Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And This Guy Was Almost President?

I still find it hard to believe that anyone voted for John Kerry after everything he did to lie about and demoralize the U.S. citizenry (and as a mild side amusement his former fellow soldiers) during the Vietnam War. I think the guy is a slimy opportunist that follows the leftist wind when it suits him. A "senator" like him could only survive and thrive in the same state that regularly reelects a criminal like Teddy Kennedy.

Is it any surprise, then, when he continues to say the same things, over and over in an attempt to portray U.S. soldiers as ignorant, hapless lower-class morons? It's unlikely you've been able to miss his latest foible, but I'll print it below.

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

The antique media is doing its level best to blow this off. The quote is damaging to their Chosen Few to say the least. Kerry, for his part, at first wouldn't apologize for the comment, and then when it became apparent that the right-wing bloggers weren't going to let it slide, he said he was "only referring to the President". That doesn't, however, fit the context of the rest of his speech.

Ok, if you stretch it, you can say he felt he didn't need to let anyone know he was referring to the President, because we should all be mind readers. Or you can take his comments as they are and in the context of the general loathing he's shown since "Winter Soldier" and before of men in uniform.

He's gone from resistance to feigned apology to imagined outrage in his defense, now blaming everyone else for being out to get him. Nixon anyone? Admit it, John. You said it. 'Fess up. It's not like Massachusetts citizens are going to think ill of you for it and vote you out. You're guaranteed your cushy job to keep pushing socialism on the rest of the United States, so why the outrage? And this "if you haven't been in a uniform you have not right to say anything" crap is just that, a big steaming pile. This country is not a military dictatorship and we don't have to serve in uniform to have a say in criticizing our elected officials, Republican or Democrat. Kerry's been reading too much Heinlein.

And this man knows as much about true soldiers as I know about brain surgery. I've heard of it, but I doubt I could reproduce it. Just because he served a couple of months in country on a boat, and under dubious clouds of performance at that, doesn't give him the right to lecture the rest of us on what we can and cannot criticize about him and his fellow Lefticrats.

Face it, the antique media isn't the only show in town anymore and the right isn't the only group that's going to get bashed when someone says something stupid. You just suck it up, admit you screwed the pooch and carry on. No free rides JFKerry.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Must Be Election Season

I’ve written about stem-cell research and my thoughts on it before. My thought is, embryonic stem-cell research is a voodoo science at best designed to bilk money out of the only contributor it hasn’t yet scared away, government. It has produced no promising results. The actual tests done with embryonic stem cells have shown either no results or have shown horrible side effects like tumors and runaway growths. Still, the snake oil salesmen who’ve been peddling it have been able to add a whole cavalcade of celebrities to their carny show. The late Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox are likely the most prominent promoters of embryonic research. It’s sad that the hucksters trying to siphon off money have picked on the most desperate such as these celebrities with their sensational and to date un-provable claims of miracle cures.

The reason I mention it is because it’s election season and once again the Democrats have drug out the old carcass of embryonic stem-cell research as another crutch to their “Republicans are heartless” campaign. Yes, Republicans are heartless and Democrats are spineless and we are reminded of it every two years. However, issues like this one really get under my skin; partly because I detest junk science and partly because I hate bold-faced lies at election time.

The first to earn my ire has to be David Orentlicher, who fired the opening salvos in the local District 86 election for the state legislature. Even Matt Tully of the Indianapolis Star, a proponent of embryonic stem-cell dallying, even took umbrage with Orentlicher’s ads. From his column:

"There's nothing worse than turning your back on someone with Alzheimer's," the mailer reads, next to a picture of an old man with his old head buried sadly in his old hand. "Kathryn Densborn is the kind of extremist who opposes the stem cell research that could cure Alzheimer's disease."

You've probably heard about Orentlicher's other ad -- the one with a pretty but sick-looking thirtysomething woman on the cover and a sheet-covered corpse on the flip side.

"We could cure her," it reads. "But Kathryn Densborn opposes life-saving stem cell research."

The ad is boilerplate election-year garbage, but what really gets me about it is the fact that Orentlicher, a doctor mind you, doesn’t think anyone understands that there are promising and better-proven stem cell lines (adult and umbilical) that may actually cure or at least better treat the conditions the shysters have been claiming embryonic stem cells will cure. The major difference is with embryonic stem cells you have to destroy a fetus to get them. Adult and umbilical stem cell harvesting doesn’t require that anyone be killed for them. So either he’s not a very good doctor or he assumes you and I are sub-morons who can be easily duped with a little fancy medical jargon. Either way, you couldn’t pay me enough illegal campaign contributions from the Chinese Army (no matter how many Buddhist monks you sent) to want to vote for such a cretin.

Now, I’m not excusing Kathryn Densborn from that type of ad as well. She apparently has ads suggesting Orentlicher is soft on child abusers. Yes, yes, at election time everyone either coddles criminals, beats children or makes old people and the handicapped live on dog food with nothing but cardboard boxes for homes. You’d never guess this is the most prosperous nation in the world each even-year’ed November, but then again, positive ads don’t win elections.

But I digress. The other recent occurrence of this I’ve come across regards the Senate race in Missouri between Jim Talent and Claire McCaskill. Apparently, Senator Talent opposes a Missouri amendment on the ballot that would allow cloning, especially for the purpose of generating embryos to destroy for their stem cells. McCaskill has played it much like Orentlicher, claiming that Talent wants to leave old people to rot with their diseases and that he doesn’t care for the infirmed. My beef with her is, that’s not what the bill is even about! How moronic does she think Missouri voters are? What does that suggest to Missouri voters?

I mean, it isn’t as crass as the Democrats’ assumption that all blacks will vote for them simply by playing the race card every two years or the Republicans’ assumption that conservatives can be fooled with a few speeches on “limited government”, but it’s close. Needless to say, I do hope you all do your research this month before going to the polls, wherever you are and whatever your political persuasion. There’s no sense in falling pretty to last-month politicking, especially given the easily accessible news sources these days.

And should you choose to vote against them if you’re in McCaskill’s state or Orentlicher’s district, make sure you send them a personal letter mentioning this as one of the reasons why you chose to send them out to pasture. Like I always say, baby steps…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Starve Washington D.C.

Want to cure a lot of political ills? Stop feeding the federal government. Do you want to get the money out of federal elections? Do you want real election reform? Shrink the federal budget. There, I’ve solved some of the biggest problems in the nation. Let me explain. No, that is too long, let me sum up (Points if you can name the actor and movie of that line).

With election season fast approaching we are being hit with every possible scandal that could possibly be dredged out and thrown at us. While the Left has the edge on mudslinging (it’s a natural gift, it would seem), the Right is firing back with its own water-enriched clay. Most of the scandals seem to revolve around money and undue influence on Congress. Congressmen from both sides of the aisle taking bribes, exhibiting unethical influence, fraudulently hiding “fast money” gains, and taking perks and favors from lobbyists fill our front page newspapers daily.

Do you know why? I already answered that one. Money. Congress controls trillions of dollars of spending power. Congress writes the laws that not only govern where that money will go, but who the federal government will collect it from. You will never be able to completely remove graft and corruption from the body, because even stripped it will need money to operate the necessities of federal government (defense, etc.). However, by vastly reducing the money in federal coffers, you remove the lion’s share of the corruption. It isn’t perfect, but it will at least work. Compared to attempts like the freedom-shackling McCain-Feingold boondoggle, it’s a heavenly gift.

One area that could easily see improvement is subsidies, for example. Stop subsidizing industry and agriculture. Give the money back to the states and the people. Industry and agriculture will survive or die on its own, but it will inevitably meet the needs of us Americans. People lose jobs, get laid off (I certainly have been) and businesses fail. Things inevitably get better, though. We have over 200 years of trial and error to prove that healthy competition without government meddling works. We don’t need to subsidize every industry that thinks it needs our money to stay afloat, though. That alone should put a tremendous amount of lobbyists out of a job, another group we’re subsidizing, by the way.

Foreign aid is another major drain on our economy. I see strategic reasons for aiding certain countries in reasons where we have a vested interest. Giving aid to countries that are ripped apart by civil war or whose leaders are corrupt or tyrannical (Hey ex-Pres Clinton, did you know that Kim Jong-Il was a dictator who intentionally starved his own people when you gave him those nuclear reactors and oil?) The Marshall Plan has been demonstrably proven to have stunted several countries’ economic recovery. While it might’ve been a short stop-gap to keep communists from overrunning those countries, it didn’t gain us as much as we put into it. And any country that you can regularly hear “Death to America” chanted out in the streets loses cash. Sorry Egypt. Although I understood the reason for going into Iraq (ultimately a giant U.N. fiasco), I’m not crazy about all the money we’ve put into a country rich in its own natural resources. I don’t care for that at all. Most of that money could’ve gone back to the U.S. taxpayer and been better spent here.

And while we’re on the topic of the U.N., not only could it be moved to Caracas, where Hugo Chavez wants it, but we can stop paying dues. There’s some more savings and a nice shrinkage in the federal budget. I will miss, though, getting to see John Bolton tell U.N. diplomats where they can stick the top few floors.

Welfare, Medicaid and Medicare along with Social Security are the giant hidden tax we all pay. Actually, it’s not that hidden. Look at the FICA listing on your paycheck. That’s part of what you’re paying for those very ill-conceived programs. Again, these programs have arguably and drastically increased the cost of health care to levels unheard of. They have conned a bunch of the populace into thinking the federal government needs to be their safety net and they keep Democrats and liberal Republicans elected. I see no advantage to it. Unfortunately for us, there’s no way to wean the current generation off of it. They will die still on it and there’s little we can do to stop that. We will likely end up paying for the mistakes of the 60’s for a very long time or until the Baby Boomer retirement cripples the U.S. economy by draining it to pay for their retirement. Joy for me, I’ll be around to see it.

Well, that’s a quick brainstorm of what could be done to help keep Washington honest, to drain the proverbial swamp. Simple ideas are sometimes the best ones. No nuance is needed to understand that the federal government is not the one the Framers of the Constitution intended it to be. Although many on the Left would argue that’s a good thing, I challenge them to show me how states and individuals couldn’t do better than the massive failure that is our federal bureaucracy. Come on. I dare you. For everyone else, keep these things in mind when you consider who to send back to Congress this November. No one is making a secret of what they’ll do once they get there in regards to your money. Guaranteed.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Rare Voice In The Wilderness

Patrick Hynes and Jeremy Lott had an editorial in USA Today's blog section that relates well to some of the pieces I’ve written lately. I highly recommend giving it a read. One of the more interesting aspects of the editorial was the framing of how the religious right portion of the Right has been assaulted in an attempt to hamstring their arguments. To actually argue from a point they might be willing to argue is seen as incomprehensible to figures on the Left. They explain:

In a recent monograph, former senator and Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart claimed to know exactly what "today's religious right has in mind." They want to "return America to a pre-Enlightenment age, an age in which the church, in this case in the form of one wing of evangelical Protestantism, dictates terms to the political process and sets the boundaries of what can and cannot be legislated and regulated by the state."

This sort of suspicion and insinuation makes it all the more difficult for the pious to participate in politics. Worse, critics such as Dartmouth College's Lucas Swaine, an assistant professor of government, have demanded that Christians not frame their arguments with reference to the Bible, a book that millions of Americans believe to be the inspired word of God, because that wouldn't square with "public reason." And any pronouncements on "values" are treated with scorn, at best.

Both men also argue that religious conservatives are “demonized”, if you’ll pardon the pun and charged with all sorts of nefarious motives while the religious left is embraced and celebrated. This despite the religious left doing exactly what the religious right is often accused of, trying to frame election issues in religious terms.
Consider, for example, the “What Would Jesus Drive” campaign or their noting of Alabama Governor Bob Riley’s attempts to create a large progressive tax system on the wealthy in his state to help fund “projects for the poor” and his enlistment of the religious left to help sell it.

It is easily demonstrable that anytime you have elements of the (admittedly small) religious left propose a policy issue or endorse a certain left-leaning issue, they are vaulted to the forefront of that debate and cited as an unassailable authority. The same can never be said of how the religious right is treated. It has been abused, bruised, battered, ridiculed and ignored.

I would ask the same people that argued in favor of Reverend Jim Wallis’ strong suggestion that national and state taxation should follow “God’s vision of a good society” and soak the rich (usually including the middle class) to fund government programs to serve the poor if they favor equal time or support to the religious right (at least to be heard) in their attempt to retain religious morality in government and schools. The answer would likely be no, but then when has hypocrisy been out of bounds for the Left?

I’m not advocating that the religious left has anything less to offer to the national debate than the religious right. I would just like to see that in action, and I doubt I ever will. Fundamentally, it comes down to this. The Left and the large bloc of media they control will use any argument to flavor their cause célèbre and the religious left provides a decidedly juicy vehicle to deliver that argument. I’m not saying that the Right doesn’t do the same. I’m just saying they’re not treated fairly and it would help when you see such an argument if you consider that. It’s all a smoke and mirrors game anyway. I say bring a fan and a sledgehammer and you might see things a tad more clearly.

Monday, October 16, 2006

With Deep Reservations...

That's how the Indianapolis Star describes its endorsement of another term for the Democrat 7th District Representative, Julia Carson. The list this year was not very impressive and the Star's motives for choosing some of its annointed candidates was even more muddled than in past years. However, their reasoning for backing Carson seems to be that they don't like that her opponent, Eric Dickerson, lied to them.

Carson's response was described thusly.

During an hour-long interview with The Star's Editorial Board, Carson frequently rambled and was disjointed in her responses to questions.

Carson should have planned to retire from Congress at the end of the current term. Her decision to seek another two years in office deprived voters of the opportunity to choose from several potential successors who could have provided dynamic leadership for this urban district.

Rep. Carson is in poor health and as the Star rightly noted she shouldn't even be running again. Her frequent absence for key votes in Congress is well-documented and her ability to serve her constituents has degraded significantly over the years. At the very least, she should have stepped down so a capable Democrat could have run and actually given her constituents something resembling a choice.

That of course is not to say that I would consider any Democrat successor of Carson better. Carson is a hard core socialist and apparently her predecessor Andy Jacobs Jr. was a (not-so) closet socialist himself. The odds of the next Democrat being the same or worse are good to damn near certain.

Although I can't say I'm as impressed with Mr. Dickerson either, Carson has had some extremely credible opponents in the past and STILL the Star has endorsed her. When Andy Horning, likely one of the most articulate and knowledgable men on issues of the day and regarding the Constitution ran against her, the Star and the rest of the Republican apparatus seemed to abandon him thinking that apparently no one in the Old Center would vote for (even a local) white boy. Marvin Scott, another credible Republican opponent and a man who truly tried to reach out to the voters was equally hung out to dry.

What is with this woman that makes even moderates so unwilling to stand against her? The woman is an unapologetic leftist and formerly wielded control of the Indy district (going back to her time as County Trustee) with an iron fist. She is a prime example of a Representative who not only thinks the law doesn't apply to her, but who sees the law as a malleable structure that can be molded and reformed to fit her leftist agenda.

If this is the kind of candidate the Star and for that matter the Republicans think is qualified to sit in Congress and possibly to be part of a new majority, then there is little hope for our Constitution or what's left of its framework in defining our government. As we strive and struggle to bring to the forefront conservative politicians who want small, limited government and greater individual freedom and responsibility, we are cut off at the knees by out-of-touch journalistic types like the Star and old-Guard parties like the Democrats and Republicans who can't seem to make up their mind about much other than how many of our freedoms to take away and how much they're going to charge us for the priviledge.

The Star, frankly, disgusts me when it makes such an assinine and irresponsible choice and the Republicans who are complicit in her previous and current election bids are equally not worthy of our praise, our money, or even our consideration.

There are forthright men and women out there who seek to limit government and to make it more responsive to its citizens. They seek to return power to the states and shrink the federal juggernaut and they want to see your personal liberties and responsibilities in our society protected and enshrined. We need to give these people our support and our praise and we need to give the likes of the Indianapolis Star's editorial board, the Democrats and Ms. Carson's campaign, the complicit Republicans and the rest of the old Guard a swift boot up the rear and a shove off the train.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Losing Their Religion

Couldn't help the title. The New York Times, always the far-Left trendsetter, has fired a big out-in-the-open salvo against religion in the United States. Julia A. Seymour and Amy Menefee write a brilliant critique of it in the above-cited link and I do not presume to able to improve on what they have already written.

I'd actually like to address, though, the coordinated and unrelenting nature of this, just one of the more open attacks on organized religion, specifically Christianity. For whatever their reasons, many on the Left look upon organized religion and most notably Christianity as no longer relevant in the modern world. To them, it is an archaic institution that tries to stifle social advancement and expression on the one hand while reminding us of an intolerant and dark past on the other.

Ask many to speak on Christianity frankly and they will speak of Inquisitions, forced conversions, colonialism, Creationism, and just about anything negative the Church can be remotely tied to in history. The popular ones are "silent consent of the Slave Trade" and Vatican inaction during the Nazi occupation of Europe. Your typical writer and editor for the New York Times will fit neatly into this category, and I don't even have to stretch to suggest that.

Setting aside that the last two points are popular "historical" fallacies of the Left, there is no denying that the Church often dabbled too much on the secular side, especially after it gained power following the fall of the Roman Empire. Some might argue (myself included) that these points have been overemphasized versus all the good that Christianity has accomplished and still accomplishes to this day. This promotion of a negative legacy and the consistent teaching of it over other aspects of Christianity were merely the first steps in an overall plan to eliminate Christianity from the bulk of American society. What I'm talking about doesn't even reach wide-eyed conspiracy theory proportions. It's simply historical fact.

Since the Renaissance, there has always been an effort to redefine morality and to divine its true nature. Who's morality applies? Who is to say what is moral and what is not? While the philosophers of that day worked within the framework of the Christian God to work out their moral puzzles, in the last century there was an increasing trend to define morality without the troublesome framework of a deity.

This has evolved through primarily Marxist thought and walked hand in hand with the development of communist totalitarianism and national socialism during the early part of the 20th Century. Whenever confronted with the idea of trying to replace the Christian God, many of the great Leftist thinkers of that age (and even today) were forced to come up with an equally (to them) powerful force that could replace that God, but be moldable to their desired needs and social agendas.

The State provided perhaps the best vessel for this need and the worst regimes of the 20th Century bear witness to the true evil that can be bred by putting all faith and moral power into its hands. Nazi Germany, usually falsely declared Christian, was a state-worship socialist society with Hitler as its Godhead. The U.S.S.R. had the Communist Party with occasional anti-Christ figures like Stalin to guide its people. China had Mao as its anti-Christ and his legacy is a death toll that stretches to an estimated 100 million plus lives. Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia with their over 3 million dead through the 60's and 70's are almost a sideshow compared to the damage those philosophies caused elsewhere, though no less tragic.

With this history, and perhaps it is truly our own ignorance that allows it to fester, there is still a determined effort by many on the Left that such a philosophy can be made to work here and throughout the West if only the right people are in charge and making the laws. True angels of light, it is assumed, and many of those same leaders on the Left undoubtedly see themselves as such, can shape and form a more benevolent society that cares for all its people from cradle to grave, more than any Christian God ever could.

Enter the Church and organized Christianity. Although other religions exist and thrive in the United States, it is from the Judeo-Christian tradition that our culture attained its moral compass and on which our original society was built. I find that a difficult point to argue. Unfortunately for the Left in the West, it doesn't have the tools that Mao, Hitler and Stalin had. It cannot forcibly close churches and imprison priests and reverends, well, not yet at least. The Left must resort to other forms of attack on religious institutions and we see them daily.

The pedophile homosexual priest scandals rocked the Catholic Church, arguably one of the strongest world Christian institutions. Whatever possessed leaders of the Church to hide these criminals will haunt them until they have to answer for it in the afterlife, but to blame the whole Church seems rather scurrilous. Any scandal that arises which has at its base some figure of Christianity is pounced upon by the Left and trumpeted for all the world to see by a media whose editors and reporters largely subscribe to the philosophy of the Left.

Certainly, the major spread in the Times fits into this framework combining two of its favorite things: taxes and religion-bashing. Part of the philosophy of the Left is that taxes are good because they allow the State/god to take care of its minions. Organized religion flies in the face of this by enjoying tax-free status in most areas and freedom from most regulations. Would that the rest of us were so lucky.

But that is not the argument in this case. The argument is that we are "owed" what the churches are stealing from us in the form of money we can't take from them. Those immune from the Left's desire to redistribute income are the enemy and churches are the worst of all. Imagine a group whose goal is to reshape society in their own image rather than the one using the foundation of Judeo-Christian religion. How are they any better? Is not their own argument useful against them?

I've often heard it argued by those who oppose organized religion that they do not wish to be governed by someone else's morality. In the very next breath, though, they often talk about how society should be through the eyes of their own personal morality. How is that any different? Well, it's a lot different if you think along the lines of the Left, which sees their overall philosophy as their god and themselves as the enlightened demi-gods of that new religion. Call it socialism or secular humanism or naturalism. Whatever.

The attempt to redefine morality from the Baby Boomers through the current generation has been a disaster and has led to a society where violence and what was once considered immorality run amuck. Society breaks down as the structures of the Left meant to replace the Church fail. Like mad captains of a ship fast sinking, though, they will not admit defeat. A little more tar will seal the hole and we must throw our life preservers overboard to reduce weight. More money and less adherence to the morality of old is demanded as payment for seeing the true fruition of their grand vision of a New Morality.

Thanks, but I'll stick with that tried and true old morality. It may not be perfect, but it is a morality that values individual liberty, personal responsibility, humility and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you and it sounds a lot more appealing than the alternative being thrust upon us by the likes of the Left. I think you can count me in the column of those who think the churches are more necessary than ever and also in the column of allowing them to keep their favored status. If anything, I think the rest of us should enjoy that status to a great degree as well. There's an idea for a Great New Society.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Random Thoughts

There's a great review of an anti gun-rights article at Newsbusters today by Howard Nemerov. What makes it unique is that the writer is a woman struggling with the decision on whether or not she should carry a handgun for self-protection. The shoddy reasoning of the anti gun-rights activist she cites is well countered by Nemerov, and he does a fine analysis of why her decision, ultimately, to stick by her fists and loud scream as her best defense may not have been the best choice, or at least a choice arrived at through faulty reasoning. Interesting how a woman's right to "choose" at least according to the general "reasoning" of the Left is limited only to whether or not she can terminate a pregnancy, but not how she should protect herself.

Robert Spencer's new book, The Truth About Mohammed, is available on Amazon. The writer of the Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam covers new ground and quite well in this latest work. Be sure to check out the reviews for an interesting mix of leftist apologism, unreasoning criticism and the occasional honest assessment. Some are even amusing. There are, of course, any number of books you could read to try and learn a bit about the man who started the religion that has over a billion followers in the world. It's difficult with such a charged topic, though, to find works that are of much quality. I would hold this one up as one that is.

No one else wants to talk about it, certainly not on the TV news or in the papers and Spencer has, by his own admission, received numerous death threats for his attempt to discuss it. Do the man a favor and read what's put him in the same category as Salman Rushdie and others who have tried to expose the face of "modern" Islam.

YouTube just can't get enough of censoring anyone who isn't way Left of center. First they banned Michelle Malkin altogether, and now their site has put a restriction on the viewing of David Zucker's latest spoof of Clinton and his former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright. One would think if the vast number of Bush parodies can so easily be accessed, it would be only fair if others were so conveniently accessed. But being as they were purchased recently by Google, YouTube likely wanted to keep in the good graces, and in the tradition of its new parent company and censor political views it doesn't like.

On a side note, Google itself certainly doesn't have a problem with censorship. Look how it's so willingly played Useful Idiot to the Chinese attempt to censor news from their own population.

Probably one of the funniest items I've seen so far this week is NBC's back and forth banter before one of Bush's speeches where the talking heads actually claimed that Bush had "ruined" all the work Clinton and Albright had done with North Korea. Take this amusing quote from NBC heavyweight Andrea Mitchell.

You know Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright were progressing in October and November of 2000 towards the restoration of diplomatic relations and if the Democrats had won that election that probably would've happened. Colin Powell recommended very strongly as the new Secretary of State in 2001 that, that policy be pursued. But it was cut short in March of 2001 by President Bush, overruling his new Secretary of State, some people said, cutting him off at the knees.

Yes, all communist dictators, especially Korean ones, have a longstanding reputation for keeping their word and honoring international agreements. That dastardly Bush always has to force people to be evil when all they really want to be is a good Leftist who can be a "man we can do business with". This is bad comedy. That such major journalists are so naive about the intentions of cutthroat killers, bandits and petty tin-pot tyrants is not only telling about the state of the antique media, but a sad reminder of what spews daily across our TV airwaves to those who don't take the time or have the common sense to understand such evil.

Lastly, Jawa has a whole slew of statistics on why you (don't) want Nancy Pelosi as your next Speaker of the House. Enjoy.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Welcome To The World

I've spent the last few days listening to talking heads on the radio and TV, reading editorials and perusing several internet news and blog sites. In rare instances, I find someone from the political left who, although he differs with his conservative counterparts on a number of issues, agrees it's a brave new world out there and just about everyone is looking to take a shot at Number One (currently the U.S.).

The majority, however, from the lowly left-leaning blogger to the editorial columnist to the DNC Chair to members of Congress seem to want to live in the wonderful fantasy land that is the U.S in a bubble. Let's examine the cause and effect.

If you operate from the position that everything the U.S. does (especially on the international scene) is inherently bad or evil, you have to make several other assumptions. First, you have to assume that all other countries are just out there trying to survive amid U.S. global hegemony. You also have to assume that they somehow exist as restive provinces under the yoke of American military and economic might. This is the view of the average neo-Marxist these days. These countries, you see, can easily be forgiven their "hate America" or at least "hate conservative America" attitudes because of all the injustices America has leveled on them. Oppression flows from the United States and therefore the rest of the world is just a bunch of happy cultures trying to survive in its wake.

That is boilerplate philosophy for any Democratic Underground reader or most Kos diarists. It also exhibits a naivete about the world and its history. To accept much of this, you first have to believe that nothing happened in the world prior to the U.S. becoming a superpower. You also have to believe that all other superpowers, like the late U.S.S.R., were just responding and counter-moving to American moves. There is a complete breakdown in this logic when one realizes that all these regimes, especially the inherently fascist and communist regimes, have their own agendas and goals detrimental to their neighbors and even their own people. There is also a failure in that logic when one realizes that most of these same states view countries like the United States as the chief impediment to the implementation of their petty schemes.

Kim Jong Il, Fidel Castro, the Chinese politburo, Ahmadinejad, Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi, even the likes of Vladimir Putin all have aspirations that are independent of the fact that there is a United States of America in the world. If the U.S. didn't exist, something seemingly wished for by many on the Left, these countries would still pursue (perhaps more successfully) their agendas and still seek to do things detrimental to their neighbors and perhaps even their own people. Oppression, they say, starts at home.

Keep such things in mind as the talking heads discuss the big issues, like the North Korean nuclear test, this week. No matter what is said, North Korea didn't attempt a nuclear test because they felt threatened by the United States or because we didn't pay them enough from their attempted extortion. They attempted the test because they want a little independence from the only country they're really dependent on, China, and because they wish to bully and dominate the other Pacific Rim nations, most especially South Korea and Japan. A surging China and a nuclear-armed mini-me are enough to cause an arms race in East Asia with the United States supporting Japan and South Korea as China, North Korea and Russia make their plays for regional dominance in this new economic hot zone.

These are just thoughts to keep in mind as you're flipping between the networks, CNN, MSNBC and Fox. Just remember, it's a big world out there and the U.S. is only one player, not the sole player.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

NPR For Dummies

Just when you hope for at least one reasoned outlet in the political discourse, along comes the most faux-intellectual of them to remind you that there is no such thing. NPR's weekend game show, "Whad'Ya Know" interviewed New York Times columnist Frank Rich on his new anti-Bush book, "The Greatest Story Ever Sold on Earth." Between Rich and the host of the show, Michael Feldman, the discourse went from bad comedy to freakish delusion.

I occasionally like to get a true glimpse of what the other camp believes, and this show played that out in spades. Take for example, one of Feldman's openers.

"Also, that 'Islamofascism' thing they keep saying, which is so annoying, first of all because none of these governments are fascist, really. But the government is acting in a way which is quite fascistic, really, because it’s corporate, it’s authoritarian, it’s you know, it’s anti-liberal. That’s the definition of fascism, but they’re using this, this is a phrase they’ve decided to use."

Although many would likely take the learned and scholarly Feldman at his word, I decided to go to that dusty old dictionary for the definition of fascism. Call me old fashioned. What I found was...

a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Although the paranoid fantasies of the left might hold that this does in fact represent our current government and some tin pot dictatorships the U.S. might support, I think for those of us not high on mescaline at the moment, well perhaps even those people, the U.S. doesn't easily fall into the above definition. Certainly the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the former government of Iraq (which I'll give them credit for half-mentioning), the current government (and most definitely the leader) of Iran, Syria, Egypt, and Pakistan all easily meet that definition. Jordan might be a little lighter and Lebanon I'd say not really. However, controlled economies, tyrannical rulers, and lack of any freedoms whatsover are stereotypical of what you would find in the Middle East and I think you would find.

Fascism is not a new phenomenon to the Middle East either. The fascists controlled the officer corps of the native armies during WWII. Most had to be jailed by the British for fear that they would side with the Nazis and possibly plot a coup. After the war, surviving Nazis, including Otto Skorzeny, better known as Hitler's favorite commando, trained the first PLO terrorist groups. The Baath party in Syria and Iraq is textbook fascist and is described as such by just about anyone to the right politically of Mao.

And our government is authoritarian? Someone needs to start taking their anti-depressants again. That or they really need to reinstate butterfly-net asylums. And regimenting and controlling the economy? That's another knee slapper. If anything, the Left side of the aisle has been instrumental in their attempts to control and convert the economy over to socialism. You literally have to stand in awe of such brazen ignorance.

The rest of the commentary was just as assinine. If you really must, Newsbusters has compiled the jist of it. One has to wonder if these two are saying such things for comedic value or if they actually believe them. Regrettably and from past experience, I believe they do.

And here's the kicker. These represent the cream of the Left. A Times columnist and although only a game show host, an NPR game show host. My final comment on them is, thank God they're on the Left's side.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

As Common As Hen's Teeth

You must understand my surprise when I noticed on RightWingNews that the infamous Markos Moulitsas, the founder of Daily Kos and a legend in his own mind, wrote an editorial on The Case for the Libertarian Democrat. Now I know many of you are thinking "Libertarian + Democrat?" and wondering how oil and water are supposed to mix. I wondered that myself as I read Markos' editorial at cato-unbound.

Like many such editorials or blog posts, it is an extremely lengthy and heavily-reasoned editorial that rests on many a shaky principle. Of course, you can derive all sorts of conclusions if you're willing to accept pliant or fraudulent facts as your base.

Kos makes the first generalization by assuming there are major "swaths" of America that are just Democrats who want a little individual freedom. His definition of those individual freedoms compared to most, though, reads like a traditional Democrat.

Like me, these were people who didn’t instinctively reject the ability of government to protect our personal liberties, who saw government as a good, not an evil, but didn’t necessarily see the government as the source of first resort when seeking solutions to problems facing our country. They also saw the markets as a good, not an evil, but didn’t necessarily see an unregulated market run amok as a positive thing. Some of these were reluctant Republicans, seeking an excuse to abandon a party that has failed them. Others were reluctant Democrats, looking for a reason to fully embrace their party. And still others were stuck in the middle, despairing at their options—despondent at a two-party system in which both parties were committed to Big Government principles.

That's a liberal, not a libertarian, but Kos has that answered also. Although he does have a good write-up of where Libertarians stand, especially next to conservatives, he veers wildly, but with assuredness that he's 100% on target.

The fundamental reason that "libertarian" has become "libertarian democrat" is that corporations are becoming more powerful than governments. This fundamental fact has created a union between those with libertarian tendencies and those with those who believed all along that government can be a force for good.

And this is where he completely jumps the tracks. The standard take by most on the Left is that corporations are untamed and evil behemoths and only a benevolent and (Left-leaning) socialist-style government can tame them. That is nowhere near a libertarian philosophy. Until Kos' editorial, this was called being a "progressive". Changing the name time and again doesn't change the fact that it's still a Leftist philosophy. Libertarians, real ones, abhor the idea of government intervening to control the economy (and make no mistake, when they say corporations, small businesses have historically found themselves lumped in with the evil greedy corporations every time. Just check out the mostly Democratic-generated tax code.

He can't stop there, though. He needs some more bent and warped cards for the increasingly unstable house of a premise he is building. Consider:

As hekebolos further noted, defense contractors now have greater say in what weapons systems get built (via their lobbyists, blackmailing elected officials by claiming that jobs will be lost in their states and districts if weapons system X gets axed). The energy industry dominates the executive branch and has reaped record windfall profits. Our public debt is now held increasingly by private hedge funds. Corporations foul our air and water. They plunder our treasury.

Defense contractors have profited ever since our war machine geared up before World War II. They have continued to profit despite brief lulls in the late 40's, early 60's and early 90's. Given current United States military philosophy, defense contractors are going to make money. There's no way around it. Now, the obvious answer by the Kossacks is that these contractors are manipulating the government to keep their profits high through their lobbies. The lobbies didn't send us to war, didn't cause the rise of the Soviet war machine and didn't spark Islamofascists no matter which ancient Marxist is spouting off at the podium. Should they be watched carefully because of all the cash involved? Absolutely. Should they be shut out of figuring which avenues of weapon research are the best to choose over a Congressman who knows ZERO about most defense systems? That's just naive and a bit unrealistic. Money for defense (or offense) is a necessary evil, but one that fills a basic need of government, to protect its citizenry.

Then there's the energy industry. The petroleum industry is another one of those 800 pound gorillas. Kos' "progressives" are as much to thank for them as any. By decrying attempts to escape some of the dependence by at least generating electricity with something other than oil and natural gas fired plants like nuclear energy, were and much of the world are more dependent than ever. These same energy companies, knowing they don't have a limitless supply of oil, funnel those very profits back into energy research development. But no, obviously the "libertarian Democrat", read progressive answer is to tax them. That's the only language they really understand. Nothing new and exciting about that, but you won't get Markos to admit it.

Public debt is because of runaway spending by both Republicans and Democrats who have no fiscal control, acting like hormone-OD'ed teenagers, their self control is equal to that of the average dog in heat. The Republicans and Democrats who have spent us out of house and home, created social program after social program, failed in reforming education, welfare, Medicare/Medicaid and "social security" by funding and expanding them are not conseravtive or libertarian in their leaning. They're liberals. Perhaps they are well-meaning liberals, but they are liberals all the same.

The "foul our air and water" line is quite telling itself. Radical environmentalists like to see any corporation suffer, and the eleventh and a half hour Clinton regs were designed to do just that, punish corporations and cost them a bundle by going beyond already draconian restrictions on certain toxins in the air and water. The regs often, of course, ignore that natural concentrations of such toxins are in the air and water, but let's not cloud such an impassioned debate with trivial facts.

Quoting the above "hekebolos" blogger, Kos mentions

and government is the only thing that can stop them from recklessly exploiting the people and destroying their freedom.

to make the point

That, in essence, is why I am a Democrat

Could it be any more clear? Yes, you are a regular Democrat Markos, one of the new and cooky Left in the country who think they can coopt others who don't share their beliefs by throwing a few false facts, incorrect assumptions and the occasional flat-out lie into a pretty speech. Clinton used to use the same tactic, and well, he still does today.

The only thing that can stop anything, governments, corporations, NGO's, from exploiting the people and destroying our freedom, is the people. THAT's what it means to be a libertarian and even to be a conservative and I'll guarantee you that Markos not only knows that, he knows he can't sell his own "progressive" line on its own merit, so he's come over to coopt names and some basic slogans of the other side to redress his pig and try to whore her out again.

Suffice it to say, although he notes some parts of the free market work, they're only in his priceless bastion of Leftists, silicon valley, to him the only true bastion of "equality" left. What he fails again to realize is that his own example demolishes his whole theory. The free market works whether its in Silicon Valley or Los Angeles or Cleveland. It just works and we have more proof than you could ever hope to discount in 1000 editorials.

Lastly, to make his case for the "libertarian Democrat" (it really turns my stomach to write that), he cites all the vast local victories and some threatening Congressional races that Democrats have made as examples of his "new New Democrats". Or is that newer...anyway. Totally discounting that there are many other and obvious reasons Democrats and Republicans are fighting it out over a variety of seats in "swing" states, even states with fairly conservative populations, local elections are never a telling factor for national elections.

I offer this basic example. Indiana, arguably one of the most conservative of the conservative states, just spent the last 16 years with Democrat governors and often had a Democrat-controlled legislature. Yet, its Congressional caucus has been overwhelmingly Republican and the Democrat Senator it does have owes much of his career to lip service to conservatism and the fact that his daddy was a Senator as well. Who is in the governor's mansion or in the legislature or even in the Senate rarely is a predictor of how a people will vote for Congress or how a state will vote for President. It's just not a truism.

To sum up, Markos is certainly the darling of the far Left because he continually comes up with great, if ridiculous, theories to explain how the Democrats will rise again. Everyone loves a fairy tale, and the best fairy tales are often told by the truly unhinged.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Faith Is Not A Political Weapon

Although faith and religion are a part of my life, I normally don’t write about them. Although I have stated in the past that morality is a big part of my political thinking, I don’t try to use religion to explain why someone should be of a certain political leaning. I occasionally find that same ethic to have failed among members of the Left. Despite a desire not to be proselytized to by the likes of me, there seems to be an almost eagerness to do the same to prove the “correctness” of their cause.

What’s got me worked up this week is a review by Newsweek editor John Meacham in the Washington Post of a newbook by Obery Hendricks, Jr., The Politics of Jesus. Although I have not read it, the review gives a fairly good idea of what it’s about. The sickeningly sweet review by Meacham is bad enough.

The Politics of Jesus joins John Danforth's Faith and Politics and Jim Wallis's God's Politics as essential reading for Americans trying to move beyond the corrosive standoff between the religious right and the secular left. One need not agree with Hendricks's liberalism to appreciate that his book is a useful contribution to a conversation that seems ever more urgent: how to manage and marshal religion's influence over our public lives.

I’ve rarely heard the philosophical and theological battles between the “religious right” and “secular left” described as “corrosive”. How they’re corrosive is a good question, but hardly an original one when considering the source. The belief by many on the Left that Jesus at best should be left in the realm of an obscure historical figure and at worst should be co-opted to the Liberal agenda defies their logic that “conservatives are obsessed with Jesus”. On the contrary, such works seem to indicate that it is the Left that is obsessed with deconstructing Christ and his impact on our lives through our faith and our religion.

Christ’s message was one of forgiveness, love and respect for all mankind. He cared nothing for the politics of the time. In fact, it could be argued that one of the things that most angered the leaders of the various sects of Judaism at the time was that Christ was not political. “They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” couldn’t say it more plainly (that's Matthew's version from the KJB).

Jesus could not be described as a “political revolutionary”. His was a revolution of the spirit and our redemption of same. It is often perverted by a figure on the Left to indicate that the established order and what have become conservative principles are at odds with His message. I’ve seen Jesus invoked for everything from gun control to welfare. Take Meacham’s own words from his review as the latest example.

To practice the politics of Jesus means practicing humility, an exercise that might well begin by bearing this story from the gospel of Mark in mind: The disciples had been traveling to meet Jesus, debating among themselves "who should be the greatest" -- a classically political undertaking. Learning of the bickering, Jesus would have none of it, saying: "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all." And so may our politics, whether connected to the examples and words of Jesus or of Plato or of Machiavelli, be informed by charity and grace, not by self-righteousness. Then, and only then, will we come close, I think, to anything like "the politics of Jesus."

I think it would be hard to miss that Jesus is saying that the truly great among us are those that care most for our fellow man. Those who serve, unquestioningly and without expectation of accolade or reward are the best of us. Note, though, that Meacham, as many on the Left do, believes that charity and grace can be achieved through government. Meacham’s tacit endorsement of this practice, that the Leftist principles of income redistribution are the same as Christian charity, smack of someone who completely doesn’t get it. Christ did not say “Pick from the pocket of the man next to you to give to the needy” or “If a man will not give, hold a sword to him and threaten his life and family until he does”. How is that “redemption”? How is that becoming a better person? Where in any part of the New Testament is that recommended? It cannot be found. You cannot find salvation by being forced to “be good”. You can only choose to be good. Otherwise, what is Free Will?

Being good, by the way, does not entail taking someone else’s money and then redistributing it to your idea of charity or pet project. That’s called thievery and trying to play Robin Hood doesn’t make you closer to God. It just means you’d rather spend someone else’s money than your own; not very Christian, if you ask me. Nor is it very Christian to try and denigrate the political leanings of others by informing them that they’re violating the tenets of their faith, when you haven’t the slightest idea of what it truly means to have that faith. I don’t expect them to understand that, but for once I’d like to see someone call them on it. That, perhaps, more than anything is why I chose this rare occasion to discuss faith, religion and politics and why they don’t always combine together very well.

Hat tip to Newsbusters for the story.