Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Around the web...

  • Caroline Glick has written another excellent column reviewing a recent AEI report on Iran's activities in the Middle East. She writes:
    IN AN attempt to break through the post-Iraq invasion compartmentalization of Western discourse on Iran, the American Enterprise Institute published a 68-page report last week that sets out Iran's actions in Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Afghanistan. Authored by Frederick Kagan, Kimberly Kagan and Danielle Pletka, the report, "Iranian Influence in the Levant, Iraq and Afghanistan," shows in copiously documented detail how Iran is strengthening its regional posture at the West's expense not only through military actions but also through economic, cultural and infrastructure projects that build bilateral and multilateral relationships with states and terror groups based on dependency on Teheran.
  • Scott Powell has posted the second part of his fascinating series on intellectual trends in Europe called Europism: Collectivism’s Failure and the Resentment of America.
  • Alexander Marriot posts an anecdote from his graduate school experiences that illustrates the remaining loyalty to socialism (and its moral basis altruism) and its relation to slavery: means quite unequivocally that socialists are the only ones who make a moral case against slavery as a labor system. When I queried in class if it were possible for a capitalist to morally condemn slavery I was told quite simply, "No." The only thing which comforted me in this moment was the fact that I was not the only one in the room insulted by this remark, in fact the sense of shock was quite palpable.
  • A combination of David Brooks and Robert Scheer make the case of why I will not vote for John McCain. Let's take the Nation's Scheer first:
    ...the 1996 legislation, although you would never have learned this from the mainstream media at the time, opened the floodgates for massive media consolidation, thus rewarding media moguls for their many millions in campaign contributions. McCain was a big player on that Commerce Committee at the time, and I expected a Times revelation as to just how Iseman got McCain to help gift the media barons with their dream legislation.

    The revelation never came, because the annoying reality is that McCain was one of the rare Senate opponents of the telecom bill that Iseman was pushing--as opposed to the New York Times, which, like every other major media outlet pushed for the legislation (in the case of the Times, without ever conceding its own corporation's financial bias in the matter). McCain was one of five senators (and the sole Republican) who, along with Democrats Russ Feingold, Patrick Leahy, Paul Simon and the great Paul Wellstone, who voted against the atrocious legislation, which President Bill Clinton signed into law.
    I'm sorry but I think legislation that removes barriers for companies to merge is something to be supported not opposed. Brooks mentions McCain's opposition to the above law as well as his support for some others. Examples:
    In 1998, McCain championed anti-smoking legislation that faced furious opposition from the tobacco lobby. McCain guided the legislation through the Senate Commerce Committee on a 19-1 vote, but then the tobacco companies struck back. They hired 200 lobbyists and spent $40 million in advertising (three times as much as the Harry and Louise health care reform ads). Many of the ads attacked McCain by name, accusing him of becoming a big government liberal. After weeks of bitter debate, the bill died on the Senate floor.
    In 2003, the Senate nearly passed the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act. The act was opposed by the usual mix of energy, auto and mining companies. But moderate environmental groups were thrilled that McCain-Lieberman was able to attract more than 40 votes in the Senate.
    In all fairness to McCain, Brooks also mentions McCain's opposition to agricultural subsidies, a position I support but I'm afraid the negatives (particularly support for campaign finance legislation, which Brooks also mentions) here overrule any positives.

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