Thursday, March 27, 2003

Funding Your Enemies
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: April 3, 2003

Much has been made lately of artists commenting on world events, whether or not they should do so, and furthermore, what the response of consumers ought to be. This is not a free speech issue, as some of the artists and those in the media have suggested. It is a matter of whether you, the consumer, care to prop up your own enemies.

To reiterate, this is not a free speech issue at all. The first amendment is in place to protect you from the government censoring what you say, not to prevent people from hiring or firing you based on your ideas, or buying your products based on what you choose to utter. If the local shop owner is a known racist then you should, if you have any shred of decency, not shop at his store. The assertion that this is a free speech issue is only a red herring to distract you from the real problem at hand. Unfortunately, the first amendment is thrown around as much as “racism” and “Nazi” in terms of trying to win an argument by placing your opponent on untenable ground.

Should artists comment on domestic or international affairs for public consumption? No, as it poisons the water in terms of their market of consumers. There is no quicker way to reduce sales than to reduce the number of people willing to purchase your art. However, this does not mean that they have no right to say things; it just means they are putting in peril the success of any future projects.

How should consumers respond to these comments then? Let us consider the options the consumer has and what the implications of each choice will be.

You could ignore all political comments and buy away. This is probably what most people do, but what are the ramifications of such an attitude? Let’s assume that Joe is a liberal who relies on steel tariffs to keep his job and he knows that Ben Stein is a conservative who opposes steel tariffs. But Joe has committed to ignore political comments and so he watches “Win Ben Stein’s Money” every week. Now in the scheme of ratings, one viewer isn’t a whole lot, but is it something. So let’s assume that because the ratings for the show are high enough, Comedy Central doesn’t cancel it and keeps paying Ben Stein to do the show. Ben Stein in turn gives out donations to the Hoover Institution, the CATO Institute, and other conservative/libertarian organizations that are fighting to reduce and eliminate trade tariffs. Joe is in effect sanctioning his own demise as a steel worker, especially if he works for a place like US Steel.

Of course this works just as well the other way around, imagine that instead of Ben Stein, it’s Oprah. Oprah will of course donate vast sums of money to the Bill Clinton Presidential Library, Democratic candidates on all levels, the ACLU, and many other liberal causes. In this respect the conservative Joe is sanctioning the theft of his money and the destruction of his liberty.

The other option is for you to reject Joe’s way of doing things and patron only those people who don’t speak out at all or those whom you agree with. Of course you will have to gauge the threat of each artist according to your own values, but one would think that the “ignore what they say” option would be quite unsettling for anyone who cares about what they believe in.

This stance actually becomes confusing for a person like me, who agrees with conservatives most of the time, but is also an atheist. Can I live with the knowledge that when I see a Mel Gibson movie some of the money I’m throwing towards future Gibson paychecks will go to a Church and other religious causes, including anti-abortion organizations?

This is obviously a very tough dilemma, but coming by the answer is actually easier that it may seem. What is the general spirit that permeates most Gibson films? Is it religious mysticism? No, decidedly not. I don’t remember God ever coming in to save Riggs and Murtaugh or any miracles helping William Wallace or Benjamin Martin. It was the characters in those movies that acted heroically, and through their own efforts did what was right and moral. It is this spirit and sense of life, permeating most of Gibson’s films, which causes me to want to see them, in spite of his religious views.

This may seem like too much work for just seeing a movie, but when the implications mean helping to award millions to these people then you must, if you hold anything as a value at all, consider their statements and actions if they are publicly known. To not do so would be to willing contribute to those who are working against you. If this is your goal then why not cut out the middleman and just contribute $100 to candidates you oppose in the next election?
My Head Hurts!
By Protesting Pete
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 31, 2003

Hay man! The world is, like, destroying itself, and we were just out trying to stop it all from, like, you know, destroying itself. But this Bush guy, he’s like, you know, not smart, and doesn’t listen to the masses. Instead his goons, parading around in police uniforms, came out and hit me on the head just because I was, you know, teaching those evil corporations, like McDonald’s, a little thing about social justice.

We all know that McDonald’s is responsible for destroying great cultures all over the world and, like, other bad things as well. I was just avenging those great cultures, who gave up living in forests, and magic, and shrinking heads and stuff to eat at McDonald’s. Thos bastards bilt that glass window on the backs of like, pygmies or something, and then put their Nazi food advertisements upon it, when they should have been showing, like, something else.

So naturally, when a fellow protestor threw a rock at my head, I was nocked unconc--? out. But when I, like, woke up again, I threw that rok into the window that has been responsible for all evils in the world since, like, the dinosaurs died.

And for this great act of heroic undertaking the stupid cops hit me with a club and then took me to jail. I made bale though, thanks to Uncel Joe. Luckily my buds were still on the streets taking it to the man, so I went bak to join them. Then we carried some sines comparing Bush to Hitler, because they were both, like, stupid and stuff.

There were some, like, stupid people there protesting against us, and we, like, told them they were, like, destroying the world. All they culd say in response was some crap about self-defense, and tyranny, and weapons or something, I wasn’t really paying attention, but they were just stupid and stuff. At this point I think I collapsed or something becuz I had been bleeding alot. When I woke up again it was dark, and I like, bummed a ride from these other protestors who also collapsed.

When I got home my parents were asking me why there was blood all over my cloths and face, and I told them to, like, mind their own bisness and stuff. The protest was great though, we got to tell the stupid Bush and his stupid puppetmasters Cheney and Rumsfeld what the people think of the war.

Tho this stupid ass who writes for the skool paper keeps propping up the war, and that is pissing us all off. We all want to, like, kick his ass and stuff, because he is stupid and says stupid things and stuff. He’s like a jerk and deserves a good pounding so that he won’t, like, disagree with us anymore or, like, make fun of us and stuff.

Like, this war, is going to be the end of everything man, and I, like, don’t want everything to end. Saddam sucks man, but so does Bush, why aren’t we, like, attacking ourselves for a reg--? a, like, change of government? This is all, like, bogus man and the people of the world won’t, like, stand for it, man. And I for one won’t be here to prop up a corporate government that is annihilating the people of the world to buy up and use all the resources and people of the world so that their oil friends can eat rich and – oh! My head friggin’ hurts!

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Blix is Fading Away
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 27, 2003

As I watched the 24 hour war coverage on Monday I saw a most amusing spectacle, UN weapons inspector Hans Blix was professing to be excited about going to Iraq after Saddam is gone so that he can resume his weapons inspections.

Apparently the Swede has yet to realize he is no longer relevant, much like the organization he works for. After wasting everyone’s time for months with constant equivocations about how the Iraqis were doing this but not doing that and so on ad infinitum, he thinks he can just reinsert himself after the war is over. And the United States gets the label of arrogant!

Just think. If the UN hadn’t been determined to halt Bush back in August of 2002 we never would have seen the comically built Blix with his remaining strands of hair and rabbit like teeth. We never would have had the opportunity to see him trotting down the streets of New York as the media scrambled to get his words of wisdom about what was happening in Iraq even though he never seemed to be there.

His weapons inspection exploits were legendary, he single handedly failed to find the Iraqi weapons programs in the early nineties, and then claimed Iraq had none, because (and this sounds familiar) he had found no evidence. Luckily no one believed him and he was replaced, though he seemed to go nowhere, because after a decade he was right back where he had been even though all the other chief inspectors had moved on with their lives. Such as Scott Ritter, whose life consisted of luring underage girls into Burger King.

For some reason he is a weapons inspector even though he told MTV that global warming and pollution were bigger problems than Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction that both did and didn’t exist according to Blix. Of course the hot air spewing forth from his presentations couldn’t have helped the global warming situation.

But you can tell by looking into his eyes that he is genuinely sad that he’s no longer the toast of the town. For a while there the press was bowing to the all knowing Blix and pleading for information and he was there to satisfy all. If you wanted to know why Iraq hadn’t come clean he would tell you that they weren’t cooperating as much as he’d like. If you wanted to know why the United States seemed to be “rushing” to war, he would tell you that he needed months more and that he had yet to see any evidence of weapons. His seemingly split personality unfolded in such a way as to remind us of Al Gore’s search for a persona in the 2000 election.

I must say, I’ll miss Blix, never before have I witnessed such an inept and spineless man in my life. Yet he was a likeable guy, his goofy demeanor really prevented one from hating him, plus he was old, and we all know that old people deserve all of our respect and money.

Talk about the dustbin of history. Karl Marx is someone who has been tossed into the dustbin of history. The dictators of the 20th century have been stomped into it. Hans Blix though, I’m not sure he’s dustbin of history material, because we still remember what goes into the dustbin, as it stinks. Do we need to remember Blix though? I think not. Perhaps the black hole of history is a better place for him to go. Like the history of Indian chiefs throughout the history of the world, who cares? That information has slipped into the black hole of history, nobody could care less and hence no one knows who they are. Blix would be in good company, but can we ever forget that grin?

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Loving Saddam, Hating America
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 24, 2003

As the war began Wednesday evening most Americans realized that whatever their position in the war debate was, hostilities had commenced and the time for debating was over. Except of course those who could be seen protesting in major cities and getting arrested, they still seem to think the debate is happening.

This is typical though, because these protestors never cared about the war anyway, at least most of them. They weren’t out there when Bosnia was invaded, or Kosovo was bombed, or Iraq was bombed for that matter. Why? Oh yes, Bill Clinton was President, and of course he wasn’t a Republican.

I don’t understand why lefties are so scared of Republicans in the White House. We often hear the call of fascism and racism as the reasons from the boneheads on the streets, but the fascists were socialists, and racism is a collectivist practice that has more in common with the left than the right. It’s important to note as well that no Republican has ever halted the expansion of the federal government, despite rhetoric to the contrary.

Then there is abortion. We are told the Republicans will end abortion. Without sixty die hard anti-abortion votes in the senate though, that seems impossible. Not to mention that changing the law would more likely require a constitutional amendment, which would never pass thankfully, due to the difficulty of such an endeavor.

Of course there are still sour grapes over the 2000 election. Bush, we are told, is illegitimate. How? The popular vote in aggregate is insignificant in this country for several reasons; 1) The President is elected indirectly by the people through electors and 2) The States in the United States are effectively charged, the way the system has been perverted over the years, in electing the President. Anyhow, one could make a better claim that Bill Clinton was illegitimate, garnering only 43% of the vote in 1992. I wouldn’t make that claim though because I understand and endorse our electoral system.

Capitalism. Bush is a capitalist and is therefore evil. But Bush’s actions in office don’t support this assertion. Bush raised steel tariffs, increased farm subsidies, vastly increased education spending, and increased regulations on the business community after Enron. These actions are hardly capitalistic, in fact they are entirely leftist in their origins.

Ah wait, Bush does seem to genuinely love America and at least pays lip service to its founding fathers and ideals. Bill Clinton and Al Gore could never be accused of such a thing, Al Gore failing even to identify who the founding fathers were when he saw their busts at Monticello (despite his standing as a genius.) What does America stand for? Individual Rights. Seems good unless you’re a collectivist, then this idea doesn’t mesh well as we are groups, not individuals. Capitalism, which we all know is evil and the root of all problems, ever. Limited Government and low taxation. This is entirely unacceptable for those out in the streets. A limited government means that power is limited and low taxation means they can’t buy off people and make them dependent on the government.

These ideas, the very ideas from which this country was born are at odds with the loons on the streets and the idiots around the world. They are at odds even with Bush, he just doesn’t realize it, but at least he thinks they are something worth fighting for. The people on the streets hate them and instead love the communist command economy and wholesale disregard of individual rights as displayed by Saddam Hussein and his ilk.

Sad that such people exist, but they do. They will have to be defeated as well for the war on terrorism to succeed. Not militarily of course, but intellectually. Their stupid and irrational ideas are what make the Saddams and Fidels of the world possible, and as a consequence, the terrorists. No freedom has ever been won by environmentalists, socialists, or peace protestors; nor has that ever been their goal.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Smart Back Home, But Brainwashed (Again)

Elizabeth Smart is back home, but it is clear that during her captivity she became enamored with her captors and at least superficially accepted their dopey philosophy. Her father, Ed Smart, can blame no one (aside from the kidnappers) for these events besides himself and his wife.

It was their altruism that led them to invite street bums and former convicts into their home for work. This when they could have easily hired reputable professionals and not put their children in contact with dubious strangers.

As to this brainwashing issue, I find it amusing that people get all bent out of shape when she might be brainwashed by the kidnappers, but don't mind when she is brainwashed by her parents. Here Ed Smart and his wife are to blame again, they disabled her mind at a young age by making her attend church and feeding her garbage about imaginary beings in the sky. Not to mention they are Mormons, which means he had to feed her a bunch of trash about Jesus coming to America after his resurrection (also garbage!) and talking to the Indians.

I hope that after this girl is home for a while she will utilize her mind a little and realize their is no difference between the meniacal ravings of either her parents or "Emmanuel." This is an unrealistic hope though which I would not bet on.

As for these "drifters." These people sicken me. Not only are they philosophically on par with Osama's Terrorists (God tells them what to do) but they are seriously dangerous criminals. They think they can violate property rights at any time, not to mention forcibly abduct people and keep them hostage to satisfy whatever it is they think is their mission (to gather about wives or some such nonsense). It's too bad kidnapping doesn't still bring about the death penalty for it is a truely henious crime. Like rape and murder, kidnapping destroys or temporarily ruins the lives of not only the direct victims, but of everyone else they know. Kidnapping more so than rape though as the parents have had something stolen from them that no amount of money (or prayer) can ever replace and the children kidnapped have whatever swath of time in their lives entirely stolen from them.

I would have armed a posse of men to search for her if I had had Ed Smart's resources and was in the same situation. As it sounds that the public officials in the Salt Lake City police department screwed this case up badly.

On one further note. It is pissing me off that everytime something good happens, it is automatically called a miracle. This pisses me off not only because I think miracles are fantasy but because the definition of the word miracle is being ignored. A miracle is something which defies the laws of nature, such as coming back to life or floating in the air. There is nothing miraculous about this case or any of the other events that people are using the word miracle for. But my protestations won't stop this unfortunately.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Capitalist Chicks

It's like a world us Capitalist men only hear about in fables. A group of rational Capitalist women. Sounds like a myth, but it is true, and I must say that is very encouraging to see it. I don't know if these Capitalist women have had similar thoughts about the presence of Capitalist men out there, but from all of my anecdotal evidence, gained through many conversations, it would certainly seem as if Capitalist women are in short supply.

But the website I've found, Capitalist Chicks, turns this misconception by a great number of Capitalist men, myself included, on its head. Not only are they obviously a determined lot of Pro-Capitalist and rational women, those who founded the group are obviously driven enough to take their ideas out to the world. And any time someone does that, especially when it comes to something controversial, we all witness a great intellectual achievement, thought.

So I salute you and wholeheartedly welcome you to the fight against the forces of tyranny and collectivism. It is a fight we can never relent in or one we can expect to win without fighting. But it is clear to me that you all already know this.

Monday, March 10, 2003

The Liberty League
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 13, 2003

It is clear for a variety of reasons that the United Nations is not only ineffectual, i.e. it can’t enforce its own resolutions, but is operating against the interests of the United States and free people everywhere.

One reason for this is simply that there are more backward and crummy countries in the world than there are free ones. This translates to the poor running the show and, not surprisingly, voting themselves all sorts of benefits, like foreign aid and such.

A more important reason is that the interests of brutal dictatorships and free states are diametrically opposed to one another. To have the two come together and compromise only works to the benefit of the dictatorships. The greatest historical example of this was the alliance of the United States and Britain with the Soviet Union during World War II. We gained nothing through this alliance, but Joseph Stalin was able to keep his country in his tyrannical and murderous grasp as a result of it. This ended up costing us much more in a forty-year cold war that could have been avoided by simply letting Stalin suffer the consequences of dealing with Hitler, or by us recognizing the obvious threat in 1945 and finishing Stalin off.

The important thing about any international alliance though is that the policies, values, and goals of the member states remain consistent with one another. It makes no logical sense to combine countries like China with countries like the United States and then wonder why they can’t solve any problems together. Also, these two countries are moral equivalents in the eyes of the United Nations, an utterly absurd proposition, but it is one that you must accept if you think the United Nations is a valid organization.

In light of these inconsistencies I propose the following. The United States ought to withdraw from the United Nations, which would leave it as a body without bones. We should then propose a new international alliance; a natural, consistent and rational alliance of nations that has something in common, their love for individual liberty. Automatically off of the list of nations is France, a socialist country that cares nothing for individuals, those in France or elsewhere.

This “Liberty League” could then know for certain that all of its member states are truly committed to the same goals, namely the preservation of their sovereignty, international free trade, the protection of private property, and the protection of individual rights. Such an organization would also have the advantage of absolute moral clarity, which the United Nations is entirely unable and unwilling to achieve. This is particularly important when the world is at war, ostensibly of free countries versus modern barbarians and the despotic states that support them.

This is all, of course, merely a fantasy. But wouldn’t it be great if people of ability stopped denying their own greatness with idiotic terms like “ethnocentrism” or “cultural relativism?” If they stood up upon objective morality and denounced that which is evil in the world and aggressively fought it? People like Saddam wouldn’t be able to stand the onslaught, Fidel would be forced into the heart attack his people have been waiting for, and Kim Jong Il would crawl back under the rock he came from.

But too few people use their brains for thinking unfortunately, instead engaging in ad hominem arguments or choosing not to think about politics or philosophy at all. Amorality is king now. That isn’t to say we need religion, but exactly the opposite. If you base your morality on fictitious being in the sky then it is as worthless as the dirt you think you were created from.

Reason is the only thing that can lead one to morality, or a morality that is moral anyway. Until people begin to think, politicians especially, we will be stuck in the non-active, non-thinking quagmire the world is in, symbolized most fatally by the United Nations.

Friday, March 07, 2003

Saddam and The Terrorists: Barbary Pirates of the 21st Century
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 10, 2003

In the coming days the United States could very well be at war with Iraq and the regime of Saddam Hussein. Free countries never want war, but there comes a time when they must defend themselves from external threats, and if diplomacy isn’t a viable option then armed conflict will and must take place.

We are faced with such a time now. International terrorism is the only means the enemies of the United States can fight against us. The American military is far too powerful for any one European country to combat or any number (perhaps all) of third world countries to cope with. Our arsenal of nuclear weapons serves as a deterrent for any hostile country to not make open war on the United States. The Soviet Union realized this, which is why that tyrannical regime gave money and weapons to terrorists, including Yasser Arafat, from the late 1960’s to its collapse in 1991. It is also why countries hostile to the United States, such as Iran, Iraq, and North Korea, choose to sell weapons to terrorists, or let them set up offices, so that the terrorists can fight a covert and low-tech (and hence low-cost) war against the “Great Satan.”

The low costs of fighting war in this manner has encouraged a great number of people to take up arms, or support those who take up arms, against the United States and Israel.

Saddam Hussein is one such person. Since his humiliating defeat in the Persian Gulf War he has been attempting to exact revenge on those who embarrassed him before the Arab world, namely the United States. His attempt to get someone to assassinate former President Bush was just one example. But his attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, can only have one purpose, total immunity from anyone checking his aggression. With nuclear weapons Saddam could easily rebuild his army and invade Kuwait or Iran again at his leisure. Even more ominous is the fact that Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, has an office in Baghdad. With nuclear immunity Saddam could arm these barbaric thugs with any weapons he so desired, and they would, no doubt, unleash these weapons upon Israelis and anyone else they saw as infidels.

A situation such as this would also scare governments in the region that are helping us out to either obey Saddam or be attacked by his terrorist cronies. This situation would leave us with only one option, and that would kill far more civilians any war we are currently contemplating could kill.

The President has said that the reason we must disarm Saddam now is because we don’t want Iraq to become another North Korea. But if Saddam got nuclear weapons the situation would be far worse, because he, unlike Kim Jong Il, has an axe to grind with the United States, Israel, and numerous Arab countries surrounding him. But why now, and not earlier? Because September 11 changed the timetable we view these threats in. We don’t have years to waste in stopping threats any longer. Our enemies aren’t deterred by a few cruise missile strikes or economic sanctions (Saddam and the Taliban.) They don’t stop their plans when we post rewards and it is clear now the countries harboring terrorists will not even feign cooperation without the imminent threat of serious military force.

In short, Saddam could demand any price of the United States to stop him from using and distributing his weapons. And we would either have to pay it, or invade and face the possibility of having an American army destroyed by a nuclear weapon, or we would have to use a nuclear weapon to get rid of Saddam.

This whole situation is very analogous to the dilemma facing Thomas Jefferson in 1801. The Pasha of Tripoli (Libya) demanded a ransom from the United States beyond what was negotiated by treaty. When Jefferson refused to pay, the Pasha unleashed his Pirates upon the American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean, causing Jefferson to dispatch the Navy and Marines to put an end to the blackmail once and for all. Even then, it was the United States, acting unilaterally, that finally put an end to the Tripolitan extortion.

Now imagine a similar situation, but instead of Pirates stealing American vessels and killing American merchants, it is a man like Saddam Hussein with the ultimate trump card. The early American Republic could afford to pay off the Pasha, as a naval war half way around the world was incredibly expensive. Can we afford Saddam such time when it is easily within our power to cut down on civilian casualties now as opposed to later when he has nuclear weapons? This “Give the dictator time” option is no option at all and would leave the world much more dangerous than it already is. It is bad enough that there is already one country blackmailing us with nuclear weapons, there is no need for more if we can prevent it.

In the case of Iraq it is clear that we are in a position to prevent any further weapons development, concealment, and proliferation. To not do so would be an unconscionable dereliction of the government’s primary duty to protect the people of the United States.
The Security Council is Meaningless, Much Like the Rest of the United Nations

Today's events at the Security Council show us why that body is now, as it has always been, meaningless. The incredibly impractical idea of having world governments get together to keep world peace, regardless of the nature of these governments, has shown us the same results over and over again. Free countries cannot deal with unfree governments in such a manner because their interests are diametrically opposed to one another.

This was fundamentally clear in the case of the Cold War. The Soviet Union was on the brink of total collapse when Hitler invaded in 1941 and likely would have totally fallen apart under the German onslaught had the United States not stepped in and aided Stalin. I'm not saying that we ought to have let Hitler take the country over, but we also should not have helped Stalin in any way whatsoever. What was gained by dealing with Stalin? Did the United States gain any security for itself or the rest of the world? If you think living on the brink of total annihilation was safer then apparently we have different ideas of safety.

The point is that compromising with evil, which is what totalitarianism and all forms of statism are, only serves evil and does nothing for good. The whole concept of the United Nations is predicated upon this faulty logic. It equates the dictatorship in China with a free country like the United States by giving them equal power in the Security Council. This is ridiculous and an insult to all the people who worked to discover the idea of individual liberty and then fought to form governments that would secure and protect it from the likes of these despots we now have (not surprisingly) as our enemies.

The Security Council can provide no legitimacy for anything as the entire idea of a world wide "Peace-keeping" organization is unprecendented historically. Not to mention that just because nine countries may agree on something says nothing as to whether those nine countries are right or wrong. Peace can only occur when all countries respect individual rights and protect them. Otherwise it is incumbant upon those countries that do, to protect themselves, by whatever means neccessary, from those countries that don't. Why would you expect a country that doesn't respect the rights of its own citizens to respect the rights of any country? The Security Council will never realize this as it is made up of free and unfree countries, and where compromise can only mean surrendering to that which is evil in the world.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Harter Off Her Rocker
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 6, 2003

Our esteemed university president Carol Harter has told the Legislature they must pass the Governor's proposed tax increases or else the university will have to cap enrollments, and will leave the university "millions and millions of dollars behind."

As she wails away at how bad off the university will be unless the governor and legislature steal more money from people, she doesn't bother to look at anything within the university that can easily be done away with. Things that I've mentioned in previous articles like the College of Environmental Studies can be easily cut off as it provides no educational benefit (See my article entitled "Pfizer Unpfairly Attacked") and is simply a political outfit. All special interest group study programs can be done away with for similar reasons, and they are racist/sexist. This would include African-American Studies and Women's Studies. These should be done away with whether the budget is in jeopardy or not, it would be like having Men's Studies and White Studies departments, which of course are and would be called blatantly sexist and racist.

Another school that should be done away with is the College of Urban Affairs, which turns out bureaucrats like our vaunted university president who will lobby for higher taxes to pay for some alleged essential service in the future. There are already too many of these people, the last thing any of us needs is more of them.

Student government ought to be disbanded as they do very little for anyone they claim to represent. As a feat of their brilliance, they have recently voted to raise our student fees to pay for more "essential" student service and to renovate the MSU. What are they doing with their already ample budget? Who knows, and I frankly don't give a damn, they are only there for self-aggrandizement and the students are stuck subsidizing it.

As for the fiscal predicament of the university, perhaps Harter should look in the mirror. Is it the fault of businessmen that the university is "millions and millions of dollars behind" or is it the fault of smokers or drinkers or moviegoers? Or is it the fault of the people running the university? Is this a trend of people running UNLV? Guinn used to be president of UNLV as well, and look at the state budget right now.

Before any taxes are raised or created the legislature must look at spending. We are still paying grandparents to watch their grandchildren and Guinn is talking about cutting prisons and thus releasing prisoners. As long as they are non-violent drug offenders I don't care but that wasn't specified and he could be just as easily releasing real criminals. This is nutty. Until I see a concerted effort to cut spending (legislators are still submitting pork bills in Carson City) I will continue to oppose every tax increase. If the state cuts everything that falls out of its proper roll (protecting us from criminals and terrorists) and still needs money then I'll consider the idea of new taxation.

No one should accept the idea of taxation if there is no cause other than "the state needs money," because you know what? I need my money more.

Saturday, March 01, 2003

Gore Vidal is A Disgrace to Historians Everywhere
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: March 3, 2003

Gore Vidal, famous historian and author, has a new book out. Its title explains not only everything that is wrong with Gore Vidal, but also everything that is wrong with the field of history today. The title is, Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta.

I expect things like this from communists on the streets whose memory only goes back a year and a half, except when it comes to selected instances in Latin American history. But Gore Vidal is supposedly a historian of some repute, what is he doing?

However, it seems that my own knowledge of Gore Vidal is incomplete. After all it was Gore Vidal who once said, "In writing and politicking, it's best not to think about it, just do it." And it is clear that Mr. Vidal has not put any thought into his new book.

To quote from this enlightening book (it enlightens the dark space in between Mr. Vidal's ears), he says, "[The government] plays off Americans' relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise. This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II -- to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up. Because Enron wants to blow them up. Or Unocal, the great pipeline company, wants a war going some place." (pg. 186) This quote sounds entirely rational, if one lives in a parallel universe perhaps. Geography is taught in schools, I went to public schools almost my entire life and I can easily point out most countries on the map (except the small ones like Liechtenstein). And why does Enron want things blown up? Enron was just trying to inflate their stock price, what possible interest could they have had in seeing things half a world away blown up?

Vidal appeared on the CNN program "Crossfire" on the 26th of February, where he said, in response to a question from Tucker Carlson, "Unocal, Union Oil of California, had a contract when the Taliban were governing there, and we had put them there originally to fight the Russians. They then went crazy on us and it was impossible for Unocal to build a pipeline to get the Caspian oil out of all those little countries that end in the word "stan" -- Uzbekistan and so on." We put the Taliban in place? The Taliban was a faction that emerged after the United States abandoned the country when the Soviets pulled out. Leftists like Vidal had been slamming the US government for leaving a power vacuum in Afghanistan, which the Taliban filled. Now the criticism is that the US government actually put the Taliban in place, and they "went crazy" on us? I'm starting to think that the Taliban aren't the only ones that went crazy.

As a history major this kind of crummy scholarship and irrational thought is insulting not only to my own reasoning faculties, but also to the entire profession I wish to enter. That could all change of course if historians point out to Mr. Vidal that he should perhaps try using a little logic and maybe (and this is just a possibility) a few facts, and perhaps (and I know this is asking a lot) a little historical knowledge. But the whole profession has seemingly slipped into the same abyss that now resides within Mr. Vidal's cranium.

Now to this assertion that the war on terrorism is being used to screen for an oil grab. Never have I heard such a ridiculous claim so seriously proposed. There are over 100,000 troops in or around Kuwait, a country with vast oil reserves and relatively no army, certainly nothing that could contend with even a fraction of what is already in the country. Why aren't we taking this oil? Or how about its repressive neighbor to the Southwest; Saudi Arabia (HAHA! I know my geography Mr. Vidal; now if you can learn your history all will be right with the world)? That country has more oil that any other in the region and a military not worth mentioning (I've seen it by the way, having lived there.) So why don't we just conquer Saudi Arabia? It would certainly be much less risky than attacking Iraq, a country with Weapons of Mass Destruction, which Iraq could use on our troops. Or, here's a weird option, perhaps we could drill our own oil. There is plenty of oil in the United States that is being unconstitutionally restricted from use, it would be less pricey to get such restrictions lifted than invade a country and get people killed.

To buy the "Blood for Oil" theory (as some of my colleagues on the opinion page have) you have to ignore the inconvenient facts that Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, and Oman could be taken over for much less cost than Iraq (especially because they are surrounded by water) and yield much more oil than Iraq. Ignoring this and then attributing the worst of humanity to George W. Bush and everyone else in the administration, not to mention the 60+ percent of people who agree with them. Then and only then this theory may start to make sense. I'm not a giant fan of Bush, but I in no way think he is willing to get thousands of people killed for oil, a non-problem for the United States anyway since we get most of our oil from countries not in the Middle East. Plus, seeing as Bush is a politician, would he risk a serious backlash (which would occur if the war was run poorly or it was discovered he did it for oil) for something no one would attribute to him anyway? When's the last time you voted on a candidate because of what you were paying at the pump? Will the pro-choice people vote for Bush if they pay less than a dollar at the pump? Will the environmentalists vote for Bush if their Hippie-vans don't cost as much to fill up? I seriously doubt it.

The real questions should be, "Is the black hole in Gore Vidal's head a clear and present danger to the rest of us? If so, should we bomb it?" I'm leaning towards "Yes" on both counts.