The New Statesman's article on Darfur is disturbing, as it ought to be. It also asks an interesting question: why doesn't China do something about this?

President Omar el-Bashir's government has taken a series of gambles on the indifference of the world to the fate of Darfur's people, and he will continue to do so. At the same time he cannily presents Sudan as an Islamic state that is the victim of imperialist intervention in search of oil. It isn't, and the imperial power chasing oil hardest in Sudan at this moment is communist China.

There is a simple enough response to this charade. The deployment should be made up from Asian, African and Arab states and the regional organisations representing these states should make it clear that the government of Sudan will be completely isolated unless it moves to control the Janjaweed. Equal pressure must be put on states and groups currently supporting the rebels, especially Chad. The role of the west and nations that trade with Sudan - for example, Japan, China and Malaysia - is to bring economic pressure to bear on the Sudanese government and to offer economic incentives.... Western imperialism can be blamed for many things, but there is no imperialist explanation for why African, Asian and Arab states do not act over Darfur. They face no logistical obstacle to establishing a no-fly zone. The problem is one of will, not agency or capability.
The question grants that the history of Western imperialism makes it impossible, or at least substantially more difficult, for Westerners to stop the slaughter in Darfur. Surely there is some truth to that proposition: it is both that a certain class of people in the West believe imperialism was an unmitigated evil, and distrust their governments enough to think that even a humanitarian intervention is 'all about the oil'; and also that the third world is sensitive to the history and reluctant to accept what might be perceived as a surrender to imperialism.

That ends up being an excuse not to do anything about the genocide.

Why shouldn't China, though? It aspires to being a rising power, and while it has the power projection capacity to establish a no-fly zone or something similar, it lacks the power projection capacity to assert direct (i.e., imperial) control over Africa. Why do they not?

I think the fellow is right to say it is finally, "Because they don't really care." I think we must admit that the West is no better in this regard -- the Western Imperialism excuse is just that. One can say, "America has bigger things on her mind at the moment" with some justice; but how do you explain Rwanda, then?

I have a suggested solution to the problem. We oppose genocide, in theory; but we lack the will, or interest, to do anything about it in practice. Scroll down to the section on genocide.

GWB Hates Cowboys

GWB Hates Cowboys:

A deeply amusing, and insightful, post at Cassandra's contrasts the disasterous Colorado blizzards with Katrina. For Colorado:

George Bush did not come.

FEMA did nothing.

No one howled for the government.

No one blamed the government.

No one even uttered an expletive on TV .

Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton did not visit.

Our Mayor did not blame Bush or anyone else.

Our Governor did not blame Bush or anyone else, either.

CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC did not visit - or report on this category 5 snowstorm. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.

No one asked for a FEMA Trailer House.

No one looted.
This goes on for quite a while, and then praises the state, local, and individual responses that have served so well. Whereas a far more vigorous FEMA response prompted cries that "George Bush hates black people," a far lesser response from FEMA in a predominantly white area has not prompted any such outcry. People didn't expect to be taken care of; they expected to take care of themselves.

Many of these people are ranchers, whose cattle are in serious danger due to the blizzard. The comments section looks at the situation of the cattlemen and the ranchers, and notes two things of interest. The first is that PETA refused to help feed the cattle.

Colorado governor Bill Owens correctly explained that this is because PETA are "frauds" and "a bunch of losers." He kindly neglected to mention it is also because feeding cattle in the snow is hard, physical work, and PETA is composed of soft city folk who have no taste for that.

The other interesting thing is Cricket's recipe for stuffed tenderloin steaks. Because, um, well, we can't save all the cattle, so...

Good luck to the cattlemen. I trust they were insured against the losses, but watch them go out and risk their necks anyway, rather than watch animals starve and freeze to death. Then, watch the folks in PETA -- who supposedly care about animals -- sit in their heated living rooms, watching the disaster on television, and sniffing disdainfully at any request for help.

It's all Bush's fault. If only Bush didn't hate cowboys, he'd be out there fixing this.

UPDATE: Heh. One of Cassidy's commenters points out that this is one of those emails that's been re-used for several disasters over the years. That, of course, means that there have been multiple disasters without looting... and with FEMA simply providing eventual repayment, in the fullness of time, with local, state and individual responses handling the actual disaster.

It's always amusing to me when these emails are re-used for event after event. I suppose we can't help that these things remain relevant.



Today's headline: "Senators fear Iraq war may spill to Iran, Syria."

I'm afraid that's not a typo -- apparently they really do mean "fear," rather than "hope." Or, rather, "Senators recognize that Iran is hip-deep in the Iraq war already, and it would be lunacy to leave enemies with safe havens."

Joe Biden in particular seems to be guilty here. Chuck Hagel's remark may have been intended to 'express fear,' but it seems more like common sense to me.

"You cannot sit here today -- not because you're dishonest or you don't understand -- but no one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won't engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border," said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran and possible 2008 presidential candidate.
Right. You can't. We will, and should.

Update on Mexican border

Update on the Border Incursion:

Heidi at Euphoric Reality ran a story that uniformed Mexican paramilitaries conducted the recent border probing raid. Her version differs on several critical details from what was reported in the MSM.

She's got an update today, in which Customs and Border Protection confirmed her version of events.

I'd assumed it was gangsters testing the defenses. It may have been something more dangerous than that.

Beating in SF

Frisco Beatings:

Is the great surprise in this story is that anyone at Yale still sings "The Star Spangled Banner"? Even when I was in college in Georgia, I don't recall hearing it sung on campus, although I did have a history professor once perform "To Anacreon in Heaven."

To Anacreon in Heaven, where he sat in full glee,
A few sons of harmony sent a petition,
That he their inspirer and patron should be.
When this answer arrived from that jolly old Grecian:
Voice, fiddle and flute no longer be mute,
I’ll lend you my name and inspire you to boot,
And besides I’ll instruct you like me to entwine
The myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’ vine."
Alternatively, is the biggest surprise to see such a ringing endorsement of Mr. Hedge's thesis? I hadn't expected to read that the national anthem was being assaulted by alumni of the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Maybe this is more California secession talk? It seems to be an acting out of "the Battle Cry of Freedom"'s secessionist version:
Our Dixie forever, she's never at a loss!
Down with the eagle and up with the cross.
Amazing. "Christian fascist secessionists in California assault patriotic Ivy Leaguers." The world's gone mad, boys.


A High School Teacher Sentenced to Death:

...for writing an article. A story from modern France, where criticizing Islam is a dangerous business.

California Seceeds?

California Seceeds?

The fervent hope of many people I've spoken to over the years (actually, usually expressed less as a desire to see it seceed as a desire to see it fall in the ocean) may come true. California the "nation-state" is not a bad concept. Headline writers are having some unjustified fun with Arnold's statement. Still, it's true: California really does have the economic muscle of a nation.

(So does Texas, another place I've often heard people wish would seceed. The difference is that the people wanting Texas to seceed are usually Texans wanting rid of the rest of the country; whereas the advocates of California secession want rid of Californians.)

The nation California is most often compared to is Iraq -- how often have you heard someone refer to Iraq as 'a nation the size of California'? Plus it also has unsecured borders. Well, and LA cop 'Jack Dunphy' points out that it also has urban snipers killing policemen -- though, so far, fewer of them.

So, goodbye, California! It's been nice knowing you, and we wish you all the best in your new endeavors.


Hm. Too bad. I'd hoped he was serious about that.

A Counterargument

Tolerance & Intolerance:

There's a new book out called American Fascists, which posits that certain Christians are more or less Nazis. John Wiener writes a rebuttal that begins, "There are problems with this analogy." Yes, indeed, it's like shooting fish in a barrel.

The book's author, Chris Hedges, writes that "the Christian right 'should no longer be tolerated,' because it 'would destroy the tolerance that makes an open society possible.'" That's a restatement of Mark Steyn's position re: Islamist movements. Steyn wrote some years ago that we have a real challenge ahead:

This is what we’re fighting for—the right not to tolerate any intolerance of our tolerance.
Where does that leave us with Mr. Hedges? Tolerating his intolerance of intolerance that tolerates?

It's a tricky problem, but one that seems to me to be suceptible to a clean rule: Intolerance does indeed threaten an open society, but is only over the line when the movement threatens unlawful, physical violence toward the non-tolerated party. Otherwise, it's a 1st Amendment right. You're not required to like anybody, and you're free to say so.

One assumes Mr. Hedges will survive without any intolerant notes being pinned to his chest with a knife. If Robertson or Falwell try to lead an uprising to violently suppress him, I'll be on his side (supporting my right to tolerate his intolerance, that is).

Until then, I think he's a lunatic.