Monday, July 31, 2006

George Orwell - Superstar! [link]

I read an essay by George Orwell, linked to above, about corruption of the English language. I have seen excerpts of this essay, but I never before had the chance to read it in its entirety.

Here is the money quote:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable.

Read it! Learn it! Live it!

Mel Gibson - What a Bloody Mess

I always liked Mel Gibson...not a lot (not like I liked Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, or Bruce Willis), but he was in a lot of fun films and he seemed nice enough.

But I am reluctantly changing my mind after the news of his arrest for drunk driving over the weekend. Yelling anti-Jewish comments at an arresting officer is pretty stupid. Then he issued a press release apologizing for his behavior stating that he has been battling alcoholism.

I want to forgive Mel, I really do. But...according to news reports, he tested out with a blood alcohol level of 0.12. The legal limit in California is currently 0.08 (until recently it was 0.10 and in the distant past it use to be 0.15 in many states). Mel was not falling down drunk; he was mildly impaired. And if he is a recovering alcoholic, a 0.12 is nothing...he could probably have passed for sober if he wanted to. But there he was, screaming all kinds of ugly, hateful things, and he was only mildly impaired. It makes it hard for me to see this as anything less than his true feelings shining through.

I hate condemning others for evil emotions. You absolutely do NOT want to be driving in the car with me when I am in a bad mood and someone does something stupid on the road near me...I will say the most horrible things. Racist? You bet! And then I feel horrible about it afterwards. Sometimes I will put ugly things into emails to my friends...or say ugly things to them in person or over the phone. But they know me...they know I am venting. That is a side of me I never show in public, EVEN when I have been drinking.

It's one thing to bare your ugly side to your friends...especially since they can tell when you are venting and you can later apologize and take the remarks back. But to say things like that in public...unbelievable. Only a true believer would let that kind of hate out.

I am a big believer in forgiveness...I am not one for seeking revenge. I think it is possible for Mel to redeem take actions that will show that he has a good heart and that he knows that his ugly emotions are wrong. Mel is going to have to show his "consciousness of innocence." Until then, he deserves every bit of scorn that everyone can throw at him.

Total War

I hate to say this, but I think we need to go back to the rules of war that we used to defeat the Nazis and the Japanese. Total war. Civilians in the line of fire? Too bad. How did we get into this corner? Thank the UN.

The UN was suppose to see to the disarming of the militias in Lebanon after the Israelis pulled out. Everybody else disarmed while Hezbollah kept building up a massive military....massive enough to keep even the vaunted Israeli army at bay. If the Israelis had not attacked, how long would it have been before Hezbollah used this military might to conquer all of Lebanon?

One again, the UN has been a force to protect is a failed experiment. If you hold off attacking violent, expansive, fascist forces long enough, they just get tougher and more dangerous. I thought we learned that lesson in the 1930s...obviously not.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

TAX THE RICH - Repeal the Estate and Gift Tax

Looking out for Paris Hilton's trust fund? Hardly. The current tax law created the situation where wealthy families have little control over trust have control means that ownership has not truly passed to the beneficiary and can be included in the gross estate of the decedent. Thus, the wealthy Hiltons who created the Hilton trusts were required to leave vast sums to all future Hiltons (perhaps even before Paris was born) in order to avoid the estate and gift tax.

The estate and gift tax is a trap for the unwary. I talked with Bob Shamansky, Democrat candidate in the 12th Congressional District of Ohio, and he joked that he had never seen the "mythical family farmer" who would lose his farm because of the estate and gift tax. That was very ironic...hearing a wealthy businessman (who probably has a very sophisticated estate plan) say that the estate and gift tax really wasn't hurting anyone.

The mega wealthy families (like the Hiltons) can afford to spend millions of dollars in attorney fees and accountant fees in order to structure elaborate tax avoidance plans that reduce the tax bill. However, owners of successful businesses may not realize that their net worth has gone over the threshold for taxation and, on the death of the owner, find themselves stuck with a massive tax bill. It is not the family farmers that I am worried about; it is these businesses.

Dems are demagoguing the hell out of this issue...but the current tax law was written BY very wealthy Dems in the 1950s with an eye towards protecting their estates. Billionaires today are frantic in their efforts to preserve the current tax structure...they have invested millions of dollars in their tax avoidance that would be wasted if the estate and gift tax is permanently repealed - especially since the property that was potentially subject to the estate and gift tax would be more likely to be taxed as income.

When an heir receives property from the estate of a family member, that heir can immediately sell that property without getting stuck with a bill for income taxes. How? Let's look at how you compute income from the sale of property. "Income" is determined by taking the amount of money you receive when you sell a thing (the "amount realized"), and subtracting the amount that you paid when you first acquired it (the "tax basis"). So, if you bought a Rolex watch several years ago for $3,000 and sold it this year for $4,500, you would realize $1,500 in income.

What happens if you don't know (or can't prove) what you paid for a thing? Well, then the entire amount received is counted as income. But, there is a special rule that applies for property that you receive from a decedent's estate. THAT property is given a special tax look at the fair market value (the amount that you probably could have sold the thing for) on the date of the decedent's death and THAT will be the tax basis from that day forward. So, if you receive Uncle Seymour's prized Rolex watch from his estate, which he paid $1,500 for and which was worth $4,500 on the date of his death, and sold it for $4,500, you would have $0 income from that sale...and no income tax payable.

Guess what? The repeal of the estate and gift tax also means the repeal of the "stepup in basis" on the decedent's death. So, what is really happening is not the repeal of a tax so much as trading of one tax for another. And the billionaires are worried. It is likely that many of their estate plans take full advantage of the stepup in advantage that will be lost. Hence, their eagerness to keep the current tax structure is NOT based on their civic mindedness and willingness to pay tax...just the opposite! It is based on their desire to keep from paying taxes at all.

So, sock it to the rich! Repeal the DEATH TAX!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Battle for Columbus Has Begun! [link]

This time, it's WAR! And it is a war we must WIN!

Soft, cute, cuddly ... and dang annoying
Ohio gardens fall prey to voracious rabbits
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Barbara Carmen

They are everwhere! I go for a walk every day and I see dozens of them.

This summer, central Ohio and much of the Midwest has a bumper crop of bunnies, biologists said.

Fewer froze during the moderate winter. And suburban sprawl has been kind, creating lush gardens and destroying the habitats of natural predators.

As a result, the cottontails are multiplying like, well, rabbits. The Dempseys see them everywhere, crossing busy urban streets and snacking on suburban flower beds.

Oh, laugh if you must. But I tell you, these creatures are more vile and evil than the orcs from Lord of the Rings! You don't have to take my word for it:

"These are tough urban bunnies. Trust me, they’re fearless," Mr. Dempsey said.

The rabbits are brazen, agreed Jane Beathard, of London, whose porch boxes were raided. "A couple mornings ago, one hopped within 3 or 4 feet of me. He clearly wasn’t even scared."

And this is a problem that is only going to get WORSE!

But central Ohio’s human population boom is feeding the boom in rabbits. As farm fields are turned into housing lots, rabbits gain shrubs with nooks for nesting. A single field of corn or wheat is replaced with gardens of petunias, hostas and impatiens — a veritable rabbit salad bar.

Urban areas offer another perk for bunnies: fewer animals to eat them. Red-tailed hawks, great horned owls and coyotes tend to shy away from human bustle.

Without predators to hunt them, a pair of rabbits could produce 350,000 offspring in five years if all survived.

In the city, rabbit control is best left to house cats. State law forbids killing rabbits until their hunting season begins on Nov. 3, but then you can’t shoot a gun in the city. County wildlife officers can issue permits for people to trap and relocate rabbits.

Huh? " left to house cats." Who are these fools kidding? That is like saying that controlling Hamas is best left to Hezbollah! What good are cats? They lay around all day, do no work, and leave cat hair everywhere. House cats don't know how to hunt! Why should they ever learn...they have the Democrat constituent thing down perfect! Be totally helpless and some poor fool will take care of you...give you a house to live in and food to eat and you don't have to do a thing!

Here is the face of the enemy! Cruel! Heartless! Hungry! Look into those ravenous eyes and you will truly know ultimate fear!

"This isn’t just in Columbus, it’s over a large area," said Gehrt, who is researching coyotes moving into Chicago neighborhoods. "One homeowner told me they wanted more coyotes in the neighborhoods," Gehrt said. "They eat the rabbits."

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Anniversary of a Middle East Mistake [link]

July 26 was the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies in Western diplomacy. Back in 1956, Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt, nationalized the Suez Canal. Soon thereafter, England and France convinced Israel to stage an invasion of the Sinai peninsula in order to retake the canal.

You can read an excellent analysis of these events at the link above, written by Arthur Herman for the Weekly Standard's website.

Herman writes:

By any objective standard, Nasser's seizing of the canal was theft. Until that July, it had been administered by a private company headquartered in Paris and owned by international shareholders. Nasser had even signed an agreement recognizing the Canal Zone's autonomy two years earlier, which allowed Great Britain to pull out the last troops from its bases in Suez.

* * * *

So, when the British high command informed Eden it would take six weeks to assemble enough ships, planes, and men to take back the canal and topple Nasser, Eden turned to the French for help. They in turn appealed to the Israelis. For some time the Israelis had wanted to wipe out the Palestinian guerrilla bases which had sprung up along their border with Egypt since the 1948 war, camps run by a Palestinian student-turned-Nasser flunky named Yasser Arafat. So Israel's chief of staff, the 41-year-old Moshe Dayan, drew up a plan with the help of a young paratrooper colonel named Ariel Sharon for an incursion into Gaza and Sinai in coordination with an Anglo-French landing at Suez. The Israelis assumed the West would back up bold action against hit-and-run terrorists and those who supported them.

But they, and their allies the French and British, had not reckoned on the United States. President Eisenhower and his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, were preoccupied with the Cold War. Like their Democratic predecessors, they were reluctant to support any move that smacked of "colonialism," no matter how justified. And Eisenhower, in Stephen Ambrose's words, was "uncomfortable with Jews" and never understood the threat Israel faced from its Arab neighbors. So the Americans refused to endorse the Suez invasion. "We do not want to meet violence with violence," Dulles said--words that have a disturbing echo today. Then the Americans went further. If the British and French attacked Egypt, Eden was told, the United States would not back them up in the United Nations.

Finally, in late October, after weeks of hesitation and prevaricating, the British, French, and Israelis struck. The British and French Operation Musketeer was a stunning success; in the face of the Israeli attack, Nasser's army collapsed. French paratroopers and tanks were poised to roll into Cairo. But then, with American encouragement, U.N. secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld became involved.

To this day in elite circles, his name is treated with pious reverence second only to Gandhi and Martin Luther King. After his death, his face even graced an American postage stamp. In fact, Hammarskjöld was arguably the worst secretary general in the history of the United Nations. He was certainly the most devious. He was the bleak prototype of another U.N. apparatchik, his fellow Swede Hans Blix. Smug, icily cerebral, essentially humorless, he possessed a smooth arrogance that concealed a bottomless pit of liberal guilt.

* * * *

To Hammarskjöld, the issue was simple. If you were European and white, you were always in the wrong. If you were nonwhite, you were a victim of something and ipso facto in the right. Even so, Hammarskjöld's U.N. resolutions would have remained so many scraps of papers had President Eisenhower not threatened to break the pound sterling on the world's financial markets. Eden's will to fight burst like a soap bubble. French and British troops began pulling out in March 1957. Nasser triumphantly claimed his canal; Israel withdrew from Gaza and the Sinai.

The Suez crisis was over. But the damage it did was, and remains, incalculable. Eisenhower had wrecked the trust between the United States and its former World War II allies for a generation; in the case of France, for all time. If anyone wonders why French politicians are always willing to undermine American initiatives around the world, the answer is summed up in one word: "Suez."

Suez destroyed the United Nations as well. By handing it over to Dag Hammarskjöld and his feckless ilk, Eisenhower turned the organization from the stout voice of international law and order into at best a meaningless charade; at worst, a Machiavellian cesspool. Instead of teaching Nasser and his fellow dictators that breaking international law does not pay, Suez taught them that every transgression will be forgotten and forgiven, especially if oil is at stake.

* * * *

This, in the end, was the most egregious result of Suez. Hammarskjöld had ushered in a new era of international gangsterism, even as the U.N. became an essentially anti-Western body. Its lowest point came less than two decades later, in 1975, when it passed a resolution denouncing Zionism as racism and a triumphant Yasser Arafat addressed the General Assembly with a pistol strapped to his hip.

Suez destroyed the moral authority of the so-called world community. Fifty years later, we are all still living in the rubble.

How true! How true! Two flawed men, suffering from different weaknesses, worked on parallel paths to emasculate international law and turn it into a farce. Millions of people have died (and billions ultimately will die) because of inability to maintain a strong element of JUSTICE as a part of international law. Now, the UN is a tool of the lawless and the barbarous who seek to plunder the world and rape their own people...and keep the those countries with moral authority away.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Leftoids hate Israel...big surprise [link]

I made the mistake of listening to part of the Tavis Smiley show on Friday. The first guest firmly put the blame on Hezbollah. The comments of this [epithet deleted] woman, Phyllis Bennis a New Internationalism fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, blamed the whole problem on Israel. She said that all Hezbollah had done was make a "border skirmish" with Israel and that these happen all the time without war resulting. However, the Israeli military had this war plan prepared (they had it for several years) and decided to use it. The existence of the war plan was proof to her that Israel was merely using the Hezbollah attack as a pretext for war.

Frakking whore! Every responsible military has war plans. But she made it sound sinister. I put a link in so you can listen to the broadcast.

Here is a bio of the bitch:

Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, specializing in Middle East and United Nations issues. She is the author of Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis (Olive Branch Press, 2002), Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN, second edition (Olive Branch Press, 2000), and From Stones to Statehood: The Palestinian Uprising (Olive Branch Press, 1990). She has also co-edited, with Michel Moushabeck, Beyond the Storm: A Gulf Crisis Reader (1991) and Altered States: A Reader in the New World Order (1993), both published by Olive Branch Press. Her new book, Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power, is published by Interlink.

I highlighted that last sentence. Defy US power, huh? How about defying all the aid we give when a natural disaster strikes? How about defying aid when we try to stop genocide in a third world country...oh...they already DO that!

I was disgusted by this woman's comments. Blame Israel! Blame the US! But at least I know where the leftoids and the nutroots stand. And America's Jews will continue to support the Democrat party even as it tries to look the other way as the world hopes for a new holocaust.