Monthly Archives: July 2006

Three Cheers

Three Cheers for Israel, finally taking meaningful action against its enemies (and ours), the purest of pure evil,Hezbollah and Hamas and hopefully also againsttheir supporters, the governments of Iran and Syria. Who could look at the situation objectively and say Israel is in the wrong (except to say Israel is holding back too much)? As Onkar Ghate says in this Op-Ed, and as Ayn Rand first proved, the initiation of force is evil. Mr. Ghate’sOp-Ed, “The Indispensable Condition of Peace,” is a must-read.

Israel hasfocused on the terrorist groups, their direct threat, but I hope they move on to the leadership of Iran and Syria with the (weapons and intelligence) assistance of the United States. Or the USA should take charge of that enterprise ourselves; see this Op-Ed, “TheU.S.-Israeli Suicide Pact”by Elan Journo. Of course, history is not encouraging. The United States usually tries to moderate Israel, hold them back, even though they are doing our military work for us against our own enemies, by simply trying to defend themselves from the same ones. What they are doing will make the United States safer, and the world safer, not just preserve Israel’s existence for awhile longer.

The United States has consistently treated Israel’s enemies as if they have a right to make demands after relentlessly murdering people, as if they have a right to any consideration at all. They don’t.

For a snappy and cleverbut more partisan view of the situation, read Ann Coulter’s “Liberals: Born To Run.” It blames Democrats for the United States’appeasement policy, and they deserve it, but Republicans are just as guilty historically. President Bush is only a smidgenmore aggressive than the Democrats.If the”Two State” solution isn’t appeasement, what is?

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The New Colossus

It is worth reading slowly and even aloud, this poem which is engraved at the Statue of Liberty’s main entrance. Think about each word, each phrase. This is a poem that is not shy about stating exactly what and whom it is talking about. There is no ambiguity. Ibelieve it’s my favorite poem.

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, 1883

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

See a good commentary and interpretation here:

The New Colossus

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Encounters With Socialism

As you may know, my home state of New Jersey’s “non-essential” services have shut down thanks to a budget impasse (Yes! New Jersey is now closer to laissez-faire than it’s been in decades! If so many services are non-essential, why are we forced to pay taxesto support them?). Except for some people who want to gamble in Atlantic City or visit state-run parks, this shut-down has bothered nobody I know. Of course, if it wasn’t illegal, privateindividuals would readily buy and run the parks, and casinoswould happily run their gameswithout the state watchdogs present (and by stopping the gambling, the casinoshave been forced to lose millions, but then, the state will also lose millions in tax revenue). Meanwhile, there are plenty of county and city-run parks to go to and I wouldn’t be surprisedto hear ofpeoplegambling within their own homes. “Closed” beaches are really just beaches that are free instead of costing $7.00 a day for admission. Sure, there are no lifeguards, but I’m sure the same kids would be happy to get back to work if a bunch of beachgoers pooled resources togive them their salaries.Only the absence of the Division of Motor Vehicles is a slight annoyance, since I needed to take care of something there (but only because of the DMV’s own rules imposed on me).

There are still socialistic monopolies in New Jersey even with the beautiful sunny days of freedom this shut-down has created. (Of course I’m expecting that I won’t be taxed for services not rendered. I’m not being naive, am I?).

Besides the horrible socialistmonopoly that is the public school system (and New Jersey has relatively good schools by national standards), and the government-run pothole-strewn highways that flood readily during thunderstormscreating dangerous river-like conditions, there is The People’s New Jersey Transit, which runs the buses and trains. I pay for every ride even though NJT is subsidized by the state. It’s getting my money twice. Great system, huh? So what kind of service do I get for all that money?

Well, yesterday, I waited formy bus to New York City. After waiting for 15 minutes, I figured it must have come early and I had missed it. So I walked to another street for a local bus that would take me to another town’strain station where I could connect to a train to New York City. (My town has a train station too, butmost trains pass it by; they almost never stop there because….it costs the government too much since the town is small? Not enoughtax revenue coming in to pay for the stopping ofthe train. Train-stopping isexpensive?).

As I understood it, that bus was supposed to appear at 2:21 pm. The train station is only a mile away so there was a good chance of catching the 2:29 train. But the 2:21 bus showed up at 2:30…with the 2:30 bus right behind it.

I asked the driver what time this buswas supposed to be here. “I know I’m late,” she said. I repeated, “What time is this bus scheduled to be at this stop?” “I don’t know when it’s supposed to be here,” she said. She added, “You can’t expect the bus to be on time.” All I could do was repeat her words out loud, incredulously.

I got off at the railroad station where I would have to wait an hour for the next train.After I pondered fora few minuteshow I was going to explain this to my supervisor at work, and what I would do forthe nexthour, I walked into the railroad station. On the other side was the bus to New York City, the one I had initially assumed I had missed (it also stops at the same train station). I got in. It was 38 minutes late. But since I allow extra time to get to work, I made it to work on time. No thanks to socialistic transit.

Privatize the transit systems! Make privately-ownedcommuter vans and buses legal!

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