Monday, July 31, 2006

Fixing The Barn Door After The Horses Get Out

And so it is with the Department of Homeland Security’s plan to “overhaul” its disaster-relief programs. After the massive fraud and waste generated by FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (and it didn’t help that it hit one of the most corrupt parts of the U.S. politically speaking), the DHS has decided to revamp their plans and protocols for dealing with disasters.

First, let’s remember that it has always been the responsibility of the state and local governments anytime they had a natural disaster to be the first-responders and to handle any given situation as best they could. This has been the case always, until a sympathetic press saw a chance to take a shot at a President it didn’t like and vindicate an otherwise unredeemable fraud of a mayor in a Democrat bastion completely run as a Democrat machine. Now, because of that and Bush’s compassionate conservatism, we have a legacy of over a billion dollars of wasted taxpayer money that DHS has to try and appear as if they are taking a lesson from to reform future disaster-preparedness.

What’s the answer? Of course, more federal intervention sooner. That means what? The feds are the last group you typically want to call in on a local issue. Put simply, who do you think might know better how to respond to your house being flooded or sliding away on a field of mud or burning in a wildfire: the official who lives 20 miles away or 50 miles away or the one that lives 1 or 2,000 miles away?

Common sense has to kick in over partisan politics somewhere, people. Surely you won’t stand there and demand federal intervention just because you think it’ll hurt the Republicans at the polls. Rationalism can’t be the exclusive province of conservatives and libertarians, but then again…

Then there’s the small matter of disaster aid. The feds were giving out $2,000 to all disaster victims of Katrina, and predictably it was spent (as most free money is) on ridiculous items in many cases. Anything from lap dances to booze to color TV’s seems to have been ok. Anything but food and shelter, that is. The DHS response is to limit the aid to $500. Presumably, if they get less, then they can waste less. Sort of like, if I patch this part of the hole with tar, but leave about a quarter of the hole open, it will only leak a fraction as much.

Setting aside that I think the whole idea of “government welfare assistance”, especially in terms of money is ridiculous and that I consider Madison’s 1794 quote of “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” putting the kibosh on the whole “General Welfare” clause nonsense, you would hope at least common sense might take hold in the bureaucratic halls of DHS.

Why is the federal government’s solution to any problem to throw money at it? There’s a Depression on? Throw money at it! There’s poverty in America? You don’t say? Throw money at it! We have to stop illegal drugs! Throw money at it! A natural disaster that no one could prevent and that no one caused just because they were Republican wiped out a bunch of homes and now we have a bunch of poor people homeless who need help. Throw money at them! Yes, the solution works every time. I don’t know why we don’t use it more often. I have a headache today. Perhaps the feds could throw me some money to make it better.

The idea that the federal government exists as a panacea to cure all of our social and economic ills is the path to the socialist state of Failureville, population every failed economy in the last 100 years. By “reforming” our disaster preparedness, but still offering that greater control at a higher level is best, we do not alter the basic structure or dependence on the federal behemoth over local and state control and increase the irrelevance of those same levels. We would be better served by relying on our own local resources with more money in our pockets (and the pockets of our local governments) by reducing the bureaucracy of the federal government. That we survived and handled disasters just as bad for almost 200 years before Katrina without serious federal intervention should clue the rest of us in.

If you want to grow, you don’t enlarge the nest, you leave it and fly away and whether you fly or fall and perish, shouldn’t it be up to you?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Embryonic Stem Cell Research Kicked Away Again From The Federal Trough

Whenever someone’s pushing an issue too hard, especially an issue where money will change hands, it’s worth looking into who will benefit, usually monetarily, from the issue. Such is the case with the recent push through of the embryonic stem cell bill that Congress passed and for which Bush finally decided to crack open his veto pen.

It’s safe to say that the overall response of the press has been negative. That Congress so quickly and so openly passed it is also a bit of a surprise. Bush, in one of the few Reaganite things he’s done, openly and showily vetoed it. Now, this is not a pro-life/pro-abortion piece. That’s an issue for another time and when I can bother answering the hate mail. It goes beyond that. Although there certainly are considerations on both sides to that effect, and it does affect the motivation of many, I'd like to discuss the economic side of this.

Consider, if you will, what was actually the issue. The issue wasn’t “the big bad Bushies won’t let us experiment on embryonic cells”. Never was. There’s nothing stopping researchers from experimenting with fetal tissue. What’s been at stake is federal grant money. The researchers behind embryonic stem cell research are primarily biologists, not doctors. They have been unable to secure significant private investment in embryonic research. Some might argue that the investors have moral issues with it, but I’m guessing it’s just a matter of plain old fashioned results.

See, there are two primary forms of stem cell research. There’s embryonic, where they experiment with stem cells from fetal tissue and adult stem cells from…well, guess. Blood stem cells, umbilical and placenta cells and some from the bone marrow are common choices.

The adult stem cell research has been around for decades, shown great promise and even some success in treatments for type 1 diabetes, spinal cord injuries, repairing heart muscle, fighting several forms of cancer, fighting immunodeficiency conditions, and the recognized and close potential to do much more. There is a rather lengthy list. Some human experiments have even been conducted and people who could not walk before due to spinal cord injuries are walking now because of injections of adult stem cells. Adult stem cells are easy to harvest, in many cases from the patient who will be the beneficiary of the research or from the placenta or umbilical cord blood.

Embryonic require a steady supply of fetuses. Guess where they get those from. Embryonic stem cell research also hosts the dubious distinction of showing significant, real promise in curing exactly ZERO ailments, diseases or conditions. There is the occasional snake-oil promise that it might one day, if we’re lucky, find some way to cure Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. So far, there is no evidence that it will. In fact, tests that have been done with live cells thus far have either met in total failure through immune system rejection or in massive tumor growth.

Money from investors only goes where there are results, and as you can see, embryonic research hasn’t really delivered. So they go to feed at the federal trough, and Congress and the media seem more than willing to oblige. After all, it’s only your money.

What you watched in the news and in Congress was a well laid-out fleecing of the American taxpayer, and amazingly Bush headed it off. Pay no attention to the charlatans like John Edwards, former Senator, trial lawyer and well-known “baby-whisperer” who argue that people like Christopher Reeve will get up out of their wheel chairs and walk again if only the federal government wouldn’t be so stingy with your money and support a hack research field. If private investors won’t put money towards it, there’s a good chance there’s nothing to it. Maybe someone should mention that on NBC Nightly News.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When Did You Take A Walk Off The Map, Andy?

I grew up in a household of Democrats. One could describe them as somewhat apolitical. Politics was rarely if ever discussed in our household. The general consensus was that they were mostly crooks anyway so why bother. My family was a good union family, though. They paid their dues, went on strike in the blistering sun, went to union meetings and voted for Andy Jacobs as their federal rep religiously. Like most Hoosiers, they tended to choose Republicans for local office, but Andy and Birch Bayh were the anointed as far as they were concerned.

What was perhaps most disappointing, and likely what began the turn of my young mind from thinking of the Democrats as noble champions of the little guy, was watching the unions repeatedly fail my family. I watched the unions make backroom deals and become more corrupt, union reps getting into bed with the managers and owners (sometimes literally) they ostensibly were aligned against. Strikes became rituals. Benefits decreased. Wages stagnated and new employees came in at much lower pay. Looking back, this is how those companies survived. The ones with stronger unions are gone, but it still didn’t help those who believed in that system or the betrayal, for nothing really, of their devotion.

These same unions funded the Democrats, especially the local campaigns, and we would hear the Dems railing against this or that social injustice against this union or that minority only to see them do less than nothing when they got in office. Funny, that was exactly what they said the Republicans did as they gave fiery campaign speeches. So, we had two parties of a whole lot of nothing we were paying to make our lives better, we thought. Maybe that’s another reason politics wasn’t discussed in my house. It was too bitter a pill to swallow.

Above this all, though, there were still folks like Andy Jacobs. He seemed a man of integrity and a man of compassion. Sometimes, you think, regardless of if he believes this way or that on certain issues, he’s still a good person and still intentioned to do right. Then just about the time I was having a serious crisis of faith regarding the Democrat Party as a young adult, Jacobs went completely off the deep end and cast the deciding vote in the joke of piece of gun control legislation, the Brady Bill.

He retired immediately after, possibly afraid of the backlash of all us working class who’d voted him in, watching him betray a right we counted on to help us protect our homes from the encroaching criminal element he’d helped to do nothing about. Of course, I thought his replacement, Julia Carson, who might’ve made Lenin blush with her over-the-top socialist principles, who he endorsed wholeheartedly, was completely unlike him. I thought, perhaps, he had made some fatal miscalculation with the Brady Bill, but I wasn’t going to let that tarnish what I thought was a good, moderate Democrat (when there used to be moderates).

I’ve found in the following years that Jacobs was showing us a glimpse of who he truly was when he cast that vote or who all those years in Washington had helped him become. He’s spent the last few years violently railing against “neo-cons” and right-wingers, sounding like your typical second-year poly sci student more than a retired veteran and “moderate” Congressman. Take this latest quip he wrote for our weekly Lefty mag, NUVO:

Neo-con job artists are right. The Constitution does not give “due process” to a terrorist; doesn’t give it to a murderer or rapist either. “Due process” is for finding out whether a person is a terrorist, murderer or rapist. Loyal Americans call this “liberty and justice for all”.

Considering those terrorists captured were captured in no uniform in a combat situation firing on our troops, they were lucky they weren’t summarily stood up and shot. Perhaps we all would’ve been better served if they were. The important thing that should also be considered, and I would’ve expected Mr. Jacobs might have realized this, is they are not U.S. citizens. We have never given U.S. rights or civil liberties to prisoners of war. In World War II, Axis prisoners were tried in military courts and often executed in similar situations. That’s war! It wasn’t like we picked these guys up speeding down I-70 doing 90 in a 70. We caught them in combat situations taking arms against the United States. That they dressed like civilians rather than take a uniform speaks more of subterfuge and guerilla action, something not protected by the much-vaunted and often misunderstood Geneva Convention (and when exactly did they sign it, oh, never mind).

U.S. courts have never had jurisdiction here and it is folly to assume that somehow they now do. The Left has seen terrorists as a law enforcement problem since the beginning and I can assure you that approach has failed. Did it stop the African embassy bombings, Khobar Towers, hostage takings or the bombing of the Cole or 9/11? No. Only killing them dead seems to remove them permanently.

I have to wonder where Jacobs really stepped off the train and became such a screaming Lefty. This, of course, isn’t my sole evidence. Merely the first and last piece I have. There is much in between and it is easily researched. Perhaps he always was, and the role of a politician in a different climate than today required he be more discreet. One thing’s for sure. The man my folks thought was serving them in Congress is not the same man who voted for the Brady Bill or who has since taken every opportunity to skewer anyone with a slightly different than far-left point of view and likely he never was.

Maybe it’s true what Reagan said. He didn’t leave the Democrat Party. The Democrat Party left him, and apparently most of us working-class poor who still clung naively to the hope that they really were looking out for us. It makes you reevaluate much of what we know of our modern political scene and much of what has happened that changed the course of the way this country had done business for over 150 years to something completely different, and completely unprecedented (and not for the better) in the last fifty.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Wellspring

Usually one columnist doesn’t provide such a wide variety of fodder over such a short time. Dan Carpenter is one of those unique individuals that can break that stalemate, though. In addition to his screed on gun owners (and a host of other associated individuals), Dan was able to take a moment to share with us his thoughts on the developing crisis in Lebanon.

So what does Dan think of the looming crisis? Why, it’s all Israel’s fault, and the U.S. is just as guilty because we won’t rein in our junkyard dog.

Criticism of Israel in this country is pretty much taboo, even when it turns its state-of-the-art, American-financed military forces against its sovereign neighbors and "regrettably" kills far more civilians than do the anti-Israeli terrorists.

President Bush's insistence on this heedless ally's "right to defend itself" with hundreds of bombing sorties in response to a few kidnappings and guerrilla rocket launchings shows once again how out of step our leadership is when it comes to appreciating national aspirations.

Like most liberals, Dan is focused on looking at things through blinders and examining only one tiny aspect of an extremely complex situation. If you hear no evil, then you can see whatever you want it would seem. Notice how the actions that caused Israel to launch its current offensive are reduced to a “few kidnappings and guerilla rocket launchings”. Because Israel should just accept that people being killed by bombs and soldiers killed or kidnapped by border incursions are just the price of doing business in the Mideast apparently. And all the bombings before this one? Do they matter? As Israel has withdrawn and fallen back and begged for peace in the wake of continued murder of innocent civilians, none of that mattered? It really does take a liberal to ignore that.

There is also no consideration, of course, for the massive presence of Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon, as well as hundreds of Iranian “advisors” and until recently a significant Syrian military presence. All these forces are sworn to Israel’s destruction. Iranian missiles and money have flooded into Hezbollah’s bases in Lebanon and Lebanon’s army has been unable to do much about it. With the stated objective of Iran now the complete destruction of Israel, doesn’t it make sense that they would ratchet up their puppet organizations along Israel’s border to fulfill that promise? Or is it just empty rhetoric?

So I’d say also it’s more than just a matter of a few kidnappings or some stray rockets. The main difference in the conduct between Israel and its enemies is, Israel is actually trying to avoid collateral damage. Although it’s war, and sadly innocents are going to get caught in this, Israel has always made it a policy to minimize civilian casualties. Israel’s enemies, be they Hezbollah, Hamas, Fatah, Syria, Iran, any of them, go out of their way to kill as many women, children and young people before they bother targeting soldiers. In fact, I think soldiers are only targets when there’s no one else to blow up or shoot at. The whole moral equivalency thing is a bit sickening, but Dan’s all for it.

Don't the Iranians likewise have a right to defend themselves? The North Koreans? The Palestinians, who have suffered in every aspect of life under 40 years of foreign occupation?

Dan equates the Israelis to known state sponsors of terror, Iran, North Korea and the Palestinian Arabs. That’s the very definition of moral equivalency. Never take into consideration any of the particulars of a party, whether it be a rogue communist state like North Korea, a revolutionary Marxist/Islamist/fascist theocracy like Iran or an fake government of a fake people that sponsors real terror on its neighbors and is considered the trash of the Arab world like the Palestinian Arabs. The Israelis, in Dan’s eyes are no different and no better. They’re just another “animal” we have to rein in.

And this 40 years of occupation bleeding hart claptrap really pigeon holes Dan. I don’t have time to take you on the Grand Tour, but if you agree with Dan on that sentence, take some time to read a history book (and please not the text books they’re shilling in high schools and colleges these days). The Palestinian Arabs come from Jordan and Egypt as well as areas of the West Bank and the rest of Israel. Arafat was Egyptian for Pete’s sake. The PLO was founded before the ’67 war in which Israel occupied the Sinai and West Bank, and at the time those were claimed by Egypt and Jordan, respectively. There was no Palestinian state and there has been no occupation of some conquered people’s territory. The Hashemites in Jordan have killed far more Palestinians and the Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Syria have done more to treat the Palestinians like sub humans than the Israelis could have ever dreamed of doing.

That’s not the end of it, though. Dan has to explain why the U.S. won’t rein in one of its closest allies.

Bush's answer is the reflexive, popular, bipartisan gospel in America, where the Book of Revelation drives politics and the plight of the Palestinians gets no notice until a suicide bomber commands it for a day or two.

See, it’s the Jesus freaks in Jesusland who are guilty of our support of Israel. We don’t support it because it’s the only friendly democracy in the region (well, now one of two) or because of cultural or economic ties or even military ties. We support it because we let the Bible govern our foreign policy. Reading Dan’s blog, I couldn’t tell if I was reading the Indianapolis Star or International ANSWER’s web site.

It’s hard to take such a person seriously when their columns and blog entries are filled with the jingoistic talking points and tired arguments you would expect to hear in an amateur anti-war rally on some second-rate college campus. They don’t reflect well of a paid, veteran columnist of a halfway decent newspaper. I’ve seen Dan write better, even when I’ve disagreed with him, but I think sometimes he lets his leftist leanings and loathing’s get the better of him. Right, Dan? Columnists of the World Unite! Solidarity, baby.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Better To Remain Silent Lest You Be Thought A Fool...

Than open your mouth and remove all doubt. I love that old axiom. It fits no one this week better than one of the Indianapolis Star's chief editorialists, Dan Carpenter. His editorial, "Hoosiers Under Fire", was a finely crafted piece of boring talking points that looks like he just couldn't figure who to attack that week. To be safe, it looks like he just fired a shotgun full of ink at the easiest of conservative or Republican targets. For example:

All those poor souls stuck like penned cattle in a bureaucratic cyber-mess at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles -- and no Kernan-O'Bannon administration to blame it on. Well, we can all give thanks they weren't waiting for concealed-weapons permits. I can tell you I feel a lot safer now that you can buy one of those for a lifetime.

It was important, said one of the legislators who championed this latest victory for the gun lobby, that good citizens be spared the "hassle" of renewing permits for lethal firearms every few years. He didn't mention the joy of periodic driver's license renewals; but, hey, maybe he killed two birds with that bullet. Surely, any clerk anywhere is going to think twice about hassling customers when just about anybody might be packin'.

Well, in two short paragraphs, he managed to malign the BMV, gun owners, legislators, possibly the governor and people who don't speak quite so eloquently as he (packin'?). That's got to be some kind of record.

Let's concede that we know Carpenter hates gun owners, because he buys in to the elitist claptrap that somehow if you disarm the citizenry or make it difficult for them to get guns, crime will magically drop. The English and Canadians thought that too, as did the Australians, and you don't have to be a man of the world to see how stupendously that failed.

And hey while we're on the subject, I'm all for lifetime driver's licenses. At most, they check your vision. What's the point? People have the chart memorized anyway. Read line 3. Sound familiar? It's just another way for the State to now squeeze $21 out of our wallets every six years. I guess license plate fees weren't high enough. But that's beside the point. Licenses are not always ways to demonstrate competence. You could just as easily say that columnists such as Carpenter and bloggers such as I need get license. Still doesn't speak to our competence, does it Dan?

In most common cases, like driver's licenses, it's all about the fee. Just some extra money to be made for the state's coffer and the concealed carry license is no different. And would Dan please explain to me how it's going to make a lick of difference if someone has a concealed carry license for 1 year or 100 if they get convicted of a felony? They'll still lose it. It's not irrevocable. Setting aside that I'm all for a system like Vermont and Alaska have (no permits needed to carry concealed), I think Dan either doesn't want to or somehow can't understand reality, as evidenced by his deep desire to spout off ridiculous rhetoric like he's reading off the DNC's '92/'94 federal platform.

What might be more something for Dan to think on is not so much a clerk being concerned about hassling someone not knowing if they're packing so much as the criminal who won't necessarily commit that violent crime for the same reason. But then, in liberal land there are no criminals, only society's victims, right Dan?

Then Dan goes over the National Asset Database which ridiculously lists several Indiana attractions (I'm sure Santa Claus Land is in there without even looking) as terror targets. That one I have to agree with Dan on. Someone check the temperature in Hell.

But, Dan just can't let sleeping dogs lie. He has to prove to you that he really can fit his whole foot in his mouth.

Just to kind of bring things full circle, Paul Helmke, the former Republican mayor of Martone's hometown of Fort Wayne, blasted Florida Gov. Jeb Bush last week for attributing a dip in that state's (still horrendous) crime rate to a new law allowing citizens to "meet force with force" when they feel threatened.

Helmke, who became president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence just last Monday, issued a statement noting that violent crime has decreased nationally since the restrictive Brady Law went into effect in 1994. He questioned whether that's not a better idea than encouraging folks to carry heat and handle their own policing when they get, er, hassled.

Now there's a credible source. The Brady Campaign, formerly the Artist known as Handgun Control, Inc. saying that their prize gun control legislation, which did exactly nothing to stop criminals from getting or using guns, was responsible for a crime wave decrease that started at least a year before the legislation was adopted. Certainly it wasn't the dip in the crack drug trade or the fact that criminals themselves were reporting (from behind bars, thankfully) that they preferred to avoid targets and homes they feared to be armed. Couldn't be that cities with highly restrictive gun laws saw their crime rate decrease at much lower levels than the rest of the country (except New York, go Rudy).

But to review, the Brady Law primarily hassled law-abiding gun owners, and I remember it well because it restricted my and others' lawful purchase activities at the time, but I knew dealers in our neighborhood who had no trouble acquiring stolen guns. The law didn't affect them, apparently. Primarily, it made someone wait seven days to get a gun legally (unless you had a permit) and then only until they had the national instant check system. It restricted clips for semi-auto handguns to 10 rounds and banned certain cosmetically unique firearms from new manufacture and sale in the U.S. You could still own them or buy older ones, and you could still own clips that had greater than 10 rd. capacity. So who did it stop? Well, if you were trying to purchase one of those items legally, it stopped you most likely. Clips that were $13-$15 suddenly were over $100 and stayed that way for 10 years. Rifles that had been $400-$500 suddenly went for well over $1000 or more. No change, just availability.

All that law did, and anyone that was listening to Handgun Control, its Marxist sympathizers, and Bubba C in the White House on his more candid days, was price some guns and accessories out of the range of the poor and middle class, which was what they wanted. Brady was a test law to see if they could start down the slope to bury gun rights. The '94 election proved that they had rather grossly misjudged Americans and their habit of not liking freedoms restricted for their "own good".

So Dan might consider some of that before spouting useless drivel in the form of quotes from an outspoken anti-gun-rights advocate who has taken the lead of a largely discredited agitprop anti-gun rights organization. Of course, if he were to stop, then I wouldn't have such pretty gems to pick up and run with the following day, so perhaps you should keep opening that mouth, Dan. Just try and remember that old axiom.

Friday, July 14, 2006

We Should Stand By Israel

Of course, many are aware of the current and growing war between Israel and its neighbors these past few weeks. Through blatant acts of terrorism, Hamas and Hezbollah engaged in themurder and kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, plus a new round of rocket attacks, despite their assurances (at least Hamas’) that they would attempt to adhere to a ceasefire. Israel apparently has had enough and has made the decision of whether to roll over and be terrorized or take action.

The United States is and must stand behind Israel in this instance. Of course, the UN, obsolete a body as it is, attempted to pass a resolution condemning Israel, but the U.S. veto squashed it. There have been calls by many European and Arab nations for the U.S. to intervene and stop Israel. I have to ask the question. Why? The United States has adopted a policy of aggressive defense and even preemptive action to stop future terrorist strikes. Why should we deny Israel that option? How hypocritical would that be?

Of course, those demanding it are generally also no big fan of the United States’ policy on unilateral action either. Deliberate acts of aggression against a sovereign nation and its people must be met with all force that can be brought to bear. When a mosquito bites you, do you scold it? Or do you swat and kill it? Well, if you’re not a Berkeley student, you squash it and move on. You don’t tap it. You don’t brush it (unless you want stung again). You make sure it can’t do that anymore. Terrorists of the Islamofascist variety fall into this category.

Combining the Mohammedan legacy of conversion through conquest (by the sword) with the racial superiority, anti-Jew, socialist mindset of the fascist governments of old has bred a new and much deadlier breed of warrior who wages war through terror. Hence, Islamofascist. I just wanted to make sure you all understood my definition.

Sadly, good people are and will be hurt by this. Lebanon, with almost half of its population Christian and violently opposed to Hezbollah, as well as the Muslim part of the population that wishes to coexist with the Christian tribes and with Israel, will suffer greatly for Hezbollah’s stranglehold and Syria’s legacy of control on parts of Lebanon. This isn’t going to win Israel any new friends, but war rarely makes friends of those stuck in the middle of the battle. On the economic side, there’s the world oil supply, which seems to rise in cost daily as the MidEast remains unstable. We were able to keep the price stable only by tolerating despots, zealots and fools to run things in the region. Now that this policy has been shown to do more harm than good, we and the rest of the world will be left with the financial consequences. Oil will be more expensive.

Like most armchair historians at this stage, I have my own thoughts as to how this could play out. One, the terrorists will cave to Israel’s demands and return the hostages. This is not very likely, although there’s a glimmer of hope that perhaps they’ll have no choice. Two, Syria will join the fighting. Either Israel will attack them or they’ll use Israel’s operation in south Lebanon as their stated provocation and send troops back into Bekaa. They’ve been waiting for such an excuse to continue their designs of conquest on Lebanon.

Likely, Syria will not enter the fray unless it can be reasonably sure Iran will back it. Syria knows that militarily it cannot outlast or outfight the Israelis and so will need Iran’s muscle to strengthen its spine. Iran has been wanting a renewed military conflict with Israel for many years now, and with the madman Ahmadinejad running the show now, it seems all the more likely. This whole affair could be on the marching orders of Iran and Syria. Hezbollah is fully bankrolled by them and wouldn't wipe it's rear without sayso from Tehran or Damscus. Frankly, Israel has every right to hit Syria and Assad. The fascist Baath's there have been asking for it for some time. Iran, well, Iran has a great population but a world class group of fanatics for leaders. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Left that Bush and his administration are making the U.S. a theocracy, I would suggest to them they visit Iran and see what real theocracy truly is.

I think Jordan, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world will sit this one out and see who ends up winning. Oh they will likely shout and bluster to no end, but they won’t fire a shot. Everyone still remembers ’67 and ’73, at least the leadership does, and no Arab nation wants a repeat of that. The major powers are sort of an x factor. Will they enter? Will they not? It’s in no one’s interest besides the United States’. Russia may send aid to Iran if it gets in, but Putin won’t risk involving his nation any more deeply. France may use the opportunity to sell some more arms and get richer on others’ misery. I’m sure some of our defense contractors will do the same.

In summation, this event was provoked by terrorists hoping to goad Israel into a retaliatory act, hoping to further destabilize the region possibly even at the behest of some of the region's emerging powers. Such groups thrive on the chaos this sort of thing generates. But it’s also the only way to really stomp them into the ground. They don’t understand reason. They don’t fade away without press. You can’t ignore them. They just kill until they are killed. More may replace them as long as this brand of thought remains taught in schools and fostered by governments with the money and means to do so, but at least these will be dead. In the meantime, the rest of the world will have to suffer through this escalation and pray that things don’t get any worse, because they have an annoying habit of doing just that.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Founders Critiques Revisited

My old reliable debater, Catastrophile (have to ask him some day on why the name choice), raised some issues regarding the Founders article I reviewed and I thought it worth elaboration in the general forum. Sometimes points don’t come to me as I’m writing that others will bring up later, as I’m sure happens with just about every writer and I appreciate the chance to explore them, so on to some of the comments he had regarding my and the Kurlansky’s editorial. First he notes that he feels I was a bit overstated.

Hrm. I don't know if this really qualifies as a "hit piece" . . . a bit hyperbolic, perhaps, but he seems to be arguing the same basic point you are.

I don’t think I was exaggerating too much when I called it a hit piece. I mean, what do you call this line?

…we keep worrying about the vision of a bunch of sexist, slave-owning 18th century white men in wigs and breeches

Emphasis added. I don’t know what Cat’s definition of a hit piece is, but being called a sexist slave owner, and well let’s not forget we have to note they were all white and wore wigs, yeah, that doesn’t shout reasoned analysis to me.

You say: "The Founders were men, just men. They were products of their times and did the best they could to establish an enlightened and new form of government that would be better than them, even transcend them."

He says: "But the founding fathers, unlike the Americans of today, understood their own shortcomings. Thomas Jefferson warned against a slavish worship of their work, which he referred to as 'sanctimonious reverence' for the Constitution."

This sounds less like an attack on the Founders than on the current state of things.

Well, my concern here is that you isolate one small portion of what he said without considering his whole text. His whole text is ridiculously inflammatory, as noted above. Jefferson also said "Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction." You see, Kurlansky was arguing more that by deconstructing the “myth” of the Founders, you can more easily deconstruct the Constitution. Jefferson certainly didn’t want us to “worship” a document over all else, but he didn’t want demagogues to be able to warp it to their whims either and advised that in its words were our strength to accomplish that; the very thing Kurlansky and those like him advocate.

Blind nationalism is a problem. Mythologizing the Founders gets us nowhere. And the kind of argument that rebukes any and all criticism of the US as antiAmerican is flat-out dangerous, but unfortunately seems to be everywhere these days.

Casting nationalism aside is equally a problem. Kurlansky’s piece was not advocating nationalism in the traditional sense. He was advocating a social justice America and not an America of opportunity for all. His idea of an America as “good as it was supposed to be” is one of a universal health care and social welfare net (which, arguably, we have some of). He seems to dislike “men of property” and prefer “anti-establishment” thinking. These are all pretty clearly issues of the far Left. I find that hard to debate.

Mythologizing the Founders doesn’t help us much, no, but neither does deconstructing their legacy. By deconstructing them, which I have read many an essay dedicated to just that task, allows them to be delegitimized and by thus whatever they create can be shown to be as equally flawed and demanding of replacement. My statement here is not some far flung conspiracy theory or stretch of fancy. Go to the majority of public elementary and high schools. You’ll see it in action.

And I have never considered criticism of the U.S. as anti-American. I can give you a laundry list of U.S. policies I think were ridiculous. I’ll start with the Missouri Compromise and the Civil War and carry through to the New Deal, Marshall Plan, Great Society, Department of Education, Federal Income Tax, FICA…the list goes on and on. I’ll critique those and many other positions of government from Clinton’s failed foreign adventures to Bush’s horrible immigration policy. I won’t criticize America for being America, though and to do so is not very beneficial to solving our problems. You must deal with a degree of perspective when comparing the United States to the rest of the world. In many cases, there is no comparison, and we can debate slavery or whatever other issue you want.

There is a reason the United States is the last world superpower and it’s not just our weapons. People that argue from that standpoint, that it’s our country and our history that’s the root of the world’s problems, not taking into account individual policies or more importantly the objectives of other nations and organizations, I have no respect for and, I think, are the ones who are truly blind and to use your own word dangerous in their ideas. Education and debate are my preferred weapons to combat them, but if they don’t want to listen, then well, I suppose there can be no reasoned debate.

And he quotes Robespierre of all things, who bad mouthed our Revolution compared to the French Revolution. I hope he’s not suggesting that the murderous anarchy followed by murderous tyranny was a better example of democratic revolution than what was seen in America. Frankly, things like that say a lot about where his argument is based and again it translates to me as a “hit piece”.

Lastly…In fact, what this piece seems to be arguing is the idea that we need iconoclasts to get anywhere, that abject worship of the establishment is dangerous. I have to agree. That argument doesn't speak to me of hidden socialist agendas or rejection of American principles . . . only of a healthy skepticism about deifying any bunch of "just men" -- be they the Founders or any others.

The basic argument didn’t speak to me of socialism, but his wording and examples did. Sometimes it’s a bit buried, but everyone has a motivation and not all of it is “I think we need to be more practical”. Usually, if what you’re arguing isn’t very defensible or popular, you can wrap it in “practical” and “reasonable” criticisms and jab your points in amongst the growth. Don’t tell me you don’t see much of that in debate. Skepticism is fine, but I don’t believe that was his only agenda and I think you have to stretch to think otherwise. If you want to critique the Founders, try it. They were just men, as I said, and products of their time, but they constructed something magnificent and had the words and ideas to give that concept iron and allow it to survive the test of time. Critiquing them in any productive way along that line (that their notions of individual freedom, liberty and limited government are antiquated) is difficult to impossible with any degree of legitimacy and I don’t think Kurlansky pulled it off, but I definitely think that’s what he tried.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Questions, Questions

It should have been expected, with the initiation of the new law regarding lifetime concealed carry permits here in Indiana that there would be those who were uneasy with the decision. The Indianapolis Star has made sure several of these concerns have graced its editorial pages since the beginning of the week as well as a couple of rebuttals. I thought it worth reviewing some of those concerns in the spirit of understanding and trying to dispel the myths that come along with it.

One such letter noted a concern over the increase in the length of the term of a concealed carry permit helping to make Indianapolis and by extension the state more the “Murder Capital of the U.S.” First, I might remind the writer that the highest murder rates have been in cities where guns are largely banned like Washington D.C., New York and Gary’s neighbor, Chicago. Anyone who’s actually spent any time in northwest Indiana knows that Gary itself doesn’t see many “home-grown” murders, not more than any town its size, really. Most of the statistical murders are Chicago transplants. Gary is a convenient “drop-off”, because of its large industrial and warehouse districts and murders are just as regularly counted by where the body is found if they don’t know where it occurred.

The gentleman in question also sees us as a “small, but vocal minority”. While a majority of Hoosiers may not be permit holders, I can with some degree of assurance inform him that they do own firearms in their home. Not that you’d want to go knocking on doors to find out who’s who (a little reference to the sleeper ‘Deal of the Century’ from the 1980’s). And as I ask anyone who broaches this topic, how is limiting the time of the permit going to reduce crime? Do you honestly think the gang bangers won’t take their guns out if they can’t get a valid permit or if they’ve let their existing one lapse. Do you honestly think they get permits? Who really is that naïve?

Another fellow has mixed emotions about the new lifetime permit. He asks “With crime on the rise, how wise is it to make it easier for someone who has never been convicted to have access to a handgun with the assumption that it will never be used in a crime?” I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that question. So people without criminal records shouldn’t have an easy time accessing firearms? So because I’ve been a good citizen, obeyed the law and want to defend myself, I shouldn’t have an easy time of it because there’s a risk in assuming I’ll never break the law? You might as well never give out drivers’ licenses to prevent traffic accidents or vehicular homicide. How about never giving anyone matches and/or gasoline so they won’t be at risk of wanting to commit arson? It’s the exact same logic. Just because someone MIGHT abuse their freedom at some point is no reason to take it from them, well, unless you wish to operate in a tyranny. Then, that’s sort of expected.

Yes, amazingly with freedoms come responsibilities and being human and imperfect some of us will abuse those freedoms and act improperly. Whether it’s with a gun, a knife, a car or a book of matches, bad things can happen to good people. If you can’t handle that, head for your crawl space, curl up in a fetal position and await the end because honestly that’s about all that’s left for you.

Lastly, he does lecture on that same responsibility, even though originally he seems to imply that we don’t possess that instinct as gun owners. Of course guns should be kept out of reach of children and thieves, but accidents will happen. Again, amazingly, that is the difficulty that is life and stupid people will show us time and again that no matter how much we try to idiot proof life sometimes a guy will just stick his finger in the socket. I lock up my firearms and try to teach gun safety to my family. If I didn’t, should that preclude me from a concealed carry permit? I don’t think it should. Rights come with responsibilities more than they do restrictions and that’s something I wish more people understood.

Lastly, we have a writer who just flat out thinks this whole thing is

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Time To Grow Up

I remember during the Clinton years the host of conspiracy theories that surrounded him and his wife. Did he have Vince Foster, Ron Brown, or any host of other people killed? There were even web sites devoted to the alleged body count. While Clinton was Attorney General and then governor of one of the leading drug import states in the country during the 70's and 80's, and one wonders how the drug cartels were able to operate so unmolested during his tenure, there is no proof of any wrong doing in any of those instances. Clinton was a poor President, lied under Oath and was impeached. It was never "all about sex", for anyone that actually followed the charges against him, but like the Teflon Man he was, many of the charges didn't stick.

The thing about most conspiracy theories is, they are self-sustaining. The best conspiracy theories are the ones you can't prove, it is often said, and certainly the 90's was full of them for Clinton. I will not be the last to say that many were generated out of severe dislike or even hate for the man and had little basis in fact. That's why you don't hear much about them today. Sometimes you just have to grow up and move on.

The current President, George W. Bush, has acquired his share of conspiracy theories, even more grand and loony than his predecessor. We start with the tame ones, like he didn't complete his Guard service. Rather still is standing by that canard. There are plenty about his connections and his family connections to Nazis and Saudis and Lions and Tigers and Bears. Just google them and you'll find hundreds of sites, many not surprisingly out of the country and many not so surprisingly linked to "social justice" and anti-war sites, leftovers from the old ANSWER days (yes, amazingly it often comes back to that). None has been so pathetic or ridiculous, I think, than the recent push to claim that Bush and his "Company" were responsible for 9/11.

The loonies at Democratic Underground, my favorite place to shop for leftist drivel, have recently pushed a wave of "experiments" designed to show how the WTC couldn't have been felled by mere jet fuel and weaking of the structure. The story is getting play at some college campuses and even a few mainstream liberals are seemingly unwilling to discount such an occurrence is possible.

Kids, when did we get here? I'm just wondering. I remember right after 9/11 going through this same thing with the creepy Lone Gunmen episode that only months before showed a "shadow government" attempt to crash planes into the WTC to restart the global war market (because, of course, during Clinton's terms there was no war). But it's about as significant as the apocryphal story of classical music suddenly playing right before the Trinity Test. Interesting, even a little eerie, but irrelevant. Such theories and stories may help some make sense of the senseless, but even the most diehard conspiracy gurus have to give way to the onslaught of questions that challenge their theory.

In the case of 9/11, how do you explain the fact that the hijackers were on the planes(confirmed by video at the airports), can be confirmed by recorded conversations piloting and assaulting people on the planes, the extensive documentation of United 93, the video of the plane crashing into the Pentagon and the WTC, the engineering studies that easily showed how the jet fuel is more than just a little kerosene over some chicken wire and how it turned the temperature in the WTC core to one that could warp and deform steel, how Al Qaeda has gone to great lengths to try and claim credit for the occurrence, even resorting to "No, really, it was us" statements when faced with true skeptics. Stop me if this gets complicated. It's bad when some of your own people won't believe you or your enemy. Sometimes you have to be a grown up and accept what logic tells you is true.

Set aside your hatred for Bubba or GW and look at things rationally. What could have happened? What logically could have taken place? Could Bush have been behind some master conspiracy to bring the U.S. back to war footing? There just isn't the evidence. Set aside the hatred for him and for his winning the 2000 election by the electoral college instead of the popular vote, and there really is no reason to blame a sitting President for mass murder in this case. Hell, I won't even blame Bubba C (although that he felt no remorse for what his own branch of government did is the height of sociopathy) for Waco and those are confirmed cases of the U.S. government killing its own citizenry. Janet Reno on the other hand...

I'm a reasonable man, at least I like to think I am and I'm willing to entertain real evidence. Some real evidence, I've seen, like an ATF agent letting three other agents enter a room that he then immediately sprays with automatic fire convinced me something was rotten with the Waco massacre. None of the books or web sites that allege to show the "truth" about 9/11 can get that obvious of a smoking gun. There are mountains of "What Ifs" and conjecture, but nothing that you look at and say "Now wait just a damn minute". It's just not there. Time to grow up boys and girls.

We're in a war, like it or not, and we have to deal with that present. Until then, mainstream libs and even hardcore leftists entertaining such ridiculous theories does their cause little good and only seems to further insulate them from the reality and problems we really do face. If they can't step out of their dreamscape and handle the real problems, even offer real solutions, then we're wasting our breath on just about every other issue. Something to consider.

Monday, July 10, 2006

About Time

Usually, when you hear about freedom's these days, they're being retracted. It's refreshing to point out the occasional expansion. Concealed Carry Permits, in my opinion, were a step in the right direction. A truly free state would behave like Vermont or Alaska in terms of firearms and not require a permit to carry, as it really is a natural right of defense to have some form of protection. Remember, the Supreme Court ruled the police do not have an obligation to protect you.

Getting a Concealed Carry Permit for a handgun depends largely on the state you're in. Some require written tests and others require safety courses. Most have exorbitant fees, a sponge meant to assuage gun permit opponents who thinking soaking the gun owner is a small way to get back at them for having too much freedom. In Indiana, permit prices have been relatively minor. It was all of $25, in the form of two money orders to pay the local and state entities who processed it. That fee recently has changed, but with an acceptable twist.

While it is now $40 for a 4-year permit, the Indiana legislature has seen, in its wisdom, to offer a lifetime permit for $100 for current permit holders and $125 for new permit applicants. I for one think it's a great idea and one a long time in coming. All permits should be for life. The notion of them is ridiculous enough, but to require you to demonstrate nothing other than you can type a triplicate form every four years (a feat in itself, I will give you) is a bit ludicrous. The Indianapolis Star article linked above contains most of the relevant details, and of course the expected criticisms. Take this quote from Handgun Control's own Peter Hamm (or is it the organization formerly known as Handgun Control? I forget):

"I would presume the state legislature is going to do the same with driver's licenses and business licenses, because there is no reason anybody should have to go through the hassle of being checked out every four years," he said.

I believe that was the thought of Abdul Hakim-Shabazz as well, WXNT 1430 AM's resident morning talk host. Though, I could be wrong as I only heard him promo a piece with that agreement. The point being for Mr. Hamm to consider, Indiana gun licenses are not something you have to demonstrate any proficiency for after four years, and renewing "licenses'' anyway is often more about getting money than it is about testing competency anyway. From that point of view, I'm certainly in favor of the legislature expanding or making permanent licenses for businesses and drivers.

There still exists a mechanism for revocation when the law is broken. You won't keep your gun permit if you become a felon anymore than you would before, but that is something easily glossed over when someone's arguing for rights restriction like Mr. Hamm. The same would go for any license. Abuse the priviledge and away it goes. What about that is so difficult to understand?

Apparently, Mr. Hamm finds some difficulty, as he speaks for us Indiana gun owners when he says:

"Responsible gun owners understand that some gun owners ought to be checked out every four years."

I sure am glad people like him are there to speak for 'the little guy' like me. Actually, no. Every gun owner I know (and that's quite a few) in this state hates that we have to pay every four years to reinforce our right to carry. If one of us were to commit a felony, then we'd lose the permit. If the police can't handle that, then you have other issues more important than running a background check every few years. Responsible gun owners understand that people like Mr. Hamm don't want us owning guns at all and think of us as little better than criminals ourselves. So, no, I don't agree with his asinine statement or his viewpoint.

Luckily, I don't have to. We now have the option for a lifetime permit, and I for one think I'm going to take it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Founders Assault Continued

In the latest salvo against the relevance or significance of the Founding Fathers, Mark Kurlansky of the LA Times has written a hit piece in which he attempts to belittle and reduce the Founding Fathers by pointing out the Left's favorite talking points against them. Anyone who has kept up with the modern press knows there's not much new in that. Perhaps what is new, but becoming more common, is the blatant willingness to put such vitriol into print.

SOMEONE HAS TO SAY IT or we are never going to get out of this rut: I am sick and tired of the founding fathers and all their intents.

Couldn't be much clearer than that if he tried, but what is it that he's really blaming them for? Well, he makes that equally as clear right away.

U.S. offers the worst healthcare program, one of the worst public school systems and the worst benefits for workers. The margin between rich and poor has been growing precipitously while it has been decreasing in Europe. Among the great democracies, we use military might less cautiously, show less respect for international law and are the stumbling block in international environmental cooperation. Few informed people look to the United States anymore for progressive ideas.

Welcome to Socialism 101. Again, he couldn't be much more clear. The Founding Fathers are an impediment, by their very nature, in instituting any socialist agenda, like worker's benefits, "international" law, the environment and of course the often talked about never displayed gap between the rich and poor.

It could be argued easily that we have the world's best healthcare program, because all the advances in medicine of any significance, especially pharmaceutical, are made here. We don't have waiting lines for treatment (except in the part of the system that's already socialized - Medicare/Medicaid). We don't have denial of service and we don't have a crushing tax burden (well, we do a little) that feeds the behemoth like it does in just about every other "great democracy" that has socialized medicine.

Our public school systems suffer from socialist medelling and experimentation as they strive to replace parents, certainly not for lack of money. Studies of parochial/private schools, that spend far less, versus public schools show that money certainly isn't the issue. That is a tired old canard.

The gap between rich and poor is usually code for "everyone should get paid the same - well, except us elite Leftists of course". That people get paid according to their skills and abilities is one of the Hallmarks of this country.

The whole "using military might less cautiously" means we defend ourselves. The atrophied militaries of the other "great democracies", most of which gladly accepted sixty years of our military protection, and their inability to even keep their citizenry safe or respond to foreign attacks speaks volumes to that. I'll take our lack of caution over that any day and twice on Sunday.

International law and environmentalism are also codes for "UN trumps US" laws. The longer these NGO bureaucracies and unsigned "laws" fester and grow, the more they seem to develop some false air of legitimacy that the Left clings to as some sort of handcuff restraint on US policy. And who isn't for cleaner air, water and a nice place to live? That was never the issue. It's all about control and for-profit groups and NGO's like Sierra Club want to be the ones who end up with that control.

Betsy's Page has a wonderful refutation of Mr. Kurlansky's historical references and I will not presume to outshine her. Her response puts paid to his "examples".

Note this, though, of what he also says.

Instead, we keep worrying about the vision of a bunch of sexist, slave-owning 18th century white men in wigs and breeches. Even in the 18th century, the founding fathers were not the most enlightened thinkers available.

Rarely do you see one paragraph so concisely break down the general impression of the Founders by the Left. Because the Founders were not perfect super-beings, we must discount them. And listen to whom? Who is without sin? Certainly not Kurlansky, me, or any of those I'm sure he admires like Lenin or Mao.

The Founders were men, just men. They were products of their times and did the best they could to establish an enlightened and new form of government that would be better than them, even transcend them. They poured all their hopes into a few pieces of paper that espoused what they believed to be universal truths, and for this we should eternally thank them, that such men, amazingly men of their time, could create something that has endured so long and weathered so many assaults. I salute them.

And then he makes the case that the Founding Fathers, the very ones he just spent most of his rant telling you don't matter, don't even buy into making their opinions and beliefs ones set in stone, and thus we can consider any ideas they had, like the Bill of Rights, to be just flights of fancy or "of the times" and outdated notions.

Consider his quote from Jefferson.

"Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind," Jefferson wrote in 1816. "As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstance, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."

So you're saying Jefferson said things change? My God. We've been living a lie! Please, give me a break. Jefferson asked us not to be a slave to the society and culture of the day, and we have not. We have no more slavery. We have equal rights for all citizens regardless of sex or race or creed. We have many of the things they could only have dreamed of at the time, but which they hoped the United States, from its creation in the Constitution, might one day achieve.

Does that mean our rights and freedoms should change as well, that somehow they are as mutable as our culture. Well, don't ask me. Ask Jefferson.

"Nothing... is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man." --Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. ME 16:48

I believe that's game, set and match, but you'll find many more of Jefferson's quotes that equally defend our liberties and rights, something the modern Left wishes to see squelched. Hand in hand with their "Brave New World" will come oppressive taxation and reform from the barrel of a gun. In our society, someone can say "No" when government says we need a new tax or a new restriction on freedom or a new social program. There are mechanisms to address and defeat such government proposals and although it is never easy, it is doable.

The whole priniciple of the Left, especially the laundry list of "initiatives" Kurlansky feeds us at the beginning of his rant all demand that no one be able to say "No" and if they do they will be removed from the equation. Lessons of history on that courtesy of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Castro and Kim Il Sung to name some of their greats. You can choose those as your "Founders" or the ones we already have. Which do you prefer?

Monday, July 03, 2006

See New York, Ban Some Guns...

The likely agenda for the international host of delegates for the convention being held at the UN over the past few days (due to end on July 4th, no less) has been innocently stated by Annan and others to be an attempt to stave the illicit trade of firearms in the world. What they've made obvious in their agenda and the NGO gun disarmament groups they've invited to participate is their desire to strike at nations, mostly the U.S. that still allow their citizens relatively free access to firearms.

Ron Paul (R-TX) discusses how this commission has hopes that this will lead to an international gun ban treaty in his latest editorial, and what those who support gun rights will face in the future.

Fortunately, U.S. gun owners have responded with an avalanche of letters to the American delegation to the conference, asking that none of our tax dollars be used to further UN anti-gun proposals. But we cannot discount the growing power of international law, whether through the UN, the World Trade Organization, or the NAFTA and CAFTA treaties. Gun rights advocates must understand that the forces behind globalism are hostile toward our Constitution and national sovereignty in general. Our 2nd Amendment means nothing to UN officials. has been running a series on the daily activities at the conference, courtesy of Cam Edwards (Don't try to access it til after the 4th as the site is being redesigned).

Well, this one can be summed up pretty easily. Any convention that praises Red China's ability to curb private ownership of firearms pretty much screams out totalitarian fascist slag. While they were at it, I hope they included in the minutes the body count Mao and his successors rung up on that unarmed citizenry. I'm sure there will also be little or no mention of the approximately 100 million people killed by their own governments (China being #1) and the fact that, by and large, they didn't have the priviledge their governments had of being armed and capable of defending themselves.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You run with the Devil, the Devil don't change. You do. No, of course I realize that isn't original, but I like saying it all the same. A group that tolerates petty dictatorships, communist totalitarian states and warlords and which puts them on equal footing with its democracies is not going to make those other less savory governments act like democracies. It will, however, slowly start to tarnish the standing of the more free governments and cause a general shift towards the less free. This is just the way of things, and we have the benefit of sixty years of history to prove my point.

The NGO's (non-governmental organizations at the conference) that cling like lampreys to a shark (like the imagery?) in an attempt to do what the Democrats failed for over a decade to do hope to add enough language to any agreement and put pressure on enough Senators to try and get it ratified some day in the U.S. (holding out hope of course for a willing Democrat President like Clinton of course). Of course, that doesn't mean they are inactive on the home front. Just because they've not been able to act legislatively, they have still been working their way through the courts to restrict gun rights.

One of their latest crowing points is the Massachusetts ruling that homeowners who fail to lockup guns can be held liable for their improper use if they are stolen. The amusing side note to that is, the gun in that case was locked up, but not "adequately enough" to keep it from being stolen, so it's based on if the judge thinks you did enough to keep criminals from your gun. Don't you just love subjective rulings?

But I digress. This conference will do as ones in the past have done. Groups with close ties to the likes of International ANSWER and the World Worker's Party, which hijacked the old disarmament organizations and apparatus of the Cold War some years ago to use for their gun control agenda, realize that their influence is dependent on whether or not they can deliver restrictions on individual freedoms, one of the largest of which is the right to defend yourself. Their support from some of these self-same totalitarian governments and Marxist organizations comes from a desire to use subversion and the West's own "utopian" idea of a world governing body to solve all our ills.

While we have little to fear from the UN telling us to do anything, we must be mindful and vigilant of the framework and agreements they do develop and their possible implications with more pliable and willing future U.S. administrations. Much like with the government power extensions with things like the Patriot Act, it doesn't hurt to realize that although the current administration may try and show restraint, others will be far less trusting of we the people and far more eager to enact their own view of how we should be safe and secure. History tells us that's one thing we can depend on.

So, fear not when a UN bureaucrat suggests there should be stronger steps taken to police nations that allow too much "liberty" in gun rights and ownership, but keep a wary eye, and watch who amongst our government (in Congress and elsewhere) nods approvingly. Those are the people you'll be wanting to question more thoroughly come the next few election cycles.

And memo to New York, I thought Giuliani cleaned out all the thugs and crooks from the city. Bloomberg must be slipping.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Just You Wait...

Why is it I so often hear this sentiment and so often see an utter lack of reason or rationale to it? A common phrase among the Left these days seems to be "Just you wait. We'll get a new Congress/President/Supreme Court, blah blah blah and things will be better".

"FILL IN THE BLANK" will be right once we've kicked out these morons and get the Democrats back in power. It could be the War, or poverty or the homeless (who by the way seem to show up whenever a Republican gets in office and head to their summer homes in Cancun when the likes of Clinton is President if you go by the news coverage) or Medicare/Social Security or any number of issues. I am always told the grass is greener on the Left side of the aisle. Mostly, Brian Williams, Al Franken Eleanor Clift and Michael Moore tell me, but hey.

Why just the other day, I was reading one of the local Lefty columnists railing about his apartment or Screech or something of that nature. He curiously came out of left field (as it were) at the end of his rant and lamented how he knew times were tough for everyone, but if we just waited til we got that New Congress, bright, shiny and looking to tax the living hell out of us, we'd all be singing kumbaya, drinking broccoli shakes and singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer weiner". Or was it Dennis Leary who said that? Anyway, his main point was (and has been in other columns) that our hard times would disappear when we got the likes of Kerry, Gore, Clinton or whoever the Leftist of the month currently is back into the White House with a lock-step like-minded majority in Congress.

THAT will solve America's problems. Ok, reality check for all the aging hipsters out there. No it won't. Just changing the Party in the majority sure as hell won't do anything to improve the country. Even worse, it's a left-leaning sold-their-soul-to-socialism Democrat Party, which amazingly enough is what Americans don't seem to want. They don't want illegal immigration. They don't want out of control spending. They don't want gun control. They don't want anything even remotely perceived as handing over an iota of sovereignty to the UN. They surely to God to not want higher taxes and additional social programs with more pork. Now, some of that, sadly, they're going to get with even Republicans because Republicans in Washington are about as conservative as a Nevada prostitute with her wares and surprisingly similar in how they conduct business.

They will get all of it and more if the Democrats are back fully in charge, because the Democrats have all but come out and said that is the plan. Daffy Dean, leader of the Dems, is quite adamant that he believes this is the best course for America and he favors Congressional and Presidential candidates who agree with him. Amazingly, sometimes it is about God, guns and gays, but the real flaw with the Democratic leadership is they seem to think that's all that's keeping the majority of Americans from voting for them. It's not. Sure, those are important issues and many Americans might soften to the Democrats if they took more conservative stances on such issues, but the majority still would realize the Bigger Government Party (there is no mainstream small gov party anymore and the Libertarians are still small guys) is not conducive to good times or good business for America.

Their last two Presidents, Clinton and Carter, had to fake right as Southern conservative Democrats to even get elected and even then didn't get a majority of the votes. Yes, contrary to popular belief, Bush wasn't the only one who didn't win a majority (well, he didn't in 2000). The Democrats are tanked as a serious power contender in this country. If they do get reelected, then we should seriously question what people are smoking these days, because their ideas mean more of a financial and social burden on everyone but those who don't work (and that includes the working poor), more failing schools, an absentee foreign policy and the social engineering experiment of the month. With all that against them, it'd take a miracle, and the Democrats don't really believe in the Guy who creates those.

Good times are here and this country's about as prosperous as it's going to get. Just look at the latest economic numbers. If you think the country is in the doldrums when we're doing this good, then you'll be "just waiting" for a Democrat who will really turn us toward economic oblivion. But don't worry, at least the Big Three news networks will make it seem like good times as we're all standing in tofu soup lines.