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No free lunch for plaintiffs

NEW YORK–A federal judge ruled yesterday that eating yourself into obesity is your own damn fault, much to the dismay of some rather large and irresponsible kids in New York who were hoping to leech off the fat of productive companies.


 


U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet rejected the class action lawsuit (filed last November as reported on Capitalism Magazine) that blamed McDonald’s, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and Wendy’s for the poor choices of several unhealthy individuals.  “If consumers know (or reasonably should know),” the judge wrote, “the potential ill health effects of eating at McDonald’s, they cannot blame McDonald’s if they, nonetheless, choose to satiate their appetite with a surfeit of super-sized McDonald’s products.”


 


Hear, hear! 


 


Ultimately, kids, shirking personal responsibility will bite you in the ass…and some asses will be wider than others.

We Need More Professors Like This

Jeremy Rabkin, a professor from Cornell University, argued that America has the right to decide if it should go into Iraq, and that the U.N. has done a miserable job of ensuring world peace.


As evidence, he noted that as many people have died in wars throughout the world in the years since the U.N.’s creation as died in World War II.  [New York Sun, 1/22/03]

Hillary Clinton vs. Martin Luther King

“Yes, we want to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. But what makes up character?” [Hillary Clinton] said, quoting from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “If we don’t take race as part of our character, then we are kidding ourselves.” [New York Sun, 1/21/03]


“We are kidding ourselves” means: “I don’t have a rational basis for this belief, so I want to win agreement by intimidation.”

What is her belief? What does it mean to “take race as part of our character?”

A person’s character is his disposition to behave in a certain way. Character is not in the situation you face, but in what you choose to do about it. To accept race as part of a person’s character is to say he is helpless to control his behavior in the face of the demands of his race, that he is unable to make certain choices if his race dictates them, that he is helpless to conform his own individual judgment to facts if his race demands otherwise. This idea is the essence of racism–that our race determines our character.


 


Hillary Clinton has no shame:  she quotes Martin Luther King in defense of her racism! Where is the outrage?

Hillary Clinton vs. Martin Luther King

“Yes, we want to be judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin. But what makes up character?” [Hillary Clinton] said, quoting from Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. “If we don’t take race as part of our character, then we are kidding ourselves.” [New York Sun, 1/21/03]


“We are kidding ourselves” means: “I don’t have a rational basis for this belief, so I want to win agreement by intimidation.”

What is her belief? What does it mean to “take race as part of our character?”

A person’s character is his disposition to behave in a certain way. Character is not in the situation you face, but in what you choose to do about it. To accept race as part of a person’s character is to say he is helpless to control his behavior in the face of the demands of his race, that he is unable to make certain choices if his race dictates them, that he is helpless to conform his own individual judgment to facts if his race demands otherwise. This idea is the essence of racism–that our race determines our character.


 


Hillary Clinton has no shame:  she quotes Martin Luther King in defense of her racism! Where is the outrage?

Crow from Sheryl

Sheryl Crow quoted at the American Music Awards:


“I think war is based in greed and there are huge karmic retributions that will follow. I think war is never the answer to solving any problems. The best way to solve problems is to not have enemies.” (Associated Press,1/14/03)
Crow’s statement is more than stupid; it’s made without any reference whatever to the most obvious facts, which makes it dishonest. Following her lead, we shouldn’t have police, because crime is always the victim’s fault–it’s just karmic retribution for something the victim did wrong. I wonder if Crow thinks rape victims deserve being raped. But of course, she wasn’t concerned with facts or logic when she made her statement.

What motivates such dishonesty? Is it a lack of independence–a desire to fit in by parroting her peers’ party line? Or is it a refusal to accept the morality of any self-interested action, such as attacking Iraq? Such altruism would sacrifice the innocent to the world’s aggressors–a clear case of injustice.

Or is it just moral cowardice–a refusal to pass moral judgment on Iraq and to act accordingly? The only people such “who-am-I-to-judge” tolerationists cannot tolerate are the ones who reject nonjudgmentalism and expect them to pass moral judgment; such people they hysterically denounce while giving a free pass to the Saddam Husseins of the world.

These three possibilities amount to the same thing, the failure to assert one’s judgment of one’s own interests as a moral right. This is the corrupt spirit that permeates today’s antiwar movement.

Worried about losing your privacy? Don’t; you’ve nothing to lose.

Lately, warnings about Uncle Sam turning into “Big Brother” are so frequent that they have almost become tiresome.  If something is not done to stop the insidious government, we are told, we will all soon be living in 1984.  Blah, blah, blah.


 


Well, guess what, citizens of America?  It’s too late–at least as far as your medical records are concerned. 


 


Uncle Sam can, without a warrant, probable cause, or any other legal action, simply look-up when you’re menstruating, what medication you’re taking, what foods disagree with you, and any other “secrets” you might have trusted with a doctor at one time or another.  Tack on the government’s new “Total Information Awareness” program headed by John Poindexter (yes–that Poindexter), and a whole database of medical (and other) information about you will be accessible to DMV-caliber bureaucrats (are there really any other caliber?) at the touch of a button.


 


Constitution?  Where?  What Constitution?


 


[Thanks to Dan for the link to the Fox News article on this.  Keep your ammo dry.]

Zimbabwe: Land of the Empty Palate

The effect:




Hungry people queue for the meagre rations offered by church workers – their children’s hair already changing colour from malnutrition…Among the poorest of the poor, some compete with wild animals for what they can scavenge. “For three days I haven’t eaten, because of this I have no energy, that is why you see me here,” explained one man that we met. [BBC News]


The cause:




Yet the commercial farms that could have provided much of the food needed are lying abandoned, their owners forced out. Jenny Parsons, one such farmer, and her children, tried to visit their family farm and were attacked by government supporters. […]

Nobody who opposes the government now is safe from torture, from arbitrary imprisonment. […] In this country even members of parliament and human rights lawyers can end up in torture chambers. […] “They electrified me on my genitals, on my toes, in my mouth, and they said ‘this is the mouth you use to defend human rights,'” said Gabriel Shumba, a human rights lawyer. “The world must know of the kind of life that the people of Zimbabwe are living under. It is terrible,” Job Sikhala, an opposition member of parliament, said from his hospital bed, where he is recovering. [BBC News]


The response from America’s “Civil Rights”,”African-American”, “Leaders”:


[Deafening silence.]


For more coverage on Zimbabwe visit our Africa section.

Bill Gates Can Come Into My Bar Any Time.

I guess it’s supposed to be a joke, because it begins, “A liberal and a conservative were sitting in a bar.” That’s the way a lot of jokes begin, so this must be one. It continues,



“Then Bill Gates walked in. ‘Hey, we’re rich!’ shouted the conservative. ‘The average person in this bar is now worth more than a billion!’ ‘That’s silly,’ replied the liberal. ‘Bill Gates raises the average, but that doesn’t make you or me any richer.’ ‘Hah!’ said the conservative, ‘I see you’re still practicing the discredited politics of class warfare.'”


What can I say? I just don’t get it. This isn’t a joke at all — every word of it is true.


I’m not really sure what former paid Enron advisory board member Paul Krugman thinks he’s accomplishing by starting his New York Times column with this putative joke today. I suppose it sets up a straw man he can demolish. And Krugman obviously thinks that if he himself brings up the subject of class warfare, he will somehow pre-empt his critics from accusing him of it. He does it in just about every column now.


But whatever Krugman’s purpose, it reveals with stunning clarity the way this man of the “little people” sees the world. As far as I’m concerned, it’s simply a fact that when a “big people” like Bill Gates enters any environment, he makes everyone around him wealthier in countless ways — through the productivity his products add to their working lives, the value he creates for their investment portfolios, and just the plain old inspiration of showing what superlative achievement looks like.


Bill Gates can come into my bar any time. I’m buying.

Another Nail in the Coffin of the Public School Monopoly

I do not support school vouchers. The claim of a “right” to education has no basis in reality, and government funding of private schools would destroy what little independence they have left. (A preferable alternative would be tuition tax credits, which make it easier for individuals to fund private education using their own money.)

Nevertheless, the arguments of many voucher opponents are intended simply to protect the public school monopoly. One such argument is the claim that school choice hurts public schools by draining them of money and talent. If that were true, then so much the better. But it turns out it isn’t:

As research has accumulated showing that school choice benefits participating students, its critics have relied more and more heavily on the argument that school choice will hurt public schools and the students who remain there after participating students have left for private schools. In response to these criticisms, advocates claim that school choice programs indirectly benefit public schools and their students by forcing public schools to compete with private schools, providing a strong incentive for those public schools to improve….

Of the few studies that have been done of U.S. public schools exposed to school choice, none have ever found a decrease in the academic performance of public school students, and a few have found academic gains. [Jay P. Greene and Greg Forster, “Rising to the Challenge: The Effect of School Choice on Public Schools in Milwaukee and San Antonio,” Manhattan Institute Civic Bulletin 27, October 2002]

U.N. idea of human rights leader: Libya

PARIS–Human Rights Watch recently reported that, “Libya has detained government opponents for years without charge or trial, prohibited the formation of political parties or independent non-governmental groups, and muzzled its press.  In the past, the Libyan government has also been responsible for torture, ‘disappearances’ and the assassination of political opponents abroad.” 


And so, when faced with the question of which country to elect as head of the Commission of Human Rights earlier today, members of the United Nations made the only sensible choice:  Libya.


Several nations abstained from voting on the matter, as diplomats expressed concern over voting against the heinous regime; they didn’t want to offend the African nations that nominated the likes of Libya.  Aw, shucks, how thoughtful!


But really, who cares about political prisoners, anyway?  And so what if, in 1988, the Libyan government bombed Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie?  What’s so offensive about that?


“I don’t think there is any country free of human rights violations,” reminded the Libyan ambassador, who criticized any potential division of countries into “bad guys or good guys.”


Yeah, who benefits from distinctions like that?  Certainly not the bad guys…


Thirty Pieces of Silver for Elian Gonzalez

Now we see the reward Juan Miguel Gonzalez got for returning his son to a life of slavery that his mother died to free him from:

Cuba’s Communist Party said Monday that more than 97 percent of voters showed overwhelming support for the nation’s socialist system by electing 609 candidates who ran uncontested for parliament….

[Among them were] Juan Miguel Gonzalez, father of Elian, the Cuban boy at the heart of the international child custody battle in 2000…. [Associated Press, 1/20/03]

Beware San Francisco’s vicious peaceniks

SAN FRANCISCO–As part of a world-wide leftist orgy, thousands of anti-west protestors gathered in downtown San Francisco on Saturday to stampede through the city in the name of “peace,” tyranny, and hatred of capitalism.


 


Hordes of angry masses littered the city’s Financial District with signs and stickers glorifying murderous fundamentalist regimes and vilifying those who dare defend themselves against terrorists.  One sign labeled President Bush a Nazi (an ironic accusation, coming from a bunch of hippie-flavored fascists), while others stuck to the good ol’ fashion “racist” brand, which usually works well enough to scare college students and media-types into submission.


 


At the center of attention “a sinister Uncle Sam on stilts cackled as he poured a can of gasoline down the craw of a man costumed as a grotesque Bush,” described an observer.  One protestor’s sign asked, “How did our oil get under their soil?”  Well, ma’am, they stole it from Western companies who discovered and owned it.  It’s called nationalization.


 


Later, a group of about 200 peace-lovers smashed windows and news racks before police chased them away.  And in this town, that’s what “peace” is all about.

Scalia Wrong on Church/State

Courts have gone too far to keep religion out of public schools and other forums, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.

Although the Constitution says the government cannot “establish” or promote religion, the framers did not intend for God to be stripped from public life, Scalia said Sunday at a religious ceremony….

The rally-style event about 50 miles south of Washington drew a lone protester, who silently held a sign promoting the separation of church and state.

“The sign back here which says ‘Get religion out of government’ can be imposed on the whole country,” Scalia said. “I have no problem with that philosophy being adopted democratically. If the gentleman holding the sign would persuade all of you of that, then we could eliminate ‘under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance. That could be democratically done.” [Associated Press, 1/13/03]

Question to Judge Scalia: If atheists became a majority in the country and decided to “democratically impose” the wording, “under NO God” on the whole country, would he regard that as legitimate? The removal of the words “under God” does not promote atheism or any other religious doctrine.

But Scalia is wrong on a much more fundamental level. The whole purpose of the Bill of Rights is to limit the power of government–to forbid things from being done even if a democratic majority wants to do them. Our country is not a democracy, nor should it be; is is a republic: a system of representative government limited by the rule of law to the protection of individual rights. That is the system the founders intended to impose on the whole country, and that is the system the Supreme Court has a constitutional duty to impose on the whole country.

The Perversity of United Nations

In case you haven’t heard, Libya will chair the United Nations’ human rights commission.

Says Mumar’s son, Seif Gaddafi: “We have a better human rights record than our neighbours. Sure, we are not Switzerland or Denmark; we are part of the Third World and part of the Middle East. But we are better than our neighbours.”

How about if we let the D.C. snipers sit on an anti-crime commission? The shoe bomber terrorist advise the Homeland Security office? Child molesters advise on children safety?

The simplest proof about the moral bankruptcy of the United States is that it is a member of the United Nations. If this country had a shred of moral resolve, a shred of confidence in its morality, it would have long rejected the very idea of a U.N. as the most perverse institution on earth.


Related Article: Another United Nations Sham: Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi to Head the U.N. Human Rights Commission

Brady Center on the warpath again

PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON–Bushmaster Firearms, Inc. now finds itself looking down the barrel of one of the deadliest weapons known to man:  a ludicrous lawsuit filed by irresistibly irrational plaintiffs backed by the agenda of America’s most fashionably fascist.  Bushmaster’s “crime?”  Manufacturing a product that performs as advertised, and legally selling it to an authorized distributor.



On behalf of the families of two victims of last year’s Washington, D.C. snipers, the Brady Center to Prevent (non-government initiated) Gun Violence filed suit yesterday against the company in the Superior Court of Pierce County, Washington.  The lawsuit claims that Bushmaster, who manufactured the Bushmaster XM-15 E2S .223 allegedly used by sniper suspects John Lee Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, has “intentionally and willfully chosen to sell and distribute firearms in a grossly negligent manner.”  Bushmaster sold the rifle to a legal gun dealer in Tacoma, Washington, who later reported the weapon stolen.


 


Paul Luvera, the clueless attorney who filed the suit, claimed that the rifle was a “very deadly weapon designed for combat use, highly lethal, military copy.”  [Please write in if you think of uses for a rifle that isn’t “highly lethal.”]  Despite the many nasty adjectives he attached to the gun, most military snipers disagree; they prefer not to use a .223 caliber weapon because it is not sufficiently powerful to deliver potent long-distance shots against human targets.  Most hunting rifles would have performed just as well, if not better.  But Luvera also slapped the dreaded “assault weapon” label on the Bushmaster .223, which is sure to scare hordes of soccer moms into an anti-black-gun-with-pistol-grip-and-extended-magazine hysteria.  In further condemnation of the inanimate object, he noted that the rifle had been “used for sniper purposes.”  Duh.  So was Muhammad’s car.  We watched the news, too, Paul.


 


Hey, wasn’t the Quran “used for sniper purposes?”  Come to think of it, the Quran has historically been deadlier than all the Bushmaster .223s on the planet combined.  Now THERE’S a lawsuit, Paul…


 

“Daisy” Commercial Re-Made to Appeal to Anti-Conceptual, Emotionalist Dolts That Dominate the Left

An anti-war group has recreated and will air one of the most deplorable political commercials in history: the Johnson presidential campaign ad called “Daisy” that said Goldwater would cause a nuclear war. (It was aired only once because of the strenuous objections it received.) Like the old one, this version shows a girl plucking petals off a daisy–and then a mushroom cloud.

“We wanted to run an ad that would highlight that very real possibility (of nuclear war) and help encourage a national discussion,” said MoveOn.org’s international campaign director.

This is left-wing paranoia. There is no attempt to argue this position; it’s an arbitrary assertion. I have no doubt it, and the commercial, appeals to anti-conceptual, emotionalist dolts that dominant the Left. Thinking people dismiss these scare tactics.

The group’s site wants people to sign a campaign to send a letter to President Bush that says, in part:



The United States has made a commitment to approaching the danger that Saddam Hussein poses through the international community. The resumption of the inspections regime is a triumph for the U.S., international law and multilateralism. But the United States will lose all credibility with its allies if it appears that it will go to war regardless of the inspections’ success. And by alienating and infuriating allies through unilateral action, the U.S. could throw the success of the campaign against terrorism into jeopardy. Mr. President, it appears that your administration is looking for an excuse to go to war, when a peaceful and just solution may be at hand. We ask that you live up to your word and give diplomacy a chance.


As of today, with weapons inspectors discovering chemical weapons artillery shells in Iraq, this weak argument is officially null and void.

CAC Challenges University of Michigan Admissions Policies in Supreme Court Brief

ALEXANDRIA, VA–The Center for the Advancement of Capitalism (CAC) today filed a “friend of the Court” brief with the United States Supreme Court supporting the petitioners in Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger, a pair of challenges to race-based admissions policies at the University of Michigan. Gratz deals with UM’s undergraduate admissions, while Grutter challenges the Law School’s policy. Both cases are on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, based in Cincinnati.


“Race has no place in a university’s admissions process,” CAC Chairman Nicholas Provenzo said. “The University of Michigan’s emphasis on race in admissions is so obviously irrational and illogical, it is almost beneath us to have to debate it. However, given the vast number of groups supporting the University, CAC felt it was necessary to emphatically state the case for individualism in education.”


The eight-page brief offers the Court a clear philosophical context for declaring Michigan’s policies unconstitutional. CAC argues that race has no bearing on an individual’s educational ability, and that any reliance on racial factors denies prospective students their right to be judged on individual merit.


“Michigan’s undergraduate school gives prospective students 12 points [towards the required 105 points for admission] for a perfect SAT score, yet automatically awards 20 points simply for stating one is black, Hispanic, or Native American,” says Provenzo.


“The message here is unmistakable–the University believes that an individual’s race impacts their achievement, and then it grants their race more prominence than their actual abilities in evaluating them for admission,” says Provenzo. “The University’s position is patently false, racist and bankrupt. Under the Constitution, no government-run institution should be allowed to use race to judge for or against any individual.”


The brief was drafted by Nicholas Provenzo and CAC senior fellow Skip Oliva, and filed by attorney David R. Burton of the Argus Group.

Marxist Diarrhea from John Le Carre

Best-selling author John Le Carre wrote a letter to The London Times titled “The United States Has Gone Mad.” Your humble editor comments herein.



The imminent war was planned years before bin Laden struck, but it was he who made it possible. Without bin Laden, the Bush junta would still be trying to explain such tricky matters as how it came to be elected in the first place; Enron; its shameless favouring of the already-too-rich; its reckless disregard for the world’s poor, the ecology and a raft of unilaterally abrogated international treaties. They might also have to be telling us why they support Israel in its continuing disregard for UN resolutions.


One word: arbitrary. Proof? Any attempt at proof? No. Thank you.



How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history. But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear. The carefully orchestrated neurosis should carry Bush and his fellow conspirators nicely into the next election.


God, I wish this weren’t true, but I think he might be right.



Care for a few pointers? George W. Bush, 1978-84: senior executive, Arbusto Energy/Bush Exploration, an oil company; 1986-90: senior executive of the Harken oil company. Dick Cheney, 1995-2000: chief executive of the Halliburton oil company. Condoleezza Rice, 1991-2000: senior executive with the Chevron oil company, which named an oil tanker after her. And so on. But none of these trifling associations affects the integrity of God’s work.


If there were no reason to attack Iraq, e.g., if it were Canada, I would find this to be relevant. But the fact is the Iraq is a menace for many reasons. It is not Canada.



To be a member of the team you must also believe in Absolute Good and Absolute Evil, and Bush, with a lot of help from his friends, family and God, is there to tell us which is which. What Bush won’t tell us is the truth about why we’re going to war. What is at stake is not an Axis of Evil — but oil, money and people’s lives. Saddam’s misfortune is to sit on the second biggest oilfield in the world. Bush wants it, and who helps him get it will receive a piece of the cake. And who doesn’t, won’t.

If Saddam didn’t have the oil, he could torture his citizens to his heart’s content. Other leaders do it every day — think Saudi Arabia, think Pakistan, think Turkey, think Syria, think Egypt.


Not true. The U.S. customarily invades countries that are as worthless as latrines, such as Somalia, Serbia, and Afghanistan. To assert that the U.S. would act in its own alleged diabolical interest, such as to increase profits of oil companies–is a fantasy. The U.S. routinely sacrifices itself to every dirtbag county and enemy it has. Our 20th century history is replete with self-sacrifical foreign policy: the U.S. has never profited from any military effort. I defy anyone to challenge me on this.



Baghdad represents no clear and present danger to its neighbours, and none to the US or Britain. Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, if he’s still got them, will be peanuts by comparison with the stuff Israel or America could hurl at him at five minutes’ notice. What is at stake is not an imminent military or terrorist threat, but the economic imperative of US growth. What is at stake is America’s need to demonstrate its military power to all of us — to Europe and Russia and China, and poor mad little North Korea, as well as the Middle East; to show who rules America at home, and who is to be ruled by America abroad.


The first sentence is laughable. Yes, Israel and America can wipe out Baghad within minutes. But: a) It would be after the fact of a horrible attack by Iraq, and b) we would never do it because we are moral cowards.

As for the need to wipe out Iraq for “US growth,” this is absurd. All military operations cost the U.S. billions and we never get anything in return. Furthermore, we do not need Iraqi oil: we have lived without it for over a decade. We have more oil than we know what to do with–within U.S. borders.

The last thing the U.S. needs to do is to demonstrate its “military power.” The U.S. is the unchallengeable superpower and everyone knows it.

As for the reference to a so-called “colonialist adventure,” I again challenge anyone to say when, in the 20th century, the U.S. has profited from any military effort. This is Marxist diarrhea and nothing more.

John Le Carre is a fiction writer–even when he writes about reality.