Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

August 30, 2005

Hurricane Damage

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:16 pm

Half of Tulane University has been destroyed and they announced they are renaming it Onelane University.

Arab-Israeli Patriot Stops Terrorist Act, Saves Lives

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:37 pm

Like most things, the Arab-Israeli situation is not as simple as it seems to outsiders:

Heroic Bedouin Patriot Saves Israeli Lives

[By Steven Plaut]

Lu’ay Abu Juma, 27, is a Bedouin from Israel’s south.  Yesterday he was working as a guard at the Beer Sheba bus station in southern Israel.  The Beer Sheba station had already been the target of Palestinian Islamofascist terrorists, who had committed a mass murder there last year.   Abu Jama was on guard with his friend Pavel Srotzkin, 23, an immigrant from Russia, when they saw a suspicious looking Arab.

In an act of racial profiling, the Bedouin and his Russian Jewish friend positioned themselves to prevent the Arab from entering the station.   The Arab blew himself up.  Both guards were seriously hurt.  The Bedouin lost an eye and sustained other severe wounds.  But no one was killed in the blast.  No one knows how many Israeli lives were saved by the hero.

Most people do not even know that Bedouin patriots serve in the Israeli Defense Forces.  Those interested should read my book about them.

Israeli Bedouin troops have been targeted for a campaign of vilification by the terrorists from the ISM = International Solidarity Movement, one of whose members was hurt when a Bedouin fired back at Palestinian terrorists being protected by the ISM "human shield."

Remember, the Gaza withdrawal was supposed to end this sort of attack. However, Jerusalem NewsWire reports that:

A senior Palestinian Authority official [PA National Security Advisor Jibril Rajoub] said the attempted massacre of Jewish civilians in Beersheva Sunday morning was a legitimate response to Israel’s ongoing war on Palestinian terror.

It is barely a week since the last Jewish residents were evicted from Gaza under the theory that this would bring peace and an end to Palestinian terrorism — and
already the attacks are not only continuing, but Palestinian Authority itself is claiming they are “legitimate.”

Before, they were at least condeming terrorism in public even as they directed it coverty — but now they feel safe enough to openly claim that terrorism is just fine, and that terrorism is in fact a legitimate response to Israel’s attempts to prevent terrorism!

Under this logic, terrorism against Israel is always OK — if Israel does nothing, then it’s OK since Israel doesn’t object. If Israel responds by trying to prevent terrorism, then terrorism is a legitimate response to those efforts. And if Israel responds by giving in to Palestinian demands (e.g., evicting all Jews from Palestinian-majority neighborhoods), then terrorism against Israel is better than OK, since it works!

August 28, 2005

Blogging Hiatus

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:00 am

Different River is moving today (to “Different House” I guess). Blogging will be light to nonexistent for a few days.

If you need something to read, see the blogroll on the right side of your screen. Tell them I sent you. ;-)

August 25, 2005

Where the Blood runs in the Streets, Again

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:00 pm

Moshe Simons writes:

I sit facing my computer, and words fail me. I have just witnessed one of the most tragic and traumatic events of my life.

A Jewish young man died in my arms tonight. His sin? Being Jewish in Jerusalem.

At about 8:25 this evening, we got a call from the MDA dispatcher about a stabbing on David Street – the Arab shuk leading from Jaffa Gate to the Kotel. I immediately left my apartment and sped over to the chaotic scene not far from there on a Hatzolah ambu-cycle.

Upon arrival, a horrible sight greeted me. A young Jewish man, lying in a pool of his own blood, with a 15″ knife sticking out of his stomach. After being at many bombings, car accidents and other traumatic events, this scene had the distinction of being the worst one I have ever seen.

His skin a very pale color, and his eyes half open, I reached him. The only people around were police officers, who didn’t really know what to do. The young Jewish man was not breathing, and he had no pulse.

This is the nightmare of any EMT. Alone, as the only person with medical training at the scene, there is not much you can do. Many tasks need to be done, and many people are needed to do them. Starting CPR, connecting oxygen, starting numerous IV’s due to massive blood loss …

What was the young man’s crime? What did he do wrong? To us, the residents of the Old City, these answers are clear. The Arabs want us out of Israel — out of Jerusalem.

The terrorism will continue — and will get much worse in Jerusalem. One thing I can tell you — we won’t run. We will stand firm, and remain here until one side wins — us or them. The battle is for the soul of the Land of Israel — let no one think otherwise.

The full article is here.

Note that the Gaza withdrawal was supposed to end this sort of thing. The Oslo accords were also supposed to end this sort of thing. When will they realize that there is no diplomatic solution to terrorism? The inherent nature of terrorism is that the diplomats can disclaim any responsibility for it, so by its very nature there can be no diplomatic or negotiated end to it.

Exploiting Dead Soldiers

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:04 pm

Cindy Sheehan is exploiting the death of her son Casey for political purposes. Lots of people think this is alright, because (a) even though it was Casey who was killed, Cindy has presumably also suffered the loss of her son, so perhaps she is exploiting her own misfortune, which is not the same as exploiting someone else’s, and/or (b) he’s her son, so maybe she has the right to exploit his death.

But Cindy and her supporters are going beyond that — they are exploiting the deaths of other soldiers, without permission of their families.

As Mark in Mexico points to an this article:

Military families disturbed by a sea of crosses erected by anti-war protesters near President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, have removed crosses bearing the names of their fallen children and transferred them to another site to show support for American troops in Iraq.
Anti-war protesters “never asked for my permission to put up a cross for my son for their cause,” said Gary Qualls, whose son was killed in Iraq. “They are not respecting our sons and daughters.”
The rival cross camps are evidence of a growing public backlash against the anti-war campaign of California activist Cindy Sheehan, who blames Mr. Bush for son Casey’s death in Iraq and has called for immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mark adds:

As of yesterday morning at least 17 crosses bearing KIA American’s names had been removed by family members, many of those 17 more than once. Mr. Qualls has had to remove his son’s crosses 3 different times because the heartless and disrespectful anti-war leftists keep putting them back up. Some mothers of Fort Hood soldiers killed in Iraq who found duplicate crosses of their fallen loved ones presented one cross each to Fort Qualls and took the duplicates home with them.

Has this been reported on the daily TV news (CNN/ABC/CBS/NBC)? I’m asking because I don’t watch them, but I’m curious. Does anyone out there watch them?

Public Service Annoucement

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:28 am

I just want to let everyone know, in case you ever buy a house and borrow money to do so, that if you are asked to sign a “lock-in agreement” specifying the interest rate and terms of the loan, be aware that despite the name, nothing is actually “locked in.” The mortgage company can change the interest rate and/or the terms, if they claim they “just made a mistake” by promising a rate and terms that are “not available.” They may ask you if you want the promised rate by worse terms, or the promise terms at a higher rate, or they may just “offer” you both a higher rate and worse terms. But of course, they will be happy to explain, this not a bait-and-switch, since they “just made a mistake.”

Of course, if you “just made a mistake” and based your payments on the rate and terms promised in writing, they will be more than happy to foreclose and take your house.

This concludes today’s public service announcement. Thank you for listening.

August 23, 2005

Midwest Trivia

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:43 pm

United Airlines is based in Chicago. United Healthcare is based in Minneapolis.

Northwest Airlines is based in Minneapolis. Northwestern Hospital is in Chicago.

I just thought you might want to know so you can keep all this straight. ;-)

(By the way, I cheated slighly: Northwest Healthcare is in Vancouver, Washington.)

August 22, 2005

Whither Mexico?

Filed under: — Different River @ 7:04 pm

Mark in Mexico — who is from the United States but has lived in Mexico for eight and a half years — has drawn a bead on what’s wrong with Mexico. The fundamental question is why Mexico, with similar natural resources, population density, and location to the United States, and on average better weather, has so profoundly underperformed economically.

Before I start, let me tell you that I live in Mexico. The whys and hows as to my presence here are not too important (I’m not a fugitive from justice). I teach English. That’s about it. But I live here. …

Why is Mexico such a mess? It’s the culture. Don’t scoff. I live here, remember? Mexicans do not understand the very basics of Rule of Law. They don’t understand them and I don’t believe they ever will. The single missing ingredient here is accountability. You can steal just about whatever you want to steal here, and if you share the spoils with the political powers that be as well as local, state and federal law enforcement, you can get along quite nicely. Kind of like Chicago.

I used to live in Chicago, and he’s sure drawn a bead on what’s wrong with Chicago. I hated living in Chicago. The locals all thought it was because of the weather, and I let them think that to be polite, but it was really because of the culture, which is pretty much just like Mark describes above. And the irritating thing was not just that everybody was stealing — this didn’t really affect me personally because I didn’t really have anything worth stealing but a trunkload of luggage once — but the complete lack of moral indignation on the part of ordinary city residents who were on the receiving end of all the public malfeasance. They just didn’t care that they were being taken advantage of — or at least, couldn’t imagine that things might ever be better. Snow unplowed on your street? Well, you can’t expect better if you aren’t the precinct captain — stop complaining. Voter registration canceled? You should have known not to vote in the Republican primary. (And if you ever buy a house make sure at least one spouse registers Democrat if you expect your garbage to be collected.)

It’s not just that all this stuff happens — it’s that people there think it’s normal, can’t imagine an alternative, and therefore refuse to do anything about it and ridicule anyone who thinks something ought to be done about it. And these are the people who are paying for, not benefiting from, the corruption. I suspect from Mark’s description that the same is true of Mexico, and a lot of other places as well.

But I digress. Mark continues:

Mexican politicians believe that it is their right to enrich themselves at the expense of their constituents. It comes with the territory, so to speak. Mexicans as a whole are not capable of viewing society as a whole. They do not understand that what is injurious to society is injurious to the individual. My father used to tell me that one’s rights end at the beginning of the other fellow’s nose. Mexicans don’t see it that way. A Mexican believes that his rights extend as far as he can push or bully his way. That the extension of his rights might be deleterious to society as a whole is a thought which never crosses his mind. A basic lack of civility abounds.

This too is “kind of like Chicago” — though perhaps not in every sector of society. But it is certainly true in the sectors of society that interact with city, county, or state government.

Mark continues with a thumbnail sketch history of Mexico that anyone the least bit interested in Mexico should read — even if you think you know the history. (I thought I did, but he lays it out much better than I could have before reading it.) It’s amazing. just read the whole thing.

He has an interesting proposed solution to the problem. Basically, he proposes locking down and militarizing the border between Mexico and the U.S., but allowing any Mexicans who want to immigrate to do so legally provided they agree to certain conditions designed to promote assimilation into the U.S. and prevent ghettoization that might preserve those aspects of the culture that he views as causing Mexico’s problems. It’s an interesting idea. I think that as a practical matter his proposal is unworkable, but it’s a good first draft and the basic idea is a good starting point.

Like I said, read the whole thing.

(Hat tip: The Glittering Eye.)

UPDATE:

Clayton Cramer has some comments, and adds some interesting points to Mark’s summary of Mexican history — in particular, Mexican attempts to imitate the U.S. Constitution, and the unusual role of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico’s history.

August 19, 2005

Protected Species = Endangered Property

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:52 pm

Capital Freedom explains how the government can take your house and give it to the birds (literally) and not pay you even a penny for it. And she has more examples.

Corpses on Display

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:47 pm

Twenty human corpses are being displayed to the public. “Nearly all bodies and body parts are stripped of flesh so that internal organs, tissue, muscles, veins and bones are exposed.”

But this time it isn’t Westerners killed by Islamofascists displayed for propaganda — it’s being called “art.”

The reason given: “It sells tickets.”

At least one person claims to have given up smoking, belief in evolution, and support for abortion after seeing the exhibit. Which was probably not the intention of the Ph.D. anatomist and the avant-garde artists who put the exhibit together. Hmmm….

“Pope Warns of Increase in Anti-Semitism”

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:41 pm

That’s the headline on an AP story describing Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to a synagogue in Cologne (Köln), Germany. A synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazis but has since been rebuilt. This is only the second Pope ever to make a public visit to a synagogue, and the first was by this Pope’s immediate predecessor.

It hasn’t been much more than a century since a Pope would have been worried about a descrease, rather than an increase, in antisemitism — and it’s only been a little bit longer than that since Popes were ordering the destruction of synagogues.

Sometimes things actually do get better!

Attackers Fire Missiles at U.S. Navy Ship

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:07 pm

Attackers Fire Missiles at U.S. Navy Ship

Aug 19, 9:11 AM (ET)

By JAMAL HALABY

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – Attackers fired at least three rockets from Jordan early Friday, with one narrowly missing a docked U.S. Navy ship and killing a Jordanian soldier. It was the most serious militant attack on the Navy since the USS Cole was bombed in 2000.

Another rocket fell close to a nearby airport in neighboring Israel, officials said. Jordanian and Israeli authorities said militants fired three Katyusha rockets from a warehouse in the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba.

Once upon a time, firing missiles at another country’s Navy ship was considered an act of war. As was firing a missile into a neighboring country. And the country from which the missiles were fired was responsible.

Now, I wonder what they will call it.

August 18, 2005

Selling Indulgences, Modern-Style

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:10 am

Tyler Cowen called his post on this, “Markets in guilt reduction,” which is a better title, but if I’m going to steal nearly an entire post (with attribution of course — I’m a closet academic!), I should at least make up a new title.

Besides, I’ve been claiming for years that “Environmentalism” is actually a religion, in the sense that environmentalists believe certain things completely on faith, maintain their believes in the presence of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and engage in activities (sacraments) they claim “help the environment” in the absence of any evidence those activities actually help the environment or accomplish any of their purported goals. In fact, now that I think about it, Environmentalism is a heck of a lot less rational than a lot of actual religions I can think of. Iincluding my own, of course — we don’t eat pork, but we never claimed that refraining from pork “saves pigs,” in either the economic or theological sense of the word.

Anyway, now the Environmentalists are heading down the same road that proved to be a disastrous dead end for a Certain Other Religion — they are selling indulgences!

If you’re feeling guilty about driving your giant sport utility vehicle (but not so guilty that you’d ever give it up), salvation is at hand. For a yearly fee of around $80, a company called TerraPass will offset the damage your SUV does to the atmosphere by spending your money to reduce industrial carbon emissions and to promote the spread of clean energy. They’ll also send you a decal and a bumper sticker, so everyone in the neighborhood will know that your gas guzzler has been sanctified.

In other words, for $80 they will sell you a sticker which tells all your Environmentalist neighbors that you are a good Environmentalist even though you drive an SUV.

As Tyler points out, this could turn out to be a growth industry of sorts:

Of course we need not stop with SUVs. Have your life taped and recorded, and submit the results to certified third-party arbitrators (who, by the way, will safeguard your confidentiality). They will tell you how much of a cancer you have been to the body politic, and suggest offsetting charitable contributions.

Environmentalism is clearly at a lower stage of development than other religions, the last of which gave up selling indulgences about 450 years ago.

They are also being undercut. Randy Cassingham will sell you “Get Out of Hell Free” Cards at 10 for a dollar!

(No, Randy is not paying for this “ad.” Yes, I bought some of the cards. No, I haven’t had to use them. At least, not for their intended purpose. ;-) )

Economic Ignorance Causes Injuries

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:36 am

If you’ve ever taken any economics class, you should remember that if prices are free to adjust, there will never be a persistent “excess” or “shortage.” If there’s an excess, sellers will cut prices to get rid of the stuff, and if there’s a shortage, they’ll raise prices until enough people decide not to buy whatever it is. And when either of these happens, we say the market “clears.”

When prices aren’t free to adjust, weird things can happen. If prices are too low and can’t adjust upward, the amount buyers want to buy exceeds the amount sellers have to sell. That means that something other than “willingness to pay a higher price” has to be used to ration the few goods among the many buyers. And this results in buyers “paying” more, but in different ways than paying more money to the seller. This is why, for example, in places with rent control (like New York City) you have things that don’t exist in other places, like rental agents paid by the tenter, bribes to the building superintendent, illegal subleasing, and so on. It’s also why there are waiting lists (where you “pay” with your time) for health care in Canada, and for popular books at your local library.

It is also why some people got trampled a couple of days ago in Richmond.

Laptop Stampede

See, it seems the Henrico County School District had 1,000 surplus iBook laptops to sell, and they decided to sell them for $50 each. At which price way more than 1,000 people wanted to buy one. No doubt they thought they were doing enough “rationing” by giving Henrico County residents first crack at them, but it turned out way more than 1,000 Henrico County residents wanted to buy one. So, implicitly it got to be “the first 1,000 people in get one,” so there was a mob scene:

What started as a sale turned into a mob scene as thousands of people pushed their way through the Richmond International Raceway gates to buy a $50 iBook laptop computer from Henrico County Schools this morning. The school district had only 1,000 of these surplus computers to sell, and Henrico County residents got first dibs.

Starletta Wilson came to the sale but when the gates opened at 7 a.m., chaos broke out.

“Yeah, they pushed me, look at my child’s stroller… they actually pushed me and stampeded over me. Those people who are down there now were behind us,” Wilson said.

Dustin Coppinger, who attended the sale, said he saw an older man get trampled.

“An old man in a walker was trampled to the ground. Trampled to the ground… walked all over,” he said.

Dozens more were pushed to the ground as the crowd races through the gates.

A one-year-old baby almost became a victim. Her father pulled her out of her stroller.

“Look at her stroller. Her stroller’s demolished. Look at my stroller,” said Wilson.

Alice Jemerson was one victim who got trampled.

“Look at my knees. They ran on top of me. I just starting kicking the people,” she said.

Note that whenever the price of something can’t adjust, the amount “paid” has to adjust in some other way. In this case, successful — and even unsuccessful — buyers ended up “paying” with their running speed, agility, and tolerance for violence towards themselves and others, in addition to waiting time. And, some buyers paid part of the price and decided it wasn’t worth it:

A man who had been standing in line since 2 a.m. came to Jemerson’s rescue. Bair Hossai was almost guaranteed to get one of the coveted computers.

“I’m not going to leave somebody who’s hurt. It’s not worth it. I could have been in the line, but I’m not going to do it, because it’s not worth it,” Hossai said.

Faced with the “cost” of living with his conscience after leaving someone on the ground unprotected, this fellow decided that was too high a price to pay.

To bad he couldn’t have found out just by being outbid in a peaceful auction, or by hearing a higher price when he heard about the sale. That would have saved him five hours of waiting — and it would have saved Ms. Jemerson from being trampled.

What al-Qaida Really Wants

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:13 am

A Caliphate in Seven Easy Steps. Worldwide. By the year 2020.

Step 1 is complete. Step 2 is in progress. We have been warned.

Hat tip: Eye of Polyphemus

August 16, 2005

Is Howard Dean Pro-Rape, or just Pro-Saddam?

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:52 pm

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has been saying a lot of, um, interesting things lately, but this is surely the “interestingest” of them all:

Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation” yesterday, the fiery former Vermont governor said, “It looks like today, and this could change, as of today it looks like women will be worse off in Iraq than they were when Saddam Hussein was president of Iraq.”

Let’s take a look at what life was like for women in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in control.

The anti-war, anti-Bush The Nation reports:

Far more women here have stories about husbands and sons who disappeared into mass graves and torture prisons under Saddam than tales of nieces and female neighbors who have gone missing since the war. And sexual violence was a hallmark of a regime that employed men to hold the job of “Violator of Women’s Honor,” who would videotape themselves raping the wives of men the regime perceived as suspect.

They probably heard that from a report from the British Foreign Office, described by Reuters:

A copy of a government personnel card shown in the report described one state employee, Aziz Salih Ahmed, as a “fighter in the popular army.” His activity was given as “violator of women’s honor,” or a professional rapist, the report said.

As a professional rapist, his job was to rape women who had been arrested because they — or their husband, father, or son — was suspected of opposing Saddam’s rule.

And, of course, some women attacted the attention of Saddam’s son Uday, which not only got them raped, but put their fathers or husbands in jeopardy of torture. As Time reports:

After months of recovering from an attempt on his life that put eight bullets in his left side, Uday Hussein, the eldest son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, was ready to party. At his first outing in 1998, at the posh Jadriyah Equestrian Club, he used high-powered binoculars to survey the crowd of friends and family from a platform high above the guests. He saw something he liked, recalls his former aide Adib Shabaan, who helped arrange the party. Uday tightened the focus on a pretty 14-year-old girl in a bright yellow dress sitting with her father, a former provincial governor, her mother and her younger brother and sister.

Uday’s bodyguards picked up the signal and walked through the darkened room, flicking cigarette lighters as they approached the girl’s table. Uday, then 33, flipped on his too, confirming they had identified the right one. When the girl left the table for the powder room, Uday’s bodyguards approached her with a choice, says Shabaan, who was Uday’s business manager. She could ascend the platform now and congratulate Uday on his recovery, or she could call him on his private phone that night. Flustered, she apologized and said her parents would allow neither. One of the guards replied, “This is the chance of your life” and promised she would receive diamonds and a car. “All you have to do is go up there for 10 minutes,” he urged. When she demurred again, the bodyguards pursued Uday’s backup plan. They maneuvered the girl in the direction of the parking lot, picked her up and carried her to the backseat of Uday’s car, covering her mouth to muffle her screams.

After three days the girl was returned to her home, with a new dress, a new watch and a large sum of cash. Her parents had her tested for rape; the result was positive. According to Shabaan’s account, Uday heard she had been tested and sent aides to the clinic, where they warned doctors not to report a rape. Furious, the father demanded to see Saddam himself. Rebuffed, he kept complaining publicly about what Uday had done. After three months, the President’s son had had enough. He sent two guards to the man to insist that he drop the matter. Uday had another demand: that the ex-governor bring his daughter and her 12-year-old sister to his next party. “Your daughters will be my girlfriends, or I’ll wipe you off the face of the earth.” The man complied, surrendering both girls.

Of course, this was no isolated incident. Latif Yahia, who was forced to serve as Uday’s body double, described Uday’s activities to Irish reporter Lance Laytner:

Every day Uday Hussein and his bodyguards drove around the university and the girls’ schools until the president’s son saw a girl he fancied. He would stop her and ask her to spend the night with him. If she refused, his bodyguards would grab her and bring her back to the palace. There Uday would rape the girl. If she resisted, after he was done, he would give her to the whole team of bodyguards.Uday learned rape and murder from his father. Reveals Latif: “Saddam’s family, the Tikriti clan, were a bunch of criminals. When Saddam came to power it was like the mafia taking control of a country.”

“Hundreds of thousands had no way to feed their families. But Uday didn’t care. He continued to party openly, without shame.” Uday threw a multi-million dollar extravaganza on his birthday. A thousand people dined on lobster and delicacies. Hundreds of beautiful girls were invited. At one point Uday shouted, “Rip the whores’ clothes off!” His friends shredded the women’s clothing and the party turned into a massive orgy.

Now I know men are notorious for not knowing what women want, but I think Howard Dean is taking this to new heights if he believes that what women want is to be handed over to a rapist at the age of 12 or 14 by your own father who is under threat of torture and death.

August 15, 2005

Reporters Reporting on Reporters: Why no good news from Iraq?

Filed under: — Different River @ 8:29 pm

Normally, I find it really annoying and self-serving when reporters write news stories about themselves or each other. However, this article is exception, both for its candidness and for the fact that it appeared in the New York Times, not to mention that it is mostly devoid of the self-congratulation of colleagues or ridiculing of competitors typical of articles about the media in the media.

August 15, 2005

Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq

By Katharine Q. Seelye

Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

“Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?” the anonymous polemic asks, in part. “Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?”

“Of course we didn’t know!” the message concludes. “Our media doesn’t tell us!”

Ms. Goudreau’s newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context. Like many other journalists, Mr. Silverman had also received a copy of the message.

Ms. Goudreau’s query prompted an unusual discussion last month in New York at a regular meeting of editors whose newspapers are members of The Associated Press. Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

“The bottom-line question was, people wanted to know if we’re making progress in Iraq,” Ms. Goudreau said, and the A.P. articles were not helping to answer that question.

OK, there is a temporary break from candidness:

“It was uncomfortable questioning The A.P., knowing that Iraq is such a dangerous place,” she said. “But there’s a perception that we’re not telling the whole story.”

During the period of active “major combat” in April-May 2003, reporters had no problem criticizing embedded reporters who wrote positive stories for allegedly becoming too emotionally tied to the soldiers and marines they were living and traveling with — even though Iraq was surely even more dangerous then than it is now.

Mr. Silverman said in an interview that he was aware of that perception. “Other editors said they get calls from readers who are hearing stories from returning troops of the good things they have accomplished while there, and readers find that at odds with the generally gloomy portrayal in the papers of what’s going on in Iraq,” he said.

Mr. Silverman said the editors were asking for help in making sense of the situation. “I was glad to have that discussion with the editors because they have to deal with the perception that the media is emphasizing the negative,” he said.

“We’re there to report the good and the bad and we try to give due weight to everything going on,” he said. “It is unfortunate that the explosions and shootings and fatalities and injuries on some days seem to dominate the news.”

With all due respect to Mr. Silverman, it is you editors who decide what dominated the news!

If you want the “explosions and shootings and fatalities and injuries” to stop dominating the news, you are perfectly capable of taking it off the front page and burying it behind the comics, like you did with the Soviet massacre of the Azerbaijanis in the 1980s, and like the New York Times did with the Holocaust in 1943.

In fact, a little farther down in the article, you point this out yourself:

Mr. Silverman also said the wire service would make more effort to flag articles that look beyond the breaking news. As it turned out, he said, most of the information in the anonymous e-mail message had been reported by The A.P., but the details had been buried in articles or the articles had been overlooked.

So basically, this is not the fault of reporters on the ground, or of the danger in Iraq. The goodnews is going out on the wire. It’s the editors stateside — in other words, the people at this meeting — who are failing to put the good news on the front page.

As if to prove the point, Arthur Chrenkoff has been compiling a biweekly report on “Good News from Iraq” for OpinionJournal.com for an the past year. Arthur Chrenkoff is not braving the bombs in Iraq. He’s a blogger in Australia, and all he does is highlight the stories the mainstream media publish but don’t put on the front pages. (And stories Iraqi bloggers write,which are as accessible to newspaper editors as they are to Mr. Chrenkoff.)

This is really interesting — when the Internet first started impacting news (probably around the time Matt Drudge broke the story of the Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress), the established media has claimed that the Internet and (later) the bloggers are unreliable because they don’t have editors — anyone can publish anything, they can focus on isolated facts and ignore the whole picture, etc.. Now, the editors are complaining they can’t edit properly — that they can’t make report good news — while a blogger is doing just that, using the same stories available to the “real” editors. (Actually, he probably has a smaller set of stories available, since he only has what the news organizations post on the internet themselves.)

By the way, there’s one other thing in that article that’s hard to believe:

She also said that as Mr. Silverman and Kathleen Carroll, The A.P.’s executive editor, responded to the concerns, the editors realized that some questions were impossible to answer. For example, she said, the editors understood that it was much easier to add up the number of dead than to determine how many hospitals received power on a particular day or how many schools were built.

Now really, if there’s one thing our military can do better than they fight, it’s keep records. They write everything down. (Except maybe passwords and the like, but that’s not what we’re talking about.) I used to work for a company that did a lot of military work, and let me tell you, the Pentagon has got to have more file cabinets than any other building in the world — and they have other buildings just to hold the files they can’t fit in the Pentagon or their other offices.

And, every military unit above a certain level has a public affairs officer (a PAO, since they also have abbreviations for everything!) who will tell the media pretty much anything they want to know that isn’t classified, and even — in the case of embedded reporters — some stuff that is.

Building and repairing schools in Iraq is not classified. I’ve seen lots of reports on it. If the AP wants to know how many schools have been built, rebuilt, or repaired, all they have to do is find the PAO, and they’ll have a list of names, dates, and locations before they know it. Ditto for roads, power plants and power distribution, and anything else they want to know.

In short, if the AP reporters can’t find out how many schools are being built, it’s because they are lazy, don’t want to know, or don’t know who to ask. And if they don’t know who to ask — well, isn’t that a reporter’s job?

August 14, 2005

Tisha B’Av

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:39 pm

Today is Tisha B’Av — the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av, and the most profoundly sad day on the Jewish calendar. It was on this date, 2,591 years ago, that the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezar. It was also on this date — something that is not regarded as a coincidence — 1,930 years ago, that the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans under Titus. If you wish to understand the psychological impact of this date on Jews, imagine the effect of September 11 on Americans. Then imagine that on 9/11, it was not three thousand but thirty million people who were killed, that Washington, DC was completely destroyed, that in the wake of that event many other cities throughout America were destroyed. And then imagine that years later, when America had only partially recovered, the whole thing was repeated — also on a September 11.

The most powerful message of Tisha B’Av — at least to me — is that the conditions that led to these disasters are still present to this day. In reading the historical accounts of the Second destruction available in the Talmud (Gittin 55b-57b, Tannis 28b-31a) and in the works of Josephus (who was there when it happened but whose point of view is regarded by many as somewhat suspect), one thing is abundantly clear: If the Jews had not been fighting among themselves as much or more so than the Romans, things would not have turned out nearly as bad.

The Romans, though clearly capable of committing acts of unspeakable cruelty, were sometimes content to leave there subject people more or less alone as long as they paid their (perhaps oppressive) taxes and didn’t rebel. The Jews were divided in to those who wanted to submit to the Romans in the hope of peace, and those who wanted to fight for true freedom and independence. That division might not have been enough to seal the defeat of the Jews, but those who wished to fight were further divided and fighting among themselves, some of whom — for no reason I can possibly understand — deliberately undermined the Jewish position militarily in order to motivate the population to fight. For example, when Vespasian (later replaced by Titus) had Jerusalem under siege from, three extraordinarily rich men in Jerusalem offered to sustain the people from their private storehouses, and together they had enough food and fuel to sustain the entire population of Jerusalem for twenty-one years. It is questionable whether even the Roman legions would have maintained a siege for that long. But they didn’t have to — after three years, a radical group inside the city, known as the baryonei became frustrated with the slow pace of the war against the Romans and perhaps feared a peaceful settlement. So, they burned the storehouses to create a famine in their own city. The idea was to create urgency to convince the people to attack the Romans. The actual result was that the Romans easily defeated the famished defenders, indiscriminately slaughtered the remaining residents, burned the Temple, and rampaged through the rest of the country repeating the performance. And many of those who escaped the sword died of starvation.

Nobody knows what would have happened if the Jews had been united. If they had been united in their determination to withstand the siege and fight only when necessary, it’s possible that the Romans would have decided that a small distant province wasn’t worth tying up so many legions for so long, and would have left. It is even possible that the Jews would have miraculously defeated the Romans, as they had miraculously defeated the Syrian-Greeks 235 years before (the holiday of Chanukah celebrates this victory). If the Jews had been united in their desire to pacify Rome, it is possible — though by no means guaranteed — that the Romans might have spared the Temple and the populace, and permitted the Jews to practice Judaism in peace. But what actually happened was not so much that the Romans defeated the Jews, but that the Jews defeated each other.

And this, sadly, continues to take place to this day. In Israel, non-religious and religious Jews are in a constant state of conflict, with two diametrically opposed notions of what it means to have a “Jewish State.” This is a philosophical debate with real-world, life-and-death consequences. As if that weren’t enough, both groups are divided as to the best way to secure that state. Those on the secular left seem to believe that the way to peace is to hand over money, guns, and vast tracts of land to people who have sworn to throw every last Jew into the sea at the earliest opportunity. Those on the secular right believe in maintaining security through military strength, but they seem unable to articulate the purpose of what they are securing. The religious camp is divided between those who believe that the Jewish people are mandated and destined to have sovereignty over the land promised by God to Abraham, and those who object to the secular nature of the Israeli State and refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the state within which they live — despite the fact that the army of that state is the only tangible thing standing between them and those who wish nothing more than to annihilate them. There are, of course, multiple permutations and multiple middle grounds, and few seem willing to give an inch to any other quarter.

In the last decade, there have been numerous acts of pointless destructive internecine conflict, of a lesser degree but the same kind as the burning of the food storehouses by the baryonei in the besieged Jerusalem. Secular leftist Jews sued in the Israel Supreme Court in an attempt to outlaw bris milah, the circumcision of newborn Jewish boys — which has been regarded as a Jewish religious obligation for nearly 4,000 years. The last time anyone attempted to outlaw this in the land of Israel was almost 2,200 years ago — and it was the Greeks, not Jews, who were trying to outlaw it. Thankfully, the attempt failed — but the Israeli Supreme Court seriously entertained an antisemitic lawsuit that would have been thrown out of any American court posthaste. Then there was the much-publicized boycott of kosher food in Israel led by Tommy Lapid of the Shinui party. Every once in a while, some American white-supremacist antisemite floats the idea that kosher certification of food is some sort of Jewish conspiracy to extort money from American corporations. And everyone who’s not a white-supremacist antisemite ignores the idea because its preposterous. Yet, Lapid — a Holocaust survivor who lost his father to the Nazis and found refuge in Israel — seems to have internalized some of their ideas and found and audience for them in Israel.

And now, of course, we have the impending Gaza “withdrawal.” In any other part of the world, the forced expulsion of a group of people on the basis of their religion would be condemned as “ethnic cleansing,” a crime against humanity. And, the expellers would, no doubt, be of a different people than the expelled. Indeed, Jews have been forcibly expelled, not only from their own land by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans, but from the lands to which they escaped. Prager and Telushkin compiled a list:

Jews were expelled from England in 1290, France in 1306 and 1394, Hungary between 1349 and 1360, Astria in 1421, numerous localities in Germany between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, Lithuania in 1445 and 1495, Spain in 1492, Portugal in 1497, and Bohemia and Moravia in 1744-45. Between the fifteenth century and 1772, Jews were not allowed into Russia, and when finally admitted, they were restricted to one area, the Pale of Settlement. Between 1948 and 1967 nearly all the Jews of Aden, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, though not officially expelled, fled this countries, fearing for their lives.

They might also have added that Jews were expelled from more “remote” locations — Brazil in 1654, Mexico in 1649, and the Portuguese colonies of Goa, Damão, and Diu on the southwestern coast of India, in 1560 — and that the expulsion from Spain in 1492 came into effect on Tisha B’Av that year.

In short, Jews have been expelled from nearly every country in which they have lived, except the United States, which was the first country to recognize religious freedom as a right, Canada, the Netherlands, and India (unless you count the expulsion of Indian Jews from the Portuguese colonies).

Israel was founded, in a large part, to be one country to which Jews could always go, and from which they could never be expelled. Yet, now Israel is expelling Jews from their homes as well. And this is based on a decision by a Prime Minister elected on the promise of never expelling Jews, and opposed on the suspicion that he might even expel Arabs. This is as politically upside-down as if Ronald Reagan, who was elected President in part due to his opposition to Communism, and who was opposed in part because some thought him too belligerent towards Communism, had suddenly announced that he was turning over Alaska to the Soviet Union, sending in the U.S. Army to forcibly remove Americans from Alaska, and was planning to negotiate with the Soviets precisely which parts of the Pacific and Mountain time zones to give them next, and how much military aid he would give them.

Tisha B’Av has long been the day on which we Jews mourn nearly all of our communal disasters — not just the destruction of the Temples, the destruction of hundreds of thousands if not millions of lives and the enslavement of countless more, and the two exiles from the Holy Land that resulted, but also many subsequent massacres and exiles of the Jews, from the Crusades to the Holocaust, most of which were not, as far as I can tell, so occasioned by internecine conflict.

And now, it has become the day when some of us pray that we are not making the same mistakes all over again.

The traditional Jewish teaching is the the Almighty allowed the First Temple to be destroyed because the Jews committed the sins of idolatry, sexual immorality, and murder. After that, the Temple was rebuilt starting only 70 years later. He allowed the Second Temple to be destroyed because the Jews committed the sins of sinat chinam (causeless hatred) and loshon hara (slander, literally “evil speech”). And it has been 1,930 years, and the Temple still has not been rebuilt. Sometimes this teaching is interpreted to illustrate how serious these relatively amorphous sins are, and sometimes to point out that perhaps these sins are still with us. Recent events certainly support both interpretations.

UPDATE:

KesherTalk has a Tisha B’Av blogburst, and OU.org has a list of seven historical tragedies that took place on Tisha B’Av.

August 12, 2005

Ethnic Cleansing and the World’s Oldest Double Standard

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:24 am

If you were paying attention to the news in 1998 and 1999, the phrase “ethnic cleansing” probably conjures up images of Albanian Muslims being forcibly evicted at gunpoint from their homes in Kosovo, a province, then, of the rump state of Yogoslavia. The European diplomatic community arose in uproar against the atrocities, the U.S. State Department issued a scathing report, and NATO launched a full two and a half months of air strikes against Yugoslav and Serbian forces in a partially-successful attempt to stop the forced relocations.

Serbian President Slobodan Milošević now stands accused before an internationational court in The Hague, of crimes against humanity for ordering the forcible removal of people from their homes and their region solely on the basis of their ethnicity and religion.

Meanwhile, less than 2,000 miles away, another government is preparing to forcibly evict another group of people from their homes and their region solely on the basis of their religion. But this time, European diplomatic community is praising this as “necessary,” and the move has the perhaps-more-than-tacit approval of the U.S. government. In fact, the leader of the country is being threatened with prosecution in The Hague if he does not order the ethnic cleansing.

What’s the difference?

The difference, simply, is that in the second case, the people who are to be forced from their homes are Jews.

That’s it.

I speak, of course, of the impending forced removal of Jews from their homes in Gush Katif and other towns in the Gaza Strip. This is, of course, “Palestinian land” — a Palestinian state in fact if not in law, and Palestinians, unique among all the nations of the world, have a near-universally recognized right to live in a land completely free of Jews. (“Judenrein,” as another regime called it.)

Keep in mind that the issue is not land ownership as such. The Jews living in the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank) live on land that was owned by Jews prior to 1948 or was purchased, generally from absentee Arab landlords in Egypt and Jordan. A transfer of sovereignty need not involve a transfer of land ownership or of populations; in fact, most transfers of sovereignty in history have not changed the ownership of individual plots of land. (Since I grew up in California, I think of the U.S. recognition of Mexican land titles after 1846, but there’s nothing unusual about California in this regard.)

The issue is also not about citizenship. Ethnic Palestinians who are citizens of Israel are permitted to stay; Jews of non-Israeli citizenship are to be forced to leave. Indeed, some Gaza Jews have expressed an interest in taking on Palestinian citizenship, but the Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath said, “they would first have to apply for residency” before they would be permitted to live in their own homes.

Nor is it about economics; on the contrary, many Palestinian Arabs will lose, and have already lost their jobs as Jewish-owned factories have been closed in preparation for the withdrawal.

Two months after Israel’s announcement that it would abandon the industrial zone as part of its proposed evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, the 30-year-old site, hailed as a model of Palestinian-Israeli cooperation, is another casualty of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The disappearance of the carpentry, welding and sewing workshops — including some jointly owned by Israelis and Palestinians — undermines the economic base for 50,000 Palestinians living in the Strip, according to a recent United Nations estimate.

“I don’t know what I’ll do,” said Adeeb Zarouq, 41, a metal-furniture welder, who for the moment has his job at an Erez factory but knows his days of employment are numbered.

“Hamas will say it forced the Israelis out,” and the Israelis will respond with force, Zarouq , the Erez welder, said. “When that happens we, the workers, will be the losers once again.”

Meanwhile, in Israel itself, for once it is Jews not Arabs who are using Nazi analogies to describe Ariel Sharon nad his disengagement plan. As Jeff Jacoby writes:

[T]ens of thousands of Israeli troops are scheduled to carry out Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s “disegagement” — the forced evacuation of every Jewish resident in Gaza and parts of the West Bank. In a country deeply scarred by Holocaust memories, it was inevitable that the wholesale transfer of more than 9,000 Jews from communities where some of them have lived for decades would trigger angry — and anguished — comparisons to Nazism.

In the village of Elei Sinai, some residents plan to wear concentration-camp uniforms or yellow stars with the word “Jude” on the day they are expelled. A Likud Party faction opposed to disengagement calls it “an order the likes of which were last signed in German.” A member of Israel’s parliament set off a storm when he said, “Maybe we killed Eichmann for no reason, because he was also just following orders.”

Such Nazi allusions have been sharply condemned. … Let’s be clear: You don’t have to support disengagement to agree that this Nazi-talk is grotesque. The Israeli army is not the Gestapo. The peaceful Jewish residents who will be forced from the homes and land they love are not being sent to gas chambers. Sharon’s plan may be delusional — instead of enabling Israelis to “disengage” from Palestinian violence, it will bring them more of it, and in deadlier forms — but it isn’t the Final Solution.

And yet . . .

And yet there is no getting around the fact that Israel is about to become the first modern, Western nation in more than 60 years to forcibly uproot a whole population — men, women, children, babies — solely because they are Jews. There is no getting around the fact that the forthcoming expulsions are rooted in the belief that any future Palestinian state must be Judenrein — emptied of its Jews. And while it goes without saying that Sharon and every member of his government abominate the Nazis and all they stood for, there is no getting around the fact that disengagement is meant to appease an enemy that has always regarded the genocidal hatred of Jews in a very different light.

Long before there were “occupied territories,” Haj Amin El-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem and leader of Palestine’s Arabs, urged Hitler to “solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries . . . by the same method that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.” When five Arab armies invaded the newborn Israel in 1948, the secretary-general of the Arab League vowed to wage “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”

More than half a century later, how much has changed? The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, is the author of a book denying the Holocaust and claiming that Zionists collaborated with the Nazis against the Jews of Europe. Palestinian Authority TV broadcasts poisonous diatribes, like one Friday sermon by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris. “The Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers,” he preached. “The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule, because they are treacherous by nature and have been throughout history.”

Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza changes nothing, the senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahard said recently. He told an Italian newspaper that Israel’s existence would be unacceptable even if it were to retreat to the armistice lines of 1949. “In the end, Palestine . . . must become Muslim,” he insisted. “And in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the Earth.”

If someone proposed expelling the Jews from Alabama, or Utah, or London, there would be an uproar — or at least, everyone would recognize this as antisemitism and ethnic cleansing. Someone — unfortunately I can’t remember who — once pointed out that the everyone recognizes the right of Jewis to live in Hebron, Maine, but not in Hebron, Israel. To this we might now add that Jews have the right to live in Palestine, Texas, but not in Palestine, Palestine.

It seems that the modern, right-thinking, “educated” position on the Israeli/Arab issue is exemplified by this well-expressed blog post by Gabriele Corsetti:

Basically, I believe in granting the Arabs living in the territories known as “the West Bank and Gaza” self-determination. Whatever the risks may be for Israel, they have a right to rule themselves. This will also mean that the few hundred thousand Israeli settlers living in the region will have to go, since they will not be able to live there without an army to defend them. Tough but unavoidable, and they probably shouldn’t have gone there in the first place. I also believe that within Israel, any discrimination against the million Arab-Israelis living inside the original borders should cease[.]

Note the double standard here: Arabs have the right to self determination, so Jews living in majority-Arab areas “have to go.” But Arabs living in Jewish-majority areas must be free of discrimination that they are assumed to suffer from. Arabs may not be discriminated against in any way; Jews must be expelled completely.

Not to pick on Gabriele, because nearly everyone seems to say the same thing, but this advocacy of an ethnic/religious double standard is so blithe it seems she doesn’t even know what she’s advocating.

And this is not even to mention the reason she gives for expelling the “few” hundred thousand Jews: that they will “not be able to live there without an army to defend them.” In other words, the Arabs are going to murder the Jews living among them, so the Jews have to leave, and furthermore “they probably shouldn’t have gone there in the first place.” If that’s not rewarding violence and blaming the victim, I don’t know what is!

One other hand, since the Jews will not murder the Arabs living among them, they get to stay — but they need extra protection against “discrimination.” Arabs deserve protection from discrimination, but Jews do not deserve protection from murder. If Jews don’t want to be murdered, it’s their responsibility to stay away from Arabs, not Arabs’ responsibility not to murder them. But if Arabs want to live free of discrimination, Jews are obliged to provide such a life.

Arabs can choose to live in either the Israeli or Palestinian zones — but Jews must be prohibited from entering Palestinian zones.

This double-standard, hypocritical view is standard fare in the diplomatic community, the State Department, the European capitals, and academia. Almost everyone I know who is not an ardent Zionist subscribes to this view — and is utterly and completely oblivious to the fact that they are advocating blatant racial/ethnic/religious discrimination against Jews.

As long as the Arabs can keep convincing Western leaders of this viewpoint, there will never be peace. As soon as they Jews are kicked out of Gaza, the same arguments will be used to kick them out of the “West Bank.” Arabs will launch violent attacks on Jews, the Israeli Army will repond, the diplomats will say the Jews “should never have gone there in the first place” so the Arab murders of Jews ar the fault of the Jews and the solution is for the Jews to withdraw from the West Bank. And then out of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and so on until they “throw the Jews into the sea” like they claimed they were going to do back in 1948.

And then the “problem” will be solved. Once the Jews are all dead, there won’t be any murders of Jews any more, and there will be “peace.”

The only “peace” that can result from withdrawal is the peace of the grave.

Job Growth, Job Loss, and NAFTA

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:21 am

You might recall NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which negotiated by George H.W. Bush in 1991-92, submitted to the Senate by Bill Clinton and ratified in 1993, to the vociferous dismay of isolationists of both parties (Dick Gephardt for the Democrats and Pat Buchanan [remember when he was a Republican?] for the Republicans) . The anti-NAFTA argument was that it would destroy American jobs by increasing opportunities for Mexicans; the pro-NAFTA argument was that it would create American jobs by increasing opportunities to export to Mexico and Canada (somehow the anti-NAFTA crowd was never bothered by losing jobs to Canadians, and the pro-NAFTA crowd never pointed out the racism of this.)

Of course, the real pro-NAFTA argument, which wasn’t made by anybody, is that free trade makes goods cheaper for consumers, and consumers are people too!

Anyway, there is a new report out from Economic Policy Institute on NAFTA after 12 years, which makes the customary error of economic illiteracy of looking at only one side of the coin — they claim to be able to count the jobs lost as a result of NAFTA (1,015,291 U.S. jobs! Exactly!), but they don’t even attempt to count the number of jobs gained as a result of NAFTA — not to mention the gains to U.S. consumer in lower prices. This is akin to when you quit one job to take another, that you are unemployed.

GMU Economics Professor Russell Roberts takes on this report, and adds the following brilliant point:

The US economy added 207,000 jobs in July, based on data from the establishment survey. That is, the government surveys different businesses to estimate total payroll employment and found the number of jobs climbed by 207,000 in July.

This is the 27th consecutive month of job growth. …

As a side note, the Economic Policy Institute has a new study that finds that NAFTA has resulted in 1 million lost jobs since 1993. There isn’t a phrase to describe the intellectual dishonesty of this assessment. When you overstate something, it’s sometimes a result of double-counting. This is half-counting–looking only at jobs that have been lost to displaced production and ignoring jobs created because of expanded opportunities due to producing goods more efficiently.

But even though this number is flawed, it’s still remarkably unremarkable. NAFTA has been in effect for just over eleven and a half years. According to the absurdly [one-sided] assessment of the EPI, NAFTA has destroyed about 87,000 jobs a year. The US economy added more than twice that number in a single month and even that increase of 207,000 is a net number—an increase above and beyond job losses.

(Emphasis added.)

One basic but apparently little-known fact about jobs is that jobs are created and destroyed at phenomenal rates — for manufacturing jobs, about 10% are created and destroyed each year. And as economists Steven Davis, John Haltiwanger, and Scott Schuh have demonstrated (see their book Job Creation and Destruction), jobs are created at phenomenal rates even during recessions. Basically, recessions are characterized by a substantial increase in the rate of job destruction and a mild (or no) decrease in job creation.

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