Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Sometimes You Have to Wonder

So...after your friend get's caught stealing, do you vow vengeance against the cops who caught him? Maybe if you're in organized crime, or a terrorist government like Hamas. Only in their case, the crime was a bit more than stealing.

Israeli troops killed two Palestinian militants planting bombs near the Israel-Gaza border, a day after the army shot dead five gunmen in the West Bank city of Nablus during its biggest raid aimed at arresting militants since mid-2005.

These are the two individuals the Palestinians are vowing vengeance for. "You killed our snivelling coward members who were going to plant bombs and try and kill innocent people! Now WE KILL YOU!"

What a joke. And this is a government ole' ex-President Carter thinks we should give money to? I keep asking the question that's on everyone's mind. "How in the world did he ever get to be President?"

And in the same story:

Elsewhere in Gaza, a top Hamas bombmaker died when a device blew up as he was training militants to prepare explosives.

Forgive me if I almost bust a gut laughing when I see a story like this. Dangerous to play with explosives, kiddies, and if you make a living blowing up women and children, sooner or later, God, Allah, or even karma will come back and light a fire under your rear. In this case, that fire seems to have lit his fuse. Couldn't resist, sorry. No seriously, I can only hope that, in the final moments of this man's life, he was able to take several of his fellow jihadis with him straight to Hell.

Hat tip to Little Green Footballs for these gems...

Monday, February 27, 2006


I'd like to start the week out by recommending you check Ben Stein's latest editorial over at the American Spectator. Ben, as usual, shoots straight on the stifling of freedom of expression and the self-censorship of the "mainstream" American press.

But the media censors itself about the cartoons mocking the prophet of a religion many of whose adherents want to destroy our country and our way of life. We will fight to the death to protect the artists who create Piss Christ, but we'll also fight to the death to protect the feelings of the people who hate us and kill our children. We have surrendered our free expression to people who are at war with us. They kill us in the name of a religion and we bow and scrape to that religion while letting people dump on Christianity and Judaism.

There's a word for this, beyond the words Stockholm Syndrome and the words Political Correctness. The word is cowardice. Or maybe an even shorter word: defeat. Wake up, America. This is serious.

And so it is... It's one thing for the government to try and chip away at our freedoms. It goes beyond pathetic when the "Watchdogs" of government, the press, self-neuters themselves to avoid affending the Left's new favorite religion. The New York Times, always leading the way in making jackasses out of the left through their own action, stated they didn't want to offend any religion by depicting such issues as the evil 12 cartoons. Either to flaunt their hypocrisy in our face or just out of their own ignorance, they then proceeded to show a picture of the Virgin Mary covered in porno images and dung.

Islam seems to have developed a certain celebrity status among the Left, but I'm at a bit of a loss as to why. Islam has not gone through its Reformation and Renaissance periods. It has not produced thoughts on freedom and individual liberty. It is a conflict religion, born in war (Mohammed conquered Mecca when it wouldn't convert) and bathed in its justifications. Say what you will about Christianity and the violent periods it sustained after most of Europe became Christian. Christianity went through a period of Reason and Enlightenment where the great thinkers of the day revived early Christian teachings and applied them to man's desire for individual liberty and freedom. Islam has not done this, nor is there any guarantee it will, so I'm still at a loss as to why the hedonistic Left would be so enamored by a religion that is high on human right's abuses and discrimination against women.

Now as the jihadis line up to take a shot at me, here's the obligatory, I'm not saying Islam should be banned, restricted, or vilified just because I don't personally like the religion. It just stuns me that the Left and "mainstream" is so willing to censor itself for a religious philosophy espoused in many dictatorships (sorry, emirates and kingdoms) that would have gladly censored them without any help or dhimmitude on their part. It sets a dangerous precedent to start down that path, and its reassuring to see old warhorses like Ben Stein take a stand in that regard.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Unwinnable War

In the debate of history, especially recently, we hear a lot of talk about "unwinnable wars". Which would you think, of all those, would be the best candidate for such a war? Some of you are shouting "Vietnam!" while others shout "Iraq!". Maybe even some are yelling "The War Between the States!", right? No, all these wars were (and are in the case of Iraq) winnable militarily and to the benefit of the United States. Leaving aside other symbolic and ridiculous wars like the wars on poverty, smoking, and obesity, the most unwinnable war we have ever waged has been the War on Drugs.

No war in U.S. history has lasted longer, cost more or done so much damage to this nation as the Drug War. Begun in the late 1960's during LBJ's administration as part of the destructive "Great Society", this modern day Prohibition sought to regulate the consumption of a variety of narcotics. Like its older brother in the 20's, it has caused an explosion in the strength and efficiency of organized crime.

Crime in the United States began its current upward trend after the initiation of programs like the Drug War, helped along generously with the destruction of poor families with the various Welfare programs, and saw its only fallbacks when massive crime prevention and prosecution netted waves of dealers and users in the 80's. The permissive '90's saw their return to some extent, but mostly set the stage by creating a bit of a vaccuum.

That vaccuum was filled by new and more lethal gangs from Central and South America, possibly the worst among them MS-13, which got its start in the Marxist insurgency against the El Salvadoran government. Deprived of their traditional sources of funding by the demise of the Soviet Union in the Cold War and international pressure, terrorist organizations, especially Al-Qaeda, developed working relationships in South America with some of the worst of the drug gangs. Coupled with pre-existing muslim enclaves in those countries, it allowed the terrorist networks to grow and flourish with their new allies, organized crime and remnant Marxist armies. As far as we know, these relationships exist through today.

The very worst elements of world society, not the least of which include our declared enemies, are funded by the lucrative drug trade made possible in large part by our government's draconian drug Prohibition.

What does this say about the "War on Drugs"? Regardless of your personal feelings on drugs, you might want to at least consider that its effects on our society, our culture, and our international position have been wholly deleterious. Prohibiting these drugs merely made them more desirable and more expensive. From a number of recreational users and a handful of hardcore addicts prior, we now have an explosion of hardcore addicts and a significant portion of our society that could easily be considered occasional or recreational users. Many of these, if not most, start when they're kids.

I personally don't like the thought of having most drugs fully legalized. I don't want my kid exposed to them. I don't want to have to deal with its exposure to my friends or family. But I've seen legal drugs, prescription drugs, do just as much damage and I had to deal with those consequences. Better responsibility taught to our children coupled with moderate controls on availability, like prescription drugs, will keep them out of the hands of most kids and remove much of the "aura" of desirability. I don't advocate "giving kids drugs" or letting them flood into our country. Take the restrictiveness out, though, and you'll take the majority of the money along with it. With that money source dried up, you will shrivel organized crime overnight and funding for various enemies of ours will be all but gone.

Isn't it ironic that the drug cartels in Asia and South America want the Prohibition as badly as our federal government? Shouldn't that give the feds pause? Shouldn't that make us think twice as well? Perhaps full legalization isn't the way, but neither has been full Prohibition, and every day it exists is another day we weaken our country to the benefit of our enemies.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Missing the Obvious

One has to wonder and marvel at the utopian mindset of those in the "mainstream" media, which is almost anything but. Examples continuously pop up, despite their protestations to the contrary. One of the latest is from the much-vaunted ABC News, asking if the basic concept of self defense is a right, or if it's really just vigilante justice...

The story was most likely prompted by the wave of "no flight" self-defense bills working their way through several state legislatures. These states and most others have required for some time that, when confronted by a criminal intent on doing harm in public or taking from you what is yours, it is your duty to flee. Anything less usually warrants some degree of criminal prosecution. You heard that right. ABC pays lip service to the rights argument, but shows a degree of bias with this statement.

The "Stand Your Ground" laws would allow people to defend themselves with deadly force even in public places when they perceive a life-threatening situation for themselves or others, and they would not be held accountable in criminal or civil court even if bystanders are injured.

The bias here stems from the insinuation that one shouldn't focus on the fact that criminals are the ones being targeted. Any ole' gunfight could break out between two normal citizens and result in innocent men, women, and children suffering. How callous such a law could be, right?

And, of course, The Artist Formerly Known as Handgun Control Inc. had to weigh in.

"You don't just broadly paint a new statewide law saying, if you're in doubt, go ahead and shoot and kill the other person," says Peter Hamm, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington. "It's anathema to peace and calm in our communities."

Everybody get that? Our communities are full of peace and calm as long as you don't have the ability to defend yourself in public. Then if you get mugged, raped or killed by wandering thugs that might be in your neighborhood or even downtown, then well, at least the peace and calm of the community wasn't violated by your evil gun.

The real bias of this comes in the form of the question even being seriously asked. "Is water just wet, or is it really a dangerous substance that can drown you?" Self defense has a long, enshrined history as a basic natural right of humanity. Established law in England before the founding of the Republic, but common sense makes it obvious that this right has been with us since the first man or woman picked up the first sticks and stones to defend themselves against a stronger attacker. To assume that we do not have a right to defend ourselves regardless of where we are is no different than assuming that criminals have a right to prey on us as they see fit. Really, there's no argument there, it's just fact. There is no middle ground on that position.

Should we assume nothing will ever go wrong with this law? That's just as ridiculous, but I'm a big fan of personal responsibility and I think that walks hand in hand with personal liberty. If you're going to have one, you should have the other. If you abuse that liberty at the expense of someone else, you'll be punished to the full extent of the law and rightly so, but a freedom shouldn't be taken away just because something bad might happen. If that were the standard, there'd be no freedoms at all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Don’t Let Real Numbers Get In The Way Of Good Rhetoric.

What do we always here from the Left? “If you cut taxes, we won’t have as much money for government programs”! Well, that’s certainly a fear you’d hoist on any Democrat or RINO these days isn’t it? Perish the thought that you can’t take more of my money for unconstitutional projects. Well, sometimes even logic gets in the way of their argument, as noted today in the USA Today in this quote from Sen. Bill Frist.

"Many people in Washington have long known a dirty little secret about tax-cut measures: When done right, they actually result in more money for the government.

Ever since the Senate approved the last major tax relief bill, in 2003, revenues have increased every year. In 2004, they went up 5.5%. Last year, they rose 14.5%, the largest increase in nearly 25 years.

Total government collections, in fact, increased more after President Bush's 2003 tax cuts than they did after President Clinton's 1994 tax hikes.”

Hat tip to RightWingNews for that quote.

So, if we cut taxes, we potentially can get more money? Yes, Virginia, it looks that way and there may even be a Santa Claus.

The New York Times And Curbing Government “Freedoms”

Most times when we speak of freedoms, we’re speaking of the freedoms of the individual. Well, the New York Times generally doesn’t mean that, being a collectivist Marxist paper. Trust me, that’s not just rhetoric. They are collectivist and very Marxist. But, I digress.

In Tuesday’s issue, as relayed by Newsbusters, the headline on the front page read “States Curbing Right to Seize Private Homes.” Only in the Times would they view the abusive use of eminent domain by local authorities as a “right” to be curbed. Well, not only in the Times, but most assuredly in the Times. It speaks to the large number of states attempting to provide some sort of stopgap in the wake of the Kelo decision. Municipalities see this as carte blanch to enact their various “urban renewal” programs, often disregarding or ignoring the fact that their citizens live and work in the areas they’re going to trip over.

This is merely a followup to their original clarion call immediately following the Kelo decision, in which they jubliantly noted that "finally" the property rights issue was being dealt with to their satisfaction. This mentality, that the needs of the "public" are served by sacrificing the freedoms of the individual runs fairly strong and deep among the Left. Of course, they tend to be rather hypocritically selective when it comes down to property rights or gun rights than say Fourth Amendment or "privacy" rights.

It has always struck me as somewhat odd that any political group so heavily entrenched in our society could see rights made up out of whole cloth in the Constitution that deserved federal "Big Brother" protection while flatly ignoring rights clearly enumerated by the same document. Such is the way of the collectivist, though, and their continued championing of the bureaucracy over the individual should leave no question as to where their loyalties, and their bias lies.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Give Hamas Money?

The issue of the U.S. cutting off aid, in what is perhaps our most ridiculous aid program to date, in response to Hamas wining the election among the Palestinian Arabs was, I thought, a fairly cut and dry one. That was, of course, until President Carter decided to stick his nose into the issue with his Washington Post op-ed.

The kindly old ex-President has a long history of playing with dictators and enemies of America, something none of us would have suspected from the kindly old peanut farmer from Georgia. Ankle Biting Pundits has a very good list of his past activities cavorting with everyone from the Soviets to Castro to Chavez. Perhaps after he botched dealing with Khomeini back in ’79, he snapped and went full-tilt left. Maybe he wasn’t as “shocked” as he said he was when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Hmm… Well, regardless of that, Mr. Carter has some gems to contribute regarding the new Palestinian “government”.

First, let me get out of the way that with very few exceptions, I’m not a big fan of bribe money, which is exactly what our “aid” to the Palestinians is. We paid for a corrupt regime, which I absolutely didn’t think we should and now we’re expected to pay for a terrorist regime because it might not be as corrupt? That’s rich. Even better is Carter’s insistence at numerous points in the op-ed that the U.S. can work with Abbas because the guy is the President and not beholden to Hamas. No, he’s not beholden, but he’s also not with any significant power and authority either.

To assume Hamas will let a man whose views they don’t agree with have any say is laughable enough. For Mr. Carter to assume that the known terrorist organization Hamas, which despite his assurance that it hasn’t “claimed” any terrorist bombings in the past eighteen months still has as its core tenant driving the Israelis into the sea, will simply bow to the inevitability of political change is bad comedy.

Hamas wants the U.S. money not to pay teachers or doctors. It wants it to buy illegal weapons to blow up Israelis. Don’t kid yourselves that thugs can suddenly become altruistic. This is one of those areas that is so black and white even some of those gifted with “gray-only” vision are seeing how twisted these guys are. Talk about killers of innocent women and children, folks, it doesn’t get any clearer than blowing up a busload of Israeli women and kids, or a pizza parlor, or an intersection. Would you be this lenient on them if it were your neighborhood? Would Mr. Carter be if the bombings were in Americus, Georgia instead of Tel Aviv?

The Palestinian Arabs voted in these thugs, mostly because Hamas promised to end corruption and to drive the Israelis into the see. They’re looking for some kind of major victory here. They made their bed. Now they can burn in it. This will go nowhere but down and I guarantee you it will be the fault of Hamas and its supporters. I also can guarantee you that Carter and his ilk will blame the U.S. and Israel for not giving the terrorists the money to buy the bullets and bombs to shoot them with. Mark my words.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sometimes They Shine A Light

The Indianapolis Star doesn't always shine a light on government overruns or cost inefficiencies, but in Sunday's edition, they did. It brings up some significant numbers on some very big problems in state and local government.

First, let me say, I know most county and state government offices do an awful lot of work for very little compensation and with just as miniscule of budgets. Much of the infrastructure and protection for the state and counties' citizens goes largely unnoticed or uncommented on because there are thousands of tireless workers who carry on the fight to enforce the laws on the books and care for what Indiana citizens utilize every day.

That said, there are just as big of areas, mostly at the high administrative level, that are inefficient and wasteful. Multiple layers of government at the local level coupled with vastly oversized education and welfare bureaucracies create a ridiculous drain on the economy and are responsible for most of the vast increases in property taxes with which we must contend. The Star's editorial is just one small light on a vast problem and one that doesn't get enough headlines. Usually, it seems easier to fire whole fields of investigators or transfer whole offices to other duties in the hopes of being seen as doing something, anything to change "business as usual" government, than to go after the big lobbies and big unions that could seriously cripple or end the political life of the average politician. We must do what we can to more focus and direct the engine of our government to the areas that truly need healed instead of a small fix here or little bandaid there. While those small fixes seem to grab the big headlines, they solve the least amount of problems.

Our big problems are, we have an out-of-control property tax liability coupled with a horrendously ravenous welfare and education bureaucracy. The usual response would be to cut every other department and hope it looked like enough of a savings to satisfy the average taxpayer, even if it meant overall state laws and taxpayer services would suffer. More violations against state environmental regs or failed highway projects are easier to answer for than to reduce the number of welfare bureaucrats or shrink school administration any day of the week. That's why it's surprising to see the Star, a nominally Republican paper that always seems to favor Democrat issues, write such an editorial.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I Suppose I Shouldn't Be Surprised...

Although the public in general seems not to care about the Cheney shooting incident, and I've noted I'm not too concerned over it, the media is not just obsessing about it. They're using it to revive their favorite spectre of a leftist issue from the dead, gun confiscation.

I've decided to stop calling it the pet term of the left they've been using for years. It's not gun control, it's gun confiscation. You'll find web page after web page that has such quotes. Not all the historical quotes are legitimate, like the famed "Hitler quote", but most are. To deny it is to say you haven't been watching TV or reading the paper for the last thirty years.

Now, onto the topic, after Cheney's incident of shooting one of his lawyer friends, the left is now using it, in addition to a "bash the administration" topic, for gun confiscation rhetoric.

The Cavalier Daily's editorial by Marta Cook is but one of those voices, albeit a small one.

While statistics prove that gun accidents kill thousands of innocent people each year, many gun rights advocates argue that gun ownership is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. However, if these people had paid more attention in American Politics 101, they would see that current gun laws are a horrible interpretation of what the Founding Fathers intended.

Most of the "innocents" killed every year, of course, have been time and again proven to be involved in gang and drug shootouts, but let's not let facts get in the way of a good rant. Gun rights advocates don't just argue it is a fundamental right to own firearms. They have the weight of history to back them up. Self defense goes back to sticks and stones, and there's always been someone around who wanted to ban either one, usually the person wanting power over the stick and stone owners. And a horrible interpretation? Well, let's press on...

These wise men gave the right to own a gun to the people in order to maintain "a well regulated militia," which is "necessary for the security of a free State." The vast majority of gun owners today are not part of militias. Thus, the Second Amendment essentially is irrelevant to the question of whether or not stricter gun laws should be imposed. Americans cannot hide behind vague statements of the great men who wrote the Bill of Rights over 200 years ago. Misinterpreting and manipulating the Amendment obfuscates the spirit of the law meant to guide, not suffocate, the American people.

You'll find this is the typical refuge of the 90's era propoganda for leftists. While most don't espouse it much anymore, Cheney's accident has I think revived it a little, that guns for self-defense is not a "guaranteed" right and thus the argument is moot and even if they were it's an "obsolete" right. This is the quintessential cry of the leftist. Natural rights like self-defense are "obsolete", but abortion on demand, taxpayer subsidies of dung and urine art, and eradication of religion from the light of day are "modern" civil rights, more important than such childish Colonial notions.

Definitely has a lot of room to talk about minsintepreting and manipulating things. I'm sure she'd want you to think such statements as these were irrelevant as well.

"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson Papers (C.J. Boyd, Ed. 1950)

"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426.

"(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -James Madison.

"Arms in the hands of citizens (may) be used at individual private self defense..." -John Adams, A defense of the Constitutions of the Government of the USA, 471 (1788).

"To disarm the people (is) the best and most effectual way to enslave them..." -George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 380.

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." -Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-8.

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined...The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun. -Patrick Henry.

And don't forget to visit this exceptional treatise on GunCite.

Furthermore, the individual freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights are limited the minute a person's right to bear arms takes away another person's right to live. The endangerment of another person's life should make people question what is more important -- an arguably obsolete right, or making American streets, homes and schools safer.

Again, the "obsolete" argument. What's more important? Safety or freedom? You'd think with the Left pushing the opposite end of that so vigorously these days with the NSA wiretap issue, they'd tread a bit more lightly, but alas, no. There's also the little note that even if the Second Amendment weren't written, the federal government still would have no power over firearm control or confiscation because it is not one of the enumerated powers of government. But when has that ever stopped a leftist?

For a more complete history of the modern gun control movement's flowering attention by the media, especially in developing such canards as are in the Cavalier's piece, see here.

That this is not on the lips of every socialist-leaning politician from the local town council up to Congress is because gun confiscation has been seen as a losing issue time and again. Going from de facto control of the government in 1992 to minority party status today, the Democrats only in the past year or two seemed to realize that no one wanted to hear rhetoric that sounded more like Stalin or Mao than American. I say, though, let'em talk. If they really believe such things as the Cavalier so, well, cavalierly assumes they do, let the Democrats and the legions of the Left step forward and again shout it to the rooftops. They'll only cost themselves more power and purchase for themselves more ashes to dine on.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

But We Don't Live in Candy Land

At times I wonder if any leftist is firing on all cylinders. Although there is a significant debate in this country about the proper use of the military, a debate which only seems to surface when a Republican is President, to argue as the city of San Francisco supervisors (most notably Chris Daly) have, that there should be no standing military and, ignores I think the realities of the modern world. Even going so far as to reject having the USS Iowa dock there as a museum goes a bit beyond the pale, especially after their senator wasted our tax dollars to get it there.

I had a chance to hear Daly the other day on the radio. Unfortunately, he was speaking with Sean Hannity who wasn't really interested in hearing what he had to say. He mostly attacked Daly as irresponsible and a bit retarded, and those arguments may carry a bit of their own weight. He is a tool of the rather strong socialist agenda in San Francisco, after all. My personal belief is that Daly, although carrying some half-way logical arguments, stands out as being rather naive.

I could see his argument that it is not in the general history and nature of this nation to have a standing military more than a cadre. This is true. Up until the Cold War, the U.S. armed forces always shrunk back to a small cadre after every major conflict since the nation's founding. The Founding Fathers most certainly were not desirous of such a force sitting amongst the people. Professional armies were seen as little more than government-sanctioned brigands. One could argue that, although an Army's purpose is to destroy the enemy, the U.S. Army's role and function after World War II altered dramatically.

What changed that role was the Cold War. It was our first untraditional war and it lasted over 45 years. Although we were not constantly building our armed forces, they were certainly at a greater strength even under the gutting blade of Carter than they had been before the Second World War. The existence of a force in the world, Stalin's Soviet Union, that had seen its chief rival for global domination destroyed with the Nazis, realized that there was one more major impediment to its dreams, the United States.

The looking glass of history, usually a mirky thing, is fairly clear on what happened next. The U.S. was infiltrated by a myriad of spies who went all the way up to Presidential advisors and other highly-placed Executive Branch officials. U.S. technology was stolen and foreign policy was in many areas subverted, like the U.S. dealings with Chang Kai-Shek of China. And, probably the least-reported fact, Soviet agents placed weapons caches, including it is said small tactical nuclear devices, all around the country should the Cold War ever overheat past the norm of proxy battles. The U.S. took over 35 years to get serious about defeating this threat to its existence and finally in the late 80's - early 1990's succeeded with Reagan's economic victory.

The Armed Forces were stripped again under Clinton, again more along the lines of a Carter stripping and not a Wilson or Truman stripping, and became a social experiment playground for the leftists of that administration as well as an international police force to be used at the U.N.'s discretion and on the U.S. taxpayer's dime. The rise of Islamofascism to the point where it could not be ignored, about the time the latest in a string of attacks on U.S. interests culminated in an attack on U.S. soil, renewed the need for a strong military and an offensive posture. The U.S. was again at war.

Those are the facts. The reason for them is still open to debate. Certainly there are those who hold that the military-industrial complex we have been warned about since the 50's just wants to keep making money and thus finds ways, possibly even engineering these conflicts and paper villains, to keep themselves in money. I hold this conspiracy theory at a lot greater length than I used to. I bought into the facts and figures of a corrupt industry further corrupting our government in the early 90's to some degree. Seeing that industry fall to pot in the 90's even with a very militarily adventurous President (Clinton deployed U.S. forces to more spots in his eight years than had been done in the entire history of the nation), it was obvious the only strings they were pulling were in their threadbare pants pockets desparately looking for contracts to keep them afloat. The MI complex is the real paper tiger. It is an industry that has grown bloated and corrupt on the corruption of the federal bureaucracy, not the other way around, and when its funding is cut it is as weak as Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick alibi. I just don't buy it. Could be proven wrong some day, but not from what I've seen to date.

There's also the matter of Republicans just wanting to take us to war, but that doesn't really hold since as previously noted, President Clinton sent our forces into harms way more than all other Presidents to date. Also, WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam were all initiated and primarily conducted under Democratic presidencies. These are the things you miss when you sleep through history class because you stayed too late and the revisionist history antiwar protest.

Let's also consider last that the U.S. is and has been since the beginning of the Cold War a Superpower. Everyone and their grandmother is looking for an excuse to knock us down a peg. When we were just an upstart New World nation and the world powers were all in Europe, that was no big deal. Now that Europe is in serious decline, the U.S. militarily and economically dominates much of the rest of the world, and emergent communist/capitalist fusion nations arise to challenge U.S. supremacy and replace it with their own (read: China) , our place in the world is different.

When we were that insignficant New World nation, we had no need of a large or professional army. A small cadre did fine. With our new place in the world, and Islamofascists carrying on the legacy of the Nazis, China and the emerging South American socialist leaders carrying on the dying embers of communism, a geriatric Europe trying desparately to stay relevant, and the rest of the world just wanting U.S. money and none of its culture, we have a lot of enemies. Most still trade with us and care less what happens in the grand scheme of things. Many, though, would love to see a world where the U.S. didn't exist and the only thing that stops some of them, or at least provides a pause in their plans, is U.S. military might.

Although I have painted a fairly bleak scenario of world affairs, it is by and large an accurate one. The world doesn't exist in a vaccuum, reacting only to us and otherwise wanting to coexist in peace and brotherly love. The world is still driven by power and money and others want what the U.S. has. Whether the U.S. can survive all these challenges remains to be seen, but one thing is clear. The deluded childlike Candyland-dwelling denizens of San Francisco haven't even begun to fathom that reality and likely won't anytime in the near future. To subscribe to their ideas or give them merit in this instance is to be as naive as they are, so it's worth exploring the other side, the correct side, as always.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


So ah...I just found out that, according to the U.S. paper and TV press, apparently no one in our history has ever been wounded or killed in a hunting accident. That's all I can assume from the virtual barrage of news stories surrounding Vice President Cheney accidentally shooting his lawyer friend with birdshot. I personally have been hunting and, until now, assumed I had heard correctly that things like this and much worse had happened before. Thank GOD the media was there to clue me in on just how wrong I was... What would we do without them?

I Think We're Still At War...

Looks like the mantle of hacking U.S. sites just to keep us off balance is no longer solely the purview of the Chinese. Apparently, backwards Islamists have decided to jump in the pool and start denial of service attacks against any site that dares show those retarded cartoons. Ah well, post away I say. If the media can post endless pictures of Iraqi POW's humiliated like the dogs they were (those weren't exactly lowly footsoldiers in that prison), then I suppose our tolerance of free expression can handle the Mohammed 12 just a little longer. So what are you waiting for China!? You're falling behind! Are you gonna let some internet cafe jihadi beat you at the game you started?!

Speaking of, and this is just a fun fact to know and tell. Being a fan of history, sometimes you run across little unconnected facts that seem to explain all kinds of things when put in proper context. Ever hear the name Otto Skorzeny? Most haven't. He was known as "Hitler's favorite commando" and by all accounts he was one of the very best. A Nazi to the core, Skorzeny was the prototype Hitler wet dream. He survived the war and lived to a ripe old age in South America. One of his most notable and verifiable acts after the war was training some of the first PLO terrorists in support of the Egyptian fascist officer's corps.

Combine the fact that the fascists remained alive and well in the Arab Middle East, gaining strength in Nasser's Egypt, Hussein's Iraq and before (the Baath party was a renewed fascist party) with such illustrious Nazi support as Nasser. Mix it with Arab hatred of anyone attempting to claim a parcel of land they believed they rightly conquered and subjugated (Judea, Samaria, and the Israeli coastal region) and the current hatred of Jews by Arabs and Persians alike seems to make a lot more sense. Thanks Otto for helping us connect the dots! Oddly, he seems to be a small part of a bigger picture. See here.

"You are trying to take what I have rightly stolen!" - The Princess Bride

Poor Pappy

Speaking of history, you might've also heard that the University of Washington student senate doesn't want to honor its alumni, Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, Marine leader of the famed Black Sheep squadron of World War II because they're such brainwashed leftists, if Ward Churchill ran off a cliff, National Geographic camera crews would send them scurrying after him (Run little lemmings, run!). Sorry, I don't feel very impartial when faced with such monumentally stupid comments as these...

Student senator Jill Edwards, according to minutes of the student government's meeting last week, said she "didn't believe a member of the Marine Corps was an example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce."

Ashley Miller, another senator, argued "many monuments at UW already commemorate rich white men."

Senate member Karl Smith amended the resolution to eliminate a clause that said Boyington "was credited with destroying 26 enemy aircraft, tying the record for most aircraft destroyed by a pilot in American Uniform," for which he was awarded the Navy Cross.

Smith, according to the minutes, said "the resolution should commend Colonel Boyington's service, not his killing of others."

I'm certain their parents feel that was money well spent. My kid went to UW and all I got back was this little leftist! Charming. Sometimes you wish you had the cash to just audit course after course of this nonsense just so you could throw a little cold reality on the lectures this Anti-U.S. propoganda was spewed in. Well, at least I wish that...

Thus ends today's news bulletins. Just felt like commenting on some ridiculous stories today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Guns & Butter

In the ongoing debate regarding the Iraq war, there is constant harping over whether we should be funding the war or funding x number of social projects. Usually “the poor” or “victims” of something or other, the latest Hurricane, the evils of health care, whatever are cited as the rightful recipients of government largesse, not some war in the Middle East. Regardless of your stance on the war, you should at least agree on this element.

Constitutionally, the power of the government is limited, and one of the delegated powers of government is to make war on our behalf. Congress declares it and the Executive leads. Wars have always been and will always be very costly. That’s why we try to avoid them. With this in mind, let’s look at the myriad of social programs.

Agreeing with James Madison, I can find nowhere in the Constitution where any single one of them is a federal mandate and thus a worthy recipient of my or anyone else’s tax dollars. I think many of the noble causes are worth a mix of charitable time and money, voluntarily given by a number of us to help our fellow man. I pray that many of them can find that funding and that those who need help can receive it. I do not, however, feel that we should be held at the point of a gun to fund an incompetent bureaucracy to rob from us, take a carrying charge, then redistribute the money in some scheme or other that is filled with corruption of all sorts and mismanagement.

As the "Reverend" Lowery so eloquently put it as he was slamming the bully pulpit at Coretta Scott King's funeral, “For war, billions more, but no more for the poor.” This statement, of almost any, should clearly indicate the basic feeling of the Left and all its disciples on the responsibility of government. Their root belief, from the nightly news broadcasts bemoaning not enough money in Medicare to the cries of stealing school lunches and ketchup packets from the mouths of poor minority public school students, the Left has not only adopted the care and well-being of Nanny State as their sole reason for existence, they have come to accept that it is what any "reasonable" and "sensible" American would want as well.

They see Libertarians and conservatives as the aberration. We make no sense, because we want to cripple the noble programs they have put into place to protect us all. We could only be doing it out of spite, out of hatred for the children...

Never once do I see it mentioned that the sheer cost may be too overpowering. Never have I heard a single leftist speak to how these programs are failing partially due to a wasteful and sometimes corrupt government bureaucracy and partially because they are endless cash machines that devour every last dollar in their path. Admit that on the nightly news? See that in the editorial pages of the New York Times or Washington Post? I don't think so.

Because of this basic failure on the Left's part to understand this simple fact, that there is no bottomless well of money for them to siphon off and use on their pet projects, that it is in fact all our money being forcibly taken from us and wrongly so at that, they hold no credit with me in the halls of debate or in their arguments that war should be set aside for domestic projects, butter instead of guns.

The Constitution wasn't written that way, and rightly so. It never asked of us to do that and we should never assume that we must. To do so will only bankrupt us all and eventually put paid to the dream that is America. I know which side I'm on. How about you?

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Morsel Too Juicy

The Indianapolis Star wrote a short editorial in favor of eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT today. I, for one, agree with them. Despite the vaunted tax cuts of the current Administration, the AMT continually eats a greater and greater chunk of those of gains.

Established as a way to stick it to a miniscule number of millionaires who were able to evade paying tax through crafty use of the tax code, the AMT last year ensnared, according to the Star, 3.6 million Americans and threatens to affect 20 million this year. That includes a large number of people earning less than $100,000 a year, but who are smarter than the rest of us at navigating the Byzantine tax code. It is precisely the nightmare scenario I would expect from “do-gooder” legislation that was designed to gouge a few. The law of unintended consequences reigns supreme. How many more of us will eventually be subsumed into this tax monster is anyone’s guess, but at this time, Congress appears unable or unwilling to stop it.

The question unasked is why? Why would Congress, with such obvious evidence before them that this tax hurts people it was never even intended to apply to, allow the AMT to continue to exist, or not have included such a simple fix as adjusting for inflation? Leaving aside that the tax is an immoral, leftist way of sticking it to people Congress feels don’t deserve the money they’ve earned, why wouldn’t Congress think of the little guy?

The answer to that is both simple and complex all at the same time. Congress will never independently repeal a tax that earns money. The only way they will is if they are forced by public opinion and a strong executive and then the desire usually is a temporary repeal. Congress also is full of individuals, many millionaires themselves, who seem to have it in for those who succeed in business and don’t “give back their fair share”. The reason for this is, the House and Senate are infected with a “socialism is best” mentality for the country and the AMT fits that like a glove. Nothing that not only is a proven money-maker but so clearly a tool of “soft communism” wealth-redistribution would ever be tossed out by the diseased in those bodies. Of course, I don’t mean every Congressman, but the majority appears to hold this position.

The House and Senate have also had years to address this plan and won’t even let a little band-aid like halting expansion to pass out of conference, because it makes such a juicy bargaining tool for other legislation. The Bush administration claims they want the AMT gone, but they won’t stake out the political capital to do it. They seem happy to rest on their current tax-cutting laurels. This perhaps goes further to exhibit that the Bush administration has never been that fiscally conservative. They don’t want to get rid of such taxes anymore than the Congress does.

Still, the people desperately want the repeal, so what to do? Congress and the White House will beat the drums and carp to excess that they want to see the AMT gone, but they will treat it as nothing more than a minor campaign promise, the kind that never gets fulfilled. The only way to make sure anything is done is to tie it to the power of the ruling party. I guarantee you the Democrats will never even publicly consider repealing the AMT, so that leaves the Republicans and their lip-service to tax reform. It must be made more potent and unfortunately it is up to us the citizenry to make that more the case. This tax needs gone in the worst way, and until something can be done to stave off the opportunistic desires of the government, the AMT is here to stay.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A Simple Lesson in Bias

I like simple, obvious lessons. They get the point across better sometimes than compare and contrast because peoples' innate preferences can sometimes get in the way. Parables worked for the Church for almost 2000 years, so there must be something to it.

Let's say you're the PR director of a large corporation. There are corporate officers you like and whose direction for the company you admire and corporate officers who you don't get along with and who seem to want to take the company in a direction you think is pretty retarded. Most of your friends are in the first group and only a few are in the second, those mostly ones whose commitment to that "opposite" policy is weak.

There's a scandal. Certain company officers from the group you don't like appear to have acted improperly and might have taken bribes in the form of gifts and money to do so. The only problem is, there's evidence that your friends might have done the same thing. In fact, as a PR officer, the longer you look into it, the evidence just gets worse for your friends.

However, they are still your friends and you don't want to let them have it as much as you should. You've been spinning the PR to implicate primarily the group you dislike and don't agree with. It only makes sense that they're guilty because you knew they were taking the company in the wrong direction anyway. This just helps you prove it. But how to rectify your friends' involvement. You decide to downplay most of it and ignore the rest.

Why do you do this? Well, they're your friends for one and overall if they keep the company going in the direction you wanted, what's a little misconduct? You are now the mainstream media.

Does the object lesson seem to be a bit in-your-face and obvious? Have you read this thinking "duh, rather obvious there, don't have to beat me over the head with it"? You should have. In fact, most Americans should, but personal preference and even prejudice often prevents that very thing. When, for example, the media creates hours of TV and phone books worth of stories on the Abramoff scandal, even promoting people like Harry Reid's attacks against them for his own political advantage, that's one thing. But when they ignore his involvement or at the very least downplay it, then they are guilty by association. Their bias not only hurts their credibility, but it also puts them at risk of violating the whole alleged purpose of their job, to objectively provide the public with news. It makes everything they say suspect and removes them from a position of trust with those they allege to support...we the American people.

Seriously want to know about Media Bias? Then start with this primer, Bernie Goldberg's Bias. Move on to Arrogance. Then you've got the basics. The Left often tells you the two greatest words you can ever take from one of their "lessons" is "Question Authority". What they usually omit, but what you should take away from this at the very least, is that the Authority you question shouldn't just be your President, your Congressman or your legislator. It should also be your news anchor, newspaper, news mag, oh, and the Leftist who told you to Question Authority after he spouted off his own agenda. Everybody's got a bias and everybody's got an agenda. You have one, I have one, and the liberal crusader journalist sitting there righting about evil Republicans and saintly Democrats (and not writing at all about Libertarians) most certainly has one.

Is there a source of unbiased, uncorrupted news? I don't think there actually is, because news, like history is written by people and people are not only biased, sometimes they're quite good at lieing or at least omitting the truth. Your best bet, and I've said this before, is to educate yourself. Learn people's biases and use it to filter out what likely is the best and most truthful of what you see and read. That's just critical thinking and the best you can do. Two places dedicated to looking at the media's bias from the right and left and good places to start the "filter" process are Newsbusters and Media Matters. Media Matters tends to be a left-leaning reaction to Newsbusters more often than not, but hey I wanted to provide you with both sides to start. It's also harder to read based on the site layout at times, but hey. See, there's bias everywhere.

Will you always get the truth this way? Will you not be deceived? Actually, you still probably will be occasionally, but being spoon fed the occasional piece of crap is far preferable to having it shoveled in daily with a bulldozer.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Sensation of Running Through Quicksand

We know property taxes in Indiana are about to go from bad to worse. We know the system is horribly broken and that it took an election year for the words even to be mentioned by our politicians. Still, attempting to fix it appears to be about as realistic as running through quicksand. The more they meddle with little pet ideas for fixing property tax, the more hopeless the situation appears to be, as seen in the Indianapolis Star yesterday.

So far, we've had a four-hour lobbyist hearing that managed to waste four hours of the time allotted to the problem. There is a 285-page jumble of a variety of pet programs and projects thrown together by various legislators which has the generally related thread of having something vaguely to do with property tax. Do any of them suggest any meaningful cuts in the way counties and municipalities do government? Apparently not in any way worth mentioning, they don't. The general meme seems to be that other services should be taxed that haven't been taxed before or that taxes on other goods should be increased.

In an odd coupling, Governor Daniels and Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson have pushed a proposal from the Indiana Association of Cities & Towns, a group that was on the wrong side of the eminent domain issue. This lobbying group suggests that counties be given more freedom to tax whatever they wish to tax. They suggest that if the state were to free them to tax as they wish, say more restaurant food and beverage taxes for example, then they could lessen their dependence on property taxes.

If one were to assume for a minute that local governments would cut off a source of funding just because they were provided another source of funding, then I'd seriously want to know what meds that person was on, because they have to be good. Local governments have shown that with increased revenue comes increased pet projects. The less popular the project, the more likely the local government will attempt to pass it with as little public input as possible. Take the late-night one-day-announced sessions by towns like Carmel. They don't want public comment, so they make it nearly impossible for realistic access while maintaining the little facade that "they gave us a chance and we ignored it".

As an aside, I would note that if we were serious about our hatred of taxes and local governments not seemingly having their collective heads on straight, we might remind them that electing them in November was their chance. They'd do best not to ignore it.

Of course, they will ignore it. They thrive on politics as usual and apathy about government combined with ignorance of exactly who is running local government. This allows them to keep the masses at bay, operating just below their radar as they drive their municipalities deeper in debt. The rise in local property taxes is the result of these same municipalities being irresponsible with their money. And it's not always the local town and county councils. Sometimes there is judicial or federally mandated spending at a local level that does them in just as surely as their own greed. Those are other areas worth a serious look.

The idea that municipalities will handle raising other taxable revenue without putting a serious leash on them with property tax, even to the point of forcing them to go percentage point for percentage point in trading off new revenue for old property tax revenue, is laughable. They have to have a control. Mayor Peterson and Governor Daniels would do well to consider that as they hawk the junkies attempt to find new and more creative drugs to add to their mainline property tax squeeze.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

You Thought Copyright Law Couldn't Get Worse...

We have seen copyright law go out of control in recent years, partly in a response to the intense lobbying of the music industry, but with the at least tacit approval of the paper publishing industry. The newspaper business, plagued by falling revenue and desperate to find a way to stem the hemorrhaging of readers to web-based media has decided to strike back by threatening one of the biggest fish in the pond.

Apparently, a group of newspaper, book and magazine publishers have decided to demand compensation for the culling of parts of their product by Google and other news-clipping services. Their argument centers around a potential copyright infringement by the copying of a paragraph or two by the clippers to post on those sites. The presence of such clips, it is argued, causes reduced eyeballs reaching the news makers’ own sites and thus decreases their ad revenue.

While it could be argued equally as strong, if not more so, that the content of most book, magazine, and newspapers has failed to win the interest, and therefore the dollars of the majority of readers, this tactic of attacking your biggest competitor with potential legal action is big business at its worst. The very thing Leftists should rail against, government collusion to smash a competitor, is what is used time and again in such cases. Again, the hypocrisy of it knows no bounds.

As with music, I’m finding it hard to side with the big corps on this one. If proper attribution is given to the story’s origin and it is not plagiarized, then what is the harm in printing a part of it? You are, in effect, advertising for that site by showing some of its content, which might send them eyeballs they wouldn’t have normally received. The argument is just as subjective and without measure as the news maker’s argument. Besides, papers quote each other incessantly, as do books and magazines. This procedure has occurred since the start of the printed word. Are we to now believe that online media is somehow different because it’s not printed on wood pulp?

The more important issue in our case, and one raised around the blogosphere, is will this cause things like blogs to cease to be the relevant force they are? If they cannot quote, they cannot editorialize, examine or dissect. And if a claim is made to the effect of an error in a news story and the paper changes that error without acknowledging it or removes some offensive or incriminating photo or statement altogether, can they then sue those who expose them for the liars they are? Don’t think of this as a hypothetical. It’s already happened several times. In fact, blogs have developed a level of fame by doing this very thing.

By keeping the “objective” media accountable for their dripping, seeping bias that pervades most of the traditional media outlets, a certain honesty is injected that hasn’t been present in the news in longer than any of us have been alive. Assigning a certain “divinity” to newspapers, books, and magazines as inviolate words that could only be viewed or challenged if you paid for the privilege and then perhaps even only at the owner’s leave, would change the dialogue that has developed as a result of the “new media” and most certainly diminish it. While this would be a welcome side effect to the Guilds of News, it wouldn’t do much good for the rest of us. Keep an eye on this fight as it develops. Its outcome may well have implications at which we can only guess.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Don't They Know?

When I was in high school and college, I often received homework from most if not all of my teachers each day. The homework assignments seemed daunting and time-consuming. My classmates and I often wondered why the teachers had given us homework that would take so much of our free time and so many resources. Didn't they know, we often wondered, or care that we had other demands on our time? Well, they did, but they expected that if we were serious about learning, we would expend the time needed.

I wonder if the same thoughts run through the heads of politicians as they raise one tax after another, especially as our salaries stay the same or increase only slightly in the recovering economy. Property tax, income tax, sales tax, gas tax, and the myriad hidden taxes that drive up production cost and therefore the cost of consumables all combine to take over 50% of our income. Every year, one or more of those taxes rise, just a little. In rare cases, they raise a phenomenal amount. Take property tax this year. It is projected to raise 7-14% for some homes, depending on their county and the needs of the local government and school districts.

Most of us will see anywhere from 0-3% raises in our income, assuming we aren't victims of layoffs, reduction-in-force or an ailing industry. The luckiest of us will see the smallest raise, on average. I say this not to illicit Marxian feelings of hate and desire for retribution against the nomenklatura, but to merely point out the reality of our situation. You get the raise if you're lucky and you're thankful for it. I know I am.

However, just simple math could show that the raises we receive barely match or fall short of the "cost of living" increase we see with inflation, resource cost, wages and regulatory fees of the people and companies that produce what we consume.

Given this in mind, I'm curious how our legislative entities at all levels of government can assign little tax increases here and there and not consider the truly unjust burden this places on us as the citizenry. If one tax gets increase .5% and another gets increased 1% and another gets increased 2%, then we actually have less each year to live and raise our families. Is that fair or just? Is it right? Is it moral? No, no and hell no. And lest you think I'm pulling figures out of thin air, consider that the doughnut counties around Marion in the majority of cases saw a 2% increase in the restaurant tax, several counties saw small point percentage increases in their income tax, the aforementioned property tax will see raises as noted averaging 7-14%, and gas taxes seem to be perpetually and quietly on the rise.

These are just the "open" taxes, the ones we can see if we look hard enough. How many others are there? When will the various taxing entities say "Hold!". Don't they know how much homework the others give?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Pickering Speaks

Charles Pickering, one of the Bush appointees to the Appelate court that was filibustered and then seated to the bench in a recess appointment, has retired after his year of service. He also is releasing a book, Supreme Chaos: The Politics of Judicial Confirmation and the Culture War. John Hawkins over at RightWingNews conducted a very thorough interview with the judge and I felt it worth linking.

Yes, Pickering is trying to sell a book and that's obvious. It also sounds like it might be a good read. However, I didn't find that it detracted from the quality of his interview or his views on the Constitution. It's easy to see why such a man as Pickering was so vehemently and viciously attacked by the Left, especially with crazed views like these...

I like to think the judges who have the responsibility of their being impartial are going to have some intellectual integrity. Now is this an absolute sure thing, they couldn’t get around it? No, nothing in life is, but I like the proposal that I make a lot better than I do hand wringing saying there’s nothing we can do about an activist court. our Constitution that was adopted and the people ratified it, that became a contract between the people and their government and we lived under that until 1971 which is almost 200 years. It was amended some 16 times, an average of once every 10 to 11 years. From 1933 to 1971 it was amended 7 times for an average of once every 5 to 6 years. Now, since 1971 far left groups, radical groups, learned it was easier to convince 5 members of the Supreme Court to change the Constitution than to convince the voters and their elected representatives to change it.
We have not had a constitutional amendment that has been initiated and adopted since 1971. That’s totally contrary to our past history and these were substantive amendments. They had to do with abolishing slavery, providing what states could not deprive its citizens of due process, it gave the right to vote to women, it gave the right to vote to 18 years olds. These were hot-button issues that we dealt with according to the amendment process.

It’s only been in the last 30 years that those who have a liberal philosophy say that the Constitution is too sacred to be amended and it is too difficult and too cumbersome to do so when it wasn’t too cumbersome for 170 years. They still don’t think it’s too sacred for judges to amend it or change it. But to me it’s the height of arrogance to say that we’ve got to have 5 super legislators sitting on the bench changing the Constitution. That’s not democratic. It turns the principle of, “We the people,” upside down. It turns it on its head.

There's much more, but I don't want to copy John's whole interview. Visit his site and click some blogads for goodness' sake. Returning to the text, though, I suppose it's easy to see how a man with such "radical views" was so feared to take the bench by the Left. The above basically lays bare why they were so eager to see such a man as him never decide a case that might negatively affect their interests or agenda. And if they were so hot and bothered about this one old man taking the bench, what does that say about their opposition to so many other candidates? Did you or I vote for the minority to control the Courts?

Friday, February 03, 2006

If a Leftist Screeches in D.C., Does It Matter?

We just can't get Cindy Sheehan out of the news. Her latest attempt to stretch the fifteen minutes bought with her son's life comes from wearing an anti-war slogan t-shirt to the State of the Union. Apparently, this is an extremely minor misdemeanor. Who knew you couldn't protest in the halls of Congress? Jokes aside, it was really a matter of decorum. Regardless of which president is in office, the office itself is still worthy of respect and someone like Sheehan is completely unwilling to give that respect. I'm awfully sorry she lost her son, but I'm even sorrier that she's shown herself to be such a pathetic human being in all this. This episode is just the latest in a string of ridiculous ventures by "Mother Sheehan".

Of course, the Left is lining up behind Sheehan to defend her against the heartless attacks of the Bushies and she's even blogging about it on Michael Moore's site. Note, the arrest was because she refused to leave the gallery, not because she wore the shirt.

I bring this up only to mention the hypocrisy that once again drips from this. Despite mentioning it on other sites, there is no leftist outrage that the wife of Congressman C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) was also asked to leave for wearing a pro-troops shirt. "Messages" like protests or policy statements on banners and shirts are not allowed during the State of the Union. It's not a place for everyone's pet causes, except perhaps the sitting President. Only he gets to talk about pet causes, but that's pretty much part of the job anymore, it would seem, like it or not. She wasn't arrested because she complied with the officers' request instead of choosing to make a scene like Sheehan.

As you're all aware, I hate hypocrisy in story coverage, especially when it's a story to make out of no story like this one.

Then There's the Thin-Skinned Religion Department

I must admit, I don't care for rampant Christian bashing in the media. Christians and white males are some of the last groups that anyone can make fun of or demean to whatever degree they like and get an overall pass from the mainstream. Probably because such groups were by and large on the wrong side of the PC wars, and by and large they lost them. To the victors go the right to be insensitive schmucks I suppose.

One could argue pretty easily that I and others in that field don't like anti-Christian bigotry. "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "The Book of Daniel" are just two examples of why I don't watch TV or rent as many movies as I used to. They're pretty pathetic and are written by people who, in my humble little opinion at least, don't seem to know much about the religion they're demeaning.

In the case of Christianity, though, and with notable exceptions like Pat Robertson saying someone's going to have a stroke because God said so, we don't in general advocate the death of individuals who poke a little satirical fun at the Church. That's the great thing about freedom of speech and expression. You have the right to say you don't like something, and others have the right to tell you you're full of it. We can write editorials or little blog pieces and all is past. Typically, even non civil discourse doesn't end between Christians and their detractors with "Now I KILL YOU!" Again, we're looking to trade the likes of Robertson for 3 players to be named later and 2 1st round draft picks, so I don't need to see the comment section peppered with him or his ilk as examples I'm wrong. I'm not wrong in this case.

That's why it saddens me and at the same time vindicates my overall opinion of the Left when a former President gets on to bad-mouth people who exercised their free speech to satirize a religion. I will never tire of the hypocrisy of a morally vacuous man such as Clinton lecturing people and wagging his finger at the citizenry for alleged moral deficiencies. The media has joined their favorite president in condeming the infamous 12 cartoons of Mohammed as well, as you can see courtesy of Michelle Malkin.

Apparently, when you do this about Christians, it's simple satire and we should just 'get over it'. Perhaps we should. But then to turn around and shake your head sadly that we're all a bunch of bigots for not condeming these 12 cartoons because they make fun of the Left's new favorite religion, Islam, goes beyond the hypocritical and into the surreal. They're cartoons! If followers of this religion have to issue bounties on the heads of the poor cartoonists and demand sensitivity training for the entire Western World to prostrate themselves before Islam, then they can just take the old wayback machine to the 8th Century and stay there, because they've obviously not evolved past that point as a religion, a people, or a political entity.

If you want to debate the cartoons, fine. We'll debate them all day. Issue death threats and demands that we accomodate your sensitivity or you'll kill us will just get you a funny look and a complete disregard for anything further you have to say because you've just jumped off the civilization trolley. The fare to get back on is at least a mild sense of humor or a degree of a little thing we in the West like to call self control.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

More History Woes

There were some excellent back and forth pieces on the revisionist history displayed in the Washington Post this week. The opening salvo of the piece, regarding Bush’s State of the Union speech was fired by Tom Shales of the Post.

Whether George W. Bush is, at best, the worst president since Herbert Hoover -- as a seemingly sizable number of Americans appear to believe -- he acquitted himself fairly well and came off as basically competent when he delivered his fifth State of the Union speech last night.

Gary Hall and Tim Graham over at Newsbusters did a really fine job disassembling this premise. How quickly we forget or choose to remain ignorant of even our most recent history. It takes little or no effort to find qualified economists to dispute Shales’ statement, but there it is right there in the Washington Post. This is not the Tehran Times or the pages of Pravda. This is the paper most commonly published in our nation’s capitol. And yet, the historical retelling of the previous decade is ridiculously skewed.

It’s easily argued, I think, that most of us paying attention to politics today lived through the 90’s and the early part of this century. I would think it is just as easily argued that we remember the dot com bust in 2000. I do. I was employed in the tech industry at the time. All the promise of the last few years seemed like so much vapor. We wondered just how we’d been duped and spent the next few years finding out just how badly we’d been had. The tech sector exploded, rightly so, with the innovations and “peace dividend” forged in and as a result of the last few years of the Cold War. The economy would’ve done well regardless and our tech sector certainly blossomed as a potential new manufacturing base for the country. Speculative ventures and over capitalization of anything with a .com after its name should’ve warned us, but we didn’t pay attention. Many thought we’d all get rich, which probably is what the investors in 1929 thought as well. The market then burst as it readjusted to a more realistic and sustainable level. This was just a matter of time.

By 2001, the recession was well under way and threatening to last the better part of the decade. The whole tech industry shook out badly and several peripheral industries like energy trading proved to be just as unviable. A lack of responsibility and overwatch by the government during the mid to late 90’s, most the fault of the executive branch at the time, caused rampant fraud and corporate theft to further ruin the economy.

Miraculously, after taxes were cut, the economy showed small signs of stabilizing, then started to grow again at quite an accelerated rate. It has mostly stayed in that vein ever since. In addition, those who committed the corporate fraud of the 90’s are slowly being brought to trial for their crimes. Why don’t we hear this drumbeat in the papers or on the news? Because a Republican is in office, that’s why. The history books may show it in forty or fifty years, but I wouldn’t count on seeing it in the Washington Post anytime soon. Should a Democrat get back in power in 2008, look for the economy to miraculously improve in the papers, homelessness to vanish as it did after the first day of the Clinton administration and, some Aquarian age where we all wear hippie vests, sing kumbaya and trash Republicans. So perhaps the Hoover comparison is just partisan bashing over willful ignorance? Somewhat, yes.

I’ll leave you with a much better analysis than mine, Dean Baker’s of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, courtesy of Gary Hall. Bear in mind, this man is hardly a fan of the current president.

On March 16, 2000, Mr Baker noted:

"The main feature of the 'new economy' is a stock market bubble of unprecedented magnitude. When the bubble bursts, the new economy will just be a bad memory. The inflated stock market has created enormous distortions in the economy, the ramifications of which will only be apparent when stock prices return to more normal levels. If the market falls 50 percent and loses $10 trillion of wealth in a correction, it's going to be very hard to avoid a recession. A lot of these dot.coms are worth a corner lemonade stand and are putting real companies out of business. What are you going to tell people who lose much of their retirement savings in their 401K when there's a downturn?" Today, Baker said: "The decline in the stock market was an entirely predictable event for anyone familiar with basic arithmetic, even if the exact timing could not be known in advance. The nation's political leaders chose to ignore the stock market bubble and instead focused their attention on distant and relatively minor problems like potential shortfalls in the Social Security trust fund in 30 or 40 years or the reappearance of budget deficits in a decade or two. As a result, millions of families have seen their dreams of a secure retirement or their children's college education vanish with the stock market bubble. The level of negligence of the nation's political leaders in ignoring the stock bubble exceeds anything since the days of Herbert Hoover."

So…I guess that sort of puts paid to the whole worst administration since Hoover. And let’s not forget kids. Hoover in dealing with a similar recession chose to go protectionist and tried to institute fledgling policies that FDR’s staff adopted, refined, and turned into the mega-socialist New Deal. One could argue that programs like the steel tariffs and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit are a step in that direction, but Bush is not attempting full-scale economic control as Hoover did. Hoover panicked and tried to take charge, ignoring the lessons of Calvin Coolidge who let the market work itself out. Our market may be a bit more complex these days, but in general it still works itself out, because, surprisingly enough, capitalism works. Bush doesn’t really fit the Hoover mold at all, and if that’s a comparison the Left wants to stick with, I’d hate to see the FDR clone they’re bringing to the party in ’08. God help us if that’s the case.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Looking Back On The Freak Show

I’ve not commented much on the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court and subsequent confirmation hearings. Primarily, I’ve avoided it as simple partisan wrangling. In addition, the best blogs of both sides have done very well explaining and covering the goings on. Now that the theatrics and the aborted filibuster have run their course, though, I thought it worth at least a minor retrospective.

Such a process as confirmation to the Supreme Court until recently had never been one for much fanfare. It was assumed that if a President won an election, it was his prerogative to choose nominees in line with his political philosophy. With the exception of Robert Bork, who was too outspoken about how much he agreed with Reagan, and ole’ Abe Fortas who was too much of an LBJ crony, the Harriet Meyers of the 60’s if you will, modern history has pretty much made confirmation of candidates a matter of course. If the candidate was qualified and regarded highly by his or her colleagues, they were confirmed regardless of their legal position, and we’ve gotten some real disasters because of it.

Even so, the hostility and partisan rancor in the Alito hearings by far and away stood out as setting a new and very sad precedent for future confirmations. One can hardly expect that Republicans will be as easy going with Democratic nominees in the future based on what they’ve had to put up with in the Roberts and Alito hearings. It doesn’t make it right or better, but even a blind man should be able to see that the Left will have a hard time moving replacement social engineers onto the Court.

In comparison to the confirmation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, arguably the most leftist judge on the course, the Alito hearings were reminiscent of an Inquisition. Audio from the Ginsburg hearings shows she answered very few questions and that Republicans asking those questions were generally polite and accommodating. In contrast, Kennedy was reduced to reading satire and receiving verbal queues from his fellow Democrat Senators when the klinking ice got too loud for him to finish his own thoughts to attempt to discredit Alito. I was expecting any minute for the Democrats to produce someone that Alito had given a wedgie to in third grade or even trot out the old warhorse Anita Hill saying that Clarence Thomas had once mentioned Alito’s name before putting some foreign hair on her Coke. In the interest of brevity and perhaps because the Republicans were running the hearings this time, we were spared that.

The attempted filibuster and extreme change in how Senators have been voting for recent nominees, almost along party lines, goes to show just what they think, or more appropriately what their special interest handlers think of this nomination process.

The Supreme Court has become the instrument of social change for the Left. An agenda they cannot get through voters or legislatures finds a warm and welcoming home among the liberal majority on the Court. Not that the Court has been a saintly body before, but after the New Deal, appointees have increasingly come from the left side of the fence. That this may be swinging back the other way has rightly caused panic among those who wish to change us for their sake through judicial fiat. And it may also be looked at as a positive sign by those who long for a return to less government control and more individual liberty and responsibility. While it by no means signals complete victory, at the very least it is a battle long anticipated that potentially we have won as libertarians and conservatives. With luck, perhaps more will follow.