Thursday, September 28, 2006

“You Think You’re So Clever…”

Everybody else has weighed in on the Clinton blow-up in his Sunday interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News, so why not me? Well, although I think it’s received exhaustive coverage elsewhere, what are a few more sentences driving the point home, right?

I certainly can say this. I feel vindicated. College sort of breeds a distrust for authority (reinforced by most professors). Governmental authority, specifically, is looked upon negatively. Interestingly, the professors never seemed to include themselves. Perhaps they should’ve. With George HW Bush, I found myself looking at a near Rockefeller Republican, an old New England liberal, trying to play at being conservative. He failed, but he also failed to convince the liberals he was one of them. Perhaps the Gulf War didn’t help. I didn’t like his endorsement of taxes and his social agenda left much to be desired. I found no shortage of support in my discontent with his Presidency on campus. When Clinton took office, though, that discontent vanished. Everyone acted as if we were living in Camelot.

Within a year or two, the “New Democrat” from Arkansas proved to be more liberal than any New England Democrat could have hoped to be. He also proved to be more lacking in ethics or ability to efficiently run government and hopelessly corrupt regarding monetary contributions and the running of the White House. Not a peep echoed from the hallowed halls of academia that I walked. The only opposition voice I heard was mine. The same people who were telling me to “Question Authority” one minute were praising our great new President the next. Didn’t seem right then and it still doesn’t.

With people of quantifiable integrity like Barbara Olsen and Gary Aldrich weighing in on the Clinton White House and the real scandalous behavior, the travesty he had made of the office, and the utter failure in foreign policy, I found it impossible to understand why the mainstream media of the day wasn’t putting these stories up nightly. Clinton was so protected from any negative press, it was ridiculous. He didn’t get hard questions, not about his foreign and domestic policies. Only when the cheap and tawdry scandal of sex with an intern was broached, something no media pundit worth his Harvard diploma could ignore, were questions asked, and then they STILL ignored his failed foreign policy.

His domestic policy didn’t help either. Waco, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma City, Mogadishu, the first WTC bombing, Khobar Towers, the Tanzania and Kenya embassy bombings, the Chinese Army/Intel campaign contributions, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the complete failure of this weak man to LEAD his government went on virtually ignored. When his administration was confronted with even the hint of impropriety in these matters, well, someone else was always to blame. Clinton came to personify the “always the victim” mentality of the 90’s. The guy was practically its poster child and the mainstream media was his nursemaid.

Ever since 1999, his same aggressive crew has done everything in their power to reshape history and try and build a fake legacy out of even more fake history by again blaming everyone but Clinton for the failures of his administration. More felons came out of his administration than Nixon’s, but we’re supposed to believe even now that overall he wasn’t so bad? Even his own National Security Advisor, Sandy “Pants” Berger, was convicted of stealing documents that could have made Clinton look bad regarding his handling of the terrorist threat from the National Archives. Frankly, as an aside, I think anyone who destroys anything kept at the National Archives should be shot, burned, and hung from the Washington Monument as an example to other Vandals of history, and not necessarily in that order.

Back to Clinton, though. Somehow, the former President has managed to avoid any tough questions since 9/11 on how royally he screwed the pooch on his watch. Hmm…I’m not even sure that’s just a metaphor. Regardless, that he finally got confronted with even a simple question from Chris Wallace, that inquired as to what Clinton thought of those who said he failed in Somalia, especially bin Laden himself, who saw it as a sign that America could be beaten, was a magical moment for me. That he couldn’t help but explode, showing a fraction of that rumored temper his aides have always tried to deny was even more priceless. And that all he could do was lie repeatedly, even about the one source, Richard Clarke’s book on the subject, was even more telling of the moral vacuity of the man.

His use of phrases like “little conservative hit piece” and “you’ve got that little smirk on your face…you think you’re so clever…” and my favorite “You did Fox’s bidding on this show” are phrases I would’ve expected from a fifth grader who got caught peaking into the girl’s locker room, not of a former President. The man wasn’t worthy to be President or even shine the President’s shoes and he sure as hell didn’t do our country any good while he played pretend at the job. Even with this little schoolyard tantrum, the Left can’t help but hold this up as an example of how they should “fight back” when challenged by the Right. Yes, don’t stand on the merits of your arguments or beliefs. Throw a tantrum and almost physically assault the person who questions you. Act like a big ass baby and then people will really take you seriously.

This is the best the Left can do these days? This is still their standard bearer? I can plainly say that I’m glad I was around to see it, and I’m even more glad that he has continued to show, even more openly than before, what a pathetic excuse of a man he is and the real legacy of his pretend Presidency. Thank God for small favors.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Do You Have Any ID?

There have been lengthy discussions about several states’ new requirements that you have some form of picture ID before you are allowed to vote. Interestingly, conservatives have fallen almost squarely on the “show your ID” side while liberals have almost roundly condemned any means of confirming identity. Liberal attacks have even gone as far as equating calls for showing ID with the return of Jim Crowe or poll taxes.

I suppose when you have no better argument, crying racism is the easiest retort. It’s also the most ridiculous. Even the New York Times, which long ago gave up any claim of objectivity or respectability, is using the “little old lady” defense in a recent article against verifying your vote, as it were. They highlight the requirement in Arizona of buying a $12 ID as unduly harsh and a burden on a little old lady, who by the way did you know has a son on active duty in the Army? It seems the only time any major paper will mention active duty military is if they believe it gives them some sort of heart-string-pulling leverage over middle America.

Now, to be fair, I will say that I’m on the fence with paying for an ID that allows me to exercise my right to vote. I don’t mind it, but I think it could be a burden. To Indiana’s credit, it provides free ID’s for just this reason. Funny, that still didn’t seem to pacify the local liberal crowd, like the ACLU and Democrats, who thought that having to pick up a free ID card was an unbearable burden.

I digress, though. I fail to see, and perhaps someone can help me understand, how being able to help curtail voter fraud is inherently a bad thing. I wasn’t alive for it, but I’ve read several accounts of the Chicago voter fraud that handed the presidential election to Kennedy in 1960. Never has one candidate had some many dead people vote for him. Amusingly, though, it seems Republicans are the ones typically cited for voter fraud, although I have yet to see any of the modern allegations proven. There was Florida in 2000, where several recounts, including many by decidedly left-leaning partisan entities, gave the election to Bush, not Gore. The election wasn’t “stolen”. Bush wasn’t “appointed”. He won it thanks to the Founders’ rather impressive intercession in the Electoral College. Never intending mob rule, they had wisely decided to minimize the average citizen’s say in who was President. Remember, the idea was not to have a vulgar democracy, but a representative republic.

Again, not to digress, but the same issue arose in 2004, mostly due to the same people unwilling to believe that Chimpy McBushHitler, as he’s so lovingly referred on the Left, could possibly win over the majority of American voters (the first to do so since Reagan, by the way). This is sort of becoming a post of tangents, but don’t you find it ironic that a political group (the Left) that complains so loudly about defamation from the Right uses the above moniker so readily for our current President? Maybe it’s not irony, just the regular hypocrisy we’re so used to seeing in politics these days.

Ok, so back on track. Why the backlash? Why the fear? When there were concerns that “butterfly” ballots were too difficult to count, the industry that creates voting machines came up with electronic voting, which was at the insistence of the Left, I might remind all again. What do we have to do? Go back to writing our candidates on paper? Or do we have to type them so they’re legible? Do we need to file our votes in triplicate? Or could it just be that those crowing loudest feel they might actually be the ones to primarily benefit from voter fraud and don’t really want to see it go away? Perhaps that’s a bit conspiratorial, but just as readily it could be a true motivating force.

I see only good things coming from a better and more easily verifiable voting registry. With the rolls purged of dead voters and with the remaining voters actually having to prove they are eligible (as opposed to say illegals or those wishing to vote early, vote often), there can only be greater accountability in the practice. That it’s so decentralized still also means the likelihood of widespread fraud is greatly reduced. If there is a downside to this, I can’t see it.

Hat tip to Rightwingnews for the article link.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

‘Sensible’ Discomfort With Freedom

A popular slogan of the Left in regards to gun control laws is that they only wish ‘sensible’ restrictions. Everything they want is ‘sensible’, thus by proxy it connotes that those who oppose such ‘sensible’ restrictions are witless, rash, out of control or dangerous. English really is a remarkable language isn’t it?

Well, the same battle cries have come flying fast and free from a variety of journalists (all who obviously know better than you or I) in regards to Indiana DNR Commissioner Kyle Hupfer’s 1-year lifting of handgun restrictions in Indiana state parks. The first rumblings came from the Democrats, no great surprise there. Matt Pierce of Bloomington suggested the move was political, aimed (no pun intended) to win the support of the powerful NRA in a time when the governor’s numbers are sagging. For the record, I’m not a member of the NRA, but I used to be. They’re often demonized as the quintessential lobby or special interest group, but they are one of the only ones that tries to protect a fundamental inalienable right and one of the only ones that can boat around 4 million members who have no interest other than seeing the continuance of those rights. Would that all lobby groups were that representative of the people.

The Brady Bunch, known in their headier days as Handgun Control Inc. (doesn’t that sound like a 70’s comic villain group?), had their own quote from their current chairman who the Indianapolis Star likes to remind us was a “Republican” mayor of Fort Wayne. Paul Helmke, who apparently although he is a leftist, because he was Republican we’re supposed to assume he’s the final authority on the matter (didn’t these people ever hear of Rockefeller Republicans?), interjected the following crass statement.

“I know I won’t feel safer going to a state park thinking everyone could be carrying a gun.”

Well, thankfully Mr. Helmke doesn’t speak for the majority of Hoosiers who do feel safer, especially the ones carrying. See, it “makes no sense” to him why anyone would feel safer. Nor does it make sense to the likes of the Indianapolis Star’s own Jane Lichtenberg, who in Sunday’s Expresso section of the Star informed her readers that:

“…this goes too far. And please don’t insult our intelligence by suggesting that this wasn’t timed to nail the votes of the National Rifle Association. Members attending a forum on gun rights in Lawrenceburg. It sure won’t win votes of families planning visits to state parks.”

See? Families = Sensible. Then she plays the murder card. Indianapolis is currently experiencing a horrible string of murders, mostly drug related, but obviously it’s because people can legally carry guns, if you just follow her logic.

“Hupfer’s decision was especially dubious considering the recent epidemic of murders and gun violence in Indianapolis. Kids can’t play safely on many inner city streets. Will their parents now have to worry about visits to Harrison State Park too?"

This relativism and refusal to see that downtown Indy’s drug-ridden crime-filled neighborhoods are no different than a state park are disingenuous if not downright purposefully misleading. And, not to stereotype, but having lived in such neighborhoods for a time (where I was very glad to be able to carry a firearm for protection), not many of my neighbors were planning vacations to Harrison or any other state park that I recall. Most were just happy if all their utilities got paid on a given month. Maybe Jane should get out more.

And don’t forget accidental shootings. ‘Sensible’ people always remind us that there can always be accidental shootings. And you can also get cancer, get hit by a bus, struck by lightning or drown in a bath tub. Accidents happen. Responsible adults, especially responsible parents, do their best to minimize the chance of such accidents. I’ll take ‘responsible’ over ‘sensible’ any day.

It might be worth also discussing exactly what all this hoopla is about. Consider what our reality was like before the Commissioner’s decision. Previously, carrying a firearm beyond a small and limited class of calibers and models which were expressly for use by hunters with a license was prohibited. You carried what you were going to hunt with and no more.

There were problems with this equation. Having gone out hunting myself, I can tell you there still are such things as poachers. The DNR Conservation Officer’s plaque of those who’ve died while active officers, includes an officer lost to poachers. They are a serious threat. Poachers can even poach another’s kill. This itself is not unheard of, especially in the more “remote” parks. If you’ve just fired, you’ve identified where you are and worse, you probably didn’t reload as you moved in or tracked your kill. This can possibly leave you on the wrong end of someone else’s weapon who hasn’t had that good of luck that day or who’s luck is very good, depending on if he was looking for a buck or someone like you. Having the ability to protect yourself against poachers or as Commissioner Hupfer noted, from meth producers that litter the rural areas of the state, is a valuable and more relevant-than-ever right.

Then there’s the small matter of what to do if you're not going hunting, but still want to go to the state parks. What do you do to protect yourself then? Have there never been robberies in parks? What about coyotes or their half-dog hybrids that have no fear of humans and have been known to attack dogs and children? Are we to exercise our duty to retreat then or should we be allowed to defend ourselves? How about the aforementioned meth labs? Should we run from those people as well or perhaps engage them in a philosophical discussion on the vices of the illicit drug trade? Frankly, I’ll take the more “aggressive” form of diplomacy any day.

I applaud Commissioner Hupfer’s decision in this regard, and am glad to see Indiana now one of the leading states in reestablishing these freedoms to its citizens. Although the voices arrayed against him don’t have the strength they once had, they’re still ‘sensible’ enough that this issue still deserves much attention and scrutiny. Eternal vigilance isn't just a catchy phrase.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Arrogant Presumption

Being a major leftist newspaper means never having to treat anyone as better than you. Such is the case with the New York Times. Since the Pope’s remarks on Islam at Regensburg on September 12th, the Times has gone from simple reporting of the speech “Pope Assails Secularism, with a Note on Jihad” to pompous demands for an apology and a need to meet with “high-level experts on Islam” to help him submit and humble himself before the Islamic world.

To define this as it is, an outrage by an organization that understands religion about as much as a three year old understands quantum physics, truly doesn’t encompass the scope of arrogance and pomposity that is the New York Times. I would imagine if anyone, the Pope understands quite well what Islam is and what its followers are capable of.

Certainly his predecessor did after being shot by one of the practitioners of the “Religion of Peace”. Even that same fellow has warned Benedict not to travel to Turkey as planned for fear of Benedict’s life. When your predecessor’s would-be assassin starts giving you security advice, perhaps that’s a sign to worry.

I’m still at a loss exactly as to what Pope Benedict is required to apologize for. The Times erroneously implies that he has “apologized” by offering his regrets at his “ill-considered comments”. Interestingly, others are clarifying the Pontiff’s position a little differently than the times. Consider this from quote from an article on the continuing demands for the Pope's "apology".

George Weigel, author of "God's Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church," said the pope expressed regret over the way his words have been twisted and misunderstood, but did not back away from them.

"The over-the-top reaction in the Muslim world simply underscores the truth of what he said at Regensburg, which is that unless Islam develops the capacity to be self-critical -- unless Islamic leaders take responsibility for saying to their extremists that violence in the name of God is wrong -- then there can be no genuine interreligious dialogue," Weigel said.

"There has been not the slightest backing off of that, and there can't be, because it's true," he added.

One would get from that the Pope meant what he said and feels his remarks were vindicated by the response he has received. The irony is quite thick in even referencing a historical figure who calls a certain group mindless thugs and getting a reaction from representatives of that same group that speaks to mindless thuggery. Sometimes these just write themselves.

If anything, the Pope’s remarks and inference of historical perspective on the current situation, a situation which completely does NOT entertain “genuine communication” (and by the way, what “leader” is he supposed to genuinely communicate with considering the Pope has no Islamic analog?) between Christianity and Islam, say things that needed to be said many years ago, but either out of fear or neglect haven’t been voiced. There is a danger here that has been allowed to fester and grow.

As Islam has seen a reformation, it has not been towards liberalism or enlightenment as happened with the Christian reformations, but towards a return to a more fundamentalist understanding of early Islam and to the time when Mohammed wrote and spoke of conquest and dhimmitude of the infidels. That’s you and me, by the way. There will likely be no Renaissance of Islamic thought mainly because the catalysts that need to be there, the ones that lead to Christianity’s Age of Enlightenment, simply don’t exist. Islam isn’t going that way and the moderates are quickly losing ground.

If it takes the Pope for that issue to receive international attention, then, well, I guess it takes the Pope. Only a true secularist or “humanist” would think that the Pope’s only hope of understanding Islam would be if “high-level experts” could “help guide him” to a better understanding. So he needs to be proselytized to in order to be a true convert to the "Religion of Peace". Advocacy of proselytizing one’s faith for other’s to better understand it is something the New York Times hasn’t endorsed in living memory. I suppose in Islam the Times has finally found a religion with which it can do business.

In my opinion, the Pope doesn’t need to apologize. The Times does. Its insults and intolerance of the Papacy and its place in Christendom defines offensive. Multicultural doesn’t mean everyone but Christians (and Catholics are included in that heading). Let them remove the log from their own eye before lamenting on the speck in someone else’s for a change.

Hat tip to Newsbusters for keeping up the coverage on this issue.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beware Your Enemies’ Posthumous Praise

HBO’s new documentary, Mr. Conservative’ about the life and politics of Barry Goldwater, told in part from the perspective of his granddaughter, has raised a few hackles from the Right and drawn praise from the Left. Considering that many of us on this end of the political spectrum see Goldwater’s ideas (his own people founded the Libertarians) and writings as the watershed event defining what some call the “true” conservatism, it unsettles the stomach to see those on the Far Left speak well of him.

Well, they apparently don’t, really. They will likely use the chance to impugn current members of the conservative movement by claiming they are straying from Goldwater’s purity. Doubtless we’ll see Reagan invoked next in the same manner.

For a man who wrote “The Conscience of a Conservative” and the lesser-read “Conscience of the Majority”, Goldwater was a true visionary. He was able to distill so much of what it was to be conservative in an era of unbridled liberalism (the era that brought us the Great Society and the Selfish generation) and he gave conservatives a star to steer by. When I originally read Conscience of a Conservative some years ago, I thought on not only how much I found myself agreeing with what he wrote, but on how much of it (save for the nuclear confrontation with the Soviets part) was still relevant to this day. Incidentally, Reagan made use of that last part to great effectiveness. What a surprise, Goldwater was right again. I have often looked at Goldwater and John C. Calhoun as heirs to the same tradition, attempts to reign in the federal beast whenever possible and make certain it sticks to its enumerated powers. I highly recommend reading both of their works.

Much is made of Goldwater not liking the fact that religious conservatives were being seen as the “only” conservatives and there’s a point to that. Conservative thought draws from the wellspring of Judeo-Christian morality and so such an association was only a matter of time. Intermeshing the ideas means some aspects might be lost in the debate regarding the religious aspect of the movement. To say that modern conservatives somehow thusly are detached from Goldwater’s legacy by their faith, though, is disingenuous at best.

I will say this, when comparing those who call themselves conservative in this day and age with Goldwater’s thoughts on conservatism, many fall short. Certainly our President falls short as well as a vast majority of Senators and a staggering number of Representatives. There are few true conservatives in Congress and barely four on the Supreme Court. To say that conservatives or even “neo-cons” dominate the government is to say you really are clueless when it comes to what conservatism really is or the statements and voting records of your elected officials.

Liberalism, even in moderation, still dominates this country and it seems to draw many of the political class under its wing. From that standpoint then you can certainly make an argument that most aren’t “Goldwater” conservatives. Libertarians, specifically the more conservative Libertarians of the Midwest often see themselves as descendants of that last “true” conservatism as well and often it is their base reason why they cannot identify with the Republicans despite the latter’s professed conservative tradition. Those Libertarians see a weakness in the Republican tradition in their compromise with the Left and that they are willing to betray their principles for some imagined political gain.

So, from that point of view, perhaps the Left is correct and their ridicule of those Republicans who have sold out will have some basis in reality (a rarity for the Left), but I bet one thing you won’t see in the documentary is that there are still plenty who share the conservative ideals of the late great Arizona Senator and who attempt to carry on in his memory if not in his name.

Among those who are supposed to offer quotes in this documentary are Hillary Clinton, Al Franken, and Ted Kennedy; not exactly what I’d call people who could speak authoritatively on issues of conservatism or on Barry Goldwater. That William F. Buckley Jr. isn’t interviewed (from what I hear) speaks volumes about the slant of the piece. They don’t want to showcase the man. They want to use him as a tool to make a political statement favoring the Left. You need only look at the comedy cavalcade of characters above to infer that. If you want to know the real Barry Goldwater, read his autobiographical work “With No Apologies”. If you want to see another Leftist hatchet piece, make sure to tune into HBO for 90 minutes of fun and frivolity.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dare Not Speak The Truth

It looks as if Cyrus Nowastech, the screenplay writer whose "Path to 9/11" ABC screenplay thrust him into the national spotlight, has decided to answer the myriad of volleys from the Left tossed his way. The writer who has been labeled everything but a white man (literally) has responded to calls that he is partisan or had an "agenda" to discredit the Clintons with his docudrama. Consider:

In July a reporter asked if I had ever been ethnically profiled. I happily replied, "No." I can no longer say that. The L.A. Times, for one, characterized me by race, religion, ethnicity, country-of-origin and political leanings--wrongly on four of five counts. To them I was an Iranian-American politically conservative Muslim. It is perhaps irrelevant in our brave new world of journalism that I was born in Boulder, Colo. I am not a Muslim or practitioner of any religion, nor am I a political conservative. What am I? I am, most devoutly, an American. I asked the reporter if this kind of labeling was a new policy for the paper. He had no response.

This is a man whose screen credits certainly don't speak to his political leanings, including the likes of Oliver Stone's "The Day Reagan Was Shot", but that doesn't matter much anymore. All one must do is attack an icon of the new religion, or in this case icons and shed a little light on the real history that we've been encouraged to "Move On" from and you're officially a member of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Congratualtions, Cyrus. Now you're in the big time.

At least they didn't smear Cyrus alone. Apparently, the director David Cunningham committed the sin of relation to a father who started a youth ministry. What was it they used to say about America? Here we judge you by who you are, not by who your father was. That is, unless the Left can use that to some sort of political advantage. Fairness here, the Right does that too. It's pretty sad when they do. Although sometimes the sins of the father are inherited by the son, this isn't 19th Century Ireland. Let's take people as we find them.

All that aside, consider, though, what he feels he was really trying to say when he wrote that screenplay.

"The Path to 9/11" was intended to remind us of the common enemy we face. Like the 9/11 Report itself, it is meant to enable us to better defend ourselves from a future attack. Past is prologue, and 9/11 is merely another step in an escalating Islamic fundamentalist reign of terror. By dramatizing the step-by-step increase in attacks on America--all of which, in fact, occurred--we are better able to see the pattern and anticipate the future. That was the point of the series, its only intention. Call it the canary in the coal mine. Call it John O'Neill in the FBI.

Spoken like a real historian, one who actually wants to use history to interpret the past and possibly better understand the future. Understanding always worked so much better for me than structured attempts to rewrite history and construct a new future based on that. I thought Progressives were all about understanding. Where were you on that one, boys?

Cyrus Nowatech is yet another in an increasingly long line of people with no political agenda who find themselves in the inconvenient spot of being assigned on by powers who are adversely affected by their desire to "speak truth to power". He won't be the last. As this election cycle rolls into the '08 Presidential elections, and assuming Hillary is in fact running, I'd hazard a guess we'll see a lot more of these rather nasty character assassinations. Count on it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Don't Quote Me On This...

I wonder if that's what Pope Benedict XVI was thinking as he read the now infamous quote by the Byzantine Emperor Manuel Paleologos II. To say that this shows the relatively thin skin of the Muslim world would be a drastic understatement. Being one of the religious leaders of the Western world, it is appropriate for Pope Benedict to speak on matters of religion and relations between the religions in this day and age. That we are not allowed to quote or review history without "offense" to some party or another is a dangerous notion.

The remark that has much of the Islamic world in a tizzy is Emperor Manuel's challenge to a Persian scholar and I'll print it in its entierity here.

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war."

"He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.' "

Now, the Pope didn't necessarily say he agreed with it, although one could be forgiven for seeing that Islam was spread by the sword seeing as the Byzantine Empire, its satellite states, all of North Africa, Spain and southern France were all invaded and decimated by Islamic invaders whose purpose was conversion or subjugation and extermination of those who wouldn't convert.

There's also the simple fact that many of those nations, after existing in some form or another going back to the Persian Empire, simply ceased to exist as they were absorbed into the Caliphate. You can't get more clear than Constantinople now existing as the Turkish city of Istanbul (that wasn't a voluntary conversion, just for the record) and one of the greatest churches of all Christendom, the Hagia Sophia, now existing as an Islamic mosque.

That he dared to remind us of what the great minds of the 1300's were thinking has incensed many in the Islamic world. The Pakistani parliament voted to condemn the Pope for statements it called "derogatory" and sought an apology. Even when the Pope offered one, the Vatican was told that such a simple thing as an apology was insufficient.

Turkey, of course, possibly most sensitive to the subject, has been a little more vocal. The deputy leader of Turkey's Islamic party, Salih Kapusuz, called the Pope's remarks "the result of pitiful ignorance". Well, at least he's got an open mind about all this. So...the Ottoman Turks, after converting to Islam, didn't make their all-consuming goal the conquest of the Byzantine Empire and beyond? Anyone? No takers?

He further comments:

"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefitted from the spirit of reform in the Christian world...It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades".

The Crusades, a Western response to Islamic imperialism and aggression, full of their own flaws of human weakness though they were, were not some spontaneous assault on the peaceful and enlightened kingdoms of Islam. The Byzantine Emperor of that time in the 11th Century was watching Islamic armies waltz all over his former lands and disregarded a long standing enmity to beg the Pope of the time for aid. That led to the Crusades, which arguably were a failure because they did not stop the Islamic invasion. They and the Mongols merely delayed it a couple hundred years.

If anyone was the aggressor in that period of history, it was the kingdoms of Islam, like the Mamluks or the Ottomans, not the Franks or English.

The weekend hasn't seen much respite for the Pontiff. The attacks have grown. Newsweek decided it was worth a major story and no less than Al-Qaeda is threatening His Holiness.

One might remind the religious fanatics in between their chants of "Death to America" "Death to the Pope" that they're falling prey to that old adage "Best to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

¿Habla Ingles?

Every now and then, you come across a story that, although apparently innocent, is really the sign of a true malignancy of liberalism run-amuck. Typically, it involves the misspending of tax dollars, and this story is no exception.

According to the Idaho Statesman, two new preschools have been opened that will be Spanish-only in terms of what language can be spoken. The focus of the schools will be on developing the childrens' Spanish language skills and emphasizing Spanish culture. The story features one delighted mother.

Franco-Cronin, a native of Ecuador, has worked hard to get her preschool-age twins to speak Spanish and English. Speaking Spanish to the children at home just isn't enough, she said.

"They say, 'The only person who speaks Spanish is Mommy,'" said Franco-Cronin. "I want them to feel comfortable hearing it from other people, so they know it's normal, it's part of our culture."

Wow, doesn't that just warm the heart? Later, the article mentions another concern this mother had when considering this Spanish-immersion education.

Franco-Cronin has always taken her children to Spanish-speaking play groups and has spoken only Spanish to them at home. But she has noticed that her girls often reply to her in English.

"I didn't feel it was enough for them," she said.

See? This screams feel-good story, but the underlying story it tells goes largely unnoticed. First, there's a somewhat racist tone to her comments. How dare her children respond to her in that dirty English language around her. They should speak the noble Espanol. And although immigrants who are somewhat conceited in their view of their native language and culture goes back to our founding, there has never quite been the facilitation of that racism as there is now by overindulgent liberalism.

I might remind the dear lady that she left her native Ecuador to give her children a better life in a great country like the United States. And although it's wonderful that she wants to instill in them a respect for their mother country (again, something immigrants to the U.S. have done since the beginning), to expect that the rest of us will fund her racism is a true sign that the wrong people are holding the purse strings.

That's right. Not something you usually consider is it? You're thinking "It's just a preschool". Well, it's a preschool the people of Boise have to fund and that not all of them can use. Most parents are going to want their childern to primarily learn English in this country, because if you don't know it well you're not going to have much of a future in this country. McDonalds drive-thru might be something you'd aspire to, but not the United States Senate, for example.

And while I think it's just peachy for immigrant groups of any stripe to pick up the torch and fund private schools that teach their own language and culture, as long as it meets local educational standards, I don't think they have a right to fleece their fellow taxpayers to foot the bill for their racist little endeavor. They came to America presumably because it's better here. If they force their children to not integrate and are assisted by the liberal enablers that are rampant in our school districts, their children will be duplicating the same pathetic conditions and society they endured in their previous country.

We don't allow people to immigrate to the U.S. only to bring their disastrous living conditions or their causative agents with them. I don't really buy into the current platform of "all cultures are equal, except the U.S. culture which is lower" mentality. If where you were from was so great, then why'd you come here? I'll tell you why. Because your culture sucked. It may have had some nice elements, but in the end the sucking outweighed the nice elements and you realized that in the American culture, the sucking does not outweigh the good parts. So, here you are. Leave your sombrero at the border and come on in. The culture's fine.

Cut the stone around your neck. Take pride in who you are but adopt who you wish to become (an American) and succeed. That's all we ask here in America. We also ask that you try not to suckle too much off the public teet and this is a prime example of doing just that. This story represents a small symptom of a widespread national disease, cultural isolation and degredation fostered by indulgent liberalism.

Monday, September 11, 2006

You Have To Have Faith To Deny Facts

On this somber occasion, I would first ask that anyone still reading my blog, if you haven't already, check out the 2,996 project. Although they're having bandwidth troubles, the project had the very noble goal of remembering the lives of all the souls who lost their lives on 9/11.

I happened to be listening to WXNT 1430 AM's "Abdul in the Morning" as I went into work and one of the topics that came up on the anniversary of 9/11 was that of conspiracy theories related to it. The most common, and undoubtedly the most extreme, revolve around the Bush administration or some element therein (Rove, Cheney, even Ashcroft when he was AG) or a combination of those being responsible for the whole catastrophe, either by letting it happen on purpose (LIHOP) or making it happen on purpose (MIHOP).

First, it strikes me as incredible that so many of these theories can exist in light of all of it playing out right in front of our eyes. There was no hearsay, no second guessing. We saw it and could easily map the history of our enemies that led up to it. They didn't make a strong attempt to cover their tracks, nor is there any evidence they wanted to.

Many of these theories continue to survive, even in the face of honest, dedicated non-partisan research that end up fully debunking them. Of course, it has occurred to me that believing a conspiracy theory is the easy part. It's often said the best conspiracy theory is one which has no real proof. A certain level of faith is required. I find it even more interesting that individuals who have faith in little else will so wholeheartedly throw themselves behind such enterprises with nothing but that to sustain them.

What drives people to cling to these theories and espouse them quite loudly on each anniversary of 9/11? Well, some could be explained by a need to believe things aren't so cut and dry. Some simply cling to certain bits of quirky or weak evidence as proof that the whole story can't be trusted and some simply don't like the current administration or Congress and see such things as natural fodder for their hatred. Sometimes it's a combination of those and certainly it's not limited to those possibilities.

Whatever they believe, they cling to it as a sort of blind faith. I see the allure in it and have succumbed to it myself in the past, but sometimes seeing things with your own eyes and hearing things with your own ears trumps even the strongest skeptic. Seeing the planes hit, hearing the passengers' and crews' calls that give us an almost blow-by-blow account of what happend on those planes, does more to convince me than 100 conspiracy sites.

I am interested, though, in how after all these years people still don't believe. Then again, there are always deniers. I remember reading of when Eisenhower first saw the death camps in Germany, he ordered as many men as possible be cycled through to see them because "someday someone is going to say this didn't happen". And so someone has, often. There will always be doubters, I suppose, and I will admit that most likely there are portions of our history that we don't know the whole story on. On this, though, having lived through it with the rest of you, the normal skepticism just doesn't hold a thimble full of water.

Maybe we need these people to keep us honest or maybe they're just a given fact of the human condition, that some can't believe what's right in front of their eyes even if you hit them over the head with it. Whatever the reason, it happened. It's been taken credit for by evil men. We have the historical trail to link them to it. We have over 1400 years of history to know why they did it. The facts are there, and I for one don't intend to let them be forgotten.

Update 1: The Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics, James Meigs, has written an op-ed in the New York Post about the response he's gotten by conspiracy theorists to his magazine's work on debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. It's worth the read (hat tip to Newsbusters).

Friday, September 08, 2006

New ABC Docudrama Ruffles Feathers

Occasionally a program garners quite a bit of controversy before it even airs. Recently, the Survivor series announced it would break up its competing “tribes” along racial lines. It’s done wonders for the potential ratings even as critics have howled at the bad example this sets. Exactly what bad example is being set the jury is still out on. Not that long ago, CBS was prepared to air a hit piece on Ron and Nancy Reagan entitled, creatively, “The Reagans” based almost exclusively on a gossipy tell-all book that itself was very partisan and free with the facts. Conservative outrage eventually got CBS to transfer the miniseries to Showtime, but it still aired.

That brings us to the latest in political dynamite to generate controversy without even reaching a TV screen. The new ABC miniseries, “The Path to 9/11” purports to base most of its storyline on information culled from an already white-washed 9/11 Commission Report. The attacks from the Left and from former Clinton officials from Albright to Berger to Clark have howled that none of it is true and that it’s an attempt to make them look bad while ignoring the culpability of the current administration.

Of course, it is also billed as a docudrama, with amalgamated characters and plot inventions that take a little license with historical accuracy. The story is not an accurate retelling even by the account of its producer. It’s a story that is supposed to give a general idea of the mindset of those who were in a position to do something about 9/11 before it happened.

As Larry Elder said, on September 11, 2001, our government failed in its most basic duty. It failed to protect its citizens against a foreign threat. The 9/11 Commission was a giant CYA party with the Bush and Clinton administrations scurrying to protect their own. It appears that there was little concern in the early Bush administration to do anything about Al-Qaeda. At the very least we have no tangible evidence that anything was being done or was in the planning stages.

We know the Clinton administration took even less of an interest in getting bin Laden or his organization. He has opined often on a variety of flimsy excuses as to why he didn’t take bin Laden when he was offered up, say by the government of Sudan. None of them have held any water. The man was a known terrorist even then and it is shameful to say the least that for the 15 to 20 years before 9/11, no administration made serious attempts to shut down or destroy groups that did us harm, from Hezbollah’s bombing of the Marine barracks and US Embassy in Beirut through the USS Cole disaster.

The focus of “The Path to 9//11”, though, tells us what we’ve already seen with our own eyes. The World Trade Center was bombed in 1993 and we did nothing. Khobar Towers, the African Embassy bombings, the USS Cole, all happened on Clinton’s watch…and he did NOTHING. Firing missiles at an empty training camp in my opinion constitutes a big nil in the doer column. These are indisputable historical facts. The opportunity was there, but not the will and Clinton’s administration failed us even before Bush got up to bat. That is what, presumably, this miniseries will dramatize for us, but we can’t know til it’s actually out.

That there is so much political hay being made by the Left, though, speaks volumes that they know this will do considerable damage to their five-year long attempt to pin everything on Bush and his administration, that somehow there was no terrorism or threat to the United States before he got here, or at least not one Clinton hadn’t bravely combated while being assailed by an evil Republican Congress. See, it all comes back to politics and legacies, folks and Clinton’s got nothing good in his. Any good idea that launched during his eight years was co-opted from more conservative elements, not something he wants advertised. The same goes for the bad, like his failure to address any significant international threat to the United States.

Again, though, it’s just a movie. We don’t even know what’s in it yet. In the end, there may be a CGI of Clinton’s head on Mel Gibson’s body from the final battle scene of “The Patriot”. I can’t say. What I can say is that it may be something rarely seen in the media and therefore worth the watch, an attempt to tell history from the other side of the political spectrum than what we’ve had to endure from the last five years of antique media rewrites.

Interestingly, this is supposed to be based off Richard Clarke’s book, which was not very favorable to the Bush administration. Perhaps there is something to the screenwriter’s alleged conservative leanings after all. I’d encourage people to review the July 5th Washington Times op-ed written by Michael Scheuer, a 22-year CIA veteran and the man who headed the CIA unit that was tasked with getting bin Laden. Not much of a Bush fan either, as witnessed by his new book Imperial Hubris, Scheuer also skewered the Clinton administration in that piece for their ridiculously poor performance in fighting any kind of war on terror. It’s worth the read.

Update 1: It seems ABC may have bowed to political censorship after all. They are possibly changing the docudrama to make it a little less accurate so that Clinton's "legacy" is protected just a bit longer. I've already heard this compared to CBS's "The Reagans", but that wasn't censored and was roundly criticized by all but the Far Left as wholly untruthful. It was also shown in its entirety elsewhere. If true, this is plain censorship and ABC and Disney are pathetic.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

He Bangs His Head Against The Post…

It must be nice to walk through life with blinders on. George Stephanopoulos, former Clinton White House pretty-boy turned news hack has followed many a political hanger-on into the field of mass media. His qualifications seem to be that he can smile well and has a nice coif of hair. It certainly isn’t his skills in politics, at least not based on some of the things he’s been saying lately. Case in point, take this quote from ABC’s golden boy.

“If the deficit continued to grow, it’s not responsible to say you’re never going to raise taxes.”

That he uttered to the Republican Senatorial challenger against Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island, Stephen Laffey. Notice, there is no consideration for a reduction in government expenses. That is unthinkable. So much so is it unthinkable, that this response is almost automatic and Stephanopoulos is just a representative figure.

This belief has also showed itself among other newscasters and those on the Left who feel that a tax raise is only a natural choice in regards to a period of wartime. Regardless of their personal beliefs in the war and the rightness of it, they are more than willing to say that we Americans should tighten our belts and give over more of our income to the federal government because, well, we did it for FDR.

FDR, by the way, is likely the architect of our Constitution’s doom. It was his socialist programs that first saw the break from what had been over 150 years of solid government. Chips had been put in it certainly by previous presidents going back to Lincoln, but FDR took a wrecking ball to the whole concept of limited government and enumerated powers.

To therefore cite such an example as to why Americans need another tax hike is dubious at best. What the Left of both the Democrat and Republican parties need to do is get out of our pocket books and the sooner the better. We just wormed the simplest of tax cuts out of this President after years of seeing them raise under the last two.

If there’s a war on, of course we’ll pay for it, and pay for it we are. Some other programs might have to be cut in the process, though and now’s a perfect excuse to do so. The ill-fated Department of Education would be the first on my list. Much of that money could be returned to the states with likely a vast improvement in the quality of public education or better yet given to parents as vouchers, the dreaded V word.

A simple plan would be to cut every spending item that isn’t enumerated as a requirement of the federal government and you’d be amazed at the “surplus” we ended up with. The feasible plan unfortunately is that most of the worst of the socialist programs like Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare and the like will not go away because the Me-Me-Me None-For-You generation of baby boomers is reaching the age where they want the largesse those programs offer. Not that it’s that much. Have you ever been on any of those programs or known anyone that was? It’s nothing short of slavery. Perhaps it’s more akin to a drug addiction with the feds as the pusher. You’re given just enough money to live on, but with enough restrictions that you don’t try to do anything else for fear of losing the small dole you’ve been handed. Subsistence living isn’t living, but that’s all the feds can offer you, and this is supposed to be a good thing?

But I digress. That mediacrats such as Stephanopoulos can’t see the spending cuts for the trees is a fact of our age. They believe in big government and they believe it is the only way to save the country. What never seems to sink in for them, though, is who gets stuck with the check. That’s a lesson they sorely need to learn.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Déjà vu All Over Again

I remember reading in my U.S. history book in high school about how the U.S. lost the Vietnam War. We didn’t actually get that far in the book in class. I just read ahead. What I couldn’t figure out, and what the history book never seemed to divulge, was how exactly we lost anything. How does a military superpower lose to a second-rate guerilla movement supported by a weak Communist government using cast-off Soviet hardware? I asked the same question when I watched the Soviet Union tuck tail and run from Afghanistan. The answer in those cases seemed to be WILL. The resistors simply had the will to hold out at all costs and their will outlasted that of their opponent.

In the case of Vietnam, set aside the struggling succession of barely legitimate governments in South Vietnam and look at why the U.S. stated it was going. I used to think it was just to bail out our French allies in a failed colonial ambition, but upon looking at the bigger picture, there was a real attempt to stem the flow of communism in that part of the world. The U.S. lost the will to continue fighting, but in truth its will was weak from early on. The right tools weren’t given to the commanders in the field and the war was often micromanaged from Washington, especially during LBJ’s Presidency. Eventually, the U.S. completely lost the will to continue on the half-hearted fight, even though the Army had thoroughly decimated the Viet Cong and was continually more than a match for the NVA infiltrators or even the main body of the North Vietnamese Army.

We didn’t lose any battles, but we lost the war, as the old saying goes. Even Tet was a U.S. victory, though you wouldn’t know it from the determined propagandists of the day like Walter Kronkite. He has of course admitted since that he did in fact lie regarding American success and failure in Vietnam because of his own personal beliefs and agenda.

The Army was undermined primarily by the politicians at home who were in turn suffering from continual protests and Leftist anti-war propaganda spread by the Radical Sons of the Boomer generation. No small amount of help assisted in the loss of the war from the agit-prop arm of the Soviet Union, whose KGB turned out some absolutely stellar (and false) propaganda parroted by all the great Lefties of the day from Fonda and Kerry on down.

Let’s fast forward to the current state of affairs. The U.S. is involved in another war half a world away. Our Army is still the best in the world and this time we even have allies and a much stronger native military to assist us. Daily the foreign fighters are killed and the local insurgency ebbs and wanes. We see communiqués and correspondence from leaders in the various terror organizations themselves stating that the U.S. Army’s presence and their inability to make them run back to America is causing them defeat after defeat. Their mood is grim. Is this cause for celebration? Not if you’re a Leftist in America, like Eleanor Clift. This is cause for mourning, because, obviously we’re losing.

“Bush lost a war we didn’t have to fight and shouldn’t have lost-and he’s saying the Democrats don’t understand the stakes.”

That line sums up the Left’s view of this war. When they say “It’s another Vietnam”, I think they genuinely believe it. It’s another attempt for them to undermine U.S. power and prestige and even fighting will in a time where our energy and resources if allowed to work will carry the day. The U.S. Army still has not been defeated and will not be defeated by the likes of what we face in Iraq. It is also only one piece of a very big war that includes Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, North Korea and probably China. And those are just the ones we know are out to get us.

I still am at a loss, just as I was when trying to determine how we “lost” Vietnam if we won all the battles, in trying to figure out how, like Clift says, we lost the Iraq war. What mighty advice could she or her brethren offer to do better? Does she have any? Is there a solution that Dean and Kerry have been holding out on til they get back in power? Is that their October Surprise? Or is this just a pure hatred for the party that usually leans to the right, the Republicans and for American power and its use in the world? I’m tending a bit towards the latter. The Democrats have no better ideas on the war, because if they had, well for one they wouldn’t be Democrats, but also they would have trotted them out already and I’ve seen zippo.

It's difficult to look beyond the prism of today and the partisan hatred that both sides feel for one another. The certainty that I can see is that the left, personified in the national bulwark of the Democrats, is unable or unwilling to view history and our current place in it. Comments like Clift's show that they're still living in the fantasy land of means justify all ends without any consideration for our current reality. Enemies of the United States don't care about our partisan politics except how to use them to their advantage, and the Dems right now are providing the bulk of that support to them whether they like it or not.