Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Your Photo ID, Please

While checking to see whether anyone had been discussing what I perceived to be Osama bin Laden's actual message in that October 29 videotape broadcast, I came across an almost amusing example of the incorrect wing's view of voting fraud.

Larry King and Walter Cronkite discussed the Osama bin Laden videotape, but only from the aspect of its probable effect on our November 2 election.

Their brief discussion of voter turnout was what caught my attention.

Consider how often we are asked to provide valid personal identification--typically an ID card with a photograph on it showing to whom the card belongs. Do you want a store to accept a personal check? Photo ID, please. Do you want to board a commercial airliner? Photo ID, please.

Almost anytime we are engaged in what we consider to be serious business--when the identity of someone is thought to be important--we expect to be asked to prove our identity.

Voting seems not to be taken seriously by many people on the wrong wing of the political spectrum, since they consider attempts at voter identification to be voter intimidation.

Here's what Walter Cronkite said about voter turnout on the "Larry King Live" show, aired by CNN on October 29, 2004:

KING: Do you expect a huge turnout?


KING: A huge turnout?

CRONKITE: Oh, yes, I do. I think so. The only thing that could damage the turnout would be the threats that might be implied, as many of the new registrees are challenged as to their various things. Their spelling of their name and the state where they really come from, whether they're immigrants or not, do they have passports, all that kind of thing. If they are challenged at the polls, as they line up to go into the polls, they may fear having to answer all those questions. Particularly if they do have anything wrong about them and shouldn't vote. [Emphasis added.]

Imagine that. People who shouldn't vote--because they have no lawful right to vote--might be intimidated by the prospect of being challenged at the polls on November 2.

And, notice that Mr. Cronkite seems not to recognize that preventing voting fraud--including voting by people who have no right to vote--is the correct thing to do. Instead, he sees such efforts as "threats" which "could damage the turnout."

I wonder: Do all members of the sinister wing of the American political spectrum believe that voting is an activity which should not involve proof of identity by the voters?

Does the left believe that people who aren't citizens of the U.S. should be allowed to vote in our elections?

Should we simply look to see whether the ones standing in line to enter the voting booths appear to be members of the human species?

Should we let everyone vote early and often--and in as many places as they wish--so that the side whose members have more quickness and stamina wins the election?

Perhaps that's the left's view: Election outcomes are to be determined by a kind of Social Darwinism in which the ability of one side to cast more ballots in the allotted time is the thing that determines fitness to govern.

It would be an ironic counterpart to the totalitarian left's "one man, one vote, one time."

Instead, we would all behave like children at a popular amusement park ride. Once you have cast your ballot, run back to the end of the line and wait your turn to cast another ballot. Keep repeating that process until either you are too exhausted to continue or the polls close.

Nothing would be allowed to slow down the frenetic pace--especially not that niggling request, "your photo ID, please."

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Turning a Deaf Ear to Osama bin Laden

Much has been said about the possible effect of Osama bin Laden's recent statements on our November 2 election, but what Osama actually said seems to have been largely ignored.

Abandon Israel, and you will not be attacked again.

That was Osama's message in the videotape aired on October 29, 2004.

Osama probably revealed more about himself than he realized when he attempted to rebut President Bush's claim that the hateful moslems attack us because they hate freedom.

"Unlike what Bush says that we hate freedom, let him tell us why didn't we attack Sweden, for example," he said.

The answer lies in Osama's description of his motivation for attacking the U.S.

He said: "God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out, and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind."

The terrorists attacked the U.S., because the U.S. is an ally of Israel--one that has supported the Israelis in their efforts to defend themselves against the Arabs who have tried for more than 50 years to erase Israel from the map.

Sweden is not such an ally of Israel, nor has Sweden taken an active role in our responses to Osama's acts of war. So, of course Sweden was not attacked.

Now, in Iraq, the terrorists attack us and the Iraqis, because they want to prevent the establishment of a free republic. Instead, they want a moslem theocracy similar to what existed in Afghanistan and to what exists in Iran.

Osama's ideal of a moslem theocracy isn't compatible with a democratic republic; and he hates anything that stands in the way of imposing such a theocracy throughout the Arab part of the world--and then throughout the rest of the world.

Osama's use of the word "free" to describe the society that existed in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban and the society that exists in Iran under the mullahs seems to make no sense, but we have a historical example of such language usage to guide us. Recall that the names of countries suffering under communist dictatorships during the Cold War could be easily distinguished from their free counterparts. The communists always called their countries the "democratic republic of...." They were not democratic nor were they republics. But, it sure made it a lot easier to recognize, for example, which was East Germany and which was West Germany when their formal names were used instead of our colloquial names for them.

Osama uses the word "free" in much the same distorted way. Even assuming for the sake of argument that he believes what he says, his concept of freedom is nothing like ours.

Osama made another seemingly odd statement: "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry, Bush or al Qaeda. Your security is in your own hands. Any state that does not mess with our security has naturally guaranteed its own security."

To him, the alliance between the U.S. and Israel is a threat to the security of hateful moslems like Osama. Since they intend to continue their attacks on Israel and on Israel's strongest ally, the U.S. will continue to hunt the terrorists down rather than wait for them to attack us again.

Osama wants the people of the U.S. to require their political leaders to abandon Israel. That's what he means by claiming that neither President Bush nor Senator Kerry controls our security--neither man has promised to abandon Israel.

As for the part when Osama said that our security isn't "in the hands Qaeda," Osama simply means that he and his terrorist allies will never stop attempting to impose their hateful moslem rule and to destroy Israel. Since they will not stop, we should not expect any change on their part which would remove the threat to our security. In a quite literal sense, then, our security is not "in the hands of" al Qaeda: So long as we stand in their way, they will behave like an unfeeling machine designed only to achieve the destruction of the U.S. and Israel.

So far, it appears that Americans are simply discussing how Osama's statements might affect our election, and that's a good sign. No one seems to think that it is within the realm of possibility that Osama's statements might affect our nation's policy.

We should never even consider abandoning Israel to its fate at the hands of its enemies, much less actually abandon the Israelis.

Throwing our friends to the wolves in an effort to save our own skins would never work. Wolves always get hungry again.

Update: 31 Oct. 2004-- The Middle East Media Research Institute has published a Special Alert No. 14, stating that the translation being used by the U.S. media is inaccurate. Osama bin Laden's statement actually was: "Any U.S. state that does not toy with our security automatically guarantees its own security."

According to MEMRI, there is an "Islamist web site" that explains the intent of this statement: Each state that votes for Bush will be considered an enemy, while each state that votes against Bush will not be considered an enemy of al Qaeda.

Interesting: Osama may think that the way to pressure our political leaders is to get people to think that "blue state" voters are voting for peace with al Qaeda. If that is what Osama meant, I wonder why he couldn't find a clear way to say it. Whether or not it is what Osama meant, I doubt Kerry would accept that as a valid interpretation of his mandate from the voters--if he wins the election.

"Hat tip" little green footballs

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sunspots: Stylish News from D.C.

The Sun of Bremerton, Washington, looked east for an article to place on page B1 of today's edition--the Nation & World section--and found one in the other Washington: an article written by Joel Achenbach for his column which had been published on Monday in the Style section of the Washington_Post.

Quite stylishly written, it was--sprinkled lightly with anecdotes about Democrats who hate President Bush (because he is a "horrible" and "hateful" man) and Republicans who fear that the Democrats will resort to fraud to win.

After removing several hundred words from the original article, The Sun presented it as news rather than commentary--thereby saving the ink which would have been needed to print "commentary" above it. (Attributing it to the Los Angeles Times on The Sun's web page, rather than the Washington Post was, no doubt, merely an error--not an effort to obscure the trail back to the original article. The print edition correctly noted that the article was from the Washington Post.)

No harm, no foul: It probably seemed like a slow news day in the nation and world; and The Sun's readers may benefit from knowing that Democrats approach election day in an unhinged condition, while Republicans are simply fearful that unhinged Democrats may try almost anything to win.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Property Wrongs

In King County, Washington, on October 25, 2004, the county council enacted a trio of ordinances which convert much of the land of county residents into a sort of nature preserve.

The Seattle Times published a good article describing the council's action.

The people who thought they owned all that land will each suffer a rude awakening as they learn what has been done. One by one, they will find out that they can take a walk on their land, but do nothing else which would disturb the natural vegetation.

This sort of abuse of the state's police power is not the first time in the history of mankind that people have used control of the government to discriminate unjustly against others.

While it's bad news for many King County residents, this particular abuse of power presents a good opportunity for what is sometimes called a "teaching moment."

People who believe Hitler's National Socialist ("Nazi") Party was a right-wing political organization should consider the following excerpt from an article by Richard Pipes and compare the Nazi view of property rights to that of the Democrats on the King County Council.

The same applies, though to a lesser degree, to fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, which are often erroneously depicted as "capitalist" societies. True, both Mussolini and Hitler tolerated private property in the means of production but only as long as it served the state. In the early 1920s Hitler explained to a journalist his views on the subject:
"I want everyone to keep the property he has acquired for himself according to the principle: the common good takes precedence over self-interest. But the state must retain control and each property owner should consider himself an agent of the state. . . . The Third Reich will always retain the right to control the owners of property."

"Private Property, Freedom, and the Rule of Law"
Richard Pipes; Hoover Digest, 2001, No. 2

Neither the Democrats of King County nor the Nazis of 20th century Germany can be fairly described as right-wing. They both stand on the left side of the political spectrum, as is evident from their disregard for property rights.

Monday, October 25, 2004

First time for almost everything

Having little (or possibly no) idea how this blogging software works, I'm hoping it's virtually foolproof.