Banana Counting Monkey

Friday, April 26, 2002:

Get Thee Over To NRO

And read Victor Davis Hanson's
article on the new fascism.

On the demonstrations last weekend

All the nations praised by the various speakers — Cuba, Palestine, Libya, Iran, and Iraq — are run by strongmen and are without freedom. A constant topos was that the democratic government of the
United States does not represent the people — and that real Americans are not served by traditional elections, which were repeatedly labeled fraudulent. Congress and the president are purportedly illegitimate and so their votes for aid to Israel are intolerable. A few American flags and repeated references to the"real" America made it clear that the activists believe they are the true nationalists and alone comprise the patriotic grassroots core of the country who wish "to take it back" "by any means necessary" from its corrupt government and elite.

If I were to distill the shrill agenda of the various groups who mouthed such unadulterated hatred — Palestinian extremists, anti-Americanists, racial supremacists — it would run something like this: None want democracy and a real free exchange of ideas, open dialogue, and discussion in which their own agendas would, and have had, little resonance. The modus operandi is to scream, threaten, and lie — the bigger the better — to unleash hatred. Indeed, many of the speakers at the rally seem to be seething that a rather secure and free American citizenry does not much care for their views. No matter — they favor some type of authoritarian figure or hierarchy to implement their own particular agenda of "workers' rights," utopian egalitarianism, American realignment overseas toward countries run by dictators, and a crackdown on their purported enemies — Jews, global corporations, and capitalists in general.
The only way to confront the new fascists is to speak honestly about them and not remain silent. Each time a Palestinian extremist uses the word "Jew," each time an activist praises Libya, Iraq, or Iran and either condones or praises suicide murderers, each time a screaming protestor slanders the present president of the United States as a killer, terrorist, and war criminal, each time we hear of conspiracies that explain our aid to Jewish Israel, we must all simply remonstrate, "Hitler would smile at every thing you say."

And, of course, he would.

BCM // 1:42 PM


Blood Money

You cannot possibly tell me the
Israelis didn't hold this in reserve for maximum effect and timing.

WEST BANK — The Saudi Arabian government has paid more than $5,000 each to the families of suicide bombers and other Palestinians killed in the terror campaign against Israel, according to documents obtained by Fox News.

The documents, discovered by Israeli intelligence officers, contain a list of 102 deceased Palestinians whose families have each been paid 20,000 Saudi riyals — the equivalent of $5,340 — by the Saudi Interior Ministry.

The names on the list were of suicide bombers and Palestinian commanders who had been killed in attacks against Israeli targets. It included the names of some of the highest-profile bombers who have been killed in recent attacks, among them children and women.

The documents, if genuine, contradict the Saudi government’s consistent claim that it does not directly pay suicide bombers’ families. The Saudis have repeatedly insisted the money they send the Palestinians goes to rebuilding areas damaged or destroyed by Israeli forces operating in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops found the Saudi Interior Ministry documents when they raided Palestinian offices as part of their ongoing operations in the West Bank.

BCM // 12:45 PM


French Judge

YOU BE THE JUDGE: The French figure-skating judge at the center of the Winter Olympics ice scandal will speak out on Sunday's 60 Minutes. Marie-Reine Le Gougne will give her first interview to Ed Bradley.

Really? I thought she had a wonderful future as a member of the UN commission investigating the Jenin "massacre".

BCM // 12:25 PM


Random Thoughts

By Thomas Sowell (Via Neal Nuze)

Here's a few excerpts I really liked.

Capitalism is not an "ism." It is closer to being the opposite of an "ism," because it is simply the freedom of ordinary people to make whatever economic transactions they can mutually agree to.

Sometimes it seems as if I have spent the first half of my life refusing to let white people define me and the second half refusing to let black people define me.

Some full professors could more accurately be described as empty professors.

People who say that Yasser Arafat should have a second chance have a point. It's just that he had his second chance long ago and they have lost track of how many chances he has had since then.

An economic forecaster once pointed out that, in ancient times, predictions were based on reading the entrails of sheep. He added, "-- and it still takes guts to make forecasts."

BCM // 12:21 PM



When I take a long time
I am slow
When my boss takes a long time
He is thorough

When I don't do it
I am lazy
When my boss doesn't do it
He is too busy

When I do something without being told
I am trying to be smart
When my boss does the same
That is initiative

When I please my boss
I'm ass-kissing
When my boss pleases his boss
He's co-operating

BCM // 10:40 AM


Canadian Dollar

$0.6400 USD, up 0.0003 USD

Sixty four freaking cents! Who woulda thought it? My pessimism for the dollar remains unchanged. When I look at the other world currencies, I see they're all rising against the USD. Seems that the USD is having a bad week, which is not the same as the CDN$ appreciating real value. Nothing marks the Canadian dollar as being more productive than the USD, and in the long term, that's what matters.

Overheard from fellow office cuberoid: (perfect sincerity) "Well, we're appreciating nicely against the peso."

BCM // 10:16 AM


Conservative Underground

Via Campus Nonsense

This is a fantastic blog. I heartily recommend the last few entries, especially Shanna Bowman's letter of response to a leftist student group. Read the whole archive all the way back.

BCM // 9:21 AM


Tax Freedom Day

Falls in the
US on April 27th, according to John J. Miller.

If you're american, you're probably complaining about how long it takes to pay off the government.

I wish Canadians were so lucky. Here in Canada, it falls around June 29th, two whole months later

So, if anyone poo-poohs any concerns you may have that taxes could go up a lot higher in the US, here's evidence that they can. My folks left the UK in the 60s because of the way things were going. At that time, the top marginal tax rate was 97%.

There are a lot of Canadians who wonder why the US seems to be pulling ahead in living standards. This is one of the primary reasons why. Two months of income pays for a hell of a lot of living standard.

BCM // 7:13 AM


Thursday, April 25, 2002:

Samizdata Thought of the Day

"-- shouldn't a committed "anti-globalist" also oppose things like global government, the United Nations, etc.? Just a thought."

-Christopher Pellerito

BCM // 6:55 AM


Lileks Quote Of The Day

"Odd how they [Terrorists] never threaten to bomb American universities. "

BCM // 6:30 AM


Lots of Clarity in the LGF Forums

"The pertinent questions that should be asked are: Who is to be held accountable for allowing terrorists to act with impugnity within U.N. funded refugee camps? Does the U.N. sanction terrorism against Israel? Are bomb-making factories allowed in U.N. refugee camps? If not, who allowed them to be built? If no one knew they were operating within the refugee camps, why not? Why was the promoting of and recruitment of suicide bombers allowed within U.N. funded refugee camps? Is anyone to be held accountable for the subversion of these so-called "refugee camps" into terrorist camps? When will that investigation begin?"

-LGF reader

"People talk about "world opinion" as if universal agreement makes an opinon correct. "World opinion" sanctioned slavery, second-class position of women and unequal (and inherited) rights for millenia. It is time to stop pretending that something is true just because everybody believes it."

-Arthur, on
post #2910

It's time for an intellectual separation of the free world from Europe and the UN-thinking.

BCM // 5:58 AM


Wednesday, April 24, 2002:

Nothing can corrupt and disintigrate a culture or a man's character as thoroughly as does the precept of moral agnosticism, the idea that one must never pass moral judgement on others, that one must be morally tolerant of anything, that the good consists of never distinguishing good from evil.

It is obvious who profits and who loses by such a precept. It is not justice or equal treatment that you grant to men when you abstain equally from praising men's virtues and from condemming men's vices. When your impartial attitude declares, in effect, that neither the good nor the evil may expect anything from you- whom do you betray and whom do you encourage?

-Ayn Rand

James Lileks wrote;

"I heard some clips today from a rally held by the Washington Monument in support of the PLO and Hamas. Part of the merry anti-Globo puppet parade. It’s just so charming to hear rudely amplified voices calling for the death of the Jews again. It’s just so . . . bracing to hear a speaker take the mike beneath the two-toned obelisk named for America’s Cincinnatus, and demand the destruction of of a small democratic state in a sea of technocrat tyrannies. And it gives you such a warm feeling to hear the crowd bay their approval. A speaker demanded that the borders of the Middle East be returned to 1947; the crowd cheered.

Death to the Jews, death to Israel.

Stated and applauded.

In America. In Washington. On the Mall.

I had a sudden flash of Martin Luther King Jr. standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, beholding this rally, and thinking: I have a nightmare. And here it is.

The West is undergoing a test of the idea of "Freedom of Speech". The question that will be answered concerns whether we recognize that allowing others the freedom to speak does not give them freedom from our judgement. With political correctness and movements before that, we have been constantly exhorted to give up our right and our ability to make and pronounce our own judgements on the activities and ideas of others.

Never is this idea pushed harder than in the area of assessing the moral judgements of others. The more extreme the judgement a group makes of Western Society, the more strident the message: you have no right to make any judgement: only greviance allows one to pronounce a moral judgement. If you are not "dispossessed" or "marginalized", then your moral judgement is a supression of others' freedom of speech and an infringement of their rights.

Their defense of their judgement of us, in sum, is to deny that we can make any judgement of them. That it is not right. That it is not possible. That it is not permissible.

These people are only interested in "freedom of speech" as a tool to free themselves from your examination. After all, how closely are you going to examine the ideas that you know you will never be permitted to make judgement on? If you do make a judgement, you know the issue will not be its' quality, but that you have made a judgement, irrespective of its truth or error. Even then, there will not be a debate on whether you are fit no make a judgement, just your violent condemmnation. In a word, naked intimidation.

In the classic example of the limits society does place on freedom of speech, one cannot yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre. It's time for a new one: one cannot claim "freedom of speech" to prevent another from being heard.

Now it's time to reassert our right to make our own judgements, irregardless of who objects. One of the first issues I hope the West turns its judgement on is the question of why have the "dispossessed and marginalized" focused so much energy on getting us to suspend our faculty of judgement.


The second judgement is on those Lileks commented on.

The demonstrators in DC on April 20th represented the antithesis of everything the United States was founded on. They represent anarchy, theocracy, terrorism and are a deadly threat to our freedoms and lives. The response that would have occurred if a group of pro-nazi klansmen had waved the swastika in front of the White House in 1942 is appropriate to those who wave the flag of Hizbollah in 2002.

Last weekend, our declared enemies stood in front of us and called for the death of a race, a religion and a nation. This is the judgement that we are not supposed to make, for if we come to that judgement, a number of others follow. First, that such a call is evil by ever moral standard we hold. Second, that those who make that call are evil, and third, that we must regard them as the enemy and prepare appropriately. Forth, let them know we recognize them for what they are.

It would seem that evil retreats when forcibly confronted.
- Yarnek of Excalbia, "The Savage Curtain", stardate 5906.5

(Quote via Samizdata)

BCM // 9:39 AM


Quote of the Day #1

"My tastes are simple; I am easily satisfied by the best."

-Winston Churchill

BCM // 9:26 AM


Canadian Dollar

$0.6378 USD, down 0.0007, 10 55am quote.

BCM // 9:12 AM


Tuesday, April 23, 2002:

But I thought Commercialization was Bad

Mother Jones has
commercialized the likeness of Lenin for their "Bowlsheviks" shirt. Reason Magazine details some of the more wonderful things lenin said. The contrast between what socialists say they beleive in and what they celebrate has rarely been more starkly illustrated.

BCM // 11:50 AM


ENRNQ on NASDAQ Tier "0": Close $0.24

Aka "Enron".

On the other hand, if Enron were a government department, "Ken Lay" would still be an honoured name, and quite likely moving up in the government structure. Via
Instapundit today, we take a look at high level corruption in european governments.

“There’s this incomprehensible, scandalous silence,” says Arnaud Montebourg, a lonely critic in the French Parliament. The cost to taxpayers is incalculable. Corruption steals money from social programs and services. (Bribes, kickbacks and inflated pricing add 5 percent to 30 percent to the cost of public projects, according to various estimates.) It erodes public confidence in government and undermines the legitimacy of political parties and their leaders. Once it was hoped that a new generation of young leaders would emerge to challenge the old way of doing things, and along the way clean up public life. But in fact the problem is only getting worse. Public anger seems to be brewing, especially in Germany and France, where an increasingly disaffected electorate is turning apathetic and showing signs of abandoning the system.

A new report by the Bundeskriminalamt—Germany’s FBI—warns that corruption now runs across “nearly all sectors of public administration.”
Bavarian Gov. Edmund Stoiber, has been tainted by the stunning bankruptcy of one of Europe’s biggest media empires, owned by his ally and fellow Christian Socialist Leo Kirch. It turns out that Stoiber’s state-owned Bayerische Landesbank gave .2 billion in ultra-risky loans to Kirch (greased by party hacks on the company’s board) that taxpayers will now be billed for.

I wondered how long the Europeans would take to blame the Americans for their own institutional corruption. I didn't have to wait long.

It doesn’t help that European politics is becoming increasingly “Americanized.” Not so long ago, candidates were elected in much of Europe on the strength of their policies and platforms, explains a former British diplomat. These days it’s personality that counts. The effect on European parties has been not so much to discourage corruption as to mask it, even to encourage it. With the new emphasis on TV blitzes, capped teeth, dyed hair and “up-close” portraits of aspiring first couples, it takes much more money to win these days.

Now, last fall, Enron was around $80, and is now 24 cents. Ken Lay will likely never work again, Arthur Andersen is hemmoraging clients like crazy. The discipline of the market works. Corruption among politicians, on the other hand, never gets resolved so quickly. There's inquiries to be set up, multiple investigations to be instituted, and a very good chance that even if enough evidence to remove any reasonable doubt of corruption surfaces, the pols are often allowed to brazen their way through without any admission of wrongdoing, let alone suffering any consequences. (Canada's Liberal party is a quintessential example of this.)

The courts, which once seemed to be leading the fight against corruption with the “Clean Hands” investigations in Italy during the early 1990s and an avalanche of investigations in France during the last decade, have now all but surrendered to political pressure.

Reformers beware. Just last week German parties rushed a campaign-finance “reform” bill through a secret committee and quick approval in the Bundestag. It was meant as a reassuring nod to public pressure that had built up since 1998 and the Kohl scandals. But read the fine print. The law sets no limits on campaign contributions. It doesn’t outlaw the practice of hiring politicians as lobbyists and leaves the entire local level, where most corruption occurs, virtually unmonitored. “It’s a paper tiger,” intended to avoid the real issues, says German party-finance specialist Hans-Herbert von Arnim.

When it comes to punishing corruption, political corruption is policed and punished by the foxes. In the market, it's punished by the hens.

And people want to put the market under more political regulation? Sure, if you want the EU's corruption problems to be North America's problems, it makes tons of sense. The more regulated an economy is, the more opportunity there is for corruption to take root.

BCM // 5:50 AM


Monday, April 22, 2002:

"I am Shocked! Shocked! To Find Gambling in this Bar!"

-Casablanca 1943

"I am Shocked! Shocked! To Find Racists in France!"

-EU, 2002

BCM // 10:13 AM


which "monty python and the holy grail" character are you?
this quiz was made by

BCM // 9:45 AM

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