Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Lefty Latin America

I've railed against Hugo Chavez's leftward power grab in South America. In the wake of one of his proteges being elected in Bolivia, Ralph Peters (subscription req'd) says not to fear, let 'em fail and be there to pick up.
Looks like the voters of Bolivia have chosen Evo Morales as their next presidente. Evo's a pro-narco pal of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro. His campaign included a pledge to become "America's nightmare."

What on earth should we do?

Nothing. The dumbest thing Washington could do would be to overreact and make yet another populist demagogue a hero. Bluster and threats only help our enemies.

Anti-Americanism is dying — it just happens to be a loud, slow death. The old blame-America excuses are growing thin. Left alone, the latest wave of Yanqui-go-homers will fade after they fail to live up to their promises. But with enough attention from Washington, they could hang on indefinitely. We made Fidel Castro a giant through our clumsiness. And we didn't learn. We did the same thing with Hugo Chavez, threatening to huff and puff and blow his casa down. The effect was to give him a hemispheric stage on which to strut.

Now there's a third amigo. Let's not do this one any favors by calling him names.

In Washington, it's tough to do nothing, since there's a lobby for everything. But sometimes nothing is exactly what we should do. Any signs of administration hysteria will play into Morales' hands.
Interesting point.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Roundup

Is the idea of multiculturalism finally undermining mass media.

The Weekly Standard's Robert Kagan and William Kristol offer one explanation for why the Iraqi elections could be a turning point.

Meanwhile, their colleague Stephen Barbara looks at the world's enmity toward's U.S. .....soccer.

Pope Benedict XVI is going to "reinterpret" Vatican II according to some, though he would say he's going to finally tell the real story. Meanwhile, is the U.S. Supreme Court too Catholic?

Here are the 10 Most Conservative colleges in the U.S., according to the Young America Foundation.

With a War on Terror, what is the future of the U.S. Navy?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A little Roundup

Arnold Kling writes that Americans don't like real health insurance--say a $10,000 deductible before any insurance kicks in--because they think what they're getting now is "free."

An Israeli general believes Saddam moved his WMD to Syria, and so do many Iraqis.

Lee Harris turns to Thomas Hobbes to supply an answer to the question of "What next?" in Iraq.

Can Europe become a melting pot?

Friday, December 09, 2005

About the Economy

Brian Wesbury's comments last week about the ominipresent pessimism that seems to surround any and all economic news was a "Gee, I thought that too" moment for me. Here is what he said:
During a quarter century of analyzing and forecasting the economy, I have never seen anything like this. No matter what happens, no matter what data are released, no matter which way markets move, a pall of pessimism hangs over the economy.

It is amazing. Everything is negative. When bond yields rise, it is considered bad for the housing market and the consumer. But if bond yields fall and the yield curve narrows toward inversion, that is bad too, because an inverted yield curve could signal a recession.

If housing data weaken, as they did on Monday when existing home sales fell, well that is a sign of a bursting housing bubble. If housing data strengthen, as they did on Tuesday when new home sales rose, that is negative because the Fed may raise rates further. If foreigners buy our bonds, we are not saving for ourselves. If foreigners do not buy our bonds, interest rates could rise. If wages go up, inflation is coming. If wages go down, the economy is in trouble.
Read the rest of his essay for just one list of the good economic news.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Against illegal immigration

explains that Americans aren't against immigration, but illegal immigration. She offers this personal anecdote:
I recently found out through one of her daughters that my grandmother spent her first night in America on a park bench in downtown Manhattan. She had made her way from Ireland to Ellis Island, and a cousin was to meet the ship. It was about 1920. The cousin didn't show. So Mary Dorian, age roughly 20, all alone, with no connections and no relatives interested enough to remember her arrival in the new world, spent her first night in America alone on a bench, in the dark, in a strange country. Later she found her way to Brooklyn and became a bathroom attendant at the big Abraham & Straus department store on Fulton Street. (It's now a Macy's. I buy Christmas gifts there.)

Two generations after my grandmother arrived, I was in the Oval Office of the American president saying, "I think you oughta." And amazingly enough he was listening.

In two generations. Two.

What a country.
She also explains here philosophical opposition to illegal immigration.
The questions I bring to the subject are not about the flow of capital, the imminence of globalism, or the implications of uncontrolled immigration on the size and cost of the welfare state. They just have to do with what it is to be human.

What does it mean that your first act on entering a country--your first act on that soil--is the breaking of that country's laws? What does it suggest to you when that country does nothing about your lawbreaking because it cannot, or chooses not to? What does that tell you? Will that make you a better future citizen, or worse? More respecting of the rule of law in your new home, or less?

If you assume or come to believe that that nation will not enforce its own laws for reasons that are essentially cynical, that have to do with the needs of big business or the needs of politicians, will that assumption or belief make you more or less likely to be moved by that country, proud of that country, eager to ally yourself with it emotionally, psychologically and spiritually?

When you don't earn something or suffer to get it, do you value it less highly? If you value it less highly, will you bother to know it, understand it, study it? Will you bother truly to become part of it? When you are allowed to join a nation for free, as it were, and without the commitment of years of above-board effort, do you experience your joining that country as a blessing or as a successful con? If the latter, what was the first lesson America taught you?

These are questions that I think are behind a lot of the more passionate opposition to illegal immigration.