desire to further the Empire has been replaced by a party of Al Gores (mid-2000 edition). David Cameron has become the green challenger. His party’s events feature […]

JCS Chairman Pace Cautious on Iranian Goverment Links

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Much is being made in some quarters about the apparent contradiction between the statements of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff and various administration officials on the Iranian-made weapons flowing into Iraq. This MSNBC report is an excellent example: U.S. general: No evidence Iran is arming Iraqis A top U.S. general said Tuesday […]

OTB on Facebook

Matthew Yglesias has not only been proudly eponymous since 2002, he has had his own Facebook fan club (“Matthew Yglesias is kinda awesome“) since last summer. This is all the rage among lefty bloggers, with Talking Points Memo (TPM Fans) and MyDD (MyDD People) following suit. Indeed, Matt Stoller alleges that “everybody’s doing it.” Not […]

Blogging the Libby Trial: OTB and MBA on CNN

I was interviewed a week ago by CNN’s Jacki Schechner about the Media Bloggers Association getting credentials for the Scooter Libby trial. The segment appeared Tuesday on “American Morning.” Matt Sheffield of NewsBusters captured the video for me and I uploaded it to YouTube: Not a particularly scintillating performance, unfortunately. I’m not on television much […]

Death of the Arab Nation-State?

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Yoav Fromer expands the Iraq as Humpty Dumpty meme at TNR, perhaps even more soberly: Despite utopian visions of an Arab nation-state with a modernized economy, social justice, and constitutional republicanism, the reality was sobering. Failed central planning, lack of capital, excessive military expenditures, and inadequate education–among other factors–cut short grandiose plans. The result plunged […]

Burial of Neoconservatism?

Andrew Sullivan asserts that “Bush’s apparent acceptance of the Blair-Baker position that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central to resolving Iraq is the end of neoconservatism in the Bush administration.” I reject both the idea that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has much of anything to do with Iraq and much of the neoconservative foreign policy agenda. Regardless, […]

Chavez Re-Elected in Landslide

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Venezualan president Hugo Chavez was easily re-elected. Emboldened by a resounding re-election, President Hugo Chavez pledged to shake up Venezuela with a more radical version of socialism and forge a wider front against the United States in Latin America. Opposition contender Manuel Rosales accepted defeat Sunday night, but promised to continue countering a leader whom […]

North Korea Officially Joins Nuclear Club

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North Korea has tested a nuclear weapon, becoming the eighth open member of the nuclear club. While merely confirming what was already considered a given, this still has enormous consequences, as David Sanger explains: North Korea’s decision to conduct the test demonstrated what the world has suspected for years: the country has joined India, Pakistan […]

Raed Banned from Plane for Wearing T-Shirt

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An Iraqi man was denied the right to board an airplane because he was wearing a t-shirt with the words “We Will Not Be Silent.” An Iraqi architect says he was not allowed to board a Jet Blue flight at JFK because of the Arabic inscription on his t-shirt. REPORTER: Raed Jarrar was wearing a […]

The Liberal Blogosphere, Greenwald, And MSM Attention

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Glenn Greenwald is wondering why the liberal blogosphere gets a lot of negative attention from the MSM while the right-wing blogosphere is largely ignored. He points to “a long list” (8 examples) compiled by Media Matters that allegedly is indicative of the “violence-inciting rhetoric and hate-mongering which has become a staple of the right-wing blogosphere.” […]

Retired Generals Call for Rumsfeld Resignation

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Two big stories are out today in the major press about a growing and potentially worrisome trend: Public statements by recently-retired flag officers against their former bosses. Thomas Ricks gives the story page A01 treatment at WaPo. The retired commander of key forces in Iraq called yesterday for Donald H. Rumsfeld to step down, joining […]

Religious Freedom in Iraq: 2006 Versus 2002

My earlier post on the resignation of Miss Iraq because of threats from religious extremists has provoked some interesting responses, especially my comment that “Iraq is still a conservative Muslim society where women are expected to cover their hair lest they create too much lust in the hearts of the pious Muslim men.” Jim Henley […]

Manifesto Against Islamist Totalitarianism

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Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten last night published, in English, “MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism.” It is an essay signed by twelve international scholars and writers, most notably Salman Rushdie. The Manifesto, in its entirety, is reproduced below: After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism. We, writers, […]

Al-Askariya Shrine Attack Has Iraq on Brink of Civil War

Given that Muslims the world over have been driven to weeks of rioting and mass murder over some cartoons, it should not be surprising that an attack on a centuries-old mosque has driven a rage that has killed nearly over* 100 people and is threatening to spark a full-scale civil war. Patrick Cockburn puts it […]

The End of Neoconservatism and the Last Pundit

Francis Fukuyama, most famous for his wildly incorrect prediction that no ideology would ever again threaten Western democratic capitalism after the Cold War, argues in lengthy piece for the New York Times Sunday Magazine that neo-conservatism is dead. As we approach the third anniversary of the onset of the Iraq war, it seems very unlikely […]

Iraqis Turn Out to Vote in Large Numbers

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Turnout was so heavy in today’s elections in Iraq that voting had to be extended for an hour. Iraqis Turn Out to Vote in Large Numbers (AP) Iraqis voted Thursday in one of the largest and freest elections in the Arab world, with strong turnout reported in Sunni areas and even a shortage of ballots […]

EU May Suspend Nations With Secret Prisons

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The European Union’s Justice Commissioner warned today that EU countries who operated secret CIA prisons could be stripped of their voting rights. EU May Suspend Nations With Secret Prisons (AP) EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini warned Monday any EU nation found to have operated secret CIA prisons could have their EU voting […]

Palestine, Not Iraq, Is The Best Shot At an Arab Democracy

Jonathan Rauch argues that, contrary to the assertions of the Bush administration, Palestine is a much more likely candidate to be a successful Arab democracy than Iraq. Palestine, Not Iraq, Is The Best Shot At an Arab Democracy (National Journal via Atlantic Monthly $) Like it or not, America’s foreign policy is hostage to an […]