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Thursday, July 20, 2006

On the 200th Carnival of the Vanities

My piece on the Proportionality carping by Europeans below was carried on the 200th Carnival of the Vanities. Check it out and surf the entries.

Forcing Us To Finance Their Pipe Dreams

There are 2 (though not only 2) scientific-techno issues that liberals support with a religious fervor (though not of any religion): hybrid cars and embryonic stem cells.

Shikha Dalmia of Reason explains how hybrid sales have been consistently trending downward over the past months while gas prices have been increasing. She provides a "Dust To Dust" analysis of the energy expended to "to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a car from the initial conception to scrappage." The comparison finds the Hummer is less of an energy drain that a hybrid Prius (and the Prius' life is 100,000 miles while the Hummer chugs to its last breath at 300,000 miles).

How can the Hummer be more cost-effective and energy conserving that a hybrid. Dalmia explains:

Hummer is a far less sophisticated vehicle. Its engine obviously does not have an electric and gas component as a hybrid's does so it takes much less time and energy to manufacture. What's more, its main raw ingredient is low-cost steel, not the exotic light-weights that are exceedingly difficult to make – and dispose. But the biggest reason why a Hummer's energy use is so low is that it shares many components with other vehicles and therefore its design and development energy costs are spread across many cars.

It is not possible to do this with a specialty product like hybrid. All in all, Spinella insists, the energy costs of disposing a Hummer are 60 percent less than an average hybrid's and its design and development costs are 80 percent less.

As to embryonic stem cells, Michael Fumento discusses how adult stem cells have been clinically tested and proven to be effective at curing disease while there is no proven value-added for the ESCs. The proof is in the clinical trails. He explains that the ESC proponents used Science magazine to attack ASC:

The journal wants to flood unpromising ESC research with taxpayer dollars because private investors know just how very unpromising it is. Now yet again Science has showcased the scientific and moral bankruptcy of the entire ESC advocacy movement.

Both clunkers of science and technology have the avid support of the big government statists. They ignore a key component in the success of any new product. The free market. If there is the potential for profit from a new technology or science, money and time will be allocated to it. However, instead of allowing investors (i.e. people) to voluntarily reach into their pockets to support a new idea, they use the political process to force everyone to finance their pet projects.

And the scariest thing is they do not fathom that the coercion itself is evil.

More On Israel's Disproportionate Response

Hugh Hewitt wrote this excellent essay on the liberal claim that Israel has responded to Hezbollah terrorism disproportionately. Israel's comparative population would mean that

Israel is a nation of 7 million people, with an active-duty military of approximately 200,000. America is home to approximately 300 million people, with a standing military of 1.4 million.
Thus, speaking proportionately, America's devastating loss of 3,000 on 9/11 would be the same as Israel's loss of approximately 70 of its civilians. Speaking proportionately, Hezbollah's ambush would have killed more than 470 and kidnapped 10. What would America do in response to such an attack in its civilian and military populations if mounted from Mexico or Canada?

And besides the instigating event, he explained:

One fourth of Israel has been confined to bomb shelters since Hezbollah began this war. And Israel is supposed to go only so far but not far enough to stop the rockets that have killed dozens of civilians?

Hezbollah has sophisticated weaponry as well, lethal enough to cripple an Israeli ship and kill four of its sailors, but Israel is supposed to allow an enemy sworn to its utter destruction to enjoy a safe haven within a marathoner's distance of its third largest city?

My comment to his post was:

Isn't the argument about proportionality merely the continued method of applying local criminal law concepts to national security issues? We heard the leading Democrats in the last election talk about bringing Bin Laden to trial, we have the Hamdan decision applying ciminal law concepts to terrorists. The whole of human action deserves the response of negligence law?
Democrats are applying their concept of criminal law proportionality to Israel. Remember Dukakis? He would not immediately kill the intruder who raped and killed his wife. That would be wrong, he said. That debate answer he gave embodies the liberal response to acts of war whether they are on an individual or global level. There may be some skewed feeling of moral superiority.

I prefer being safe. And so does Israel.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hezbollah's Friends-CNN and Huffington's Readers

Powerline says Hezbollah has called in "reinforcements"---CNN. CNN has somehow found Lebanese to usher them around the destruction wrought by Israeli bombing with accompanying utterances against Israel's inhumanity. Fair and balanced, they.

Powerline also says the Dems contribution is to conjure up a story of the administration's failure to remove Americans from Lebanon ala the Hurricane Katrina evacuation hype.

Meanwhile, Dean and Co claim they would have ended this conflict by working night and day and even around the clock. They would have given 110% to end this conflict. Dean said:

"We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians."

I've heard enough. Where do I sign up?

Meanwhile read this short editorial by Alan Dershowitz in the Huffington blog. He tries to explain to her readers that there is no moral equivalence between Israel and Hezbollah.

Here is a para (and, boy, did the Huffington readers have a cow after that- check out the link for the reaction of the liberals):

Every single prisoner held by Israel has judicial review available to him or her and some have won release. Every one of them has access to Red Cross visitation, can communicate with family, and has a known whereabout. Kidnapped Israeli soldiers on the other hand are kept incommunicado by criminal elements, are routinely tortured, often murdered, (as occurred recently) and have no access to the Red Cross or judicial review. Moreover, the prisoners being held by Israel are terrorists--that is, unlawful combatants. Many are murderers who have been convicted and sentenced in accordance with due process. The "women" and "children" are guilty of having murdered or attempted to murder innocent babies and other non-combatants. The soldiers who were kidnapped are lawful combatants subject to prisoner of war status.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Euro Critics Act Like Teenagers

Teenagers who do not have to earn the money to pay the mortgage, buy food, electricity, clothing and other necessities, can carp about the capitalist system, materialism and environmental purity. But the parents who get up way too early by alarm clock, lose hours and composure in traffic and work hard throughout the day, have less energy and more at stake for such sophomoric commentary. The same holds true for the Euro critics of Israel who claim the response to terrorism was not proportional.

Thomas Sowell discusses the inanity of the proportionality argument. First, we have to consider that those critics have been protected like teenagers by American military might. Sowell writes:

People who have long been sheltered from mortal dangers can indulge themselves in the belief that there are no mortal dangers. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran or North Korea -- and, through them, in the hands of hate-filled terrorists -- may be all that will finally wake up such people. But that may be tragically too late.

Sowell provides the historical context of the grievance of the Palestinians and why Israel has responded so brutally:

During all the years when Arab countries controlled the land now proposed for a Palestinian homeland, there was no talk about any such homeland. Only after Israel took control of that territory as a result of the 1967 war was it suddenly sacred as a Palestinian homeland.

There is no concession that will bring lasting peace to the Middle East because the terrorists and their supporters are not going to be satisfied by concessions. The only thing that will satisfy them is the destruction of Israel.

For a more in-depth historical review, see Dennis Prager today.

For most of my career, I have had to deal with the issue of punitive damages awarded at trial. While I personally feel they are unconstitutional (punishment meted out by a civil trial based upon a preponderance of the evidence?), I understand that they are awarded to stop a certain behavior from recurring. They are awarded on top of the compensatory damages and are computed at some multiple of those compensatory damages (except in some places where juries are unfamiliar with decimals and zeros). The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot be more than a 10-1 ratio of punis to compensatory damages.

Just think of Israel's response as punitive damages. If you pick a war with someone, you cannot guarantee the response. Maybe the terrorists expected this international reaction (see Europe and UN but not the Arab leaders) to stop the Israeli military reaction immediately but, as with Saddam, realpolitic may be a bit too late. Israel's intent to stop the bombings and kidnapping requires these measures. Anything short of that invites its continuance.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Who Can Show Up And End This Thing?

Who is your choice of envoy to end the Middle East violence? Mark Steyn chooses Heather Mills. I choose Jimmah. Actually, we will hear Bush should end it like he should have ended a hurricane.

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