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Dollars & Crosses

Peter Jennings on Art

On the November 1 edition of World News Tonight Peter Jennings highlighted the work of what he refered to as “two Palestinian artists”:

“In the West Bank city of Ramallah, two Palestinian artists have created their own version of the Statue of Liberty at Mr. Arafat’s headquarters, which the Israelis destroyed. You can see the torch is pointed down. That, they say, is intended to symbolize how the U.S. was inverting its own values by supporting Israel.”

Mr. Jenning did not elaborate on what values the U.S. was inverting.

Brothers in Racism

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Democratic candidate for Governor, Maryland recently made this statement:

[My opponent] opposes affirmative action based on race. Well, let me tell you something; slavery was based on race. Lynching was based on race. Discrimination is based on race. Jim Crow was based on race. And affirmative action should be based on race.

By showing what “affirmative action” shares in common with Jim Crow, lynching, and slavery, isn’t Miss Townsend really making a case against affirmative action–by showing it to be racist?

Clearly the morality of her political program is not Miss Townsend’s concern–only the expansion of her political power, to legally force her will on others, is. The theory of egalitarianism and class warfare provides the justification–unlimited democracy provides the means.

Who drives the economy?

The WSJ, USA Today, and Reuters have been carrying stories where various experts claim that a drop in “Consumer Confidence” is a bearish signal for markets. Not so, according to Economist Richard Salsman, who writes in the latest edition of the InterMarket Forecaster,

The positive (and correct) view of markets — which thoroughly dispels the Keynesian myth — is known as Say’s Law (named after the great classical economist, Jean Baptiste Say). Say’s Law demonstrates that supply (production) constitutes demand –and that production is the source of income, exchange and (ultimately) consumption. Say’s Law also represents the irrefutable axiom that aggregate supply and aggregate demand are always equal and never out of balance, because they are the same thing, seen from two distinct perspectives…Only producers, savers and investors — not consumers per se — drive the stock market and the economy.

According to Salsman, if investors pay any attention to the “consumer confidence”, it should be as a contrarian indicator, and seen to add a further impetus towards a bullish signal.

Anti-war protestors take themselves seriously

Around the world today, protestors gathered to condemn President Bush for considering military action against Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical Iraqi regime. 

In Washington, D.C., Rev. Jesse Jackson declared, “if we launch a pre-emptive strike on Iraq, we lose all moral authority.”  He did not mention whether or not that strategy worked well for the Kurds. 

In Amsterdam, protestor Renas Arif told the Associate Press that he was opposed to Saddam, and he was opposed to a strike against Saddam.  Clever. 

In Baghdad, Hussein allowed twelve anti-U.S. activists to protest in front of U.N. offices, although earlier in the week he had guards shoot warning shots over the heads of demonstrators that he didn’t agree with.  All twelve of today’s protestors were Americans. 

In Berlin, pacifist German lawmaker Hans-Christian Stroebele told demonstrators that a U.S. war against Iraq is “unjustified.”  Hitler would certainly have agreed. 

In Stockholm, the leader of Sweden’s former communist Left Party, Gudrun Schyman, declared that, “Saddam Hussein is one of the absolutely worst dictators in the world today…but that doesn’t justify the U.S.A.’s war plans.”   

“You don’t disarm a regime by conducting an armed war,” she added.  Ms. Schyman did not offer to march into Baghdad herself, unarmed, and show the world exactly how one goes about disarming a regime.  

The only thing the San Franciscan protestors had to add to all this was, “One, two, three, four, we don’t want your racist war!”  Yawn. 

Aziz al-Taee, spokesman for the Iraqi-American Council, didn’t seem to understand what the fuss was all about.  “I think America is doing just fine…We think every day Saddam stays in power, he kills more Iraqis.”   

Aw, what does he know, anyway?

A 3 Million Euro Loft for Tenis Star Boris Becker

According to a BBC article Becker escapes jail for tax evasion,

Boris Becker has been sentenced to two years’ probation by a Munich court for failing to pay millions of euros in German taxes. The suspended sentence fell short of the prosecution’s demands that the former tennis champion be given a three-and-a-half year jail sentence…The case revolved around the prosecution’s allegation that Mr Becker had maintained a residence in Munich while claiming to live in the tax haven of Monaco.

His get out of jail card cost him though–a cool 3 million Euros. According to Becker he could not be accused of criminal scheming as the apartment – his sister’s loft – and he stayed there only occasionally. That’s a pretty expensive loft.

You can’t wear those–they’re illegal

WASHINGTON–In the distant past, the Food and Drug Administration limited its tyrannical powers to dictating what citizens can and cannot ingest, but recently it has become more and more interested in dictating what citizens can and cannot wear.

On Monday, the FDA halted importation of decorative contact lenses that are sold without a prescription.  Contact lenses bearing sports logos or other unusual markings have become a popular and fun way to enhance Halloween costumes over the past few years, but this year goblins from the FDA will be on the prowl.

According to the FDA, decorative lenses are extremely popular at beach shops, where much cavorting is often spotted.  The FDA will also be targeting convenience stores and flea markets, where sellers of unapproved lenses can expect to have men with guns confiscate their inventory.  But the agency has blessed the prescription-only sale of some tamer versions of cosmetic contact lenses, said FDA Deputy Commissioner Lester Crawford.  Approved lenses come in exotic monochrome tints, such as blue.

Fun is not explicitly permitted by any FDA regulation.

In the Name of Islam

Writes Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe,

At least 14 Israelis were murdered — many burned alive — and 65 were wounded when a car packed with explosives rammed a passenger bus near Hadera on Monday.  Islamic Jihad promptly took credit for the slaughter, and once again that perfect silence you heard was millions of Muslims in America and Europe not crying out in protest against those who commit massacres in the name of Islam.

The night before, Islamic terrorists bombed a Catholic shrine in the Philippine city of Zamboanga, leaving one dead and 12 injured.  Three days earlier, two terror attacks in the largely Christian city’s shopping district killed seven and wounded more than 160.  And from moderate Muslims in the West, the heartfelt expressions of revulsion and sorrow were — inaudible.

Time and again we have been instructed that Islam is a “religion of peace.”  Over and over we have been assured that most Muslims are nonviolent and tolerant.  And yet when Islamist fanatics commit acts of horrifying atrocity, and do so as Muslims, the peaceable Islamic majority has nothing to say.  Why not?

The answer is obvious: the Islamic majority explictly agrees with the terrorists ends (the establishment of Islam as a world religion), resulting in their failure to condemn their terrorist brother’s means. For further explanation, see Professor Locke’s article Radical Islam’s Assault on Human Life.

Two suspects held in sniper case

According to The Washington Post, two suspects in the Washington area sniper case were arrested last night after a local resident spotted a van matching police descriptions at a Maryland rest stop.

The two suspects, former Army soldier John Allen Muhammed, 41, and Lee Malvo, 17, were arrested without incident as they were caught sleeping in the van.  Although the suspects do not appear to be connected to Osam Bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist organization, Mr. Muhammed is a recent Muslim convert who changed his name from John Allen Williams.

Thanks, Allah.

Regulatory Knockout

Canada’s National Post published an op-ed by Capitalism Magazine’s own Mark Da Cunha on ImClone’s Sam Waksal titled, Regulatory Knockout. The byline reads: “Sam Waksal pleaded guilty in the ImClone scandal, but it wasn’t insider trading that destroyed shareholder wealth at the company, it was the FDA”

Culture Briefs

The October 15, 2002 edition of the Washington Post quoted a Capitalism Magazine article in their “Culture Briefs” section (Excerpts and quotes from the cultural war of words in publications around the nation):


“Did Columbus ‘discover’ America? Yes — in every important respect. This does not mean that no human eye had been cast on America before Columbus arrived. It does mean that Columbus brought America to the attention of the civilized world, i.e., to the growing, scientific civilizations of Western Europe. The result, ultimately, was the United States of America.

“Prior to 1492, what is now the United States was sparsely inhabited, unused, and undeveloped. The inhabitants were primarily hunter-gatherers, wandering across the land, living from hand-to-mouth and from day-to-day. There was virtually no change, no growth for thousands of years. With rare exception, life was nasty, brutish, and short: there was no wheel, no written language, no division of labor, little agriculture and scant permanent settlement; but there were endless, bloody wars. Whatever the problems it brought, the vilified Western culture also brought enormous, undreamed-of benefits, without which most of today’s Indians would be infinitely poorer or not even alive.

“Some cultures are better than others: a free society is better than slavery; reason is better than brute force as a way to deal with other men; productivity is better than stagnation. In fact, Western civilization stands for man at his best.”

–Michael Berliner, writing on “Did Christopher Columbus ‘Discover’ America?” Thursday in Capitalism Magazine at

Jimmy’s Appeasement Prize

Today Jimmy Carter has joined the ‘illustrious’ ranks of terrorists like Arafat by his being awarded the Noble “Peace” prize. According to the chairman of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Gunnar Berge, Mr. Carter’s selection “must be interpreted as a criticism of the present U.S. administration.” Now this is enough make me nauseous.

What wanted to make me throw up was Larry King’s second-handed comment praising Carter, which he regurgitated approvingly: “Someone once said about you, President Carter, you’re the only man in history to use the American presidency as a steppingstone to greatness.” As if an award that recognizes the “achievements” of a terrorist and cold-blooded killer like Arafat is greater than an office held by men like Jefferson, Adams, and Washington. Where is my bucket?

On the bright side, I can imagine what Bill Clinton is saying to himself: “That should be me, and not that grinning buffoon. Arafat should have accepted those terms when I handed Israel to him on a silver platter. It should be me up there. That prize is mine.”

The Aristocracy of the Couch Potato

YOUR LIVING ROOM–Many Americans harbor a general feeling of anxiety about the US government–as if something is definitely wrong, yet they can’t quite identify how to fix it. But cable channel FX has. The problem, according to FX’s president of entertainment Kevin Reilly, is that the nation’s abundant resource of lazy, catatonic, couch potatoes (mostly found in the fly-over states and more littered neighborhoods of major cities) hasn’t been adequately utilized.

But that will all change when FX introduces its new series, “American Candidate” in early 2003. “Hopefully, we’ll find some very qualified civil servant who lacks a power base and maybe also a plumber from Detroit who (tells) it like it is,” Reilly explained. Riding a (second-handed) high from the success of “American Idol,” a reality-based television series that recently adorned an aspiring 20-year old singer with national fame, producers at FX hope to coax the country’s television addicts into nominating a presidential candidate for the 2004 election. A panel of “experts” will choose the first 100 show participants, who will deliver drippy speeches, compete in whinny debates, and regurgitate meaningless clichés in response to loaded questions. Winners will then be selected via audience response and telephone/internet voting. All of this fanfare will culminate in a live show from the National Mall in Washington, where the “people’s candidate” will be chosen.

There are still some small islands in the Pacific that can be purchased from their governments at a reasonable price.

{Thanks to Justin Wheeler for shooting straight and speaking the truth.}

White British Woman Rails Against White Zimbabweans

Even I am amazed at what some “people” will go through to justify a “free lunch” obtained involuntarily at someone else’s expense, i.e., theft. According to the UK Telegraph:

A white British woman who formerly worked as a local government officer in Essex is the latest and most unlikely beneficiary of Robert Mugabe’s land-grab policy in Zimbabwe. Anne Matonga and her black Zimbabwean husband, Bright, have been given possession of a 1,500-acre farm after it was seized from a white farmer on the orders of the President. Mrs Matonga’s new home, which the farmer and his family had lived on for four generations, is a reward for her husband’s support of Mugabe, whose dictatorial policies are responsible for Zimbabwe being ostracised by much of the outside world.

…Despite moving to Zimbabwe only last year after a lifetime in Britain, Mrs Matonga last week spoke angrily, and without a hint of irony, against the “white colonialists who stole our land”…After delivering her diatribe, Mrs Matonga returned to supervising the crop of roses that had been planted earlier this year by Mr and Mrs Schultz…

…Mr Schultz had been arrested by the police for defying the eviction order only minutes before. “Mrs Matonga was screaming at me: ‘Get off our land: we are taking back what you stole from our forefathers’,” said Mrs Schultz. “I thought it was a remarkable thing for her to say since she was clearly white and British.” Mr Schultz, 57, is now virtually penniless.

The U.S. Should Withdraw from the Geneva Convention

IRVINE, CA–The investigation of a marine for the suspected “crime” of killing an unarmed Iraqi terrorist is a moral and judicial travesty, said Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute.

“The accused marine was completely right to kill a terrorist who he suspected was setting up a booby-trap by faking death–a common terrorist technique used in Iraq. For the marine to do otherwise would have been to risk his life and the lives of his fellow marines to preserve a committed murderer. Yet this is exactly what the U.S. government says he should have done, in the name of the ‘rules of war’ of the Geneva Convention.”

“Throughout the War on Terrorism,” explained Dr. Brook, “America has sacrificed its military objectives and the safety of its soldiers in the name of adhering to the Geneva Convention accords, which are based on so-called Just War Theory. Monsters like Osama bin-Laden and his deputies are still alive because we hesitated to bomb them out of their hideouts, for fear of hitting so-called innocents. Hundreds of American soldiers have died unnecessarily due to crippling rules of engagement requiring them to place the lives of Iraqi civilians above their own.”

“Now,” said Dr. Brook, “we are telling our soldiers that if they kill a terrorist who happens to be wounded or unarmed, they could be court-martialed!”

“America must assert its right to defend its citizens–including its soldiers–by any means necessary,” said Dr. Brook. “And as a first order of business, we must withdraw from the suicide pact that is the Geneva Convention.”

Spamming for Freedom

For anyone looking to defend property rights and make money at the same time, here’s an interesting business model I discovered: 

The Tabloids, an Oakland-based rock band… recently launched, urging people to sabotage Napster by mislabeling songs posted to the site. Music entrepreneurs and Internet saboteurs have already started circulating fake versions of popular songs on Napster. also calls for releasing songs into Napster that have anti-piracy speeches inserted randomly into the music. For instance, you may be listening to Eminem when suddenly Charlton Heston begins reading a public interest message opposing song theft…  “We’re looking at the big picture here. Intellectual property is intellectual freedom,” says Michael Robinson, the band’s leader, a freelance writer and a marketing consultant. “The U.S. Constitution and the Internet are on a collision course. We don’t want our rights ripped off,” he adds. The Tabloids seek government regulation of technologies like Napster’s.  (From Digital Music Weekly,

You could probably get this funded as an Internet business model. Get permission from bands to use their songs, and thirty seconds in start mixing in voiceovers of interviews with the band, etc. Then create all kinds of bogus music servers and spam the hell out of Napster, Gnutella, etc. with the fake mp3s. (Actually, I hear the Nettwerk label just did this with the new Barenaked Ladies single.) 

The band gets advertising and fights theft, you make a little money selling the ads, and the Net gets clogged with so much music spam that it gets difficult and costly to find intact pirated tracks. If Napster raises technical barriers, you have a financial incentive to overcome them. And the pirates can’t very well call on the law to protect them, can they? 

Personally, I find something deliciously satisfying in the image of some young thug, smugly expecting to marinate his brain in the latest Eminem tirade he’s swiped off the net, getting an earful of Charlton Heston.