“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 48
David Dolan is a Jersalem-based author and journalist who has lived and worked in Israel since 1980.
The following is reposted with permission.
Despite the fact that I have lived and worked as a journalist in Israel for over 30 years, I’ve thankfully never had a gun pointed at me in the Lord’s special land. I have dodged bullets a few times, had stones hurled onto my car, and had rockets and mortar shells land nearby, especially when I lived along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. I have also been in the vicinity of several major terror attacks, including one deadly atrocity just a couple blocks from my home.
I did have a rifle pointed at me on one occasion, but not on Israeli territory. The incident occurred just inside the Egyptian border with Israel. It was 1989, and I already knew from friends and media colleagues that the crossing point into the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula was rife with corrupt border guards who often demanded money from visitors entering Egypt, especially if they were Americans. One of them took my passport and hid it in a drawer, pretending 30 seconds later that I had not given it to him. I quickly realized he was expecting me to shelve out a bribe to get it back. Living for years in the troubled region, I refused to do so. When I said I would return to the Israeli guard post to protest his theft, another nearby Egyptian security guard raised his rifle and threatened to shoot me. Fortunately the commotion caught the attention of the Israelis some 60 feet away, who came to my rescue.
So the fact that Hosni Mubarak’s police and security forces are rife with corruption has been evident to me for many years. Does this mean I have been advocating the ouster of his autocratic regime? Not at all. This is because I’ve also long understood that the Arab people in general, especially the vast majority who are practicing Muslims, tend to be very proud folks, with the Muslims believing that they are the Almighty’s uniquely chosen sons and daughters, not Christians or Jews. This deeply-held belief contributes to the fact that the Arab masses have often proved to be very unruly, as some of my Arab friends freely admit.
In my opinion, the tendency toward unruliness is the main factor underlining the reality that Arab governments have always been autocratic to some extent, with most wielding iron fists over their citizens. The majority of people are also undereducated in most Arab countries, and often steeped in poverty. This is partly the fault of their dictatorial governments, but also of their Islamic religious systems and overly large family sizes. Therefore “democracy” as we know it in the West is not necessarily the best form of government for Arab societies, with our systems of one-person, one-vote likely to lead to far more oppressive Islamic fundamentalist regimes coming to power in most cases than the governments currently in office.
It took a long time for Israeli government officials to realize that Islamic fundamentalism was and is the main factor in the Arab world’s rejection of a Jewish-run state in the heart of the mostly Muslim Middle East. They largely ignored the fact that the leader of the pan-Arab war against Israel in the 1950s and 60s, Egyptian strongman Gamal Nasser, frequently quoted from the Koran when spouting his anti-Israel diatribes despite the fact that he was backed by the atheist Soviet Union and not religiously observant himself. Nasser was simply bowing to the reality that most of his Arab listeners were mosque-going Muslims who had a visceral hatred for Israel based mainly on their faith. It was no coincidence that the previous leader of the Arab world’s attempt to prevent a Jewish state from being formed, Haj Amin Husseini, was also the Muslim clerical chief in the Holy Land.
In a similar fashion, it took a long time for American and European government officials to acknowledge that Muslim fundamentalist groups were serious when they contended that Islam must and would prevail over the West in the struggle for world domination. The same was true for most academics and media pundits. I was not surprised when several of my American journalist colleagues working in Israel, particularly Tom Friedman of the New York Times and Bob Simon of CBS, criticized me for focusing on the new Palestinian Hamas movement in my first book, Holy War for the Promised Land, published by Thomas Nelson in early 1991. They especially questioned my prediction that the new Palestinian offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement (Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimin in Arabic) would eventually surpass the PLO as the main local opponent of Israel. As I have noted before, my forecast that Hamas would become a major player in the ongoing conflict was not due to some supernatural ability to foresee the future, but because I understood that a literal reading of the Koran and of the Islamic ‘oral tradition’, the Hadith—which I pointed out was a central tenet of the Hamas movement—was the bedrock basis of the pan-Arab rejection of a Jewish state in their midst.
I also came under strong criticism for publicly questioning the wisdom of sending US and other Western forces to Iraq in 2003. It seemed to me, as it did to many of my Israeli government and security contacts, that overthrowing Saddam Hussein—as justified as that action obviously was—would only produce a political vacuum that Shiite fundamentalist Iran would eventually fill. I argued that as evil as the Iraqi dictator was, he was nevertheless an angel compared to the nuclear bomb-seeking devils running Iran.
I also pointed to the questionable contention that ‘democracy’ would be better for the Iraqi people than autocracy, noting that fairly free elections in Algeria in 1991 had been hijacked by Islamic parties who openly vowed to ditch such elections after using them to rise to power. Mirroring this in 2006, Hamas cynically used Palestinian elections, which were part of the Oslo peace process that they fiercely opposed, to come to power. It is simply a fact that a majority of voters in most Arab countries are observant Muslims. This reality will always lead to the triumph of anti-Western forces in uncontrolled Arab elections, period. It is also behind the escalating exodus of Arab Christians from Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian-controlled territories and elsewhere in the turbulent region.
Today, we see a growing chorus of American and other western leaders calling for Hosni Mubarak to leave office right away. The likelihood that his quick removal will only lead to the ultimate ascension to power of the fiercely anti-American and anti-Israel Muslim Brotherhood movement is largely ignored, or at least downplayed. Many acknowledge that the radical Islamic group is currently the only organized opposition political movement in Egypt. That being the case, the rush to dump Mubarak before other more secular parties can be functionally established is simply absurd, in my estimation. We are almost inviting the Caliphate-seeking Muslim Brothers to take over Egypt—a recipe that spells disaster for both Israel and the West.
Should the United States and other allies of Mubarak have pushed harder for real governmental reforms and more personal freedoms in Egypt? Without a doubt. However in their defense, most officials presumably understood that to do so in quick fashion was potentially opening a can of worms that would not in the end bring positive changes to the Egyptian people, but actually had the great potential to produce an even more oppressive, anti-Western regime, as may well be the ultimate outcome now.
We are told by the media that the marchers in Egypt have been acting spontaneously and are not organized by any one political party or force. Again, is it just a coincidence that the initial flood of anti-government demonstrators burst onto the streets on January 28 following Friday Muslim services held in mosques all over Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere? Yes, many of the protesters have been young, Facebook-using moderate Muslims, along with Western-leaning Coptic Christians and secular Egyptians, especially in the early days of the revolt. However, the vast majority today are clearly observant Muslims who despise Israel and resent the powerful USA based mainly on their faith. The same is true with most of the anti-government protestors in Jordan, Yemen and elsewhere.
Israeli official are also looking with increasing trepidation to the north of their country, where sworn enemies Iran and Syria have just succeeded in toppling the pro-Western Hariri government via their Hizbullah ally. This startling development has received very little media attention due to the crisis in Egypt. Is it not likely that this lack of attention is just as the evil regime ruling Iran wants it? The Iranians did not start the anti-Mubarak revolution, but they quickly jumped on board, and surely not with the goal of helping to promote Western-style democratic values in the Arab world’s largest country.
Will Egypt eventually break its peace treaty with Israel? I suspect that in the end, the American-funded and trained army will not allow this to take place. I noted in my latest book, Israel in Crisis, that Egypt is not listed in Psalm 83 as being among a host of regional Arab powers that will attempt to destroy Israel in the prophesied end days, while Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are mentioned, along with the Palestinians. While some are now saying that Egypt will participate in the Gog and Magog war prophesied in Ezekiel 38 and 39, I disagree. If the prophet had intended to pinpoint Egypt it would have been named as such, being a very distinct and powerful nation in ancient times. The listing of “Ethiopia” instead implies a power to the south of Egypt, which is probably today’s Islamic fundamentalist stronghold of Sudan, located in part of the territory where ancient Ethiopia stood.
Whatever the case, we can expect Islamic fundamentalist groups around the world to carry on with their intensifying jihad to topple pro-Western governments, with the ultimate goal being the destruction of Israel and the takeover of European countries and the United States. With that in mind, Western government officials need to tread very carefully as they help bring change to Egypt and the wider Middle East. And of course, everyone needs our prayers, especially the Arab and Iranian Christian minorities who are caught in the middle of the dramas swirling around them.
You can read more about David and his work on his web site, ddolan.com. If you’d like to receive David’s monthly updates, featuring commentary like what you’ve read above, you can subscribe by going to http://www.ddolan.com/subscribe.asp.
One president freed the American people to drive their economy forward and make up for lost ground. The other has shackled them with more government and more debt. The generation that benefited from Reagan’s leadership is not leaving its children the same bequest.
Not to mention Reagan did it with a Democratic majority in Congress.
There were two glimpses of the old Obama — when he slammed “subsidies” for oil companies, which of course do not get any subsidies, but have business deductions the way every other business does, he sounded every bit like the envious skinny Harvard man he once was. When he railed against tax breaks that he considered identical to government spending, that was outright socialism. That concept implies that all the income in the nation belongs to the state, and that if we let working people keep any of it, that is the same as a government expenditure. The opposite is true. The income belongs to the people, and they allow government to have some of it. But, of course, the servant has become the master now.
(Emphasis added. —R)
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” —James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792
“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” —Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776
Michael C. Burgess, the Congressional representative for our little sliver of Texas, has responded to the letter I sent him a week and a half ago expressing my displeasure with the TSA’s new imaging and
groping “enhanced” pat-down policies. His response is below, in its entirety. I have added emphasis in the fourth paragraph not present in the original.
Dear Mr. Turner:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern regarding the security policies of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
As you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently purchased full body scanners that show the outline of the naked human body and allow TSA to detect high-density bomb-making materials. In response to a large number of complaints from both travelers and employees in the airline industry, DHS instituted a new policy that allows travelers to “opt out” of the digital image scanning. This “opt out” procedure allows for the traveler to step aside and receive a full-body pat-down to check for hidden substances or items on the persons. As a result, TSA and DHS implemented a new “pat-down” procedure that serves as an alternative procedure for those travelers who wish to refuse the full-body scan.
Over the past few weeks, I have received hundreds of phone calls from concerned constituents, and seen news reports of people who are outraged by TSA’s invasive full-body scans and “pat-down” procedures that are now used in the name of national security. After recently flying myself and witnessing how invasive these procedures are, as well as the potential for abuse, I am outraged that TSA chose to implement the new rules without consulting with Congress. TSA is charged with protecting our airplanes from the kind of terrorism we saw in the terror attacks on 9/11, but this should not result in an abuse of power and the exploitation of Americans.
Further disconcerting is the fact that Congress voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the TSA’s use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. H.R. 2200, the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act, contained an amendment to prohibit the TSA’s use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. House Amendment 172 passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 310 to 118, but TSA has ignored this, and plans to deploy over 1,000 machines in use at airports across the country by the end of next year. Although this legislation is awaiting further action in the Senate, the sense of Congress is clear – these invasive methods are not the best use of TSA resources.
In light of our serious concerns regarding the agency’s use of invasive tactics, I joined several of my colleagues in Congress to request that the House Homeland Security Committee conduct a hearing on the new TSA procedures.
It is unfortunate terrorism from abroad has brought us to this point. Rest assured, I am committed to securing our nations’ airlines and preventing another terrorist attack, as well as to protecting your Constitutional rights. Representing an area with several major airports, I have tried to help protect, control, and monitor changes made for better security, without infringing on the very freedoms for which we are fighting. I will continue to support legislation that will strengthen our borders, protect our ports, and help prepare the nation in case of a terror attack.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/burgess) or contact me with any future concerns.
Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress
“History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.” —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781
Below is the letter I sent to our Congressional representative, Michael C. Burgess. I totally ripped it off from my friend Tom, tweaking it slightly. You are welcome to copy either of ours if you feel similarly about the TSA’s new search policies.
To The Honorable Michael C. Burgess
As Congress comes back into session, I encourage you to use your position on the House Energy and Commerce Committee to change the policy enacted concerning the Transportation Safety Administration’s use of millimeter wave technology in the screening of passengers. These devices represent an unnecessary invasion of privacy as part of security procedures, and aren’t making anyone safer.
While I appreciate the need to try to make airports more secure, these scanners show images of a patron’s naked body to the TSA in order to do it. Worse, if you decide to opt out of the scanners for personal privacy reasons, or for concern over radiation exposure, you’re subject to a very intimate patdown that allows the TSA to touch the genital regions of a patron, out of nothing short of retaliation.
This is patently unacceptable. The choices you have to make if you take your family traveling is that you can have their genitals leered at by TSA officers (one such example of bad behavior includes a pilot’s 18 year old daughter: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/travel-safety-security/1147497-tso-saying-heads-up-got-cutie-you.html ) or you can have them fondled. Or you can refuse both, and, even if volunteering to go through the normal metal detector, be escorted from the airport: http://johnnyedge.blogspot.com/2010/11/these-events-took-place-roughly-between.html.
Which would you choose?
The fourth amendment to the United States Constitution, which you have sworn to uphold and defend against powers foreign and domestic, says that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
A boarding pass is not probable cause to have my person searched in such a fashion.
This is a bridge too far. A functioning travel network is crucial to a free society, and to have to show one’s genitals to the TSA, or allow them to be groped, in order to travel is the sort of unnecessary restriction on one’s liberty, and in exchange for no increase in security (these devices, and these patdowns, do not show hidden packages that could be contained in body cavities, which is the next logical step in the progression of the terrorists) and only serve to inconvenience the travelers.
Please enact legislation to stop the retaliatory patdowns and remove these intrusions into our personal privacy.
“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.” —American writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
It was JFK who signed an executive order giving public sector unions the right to collective bargaining. We need a president with the guts to revoke that order. Unions – a necessary evil in private life – are just an evil evil in the public sector. Nothing necessary about them at all.
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.” — Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)
“But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm… But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 46
I wonder what our fourth president, a strict constitutional constructionist, would think of us now.
“Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 39
Oh, what of our history we have forgotten.
The Siena College presidential poll–a ranking of 44 presidents by 200 historians–put Franklin Roosevelt in first place. In other words, the man who, during his first two terms, gave us nonstop double digit unemployment–and 20 percent unemployment toward the end of his second term, is ranked ahead of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and all other American presidents.
And that may not be the worst indiscretion. These historians also ranked Barack Obama ahead of Ronald Reagan. In other words, if you start your presidency with 8 percent unemployment and run it to 10 percent (all the while going further in debt by more than $1,000,000,000,000) you are greater than the president who sharply reduced unemployment and inflation during his first term and then ended the Cold War in his second term.
Some people are dismayed by our historians’ peculiar judging standards. And it’s true that such wildly indefensible rankings are outrageous. But they help inform us that most historians can’t be trusted to make sound judgments about the past. That is useful to know, as parents prepare their 18 year olds to go off to college and be tutored by FDR loyalists.
“The Declaration of Independence [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.” —Thomas Jefferson
The principle author of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, understood that, though Liberty is “endowed by our Creator,” it is difficult to maintain among men. “The natural progress of things,” he wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
Indeed it is. We boldly threw off a monarchy in the American Revolution, but today countless bureaucrats under the command of a pack of hardcore Socialists have assumed the throne.
Jefferson also understood the consequences of Socialism: “Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” But 234 years after the signing of our Declaration of Independence, Beltway politicos, most of the “Democrat” variety, insist that we must conduct ourselves, in matters large and small, according to their will — and would have us believe they know better than we. Indeed, they have so effectively institutionalized this deceit that their electoral lemmings fall in behind them in lock step.
That subservience is an affront to our hard-won heritage of Liberty, and an insult to those generations who have defended it.
On July 4th of 1776, our Founders, assembled as representatives to the Second Continental Congress, issued a declaration stating most notably: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. … That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”
In other words, the Founders rightly affirmed that because our rights are inherent by Natural Law as granted from our Creator, as such they can’t be arbitrarily alienated by those who believed that the rights of men are gifts of government.
Our Founders publicly declared their intentions to defend these rights by attaching their signatures to the Declaration between July 4th and August 2nd of 1776. They and their fellow Patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor as they set about to defend the Natural Rights of man.
At the conclusion of the American War for Independence in 1783, our Founders determined that the new nation needed a more suitable alliance among the states than the Articles of Confederation. After much deliberation, they proposed a Constitution, which authorized a very limited central governing authority and reserved all other rights to the states or the people. Our Constitution was adopted in 1787, ratified in 1788, and implemented in 1789 as subordinate guidance to our Declaration of Independence.
Since that time, generations of American Patriots have laid down their lives “to support and defend” the Essential Liberty enshrined in our Constitution. I would note here that their sacred oath, the same one I have taken many times in the service of our country, is not in support and defense of a so-called “living Constitution,” an adulterated version of our authentic Constitution. It is under such perversion that Socialists in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches have advanced their statist political agenda.
Statism, or Progressivism as promoted by contemporary American Leftists, has as its objective the establishment of an omnipotent central government authorized to be the arbiter of all that is “good” for “the people.” Statism also confers upon the state ultimate control over the most significant social manifestation of individual rights, that of economic enterprise. Witness our current government’s efforts to assert ever-greater control over heretofore private enterprises such as the automotive, health care, financial and energy industries.
Socialists endeavor to undermine our nation’s founding principles in order to achieve their statist objectives, under which all associations between individuals ultimately augment the power and control of the state. The final expression and inevitable terminus of such power and control, if allowed to progress unabated, is tyranny.
The word “tyranny” is derived from the Latin “tyrannus,” which translates to “illegitimate ruler.”
Leftists in all levels of government, who, by definition, have deserted their oaths to support and defend our bona fide Constitution, are thus as illegitimate as the rules they implement.
Thank God there is a strong resurgence of demand for Essential Liberty and the Rule of Law across the Fruited Plain; a rebirth of the understanding that limited government is essential to Liberty; and a resounding call to take control of our national destiny and reset its course for the shores of freedom.
So how should we observe this 4th of July, the 234th celebration of our Declaration of Independence?
On July 3, 1776, Founding Patriot John Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail, on this very topic:
Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. … It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Day’s Transaction.
Today, we face ominous threats to our American heritage of Liberty, unfortunately more so from enemies within than without, and I would offer that we should commemorate this Independence Day, first and foremost, with “solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty,” and with a rededication to the principles of Essential Liberty and restoration of the Rule of Law.
On December 19th of 1776, with the American Revolution well underway, Thomas Paine wrote, “Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, we came forth to meet and to repulse it. … I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state; up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake.”
And so it must be, today.
Reflecting on the Declaration shortly before his death on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of our founding, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.”
It is entirely fitting that Jefferson’s fellow Patriot and longtime correspondent would also draw his last breath on that very day. But before he passed, John Adams offered these words of reflection: “[W]hat do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”
And Adams’s last public words serve as an inspiration to us all, a toast to Liberty: “Independence forever!”
Libertas! And let us all say, Amen.
Reprinted with permission from The Patriot Post.
[L]iberals are raving about Kagan’s “skill at building a consensus … reaching out and building coalitions” — as Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said last week.
It’s as if they’re talking about a governing majority in the Senate. Next thing you know, liberals will be complaining about a “do nothing” Supreme Court.
On MSNBC’s “Hardball” back in May, Sen. Klobuchar said: “We want to get some things done on this court.”
Get some things done? […]
The Supreme Court is not supposed to be “getting things done.” Durbin’s and Klobuchar’s statements reveal a massive misunderstanding of the role of the court.
Congress, as the people’s elected representatives, is supposed to “get things done.” If they don’t, that usually means the people don’t want those things done. It’s not the court’s job to say: “Hey, Congress, you forgot to enact this! Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”
You don’t have to like her, but she’s got a point.
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” —John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
It’s a good thing, I believe, to remember the dead — especially in a culture that trivializes death. We shunt it aside to the fantastic realms of video games and movies, and call it by other names when we do it to old people and unborn infants, and all of this is a way, I think, of grasping life in the wrong way, in a way that reveals the underlying belief, for many of us, that our lives are about our gratification.
That’s such a big word for an experience that is so very small. Gratification is as far removed from joy as hunger is from a great feast, and yet we forsake the latter in pursuit of the former because joy, like a feast, requires sacrifice.
So it’s a good thing to remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice for others. Think on them, and if you like you can light a candle or mutter a prayer, a prayer that you and I and the rest of the world will, if only for a slender day, give ourselves over to loving someone other than ourselves, which means the great sacrifice of setting down our hurts and lusts and grievances and entitlements, all of which are chains with heavy anchors, but which we gather to us like treasures. But today, if only for today, what say we lay them down?
Once a nation under a Constitution that restricted government intrusion, we now want government to provide for our “needs” by calling them “rights.”
We now ask government to prop up failing businesses, make student loans, guarantee mortgages, build and maintain public housing, financially support state education from preschool though graduate school, fund private research, provide disaster relief and aid, pay “volunteers” and on and on.
Many in our nation happily submit to this bargain. They consider the Big Three entitlements — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — “rights,” their absence unimaginable in a modern “caring” society. It is out of the question to expect people, families and communities to plan for retirement. It is beyond reason to expect medical care, like any other commodity, to follow the laws of supply and demand — for prices and choices to allocate resources and for competition to drive down prices and improve quality. It is simply too much to expect the compassion, morality and spirituality of humankind to aid those unable to care for themselves.
“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws - the first growing out of the last. … A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” —Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, 1794
“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson, fair copy of the drafts of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798
“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people … must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33
Does our Constitution allow the Executive and Legislative branches to collaborate to confer authority upon the federal government over, in this case, so-called “health care reform”?
Those who laid the Foundation of our Constitution were crystal clear about its enumeration of both the authority and limits upon the central government.
James Madison, our Constitution’s primary author, wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined [and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.”
Madison continued, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”
To that point, Thomas Jefferson asserted: “[G]iving [Congress] a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole [Constitution] to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly, no such universal power was meant to be given them. [The Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”
Clearly, our Constitution, does not authorize Congress to nationalize health care, anymore than it authorizes Congress to do most of what it does today.
[Bold emphasis added. —R]
“There are those, of course, who claim we must give up freedom in exchange for economic progress. Well, pardon me, but anyone trying to sell you that line is no better than a three-card-trick man. One thing becoming more clear every day is that freedom and progress go hand in hand. Throughout the developing world, people are rejecting socialism because they see that it doesn’t empower people, it impoverishes them.” —Ronald Reagan
Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn’t just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.
F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote “The Road to Serfdom” in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom.
Hayek meant that governments can’t plan economies without planning people’s lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama’s economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government’s single plan.
At the beginning of “The Road to Serfdom,” Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that’s at stake when the government controls our lives: “The most important change … is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people.”
This shouldn’t be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can’t help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.
According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest?
Surely it is a sign of Providence that my best friend shares a birthday celebration with our first President.
As friend of The Patriot, Matthew Spalding, a Heritage Foundation scholar, reminds: “Although it was celebrated as early as 1778, and by the early 19th Century was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday, Congress did not officially recognize Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday until 1870. The Monday Holiday Law in 1968 — applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11582 in 1971 — moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as ‘Washington’s Birthday.’ Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed ‘Washington’s Birthday’ to ‘Presidents’ Day.’”
In honor of and with due respect for our first and (we believe) greatest president, arguably our nation’s most outstanding Patriot, we include two quotes from George Washington which best embody his dedication to liberty and God. The first from his First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789, and the second from his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796.
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People.”
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.”
[Emphasis added. —R]
The laws of war are the rule of law. They are not a suspension of the Constitution. They are the Constitution operating in wartime. The Framers understood that there would be wars against enemies of the United States—it is stated explicitly in the Constitution’s treason clause (Art. III, Sec. 3). The American people understand that we have enemies, even if Washington sees them as political “engagement” partners waiting to happen. Americans also grasp that war is a political and military challenge that the nation has to win, not a judicial proceeding in which your enemies are presumed innocent. The rule of law is not and has never been the rule of lawyers—especially lawyers we can’t vote out of office when they say we must let trained terrorists move in next door.
As for privacy, Americans are not as self-absorbed as ACLU staffers—who, by the way, reserve the right to search your bags before you enter their offices. If you fret about privacy, it’s Obamacare that ought to give you sleepless nights. The lefties who’ve told us for nearly 40 years since Roe v. Wade that the government can’t come between you and your doctor are now saying you shouldn’t be able to get to a doctor except through the government, which will decide if you’re worth treating—that is an invasion of privacy. Penetrating enemy communications, on the other hand, is what Americans think of as self-defense. It’s what we’ve done in every war in our history. It’s what common sense says we must do to win. And when America goes to war, Americans want to win.
And our reputation in the international community? Reputation with whom? Sharia states where they stone adulterers, brutalize homosexuals, and kill their own daughters in the name of honor? Rogue regimes where exhibitions of American weakness are taken as license to mutilate? Euro-nannies who rely on us for protection because they’re without the will and the resources to do the job themselves? They ought to worry about their own reputations. In the United States, only the blame-America-first crowd gives an Obama-dollar what they think. That crowd does not include about 80 percent of Americans who look around at their country, look at the teeming masses trying to get into it, and figure this is a pretty good place after all.
“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” —James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
I would posit the encroachments have been not-so-silent these past 80 years.
Dennis Kneale, CNBC Media & Technology Editor:
In so doing, the President has shed his usual, becalmed visage of judicious intelligence and what-me-worry confidence. In its place is an unpleasant portrait of a sulking, vengeful politician lashing out at Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and their brethren on Wall Street—the only target that, his polls say, might resonate with the voters who are forsaking him.
The Obama folks “don’t accept that banks perform a necessary function in the system: to get the economy going again,” says one senior executive at a Wall Street giant. “This business has a social benefit, and it’s how we make money. The two are not exclusive.”
Yet the White House is deaf to complaints that burdensome new rules would hurt bank profits and hamper the recovery. “When you tell them that reduces our profits, they just don’t care,” this exec complains.
That’s the big problem: All of us, especially the Obama Posse, should care a lot about profits at the banks. Healthy banks provide the fuel for a healthy economy. They line up hundreds of billions of dollars a year in syndicated loans for businesses and directly loan out hundreds of billions more.
Obama’s new proposal to ban banks from trading for their own accounts cracks down on a practice that contributed, in no way whatsoever, to the housing bubble and the tumultuous tumble that followed. A recent Goldman Sachs report shows that, simply put, faulty and loose bank lending practices caused 98 percent of all losses, not the banks’ proprietary trading.
Emphasis in bold added by yours truly. This is class warfare on the part of the Obama administration, plain and simple.
“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” —Samuel Adams
“[A] rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, 1823
“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, 1821
“[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, — who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.” —George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
“A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, 1785
Robert Tracinski, RealClearPolitics:
When you understand what this bill does, you can see why the Democrats would be happy to compromise and drop the public option-for now. This bill so comprehensively wrecks private health insurance that pretty soon a “public option” will seem like the only alternative, and they will already have put into place one of the new taxes needed to pay for it. If the left’s goal is to impose socialized medicine in America, this bill does it in the most callous and destructive way possible. It smashes private health care-then leaves us stranded in the rubble, at which point we will be expected to come crawling back to the same people who caused the disaster and ask them to save us.
That is the final and perhaps most compelling reason to kill this bill: the sheer arrogance of the whole enterprise. It is the arrogance of stampeding an unwilling public toward a monstrous 2,000-page piece of legislation while admitting that it still has huge problems, but promising that it will all somehow be fixed later on. It’s the arrogance of selling us a bill that expands government spending by hundreds of billions of dollars while telling us that it will reduce the deficit. It is the sheer unmitigated gall of appointing a bureaucrat to run a government-controlled insurance market that takes away all of our health choices-and then calling this bureaucrat the Health Choices Commissioner.
That’s the kind of government arrogance that has to be smacked down hard, and that alone is reason to demand that your senator reject this vicious bill in its entirety.
“[A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” —Thomas Jefferson
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.
November 1989 was the most liberating month of arguably the most liberating year in human history, yet two decades later the country that led the Cold War coalition against communism seems less interested than ever in commemorating, let alone processing the lessons from, the collapse of its longtime foe. At a time that fairly cries out for historical perspective about the follies of central planning, Americans are ignoring the fundamental conflict of the postwar world, and instead leapfrogging back to what Steve Forbes describes in this issue as the “Jurassic Park statism” of the 1930s.
The consensus Year of Revolution for most of our lifetimes has been 1968, with its political assassinations, its Parisian protests, and a youth-culture rebellion that the baby boomers will never tire of telling us about. But as the preeminent modern Central European historian Timothy Garton Ash wrote in a 2008 essay, 1989 “ended communism in Europe, the Soviet empire, the division of Germany, and an ideological and geopolitical struggle…that had shaped world politics for half a century. It was, in its geopolitical results, as big as 1945 or 1914. By comparison, ‘68 was a molehill.”
“[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes — rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments.” —Alexander Hamilton
Beyond principle, there are practical reasons to expand Congress. For decades, presidential candidates have promised to change the “way Washington works.” But once elected, they’re soon captured by their own congressional parties, which are in turn beholden to the “old bulls” and constituencies rooted in interests outside their districts.
A Congress of, say, 5,000 citizen-legislators would change that overnight. Would it cost more money? Yes. But today’s huge staffs could be cut, and perks and pork might even be curtailed by using the old chewing gum rule: If there’s not enough for everyone, nobody can have any.
Term-limit activists have the right idea — getting new blood in Washington — but their remedy is anti-democratic. The trick is to swamp Congress with new blood and new ideas. Want more minorities in Congress? Done. Want more libertarians? More socialists? More blue-collar workers? Done, done, done.
In free-speech debates, it’s often said that the cure for bad speech is more speech. Well, the cure for a calcified Congress just might be more members; the remedy for an undemocratic system, more democracy.
It’s certainly interesting to think about. Be sure to read the whole thing. The representation of Montana versus Rhode Island should immediately show you something’s wrong.
“[W]e ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly, and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems, before they are capable of appreciating their own.” —George Washington, letter to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, 1795
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” —John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756
“We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience.” —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the state of Virginia, 1782
Here is a handy-dandy way to determine whether the failure to order some exam or treatment constitutes rationing: If the patient were the president, would he get it? If he’d get it and you wouldn’t, it’s rationing.
[Wave of the phin to Instapundit.]
“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue; or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens.” —James Madison (likely), Federalist No. 62
When Ronald Reagan took office, America’s top income tax rate was 70 percent; when he left, it was 28 percent. Reagan’s tax cuts were permanent (well, that is, until his successor George Bush broke a campaign pledge). And President Reagan pushed his tax cuts through a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
When George W. Bush took office, the top income tax rate was 39.6 percent; when he left, it was 35 percent. This small tax cut expires next year. And at the time he was promoting his tax cut, President Bush enjoyed a Republican-controlled House (which he continued to do until the Republican betrayal of conservative principles finally bit them in 2006).
Which man should we seek to learn from, to emulate? The one who pushed significant, permanent tax reform through a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives—and ushered in an era of robust economic growth? Or the one who settled for small, temporary tax reform, with a Republican House—and ushered in an era of robust government growth?
In its boundless ambition, the Left understands that the character of a people can be transformed: British, Canadian and European elections are now about which party can deliver “better services,” as if the nation is a hotel, and the government could use some spritelier bellhops. Socialized health care in particular changes the nature of the relationship between citizen and state into something closer to junkie and pusher. On one of the many Obama Web sites the national impresario feels the need to maintain — “Foundation for Change” — the president is certainly laying the foundation for something. Among the many subjects expressing their gratitude to Good King Barack the Hopeychanger is “Phil from Cathedral City, Ca.”:
“I was laid off in mid-January from a job I had for 12 years. It’s really getting hard to make ends meet, but this month I got some great news. This week I received in the mail official notification that my COBRA monthly payments for medical, dental and vision insurance will decrease from $468 to only $163, all due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is a $305 in savings a month!
“I can’t tell you how much of a weight off my shoulders this is. I am living proof of how the president’s bold initiatives are beginning to work!”
But just exactly how do these “bold initiatives” work? Well, hey, simple folk like you and I and Phil from Cathedral City don’t need to worry about the details. Once these “bold initiatives” really hit their stride maybe the cost of everything over four hundred bucks can be brought down to $163. Wouldn’t that be great?
The problem in the Western world is that governments are spending money faster than their citizenry or economies can generate it. As Gerald Ford liked to say, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” And that’s true. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give Phil from Cathedral City everything he wants isn’t big enough to get Phil to give any of it back. That’s the stage the Europeans are at: Their electorates are hooked on unsustainable levels of “services,” but no longer can conceive of life without them.
“Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands.”
—Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1784
“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”
—John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819
“The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful.” —President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)
“It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government.”
—Mercy Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, 1805
John Farnam, “Huh?”
Who are these people?
The VCA who murdered four police officers in Oakland, CA last Saturday had been incarcerated since 2002, but had been recently released on parole.
The sentencing report in the 2002 case that put him in prison described this VCA as a “…cold-hearted individual, who has no regard for human life,” and went on to insist that his permanently residing in prison was the “only way to rein-in this man’s proclivity for violence.”
Now there’s a real recommendation for parole!
That report was surely available to the Parole Board who let him out.
Perhaps, between shrieking for the end to the private ownership of guns in America and the need for higher taxes, the media might find the time to ask why such remorseless, violent, unstable sociopaths are paroled in CA!
[“VCA” = Violent Criminal Actor/Attacker. —R]
“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.”
—Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms, 6 July 1775
“[C]ommercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic. …[I]f industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.”
—James Madison, speech to Congress, 9 April 1789
It never fails to amaze me how prescient the Founders were.
“The economic ills we suffer … will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom. In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.
“Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the federal government and those reserved to the states or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government.”
—Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1981
[Emphasis in second paragraph added. —R]
“What [Obama calls] tax reductions in this bill are really transfer payments, particularly redistribution of income from the rich to the poor. The economy did very well [after the Bush] tax cuts of 2003. Obama has blamed [the Bush tax cuts] for part of the current financial collapse. There’s really no linkage between the tax cuts of 2003 and the financial and housing collapse we’ve seen in recent months. Abolishing the corporate income tax at the federal level I think would be very positive. It’s a very poor form of taxation. I would make permanent the kinds of changes that were in the 2003 tax reform, including the marginal tax rate structure.” —Harvard Economist Robert Barro on Obama’s “terrible piece of legislation”
[Emphasis added. —R]
This looks good.
“Brothers at War is an intimate portrait of an American family during a turbulent time. Jake Rademacher sets out to understand the experience, sacrifice, and motivation of his two brothers serving in Iraq. The film follows Jake’s exploits as he risks everything—including his life—to tell his brothers’ story.
“Often humorous, but sometimes downright lethal, Brothers at War is a remarkable journey where Jake embeds with four combat units in Iraq. Unprecedented access to US and Iraqi combat units take him behind the camouflage curtain with secret reconnaissance troops on the Syrian border, into sniper ‘hide sites’ in the Sunni Triangle, through raging machine gun battles with the Iraqi Army.
“Ultimately, the film follows his brothers home where separations and life-threatening work ripple through their parents, siblings, wives, and children. Brothers at War is a rare look at the bonds and service of our soldiers on the frontlines and the profound effects their service has on the loved ones they leave behind. For more information please visit - www.brothersatwarmovie.com.”
The film is executive produced by Gary Sinise (CSI: New York, “Lt. Dan” in Forrest Gump), who said, “The media took the 15 people of Abu Ghraib and made them the face of the military. This [movie] is a true portrait of our military and their families.”
“This is the issue: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them for ourselves. … Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.” —Ronald Reagan, 1980
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
—Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book, 1774-1776
“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson
“Many Americans would be surprised to learn that the word ‘democracy’ does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, or the U.S. Constitution. Nor does it appear in any of the constitutions of the fifty states. The Founders did everything they could to keep us from having a democracy.”
Democracy = mob rules. Republic = rule of law. Keep this in mind when American politicians—of any stripe—talk about the “will of the people”.
This is worth ten minutes of your time if you’ve forgotten—or never got—this lesson in civics class.
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” —Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833
From The Patriot Post, Friday Digest, Vol. 09 No. 02:
In alarming conjunction with recent headlines reporting that the global influence of the United States has slipped dramatically due to the dereliction of government regulators largely responsible for triggering the current recession, the 15th annual Index of Economic Freedom published jointly by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation reveals the U.S. saw a corresponding slip in its rankings to sixth place. Hong Kong is tops again, followed by Singapore, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand to round out the top five.
Evaluating numerous criteria relating to economic freedom, the study again shows an affirmative correlation between economic freedom and national income. Freer countries enjoy per capita incomes more than 10 times higher than those in “repressed” countries occupying the bottom of the rankings. In a chilling highlight, it was repressed nations that turned to deficit spending, government seizure of land and resources, and government support of favored enterprises, eventually devastating their economies even further with government mismanagement. Not to suggest that our government’s current bailout debacle bears a striking resemblance to government mismanagement that landed many of the repressed countries at the bottom of the rankings, but as Founding Father John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.”
It’s pretty bad when politically repressive places such as Hong Kong and Singapore are ranking higher on the list than the oldest surviving constitutional republic in the world.
Stephen Moore, ‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years:
For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs…and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.
In the book, these relentless wealth redistributionists and their programs are disparaged as “the looters and their laws.” Every new act of government futility and stupidity carries with it a benevolent-sounding title. These include the “Anti-Greed Act” to redistribute income (sounds like Charlie Rangel’s promises soak-the-rich tax bill) and the “Equalization of Opportunity Act” to prevent people from starting more than one business (to give other people a chance). My personal favorite, the “Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act,” aims to restrict cut-throat competition between firms and thus slow the wave of business bankruptcies. Why didn’t Hank Paulson think of that?
These acts and edicts sound farcical, yes, but no more so than the actual events in Washington, circa 2008. We already have been served up the $700 billion “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” and the “Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act.” Now that Barack Obama is in town, he will soon sign into law with great urgency the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” This latest Hail Mary pass will increase the federal budget (which has already expanded by $1.5 trillion in eight years under George Bush) by an additional $1 trillion — in roughly his first 100 days in office.
The current economic strategy is right out of “Atlas Shrugged”: The more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you. That’s the justification for the $2 trillion of subsidies doled out already to keep afloat distressed insurance companies, banks, Wall Street investment houses, and auto companies — while standing next in line for their share of the booty are real-estate developers, the steel industry, chemical companies, airlines, ethanol producers, construction firms and even catfish farmers. With each successive bailout to “calm the markets,” another trillion of national wealth is subsequently lost. Yet, as “Atlas” grimly foretold, we now treat the incompetent who wreck their companies as victims, while those resourceful business owners who manage to make a profit are portrayed as recipients of illegitimate “windfalls.”
This. Must. STOP.
[Registration may be necessary to read complete article on WSJ.com.]
[Wave of the phin to Stephen for the link, via IM.]
“The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn’t pay taxes, and who better than business to make this message known?
“Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business. Begin with the food and fiber raised in the farm, to the ore drilled in a mine, to the oil and gas from out of the ground, whatever it may be—through the processing, through the manufacturing, on out to the retailer’s license. If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business.”
[Emphasis added. —R]
Editor’s note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.
This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.
If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.
If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.
Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That’s what you claim you do, when you accept people’s money to buy or subscribe to your paper.
If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.
Because that’s what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don’t like the probable consequences. That’s what honesty means. That’s how trust is earned.
Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.
Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards’s own adultery for many months.
So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?
Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?
Wow. And I didn’t even quote all of the good parts.
An end to employer-based health insurance is exactly what the American healthcare market needs. Far from being a calamity, it would represent a giant step toward ending the current system’s worst distortions: skyrocketing premiums, lack of insurance portability, widespread ignorance of medical prices, and overconsumption of health services.
With more than 90 percent of private healthcare plans in the United States obtained through employers, it might seem unnatural to get health insurance any other way. But what’s unnatural is the link between healthcare and employment. After all, we don’t rely on employers for auto, homeowners, or life insurance. Those policies we buy in an open market, where numerous insurers and agents compete for our business. Health insurance is different only because of an idiosyncrasy in the tax code dating back 60 years - a good example, to quote Milton Friedman, of how one bad government policy leads to another.
Americans who would never think of using auto insurance to cover tune-ups and oil changes grew accustomed to having their medical insurer pay for yearly physicals, prescriptions, and other routine expenses.
When patients think someone else is paying most of their healthcare costs, they feel little pressure to learn what those costs actually are - and providers feel little pressure to compete on price. So prices keep rising, which makes insurance more expensive, which makes Americans ever-more worried about losing their insurance - and ever-more dependent on the benefits provided by their employer.
De-linking medical insurance from employment is the key to reforming healthcare in the United States.
[Emphasis added. —R]
When asked what the market would do, J. Pierpont Morgan is supposed to have replied, “It will fluctuate.” And so it has always done. For the time being, capital will be tighter than before, restricting credit—which is not always a bad thing—and businessmen will be reminded (as legislators, state and federal, seem never to learn) that neither bull markets nor recessions last indefinitely.
This is a fundamental reality of capitalism that seems never to penetrate the minds of journalists or politicians: Markets expand, contract a bit, and expand again, revenue streams are not always smooth, and for economic enterprise, the cost of overconfidence can be the same as the price of inertia: swift self-immolation. What appears to be huge, venerable, and financially indestructible today can be gone tomorrow.
The financial markets are unsteady at the moment, and Wall Street is undergoing elective surgery. But change, not stasis, is the hallmark of the free market […]
“For the same reason that the members of the State legislatures will be unlikely to attach themselves sufficiently to national objects, the members of the federal legislature will be likely to attach themselves too much to local objects.” (Federalist No. 46, 1 February 1788)
Reducing our troop strength solely on the basis of trends in violence also misses the critical point that the mission of American forces in Iraq is shifting rapidly from counterinsurgency to peace enforcement. The counter-insurgency fight that characterized 2007 continues mainly in areas of northern Iraq. The ability of organized enemy groups, either Sunni or Shia, to conduct large-scale military or terrorist operations and to threaten the existence of the Iraqi government is gone for now. No area of Iraq today requires the massive, violent, and dangerous military operations that American and Iraqi forces had to conduct over the last 18 months in order to pacify various places or restore them to government control. Although enemy networks and organizations have survived and are regrouping, they will likely need considerable time to rebuild their capabilities to levels that pose more than a local challenge—and intelligent political, economic, military, and police efforts can prevent them from rebuilding at all.
American troops continue to conduct counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has not given up, and against Iranian-backed Special Groups, which are also reconstituting. U.S. forces support Iraqi forces conducting counterinsurgency operations in the handful of areas where any significant insurgent capability remains. But mostly our troops are enforcing the peace.
In ethnically mixed areas, American troops are seen as impartial arbiters and mediators. In predominantly Shia or Sunni areas, they are seen as guarantors of continued safety, destroying the justification for illegal militias. American brigades also play critical roles in economic reconstruction, not by spending American money but by helping Iraqis spend their own money. American staffs help local Iraqi leaders develop prioritized lists of their needs, budgets to match those priorities, and plans for executing those budgets. American troops support the Provincial Reconstruction Teams that mentor Iraqi provincial leaders and help local communities communicate their needs to the central government. American soldiers provide essential support to Iraqi soldiers and police working hard to develop their ability to function on their own.
Indeed, American combat brigades have become the principal enablers of economic and political development in Iraq. When an American brigade is withdrawn from an area, there is nothing to take its place—all of these functions go unperformed. Clearly, then, the number of brigades needed in Iraq should be tied not to the level of violence but to the roles the Americans perform and the importance of those roles to the further development of Iraq as a stable and peaceful state.
[Emphasis added. —R]
“Sometimes bipartisanship is grounds for celebration, but more often it is cause for tears. Last week, congressional leaders from both parties went into a room to hammer out a plan that would put taxpayers on the hook for $700 billion. But they assert that the investment is essential to the health of the economy. And they insist that if we make this investment, we’ll get all or most of it back.
“This promise would be more believable if the federal government had a long record of using tax dollars responsibly. In fact, it’s the equivalent of the guy who raids his kid’s piggy bank to feed the slots. The most notable impulse of our leaders is spending money the Treasury doesn’t have, piling up bills that future Americans will have to cover.”
“[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes — rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments.” — Alexander Hamilton (letter to James Bayard, April 1802)
Reference: Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton, Frisch, ed. (511)
Oh, how far we have fallen…
Jeff Jacoby, in “The brilliance of the Electoral College”, on the latest attempts to abolish or skirt the Electoral College:
Actually, in no more than four of the nation’s 54 presidential elections since 1789 has the electoral vote winner not been the candidate who won the popular vote…
Such concerns didn’t trouble the framers of the Constitution, who did not believe that political contests should be decided by majority rule. They rejected “pure democracy,” as James Madison explained in Federalist No. 10. They knew that with “nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party, or an obnoxious individual,” blind majoritarianism can become as great a menace to liberty as any king or dictator. The term “tyranny of the majority” was coined for good reason.
That is why the framers went to such lengths to prevent popular majorities from too easily getting their way. They didn’t concentrate unlimited power in any single institution, or in the hands of voters.
The Electoral College (like the Senate) was designed to preserve the role of the states in governing a nation whose name - the United States of America - reflects its fundamental federal nature. We are a nation of states, not of autonomous citizens, and those states have distinct identities and interests, which the framers were at pains to protect. Too many Americans today forget - or never learned - that the states created the central government; it wasn’t the other way around.
[Bold emphasis added. —R]
I encourage you to read the whole thing.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
“[L]et us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.” —Dwight Eisenhower
It is said that generals always fight the last war. But when David Petraeus came to town it was senators — on both sides of the aisle — who battled over the Iraq war of 2004-2006. That war has little in common with the war we are fighting today.
I may well have spent more time embedded with combat units in Iraq than any other journalist alive. I have seen this war — and our part in it — at its brutal worst. And I say the transformation over the last 14 months is little short of miraculous.
The change goes far beyond the statistical decline in casualties or incidents of violence. A young Iraqi translator, wounded in battle and fearing death, asked an American commander to bury his heart in America. Iraqi special forces units took to the streets to track down terrorists who killed American soldiers. The U.S. military is the most respected institution in Iraq, and many Iraqi boys dream of becoming American soldiers.
We know now that we can pull off a successful counterinsurgency in Iraq. We know that we are working with an increasingly willing citizenry. But counterinsurgency, like community policing, requires lots of boots on the ground. You can’t do it from inside a jet or a tank.
Over the past 15 months, we have proved that we can win this war. We stand now at the moment of truth. Victory — and a democracy in the Arab world — is within our grasp. But it could yet slip away if our leaders remain transfixed by the war we almost lost, rather than focusing on the war we are winning today.
One of the biggest problems with government intervention in the economy is that politicians usually have neither the knowledge nor the incentives to intervene at the right time.
Bruce Bartlett has pointed out that most government intervention in an economic downturn comes too late. That is, the problem it is trying to solve has already worked itself out and the government intervention can create new problems.
More fundamentally, markets readjust themselves for a reason. That reason is that people pay a price for their misjudgments and mistakes.
Government interventions are usually based on trying to stop them from having to pay that price.
People who went way out on a limb to buy a house that they could not afford are now being pictured as victims of a heartless market or deceptive lenders.
Just a few years ago, people who went out on that limb made money big-time in a skyrocketing housing market. But now that they have been caught in the ups and downs that markets have gone through for centuries, the government is supposed to bail them out.
Solving short-run problems, especially in an election year, often means creating long-run problems. Pumping money into the economy can help many problems, but do not be surprised if it also leads to inflationary pressures and financial repercussions around the world.
In other words, people should bear some personal responsibility for their choices and actions. The government should leave well enough alone. Better yet, perhaps the government would like to admit to some responsibility in the matter, and perhaps rather than bailing out people from their own mistakes, rectify it’s own? (Yeah, I know, fat chance of the latter.)
[Emphasis in the quote added. —R]
[Wave of the phin to Jack on the World_SIG list.]
Once again, one of the Founding Fathers sounds rather prescient:
“[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.” — John Adams (An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power, 29 August 1763)
The following landed in ye olde e-mail inbox earlier today, penned by talk radio host Laura Ingraham:
Megan pulled a three-ring binder out of her bag and showed me a photograph of herself and her husband. Young—they’re both 21—with big smiles on their faces and obviously wildly in love. “That’s what he looked like,” she said with a somber face, “He was such a cutie-pie, always buying me little stuffed animals and writing the most thoughtful notes the entire time he was in Iraq.” Then she showed me the photo of her husband receiving the Purple Heart on Wednesday from President Bush at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. As President Bush pinned the medal on Mike, he lay unconscious in the ICU, having suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by a piece of shrapnel that pierced his temple.
“This is my Mike now,” she said, rubbing her eyes. He is completely blind and to alleviate a terrible cranial pressure build-up, doctors had to remove the front of his skull. Since being wounded several months ago, Mike has never regained consciousness and suffers from terrible seizures. “That’s my guy,” she repeated, before she went on to tell me about how they met and fell in love.
For whatever reason, I kept thinking about the fact that some person somewhere carefully assembled the IED that would eventually maim Mike and many others. They are often packed with nails, hunks of lead and screws to cause maxim human suffering. When they explode, the contents rip through flesh and bones, shattering countless dreams in the process.
How to comprehend this level of evil and the physical and emotional agony it causes? This young woman and her husband should be out buying their first Christmas tree together, going to parties, raising a glass to their future. When I asked what she was doing for the holiday she said, “I’ll be here with Mike. I would never want him to be alone on Christmas.” They had been married for about three months when Mike was wounded.
In these days before Christmas, Megan and other military wives and moms gave me a precious gift. They reminded me that true love requires sacrifice—sometimes seemingly unbearable, heart-wrenching sacrifice. They are living out their love in big and small ways. Many have moved thousands of miles to relocate to the hospitals where their husbands, wives, sons, and daughters are being treated. This takes an enormous emotional and financial toll, yet they do it for love. When they are not at the hospital bedsides of their wounded warriors, they sit for hours a day in waiting rooms across the United States, hoping for good news—or at least no more bad news. They pray with each other, cry with each other, and yes, even manage to laugh with each other as they hope for a day when they can return to “normal life.” Yet for the families of our most seriously injured troops, they know they will have to get used to a “new normal,” much different from the life they knew before.
As we are about to celebrate Christmas spending time with our families and friends, let us all do our best to live up to the true spirit of this season—and make it a time filled with love, faith, gratitude, hope, charity, and, yes, let’s try for some peace on earth. Let us remember the military families and our wounded heroes who will spend this Christmas at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, Bethesda Naval Medical Center and other medical facilities across the nation. As we rush around stressed out because we “haven’t found the perfect gift” for so-and-so, these families hope and pray for gifts that cannot be wrapped up: a hand that squeezes back, a smile, the first step on a new prosthesis, or a positive medical report.
They need our prayers and support at Christmas and every day. Please give what you can to any of the wonderful organizations that support our bravest and their families.
Mark Lowry performs our national anthem as a baritone, with some “surprise” accompaniment:
(Via Lee via IM.)
Laura Ingraham, Power To The People:
Our Declaration of Independence reminds us of the “unalienable rights” that are ours to enjoy: “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These rights are dependent upon one another for survival. We often forget that we have been “endowed” with these rights by our “Creator.” How seldom we think of Him and our duty to Him as we exercise these precious rights.
In this age of widespread human embryo destruction, abortion, euthanasia, and cloning, how can we credibly protect the right to life? What is liberty? How do we exercise it without encroaching on the rights of others? And what does it mean to pursue happiness? Is that just a permission slip to indulge our every appetite? Is it a free pass to super-size our meals, wallow in porn, and swell our coffers, regardless of the impact on others?
Too often we have believed that “freedom” means that we have no duties or responsibilities to others. That “anything goes” mentality may appear to be empowering, but it is not. Instead, it creates a sense of anarchy that makes most Americans very unhappy.
The Founding Fathers did not risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor so we could become spoiled, pampered, narcissistic, and focused solely on our own pleasure. An ordered society was the Founders’ goal—a place where we could live our lives in limitless possibility—but only if we fulfilled our obligations. They wanted us to have the liberty to tap into our creative powers, for our own good and for the good of our countrymen. This is the pathway to true happiness. But that society is only possible if we, the people, have a shared set of values, a common set of beliefs that bind us together. The Founders did not view liberty as a license, but as a sacred responsibility to be used for the good. They understood that liberty cannot be separated from virtue.
For the record, I missed two of the sixty questions. (Yes, sixty. Get over it. They’re multiple-choice.) First was number 19; it’s been a long while since I’ve read The Republic. Second was number 36; honestly, this was the first I’d heard of just-war theory. How did you do?
[With thanks to Michael for the quiz link.]
John Farnam had this quote in a recent post on his mailing list, and I thought it significant.
In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants will forget the Art of War and the noble zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every corruption will be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty, which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms, is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easy victims to tyranny. —Sam Adams
Nanny statism run amok:
No running on playgrounds. (The second paragraph of the article is the one which will fill you with utter disbelief.)
No microwave popcorn allowed. (Maybe.) Granted, I know former coworkers who were too…um, challenged to pop popcorn in a microwave without burning it, thus endearing themselves to the entire office by way of the clouds of smoke pouring out of the device and bag, but I don’t think a blanket ban is the answer.
Both via Cam.
Today we stopped by a local mall. The missus needed to make a return of some merchandise to Nordstrom, and we took in lunch as well. While waiting for a table at our eatery of choice, I caught the end of a conversation where an unidentified woman told her equally unidentifiable conversation partner, “Happy Memorial Day.” in closing.
Happy Memorial Day?
Are you serious?
There was a time in this country when Memorial Day was treated with the solemn respect it deserves. When businesses actually closed for the day (as was Costco, we learned, when we stopped to fill up the gas tank), instead of having Memorial Day Weekend Sales™. (The irony of my making this statement while having engaged in a small bit of consumerism on this day is not lost on me.)
People made efforts to remember those who have fallen in service to our nation, for this is not a “holiday”, but rather a day of mourning. It is sad that so many have had to give their lives in the cause of freedom, and we should be graciously thankful those who have died were willing to make the sacrifice in our stead. They deserve our utmost respect, which does not translate to saving a few bucks on jeans and cosmetics.
Notably, they are not deserving of someone wishing another a “Happy” Memorial Day, for the occasion is not one of happiness but remembrance. How many of us even pause for a moment’s reflection today? How many of us participate in any sort of remembrance ceremony, rain or shine, today? How many of us set aside time to go to a local cemetery and clean the grave sites of fallen servicemen, to lay flowers and plant flags?
We, fellow countrymen, owe a debt that we can never repay, yet it is a debt we should nonetheless honor. You may feel otherwise, but I can’t help but feel that said honor does not come from shopping and failing to acknowledge, even in passing, what this day truly is about. It comes from remembering the fallen, honoring their memories, praying for their families and sharing in their grief at having lost their beloved so young. Because so many of those lost are young. Such has it always been, and such it is likely to always be.
War is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet it is often a necessary thing, and we should be thankful there are those willing to fight, and to die. Remember our men and women who have given their lives. Offer a prayer of thanks, if you are the praying sort. Treat this day with the solemnness it deserves.
The Chance To Say Goodbye
I did not get the chance to say goodbye
To shake his hand, look him in the eye
To offer for his service my thanks
For what he did on the Rhine’s banks
Or in Hue city, Berlin, or Khe Sanh
Paris, Baghdad, Iwo Jima, Okinawa
Tripoli, Italy, the Belleau Wood
Croatia, Chosin, or the skies above
Or in the waters deep, or atop the oceans’ waves
Slinging missiles, marking the Unknowns’ graves
Delivering the mail to a far-out firebase
Medevacing out those with injuries of the worst case
I did not get the chance to say goodbye
To shake his hand, look him in the eye
To offer for his service my thanks
For now all I have are these words in this place
—Christopher Turner, 27 March 2007
Dear American Soldier in Iraq:
There are a few things you should know about how tens of millions of us back home feel about you and the fight you are waging. These things need to be said…
What has happened is that many Americans, for all sorts of reasons—some out of simple fatigue, some because they do not believe that war solves anything, some out of deep loathing for the present administration—do not believe that what you are doing is worth doing. You know that what you are doing is worth continuing…
You know that you are fighting the most vicious and primitive ideology in the world today. It is the belief that one’s God wants his followers to maim, torture and murder in order to spread a system of laws that sends societies back to a moral and intellectual state that is pre-civilization. You know that the war you wage against these people and their totalitarian ideology is also necessary because a society unwilling to fight for its values does not have values worth sustaining…
We see you as the best and brightest of our society. Even The New York Times, one of the mainstream media publications that do not understand the epic battle you are waging, acknowledged in an article by one of its embedded correspondents that few Americans of your age can come close to you in maturity, wisdom or leadership abilities. It is unfortunate that the battle for moral clarity and moral courage in America is as divisive as the battle for freedom is in Iraq. But that is the nature of the world we live in. And it has ever been so…
You probably knew all this. But you need to hear it anyway.
That, and thank you. Thank you very much.
From the 02.26.07 edition of Red Herring magazine:
California’s proposed incandescent bulb ban (see “Could California Ban the Bulb?” RedHerring.com, February 1, 2007) is ridiculous! Fluorescent bulbs may last longer (not in my house) but you have to include the cost of the ballast and the starter in both energy to produce and additional expense of the fixture. When these and the additional cost of installation are included in the equation, plus fixture replacement costs due to poor reliability, the cost of fluorescent lighting is vastly more expensive than incandescent lighting. Incandescent lighting is also better for the health of our eyes and sanity as that endless flicker fatigues the eyes and drives people nuts!
Fluorescent bulbs are also considered hazardous waste. The energy costs to clean up or keep the environment clean are not worth the few bucks saved at the meter. This ban is not a good idea. Neither is Title 24, which bans incandescent sockets in new-home construction. People just change out the fluorescent fixtures to incandescent after the house has been inspected. Then the fixtures just end up in the dump. I for one will just buy my bulbs out of state and stock up.
The best way to reduce energy waste is to educate people and business to not waste it. Turn the lights off when not in use!
—Roger Smith, Bishop, California
With the mass, recent push for everyone to switch to fluorescent bulbs, I thought a contrarian point of view might be good for discussion.
“In the annals of American history, only a few events are so well-known and so deeply rooted in national remembrance that the mere mention of their date suffices to describe them. Of these occurrences, none could have had more significance for our Nation than December 7, 1941. On that Sunday morning… the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an unprovoked, surprise attack upon units of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“This attack claimed the lives of 2,403 Americans, wounded 1,178 more, and damaged our naval capabilities in the Pacific. Such destruction seared the memory of a generation and galvanized the will of the American people in a fight to maintain our right to freedom without fear. Every honor is appropriate for the courageous Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for our Nation at Pearl Harbor and in the many battles that followed in World War II. Their sacrifice was for a cause, not for conquest; for a world that would be safe for future generations. Their devotion must never be forgotten.” —Ronald Reagan
[T]he founders of our nation were suspicious, if not contemptuous, of government.
Today’s Americans hold a different vision of government. It’s one that says Congress has the right to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote. Most of what Congress does fits the description of forcing one American to serve the purposes of another American. That description differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery.
At least two-thirds of the federal budget represents forcing one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress.
You say, ‘Williams, don’t you believe in helping your fellow man?’ Yes, I do. I believe that reaching into one’s own pockets to help his fellow man is both laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pockets to help his fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.
The bottom line: We love government because it enables us to accomplish things that if done privately would lead to arrest and imprisonment.
Like Mr. Williams, I don’t mind giving money to help others. In fact, my faith compels me to help others, if not with my time and sweat, then at least with my money. I am happy to give. However, I believe I am a better steward of my own money than the government, especially when it comes to charity. Private charities do a better job in their respective areas than similar government agencies. There are charities which receive federal and state funds, which to me means nothing more than the government acting as an unnecessary and fund-stealing middle-man. The government needs to get out of the charity business.
Speaking of charities, a good one to consider this holiday season is Feed the Children. Hunger is still a problem even in the United States, and it’s especially important for children to get proper nourishment so they develop normally. Please consider a donation to Feed the Children as part of your end-of-the-year giving.
Today is Veteran’s Day, and we offer our heartiest and most humble thanks for those who have served, and those who are currently serving, in our nation’s armed forces.
“Across America, there are more than 25 million veterans. Their ranks include generations of citizens who have risked their lives while serving in military conflicts, including World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the war on terror. They have fought for the security of our country and the peace of the world. They have defended our founding ideals, protected the innocent and liberated the oppressed from tyranny and terror. They have known the hardships and the fears and the tragic losses of war. Our veterans know that in the harshest hours of conflict they serve just and honorable purposes. Every veteran has lived by a strict code of discipline. Every veteran understands the meaning of personal accountability and loyalty and shared sacrifice. From the moment you repeated the oath to the day of your honorable discharge, your time belonged to America; your country came before all else.” —President George W. Bush
I bet you didn’t get offered homemade carrot cake by the workers at your voting precinct today.
You did vote, didn’t you?
This was in my inbox this morning.
The Monsters and the Weak
by Michael Marks
The sun beat like a hammer, not a cloud was in the sky.
The mid-day air ran thick with dust, my throat was parched and dry.
With microphone clutched tight in hand and cameraman in tow,
I ducked beneath a fallen roof, surprised to hear “stay low.”
My eyes blinked several times before in shadow I could see,
the figure stretched across the rubble, steps away from me.
He wore a cloak of burlap strips, all shades of grey and brown,
that hung in tatters till he seemed to melt into the ground.
He never turned his head or took his eye from off the scope
but pointed through the broken wall and down the rocky slope.
“About eight hundred yards,” he said, his whispered words concise,
“beneath the baggy jacket he is wearing a device.”
A chill ran up my spine despite the swelter of the heat,
“You think he’s gonna set it off along the crowded street?”
The sniper gave a weary sigh and said “I wouldn’t doubt it,”
“unless there’s something this old gun and I can do about it.”
A thunderclap, a tongue of flame, the still abruptly shattered;
while citizens that walked the street were just as quickly scattered.
Till only one remained, a body crumpled on the ground,
The threat to oh so many ended by a single round.
And yet the sniper had no cheer, no hint of any gloat,
instead he pulled a logbook out and quietly he wrote.
“Hey, I could put you on TV, that shot was quite a story!”
But he surprised me once again - “I got no wish for glory.”
“Are you for real?” I asked in awe, “You don’t want fame or credit?”
He looked at me with saddened eyes and said “you just don’t get it.”
“You see that shot-up length of wall, the one without a door?
Before a mortar hit, it used to be a grocery store.”
“But don’t go thinking that to bomb a store is all that cruel,
the rubble just across the street - it used to be a school.
The little kids played soccer in the field out by the road,”
His head hung low, “They never thought a car would just explode.”
“As bad as all this is though, it could be a whole lot worse,”
He swallowed hard, the words came from his mouth just like a curse.
“Today the fight’s on foreign land, on streets that aren’t my own,
I’m here today ‘cause if I fail, the next fight’s back at home.”
“And I won’t let my Safeway burn, my neighbors dead inside,
don’t wanna get a call from school that says my daughter died;
I pray that not a one of them will know the things I see,
nor have the work of terrorists etched in their memory.”
“So you can keep your trophies and your fleeting bit of fame,
I don’t care if I make the news, or if they speak my name.”
He glanced toward the camera and his brow began to knot,
“If you’re looking for a story, why not give this one a shot.”
“Just tell the truth of what you see, without the slant or spin;
that most of us are OK and we’re coming home again.
And why not tell our folks back home about the good we’ve done,
how when they see Americans, the kids come at a run.”
“You tell ‘em what it means to folks here just to speak their mind,
without the fear that tyranny is just a step behind;
Describe the desert miles they walk in their first chance to vote,
or ask a soldier if he’s proud, I’m sure you’ll get a quote.”
He turned and slid the rifle in a drag bag thickly padded,
then looked again with eyes of steel as quietly he added;
“And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
that we are all that stands between the monsters and the weak.”
One of my favorite online publications turns ten years old this month, The Patriot Post. (Formerly known as The Federalist Patriot, and for a long time before that, simply The Federalist.)
Publisher Mark Alexander has overseen a redesign of the publication’s web site, and it’s a big improvement over the previous design. You can now get notices of each new issue via RSS, and all issues since 2003 are archived online, with prior years to come.
Jeff Harrell has a great piece which essentially asks the oppressed of the world what are they waiting for:
As long as amoral regimes wrap themselves in the cloak of legitimacy while permitting, sponsoring or even initiating guerilla and terrorist wars against their neighbors, citizens who are held captive by those regimes are going to die. They can choose to die as bystanders, to be numbered among the ranks of the unintentional dead, to be dismissed as collateral damage, or they can pick up a rifle and start a revolution and give up their lives fighting to free themselves, their families and their national brethren from the despots whom they presently protect and on whom they can blame all the death and destruction to which they’ve been witness.
It does not require much observation to understand that there is a large faction on this planet that lives only to see Israel’s destruction. But to stand up in public and declare that Hezbollah is anything but a terrorist organization demonstrates how this deep this hatred runs, and how oblivious to truth these minds have become.
I keep thinking no politician can be as looney as Howard Dean, but then George Galloway keeps popping up to snatch the title.
A Nation of Resolve
Two-hundred-thirty remarkable years have passed since July 4th, 1776—but what lies ahead for our liberty-blessed land? Let us take stock, at this anniversary of our nation’s founding, of how we started on our course as a nation, and whether we still possess the character of that free people our Founders envisioned us to be.
Read the Declaration again with a fresh appraisal, and note the measured tones of the stirring words that begin the treatise: “When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”
“When…it becomes necessary…” Armed hostilities had commenced on 19 April 1775, at the battles of Lexington and Concord, and a year before asserting American independence, on 5 July 1775, the Continental Congress adopted the Olive Branch Petition, beseeching the British king for a peaceful resolution of the American colonies’ grievances. As with tyrants ever, the King declined the proffered peace.
The Founders further remarked on their natural hesitation to act boldly in severing ties to England: “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.—Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.” A second time in this passage, the Declaration signers contended they acted out of necessity.
The Founders described their entreaties to the British government: “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Once more: “We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation…”
It is remarkable, indeed, how our nation’s character has changed. Upon deciding that independence was necessary, our Founding Fathers acted decisively. How often these days do we match such resolve?
Postmodern American man, steeped in moral relativism and doubtful of ascertaining truth, is a bundle of eclectic capacities and features—-a far cry from the Founders’ notion of human nature. They believed that each individual human is created in the image of God, with the stamp of that divine impress best seen in the fact that each of us is a morally choosing being, fully capable of knowing and distinguishing right from wrong.
Our Founding Fathers thus treated liberty of conscience, most particularly in regard to faith, as central to the project of freedom: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” The Founders believed our lives are not vehicles of pleasure but have moral consequence based on our chosen path of conscience and that government should follow our lead.
So started the American Revolution, with this formal statement: “We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States…”
The signers concluded, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” The Founders forged the earliest temper of our populace on the anvil of freedom, and we diminish such courage and resolve at our own great peril.
These were men, “heroes and patriots” in Noah Webster’s words, intent on founding a country fit for citizens possessed of sturdy virtue, firm determination and sound judgment, and to inculcate within the new land’s citizens a resolve for liberty. This is the heritage we celebrate this Independence Day. Let’s live up to it.
—The Patriot Post, 06-26 Digest
I admit to having varied thoughts with regard to the free speech versus protecting our national emblem from being burnt aspects of the “protest” burnings of the American flag.
Men and women have bled and died for our flag, from the time when our fledgling nation did not have a single standard, but several, to the present day and the present conflicts of the Long War on Terror. Yet it was not a scrap of red, white, and blue cloth these men and women sacrificed, but what that cloth represents. For anyone to burn a flag of the United States of America, except as the proscribed method of taking said flag out of service, dishonors the memory of those men and women.
The other side of my mind, however, screams that the protest burning is the kind of freedom those sacrifices were made for. Quite the contest of ideals raging in my grey matter.
Yet another reason to love the Internet: if you wait long enough, someone’s going to come along and say what it is you want to say, only better.
To tell you the truth, I’m not that crazy about such a constitutional amendment, for the simple reason that flag-burning is unique in the annals of protest for the way in which it perfectly encapsulates what a jerk the person burning the flag is. It is auto-discrediting in a way that no placard or chant, however idiotic, can equal. To set fire to the national emblem of a country that allows you to say and do as you please, including burning the national emblem, is to make the point that your freedom is so visceral a part of your nature that you are oblivious to it. It doesn’t reflect well on you to be oblivious in this fashion, but it reflects well on your country for how deeply it ingrains the spirit of freedom into those lucky enough to live here.
That said, the last thing that a constitutional amendment banning flag-burning strikes me as is a slippery slope toward broader restriction on freedom of expression.
Besides, our nation has more important things to worry about, like stopping radical Islamists from popping a nuke in one of our major metropolises. I don’t think a majority of voters, while perhaps concerned one way or the other on the flag-burning issue, have it ranked as a high priority. It’s more of a “when the jihadists are all dead or in prison” sort of issue.
Jeff gives a great example of the sort of situation fiscal conservatives point to as their case for the line-item veto:
Congress has embraced the notion of passing ten-thousand-page omnibus bills that provide an appropriation for buying missiles, invest taxpayer dollars in education, reform the health-insurance, and by the way also fund half a dozen wasteful squanderings of the federal treasury. And if the President wants to veto it, he has to veto it all. Nuts, right?
As Jeff goes on to say, yes, it is nuts. But members of Congress need to stand up and defend their reasons for why they want these “wasteful squanderings” included along with the legitimate items in such bills. (Though I will quibble that the government has no business in the health insurance business, either.) Equally so, the President—and this is any president, not just the current one—should get the message out to the American people why he’s vetoing the entire bill, despite all of its good and legitimate items.
More communication is the key. As Jeff puts it, the American people need to be made smarter as to the machinations of their government. The two parties seem to enjoy playing politics, so why not extend that to budgetary items? If Congress sends you a spending bill with bridges to nowhere in it, you veto it, tell the American people you vetoed it because of the bridges to nowhere, and mention you’d be happy to sign it when it comes back without the bridges to nowhere within. Likewise, if Congress sends a spending bill without any largesse—stop laughing, this is a hypothetical after all—and the President still vetoes it, Congress has that handy two-thirds majority thingy from the Constitution.
Like net “neutrality” legislation, I think the line-item veto is a mountain that’s actually a molehill. We have more important areas to concentrate on, like keeping those who wish to kill us outside of our borders.
I love the build names for Ubuntu Linux: “Breezy Badger”, “Dapper Drake”. Are they all alliteral?
Though I don’t do nearly enough of either, I love hiking and camping, and could see myself as a flashpacker.
Stephen H. Wildstrom has the latest idiotic move by the recording industry, which is suing XM Satellite Radio over its Inno portable receiver/recorder. Even though there’s no way to get the XM-specific music files off the Inno (yet), and despite the millions and millions of dollars in royalties XM already pays the music industry, the Inno is obviously a threat to the future of music as we know it and it must be stopped.
In other news, consumers welcomed more artists as the latter left the major music labels…
Entrepreneurs should check out the WSJ’s StartupJournal.
I don’t need anything else special to remember my wedding anniversary. Circumstances of life dictated that forever shall the day of our wedding be shared with that of the invasion of Normandy, and the enormous sacrifice made there by so many. Yesterday marked the second anniversary of President Reagan’s passing, I can think of no better words to remember D-Day, than those spoken by him on the fortieth anniversary of the invasion:
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young that day and you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here?
We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force of liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer… You all knew that some things are worth dying for.
It says a lot about our nation in that too few of us think about those who have given their lives in military service, much less participate in events to commemorate them, on Memorial Day. This was what ran through my head as we drove the Maine coastline today, noting the hundreds, perhaps thousands, on the beaches of York.
To honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, I humbly offer these words from one of our greatest Presidents:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
[With thanks to KnowledgeNews for the text of the Gettysburg Address.]
Speaking of Tom, he’s authored a great paper as part of the Master’s program he’s enrolled in. Titled “Weblogs, Pamphlets and Public Citizens: Changing Modern Media”, in which he compares the citizen journalists of today’s blogosphere to the pamphleteers of pre-Revolutionary War America. I got a sneak peek during the drafting and editing phase, and I think it’s really good.
Some choice quotes:
The effects of blogs in a new media environment are twofold: Weblogs cover stories that their mainstream media counterparts, for editorial reasons or other gatekeeping practices common in modern professional media, omit or miss entirely; and weblogs also bring to bear an ever-vigilant group of diverse problem solvers that fact-check the work of many reporters and journalists in the mass-media arena. This makes the blogosphere an excellent addendum to mass media, operating as both appendix and errata to the main compendium of stories that the mass media puts into the public sphere using trained reporters and journalists.
As technology had advanced further, producing Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a distribution method that allows for easy and automatic syndication of new additions to weblogs, it has become possible for a consumer of media to add weblogs to their daily news diet. This allows for readers to mix and match their media, creating a new media outlet that is personally tailored to their interests and to their pursuits. Using an RSS-reader application on a personal computer, a sports fan can have a forty-page sports section and a one page local section, or a political junkie can have page after page of differing commentary from a variety of sources. The reader becomes their own editor and gatekeeper, combining multiple weblogs and conventional media sources, which have also adopted RSS, into their own personal fountain of news and commentary.
If you’ve read Dan Gillmor’s We The Media and/or Hugh Hewitt’s Blog, some of Tom’s piece will sound familiar, especially in that he cites the former as a source, but I say the familiarity makes Tom’s arguments stronger. Good work, my friend!
The Stephen Colbert kerfuffle, intrinsically uninteresting though it is, leads Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen to an excellent insight:
Why are you wasting my time with Colbert, I hear you ask. Because he is representative of what too often passes for political courage, not to mention wit, in this country. His defenders—and they are all over the blogosphere—will tell you he spoke truth to power. This is a tired phrase, as we all know, but when it was fresh and meaningful it suggested repercussions, consequences—maybe even death in some countries. When you spoke truth to power you took the distinct chance that power would smite you, toss you into a dungeon or—if you’re at work—take away your office.
But in this country, anyone can insult the president of the United States. Colbert just did it, and he will not suffer any consequence at all. He knew that going in.
This, it seems to us, explains several conceits of the Angry Left:
The notion that criticism—whether of the Dixie Chicks or of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer—amounts to censorship.
Claims by Democratic politicians that Republicans are “questioning” their “patriotism.”
Fears of incipient fascism.
What these have in common, aside from being totally fantastical, is that they all reinforce the image of the Angry Leftist as courageous dissenter. In truth, this country is so tolerant, indeed downright indulgent, of this sort of “dissent” that it affords no opportunity to be courageous.
Speak “truth to power” in America, and power will pat you on the head and say, “What an adorable little girl.” Some on the Angry Left could actually have the courage to stand up if they were faced with real consequences—but they are unlikely ever to get that chance. America’s almost boundless tolerance thus reduces them to the level of petulant children. No wonder they’re so angry.
There have been many acts of heroism in the Iraq War and continuing liberation that have gone under- or unreported by the media. One such underreported act is that of Paul Ray Smith, the only Medal of Honor winner of the conflict. Sergeant First Class Smith gave his life near the Saddam Hussein International Airport on 4 April 2003, defending his comrades and the wounded in a nearby aid station. Ralph Kinney Bennett has the story.
The National Next of Kin Registry. Thanks to Motorola, I cannot look at NOKR’s acronym without thinking of mobile phones.
Tom snapped photos at the gathering of Abdul Rahman supporters outside the Afghan embassy in D.C. today. Jeff was there as well.
Stephen Moore, Political Diary:
During last week’s debate about the federal earmarking process — which is used to distribute pork to congressional districts — House Appropriators struck back. The appropriators, of both parties, complain that fiscal conservatives in the House are trying to ruin a time-honored congressional tradition of passing out bacon by demanding full transparency for pork spending. In a letter to his colleagues, Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson went so far as to argue that the Framers wouldn’t have approved of this effort to curb Congress’s power of the purse and even claimed “earmarking is virtually required by article 1 section 9 clause 7 of the Constitution.”
So we did some checking on the writings of the founders to shed some light on their view of the domestic pork process. The first budget ever passed by Congress approved roughly $100 million of funds in today’s dollars. There were no Lawrence Welk Museums or Cowboy Hall of Fame earmarks in the bill — which was only a few pages long. The founders believed that if a government function wasn’t listed in the Constitution under the enumerated powers clause (Article I, Section 8), the right to spend money didn’t exist. Pork was hardly an issue.
The biggest opponent to federal spending on parochial projects was Thomas Jefferson. Here is what Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison: “I view [road building] as a source of boundless patronage to the executive, jobbing to members of Congress & their friends, and a bottomless abyss of public money. You will begin by only appropriating the surplus of the post roads revenues, but the other revenues will soon be called into their aid, and it will be a scene of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get most who are meanest.”
To be sure, there were defenders of congressional funding of local projects, most notably Alexander Hamilton. But back then the stakes and dollar amounts were much smaller. Given what’s happening today in Congress with highway bills larded up with thousands of special projects, we’d say that Jefferson’s warning was amazingly prescient. We’d also say that the founders would be mighty disgusted with the way Republicans and Democrats have been serving as guardians of the public purse.
Vietnam-era traitor Jeffry House, now a “prominent human-rights lawyer” in Toronto, is helping current-day traitors flee from the service they voluntarily enlisted for. (I feel it worth noting that Mr. House is not performing this work pro bono.)
As a father, I can certainly feel for Jeremy Hinzman in that he doesn’t want to go to Iraq, get killed, and leave his son fatherless. I so totally get that.
The fact remains, however, that Mr. Hinzman voluntarily enlisted in the United States Army. Therefore, during the terms of his enlistment, he is to go where the Army tells him to go, even if it is to a place he doesn’t want to go because he thinks the United States, vis-a-vis its armed services, shouldn’t be there.
Mr. Hinzman had a chance to legally leave the Army, and he chose to stay. He should be returned to the United States to stand trial for desertion, and be sent to prison. It would appear the maximum sentence is only five years; still plenty of life to spend with his son.
One of things you have to love about Benjamin Franklin was his optimism with regard to those who hold public office.
They are of the People, and return again to mix with the People, having no more durable preeminence than the different Grains of Sand in an Hourglass. Such an Assembly cannot easily become dangerous to Liberty. They are the Servants of the People, sent together to do the People’s Business, and promote the public Welfare; their Powers must be sufficient, or their Duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable Appointments, but a mere Payment of daily Wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their Expences; so that, having no Chance for great Places, and enormous Salaries or Pensions, as in some Countries, there is no triguing or bribing for Elections.
—letter to George Whatley, 23 May 1785
Reference: Franklin Collected Works, Lemay, ed., 1108.
[Via the Patriot Post.]
Presidents’ Day, this year on February 20th, has taken on an even more special meaning for me lately. Not only does it serve as the official holiday commemorating both the birthdays of George Washington (February 22d) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12th), but I’ve personally added another great American president to that illustrious list, Ronald Reagan. He would have been 95 today.
Today marks the fifty-sixth anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s 39th birthday, as he would note it. Recently, the Gallup Poll asked Americans “Who do you regard as the greatest United States president?” and “Ronald Reagan” topped the list. This man of simple origins, a giant of a president, always and unfalteringly did what was right for America. He brought trust, dignity, and humility to the presidency. He was, as William Bennett once observed, “A man in possession of his own soul,” and he restored the nation’s values, its character, its soul. He was a gentleman and a Patriot. We, in turn, will always be indebted to Ronald Reagan, a mentor to our key staff, for his unselfish and devoted service to our country.
The Free Market Foundation reminds Texans the deadline for voter registration in time for the March primaries is this Monday, February 6th. If you need to register:
As with every election, the Free Market Foundation is providing non-partisan Voters’ Guides free of charge. Send them an e-mail with your mailing address and desired quantity. I’ve taken advantage of these guides in the past, and they are great at distilling voting issues in to clear language, offering pros and cons for ballot propositions, as well as candidate information.
Today’s featured article on OpinionJournal, while highlighting the Abramoff ugliness, shows why many conservatives, this one included, are relatively unhappy with the Republicans in Congress:
The party that swept to power on term limits, spending restraint and reform has become the party of incumbency, 6,371 highway-bill “earmarks,” and K Street. And it’s no defense to say that Democrats would do the same. Of course Democrats would, but then they’ve always claimed to be the party of government. If that’s what voters want, they’ll choose the real thing.
Republicans won’t escape voter anger by writing new rules but only by returning to their self-professed principles. Gradually since 1994 they’ve decided they want to reform and limit government less than they want to use government to entrench their own power, and in the case of the Abramoffs to get rich doing so. If Speaker Dennis Hastert, interim Majority Leader Roy Blunt and other GOP leaders are too insulated to realize this, then Republicans need new leaders, and right away.
What’s the adage, “Lead or get out of the way”? That’s what the Republican congressional leadership needs to do. Show some backbone and lead, or let a willing someone step up and take over. There should be no more talk of DeLay returning to the Majority Leader position. Even if Mr. DeLay is found to be completely innocent (and in the case of the Texas charges, I believe he is), he has been tainted by allowing himself to be put in that position in the first place. Mr. Blunt or another Republican congressman needs to be named the new Majority Leader, so the floundering of the party can be put to a stop.
The Republican Party, lead by Reagan, and then briefly from ‘94-98 by Gingrich, was the party of smaller government. This message resonated with the American people, and this put and kept the Republicans in power so long as they abided by that message. If Republicans are so interested in remaining in power, as the OpinionJournal piece opines, perhaps they should look to their recent past.
John Fund has a note on Barbara Boxer’s Bush obsession in today’s Political Diary.
Some Democrats have become so obsessed with President Bush’s National Security Agency surveillance activities that they are putting the most rabid of the anti-Clinton Republicans of the 1990s to shame. Take Senator Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who serves as her party’s Chief Deputy Whip. Last month, during the holiday season, she sent a letter to legal scholars asking their opinions as to whether the Bush NSA program should compel Congress to start impeachment hearings.
With the 2006 midterm elections now upon us, if the Democrats want the American public to take them seriously on matters of national security, perhaps they should quietly decide to make someone else the Chief Deputy Whip.
Ms. Boxer’s letter had been prompted by a December 16 appearance she made at Temple Emanuel in Los Angeles with former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, who has since become a sort of understudy to former Attorney General Ramsey Clark in his willingness to ascribe all manner of evil intent to conservative presidents. Mr. Dean, who declared the Bush record on civil liberties “worse than Watergate,” told the Temple Emanuel audience that Mr. Bush is “the first president to admit to an impeachable offense.” Ms. Boxer called that “a startling assertion” worthy of Congressional attention. During her duet with Mr. Dean, she made her own startling statement, blurting out that she feared Mr. Bush “would prefer to do away with Congress,” calling for the House and Senate to be disbanded during wartime.
The “worse than Watergate” assertion would be one of the funniest things I’ve read today if it weren’t for Boxer’s own comment about Bush wanting to disband Congress. One has to wonder if she’s truly serious when she utters such nonsense, or is she simply playing to the anti-war radical left? Either way, I think it shows that Boxer isn’t fit for such a high position in one of this country’s two major political parties.
Democrats such as Ms. Boxer are in danger of being viewed as overheated and irrational in their reaction to the NSA story.
Ya think? I think we’re well past the “in danger of” stage.
A new Rasmussen poll finds that 32% of voters think our legal system worries too much about individual rights at the expense of national security. Another 27% say the current balance is about right. Only 29% say there is too much concern for national security at the expense of individual liberties and only one-third of Americans believe that Mr. Bush broke the law by authorizing the NSA to monitor phone calls between terrorist suspects. Only 26% believe that President Bush is the first to authorize a program allowing the NSA to intercept such calls.
If Ms. Boxer and Mr. Dean continue to urge Democrats down the impeachment route, they should recall how much the issue flopped for Republicans in the 1998 mid-term elections. Mr. Clinton became the first president since FDR to see his party gain seats during a mid-term election, in part because voters felt Republicans were spending too much time attacking him rather than addressing other issues.
Socialism is a nice idea, in theory, they tell me. I won’t be conceding that point anymore. Too many have conceded it for too long, and too many have been fooled into thinking it can work — again. And, the costs of that particular thought are just too high.
In the great spectrum of Internet privacy dangers, “persistent cookies” sits on the weakest end. Spyware from free downloads cause more security problems than cookies, and even the ones used by the NSA can be blocked by any browser on the market. The AP uses the mistake to make cookies sound vaguely sinister when they’re almost as ubiquitous on the Internet as pop-up ads, if not more so. The Guardian gets even more hysterical, in all senses of the word, when it says that the “[e]xposure adds to pressure over White House powers”.
The silliest part of the story is that no one can understand why the cookies would present any danger to visitors to the NSA website. Both versions of the story call the risk to surfers “uncertain”, but a more accurate description would be “irrelevant”. Even if the NSA used it to track where casual visitors to its site surfed afterwards, it would discover nothing that any casual surfer wouldn’t already be able to access on their own with Google or a quick check on Free Republic. Now imagine who stops to check on the NSA website and try very hard to come up with any good reason to spend precious resources on scouring the web preferences of bloggers and privacy groups instead of focusing on real signal intelligence, which already comes in such volume that the agency has trouble keeping up with their primary task.
[Emphasis in the original.]
Jeff does an outstanding job of showing the flip side of the coin the press doesn’t want to admit:
Yes, the President is responsible for making the decision to go to war based in part on intelligence that turned out to be incomplete. But the President is also responsible for acting with swift resolve to unseat a brutal dictator, terrorist and friend to terrorists. He’s also responsible for having the sheer guts to go it alone when a great many of the West’s liberal democracies shirked their responsibility both as leaders of the world and as members of the Security Council of the United Nations. He’s also responsible for bringing Saddam Hussein to justice, for capturing or killing his cohorts in crime, for cutting off a huge source of funding to Palestinian murder gangs, for shattering Ansar al-Islam, and for freeing the Shiite people of Iraq from decades of illegitimate rule by a Stalinist political party. And in many ways, President Bush is personally responsible for bringing liberty to Iraq for the first time ever, and for changing the history of the Middle East, and the Arab and Muslim worlds.
I am totally down with Tom’s plan.
Ever since the little phisch was born, the Christmas cards we’ve sent out have been the kind where a photo of the youngun was part of the card. So we have a few boxes of Christmas cards that will likely never be used. Kevin’s campaign sounds fun, and I have the materials.
So the ACLU can expect a Christmas card from me this year. Probably two. Maybe three.
Let’s just say, when I get tired of signing them and filling out the address info on the envelopes, okay?
Today we honor those who serve and served in our nation’s armed forces. Though the original day of remembrance was Armistice Day, noting the end of World War I, it became Veterans’ Day, where we honor those who have served throughout out nation’s history. I think it is quite appropriate that a day to thank and honor our veterans falls within the same month as the Thanksgiving holiday.
Each citizen of this country, whether they want to admit it or not, owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to those who wear and have worn the uniforms of our armed forces. Having been, at one time, in the process of becoming one of those in uniform, I hold a special place in my heart for our servicemen and women.
In addition to all veterans, there are a few people I would like to thank.
From within my family: Dad, Uncle J.D., Granddaddy, and Uncle Richard.
Friends: Will, Wally, Damion M., Brian, Dan, Larry, John A., and Gary R.
From Detachment 310, 1988-92: Liz, John, Craig, Cathy & Michael, Kristin, Greg, Russ, and Colonel Hendrickson. I miss you guys.
“It is a singular advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end purposed — that is, an extension of the revenue.” — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21
(Of course, any talk of instituting a national sales tax has to go hand-in-hand with repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, and the end of the income tax.)
Al-Qa’ida murdered almost 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil in about an hour back in 2001—almost all of them civilians. The reason no additional American civilians have died in attacks on our homeland is that 150,000 uniformed American Patriots have formed a formidable front on al-Qa’ida’s turf, a very inhospitable region of the world. These Patriots are a proud breed—Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen—and they have chosen to stand in harm’s way in order to defend their families, their friends, their country.
In doing so, more than 2,000 of these brave souls have been killed.
This week, every mass media outlet took a break from their “CIA leak” promotion to run headlines and lead stories about the Iraq death toll reaching 2,000 (1,567 killed in action since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 19 March 2003)—as if the death of American Patriot number 1,999 was somehow less important. Typical was this headline from The New York Times: “2,000 Dead: As Iraq Tours Stretch On, A Grim Mark.” But not a whisper in the Leftmedia about the 3,870 Iraqi security forces killed in the last six months alone, in defense of their emerging democracy.
For The Patriot, every death of a member of our Armed Forces is equally devastating, and we mourn each one. Not a day passes without our prayers for both those standing in harm’s way, and their families.
The “dezinformatsia” machines promote this “milestone” for one reason only—to foment additional dissent and rally support against the Bush administration’s national-security strategy, which is to protect our homeland by taking the battle with Jihadis to their turf. In doing so, the Leftmedia has reduced the sacrifice of these young Patriots to nothing more than political fodder for their appeasement agenda.
On the night of 11 September 2001, President Bush told the nation, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” He set in motion pre-emptive operations, which would become the “Bush Doctrine.” Our analysts continue to support the doctrine of pre-emption firmly as the best measured response to the Jihadi threat around the world.
As for those still “Stuck on Stupid”, insisting that there were no WMD found in Iraq, here’s a partial list of what didn’t make it out of Iraq before the invasion: 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, 1,700 gallons of chemical-weapon agents, chemical warheads containing the nerve agent cyclosarin, thousands of radioactive materials in powdered form designed for dispersal over population centers, artillery projectiles loaded with binary chemical agents, etc.
As The Patriot noted in October, 2002, our well-placed sources in the region and intelligence sources with the NSA and NRO estimated that the UN Security Council’s foot-dragging provided an ample window for Saddam to export some or all of his deadliest WMD materials and components. At that time, we reported that Allied Forces would be unlikely to discover Iraq’s WMD stores, noting, “Our sources estimate that Iraq has shipped some or all of its biological stockpiles and nuclear WMD components through Syria to southern Lebanon’s heavily fortified Bekaa Valley.”
In December of 2002, our senior-level intelligence sources re-confirmed estimates that some of Iraq’s biological and nuclear WMD material and components had, in fact, been moved into Syria and Iran. That movement continued until President Bush finally pulled the plug on the UN’s ruse.
To that end, we are deeply indebted to our Patriot Armed Forces, who have prevented al-Qa’ida or some other Jihadi terrorist cell from striking a U.S. urban center with WMD. Make no mistake—Islamofascists want to bring America to ruin, and they will use any means at their disposal to do so. Mr. President, stay the course.
[Emphasis added. —R]
Many explanations have been given to account for the almost matchless barbarism into which Palestinian society has descended in recent years. One is the effect of Israeli occupation and all that has, in recent years, gone with it: the checkpoints, the closures, the petty harassments, the targeted assassinations of terrorist leaders. I witnessed much of this personally when I lived in Israel, and there can be no discounting the embittering effect that a weeks-long, 18-hour daily military curfew has on the ordinary Palestinians living under it.
Yet the checkpoints and curfews are not gratuitous acts of unkindness by Israel, nor are they artifacts of occupation. On the contrary, in the years when Israel was in full control of the territories there were no checkpoints or curfews, and Palestinians could move freely (and find employment) throughout the country. It was only with the start of the peace process in 1993 and the creation of autonomous Palestinian areas under the control of the late Yasser Arafat that terrorism became a commonplace fact of Israeli life. And it was only then that the checkpoints went up and the clampdowns began in earnest.
In other words, while Palestinian actions go far to explain Israeli behavior, the reverse doesn’t hold.
“Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands.”
— Thomas Jefferson (letter to James Madison, 1784)
“The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint. The wise see in it, on the contrary, the potent Law of Laws.” —Walt Whitman
“We live in circumstances our parents did not live in, or our grandparents. We live in a time in which there is no rival model to the American model for how to run a modern industrial commercial society. Socialism is gone. Fascism is gone. Al-Qaeda has no rival model about how to run a modern society. Al-Qaeda has a howl of rage against the idea of modernity.
“We began in 1945 an astonishingly clear social experiment: We divided the city of Berlin, the country of Germany, the continent of Europe, indeed the whole world, and we had a test. On one side was the socialist model that says that society is best run by edicts, issued from a coterie of experts from above.
“The American model, on the other hand, called for a maximum dispersal of decision-making and information markets allocating wealth and opportunity. The results are clear: We are here, they are not. The Soviet Union tried for 70 years to plant Marxism with bayonets in Eastern Europe. Today there are more Marxists on the Harvard faculty than there are in Eastern Europe.”
—George Will, “The Doctrine of Preemption,” from a speech delivered on 23 May 2005, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Dallas, Texas (Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College.)
As Mr. Will stated, we had the test of socialism already. It didn’t work. Yet the Left in these United States still insist on socialist policies as means of moving our states and nation forward. What hubris. What do they think they know that will make these policies and institutions work here when they didn’t work elsewhere?
(Don’t bother pointing to Cuba, North Korea, or China, mouth-foamers. The first two aren’t true communist/socialist nations, as they are dependent upon the cult of personality of the leaders. The latter is, well, lucky to have figured out how to ingest just enough capitalism to keep the economy afloat, which further proves that Marxist communism/socialism does not work.)
Patrick Leahy, U.S. Senator from Vermont, on the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court:
Is this a nominee who will protect and expand our constitutional rights, or will she neglect and narrow those rights? Learning the answer will be at the core of what the American people and the Senate need to know from the hearings on this nomination.
I call your attention to two words in the first sentence: “and expand”. Since when is the Supreme Court charged by the United States Constitution, Senator Leahy, to “expand” constitutional rights? (Oh, that’s right, ever since FDR stacked the Court with non-constructionists to get his way with the federal bureaucracy. My mistake.)
Expansion of constitutional rights is a duty assigned to the people, through their legislators in Congress and in their state bodies. Congressional rights are “expanded” through constitutional conventions, not through judicial activism. Such ignorance on the part of a majority of the American people is why our elected officials are able to get away with such foolish statements as that uttered above by Senator Leahy. Since basic civics are apparently not getting taught in our public schools any longer, how can we expect our citizens to fully comprehend how their government is supposed to work?
Here’s a little secret about conservatives and Roe v. Wade, just in case you’re wondering: not all conservatives are pro-life. I know this may come as a shock to the mouth-foamers on the Left, and even to those on the Right who like to walk around with blinders on, but it’s true. (Personally speaking, this conservative is pro-life.) Yet these same conservatives who are not pro-life oppose Roe v. Wade. Why? Because it came about in precisely the same way Senator Leahy seeks, based on his statement above: judicial fiat.
You would find far less vocal opposition from the Right if the right to an abortion was in the Constitution as a result of a constitutional convention, passed by the Congress, and two-thirds of the states. We wouldn’t like it, but at least we would know it was there as a result of the process set forth by the Founding Fathers, not arbitrarily created by men in black robes. For the expansion of rights to occur otherwise is to have, as The Federalist Patriot put it, “James Madison is rolling in his grave!”
One of the many negative consequences of America’s defeat in The Vietnam War has been the uncontrolled proliferation of Vietnams since then.
Nicaragua threatened to become another Vietnam. Lebanon nearly became another Vietnam. Had Grenada been only slightly larger than a manhole cover and lasted one more hour, it would have become a Caribbean-Style Vietnam. The invasion of Panama was rapidly degenerating into a Narco-Vietnam, right up until we won. Likewise, the First Gulf War was certainly developing into another Vietnam, but then sadly, it ended quickly and with few casualties.
For people of a certain age or political stripe, Vietnam is like Elvis: it’s everywhere. For example, during a long wait at a Chinese Buffet in Georgetown in 1987, Ted Kennedy was reported to have exclaimed “QUAGMIRE!” and attempted to surrender to a Spanish-speaking busboy.
And that was probably the smart thing to do, because the lesson of Vietnam is: it is best to lose quickly, so as to avoid a quagmire.
If you liked what our quick, casualty-saving withdrawal from Somalia did for us at the Khobar Towers, at our embassies in East Africa, at the waterline of the USS Cole, and at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then you’ll love what a quick “casualty-saving” withdrawal from Iraq will do for us for the next twenty years. It’ll finally make you stop worrying about Vietnam.
Read the entire column for Johnson’s thirteen edifying points, and stop saying every geopolitical event the United States gets involved in is going to disintegrate in to a Vietnamesque “quagmire.”
Stephen Moore, in today’s Political Diary:
There’s an old saying that the only Marxists left on the planet are found in the faculty lounges at America’s elite universities. Now the Leadership Institute has helped quantify the leftwing bias at our premier institutions of higher learning.
Its new report, “Deep Blue Campuses,” raked through Federal Election Commission records of political donations in 2004 by university faculty and found — surprise, surprise — that the vast preponderance of these donated dollars went to John Kerry for President. This is a free country, and donating to political candidates is, or at least should be, a protected expression of free speech. But this report blows through the facade that the political views of university faculty are in anyway representative of the general community.
For every dollar that the professors at the top 20 elite universities gave to George Bush, they gave $10 to John Kerry. The ratio at Princeton was $302 to Kerry for every dollar given to Bush. The ratio for Harvard was 25 to 1. At Yale and Penn, the ratio was greater than 20 to 1. At Dartmouth there wasn’t a single recorded donation to Bush.
These are more lopsided results than one finds in the phony elections in Castro’s Cuba and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Universities have become fanatically committed to the idea of “diversity” as an overriding objective on campus — diversity on the basis of income, religion, disability, race, gender, sexual orientation. But political diversity? When it comes to the kind of diversity that would seem to matter most for promoting debate, intellectual curiosity and free speech, there is apparently little tolerance for differing views. What is demanded is conformity. And our top universities suffer greatly as a result.
His latest book, The West’s Last Chance, is coming true before our very lives.
A committee appointed by the British government, composed of Muslims, wants the nation to scrap its Holocaust Memorial Day, in the name of inclusiveness and sensitivity. No word yet on whether they also want to eliminate Passover – said to be insensitive to Egyptians.
The committee recommends replacing the observance (started in 2001 and held annually on January 27) with a Genocide (a.k.a., Victimhood) Day, which would recognize the alleged mass murder of Muslims in “Palestine,” Chechnya, Bosnia, and wherever else followers of the Religion of Peace have come into conflict with the accursed infidel.
In making its case for inclusiveness, the committee somehow neglected to mention the many victims of Muslim mayhem – Armenians, Sudanese Christians, Kosovar Serbs (ethnically cleansed in the wake of NATO’s war on Yugoslavia), and Hindus – to name but a few. If an Arab stubbed his toe on the boot of a Christian knight sometime in the 11th century, it’s a crime against humanity that must be memorialized throughout the ages, according to the imams. On the other hand, the slaughter of infidels is seen as the will of Allah, and worthy of a Heavenly reward.
The committee maintains that Britain’s Holocaust Memorial Day fuels feelings of isolation and alienation among Muslim youth. And, well, to have a special commemoration of the systematic slaughter of one in every three Jews on earth (in an effort to annihilate an entire people), is grossly unfair, the committee suggests.
This is one of numerous matters that goes to the heart of the “clash of civilizations,” the premise of Blankley’s book. Muslims are not interested in assimilating, as has every other ethnicity or religion in the West. They are not interested in tolerating others who are, in the case of the Jews, non-Arab, or, in the case of everyone else, non-Muslim. The people of the West need to wake up to these facts, and quickly.
Surely, you say, not all Muslims feel this way. Surely this is simply those radical extremists the likes of bin Laden, right? Then why is there nothing but silence from the majority of supposedly peace-loving, tolerant, assimilated Muslims in the West?
Their unhealthy hatred for Mr. Bush dates back to the 2000 election, which they — irrationally again — believe he stole from Mr. Gore. The fact is, Mr. Gore was trying to steal the election himself and almost succeeded, through one of the most egregious perversions of the rule of law in our nation’s history, by the Florida Supreme Court.
But the real source of their animus is even more basic. They resent him because he represents their expulsion from power over the executive branch, which the Clinton eight-year heyday should have ensured them in perpetuity.
You’ll recall that their “entitlement” to the legislative branch was stolen from them in 1994, which is one of the reasons they consider Newt Gingrich another personification of evil. Adding insult to cumulative injury, they’ve also lost their monopoly on the media over the last 15 years.
John Stossel, on pork in the wake of Katrina:
The government’s responsibility, though, dwarfs anything done by criminals. To start, the federal government invited disaster by offering cheap insurance. That encourages people to build on the coasts. I’m embarrassed to admit I once built a house on a beach in Westhampton, N.Y., because government insurance guaranteed I couldn’t lose. When a storm washed my house away, government paid me for my loss. It would have covered me again and again had I rebuilt. (I sold the land.) Government insurance is truly an insane policy.
Then came the bureaucratic obstacles. While New Orleans hospitals had no electricity, the U.S.S. Bataan sat just off the coast, equipped with six unused operating rooms and hundreds of hospital beds. Its commander said she could do nothing because she hadn’t received a signed authorization. It’s reasonable to worry about getting the armed forces involved in law enforcement, but where’s the threat to the Constitution if, in the middle of a disaster, a Navy doctor saves your life?
The deadliest government mistake was made by Congress. The Army Corps of Engineers had said it wanted $27 million to strengthen the levees protecting New Orleans. Congress said no, though our can’t-spend-your-money-fast-enough representatives did appropriate more than that for an indoor rain forest in Iowa.
Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, blamed the president. “The president could have funded it,” she said.
Someday, she should read the Constitution. Only Congress can appropriate federal money.
It’s a reason Americans shouldn’t filter so much money through Washington. Louisianans don’t need Iowa rain forests, and Iowans don’t need levees in Louisiana. Maybe the people who want to live in New Orleans should have to pay (through private enterprise or local taxes) the special costs of its exposed location — or live elsewhere. If all local projects, essential and whimsical, were paid for with local taxes, competition among states and cities would force them to become more efficient.
No, mouth-foamers, I am not referring to the muppet.
President Grover Cleveland:
“I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and the duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit…
The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.”
No, they don’t have anything better to do.
To those in the know, this Saturday is “S24” (i.e., 24 September), when over one thousand leftwing groups will descend on Washington for a “war protest.” (Is it just us, or are these self-indulgent Angry Left minions being somewhat overshadowed by events in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast?)
A cameraman filming the first arriving buses caught something he’d missed before: He’d seen many of the protestors at hundreds of previous protests. “They’re professional protesters!” he surmised.
Indeed these events are well-scripted productions rather than the spontaneous uprisings, CBS reports. “S24” is being produced by United for Peace and Justice (UPJ) and International Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER). ANSWER has close ties to the Marxist Workers World Party, Free Palestine Alliance, U.S.-Mexico Solidarity Foundation, Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada, Code Pink, and, of course, MoveOn.
Other “notables” at the protest include Punks for Peace, Queer to the Left, September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and Historians Against the War.
Scholar John J. Tierney declares the nucleus of the protesters is “ideologically very hard-core left;… anti-West, anti-capitalism and anti-American political culture. [They] cover a whole host of revolutionary causes, literally everywhere.”
Enterprising bus drivers should have turned south, and delivered these senseless mouth-foamers to the Gulf coast. Then again, not knowing how to do anything other than blather utter falsehoods and mindless propaganda, the protesters likely aren’t any good for helping with relief efforts.
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” —Thomas Jefferson
“[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes - rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments.” — Alexander Hamilton (letter to James Bayard, April 1802)
Jon asked the question. (It makes me feel old to realize he’s talking about high school classes in his remarks.)
I was getting ready for work. Kel and I had just changed places in the shower; she was watching the Today show when they went live after the first plane it. While I was shaving, I watched the second plane fly in to the second tower.
“A second plane just hit!” I yelled in to the bathroom.
“What?!?!?” was the reply from my wife.
“The first plane was no accident,” I told her. The early speculation after the first plane struck was that it was an accident of some sort. I, and millions of others, knew right then it was no accident.
We both finished getting ourselves ready, watching the news the entire time. I was on the road to the office when the first tower fell. Tears were in my eyes, and the thought that kept running through my head was Those poor people…
I was at work for around an hour before they sent us home. At the time, my wife was working in the tallest building in downtown Dallas. Building management shut it down; my wife never even made it up to her office to be sent home. We spent the rest of the day in the living room, glued to the news.
Yesterday, Jeff said:
On another subject, tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of 9/11. What’s there to say about that? It seems like a lot of Americans would like to forget the events of that day. I don’t really blame them. Denial is a legitimate reaction to trauma. But I think we’d be better served by remembering than forgetting. I think we’d be better off taking the day tomorrow to think about what happened on that Tuesday morning four years ago, to remember the shock and the horror and the grief. Because I think that remembering it will honor the dead and fill us with a terrible resolve that nothing like it shall ever happen again.
Likewise, the Toad implores us to never forget.
Our pastor touched briefly on this in worship this morning. Our church is involved in several different areas of providing relief services to persons displaced by Katrina. We’ve adopted 22 families that have been relocated to the Dallas area, among other initiatives. One thing Tim told us was to keep a marathon mindset with regard to this help we were providing. Just as too many people in this nation lost sight of what 9/11 meant for our country, too many people will forget about the hundreds of thousands affected by Katrina in the coming months. We can forget neither.
Keep the long view in mind. Pace yourself; the war against the Islamofascists who attacked us on 9/11 will be a marathon, not a sprint. Do not forget.
Brendan Miniter has a piece on OpinionJournal today on the opportunity New Orleans has with rebuilding its educational system, one of the worst in the nation. I can personally testify to how bad things are in some of the schools there; I spent a few days at a single elementary school, troubleshooting some classroom Macintosh-printer set-ups. The school’s HVAC system was offline, and had been for weeks. The teachers were mulling along as best they can, keeping the windows cracked so the rooms wouldn’t get stuffy, and running fans. You can imagine, however, trying to teach a bunch of third-graders with three or four box fans going at once.
Lack of funds was the reason for a less-timely repair of the system. I was there as an independent contactor, called out by the principal, because there was no one on the district’s IT staff with any Macintosh knowledge.
One aspect of rebuilding the New Orleans public school system that Miniter brings up is something I have long been in favor of: break the back of the teachers’ union. The myriad “education” unions in this country have only served to hinder the success of our children in public schools, and that is evident in New Orleans, and most of Louisiana. No, the teachers’ union is not the only problem with the school system, but if it is not providing a solution, it’s proving a hindrance.
As Miniter says, there is a unique opportunity in New Orleans now, and that is to build an educational system from the ground up. The Crescent City has a chance to be a beacon for the rest of the nation. We pray they seize it.
A beacon of conservatism and common sense has been dimmed, with the death of Chief Justice Rehnquist tonight. Further words fail me at this time.
The Tennessee attorney general wants the country singer who made the song “Redneck Woman” a hit to stop “glamorizing” the use of smokeless tobacco at her concerts.
Retrophisch Nutshell Version™:
Conclusion: more Big Brothering and posturing by a politician who should just keep his mouth shut.
(For the record, I have a few cousins who engage in the chewing of smokeless tobacco, but like cigarette smoking, I have always found it a disgusting habit and in no way endorse it.)
At the time of its writing, many of the Founding Fathers opposed the Bill Of Rights being included in the Constitution because the enumeration of certain rights—which are restrictions on the federal government—might tempt the government to trample on those not spelled out.
The compromise drafted to satisfy the opposition became the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. The Tenth states The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This meant that whatever was not in the Constitution or amended into it, was in the power of the states to decide. And while this amending was done as required some seventeen times after the Bill Of Rights was ratified, today, changes have simply been declared by the courts, often resulting in the trampling the founders so feared.
Liberal courts aided by their legislative and media counterparts are perverting the Bill of Rights one by one. With the exception of quartering federal troops in private homes, almost all of the first ten amendments have been twisted and deformed, sometimes with the help of “moderate” Republicans.
Like the March of Dimes’ victory against polio in the U.S., civil rights organizations can claim victory as well. At one time, black Americans did not enjoy the same constitutional guarantees as other Americans. Now we do. Because the civil rights struggle is over and won doesn’t mean that all problems have vanished within the black community. A 70 percent illegitimacy rate, 65 percent of black children raised in female-headed households, high crime rates and fraudulent education are devastating problems, but they’re not civil rights problems. Furthermore, their solutions do not lie in civil rights strategies.
Civil rights organizations’ expenditure of resources and continued focus on racial discrimination is just as intelligent as it would be for the March of Dimes to continue to expend resources fighting polio in the U.S. Like the March of Dimes, civil rights organizations should revise their agenda and take on the big, non-civil rights problems that make socioeconomic progress impossible for a large segment of the black community.
For the record, Dr. Williams is a black American, lest anyone accuse him of racial bias. (Which, no doubt, he’ll be accused of anyway.)
So sayeth the editors in this past Friday’s Federalist Patriot (link is a PDF):
The usual Demo-gogue suspects — Kennedy, Kerry and company — are increasing the tenor of their demands that the Bush administration commit to a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. A few misguided Republicans have even signed on to this legislative folly. Insisting that we cap our military support for the new Iraqi government is a dangerous political ploy intended to help Demos rally their peacenik constituency in the run-up to next year’s midterm elections. Dangerous, because challenging the administration to agree to a timetable only emboldens Jihadis, who would very much like to move the frontlines of the Long War from their turf to ours.
The Demos know President George Bush will not agree to such a timetable. As the president has said repeatedly, “Our exit strategy is to exit when our mission is complete.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld protests that any such deadline for withdrawal would “throw a lifeline to terrorists.” Indeed, but it is always easier to sell anti-war rhetoric like “give peace a chance” than it is to advocate peace through superior firepower, and to use force in defense of critical U.S. national interests.
For eight long years, the Clinton administration pursued a policy of appeasement, particularly in regard to Middle Eastern policy and pursuit of Islamic terrorists. Terrorists were classified as mere “criminals” then, including those Jihadi fanatics who first bombed the WTC’s north tower in 1993, who bombed the Khobar Towers in 1996, who bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and who bombed the USS Cole in2000. Consequently, Clinton’s negligent inaction emboldened this enemy, and the result was a devastating attack on our homeland just months after the Bush administration took office in 2001.
“Peace” had its chance under Clinton, but President Bush made the difficult decision to give war a chance. Remarkably, the outcome has, to date, pre-empted any further attacks on U.S. soil — which was, after all, its primary objective. The transition from an ineffectual policy of containment to one of pre-emption was the most significant strategic military shift since WWII. To be sure, there have been setbacks, and President Bush bears a heavy and heartfelt burden for those uniformed Patriots who have given their lives to protect ours.
If we did check out of Iraq, as suggested by a growing chorus on the Left, al-Qa’ida and other Islamists will not only rule that nation — they will eventually control the entire region, with the possible exception of Israel. The “exit timetable” crowd knows this, but that hasn’t prevented them from using this issue as political fodder — and from using it to undermine support for our military personnel and our operations in the Middle East. Of course, this places both those personnel and our national security in peril.
One need only ask the exit advocates, “Exit where, and for how long?” Because we didn’t finish the job in Operation Desert Storm, we had to return with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Reality dictates that if we don’t finish the job now, we’ll have to return again, and likely at a far greater cost in terms of American lives.
Not only should we not set a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, but we should seek to establish an alliance with the Iraqi government in order to maintain a strong military presence in the region. How long? As long as there are Islamofascists bent on detonating a nuclear device in some U.S. urban center and sending our nation into economic ruin.
According to The Patriot’s well-placed military and intelligence sources, one closely guarded objective in securing a free Iraq is to establish a forward-deployed presence in the Middle East — a presence that would certainly include personnel but whose primary component would be massive military-equipment depots that could be tapped for future rapid-deployment military operations in the region.
This forward-base objective is critical, given that it will ensure our military presence in the heart of Jihadistan, and an ability to project force in the region quickly without having to ramp up via sea and airlift. This alone will pay rich dividends by way of maintaining peace through preparedness.
The new Iraqi government will likely extend an invitation to the U.S. to establish two bases in southern Iraq now that, as you may recall, our friends the Saudis have expelled our fighting forces from their country. The proposed base locations are nowhere near Iraqi urban centers — which is to say, they are highly securable. We expect this new military presence to consist primarily of limited personnel, but with substantial assets transferred from bases in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
Of course, those who claim that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is the problem will wail about the establishment of permanent base operations in the region. Fact is, however, until the last Israeli is dead and the West no longer dominates the world economy (and, thus, culture), Jihadis will not rest.
Previously, this column has outlined the nature of asymmetric threats like Islamist terrorist regimes — some given safe harbor by Islamic states, some seeking to create new Islamofascist states. (See the three-part series on U.S. national security at FederalistPatriot.US/Alexander) On the importance of our holding the frontline against Jihadistan in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently wrote: “The war in Iraq is less about geopolitics than about the clash of ideologies, culture and religious beliefs. Because of the long reach of the Islamist challenge, the outcome in Iraq will have an even deeper significance than that in Vietnam. If a Taliban-type government or a fundamentalist radical state were to emerge in Baghdad or any part of Iraq, shock waves would ripple through the Islamic world. Radical forces in Islamic countries or Islamic minorities in non-Islamic countries would be emboldened in their attacks on existing governments. The safety and internal stability of all societies within reach of militant Islam would be imperiled.”
Indeed, the safety and stability of the free world would be imperiled.
This is the Long War, Islamofascism is the enemy, and Iraq is the front line. If we are serious about pre-empting Jihadi terrorism (despite Demo political mischief), we must not abandon Iraq. Of course, if we follow the Kennedy and Kerry plan, Islamofascists, who will control the region, won’t have to attack on U.S. soil, they will just cut off U.S. oil — and bring the entire West to its knees — until it submits to Islam.
Of course, no Western political leader is going allow that scenario — not even Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder. These Jihadi cave dwellers, the Islamists who fly planes into buildings and bomb Iraqi children at open markets, don’t share Western (predominantly Judeo-Christian) values. To be sure, they have no compunction about reducing your standard of living to something less than their subsistence — and they will, given the opportunity.
Social Security is not a handout. Workers and employers contribute jointly through payroll taxes. Social Security had become part of the American economic fabric. And the Bush administration should stop treating Social Security as if it were just another government program.
What exactly is Social Security, Ms. Thomas, if not a handout? That’s exactly what it is. There are no “accounts”. There is no “lockbox”. The monies for Social Security go in to and come out of the general fund. The government robs Peter to pay Paul. It’s a handout.
Employers contribute nothing to Social Security. Just ask the millions of self-employed businesspeople in this country, who have to pay the full load. The “half” of Social Security employers “pay” is simply monies never seen by the employee. That’s one reason why more people aren’t up in arms over Social Security reform. They don’t understand how much of their money is going to this increasingly wasteful handout, because they never see that money in the first place. And even if that money was going to the employee, it would be going to some person, either the business owner or shareholders. Businesses never pay taxes. People do.
Finally, Social Security is “just another government program.” Like many such programs, it had its time, when it was needed, but that time is past. There are so many options out there for investors to save money through, that will offer greater returns than Social Security ever will. (Not to mention that with the increasing reduction in benefits people have seen over the decades, it’s not very secure, is it?)
Some pols need to have the guts to grandfather Social Security and kill it. It’s the only reasonable and sane thing to do so our great-grandchildren aren’t having to deal with it.
Meanwhile, Democrat leaders want to have it both ways. Some say we should withdraw from Iraq. Others demand that we add many more troops, while simultaneously complaining about the enormity of the federal deficit (despite the recent good news on this front, by the way).
Democrats condemn the president for “nation building” and intermeddling, yet insist we micromanage the Iraqi constitutional drafting process to ensure American-type civil rights for women (which, of course, is laudable). Along with the press they shamelessly prop up and exploit a grieving mother to serve as a sympathetic vehicle to carry their inane conspiratorial charges against the president with total disregard for how that demoralizes our troops and undermines our cause.
“[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore…never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.” —Thomas Jefferson
The term you’re looking for here is “rolling over in his grave.”
Ben Shapiro takes aim at the anti-war mouth-foamers on the left.
Tolerating intolerance, goodhearted people are beginning to see, does not necessarily produce tolerance in turn.
Multiculturalism is based on the lie that all cultures are morally equal. In practice, that soon degenerates to: All cultures are morally equal, except ours, which is worse. But all cultures are not equal in respecting representative government, guaranteed liberties and the rule of law. And those things arose not simultaneously and in all cultures, but in certain specific times and places — mostly in Britain and America, but also in various parts of Europe.
In America, as in Britain, multiculturalism has become the fashion in large swathes of our society. So the Founding Fathers are presented only as slaveholders, World War II is limited to the internment of Japanese-Americans and the bombing of Hiroshima. Slavery is identified with America, though it has existed in every society and the antislavery movement arose first among English-speaking evangelical Christians.
But most Americans know there is something special about our cultural heritage. While Harvard and Brown are replacing scholars of the founding period with those studying other things, book-buyers are snapping up first-rate histories of the Founders by David McCullough, Joseph Ellis and Ron Chernow.
Mutilculturalist intellectuals do not think our kind of society is worth defending. But millions here and increasing numbers in Britain and other countries know better.
I will admit to a slight bias in favor of the flat tax, as proposed by Steve Forbes, though I haven’t yet read his new book. In the above-linked column, Forbes makes compelling arguments on why a flat tax would be be a better overhaul versus the national sales tax proposed by Neal Boortz and Congressman John Linder. I recently bought the latters’ book, and will start it soon. I’ll have to get a copy of Flat Tax Revolution for a thorough comparison, because at any rate, something has to be done to fix our tax code mess.
This is why you cannot give in to terrorist demands. This is why it is pointless to “try to understand why” those who commit horrific acts of violence against innocents to further a religio-political agenda do so.
In a show of force, Hamas founders and political leaders appeared Saturday on a stage together for the first time in 10 years to tell the Palestinian people that the militant group’s armed struggle will go on after Israel’s impending withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.
Less than three days after he urged Palestinians to refrain from excessive celebrations over the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Friday presided over a huge celebration in Gaza City where he declared: “Today we are celebrating the liberation of Gaza and the northern West Bank; tomorrow we will celebrate the liberation of Jerusalem.”
The Israeli government acquiesced to the demands of terrorists. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PLO: these are terrorist organizations. They demanded land which was never theirs to begin with—that’s right, the land of “Palestine” has always belonged to some other nation, including Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, so why aren’t the Palestinians sending suicide bombers in to those nations?—through the use of terror. These are not “freedom fighters” or “insurgents,” they are terrorists.
The Israeli government caved, and it got them nothing. The reason is simple: the Palestinians, with the sometimes silent, sometimes vocal, backing of the entire Arab world, want nothing less than the complete and total destruction of Israel. They want all the Jews out of the land, dead or alive, but one could infer preferably dead. They want no Jewish state to exist.
You cannot reason with people like this. You cannot give in to their demands and hope for the best.
You kill them. You achieve total and complete victory, with overwhelming military force. Then you set about dictating the terms of the peace, and you help rebuild. It worked it Japan. It worked in Germany. It will work in Afghanistan and Iraq. It could have worked within the borders of Israel.
“In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by secret machinations and open assaults…it becomes the indispensable duty of [Patriots], with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publicly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God…that we may…through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, obtain his pardon and forgiveness; humbly imploring his assistance to frustrate the cruel purposes of our unnatural enemies…that it may please the Lord of Hosts, the God of Armies, to animate our officers and soldiers with invincible fortitude, to guard and protect them in the day of battle… .” —Proclamation by the Continental Congress, 16 March 1776
I’m certain there is an Anti-Christian Liberty Union lawyer determined to prove the above is a pre-Constitution violation of the Constitution…
Yesterday morning, my lovely bride dropped me off at the C terminal of DFW International. I entered, and made my way to the seats by the door. I proceeded to divest myself of all metallic objects, putting them in the side pocket of my carry-on, the only piece of luggage I had. I wore a t-shirt, cargo shorts, and sandals, my outfit designed to minimize my setting off the metal detector.
I then proceeded to the self-serve kiosks to get my boarding pass. As noted, I had reserved the ticket on Wednesday night. I was able to pay for it Thursday morning before leaving the house, but didn’t get the confirmation e-mail before we needed to get on the road. My credit card couldn’t be read by the kiosk, so I proceeded to the service desk to see a ticket agent.
Surprisingly, there was no line, and after navigating the maze of crowd-control stanchions, I walked right up to the next available agent. I showed him my driver’s license, explained the kiosk wasn’t reading my credit card, and I needed my boarding pass. He noted the kiosks seemed to do that quite a bit, punched up my flight info, printed the boarding pass, and off I went to yield myself to a full body cavity search.
Shockingly, I did not set off the metal detector. Apparently, this is now a bad thing. I was asked to step in to the next line inside the security area, and the TSA agent requested my boarding pass, which I handed over. He then informed me I had been flagged “for additional security procedures.” Of course I was, I remarked.
After all, I had booked a one-way ticket to the party capital of the South—if not the entire United States—the night before, and paid for it that morning. Would it not be tragic if I managed to get past the flight attendants, any number of large, American males who wouldn’t allow the aircraft they’re on to be hijacked, the hijack-proof door mandated by the airlines since 9/11, and the two flight crew members, hijack the MD-80, and crash it in to Bourbon Street? Where would the populace spend their hard-earned money to travel to so they could get just as liquored up as they could at home? Perhaps worse yet, what if I flew the plane in to the SuperDome, denying the Saints a venue in which to lose to any number of possible opponents? Can you tell I so miss living there? Note to the flying populace: the code for additional security checks is apparently “SSSS” and is noted in the upper left and lower right of your airport-printed boarding pass.
The TSA agent asked me to point out my bag coming off the x-ray conveyor, which I did, and he handed me off to another agent. Agent #2 walked me up to the GE EntryScan, a device slightly larger and taller than a phone booth. Upon entering, you stand on the footprints, and four separate air jets blast a squirt of air on you. You stand there for a few seconds until you see the green lights, declaring your person explosive- and hazardous powder-free, and you’re free to step forward, and out of the booth. Agent #2 then asked me to have a seat while he searched my bag.
I slurped down the last of my Chick-Fil-A sweet tea, which was all that was left of my breakfast, and we made idle chat while he dug through the bag and ran the testing-for-explosives wand around. He noted the thinline NIV copy of the Bible that goes with me when I travel—usually in my computer backpack, which I did not have this time—remarking, “Good book. I’m in the process of reading it completely through for the ninth time.” A couple of minutes later, he was finished, after checking my iPod and Canon S500. He repacked the bag nearly exactly as he found it, zipped up the three compartments, and handed it over, thanking me for my patience.
This was by far the most pleasant “additional security screening” I’ve endured to date.
My gate was just across the way from the security checkpoint, so I settled in to a chair, reached in to the right-side cargo pocket of my shorts, and pulled out my mobile phone. Yep, I had forgotten to take it out, and it had not set off the metal detector.
So much for airport security.
This about says it all:
I’ll let everyone know the result when I return on Friday.
I felt “The Patriot Perspective” from today’s Federalist Patriot (PDF file) was worth reprinting.
Spitting on The Few, The Proud…
Upon entering a fine Southern high school with a long and honorable history as a military academy, this columnist’s next nine months would be marked by the official indoctrination (and unofficial hazing) that attended freshman years at most such academies. It was September of 1970. A year later, however, this school, like many others across the nation, did an about-face and abandoned its military tradition. It seemed that public opinion of military service, and thus, parental enthusiasm for military feeder academies, had changed dramatically in the course of just a few years.
Prior to 1967, military service and tradition were still considered good and honorable. But by 1972, acrid protests against our military campaign on the Cold War front in Southeast Asia had taken a heavy toll. Elitist politicos like George McGovern, glitterati like Jane Fonda, John Kerry, et al., along with their Leftmedia propaganda machine, had overturned public support for the defense of South Vietnam and, by extension, support for anyone in a military uniform. There were no more ticker-tape parades welcoming troops home, but plenty of seething glares, name-calling and spitting from “enlightened youth” and their protagonists who tagged all military personnel persona non grata.
Fast-forward about three decades.
After 9/11, America was virtually, and rightly, united behind President George Bush’s campaign against Jihadistan and its asymmetric threat vectors such as al-Qa’ida. Now that support has begun to unravel, however — not because there are 58,000 casualties as there were in Vietnam, but because, once again, as America’s finest are defending liberty at home by promoting freedom in critical regions abroad, the storm clouds of Leftist dissent are gathering. Once again, anti-American protests by political opportunists, Hollywonk elitists and the Leftmedia’s (now 24-7-365) talkingheads, are taking a heavy toll.
Perhaps the earliest evidence of waning public support for the Long War against Jihadistan is the recruiting difficulty for our “all-volunteer” Armed Services. Army recruiters have fallen short of their goals for four of the last five months and may fall well short of their annual objective of 80,000 enlistments, with only two months left in this fiscal year. This will be the first time since 1999 that the recruiting goal has not been met. Guard and Reserve recruitments have also fallen short for the other service branches.Military planners may ask Congress to authorize raising the age limit for Army active-duty service from 35 to 40, and authority to double the enlistment bonus for high-priority recruits (intelligence, infantry, special operations, civil affairs, and linguists) from $20,000 to $40,000. But this is not likely to offset the damage inflicted upon the image of military service by the Left.
Of course, part of the problem is that military service is, as it has always been, tough. But most active duty and reserve personnel are dedicated warriors who complain little.
The real obstacle to the enlistment of new recruits is the desecration of the image of military service by the Fifth Column — the enemy within. The American anti-war movement, led by neo-McGovernites such as DNC Chairman Howard Dean and lawmakers Kucinich, Kennedy and Kerry has not been able to find legs. So rather than target “war,” these malcontents have rallied their minions to undertake counter-recruitment measures, figuring that a nation can’t fight a war without warriors. (Of course, it can’t defend itself either — but the Left refuses to acknowledge that liberating Afghanistan and Iraq, and keeping Syria and Iran at bay, is relevant to our national defense.)
Doing the bidding of big dogs like Dean and the aforementioned KKK are their radical allied organizations like the Campus Antiwar Network, Code Pink for Peace, the Ruckus Society, Earth First, United for Peace and Justice and the Society of American Law Teachers, to name a few. These organizations and a hundred more like them are surrogates for the National Lawyers Guild, the ACLU, the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Veterans for Peace, the War Resisters League and The American Friends Service Committee. Their objective is to undermine recruitment efforts by labeling anyone interested in military service persona non grata. It’s deja vu all over again.
Periodic Leftmedia feeding frenzies over alleged “abuse” at places like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay add fuel to protestors’ efforts to debase military service by equating those in uniform with terrorists. Extending this equation, some of these groups are now deplorably suggesting that American casualties are justified because “freedom fighters” in Iraq are defending themselves against American invaders. (Rhetorical memo to the anti-war Left: What kind of “freedom fighter” detonates a bomb-laden SUV amid a group of Iraqi children receiving candy and toys from U.S. soldiers?)
The emergence of these cadres of Leftist agitators is a serious threat to U.S. national security. Their efforts to undermine the honor of military service in an effort to deter recruitment efforts should not be underestimated.
Predictably, where anti-American sentiments flourish, Jane Fonda can’t be far behind. This week, Hanoi Jane announced plans for a protest tour on buses fueled by vegetable oil to suggest the current conflict in the Middle East is only a “war for oil.” “I have not taken a stand on any war since Vietnam,” Fonda said. “I carry a lot of baggage from that.” (Click here to see some of that baggage, as “Hanoi Jane” mounts an NVA anti-aircraft gun about 100 yards from the “Hanoi Hilton,” where American POWs were being tortured. “It’s another example of the government lying to the American people in order to get us into war,” Fonda says of the liberation of Iraq.
Of course, it is Fonda who is lying to the American people.
Take note, Hanoi Jane and all you counter-recruiters endeavoring to denigrate military service — ditto to Dean and KKK, who exploit the murder of military personnel as political fodder to undermine public support for a Republican administration in advance of midterm elections: Your actions are tantamount to spitting on not only those who wear our nation’s military uniform, but those who have died in it.
Indeed, news about Fonda’s shameless antics was overshadowed this week by the tragic death of uniformed Patriots in Iraq: 21 Marines (20 of them attached to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in Ohio) and eight Soldiers were killed, and others wounded, in roadside bombings and other ambushes by Islamofascist death squads.
Sergeant Justin Hoffman of Delaware, Ohio, was among the fallen. His father, Robert Hoffman, said that Justin believed in the cause he was fighting for, and he challenged his fellow Americans to support the mission in Iraq through its completion. “I have some real doubts whether Americans will stand tall and follow through on it,” Mr. Hoffman said. “It needs to be done, and if they don’t, it’ll be a real disgrace to the lives that were sacrificed.”
If America does not stand firm, there will be many more lives sacrificed — and on American soil.
“The Word of God is like cool water from a canteen,” said retired Marine Corps Commandant Charles C. Krulak. “During the most difficult times, it brings relief and a feeling of renewal that allows us…to accomplish any mission set before us.” To that end, please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces, and especially for the families of our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who have died in defense of American liberty while prosecuting the war with Jihadistan.
In their honor, and that of all Patriots standing watch today, we must not allow the Left, in pursuit of their self-serving agendas, to once again treat military uniforms as spittoons. The re-emergence of counter-recruiting/anti-war cadres should be rejected with prejudice.
If you had any doubts that the FAA’s (see post title for definition of acronym) flight regulations regarding anti-terrorism were completely insane, there’s this, courtesy of the Air Finance Journal:
Before deploying from Savannah, Georgia to Iraq by a chartered airliner, the troops of the 48th Brigade Combat Team, a National Guard unit, had to go through the same security checks as any other passengers. Lt. Col. John King, the unit’s commander, told his 280 fellow soldiers that FAA anti-hijacking regulations require passengers to surrender pocket knives, nose hair scissors and cigarette lighters. “If you have any of those things,” he said, almost apologetically, “put them in this box now.” The troops were, however, allowed to keep hold of their assault rifles, body armour, helmets, pistols, bayonets and combat shotguns.
[Via Political Diary, emphasis added. —R]
Tony Blair, British Prime Minister:
“September 11 for me was a wake up call. Do you know what I think the problem is? That a lot of the world woke up for a short time and then turned over and went back to sleep again.”
This is the third and final part of a series on national security run in the pages of The Federalist Patriot. This part can be found in today’s issue (PDF file), and is reprinted here with permission.
U.S. National Security: The Long War or the Short Surrender
In the 1990’s, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, there was a new sense of security in the West, particularly in the U.S. But the Free World had unwittingly traded the Cold War for the Long War — “unwittingly” because after eight years of Clinton administration antics, and eight months of the newly-installed Bush administration’s effort to reorder national priorities, most Americans were unaware that another deadly enemy had coalesced in our midst.
That false sense of security terminated abruptly on 11 September 2001, when one of this enemy’s brigades attacked the World Trade Center — for the second time. The first WTC attack on 26 February 1993 was treated by the Clinton administration as a “criminal act.” Subsequent attacks by this enemy against Khobar Towers, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole were also investigated as criminal acts. The same would have been true after 9/11, except that President George Bush had the resolve to call this attack what it was — an “act of war” — terrorism carried out by an asymmetric enemy calling itself “al-Qa’ida” (The Base), which was part of an international unified Islamic terrorist network supported, in part, by nation states like Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
This was a new kind of war, but it was war nonetheless.
Unlike symmetric threats emanating from clearly defined nation states like Russia and China — nation states with unambiguous political, economic and geographical interests — this asymmetric enemy defies nation-state status, thus presenting new and daunting national-security challenges for the executive branch and U.S. military planners.
Perhaps the most difficult of these challenges is the task of keeping Americans focused on why this asymmetric threat must be engaged (short of periodic catastrophic wake-up calls). Unfortunately, in deference to sensitivity and diversity, the Bush administration has yet to use the words “Muslim” or “Islamic” when attempting to define or, dare we say, “profile” this enemy. But the Bush administration, and the administrations of our Allies, depend on public support to prosecute the Long War ahead with Islamists.
Targeting al-Qa’ida and its Saudi protagonist Osama bin Laden may have initially precluded diminishing public support for the so-called “War on Terror,” but protests against operations in Iraq and elsewhere are taxing morale both at home and on the warfront. Only two things can curtail this retreat. Either the Bush administration can do a better job of defining this enemy and its lethality, or the enemy can hit us again — and as noted in parts I and II of this series, this enemy has the potential to hit much harder than it did on 9/11.
The latter is assured if the former fails.
President Bush must rightly define this enemy as Islamist zealots of Jihadistan, a borderless nation of Islamic extremists constituted by al-Qa’ida and other Muslim terrorist groups, calling for jihad, or “holy war,” against “all the enemies of Allah.” (If you’re reading this, you are likely a non adherent — and an enemy of Allah.) These Jihadis seek to disable the U.S. economy using any means at their disposal, and thus, undermine our political, military and cultural influence around the world. Ultimately, they want to contain or kill those who do not subscribe to their Islamofascist cult of hate.
The President must also convince our countrymen of the certainty that against Jihadistan, there is no neat Cold War doctrine like Mutually Assured Destruction to stay offensive measures. In this war, the only doctrine that can keep the enemy at bay is that of preemption — and it must be maintained as long as there are Islamists capable of doing the West harm.
President Bush told the nation, “This is a long war, and we have a comprehensive strategy to win it. We’re taking the fight to the terrorists abroad, so we don’t have to face them here at home. We’re denying our enemies sanctuary, by making it clear that America will not tolerate regimes that harbor or support terrorists.”
Indeed, it will be a long war, and his Doctrine of Pre-emption is the best directive for strategy. But short of clear public comprehension of what constitutes “the enemy,” which is a prerequisite to sustained public support, this essential war will be short-circuited, and Jihadis will, once again, move the warfront to our homeland.
There are plenty of domestic enemies who would undermine public support for the war against Jihadistan for purely political reasons. After all, there are midterm elections in 2006 and a presidential election in 2008. Rep. Nancy Pelosi claims, “The president’s frequent references to the terrorist attacks of September 11 show the weakness of his arguments. He is willing to exploit the sacred ground of September 11, knowing that there is no connection between September 11 and the war in Iraq.”
Sen. Harry Reid (who voted for Operation Iraqi Freedom) says, “The president’s numerous references to September 11 did not provide a way forward in Iraq. … ‘Staying the course,’ as the president advocates, is neither sustainable nor likely to lead to the success we all seek.”
John Kerry alleges that President Bush has fabricated a “third rationale” for the war: “The first, of course, was weapons of mass destruction. The second was democracy. And now…it’s to combat the hotbed of terrorism.”
The President, in the national interest, must take the offensive against these opportunistic detractors in order to restore public support and confidence in the Long War. For we can be certain that this war will last beyond his presidency. Just how long might it last? That depends, in part, on how one defines its origin.
If the war began in 627 AD, five years after Islam’s founding, when Mohammed committed his first genocide against a Jewish tribe, then the war is an epic struggle between Islam and other religions, especially against Jews and Christians, which is to say its conclusion is not foreseeable. If the war is an extension of the middle-age invasions of the West by rapacious Islam, whether the start date is the victory of Charles Martel at Tours (732 AD), the back and forth of Crusades (1095-1669) or defeats like Constantinople (1453 AD), the siege of Vienna (1529 AD), the fleet at Lepanto (1571 AD), or the gates Venice (1683 AD), then the war is a clash of civilizations which likely has centuries of conflict yet ahead.
But if the war against Jihadistan began, as suggested here, on 11 September 2001, taking into account that Jihadi attacks on Western targets date back to the 1960s, then it will likely continue for decades. After all, it took 70 years to topple the Evil Empire.
“Our generational commitment to the advancement of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq,” says President Bush. As we approach the fourth observance of 9/11, we can be sure that Pelosi, Reid, Kerry, Kennedy and their Leftist cadre will run a masterful campaign of disinformation. Such a campaign will surely test the resolve of the American people, and the Bush administration would be well advised to begin vigorously cultivating public support by forthrightly defining this mortal enemy.
The Long War may yet end on a day when the West and its beacon of liberty, these United States, surrender. Of course, the consequences of surrender will be much worse than the consequences of the war itself, but a free nation must be free to do as its collective will chooses — even it that means choosing to lose.
For the duration, pray that our capability to defend the U.S. on more than one theater warfronts while prosecuting the long war against Jihadistan is not tested.
Senator Rick Santorum, (R-PA):
A generation ago, liberals figured out something that most conservatives couldn’t have dreamed of in their worst nightmare. A few well-positioned autocrats can do what most Americans thought, and the Constitution says, takes two-thirds of the Congress and three-quarters of the state legislatures to do: namely, change the Constitution to mean whatever they want it to mean. The plan was simple. Put justices on the Supreme Court, backed up by lower court judges, to “modernize” our Constitution by fiat, with the claim that Supreme Court decisions, whether based on the words of the Constitution or not, have the same status as the Constitution itself.
How often do we hear that our founding compact needs to be a living, breathing document whose meaning changes with the times? Never mind what the words of our Constitution actually say; never mind the clear intent of the Constitution’s writers and signers; never mind two hundred years of judicial interpretation; never mind the centuries-old wisdom of the common law: We are much wiser today than our predecessors. Or so goes the liberal boast. In fact, it is said, we are now able to see just what they were “getting at” even better than they could — as if the U.S. Constitution were only a “nice try” at a plan of government.
The characterizations we most commonly hear in contrasting liberal and conservative judges tend to use phrases such as “activism” vs. “restraint,” and approaching the Constitution as a “living document” vs. focusing on “original intent.”
However, I think asking a more fundamental question sheds light on why our society’s most vulnerable _ the poor and otherwise disenfranchised _ need conservative judges. We should be asking: “What is the purpose of the law?”
In this sense, I would contrast a conservative-vs.-liberal approach as the former viewing the core purpose of the law as individual protection and the latter relating to law as a tool for social engineering.
Yesterday’s Federalist Patriot (PDF file) contained part two of the series on U.S. National Security. Titled “Homeland Defense,” it discusses the steps taken since 9/11, including the Patriot Act, and looks forward. I’ve reprinted it below.
In Part I of this series, we identified the primary asymmetric national-security threat to the U.S. and its interests and allies around the world: Zealots of Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists constituted by al-Qa’ida and other Muslim terrorist groups, calling for jihad, or “holy war,” against “all the enemies of Allah” — that’s you.
As Congress debated the merits of the USA Patriot Act earlier this week, Jihadis reminded U.K. citizens, and the free world (again) that they have deep-cover terrorist cells in the West which are determined to do us harm. To date, none of the attacks have been as devastating as 9/11, but Jihadis will strike the U.S. again, and hard.
As first noted by The Patriot three years ago, the FBI calculates there is a high probability that homicide bombers, like those who hit London two weeks ago, will target U.S. commercial centers. However, both our military and intelligence sources estimate that far more devastating attacks are on the horizon, indicating it is only a matter of time until domestic Jihadi cells take delivery of fissile weapons (if they have not already) using Russian cores and Iraqi or Iranian technology previously acquired with assistance from Syria by al-Qa’ida. Those estimates indicate Jihadi targets are urban centers in the Northeast and/or in Southern California. Make no mistake, time is on their side.
How do we defend against this imminent threat?
Given that Jihadistan defies the tangible elements and definable characteristics of symmetric threats like uniformed leagues fighting for clear geographic and economic interests, the best defense against this ideological enemy is an effective offense in an attempt to define a warfront. President George Bush’s doctrine of preemption in Afghanistan and Iraq, and precision strikes against Jihadis in numerous other locations, which remain classified, has done that, to the degree possible. Creating a warfront on their turf is essential — “taking the fight to the enemy,” as Mr. Bush says. (The doctrine of preemption is the subject of Part III of this series, “The Long War,” next week.)
Given the fact that there are Jihadis already staged in American urban centers (like those who struck on 9/11), terrorists who will take, or already have taken, delivery of devastating fissile weapons, the U.S. must have a capable tactical and strategic homeland defense, one that is not hamstrung by obsolete constraints instituted when the primary national-security threats were external and symmetric — the USSR and China.
To interdict this internal threat, President Bush created the Department of Homeland Security, reorganized the intelligence community, re-directed certain military assets to supplement homeland defense, and enlisted the support of Congress to pass the USA Patriot Act, which enhanced the ability of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate and track potential terrorists.
Additionally, the administration has enhanced security at coastlines, borders and ports of entry, but (despite a relentless chorus to the contrary) our borders cannot be made sufficiently secure to stop the infiltration of terrorists and their weapons; thus “border security” is not a panacea for containing this threat.
Domestic Jihadi sleeper cells in the U.S., many of which were seeded prior to 9/11, are virtually invisible, supported by hordes of Islamists in domestic mosques, Islamic schools and associations, and other domestic breeding grounds for Islamist hatred. The two most important tools in our domestic inventory to detect and prosecute these cells are DHS and law-enforcement agencies empowered by the Patriot Act — though neither, ultimately, will provide complete protection from the Jihadi threat.
To that end, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff has completed his “Second Stage Review,” a comprehensive assessment of the Department’s missions, organization and resources, and he has outlined plans to restructure the Department based on this review. Implementation of these plans will allow DHS to implement protocols more effectively to protect commerce, transportation and infrastructure. “Our department must drive improvement with a sense of urgency,” Chertoff says. “Our enemy constantly changes and adapts, so we as a department must be nimble and decisive.”
Mr. Chertoff plans to create an intelligence directorate to aggregate terrorism analysis from law-enforcement and intelligence agencies and will focus DHS resources primarily on prevention of catastrophic nuclear, chemical or biological threats as outlined above. DHS will also launch the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN-Secret) to share pertinent classified information with state and local homeland-security and law-enforcement agencies. DHS will also implement more stringent immigration and worker-permit procedures.
The most critical defense against the Jihadi threat is the ability of law-enforcement agencies to function within the full limits of their constitutional authority when investigating and prosecuting these terrorist threats. The Patriot Act, as passed by overwhelming majorities of the House and Senate in 2001, clearly defines that authority and removes obstacles which prevented law-enforcement and intelligence agencies from cooperating in these investigations.
Since its passage, more than 400 suspects have been arrested as a result of federal terrorism investigations, and most of them were convicted. Terrorist cells have been dismantled in New York, Oregon, Virginia and Florida, and their support groups have been prosecuted in California, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio.
In December of this year, 16 critical provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire. Fortunately, the House has reauthorized 14 of those provisions with 10-year sunset provisions on the remaining two. The Senate will take up this measure in the fall.
Congressional debate is needed because there are legitimate civil-liberty concerns and, accordingly, The Patriot supports the sunset provisions, but in the estimation of our legal scholars and national-security analysts, stalling legislation over those concerns does not outweigh the risk of catastrophic terrorist attacks.
President Bush, calling on the Senate to renew these provisions, warned, “As we wage the war on terror overseas, we’ll remember where the war began — right here on American soil. In our free and open society, there is no such thing as perfect security. To protect our country, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. To hurt us, the terrorists have to be right only once.” Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before Congress: “You want to catch a terrorist with his hands on the check instead of his hands on the bomb. You want to be many steps ahead of the devastating event. The way we do that is through preventive and disruptive measures, by using investigative tools to learn as much as we can, as quickly as we can, and then incapacitating a target at the right moment.”
The Senate should not delay renewal of all these provisions because they enable investigators to use the same methods to investigate terrorists that are now used in routine criminal investigations, and they authorize investigators to track computer espionage and cyber-terrorism. To address civil-liberty concerns, the Patriot Act comports with constitutional constraints, requiring, for example, a federal judge’s approval to wiretap a foreign terrorist’s phone, to track his calls, or to search his property.
Congressional Democrats have attempted to hold critical Patriot Act provisions hostage as political fodder, and the consequences of their folly could be catastrophic.
Unlike Jeff, I don’t hate Creative Commons. I just don’t see the point. I believe we’re much better off working with our legislators to getting copyright lowered, back toward something resembling what the Founding Fathers intended.
Update, 8:45 PM CST: In the August issue of Wired (archive not posted online at the time of this writing), in the “Posts” section, there is a little blurb on Creative Commons, targeted at the right-leaning talk show host the left loves to hate, Mr. Limbaugh:
Hey, Rush! Ever Heard of the Creative Commons?
“There are some things [from my show] that we can’t [podcast] yet, like music because of copyright problems. … But just want to tell you we’re continually working on it. … I know the Millennium Copyright Act is what this is all about, and until that’s changed, none of this is going to change.”
From The Rush Limbaugh Show
June 14, 2005
Rush Limbaugh, talk radio host
Now, unless I’m completely misunderstanding, I don’t believe, Wired writers, that the Creative Commons would be of help in this situation. Whatever music Rush is referring to, my guess it is of one of two natures.
First, he’s talking about music they use to lead in and out of the show from commercial breaks. This music is more often than not popular music from the last three or four decades, and is the copyrighted material of those artists. Creative Commons would play no role.
Second, the music referred to could be the parody songs some times featured on the show. More often than not, these songs are not the copyrighted property of The Rush Limbaugh Show or the Excellence in Broadcasting Network, parent company of the show. These parody songs are often the property of a third-party artist. Again, Creative Commons would play no role. So I’m not sure why Wired feels the need to slam CC on Rush…
Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Democrats and the rest of the Left, the President stuck to his guns and nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court. The not-so-loyal opposition has already begun to put its foot in its mouth, as the President dares them to raise a ruckus over a nominee they unanimously confirmed two years ago to the appellate bench.
Hinderaker’s take on Leahy/Schumer:
[I]t was fun to see Pat Leahy and Chuck Schumer on television tonight; they looked just awful. After President Bush’s terrific, upbeat presentation of Roberts, and Roberts’ graceful, brief talk, Leahy and Schumer sounded like they had just dropped in from another planet. They were dour, hateful, and came across as sad and pathetic minions who have been sent on a hopeless mission by their bosses at “People for the American Way.”
Hugh thinks the Roberts’ nomination is a “home run,” and from what I’ve read, it sounds that way. Let’s just hope and pray fifteen to twenty years from now, he’s still in the Rehnquist-Scalia-Thomas mold, and not drifting aimlessly as O’Connor ended.
The president and those who wish to see the Constitution restored to its “original intent” need to reteach it if they are to overcome the liberal orthodoxy expressed by the late Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and echoed recently by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that “the Constitution is what the judges say it is.”
Try that at the supermarket. Is a pound what the shopper says it is, or do scales, which rely on a standard, determine a pound’s true weight? Would we get away with telling a police officer who pulls us over for speeding, “I decided that 70 miles per hour is 55 for me”?
Why, then, this constantly changing Constitution that is in the minds of liberals to be altered like a suit of clothes to fit the wearer, rather than a document to which all must conform if the general welfare is to be promoted?
It is because those revisionists know they can’t use the legislative process to ram through any of their social engineering ideas. … They know the people (with the possible exception of a majority in Massachusetts) would vote them out of office and so they turn to unelected judges, appointed for life, to do their ideological dirty work for them.
If the Constitution is to again be seen as a finished document that has been refinished in recent years, the president must foreswear any talk of “moderation” and “conciliation” in his choice of court nominees. Truth cannot be moderated.
The president owes the country an ideological battle, which he can win if he is willing to fight it. By virtue of his office, he commands attention unavailable to anyone else. He should not only campaign for his nominee(s), he should act like a teacher, quoting the Federalist Papers and the Constitution and making his case that this great document served America well until some judges began tampering with it.
It matters little that “the overwhelming majority of Muslims are not terrorists,” to quote a familiar Western mantra. It matters a great deal that most terrorists are Muslims. The sooner Western leaders and Western media begin stating what is obvious to most people; the quicker the real root cause can be dealt with.
The excuses given by Westerners and many Muslim clerics for terrorism are just that: excuses.
The Federalist Patriot started a three-part series in this past Friday’s Digest (PDF file) titled “U.S. National Security: Imminent Threats.” I feel it is worthy to reprint here (with permission). All emphasis has been added by yours truly.
Since the dawn of the American Republic, perilous national-security threats were symmetric, emanating from clearly defined nation-states with unambiguous political, economic and geographical interests.
Such symmetric threats are tangible, which is to say that American political leaders have been able to define them sufficiently so that the American people could generally grasp what constituted “the enemy.” World Wars I and II involved symmetric threats and well-defined adversaries. Military campaigns in Korea and Vietnam, on the other hand, lost public support because the purpose of those campaigns (and “the enemy” in the case of Vietnam) was not clearly defined, and thus, American casualties in those conflicts were not tolerated.
Regarding Vietnam, not only did Kennedy and Johnson err grievously in their arguments for escalating our involvement in that “police action,” but they, and Nixon after them, had to contend with a new arbiter of presidential messages — TV news networks, and their political agendas which were, and still are (with one exception), overwhelmingly left of center. The Leftmedia can completely undermine a President’s call to rally public support against a national security adversary, unless that call is clear and concise.
Having learned hard lessons from Korea and Vietnam, George Bush (41) did a far better job of both defining the enemy and defining American objectives when it came time to engage Saddam Hussein’s million-strong army in Desert Storm. The result was overwhelming public support. But defining the enemy and our objectives in the second round with Iraq has been much more difficult for Bush (43), because the enemy and our objective was, and remains much larger than just “containing Saddam.”
There is an imminent national-security threat, which defies all the elements and definable characteristics of symmetric threats. Thus it is difficult to sustain public support in defense against this threat — particularly when some American political leaders and their Leftmedia minions attempt to deny the threat in a brazen effort to undermine public support for the current administration. This political folly is tantamount to treason as there is, today, a clear and present danger of a catastrophic WMD attack against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
Islamist terrorism is an asymmetric form of warfare, one that emerged in the late 1960s when Islamists inflicted terror first against Israel and Western military targets in the Middle East, and then, given rapid growth in the number of Jihadi adherents over two decades, striking targets in Europe. This threat congealed at the end of the Cold War, and in 1993 our homeland became a front line in this escalating conflict with Islamists.
On 26 February, 1993, Pakistani native Ramzi Ahmed Yousef and his al-Qa’ida terrorist brethren (who had entered the United States on Iraqi passports under the control of Iraqi intelligence) bombed the north tower of the World Trade Center in an effort to topple that tower into the south tower and inflict mass civilian casualties. Fortunately, due to Ramzi’s lack of engineering knowledge, his crude truck-bomb didn’t cause the collapse of the building, though it created a six-story crater in the parking garage.
Although Ramzi escaped, several other terrorists were captured and tried. Ramzi himself was finally arrested in 1995, as he was formulating plans to bomb simultaneously a number of U.S. international flights. After 1995, al-Qa’ida Jihadis focused on American targets abroad — the Khobar Towers in 1996, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 — all without reprisal from the Clinton administration.
In 2001, Ramzi’s uncle, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (the number-three thug in the al-Qa’ida organization), and Ramzi’s mentor, Jihadi sheik Osama bin Laden himself, revised Ramzi’s plan. Rather than bombing civilian aircraft, they planned to hijack civilian aircraft simultaneously and use them as missiles. On 11 September of that year, one of al-Qa’ida’s U.S. terrorist cells finished the business that Ramzi started almost a decade earlier, bringing down the twin towers of the World Trade Center and targeting the Pentagon and Capitol Building.
The intent of this Jihadi sleeper cell was not just to bring down the WTC towers, but also the U.S. economy, thus breaking the will of the American people in their effort to hold the line against Jihadi expansionism around the world.
On that Tuesday morning, the American people were awakened to an imminent threat to our homeland, and before noon that day, our collective sense of invincibility had all but vanished.
In reality, Western democracies, particularly those seen as the true beacons of liberty, have been at war with Jihadistan, that borderless nation of Islamic extremists that constitute al-Qa’ida and other Muslim terrorist groups, for at least a decade.
A borderless nation? Indeed. The “Islamic World” of the Quran recognizes no political borders. Though orthodox Muslims (those who subscribe to the teachings of the “pre-Medina” Quran) do not support acts of terrorism or mass murder, very large sects within the Islamic world subscribe to the “post-Mecca” Quran and Hadiths (Mohammed’s teachings). It is this latter group of death-worshipping sects that calls for jihad, or “holy war,” against “all the enemies of Allah.” They thus constitute an enemy without borders — a nation of “holy” warriors we at The Patriot call Jihadistan, in an effort to make this enemy more tangible.
Just who are these “enemies of Allah”? In the wake of the most recent Jihadi attacks, the murder of more than 50 civilians in London, a Muslim “scholar,” Hani Al-Siba’I, leader of the Al-Maqreze Centre for Historical Studies in London, made clear just who these Islamist Jihadis consider to be their enemies.
“The term ‘civilians’ does not exist in Islamic religious law,” said Hani. “There is no such term as ‘civilians’ in the modern Western sense. People are either of Dar Al-Harb or not.” Dar Al-Harb refers to the House of War — anyone who is outside the House of Islam or the Muslim faith. In other words, if you are not Muslim, you are an infidel, the enemy of Allah. Even if you are Muslim, but advocate political and economic liberty for your brethren, you are a target. (Consider the number of Muslim citizens in Iraq murdered daily by Jihadis.)
How many members of the Muslim faith subscribe to the notion that non-adherents are infidels? Perhaps fewer than five percent of all Muslims take such a hard line. But to put this in perspective, if just one percent of Muslims worldwide inhabit the national brotherhood of Jihadistan, then there are ten times more Jihadis than there are uniformed American combat personnel in our military service branches.
There has been much hand-wringing this past week by those who just can’t understand how four “British” citizens could have carried out the London bombings against their fellow citizens. But the attackers were not British citizens — they were Jihadi warriors first and foremost. Until Western leaders can clearly articulate this distinction, such attacks will continue to be viewed as detached incidents of terrorism — and not part of a uniform warfront with Jihadistan. Thus, rallying public support for that warfront will remain a daunting task.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration has yet to articulate this distinction in such a way that the American people, who tend to have a very short collective attention span when it comes to national-security issues, can grasp. Thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, millions of Americans can recite all the sordid details about a runaway bride, a celebrity child molestation case and a girl missing in Aruba. But these same Americans know almost nothing about an adversary, which is actively seeking to slaughter us by the tens of thousands.
Fortunately, the Bush administration understands our Jihadi adversary well. As President George Bush correctly noted in October of 2001, “Our war on terror begins with al-Qa’ida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. … This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion.”
Because Jihadistan lacks any central governing authority (other than the Islamist protagonist of the day — currently Osama bin Laden) or any central funding mechanism (other than the Saudi government and Islamist support groups in the West), its methods are unconventional. That is to say, it will use the most devastating weapon in its arsenal to succeed in its objective of destroying “the infidels.”
Indeed, given that objective, and past performance, what’s to prevent surrogate terrorists from detonating a fissionable weapon in a U.S. urban center? The answer — nothing short of a determined Doctrine of Preemption as outlined by the President Bush, and a good measure of fortune — the continued grace of God.
Doug Giles poses the questions to so-called moderate Muslims that so many of us, perhaps afraid of being politically incorrect, are afraid to ask:
As a moderate Muslim, can we rest assured that you do not believe that warfare and terror are any way to establish your religion in people’s lives? Can we also be certain that those of us who do not believe and will not believe your particular take on divinity can feel completely safe around you and that we can confidently expect you to work with us to build our world into a better place without condemnation being breathed down upon our heads?
Support, among Muslims, for suicide bombing against civilians has also faded. (Only Muslims were asked this question.) The percentage saying the practice is “never justified” jumped since March 2004 from 35 to 46 in Pakistan and from 38 to 79 in Morocco, and jumped since the summer of 2002 (the last time the question was asked in these countries) from 54 to 66 in Indonesia and from 12 to 33 in Lebanon. (The Turks held stable on the issue, with 66% saying suicide bombing is “never justified,” statistically identical to the 67% who gave that answer in March 2004.) Most interestingly, opposition to suicide bombings in Iraq specifically was higher, in several countries, than opposition to suicide bombing in general; 56% of Pakistanis and 41% of Lebanese oppose that “insurgent” tactic, along with 43% in Jordan, where only 11% oppose suicide bombing in general (and by “general,” obviously, they mean “Israel”).
Concern over the threat of Islamic extremism is widespread in several of these countries, with the percentage deeming the threat “very great” or “fairly great” at 47 in Turkey, 53 in Pakistan, 73 in Morocco, and 45 in Indonesia. Interestingly enough, respondents in different countries define “Islamic extremism” differently. In Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco, the prevailing view is that Islamic extremism means “Using violence to get rid of non-Muslim influences in our country.” But to pluralities in Turkey and Indonesia, it means “advocating the legal imposition of strict Shari’ah on all Muslims.” The respondents in those two democracies, it seems, are less worried about their Muslim extremists killing people than they are about their getting elected — another point in democracy’s favor, I’d say.
As Mr. Tarbin says, it’s not all good news, but at least it’s trending in the right direction.
So what’s amazing isn’t the number of attacks we’ve lived through — it’s the lack of attacks. September, 2001. Bali, Indonesia, October 2002. Madrid, Spain, March 2004. Now London, July 2005. On average the terrorists seem able only to strike once a year. And note the death tolls: U.S., some 3,000. Bali, 202. Madrid, 191. London, about 50.
Now, if terrorists could strike more often, of course they would. If they could kill more people in each strike, of course they would. So it’s reasonable to conclude that, since so much time goes by between attacks and since fewer people are killed in each attack, our policies toward terrorism are working.
What are those policies? Well, fighting back, for one.
As eight of the most powerful world leaders were convening in Gleneagles, Scotland for the G8 Summit trying to figure out how to battle poverty, salvage human lives, stop the AIDS epidemic in Africa and keep our globe from warming … what does militant Islam do to help? Well, they set off four bombs in the heart of London killing 50+ people and seriously injuring over 700.
David Limbaugh reveals the Democrats’ plan to paint constitutional originalists as “extremists”:
They are hoping to convince the people that any nominee who is reputed to be an originalist is an extremist — “outside the broad mainstream.” Because they view the Court as a co-equal policy-making branch of government, they are treating the confirmation process as another national election.
Their bogus praise for O’Connor is simply the first step in their ruse. By lauding her as a “mainstream conservative,” they lay the groundwork for labeling anyone less activist than her an extremist.
There is an idiom in the sports world that “a win is a win is a win.” In other words, it doesn’t matter if you’ve beaten your opponent by 50 points or one. It doesn’t matter if you win the race by .0001 of a second, or if you blow away the field, with the rest a full lap behind you. A win is a win is a win.
So, in the case of politics, is a majority a majority a majority. It doesn’t matter if the majority is 80-20, 70-30, or 50.1-49.9. A majority is a majority is a majority.
I only bring this up because there is no apparent end to the pitiful whining eminating from the political left. I suppose when you have nothing constructive to offer the nation, the best you can do is complain about what the party in power is doing, without offering any alternatives whatsoever.
Jeff has delivered, in few words and using simple math so the left can keep up, a majority primer on why the Republicans have a large enough majority to legitimately run the country.
There is no greater threat to American liberty and the future of the Republic than a central government not bound by the limits and constraints placed upon it by our Constitution. Thus, it was providential that on the eve of Independence Day this past week, there were two significant Supreme Court assaults on liberty, capped by the retirement announcement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (with that of Chief Justice William Rehnquist likely to follow). It was providential because, as we contemplated the birth of American liberty and the sacrifice it has taken to sustain it, we were confronted with what has become the greatest threat to our liberty — judicial tyranny from within, or what Thomas Jefferson called the “despotic branch.”
Last week’s decisions pertaining to property rights and religious freedom make plain how critical it is that the Supreme Court be composed of jurists who are constitutional constructionists — those who, in the words of Ronald Reagan, are “bound by the Constitution to interpret laws, not make them.” This, as opposed to the now-countless judicial activists who populate the federal courts — those who, in the words of the venerable Senator Sam Ervin, “interpret the Constitution to mean what it would have said if [they], instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it.
“On the subject of property rights, Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the court by our Constitution’s author, James Madison, noted, “[P]ersonal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice.” But in Kelo v. City of New London, the High Court permitted a Connecticut city to transfer private property forcibly from one party to another. (Here, one might reasonably wonder why all the consternation over Kelo’s property rights when Americans allow their property, in the form of taxes, to be seized for all manner of unconstitutional expense. But we digress…)
The Left argues that the Court’s decision was correct because the Fifth Amendment’s restriction on eminent domain restrains only the national government. However, it is the First Amendment, unique among the Bill of Rights, which makes a plain and explicit such restraint (“Congress shall make no law…”). No other Amendment in our Bill of Rights follows this formulation, meaning that the state governments are to be as limited in their powers as the national government is in regard to the individual citizens’ rights enumerated. Further, the Tenth Amendment outlining federalist principles provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
It is for this reason that the High Court’s decision in Kelo offended our Constitution: The Fifth Amendment’s restriction, “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation” is applicable to all levels of government (as is, for example, the Second Amendment’s provision that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed”). Even Connecticut’s Constitution stipulates, “The property of no person shall be taken for public use, without just compensation….” That’s “public use.” Nowhere does it allow for the taking of property from one private party for the benefit of another.
(Of note, some property rights’ advocates argue the Fifth Amendment’s restriction on eminent domain is applicable to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment, but that line of interpretation is inherently flawed. Though the Fourteenth Amendment has become de facto law, it was never constitutionally ratified by 3/4 of the states as stipulated by Article V — a subject for another essay.)
Alas, only a jurist who interprets the plain language of our Constitution, a constructionist as our Founders intended, would draw such conclusions and, accordingly, rule against such confiscation of property. At present, however, there are only three such jurists (four on a good day) on the High Court.
Likewise, the Court’s other decision, which approved displays of the Ten Commandments by state and local governments to honor legal rather than religious tradition, was wrong. Again, the First Amendment makes plain its unique restraint that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”), clearly implying that the states would not be so restricted. Thus, should a state’s constitution make reference to God (as they all do) or should a state supreme court or a county courthouse wish to display the Ten Commandments as an expression of the inseparable basis of Judeo-Christian tradition on American liberty, our Constitution reserves that right to the states, and to the people.
There simply is no “wall of separation” prescribed by our national Constitution, and for those who desire one, there is a prescription for amendment outlined by our Founders, rather than by judicial fiat. The errancy of these and other decisions by the Court serves only to erode further the integrity of our Constitution. If we are not a nation of laws, then we are only a nation of men — and that doesn’t bode well for the future of liberty.
The Federalist Papers, as the definitive explication of our Constitution’s original intent, clearly defines the Founders’ intent in regards to Constitutional interpretation. In Federalist No. 81 Alexander Hamilton writes, “[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or which gives them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every State.”
Concerned about the potential for judicial tyranny, Thomas Jefferson warned: “The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the Legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch. … The Constitution on this hypothesis is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
Two hundred and eighteen years hence, Justice Antonin Scalia warns, “As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.”
Thus, it is paramount that replacements for Justice O’Connor and Chief Justice Rehnquist be constitutional constructionists. However, moving nominations for constructionists like recent Circuit Court appointees Janice Rogers Brown or Priscilla Owen through the Senate will be a most acrimonious affair, as Senate Democrats will fight nominations for judges who do not do the political bidding of their constituents.
Texas Senator John Cornyn has outlined the constitutional limitations for the Senate’s consideration of President George Bush’s judicial nominees: “The Senate should focus its attention on judicial qualifications, not personal political beliefs; the Senate should engage in respectful and honest inquiry, not partisan personal attacks; and the Senate should apply the same fair process — confirmation or rejection by majority vote — that has existed for 214 years of our nation’s history.” Sen. Cornyn and his conservative colleagues hope to avert the “nuclear option” to end Demo filibusters instigated by Chuck Schumer, Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden.
Our Constitution prescribes that the President (not the Senate) is responsible for judicial nominations. Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 66, “[I]t will be the office of the president to nominate, and with the advice and consent of the senate to appoint. There will of course be no exertion of choice on the part of the senate. They may defeat one choice of the executive…but they cannot themselves choose — they can only ratify or reject the choice, of the president.”
The notion that judicial nominees need pass a litmus test before a floor vote is anathema to our Constitution. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal of jurists, said of such tests, “In accord with a longstanding norm, every Member of this Court declined to furnish such information to the Senate. … When a [nominee] promises to rule a certain way on an issue that may later reach the courts, the potential for due process violations is grave and manifest.”
Presidential advisor Karl Rove said this week, “The President…worries about federal courts, federal and state courts, being activist and substituting their judgments for the judgments of elected state and federal assemblies” — as indeed he should.
National Center for Policy Analysis Senior Fellow Bruce Bartlett notes, “Tenure on the court has increased over time and turnover has fallen.” According to Northwestern University law professors Steven Calabresi and James Lindgren, since 1971 the average tenure in office for a justice has increased from 12.2 years (1941-1970) to 25.6 years. The average age of a justice upon leaving office has risen from 67.6 years to 78.8 years between the same periods. The average number of years between appointments to the court has almost doubled from one every 1.67 years to one every 3.27 years. The current makeup of the court is one of the longest in history, lasting more than ten years, since the appointment of Justice Stephen Breyer in 1994. “A mistake or error of judgment,” says Mr. Bartlett, “might still be with us 30 or 40 years from now.” (See Bush, 41; and Souter, David.)
Accordingly, filling vacancies on the High Court with constitutional constructionists should be President Bush’s highest domestic priority. For its part, the Republican-controlled Senate must ensure that each of the President’s nominees receives the constitutionally mandated full-floor vote.
The idea that al-Qaeda was no threat until we created it does not stand the slightest scrutiny of events in the 1990s — from the first attack on the World Trade Centre in 1993, to the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 and, of course, the September 11 atrocity a year later. And no one seriously thinks that only America was in their sights. The ideology of Islamism doesn’t stop at the superpower’s borders; its ambitions sweep through Europe; indeed that is where it is breeding so many of its jihadists.
The fight in Iraq is not, as the opponents claim, a self-inflicted wound, suddenly giving rise to new threats on our homeland from people we should have left well alone. We are, steadily, beating the terrorists in Iraq. Not only in the military operations, but also by demonstrating who and what the enemy really is. And thereby creating the only real long-term conditions for safety from Islamo-fascism —- free states that do not deny the most basic human rights to their peoples. The people who murdered innocent Londoners yesterday are the same people who are murdering innocent Iraqis.
On a day like today, when al-Qaida has struck a hammer blow against the West and hurt us badly, of course it seems tempting for us to circle our wagons, call in our dogs and hunker down.
But it would be a mistake.
Whatever terrorists want us to do, we have to do precisely the opposite, and with renewed vigor in the wake of every agonizing but futile attack. Terrorists want us to stop supporting Israel; we respond by increasing our ties with Israel. Terrorists want us out of Iraq; we renew our commitment to the Iraqi people. Terrorists want to turn Afghanistan back into a failed state that they can dominate with their particular brand of twisted, medieval authoritarianism; we dedicate ourselves to making Afghanistan a free and prosperous member of the community of nations no matter what the cost.
If we continue to defy terrorists — if terrorism continues its unbroken string of utter failures — sooner or later young Muslim men are going to reach the realization that murder is not noble. If we bring liberty and prosperity to those dark, shadowy corners of the world where the light of freedom does not shine, sooner or later the people who live there are going to believe that there are better opportunities for them. If we prove to the world that we will not bend to the will of suicide bombers, of hijackers, of the murderers of the innocent, sooner or later those things will simply disappear.
It’s just a matter of time.
Unfortunately, time is what too many Americans are unwilling to give to the cause of extending liberty, to eradicating terrorism. Our fast-food, instant-on, access-always culture has put us in a collective mindset that any problem can be handled in an unrealistically short amount of time, when the hard truth is that most problems can not be wrapped up within months, or even years, much less overnight or within the confines of a thirty-minute sitcom.
Here is a news flash, people: we are still in Germany. (Though not in the numbers we used to be.) We are still in Japan. World War II has been over, as of August of this year, for sixty years, and we still have a presence within the borders of our former enemies. This will not change with Afghanistan. This will not change in Iraq. If it does, especially in the near term, you can bet hostile regimes will rise again in those nations, and the sacrifices made by 1,700+ American service personnel will have been for naught.
This talk, especially from our elected representatives, to cut and run from Iraq, hide behind our own borders, and hope the evil Islamic boogeymen don’t get us, is utter nonsense. Such actions will not stop terrorists. Only when they are captured or dead, only when it has been shown that acts of terrorist violence will not bring about the desired behavior, when it has been shown that terrorism is not effective, will the terrorists be stopped.
Stop your sniveling, Durbin. Put a sock in it, Sanders. Rein in the rhetoric, Rangel. You are not helping the situation. You are clouding the issue because of some blind hatred for the sitting President, for some misguided sense of patriotism that dissent in a time of war is acceptable. Dissent was fine two and a half years ago, when this country was discussing what course of action to take.
Now, the course of action has been determined and taken, and it’s time for you to sit down, shut up, and stand behind the administration that is taking the fight to the terrorists. Take an example from the Republican Party after December 7, 1941. They may not have liked FDR, or his domestic agenda, but by God they were behind him one hundred percent in prosecuting the war against Japan and Germany, the latter of which never attacked the United States. I only bring up this last point, since the left/Democrats seem intent on keeping in focus the fact that Iraq never attacked the U.S.
In nearly four years since September 11th, there have been only two terrorist attacks directed against America or its European allies: Spain, 3/11/04, and today, 7/7/05, in Britain. Two. That’s all. You want to say that Iraq, has nothing to do with the war on terror? How many attacks might have we faced if Saddam was still in power, aiding and abetting any terror group that wanted to strike against Hussein’s perceived enemies? Would Paris have been targeted? Rome? You ostriches, as Jeff is fond of calling you, had better get your heads out of the sand. Go read The Last Jihad, if you want to see what a future President may have had to deal with if the U.S. hadn’t taken action against Saddam. War, indeed a horrible, horrible thing, is, as times, necessary.
And now they’ve gone and pissed off the Brits. Along with the Israelis, the British invented modern counter-terrorism. The SAS cut its teeth in the Middle East, and honed them to a razor’s edge against the IRA. These Islamofascists have no idea what bottle they just uncorked in Londontown.
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.
That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded in London.
If you want to track how tolerant the “Religion of Peace” is, I would suggest one way is to subscribe to the free e-mail updates from the Voice of the Martyrs. While VOM is committed to showing the persecution of Christians around the world, increasingly a lot of this persecution is coming at the hands of the supposedly-tolerant followers of Allah. This week’s update includes:
In Nigeria, “Andrew Akume, a Christian lecturer and dean of the faculty of law at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) in Kaduna State, has disappeared after receiving a death sentence from a militant Muslim group. …[W]hile the Nigerian constitution professes a secular status for the nation, the 12 states in Northern Nigeria that have implemented Islamic law promote and propagate Islam using public funds.”
In Pakistan, “on Tuesday, June 28th, the homes of Christians in three areas near Peshawar, Pakistan were attacked by a radical Muslim mob. The attacks came after a Christian man was accused earlier that day of burning pages that contained Koranic verses. The man, Yousaf Masih (about 60 years old), has worked as a sweeper for almost two decades for the Pakistani military. While cleaning the home of a military officer, he came across a bag of “rough papers,” and the major told Yousaf to burn them. Yousaf is illiterate and had no way of knowing what was written on the papers he was told to burn. Other workers saw the papers and said Yousaf was burning pages from the Koran. The next day police arrested Yousaf. (Insulting Islam, the Prophet Mohammed or the Koran can be punishable by death under Pakistan’s harsh anti-blasphemy laws.) Radical Muslims returned to the area that night and burned an estimated 200 houses. Many were looted by members of the mob, who stole televisions, refrigerators and other items. The mob beat Yousaf’s three sons and his brother, Yaqoob. Police have reportedly arrested 16 people involved in the attacks. A Hindu temple was also attacked, as apparently the mob at first believed Yousaf was a Hindu.”
In Saudi Arabia, Christians are regularly persecuted by the Muslim majority, with the full approval of the ruling family. “Within the past two months, at least three groups of expatriate Christians meeting privately for worship in Riyadh have been raided and their leaders put under arrest for several days or weeks. Under the rule of strict Islamic law, Saudi Arabia prohibits the public practice of any religion other than Islam within its borders.”
In Turkey, Christian Yakup Cindilli was beaten so badly by Muslim nationalists, he was in a coma for 40 days. Cindilli’s family, conservative Muslims, continue to pressure him to renounce his faith, but he continues his recovery from the October 2003 attack committed to Christ.
It was semi-widely reported that in Afghanistan, the Taliban set to destroy numerous Buddhist statues, some of which had been around for more than a thousand years.
These are the kinds of things Muslims around the world are responsible for on a daily basis. I’m not saying all Muslims are this intolerant of non-Islamic faiths. I’m just saying that this is happening far too often for this to simply be a “few extremists” we are continually told are responsible for such atrocities. Those “few extremists” sure have a way of getting around.
Nancy Pelosi, on the Kelo decision:
It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It’s an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision.
The Supreme Court is not the end-all, be-all of what is legal or not in this country. Does no one remember anything from their basic civics class? If the Supreme Court can willy-nilly declare whatever they like unconstitutional or constitutional, where is the system of “checks and balances” we all learned about? Yes, the Court is to act as a check and balance on the other two branches, but likewise, the executive and legislative branches act as checks and balances on the Supreme Court.
There shouldn’t have to be a constitutional amendment on the part of the legislature to overturn Kelo, Ms. Pelosi, because the Court’s decision is unconstitutional and wrong. It’s right there in Amendment number five of the Bill of Rights. New corporate structures to provide increased tax revenue fails to qualify in every way, shape, or form of the “public good” in the eyes of the Founding Fathers.
“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.” —Charles Beard
“It is offensive to suggest that a potential justice of the Supreme Court must pass some presumed test of judicial philosophy. It is even more offensive to suggest that a potential justice must pass the litmus test of any single-issue interest group. The disturbing tactics of division and distortion and discrimination practiced by the extremists of the new right have no place in these hearings and no place in the nation’s democracy.”
“Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement gives President Bush, elected by a divided nation that has become even more divided, a unique opportunity to unite us by choosing for the Supreme Court someone who can win support from a broad bipartisan majority in the Senate and whom the vast majority of Americans will be proud of.”
The enormous difference in the dates shown above—which should be enough to secure support for Congressional term limits—aside, where, dear Senator Kennedy, Democrats, and other members of the radical left, in the Constitution does it say the President of the United States must consult with the Senate on his choices for federal bench appointments? Rather than choosing someone “who can win support from a broad bipartisan majority,” the President should be choosing as a nominee a justice who will abide by the Constitution (aka, an “originalist”), versus one who will make up rights and law based on nothing found within the Constitution (aka, an “activist”).
Something tells me that if enough justices on the Supreme Court fit the former model, rather than the latter, the American people would be quite proud of them, Senator, because the Court wouldn’t be meddling in our lives and we would rarely hear from them.
Here’s hoping the President nominates another Scalia or Thomas. I want to see Kennedy’s face turn all red. Oh wait, too late.
[Thanks to today’s Best of the Web.]
Like Jeff, I would like to see the Democratic Party come back to the roots it showed during the days of Truman and Kennedy, with regard to national security. If we can agree, for the most part, on this one area of policy, then all the domestic stuff we quibble over, such as Social Security, Medicare, et al, might get more attention.
Because I love our two-party system and I respect the members and leaders of the Democratic Party, I offer them this piece of advice at absolutely no charge: When you guys stand so close together, it’s easy to paint you all with the same brush. If you don’t like being accused of being weak on terrorism or of not being serious about the war — and based on your reactions to Karl Rove’s speech last week, it’s clear that you don’t — then take a cue from Senator Hagel of Nebraska. When somebody from the furthest extents of the far left says something ridiculous, don’t just sit there and let it happen. Stand up behind a podium tell America that that’s not what you stand for, that that’s not what you believe in, that those are not your ideas.
You’ll be better off as a party, and we’ll be better off as a country, if you stop letting groups like Move On speak for you.
For one who was born and grew up in the small towns of the Midwest, there is a special kind of nostalgia about the Fourth of July.
Somewhere in our [youth], we began to be aware of the meaning of [important national] days and with that awareness came the birth of patriotism. July Fourth is the birthday of our nation. I believed as a boy, and believe even more today, that it is the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.
The day of our nation’s birth in that little hall in Philadelphia, [was] a day on which debate had raged for hours. The men gathered there were honorable men hard-pressed by a king who had flouted the very laws they were willing to obey. Even so, to sign the Declaration of Independence was such an irretrievable act that the walls resounded with the words “treason, the gallows, the headsman’s axe,” and the issue remained in doubt.
[On that day] 56 men, a little band so unique we have never seen their like since, had pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Some gave their lives in the war that followed, most gave their fortunes, and all preserved their sacred honor.
What manner of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants and tradesmen, and nine were farmers. They were soft-spoken men of means and education; they were not an unwashed rabble. They had achieved security but valued freedom more. Their stories have not been told nearly enough.
John Hart was driven from the side of his desperately ill wife. For more than a year he lived in the forest and in caves before he returned to find his wife dead, his children vanished, his property destroyed. He died of exhaustion and a broken heart.
Carter Braxton of Virginia lost all his ships, sold his home to pay his debts, and died in rags. And so it was with Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Rutledge, Morris, Livingston and Middleton. Nelson personally urged Washington to fire on his home and destroy it when it became the headquarters for General Cornwallis. Nelson died bankrupt.
But they sired a nation that grew from sea to shining sea. Five million farms, quiet villages, cities that never sleep, three million square miles of forest, field, mountain and desert, 227 million people with a pedigree that includes the bloodlines of all the world. In recent years, however, I’ve come to think of that day as more than just the birthday of a nation.
It also commemorates the only true philosophical revolution in all history.
Oh, there have been revolutions before and since ours. But those revolutions simply exchanged one set of rules for another. Ours was a revolution that changed the very concept of government.
Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people.
We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should.
—Ronald Reagan, 1981
Today is the fourth of July, not the Fourth of July. That is not the holiday we celebrate in the United States today. Today we celebrate our Independence Day (Crikey, did I just quote a mediocre alien invasion movie?), when our Founding Fathers declared finished the document that would become our Declaration of Independence from England. So wish your fellow Americans a Happy Independence Day when you see them, and thank God for the blessing of having been born in—or having the privilege of becoming a naturalized citizen of—the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.
“Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” —Inscription on the Liberty Bell
“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.” —John Adams (1776)
“[T]he flames kindled on the 4 of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them. … The Declaration of Independence…[is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.” —Thomas Jefferson (1821)
Happy 229th Birthday, America!
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” —John Adams
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the prescience exhibited by the Founding Fathers never ceases to amaze me.
The conclusion is as heart-breaking as it is unavoidable: There are people out there —- reporters, pundits, Senators and Congressmen —- who hate the President and the Republican Party so deeply and with such passion that they would rather see the United States defeated and Iraq collapsed into a failed state than support what they see as George W. Bush’s war.
I don’t quite share Jeff’s pessimism regarding tonight’s speech, unless that pessimism means the expectation that the President will simply remind the American people that he has said all along that this war wouldn’t be finished overnight, that it was a long-haul project, that we should remember there are still people out there who want to hurt and kill us, but right now we are winning. The President has been consistent with regard to the prosecution of the war against terror in general, and in Iraq specifically. There is no timetable for withdrawal, because we have not yet achieved total victory. Which is something the left, and increasingly the Democratic Party specifically, cannot allow.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too simple-minded to get it. Perhaps because I didn’t go to law school, spend years on a judicial bench, and have half a dozen clerks doing all of my research for me, I just don’t understand the intricacies and nuances of the Constitution of the United States of America. Or maybe there simply aren’t the intricacies and nuances the Supreme Court would have us believe there are.
Amendment I of the Bill of Rights says, in part: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”
Now, I challenge any legal scholar on the planet to explain how a monument to the Ten Commandments, or the posting of the Ten Commandments on the wall of a courtroom, is Congress establishing a state religion. Or even a state government establishing a state religion. Religious aspects aside, the Ten Commandments are an important legal document, important to the legal history of Western civilization. Again, with religious aspects aside, the Ten Commandments contain some pretty healthy codes of conduct for everyone, believers and non-believers. What’s wrong with suggesting that people do not steal from one another?
Amendment V of the Bill of Rights states, in part: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Kelo vs. New London is not about “public use.” Public use is a road, a school. Public use is not a new shopping mall, new condos, new office space. I have to disagree with Jeff on this decision; both sides of the Court are not right in their opinions. Simply because there is precedent leading up to the decision in Kelo doesn’t make the decision proper. It simply means that all of the precedent is itself unconstitutional. If the Court has, in the past, rejected the “narrow interpretation of the public use requirement,” then the Court was wrong. The Court was negligent in its duty to uphold the Constitution, and it was negligent in Kelo. If the town of New London can’t come up with enough tax revenue without confiscating people’s legally-purchased private property, then perhaps the town should dissolve its charter and let the county take over basic services.
Prices are advertised everywhere. From newspapers to billboards to websites, we are forever being told how much things cost. Want to buy contact lenses? A cruise to Alaska? A pedicure? The price of almost any product or service is readily available, and vendors vie for business by keeping their prices competitive.
But not when it comes to health care.
In this second part of his look at health care, the first part of which I noted on Thursday, Jacoby argues that by de-linking health care from employment, through tax reform, prices will be driven down. The tax reform in question is to make health care coverage one purchases oneself tax deductible; it currently is not. Here’s the kicker:
Based on RAND Corporation research, they estimate that making medical expenses deductible would reduce health care spending by $40 billion — all without forcing a single benefit cut on anyone.
[Emphasis added. —R]
Politicians of all stripes, take note:
“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” —Thomas Jefferson
Since my post on the subject, I’ve been thinking of Tom’s comments, and watching as TiVo snags Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, and Clifford for my nearly-two-year-old’s viewing pleasure. Then Peggy Noonan comes along with brilliant commentary on the continued need for PBS, just without the politics. Her suggestions are certainly some I’m sure everyone could live with. Get PBS out of the news and opinion business, and back to what made it so vital in the first place: science and the arts.
I am man enough to admit it when I’m wrong. So let’s keep PBS and NPR around; so long as they dump the political angles, and stick to the classics.
Detailing the woes GM is facing in providing health care to only 160,000 current workers, but 1 million others, Jeff Jacoby provides a microcosm of the problems the citizenry would face should health-care fall under the purview of the government.
GM’s hourly workers undoubtedly have a sweet deal — who wouldn’t love health insurance that comes with a $0 deductible and no premiums? But such sweet deals drive up the cost of health care for everyone. When somebody else is picking up the tab, there is little incentive to economize — that is as true of medical care as of anything else. The price of prescription drugs, hospital stays, and medical procedures has skyrocketed in part because tens of millions of Americans are insured through their employers with low-deductible medical plans. Why not run to the doctor for every minor ailment when the out-of-pocket cost to do so is minimal? Why inquire whether a procedure can be performed less expensively when it’ll be covered by insurance either way?
In no other area do we rely on insurance for routine expenses or repairs. Auto insurance doesn’t cover oil changes; no one uses homeowner’s insurance to repoint the chimney. That’s because most of us pay for those policies ourselves, and therefore get only the insurance we really need — generally against catastrophic events, like a car being stolen or a house burning down.
Only when it comes to health care do we expect insurance to cover nearly everything.
But today, people expect insurance to cover everything, even routine things like eyeglasses and dental treatment. This is a terrible idea. Insurance is a lousy way to pay for anything.
Once some faceless stranger is paying for what you do, you don’t have an incentive to control costs. On the contrary, you have an incentive to get as much as you can and leave the other person with the bill. Doctors also have an incentive to run up the bills. Patients rarely complain, but they might complain if the doctor skips a test. Insurance companies know this, of course; hence the torturous bureaucracy: the paperwork, the phone calls where you beg them to pay, the times they refuse to pay for what you thought was covered.
I can’t blame them. They’re just trying to protect themselves from fraud and hoping to have enough money left over to stay in business.
Government insurance is worse than private insurance. A private insurer has an incentive to cut costs; every dollar wasted comes out of profit or must be recovered by raising prices, which drives customers away. Government just raises taxes or increases debt.
So when our bloated government picks up the tab for poor people’s health costs, guess what it buys: Viagra! In 2004, Medicaid spent $38 million on drugs for erectile dysfunction.
Funny. I always thought one of the Left’s battle cries was for the government to stay out of the private citizen’s bedroom. Here’s a great place to start.
Social liberalism seeks to promote a “live and let live” society wherein all types of deviant behavior is tolerated and accepted. Those on the left have thrust their notion of a “civilized,” amoral society upon all of us. The fact of the matter is that “live and let live” directly contradicts the notion of communal society; we all have to abide by certain rules to live together. An amoral society minimizes the rules under which we live together; any change in those rules is bound to affect all of us.
And it has. By discarding traditional morality in favor of amoralism, we have catered to the lowest common denominator.
We have successfully defined deviancy down; the deviant is now considered normal. Meanwhile, we have defined deviancy up; the normal is now considered deviant. And the effects upon my generation — the porn generation — have been disastrous. We are apathetic about morality, and that apathy translates into nihilism and narcissism — and in the end, into generational self-destruction. Like it or not, the porn generation is the future of this country.
Senator Tom Coburn (OK-R):
One of the greatest impediments to the president’s vision of an ownership society is an inside-the-Beltway entitlement society, in which federal agencies expect ever-increasing budgets, regardless of their performance.
The Washington Times article linked above notes the creation of the “Sunset” and “Results” Commissions, which will look in to eliminating waste within, and possibly closing down, federal agencies or departments. It’s about time.
Whenever school choice programs are proposed in the United States, they face fierce opposition from critics who claim that school choice benefits mostly wealthy parents, drains money from the public system, and segregates students into racial or economic groups.
But the experiences of countries that have experimented with school choice indicate that these claims are unfounded. In most cases, the main beneficiaries have been poor families living in inner cities. In Hungary, where vouchers were introduced after the fall of communism, most new private schools have emerged in poor inner-city or rural areas, where access to good public schools is most limited.
Although private schools receive public funds on a per-child basis, they typically cost less than what the government pays to educate children in the public system. When more children choose private schools, public schools actually have more money to spend on students.
In Alberta, Canada, where children can attend either a private or public school, public schools have improved the quality and diversity of their programs. They have also focused more attention on parental satisfaction and academic outcomes. As a result, Alberta public schools continue to attract the bulk of local students.
Rather than segregate students into racial, educational, or economic groups, school choice seems to do just the opposite.
David Boaz, of the libertarian Cato Institute, notes that the current incarnation of the Republican Party has turned its back on federalism, abandoning the Reagan Revolution. Unfortunately, he’s right. (It still won’t convert me to the Libertarian Party, Tom, so don’t bother.) I love the dig on the Dems, though:
But most liberals can’t give up their addiction to centralization. Even as they rail against federal intervention in the Schiavo case — arch-liberal Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate in Congress, discovers for the first time in her life that “the bedrock of who we are” is the “Founders’ limited vision of the federal government” — they push for stricter regulations on pesticides and painkillers, a higher national minimum wage, and federal gun control laws.
I’ve been reading this fascinating essay by James, Piereson, “Investing in the Right Ideas.” His account of how the Democratic Party, once led by classical liberals, virtually overnight became the party of the whining, class-warfare, everyone-in-a-group, welfare-state cheerleaders we have come to know and loathe, is intriguing. In addition, the three states of how investing in modern conservative thinking came to be in this country is, of course, the focus of the essay and equally interesting.
Finally, liberalism itself came to be recast along interest-group lines. The welfare state was redefined from a package of programs through which Americans lent assistance to the poor, the sick and the disabled to a system through which certain defined groups could command government support as a matter of right and as compensation for past injustices. Society was cast as the guilty party, the recipients as its aggrieved victims. This sleight-of-hand in turn made it difficult for government to require the beneficiaries of its aid to adapt their behavior to the standards of middle-class life.
As liberalism gradually absorbed the adversarial assumptions of the age, group-based claims became ever more strident and accusations of discrimination and injustice multiplied. In time, the new order would erase those large-hearted features of liberal philosophy that had made it appealing to middle-class Americans from the 1930s through the 1960s.
The political world that these writers saw around them in the 1970s looked much different from the one that had so troubled Hayek in London in 1944. Instead of leading us down the path to collectivism, the welfare state had produced fragmentation, group conflict, disorder and a general loss of authority in society. In the United States, moreover, the welfare state had advanced itself not through the nationalization of industry but through incremental expansions of social programs and accretions to federal regulatory power. It was the intersection of these programs with the cultural revolution of the 1960s and ’70s that gave rise, as the neoconservatives saw it, to urban crime, illegitimacy, broken families and educational failure. The contemporary problem was thus not so much collectivism or socialism as the loss of morale and self-confidence that was in some ways characteristic of all affluent societies—a problem to which classical liberalism did not promise any obvious solution.
Please take a moment today, amidst your cook-outs and shopping, to pause for a minute or so, to honestly and truly meditate on, and remember, those who have given their lives in service of our nation. They are the reasons you are cooking out and shopping today.
Jeff Jacoby offers the story of such an individual: Sergeant Rafael Peralta of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines, United States Marine Corps.
Jeff Jacoby makes a good case for judicial term limits. Can we please do this for members of Congress while we’re at it?
‘[I]llegal immigration’ is an oxymoron. If it’s immigration, it is not illegal, and if they are here illegally they are not immigrants, are they?
Maybe it’s time that a more accurate term be coined to describe these people. I’ll start the process — how about ‘foreign trespassers?’
This is now the official term in use at Retrophisch™ Central.
Can Iraq be the next adult playground? I wonder if they’d ever be able to convince Celine to move…
[Via Best of the Web.]
There is bias in news reporting and there always will be. That’s hardly the problem. The problem is forcing people to pay for the bias and propaganda with which they disagree. As Jefferson once wrote, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”
This sort of tyranny has become a fixation on the left. Leftist artists cannot seem to enjoy their craft without the controversy that comes from forcing people who are offended by it to pay the bill. Leftists also want public financing of political campaigns, so that Americans are forced to pay to promote political views they oppose. Of course, this could just be a pragmatic decision based on the realization that they cannot raise funds voluntarily.
In his column Jacob notes a poll conducted by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which finances PBS and NPR. Only 8 percent of Americans watch PBS. Eight percent. Yet the argument is that PBS has shows that are important to the culture, or that no one else will carry. Maybe the reason no one else will carry them is because no one else is willing to pay for them. And I hardly think Antiques Roadshow qualifies as a important historical documentary series.
We do watch PBS in our home. Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder. Two highly successful childrens’ programs which would do fine on any of the pay-for networks we get through our satellite service. I’ve found of the other shows typically shown on PBS that I would find an interest in, I can find the same or similar type shows on Discovery or the History Channel.
It’s time to fully privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to cut the taxpayer-funding cord. Let PBS and NPR sink or swim in the free market. Ninety-two percent of Americans can’t be wrong.
Well, we might as well go for the trifecta:
Yesterday we wondered what David French’s “brilliant answer” was when a Cornell Law School job interviewer asked him, how, in light of his evangelical background, “is it possible for you to effectively teach gay students?” French e-mailed us with the answer:
I was surprised and pleased to see that you quoted from my talk to the American Enterprise Institute regarding intellectual diversity (or the lack thereof) and censorship on campus. I noted that you want to know my “absolutely brilliant answer” to the improper interview question. Before I tell you, I just want to make clear that the “absolutely brilliant” comment was made tongue-in-cheek in the speech and was played for laughs. I’m not really quite so full of myself. The truth is that I was fortunate to get the job perhaps in spite of my answer. I responded to the interviewer with the following statement:
“I believe that all human beings are created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of whether I agree with their personal conduct or beliefs. I will treat all my students well, but I can’t guarantee that they will treat me well when they learn that I’m a dreaded ‘Christian conservative.’”
She responded with a long silence and then said, “I never thought of things from that perspective.”
There are lot of perspectives from which those who run our institutions of higher learning have never thought of things.
I’m sorry for another post from Best of the Web, but Taranto and company are simply on today:
Still, by way of comparison, recall that three years ago Palestinian Arab terrorists occupied the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Priests reported that “gunmen tore up Bibles for toilet paper,” according to the Daily Camera of Boulder, Colo. The Chicago Tribune noted after the siege that “altars had been turned into cooking and eating tables, a sacrilege to the religious faithful.”
Christians in the U.S. responded by declining to riot and refraining from killing anyone. They had the same response 15 or so years ago when the National Endowment for the Arts was subsidizing the scatological desecration of a crucifix and other Christian symbols. This should also put to rest the oft-heard calumny that America’s “religious right” is somehow a Christian equivalent of our jihadi enemies.
Today’s Best of the Web has what is quite possibly the best explanation of what has gone wrong with the mainstream media over the past forty years.
It’s not just that the media are biased against conservatives and Republicans, though they certainly are. It is that they see every war as another Vietnam and every supposed scandal as another Watergate—at least when Republicans are in the White House, which they usually are.
The obsession with Vietnam and Watergate is central to the alienation between the press and the people. After all, these were triumphs for the crusading press but tragedies for America. And the press’s quest for more such triumphs—futile, so far, after more than 30 years—is what is behind the scandals at both Newsweek and CBS.
The problem in all three cases is that news organizations were so zealous in their pursuit of the next quagmire or scandal that they forgot their first obligation, which is to tell the truth. Until those in the mainstream media are willing to acknowledge that it is this crusading impulse that has led them astray, we are unlikely to see the end of such journalistic scandals.
Radical Left falls over itself volunteering packing help. Soros confirms he will cover all moving expenses. Bill Maher “despondent.” News at 11.
This pretty much says it all.
Here’s my question for you: What are we to make of people who preach pessimism and doom to people — telling them that they’re poor because others are rich or telling blacks that they’ll never make it because of societal racism? What are we to make of politicians, media pundits and college professors who preach the politics of envy — telling people lies that the rich became rich off the backs of the poor? I grew up poor in a housing project in North Philadelphia, and those weren’t the lessons prevalent a half-century ago. My mother used to preach that “We have a beer pocketbook but champagne tastes.” And my stepfather used to admonish, “If you want to make it in this world, you have to come early and stay late.” Those messages are far more beneficial to a poor person than those of victimhood and pity.
So I noticed Tom posted his score on a “Are you a Republican?” meme. With the knowledge that I do lean to the right of center, and have voted mostly Republican since being old enough to vote, I knew my score would probably be higher than Tom’s, but went to look at the “test” anyway.
Question 4 seems to be a typical leftist shot at the right:
- Typical of the Patriarchy.
- The ultimate Republican.
- A brilliant but sadly deranged leader.
- He had the right idea.
The left likes to equate the current Bush administration, and any conservative they don’t care for, with Adolf Hitler. This is quite laughable, mainly because Hitler was a leftist.
Nazism was/is a left-of-center ideal. The term “Nazi” came from “National Socialist”. Socialism, as we all should know, is a left-of-center ideal, closely related to Communism. The original party, formed in 1919, was the German Workers Party (sounds very Karl Marx, doesn’t it?). After exerting major influence within the party, Hitler and his cabal changed the name to the National Socialist German Workers Party. Socialist. Left of center. The Nazis, through Hitler, nationalized most, if not all of Germany’s industry. How very Marxist/Leninist of them. Left of center.
Quite frankly, I’m tired of those of us on the right being compared to the Nazis. Right-of-center value systems didn’t spawn something on the order of 50 million people being killed in the 20th century. Left-of-center “value” systems did.
So the Toad directed my attention to a rant by Kim du Toit on how the ATF views law-abiding gun owners, in light of quotes from Gerald Nunziato, the former head of ATF’s National Tracing Center. I think it’s pretty clear how this government bureaucracy views gun owners, simply from the name of the agency. After all, we’re just a bunch of beer-swilling, tobacco-chewing or cigarette-smoking rednecks who like to go blow holes in highway signs, aren’t we?
Muslim activist groups like CAIR wonder why a lot of Americans don’t trust Muslims. Maybe it’s because if everyone knew what was really going on behind the doors of the mosque, no one would trust them.
The same imam who demanded that the men continue in the path of jihad did a complete 180-degree turn in this session, stressing instead the suras that promoted the “brotherhood” between Muslims, Christians and Jews. “After all, we worship the same God, and follow the teachings in the books he gave each of us. We are all the same, we are all People of the Book,” he stressed.
The differences between the sessions were striking. Clearly the second session was a recruiting session.
Were the women aware of what was being taught in the first session? Certainly those women who spoke Arabic should have been.
The reason for concern is obvious: Two different doctrines are being promoted. One peaceful, friendly, warm and fuzzy doctrine is being used to draw people in, with a focus on the well-being of their children.
But the Arabic-speaking sessions clearly have an anti-American tone.
Volunteers with the Minuteman Project in Arizona say “legal observers” sent by the ACLU to monitor the citizen border patrol have been seen smoking marijuana in violation of the law.
[…] ACLU monitors sent to the border to watch Minuteman activity and report civil-liberties abuses to authorities have begun flashing lights, sounding horns and warning off illegals and their “coyote” human smugglers from entering territory patrolled by the volunteers.
A volunteer reported, according to the South East Arizona Republican Club, “The ACLU is getting desperate to get something on the Minutemen and are trying to provoke incidents now.”
“They pushed one of the Minutemen the other night trying to get him to push back. Didn’t work. Then last night they walked up and shined a spotlight right in a Minuteman’s face from six inches or so away. Didn’t work that time either. We immediately report these types of contacts with them to the sheriff to counter any claims they try to make against us. They should be called the UCLU (Un-American Civil Lawsuit Union).
“They give us the middle finger every chance they get to try to get us to react. We are still trying to figure out if that is their age or IQ.”
It’s so nice to know the defenders of liberty and our Constitution are on the job down there in Arizona. Larger pictures of the alleged dope smoking can be found here.
[With thanks to Israel R. for the links.]
Link to a legitimate news story showcasing a civil acts violation in the United States as a result of the PATRIOT ACT. Good luck.
To date, not one court or congressional committee has found evidence of any abuse of the powers under the Patriot Act.
Not one civil action has been filed against the government under Section 223, which allows citizens to seek damages for any willful violations of the Act.
In the late 19th century, Justice Stephen J. Field noted in an opinion: “If the provisions of the Constitution can be set aside by an Act of Congress, where is the course of usurpation to end? The present assault upon capital is but the beginning. It will be but the stepping-stone to others, larger and more sweeping, till our political contests will become a war of the poor against the rich; a war growing in intensity and bitterness.”
Indeed. For most of American history, taxes were levied primarily on consumption, rather than income, and for good reason. In The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton argued, “It is a signal advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess.”
All that changed in 1913, however, when the central government started taxing income. At that time, federal taxes were equal to 3% of GDP and the entire tax code was two pages. Now taxes are in excess of 20% of GDP and the tax code is more than 46,000 pages (including 481 separate tax forms). Additionally, taxpayers will spend a cumulative 6.5 billion hours complying with that code, and due to its complexity, more than half of taxpayers will rely on “professional preparation,” costing them more than $200 billion.
Yes, flat-tax or federal sales-tax me now. The only reasons we didn’t pay through the nose this year was unemployment on my part, having a nice little deduction in toddler form, and paying the bank so one day we can own the home we occupy.
I especially enjoyed Alexander’s ripping of FDR in his column. Greatest President of the Twentieth Century? For whom? The Communists?
“The Constitution…is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please.” —Thomas Jefferson
Once again, I am amazed at how prescient our Founding Fathers were, with regard to the present state of government in these United States.
How is it that some people can see the Constitution as a “living, breathing” document, that it must be adapted and interpreted in the light of our changing culture, and that we are able to find new rights and laws in the emenations of the penumbra of the aureola. And yet these very same people would have an absolute conniption if you suggested using the same approach on Roe v. Wade?
[Via Blogs4God, with the above title shamelessly ripped off from one of Roy’s commenters.]
Today President Bush posthumous awarded the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Paul Ray Smith of the U.S. Army. Sergeant Smith, in April of 2003, led a counter attack against members of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard who had ambushed Army troops at the Baghdad Airport. His actions saved more than 100 men. Only three Medals of Honor have been awarded since the Vietnam War.
We are grateful for people like Sergeant Smith, and our hearts and prayers go out to his family, especially his children. Were that more of our countrymen of Sergeant Smith’s mind.
The Divine Tribunal — excuse me, I mean the Supreme Court of the United States, as it’s officially known — has decided, by a 5-to-4 vote, that executing criminals under the age of 18 is unconstitutional.
Where, you may ask, does the U.S. Constitution say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But the Tribunal doesn’t decide what’s constitutional by consulting the Constitution. That would cramp itsstyle.
Conservatives often accuse liberal justices of “legislating from the bench.” The charge is too kind. The problem isn’t that they legislate; it’s that they lie.
As seen on the Laura Ingraham web site this morning:
“At this point I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member.”
— Eleanor Smith, a disabled, self-described liberal agnostic lesbian
Two Republican Florida Senators could have saved Terry Schiavo’s life by voting ‘yes’ to a law. ‘The death penalty is an authorized punishment for capital crimes designated by the legislature’ (Article I, Basic Rights, SECTION 17, Florida Constitution), not the order of a county judge. The Florida House could have impeached Judge Greer (Article III, SECTION 17) for committing the felony (Florida Statute Chapter 825) of denying nutrition to a disabled person and multiple violations of guardianship (Florida Statute 744).
[…]Instead, George Greer, a black-robed priest-king, ordered that a deputy sheriff stand guard in Terry’s room and prevent her parents from giving her a cup of water. When Gov. Bush had an executive agency exercise their authority under Florida law, George Greer ordered — took executive authority — over all Florida authorities.
[…] The Roman Republic ended when Roman Law was contested by men who said, ‘the law is what I say it is.’ Civil wars begat dictators, more civil wars and dictators until the civilization was a shell to be broken by invading barbarians. American Civilization is at her Rubicon.
People seem to have forgotten that our constitutional republic’s system of checks and balances applies to all three branches of government. The judicial branch is not the final word on what the legislative and executive branches decide to do. The judiciary’s job is to ensure that what the legislative and executive branches are doing are within the boundaries of the respective constitution (federal or state). This is a job in which the judiciary has continually failed, nearly from the inception of our nation.
Likewise, the judiciary is not to engage in making up law from the bench, which has repeatedly done since the 1960s, up to and including the granting of constitutional rights never before voted upon and passed. Law is the purview of the legislature, not the judiciary bench. Rights are granted by God, not the government. The judiciary has no enforcement powers of its own; it has to rely on the executive branch to enforce any decisions it may make.
This is why I don’t see why the deputy sheriff in the Schiavo case mentioned above could not have been removed by a state trooper on orders from Governor Bush, should the governor had chosen to do so. That deputy does not answer to Judge Greer. He answers to the Sheriff, who answers either to the constituents who elected him, or to the elected county government which appointed him. The latter, in turn, is answerable to the people who put them in to office. Unless that deputy committed a crime, or is acting as a baliff in the judge’s courtroom, Judge Greer has no executive authority over him.
Judges are not the final arbiters of what the law is. They are the insurers that the law is followed, and that law does not trample upon stated constitutional rights. It is not their job to “interpet” the law; a good law should need no interpretation. I am continually amazed at how the words “Congress shall make no law…” has been applied to state and local governing bodies. Likewise, “…shall not be infringed” has become “…shall be infringed when deemed necessary.” No, it means shall not. Not then, not now, not ever. Not by a little or a lot. It means not at all. Yet we see it happen all the time, and by and large, as a populace, we do nothing about it.
If a law is unclear, then the judiciary should send it back to the legislature for a do-over. Other than that, they should keep out of the law-making business. The Constitution of the United States is plenty clear-cut on many matters. We have simply allowed what was once clear to our forebears to be muddied in our eyes.
[All emphasis throughout is added. —R]
If you’re not subscribing to MDJ or MWJ, you’re missing out on what is the very best and most comprehensive coverage of the ongoing Apple trade secret lawsuits. Matt Deatherage has worked to the point of failing health to deliver a knock-out of an issue this past Sunday that features the most intensive news of the cases I’ve seen. Matt & Co. deliver brilliant point after brilliant point, with so many good ones, I’d have to reprint the entire article to get them all in.
There is one example on why these cases are important for businesses, and why this is not about the political right to free speech as set forth in the First Amendment.
How many people would have looked twice at the original iMac if its Bondi Blue design had leaked out two months in advance, and competitors had already released similar-looking PCs? Apple actually introduced the machine at an event that everyone thought was for some of O’Grady’s long-rumored PowerBooks, and it was - plus “one more thing.” It’s said that only about 30 people within Apple knew what the machine looked like or that it would be announced that May day in 1998, and the press coverage conveyed the shock at Apple’s bold move.
The iMac’s design influenced everything from rival PCs to peripherals to pencil sharpeners, but because Apple kept its work secret until it was ready, all those products were rightly seen as iMac copycats. If Think Secret had leaked the iMac like it did the Mac Mini, would the world have seen those products are iMac knock-offs - or seen the iMac, the original idea that was stolen and released prematurely, as “just part of a trend?”
That sums it up. If the latter had happened, would Apple have recovered as quickly from its doldrums as it did? Would it have recovered at all? One could make the argument that the success of the iMac fueled the development of iTunes, the iTunes Music Store, and the iPod. Without the runaway success of the iMac, Apple as we know it today might not exist at all. That success could have been placed in serious jeopardy with rumors of the new machine leaking out.
If you could spend your money on only one Macintosh publication, I would recommend MDJ or MWJ. (I have no affiliation with these publications, or their parent company, GCSF, Inc., other than as a satisfied subsriber.)
“Congress doesn’t act unless there is a crisis,” one member of Congress once told me. That axiom is growing more apparent every day. Since many in Congress want to deny that we face crises in our economic infrastructure, the public must act now to remind them. We must demand urgent action to save our economic infrastructure. We must holler until they start to follow.
Instead of reading poll numbers, Congress must start reading thousands of e-mail messages from angry voters in their districts and states. Instead of listening to their political advisers, Congress must start listening to thousands of phone calls from people who are fed up with the income tax code, the dysfunctional Social Security structure, and runaway deficit spending. Instead of focusing on partisan politics and the next election, we must force Congress to focus on not leaving this mess for the next generation.
Let’s start with a few real simple and specific messages. Congress, replace the income tax code with a national sales tax modeled on the FairTax. Congress, pass legislation that includes optional personal retirement accounts for workers younger than 45 years of age using 4 percentage points of their payroll taxes. Congress, let’s enact a balanced budget amendment, since you have demonstrated that you cannot control your spending addiction.
Imagine what would happen if every member of Congress received this simple message every week from thousands of voters in their districts and states. Maybe then they will begin to see the same crises that we the people face every day.
One FAL member’s monologue follows: “Hello, my name is Mary Man-Hating-Is-Fun. I am 23 years old, and I am what a feminist looks like. Ever since I learned to embrace my feminist nature, I found great joy in threatening men’s lives, flicking off frat brothers and plotting the patriarchy’s death. I hate men because they are men, because I see them for what they are: misogynistic, sexist, oppressive and absurdly pathetic beings who only serve to pollute and contaminate this world with war, abuse, oppression and rape.”
Other members of the FAL wore scissors around their necks and sang a song about castration.
David Huffman, a writer for the UNH conservative paper “Common Sense” was outraged by the, shall we say, mr-ogyny of the event. Huffman was asked to leave the public university event during the open microphone session. Despite the fact that he wasn’t singing songs about castration, FAL members said he was making women feel uncomfortable. Perhaps it was because he wasn’t singing about castration that these women felt uncomfortable.
Huffman pointed out that nowhere did the posters advertising the event say “Women Only.” He was simply excluded from an event at a public university based upon his gender.
The evening of man-hating was simply an example of an extremist group promoting stereotypes and encouraging violence towards another group. This is the kind of thing that is tolerated in the name of campus diversity, simply because the targets are the “right” group (Read: Not blacks, women, or gays).
After hearing poems that talked about castrating men, read by women with scissors tied around their necks, Hoffman asked “How is this any different than hating African-Americans or Jews?” The answer is simple: It is no different in principle. But, of course, the FAL is not based upon principle. The organization is based upon blind hatred.
[Emphasis added on unlawful items. —R]
Terri Schiavo may well die. No good will come of it. Those who are half in love with death will only become more red-fanged and ravenous.
And those who are still learning—our children—oh, what terrible lessons they’re learning. What terrible stories are shaping them. They’re witnessing the Schiavo drama on television and hearing it on radio. They are seeing a society—their society, their people—on the verge of famously accepting, even embracing, the idea that a damaged life is a throwaway life.
Our children have been reared in the age of abortion, and are coming of age in a time when seemingly respectable people are enthusiastic for euthanasia. It cannot be good for our children, and the world they will make, that they are given this new lesson that human life is not precious, not touched by the divine, not of infinite value.
Once you “know” that—that human life is not so special after all—then everything is possible, and none of it is good. When a society comes to believe that human life is not inherently worth living, it is a slippery slope to the gas chamber. You wind up on a low road that twists past Columbine and leads toward Auschwitz. Today that road runs through Pinellas Park, Fla.
With the democracy domino wobbling and threatening to fall in Lebanon, there is a lot at stake for many in the region. The Wall Street Journal sums it up (paid subscription required):
An estimated one million Syrian guest workers reside in Lebanon and remit their wages to relatives back home, and Syrian officials have plundered much of the international aid Lebanon received over the past decade. The Bekaa Valley also serves as a lucrative transit point for narcotics and other contraband. Without Lebanon, Syria’s economy might collapse. So, too, might the Assad dynasty: Bashar’s grip on power is far less sure than his father’s, and the loss of prestige that a withdrawal from Lebanon would entail might well be politically fatal to him and the minority Allawite clique through which he rules.
For Iran the stakes are strategic. Its elite Revolutionary Guards operate terrorist training camps in the Bekaa. Iran has also placed upward of 10,000 missiles in Lebanon, including the medium-range Fajr-5 rocket, bringing half of Israel within their reach. It thus maintains the option of igniting a new Mideast war at any moment, as well as a hedge against the possibility of a pre-emptive Israeli strike on its nuclear installations. Yet if Syria withdraws, no pro-independence Lebanese government will indulge Iran’s military presence. The Lebanese have had enough of allowing their territory to serve, Belgium-like, as the battleground of choice for foreign powers.
For Hezbollah, the stakes are greater still. During the years when Israel maintained a security zone in southern Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah could present himself as a patriot fighting occupation. But Israel removed its forces from Lebanon in 2000, and now Nasrallah’s support for Syrian occupation exposes a different set of motives: not patriotic, but Jihadist. And the last thing the Jihadists want is for Lebanon to again become a flourishing, pluralist, cosmopolitan Arab state. Syria’s withdrawal would likely precipitate a Lebanese decision to enforce UN Resolution 520, which requires the Lebanese Army to patrol its border with Israel, a function now performed by Hezbollah. At length, it could lead to the disbanding of Hezbollah as an independent militia, though its terrorist wings would likely continue to operate.
So let’s see: Syrian influence is weakened, the dictatorial ruling party is squashed, and the democracy domino potentially falls in that nation. Iran’s influence is further weakened, and its military presence threatening Israel loses ground; actual, physical ground. Lastly, Hezbollah’s power is further weakened, and the organization is exposed for what it truly is and always has been: a group of terrorists.
Tell me, o occupiers of the Left and haters of America, democracy, and liberty, what is the down side?
Private accounts would pay workers based on the total amount they’ve paid into the system over their working lifetimes, not an average of what they paid in for part of their time in the work force. If private accounts had been around in 1989, I would have started growing mine with the first paycheck I earned pruning apple trees in the dead of winter in upstate New York. That account would have then been able to take advantage of what Albert Einstein called “the most powerful force in the universe,” compound interest. So instead of penalizing workers like me, who pay in early, private accounts will give workers the advantage of nearly two extra decades of accruing retirement assets.
Viewed from this perspective, it’s clear that by uniting against reform, Democrats are defending a system that is skewed against the workers they claim to represent—those who are handed little in life and must enter the work force early. Some of them work their way through college, but many stay in blue-collar and service-related jobs. They make less money each year, but make it up by working longer and harder. The Social Security debate is now about whether to allow these workers to capitalize on all of their hard work while saving for retirement. Isn’t that what the Democratic Party is supposed to be all about?
I have refrained thus far from commenting on the lawsuits by Apple against Think Secret, PowerPage, and Apple Insider, none of whom I will dignify with a link. There are others who are doing a far better job of shedding the real light on this issue, in that is has nothing to do with the First Amendment.
Notably, John Gruber and Jeff Harrell have gotten it right. Think Secret, PowerPage, and Apple Insider should have to reveal their “sources,” and they should suffer some form of punishment. I don’t think hefty fines or jail time is necessary, but something punitive enough to ensure they will discontinue this nonsense, because it is hurting Apple.
My disdain for Jason O’Grady’s rumor-mongering goes way back, and my thoughts then still hold true now. By combining real facts leaked by insiders and NDA-holders with utter speculation, these rumor-mongers set up false expectations for unannounced Apple products. This leads consumers, as well as Wall Street “analysts”, to be disappointed when the real product is announced, and downplay the significance of the product because it is not exactly what the rumor-mongers said it was going to be. These sites are hurting Apple by revealing sensitive and private corporate information, and it has to stop.
I spent part of last week ringing up the organizers of the anti-war events with a couple of questions. The first: Would they allow anyone from the newly-elected Iraqi parliament to address the gatherings? The second: Would the marches include expressions of support for the democracy movement in Arab and other Muslim countries, notably Iraq, Lebanon and Syria?
In both cases the answer was a categorical no, accompanied by a torrent of abuse about “all those who try to justify American aggression against Iraq.”
Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?
Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism?
Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?
[This article requires a free registration; get one from BugMeNot.]
[Via Best of the Web.]
Peggy Noonan points to civil defense, not Social Security or tax cuts, as the real number-one domestic issue. The one no one is talking about.
A U.S. Marine, Staff Sgt. Steve Reichert, has scored a kill shot while engaging the enemy in Iraq, and the shot was over a mile away. For his actions, Staff Sgt. Reichert has been awarded the Bronze Star for Valor.
In the after-action report, the platoon leader made a remarkable account: that Reichert made the shot from 1,614 meters – about a mile away. His accuracy was the deciding factor in the outcome of the firefight.
For the math-impaired, 1,614 meters translates in to 1765.0918662 yards. There are three feet in a yard, so that number times three yields 5,295.2755986 feet. Staff Sgt. Reichert scored a kill shot at fifteen feet beyond a mile. Boys and girls, that’s a long, long way for a rifle shot.
Read this article now, as it will become subscriber-only after March 1st.
The biggest vulnerability of hospital patients is that their Social Security numbers often double as a medical identifier. For identity thieves, “Social Security numbers are the key to the golden kingdom,” says Mari Frank, a California attorney specializing in identity theft.
Often, the culprit in medical settings is a rogue employee. Identity-theft experts recommend that patients and loved ones protest any visible use of Social Security numbers, such as on wristbands or unguarded charts. At the very least, patients may be able to darken a couple of numbers. Patients should refuse to answer aloud any verbal request for those numbers when they might be overheard.
Patients should also resist the impulse to trust their fellow patients. “If you and the other guy were at the counter at Costco, you’d be careful in a way that you’re not when you’re wearing hospital gowns,” says Mr. Cox, the Michigan attorney general. His office recently extracted a guilty plea from a cancer patient who stole the identities of nine other cancer patients.
The best thing to do is, if at all possible, have the hospital assign you a non-Social Security number for identification purposes.
I got a postcard in the mail from a local real estate agent, and on it was a helpful list of flag-flying days. Some of these will already be on iCal’s U.S. Holidays calendar, but I decided to make a separate calendar you can download for iCal or any other calendar app which supports a .ics file. The dates are:
I did not include Easter, since Easter Sunday varies from year to year. The flag can be flown on Easter. The flag should also be flown on election days, can be flown on state and local holidays, a State’s Birthday, and any days as proclaimed by the President of the United States.
I welcome any additions or corrections.
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” —Thomas Jefferson
Tell that to Barbara Gesell and her daughter Theresa, who used her .45-caliber handgun to subdue the purse snatcher who attacked the elder Gesell, 83, in her garage as she arrived home.
“A man has attacked us in our house, and we are fighting him in the yard,” Theresa Gesell said to the 911 dispatcher.
As the struggle moved down the street, a neighbor — whom Theresa Gesell identified as “Hershall” — stopped to help. Theresa then grabbed her .45-caliber pistol and continued running after Campbell — despite the dispatcher’s plea for her to drop the handgun.
“I am going to go get my .45 … you all are too slow,” she said.
As the call continues, the dispatcher asks Theresa to get rid of the weapon. However, after the suspect tried to escape along a creek bed, Theresa and Hershall used the pistol to make sure he didn’t leave.
“You can go put that gun up now,” the dispatcher said.
“No sir,” Theresa replied. “We have the gun pointed at him … he must have been a city fellow because he didn’t know anything about the woods.”
Seconds later, police arrived and arrested Campbell. With Hershall’s help, the Gesells retrieved Barbara’s purse.
So let’s do the math: 1 purse snatcher attacking an 83 year-old woman + 1 daughter with firearm = subdued criminal who would have escaped before police could arrive on scene. Now imagine that the criminal in question was after more than a purse, and you can see why firearms save more lives each year than they take. You just don’t hear about all of those live-saving events on the nightly news.
[Emphasis added. —R]
Tenure was supposed to create an atmosphere of open debate and inquiry, but instead has created havens for talentless cowards who want to be insulated from life. Rather than fostering a climate of open inquiry, college campuses have become fascist colonies of anti-American hate speech, hypersensitivity, speech codes, banned words and prohibited scientific inquiry.
Even liberals don’t try to defend Churchill on grounds that he is Galileo pursuing an abstract search for the truth. They simply invoke “free speech,” like a deus ex machina to end all discussion. Like the words “diverse” and “tolerance,” “free speech” means nothing but: “Shut up, we win.” It’s free speech (for liberals), diversity (of liberals) and tolerance (toward liberals).
Ironically, it is precisely because Churchill is paid by the taxpayers that “free speech” is implicated at all. The Constitution has nothing to say about the private sector firing employees for their speech. That’s why you don’t see Bill Maher on ABC anymore. Other well-known people who have been punished by their employers for their “free speech” include Al Campanis, Jimmy Breslin, Rush Limbaugh, Jimmy the Greek and Andy Rooney.
I have seen confusion regarding one’s free speech rights regarding one’s employer on more than one occasion on various e-mail lists. In this country, you have the right to political free speech, but this does not necessarily translate to a right to said speech while on your employer’s dime. Your right to said speech also does not translate in to a right in having it heard or accepted by those who disagree.
Today we celebrate Washington’s Birthday. Yet on every calendar I own, today is noted as President’s Day, where we supposedly honor both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the latter of whom’s birthday was the 12th. (Another notable President, Ronald Reagan, would have been 94 on the 6th.)
“Although it was celebrated as early as 1778, and by the early 19th Century was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday, Congress did not officially recognize Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday until 1870. The Monday Holiday Law in 1968—applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11582 in 1971—moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as ‘Washington’s Birthday.’ Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed ‘Washington’s Birthday’ to ‘President’s Day’.”
So how did this come to be known popularly as “President’s Day”?
It truly is quite amazing how prescient our Founding Fathers were:
“It has long, however, been my opinion, and I have never shrunk from its expression…that the germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary;…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.” —Thomas Jefferson
You don’t have to be a financial wizard to know that Social Security is a lousy investment. Unlike the money you deposit in a bank or salt away in an IRA, you don’t own the money you pay into Social Security. You have no legal right to get those dollars back, and when you die you can’t pass them on to your heirs. Nor can you use your Social Security account before you retire — you can’t borrow against it and you can’t cash it in. You aren’t allowed to put the money into a balanced portfolio. You can’t even watch as the interest accumulates, since your Social Security nest egg doesn’t earn any interest.
Your nest egg, in fact, doesn’t even exist. Because Social Security is financed on a pay-as-you-go system, the dollars withheld from your paycheck today aren’t being saved in an account with your name. They are immediately paid out to retirees. The benefits you receive when you retire will be funded by the payroll taxes then being collected. But because the ratio of workers paying in to retirees taking out is steadily shrinking — it has plummeted from 16 to 1 in 1940 to 3 to 1 today — Social Security is headed for a crisis.
This of course is the background to President Bush’s campaign to create personal investment accounts, which for the first time would allow workers to own and invest — really own, really invest — part of the Social Security tax taken from their paychecks. With personal accounts many of the features that make Social Security such a crummy deal for today’s workers would be transformed into a package most of them could support. A social-welfare program created in the age of gramophones and the Model A would be updated for a world of iPods and superhighways.
But to many Democrats, such talk is heresy. Letting Americans own some of their Social Security would be too risky, they argue - another way of saying that Americans are too dumb to be entrusted with their own money. Much better to continue entrusting it to Washington, which has managed Social Security so skillfully that workers younger than 50 know they will never get back in benefits what they are paying into the system now. (Perhaps that explains why 58 percent of Americans under 50 support personal accounts, according to a new poll by Zogby International.)
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: can we get politicans brave enough to just kill Social Security once and for all? Pick a year, grandfather in everyone born prior to that year, and those born after are on their own for retirement. Year after year, as those in the program die off, the amount required to sustain Social Security will dwindle, and ultimately, two or three generations from now, no longer exist. Why is this such a hard concept to grasp? Forget partial privatization of this government-run Ponzi scheme, just kill it!
Today would have been President Ronald Reagan’s 94th birthday.
President Reagan meant a lot to me. I never met the man, nor did I ever vote for him; I was two weeks shy of my eighth birthday when he was first elected to the White House. But growing up in the Reagan era, I couldn’t help but be influenced by his policies, his philosophies and most of all his presence. He was just there, like a permanent fixture, and I grew up around him.
Likewise with me. I vividly remember President Reagan’s first inauguration, watching the coverage on television the afternoon and evening after I got home from school. First, at the sitter who take care of several children after school while their parents were still working, and later, with my parents, over dinner.
As with Jeff, President Reagan has influenced me even more as I got older, and took more of an interest in politics. Many consider FDR the greatest president of the 20th century, but I would have to disagree. FDR offered shorter-term solutions to short-term problems that have blossomed in to a monster federal bureaucracy. FDR may have done most of the work toward winning the Second World War, but he did so while allowing the evil influence of communism to spread throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, and even within the ranks of his own administration. He left us the Cold War.
Which Reagan won. The left called Reagan crazy, a cowboy (sound familiar?), one who would get us in to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Instead, Reagan won victory after victory after victory against the Soviets, without a missile ever being launched. At the same time, he oversaw the greatest eight-year period of growth our nation has ever enjoyed. For me, and many others, it’s Ronald Wilson Reagan who stands on the shoulders of giants in the 20th century.
John Fund, in today’s Political Diary:
Republican members of Congress have a ready response for Democrats crying foul over President Bush’s constant references to Franklin Roosevelt and other icons of liberalism to bolster his call for Social Security reform.
They note that in an address to Congress on January 17, 1935, President Roosevelt foresaw the need to move beyond the pay-as-you-go financing of the current Social Security system. “For perhaps 30 years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions,” the president allowed. But after that, he explained, it would be necessary to move to what he called “voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age.” In other words, his call for the establishment of Social Security directly anticipated today’s reform agenda: “It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old-age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans,” FDR explained.
“What Roosevelt was talking about is the need to update Social Security sometime around 1965 with what today we would call personal accounts,” says one top GOP member of the Ways and Means Committee. “By my reckoning we are only about 40 years late in addressing his concerns on how make Social Security solvent.”
Jeff Harrell sums up my feelings from the State of the Union. I cried, too, Jeff.
Last month’s Wired has a short article with a lot of graphs and charts on the Free versus the Unfree worlds, as it relates to consumers and producers, IP registrations and pirates. It looks at four industries: media, medicine, agriculture, and software. Worth a look.
I figured since so many people out there like to poke fun at George W.’s verbal blunders, turnabout was fair play:
“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state.” —Gray Davis, California governor, at a press conference; quoted in Time magazine, Vol. 162, No. 13, September 29, 2003, p. 15
I realize that the above may seem like a misnomer in these days of the far Left hijacking of the Democratic Party, but such an animal does exist. In recent times they have been known as “Reagan Democrats,” a title which should be worn as a badge of honor and not shame, as current DNC leadership would have things.
The Toad points to Kim du Toit’s essay today that responds to a letter from a reader, who is a conservative Democrat. Kim offers an extremely lucid argument on why the Democratic Party cannot be trusted in its current state to run the nation, and makes the case on why conservative Democrats have far more in common with Republicans and should think about switching parties.
Of course, the latter doesn’t really fix the Democratic Party, but rather gives more of a hold of it to the far Left, which has gotten the Democratic Party, and partly the nation, in to its current state of affairs.
I don’t care for some of Kim’s language (not that Kim would care what I think), but he’s spot on:
Handing Democrats access to the levers of power is like giving a teenage boy a bottle of wine and the keys to the Ferrari: a great old time is had by all, until a f*ing catastrophe ensues. Then, when the feckless irresponsibility of the Democrat Party is made plain for all to see, and Republicans have to clean up the mess, the Democrats scuttle across the border into New Mexico in a childish sulk and suck their thumbs until they get their own way again.
Every time a conservative tries to treat liberal Democrats with politeness and fair play, the f*ing bastards use that as a bargaining chip to further their own agenda. Parliamentary rules are fine, as long as they’re invoked only by Democrats — when Republicans even attempt to do likewise, they’re “mean-spirited”. Don’t ask me for examples or this will be longer than a Bill Whittle essay.
SuperToad has redesigned the Pond, giving up his home-baked PHP model for a site generated by PostNuke. At least this way, his PHP knowledge doesn’t go to waste.
Now if I could just talk him in to another font for his logo… ;-)
Yeah, that’s right, you read me correctly. I would like to see an amendment to the United States Constitution repealed. Why? Because it would return power to the individual citizen, and to the states in which we reside.
Which pretty much means we’re screwed, doesn’t it?
Ilana Mercer makes an incredible case for repealing the 14th, using Judge Roy Moore and the Alabama Ten Commandments monument as a prime example. Of course, the Left would never stand for it, because they want all power to reside in the federal government any way, a far cry from what our Founding Fathers set forth.
First Amendment jurisprudence has tended to see the injunction against the establishment of a state religion as an injunction against the expression of faith – especially discriminating against the founding Judeo-Christian faith – in taxpayer-supported spheres. The end result has been the expulsion of religion from the public square and the suppression therein of freedom of religion.
It’s difficult to see how the display of the Decalogue constitutes an establishment of a state religion or why Moore should be forbidden to so express his faith. The Ten Commandments are a civilizing moral code. Fine, the first few Commandments, among which are Commandments that exhort against idolatry and pantheism, do pertain to ethical monotheism. But other than those, why would anyone (bar the ACLU) object to “thou shall not kill,” or to “thou shall not commit adultery, steal, or covet?” The Ten Commandments can hardly be perceived as an instrument for state proselytization.
Prior to that [ratification of the 14th —R], the federal government had no authority to enforce the Bill of Rights on the states, religious freedoms included. The Bill of Rights, very plainly, did not grant the federal government any powers, but was intended to place limits on the federal government’s actions. Ratified illegally after the War Between the States, the 14th Amendment overrode, to all intents and purposes, the doctrine of States’ Rights, to which Jefferson looked for the preservation of freedoms.
My favorite toad points to a shorty by Bill Whittle on the lack of support from Demobrats and the Left over the deaths of Odai and Qusai Hussein, and, in his opinion (and mine), their failure of the human-rights litmus test:
There was a time – I can remember it clearly, though it seems a lifetime ago – when “liberals” were people who fought for humanity and human rights, people who despised murder and torture. Now, wherever we look, the people who call themselves the most “liberal” seem to be the sole remaining defenders of murder, rape and torture.
What the hell has happened to those people?
Is there no shame, none whatsoever, for someone who would take the side of these murderers and torturers just to take a shot at their own country and its duly elected leader? Is there no depths to which these people can sink?
At least in New York, Brooklyn to be specific. Ronald Dixon discovers an intruder in his son’s room, going through drawers. Intruder rushes Mr. Dixon, screaming to go upstairs with him. Mr. Dixon fears there may be others in the house that intend to harm him, his wife, and his children. Mr. Dixon shoots intruder twice, wounding him.
Mr. Dixon legally obtained his 9mm pistol in Florida, before moving to New York. New York requires all firearms to be registered. (Why? To make it easier to trace them back to criminals, presumably. To make it easier to confiscate, at worst…) Mr. Dixon made an attempt to comply with the law and register said firearm, but was unsuccessful. Mr. Dixon was able to plead down to a charge of disorderly conduct, but he could still spend up to a year in jail; at least he won’t have a criminal record when he’s done.
An anonymous letter to the Brooklyn D.A. sums it up pretty well:
“If you were in the same position that Mr. Dixon was in, I would be willing to wager that you would also use whatever means you had on hand to defend your loved ones, as any of us would.
“By prosecuting Ronald Dixon on spurious charges, you are sending a very dangerous message to the residents in your jurisdiction: Defend your family, go to jail. You are also sending an equally dangerous message to the criminal element, who would realize that law-abiding citizens would now be hesitant to defend themselves for fear of criminal prosecution, and therefore make prime targets for violent crime.”
A naturalized citizen, Mr. Dixon immigrated from Jamaica, and served in the U.S. Navy for three years. He works two jobs seven days a week to provide for his family. And now his American dream has been crushed by an anti-gun, anti-personal protection, anti-liberty district attorney. Kudos, D.A. Hynes.
Sam Farr has done more in his six terms (about six too many) to undermine American sovereignty than former
General Secretary President Klinton did in his eight years in office.
“If the U.N. didn’t exist, we’d be inventing it right now,” Farr told the San Francisco Chronicle, calling the U.N. “the only way to build up the infrastructure around the globe for the human rights, labor, environmental conditions that are fair and equitable.”
Gee, Representative Farr, just like the U.N. is doing in Iraq right now? Like it did so successfully in Vietnam? Somalia? Rwanda?
“We’ve got to do everything in our power to make the U.N. the leadership body it was intended to be. … This president has no respect for the United Nations.”
Nor should he. Representative Farr, name one conflict the United Nations has successfully mediated to a resolution that benefited all of the people involved. You have until the next election, and if you need more time, I’m sure we can give you all you need.
After toppling Saddam Hussein with the assistance of about 40 other countries who formed a “coalition of the willing,” the U.S. returned to the Security Council this month to resume international diplomacy over the issue of sanctions. On Thursday, the 15-member council appeared to smooth the rift over Iraq by passing a resolution that approved the U.S.-led administration of the country.
Yes, after the U.S. and its allies did all the dirty work, the U.N. decides it wants to play ball.
“Reform of the U.N. is impossible. The U.N. and its agencies are fatally flawed,” maintains Phyllis Kaminsky, a U.S. delegate to the Human Rights Commission and a Reagan administration official.
Indeed. The U.N. has demonstrated its ineptitude in handling the Iraq situation, including its mismanagement of the entire oil-for-food program, which did little to put food on the table of a majority of Iraqis, while continuing to line Hussein’s pockets.
Oh, and regarding your income-tax payments this year:
“Americans should take notice when pro-U.N. forces in Washington recently spent $600,000 of taxpayers’ money to renovate the kitchen of the ambassador’s Waldorf-Astoria apartment,” Snyder said. “I bet Julia Child’s kitchen didn’t cost 600 grand.”
Colonel David Hackworth (USA-Retired) reports on the sissifying of the elite Army Rangers.
While the rest of the U.S. Army has lowered its standards to the point where seasoned war vets find today’s combat training a joke and the crusty salts who fought at Anzio, Osan and Dak To refer to what passes for most training as “an invitation to get killed,” Rangers have fought lowering the training bar and have consistently turned out hardened studs whom commanders in the field would fight to get.
That is until Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, the guy who runs Fort Benning today, was told by a few recent Ranger graduates that they were turned off by Ranger School because some of their RIs were meanies and actually yelled and cursed at them and even made them do pushups when they goofed up. Others complained in writing that they’d been sleep-deprived and that the training was too difficult.
For the record, the RIs—hardened vets who know what it takes to win and walk away alive—were merely following the battle-tested Darby practices of creating maximum stress, teaching attention to detail and passing on the proven tactics and techniques that have worked so splendidly for our Rangers in a bunch of bad scraps.
Just for the record, applying for and attending Ranger School is strictly a volunteer activity, just like joining the Army itself. If you’re not being physically abused or racially slandered, what are you complaining about? The old rumination on heat and the kitchen comes to mind.
One can only hope that Eaton is retired—er, retires, soon, before he gets any of our boys killed due to ill preparation and training.
Too often during Memorial Day ceremonies, we tend to overlook those who survive the men and women who sacrificed their all for our nation. Michelle Malkin takes a look at some of the different organizations that assist military survivors, along with contact information, should you wish to lend financial or other support.
On this Memorial Day, please take some time out to remember those who have sacrificed all on behalf of our nation, as well as those they have left behind.
Freedom is not free.
Despite ABC’s upcoming fall show of the same name, the real Threat Matrix is a document the President reads each morning.
The crux of their briefings is the document formally titled “Terrorist Threats to U.S. Interests Worldwide,” or more informally, the “Daily Threat Matrix.”
The document is “a list of every threat directed at the United States in the past 24 hours,” Mueller said.
Government officials familiar with the Matrix, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described it as a daily compendium of a few pages to 30 or more. Each threat is entered in tabular format, with those considered the most severe listed first.
Yet again, in light of all the whining coming from the Demobrats over the just-passed federal tax cut:
Did I happen to mention that unconstitutional spending causes deficits? Putting money back in to the pockets of those actually paying taxes, i.e., the top 50% of all those collecting a paycheck, does not constitute a deficit problem.
Speaking of those actually paying taxes, yes, these tax cuts favor “the rich,” if you consider a dual-income married couple with two kids bringing in around $125,00 a year “rich.” Those are the people actually paying taxes; a single-income married couple with two kids bringing in only $18,000 a year is paying very little, if any, income tax.
Stop your whining, your leftist sociocrats, and work toward cutting out those programs and departments that the federal government is unconstitutionally funding. And this goes for several members of the Republican party as well. Cut the pork, and the deficit will go down.
Speaking of bringing down the deficit, riddle me this: what was the Clinton administration doing to lead the country to better fiscal management? Clinton supporters have long pointed to how, during the Clinton administration, our federal government ran a “surplus.” Government should never have a surplus—it says either the government doesn’t have its fiscal priorities in order, or the citizenry is over-taxed, or both. Why wasn’t this surplus going toward paying down the national debt? That would have shown good financial sense.
So many blasting the New York Times, so little time…
The Times has now willingly abandoned its mantle as the “newspaper of record,” leapfrogging its impending technological obsolescence. It was already up against the Internet and Lexis-Nexis as a research tool. All the Times had left was its reputation for accuracy.
As this episode shows, the Times is not even attempting to preserve a reliable record of events. Instead of being a record of history, the Times is merely a “record” of what liberals would like history to be—the Pentagon in crisis, the war going badly, global warming melting the North Pole, and protests roiling Augusta National Golf Club. Publisher Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger has turned the paper into a sort of bulletin board for Manhattan liberals.
The Times says that this episode marks a “a low-point in the 152-year history of the newspaper.” For Times worshippers, this was an admirable admission of wrongdoing. But we skeptics want to know if this blow to the Times’ reputation outranked, say, the newspaper’s deliberate downplaying of the Holocaust?
Did this “journalistic fraud” exceed the Pulitzer-winning deception of Walter Duranty, the Times correspondent who explicitly lied about Stalin’s purges and forced famines? How about correspondent Herbert Matthews, who promised the world that the rebel-leader Fidel Castro wasn’t a communist, even as Castro slaughtered innocents and struck deals with the Soviets?
There’s nothing wrong with admitting that this Blair fiasco is a big deal, but no one died because of anything Blair wrote. It seems the egos of a few execs are on par with the deaths of millions.
Venerable Times columnist William Safire defended his employer and suggested that the Blair affair is allowing conservative critics to practice schadenfreude, what Germans call “the guilty pleasure one secretly takes in another’s suffering.” That’s clever and it might be true, except that the influence of the Times is such that when it fails, millions of innocent people suffer.
In the early 1930s, for example, Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty helped Joseph Stalin cover up a Soviet extermination campaign that claimed millions of lives, mostly in the Ukraine—and when other reporters told the truth, Duranty libeled them. In the late 1960s, the Times beat the pro-abortion drum so loudly that the Supreme Court began to listen, and the cost was many more millions of lives.
Blair’s misconduct was spectacular, but no one died because of it, so the Times has certainly had many lower points in the 152 years since Henry Raymond, a conservative Christian, founded it.
(Raymond would be turning over in his grave, as the saying goes.)
That is why this was not just an isolated scandal but a sign of moral dry rot in the leadership of the New York Times.
Again, the paper’s own account is the most damning. Far from not knowing what was going on, the Times acknowledges that “various editors and reporters expressed misgivings about Mr. Blair’s reporting skills, maturity and behavior during his five-year journey from raw intern to reporter on national news events. Their warnings centered mostly on errors in his articles.”
More than a year ago, one of the Times’s own editors wrote a memo that said plainly: “We have got to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right Now.” Instead, Blair was promoted to national news coverage.
And on it goes…
Brian has a good analysis and links of the infamous 9th Circuit Court’s refusal for a full court hearing on California’s “assault” weapons ban.
By definition, an “assault” weapon is one capable of fully automatic fire; full-auto firearms are illegal to own anywhere in the U.S. unless you have a Class III Federal Firearms License. The fact that a firearm may look like an “assault” weapon doesn’t make it one, despite how the news media continues to call semi-automatic (one squeeze of the trigger, one shot) firearms “assault” weapons.
I hope and pray that the Supreme Court does hear this case, and rules it as the individual Constitutional right it is. Yes, the fact is that the Second Amendment is an individual right. Read your Federalist Papers; all of the Founding Fathers believed this to be so.
Why would they place a state right within nine other individual rights? And place it so highly in status? The Second is for individuals, not the states, and not for the state.
Jon Dougherty has an outstanding piece on the Supreme Court’s recent unconstitutional ruling of the Ten Commandments display case in Kentucky.
Retired USAF Major Brian Shul delivered an address at March AFB on Veteran’s Day 2001. Powerful stuff:
Yes, I believe God has blessed this nation in many ways, although sometimes we forget just how fortunate we really are…and now, after a horrific attack on our homeland, we find ourselves embattled in a war once again. And yet, there are many who seem unsure of the response we should take. Today, we honor so many who have given their lives, in defense of this country…row upon row of tombstones, silent vigils to their ultimate sacrifice. If the dead could speak today, they would tell you that all it takes for evil to succeed in the world if for good people to stand by and do nothing. They would emphatically declare to you that you negotiate with the enemy with your knee in his chest and your knife at his throat. And they would remind you that those who forget their history, are condemned to repeat it.
We are a nation guilty of forgetting these lessons. Had we learned them better, our cemeteries would be less full.
We fought a Cold War for so long, that perhaps we became weary and complacent, and when we won that war, we became soft. We indulged ourselves in the notion that the world was all-safe, and we thought a booming economy was ample substitute for a strong military. Did we really think electing self-serving politicians would make us stronger as a nation? Somehow we came to accept the notion that freedom was free. It never has been. The price of freedom has always been eternal vigilance. We need to understand that there are those in the world who would destroy us because our way of life threatens their quest for world domination.
I’m a Bob Dole conservative, with a score of 35 out of 40.
Take the test and leave your score in the comments.
They said chemical weapons would be used against our troops. That didn’t happen. They predicted huge civilian casualties. That didn’t happen. They said Americans would turn against the war as our troops came home in body bags. That didn’t happen. They warned of a mammoth terrorist attack in America if we invaded Iraq. That didn’t happen. Just two weeks ago, they claimed American troops were caught in another Vietnam quagmire. That didn’t happen. Now the biggest mishap liberals can seize on is that some figurines from an Iraqi museum were broken—a relief to college students everywhere who have ever been forced to gaze upon Mesopotamian pottery. We’re not talking about Rodins here. So the Iraqis looted. Oh well. Wars are messy. Liberalism is part of a religious disorder that demands a belief that life is controllable.
“The London Guardian found documents showing Paris fed intelligence to Baghdad before the war. Iraq got diplomatic secrets and military guidance from France. Who else could have taught the Iraqis how to lose their entire country in two weeks?” —Argus Hamilton
Another trailer, this time for the Sam Jackson-Colin Farrell-LL Cool J-Michelle Rodriguez vehicle, S.W.A.T. Loosely based on the 1970s television show of the same name (apparently the only similarity is an updated theme song), it looks pretty good. This was one of my favorite shows when I was about four or five years old.
For the uninitiated, S.W.A.T. stands for Special Weapons And Tactics. The first S.W.A.T. team in the United States was fielded by the Los Angeles Police Department, and next to the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), they are considered the elite such force in the nation. (Of non-military units, that is. The Army’s Delta Force and SEAL Team Six are also antiterrorist units, but are used for overseas operations.)
All of the above units are modeled on the antiterrorist division of the British SAS (Special Air Service), which remained secret until Operation Nimrod, the 1980 Iranian Embassy hostage siege in London, which was broadcast worldwide.
Yes, Virginia, there are still people who believe that there were no ties between bin Laden’s al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. I wonder what they’ll say about the Iraqi secret police documents just discovered that refute that claim, that show Saddam actually met with an al-Qaida operative and sought out a meeting with bin Laden himself?
First it was Afghanistan, where the U.S. military accomplished in less than three months what the former Soviet Union failed to do in a decade. In the process, we ousted a terrorism-supporting regime and installed a democratic form of government.
Then it was Iraq, where the greatest military force in the world took over a country the size of California in under three weeks, liberating its people from an oppressive dictator bent on supplying terrorists with weapons of mass destruction.
Tomorrow, Syria? North Korea? Iran? France?
Whatever terrorism-supporting regime we take down next, be sure to nab your official Bush Regime Change Tour merchandise!
Brought to you by the new United Nations: Inefficient. Ineffectual. Irrelevant.
(Major thanks and kudos to Rick for the idea!)
“Welcome to the new preschool curriculum: play dough, finger painting and pacifism 101.”
Saddam Hussein was providing about US $1.5 million a month to various Palestinian agents and supporters, and now that money channel is cut off. And none too soon.
Let’s get this straight:
1. The PLO began as a terrorist organization, and continues to be a terrorist organization, directly or indirectly threatening the security of the state of Israel.
2. Israel is not “occupying” any piece of land it did not rightfully gain as the result of the wars launched against it since the modern Israeli state came in to existence in 1948. Wars Israel did not provoke, did not seek out, but wars Israel won nonetheless. If you have a problem with the fact that Israel owns the Gaza Strip and other areas, then point your questions to Jordan, Syria, Egypt, the PLO, Hamas, et al.
I’m not saying the Israelis are blameless in all of this, and their overall treatment of the Palestinians could be better. But the fact you have to remember is that the Palestinians, as well as most other Arab nations, are not interested in an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. They have wanted, since 1948, and to this day, the utter annihilation of the state of Israel and the Jewish people. That’s their idea of peace in the Middle East.
It may have taken 18 years, but the U.S. has captured Abu Abbas, the mastermind of the 1985 Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking. Abbas is wanted for the murder of wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer, who was dumped overboard still in his chair.
U.S. troops and the intelligence community are also seeking out Abdul Rahman Yasin, wanted for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Yasin is yet one more terrorist known to have gained “asylum” in Saddam’s Iraq.
U.S. Marines have located a complex of tunnels underneath an Iraqi nuclear complex—apparently missed by U.N. weapons inspectors—discovering a vast array of warehouses and bombproof offices that could contain the “smoking gun” sought by intelligence agencies, reported the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. […] Chief Warrant Officer Darrin Flick, the battalion’s nuclear, biological and chemical warfare specialist, said radiation levels were particularly high at a place near the complex where local residents say the “missile water” is stored in mammoth caverns. “It’s amazing,” Flick said. “I went to the off-site storage buildings, and the rad detector went off the charts. Then I opened the steel door, and there were all these drums, many, many drums, of highly radioactive material.”More proof of an increasingly incompetent and irrelevant U.N.? Or perfectly innocent?
This underground discovery could still test to be perfectly legitimate and offer no proof of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. The CIA encouraged international inspectors in the fall of 2002 to probe Al Tuwaitha for weapons of mass destruction, and the inspectors came away empty-handed.Time will tell as the materials are tested.
Iraq is free from Saddam’s tyranny.
It never ceases to amaze me how people can find ways to amuse themselves, even during times of danger, blood, and death.
I still want one!
Reuters notes that NPR is reporting U.S. Marines have discovered 20 BM-21 missiles loaded with sarin and mustard gas. The Marines were working, alongside members of the 101st Airborne, a mop-up operation behind Army units that had taken the Baghdad International Airport.
Let’s see: Operation Iraqi Freedom began a little over two weeks ago. Coalition forces have discovered numerous weapons caches wherein NBC suits and antitoxin vaccines were stored, over the weekend coalition forces discovered canisters which may contain chemical WMDs (still being tested), and now the Marines have come across the BM-21s.
United Nations weapons inspectors, on the other hand, were in Iraq for eight years, and discovered nothing?
“This regime change brought to you by the new United Nations: Ineffective. Inadequate. Irrelevant.”
UPDATE: WorldNetDaily is reporting that the presence of sarin has been detected and soldiers and civilians are being decontaminated. (11:53 A.M.)
(Mucho grande gracias to Ricky.)
Zeldman calls it. Disney is not your friend.
WBAP is reporting this morning:
Earthquakes are being reported in France in over 10 different major areas. These earthquakes are measuring in at over 10 on the Richter Scale.
The source of the earthquakes is being reported as the 56,681 dead Americans buried in France have rolled over in their graves.
Is it too much to ask, then, that France return the favor in liberating Iraq?
Speaking of the Fighting Tigers, several of the 500 members of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 769th Engineer Battalion are LSU students and alumni. The 769th was deployed to Afghanistan over the summer and fall of 2002.
Thanks to the members of the 769th for their service, and Geaux Tigers!
Doubtful that it will actually happen, but the California Secretary of State has cleared the way for a recall of Governor Gray Davis. Best of luck to the recall advocates.
So, by the Academy’s own definition, Bowling for Colombine isn’t a documentary. Yet it is nominated, and wins, an Academy Award. Ok, fine, the “documentary” supposedly supports a political opinion of a majority of Academy members, so we’ll just overlook that.
And while frustrating, if that was the only problem, it wouldn’t be that big a deal. Unfortunately, the film is a complete falsehood that distorts the truth, fabricates material, and outright lies to the audience.
What is mildly amusing is that while many anti-gun groups are congratulating Moore on his Oscar win, the conclusion of the film determines that the problem isn’t with guns, but people. Gee, you think?
I believe these pictures, provided by the ultra-left-leaning, obviously anti-law enforcement, SF Indymedia branch, are sufficient to show that the anti-war protesters are interested in anything but peace.
Your right to protest stops at advocating murder/desertion/treason. And if you truly believed in what you were out advocating, why are you hiding behind masks and bandanas?
Something I forgot to note in the previous jury duty posts, but I thought worth mentioning: the judge overseeing the case we sat for, Joe Briggs, sent a handwritten thank-you note to each juror. I’m not sure if that’s Denton County policy, or simply Judge Briggs’s, but I thought it a nice touch.
Just to wrap up the “Jury Duty” saga: we concluded the trial this past Thursday, deliberating for about 10 minutes, and we found the defendant not guilty.
Essentially, it sounds like a case of road rage that could have gone just as much to the “victim” as the defendant. All of us on the jury suspect there is more to both sides of the story than what we were told via testimony. The behavior of the defendant described by the “victim” was not in line with the defendant’s demeanor when he was stopped and questioned by police officers, two of whom testified at trial. The defendant was also not arrested at the time of said stop, which goes a long way toward his not being the immediate threat the “victim” made him out to be. He was actually called a day later by a detective and was asked to turn himself in, which he did.
For us, the state didn’t provide enough evidence to remove reasonable doubt, and thus, we had to acquit. It was one man’s word against another, with no other evidence to support the charge. I feel justice prevailed.
Whether or not you are in favor of the war with the Hussein regime, at least say thank you to the troops who are there in your place: Defend America Thank You.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” —Thomas Paine
“This flag…the symbol of the hopes of man. This cloth of dreams for freedom, justice and opportunity. Its stars like beacons guiding us through shoals of adversity. Its red stripes like wounds of struggle.
“The good in it cannot be had for nothing…like any garden, it must be tended…like any loved one it must be held. Hold high this flag and keep its promise bright, for in it lies the best of hope for all of us.” —Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey creator
Bombs over Baghdad tonight (tomorrow morning in Iraq). Apparently, intelligence on targets of opportunity was such that cruise missiles and F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters were launched at limited targets of Iraqi leadership.
Apparently, the U.S. military has jammed and co-opted Iraqi State Radio, and is now making statements in Arabic to the people of Iraq.
London’s Evening Standard is reporting on a firefight that broke out between Iraqi forces in Basra and members of the British Special Boat Service (think SEALs) and U.S. Marines.
Thanks to Dan for the link.
Trial was going pretty good this morning. Got through 4 witnesses, then the defendant had some kind of seizure (I think maybe diabetic/blood sugar), and court was recessed until 9 AM Thursday. So I get to “enjoy” a day at work tomorrow!
I made the cut; I’m one of the six jurors for this misdemeanor trial starting later this morning. The defendant is charged with Deadly Conduct. From what I gathered during voir dire, it sounds like he was either waving around or pointing a handgun at another man. Should be interesting.
So I reported for jury duty this morning, fully expecting to sit around all day while they waded through the list. This based on horror stories of jury duty from friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
Denton County, thankfully, does things a little differently than our Dallas brethren. About 250 prospective jurors showed up this morning. After being sworn in by one of the judges and being given a rundown on qualifications and exemptions, the district clerk informed us that the courts needed 232 jurors to fill all of its panels today. That meant 18 lucky folks were walking out of there. I was not one of those 18.
The first case was a felony, and they needed 42 people from the panel, of which the attorneys on either side would whittle down to 12. These first 42 totally lucked out, since as the clerk was getting ready to call their names, she received word the trial had been cancelled/postponed. The next 2 sets of jurors were also for felonies, 42 each. Then came a set of 24 for a misdemeanor trial. Then a set of 20 for another misdemeanor. The room was thinning out; were the odds of getting called getting better or worse? (Didn’t really matter; computer system had kicked out the various lists, completely at random, minutes before, after all jurors had reported in.)
On the 3d misdemeanor trial, my name was called. The good news was that I didn’t have to report to the courtroom until 1pm. Not enough time to go in to the office for a bit, too much time to hang around the courthouse. So I came home for a while. I’ll head back about noon, 1 out of 24, and they’ll take 6 of us.
I don’t really mind one way or the other. Thankfully, my employer pays me if I’m at work or jury duty, and I donated my $6/$10 a day ($10 if you actually sit on a jury, otherwise $6 for reporting for service) to the Boys & Girls Club of Denton County. It’s a misdemeanor trial, which means it shouldn’t go more than a day or two. Should be interesting to see what happens later this afternoon.
So later this morning I’ll be heading out to report for jury duty. Like most folks, it’s not something I’m looking forward to, but it’s one of our duties as citizens, and one I take seriously. So much so that I test drove the route earlier tonight, to ensure that I would arrive on time. Hey, if I were a defendant awaiting trial, I’d want people who took it seriously in the jury pool, too, even if they didn’t really want to be there.
This is just disgraceful. Utterly disgraceful.
Get it through your neanderthal-thick skulls, slugheads: men and women in uniform do not decide whether to go to war or not. They follow orders given by civilian commanders to do so. Focus your anger where it belongs, and respect those who serve in your place.
Charles Krauthammer delivers good advice to President Bush:
Walk away, Mr. President. Walk away from the U.N. Security Council. It will not authorize the coming war. You can stand on your head and it won’t change the outcome. You can convert to Islam in a Parisian mosque and it won’t prevent a French veto.
If you must have a second resolution, it should consist of a single sentence: “The Security Council finds Iraq in violation of Resolution 1441, which demanded ‘full and immediate compliance by Iraq without conditions or restrictions.’ “
If the one-line resolution passes, the violation triggers 1441, which triggers the original resolutions ending the Gulf War. If it fails, you’ve exposed the United Nations for what it is: the League of Nations, empty, cynical and mendacious. Mr. President: Call the vote and walk away.
Like Krauthammer says, no more dithering. Actions speak louder than words, and the UN isn’t delivering anything but empty pronouncements.
Coming in under the radar Monday was this report that the United Nations has redesigned its logo and has a new motto.
Even members of Congress are beginning to call them “freedom fries,” and even “freedom toast.” (Yes, I know French fries aren’t really French.)
You can always count on programmers to be logical. (Well, good ones, anway.) Gary Robinson sallies forth:
Saddam is today in a position where he is very, very likely to be attacked, and he is still not giving inspectors the facts. If he is not doing so now, the trivial added circumstance of the U.S. having the Security Council’s permission is obviously not going to make a significant difference to Iraq’s choices.
Terrified Iraqi soldiers have crossed the Kuwait border and tried to surrender to British forces—because they thought the war had already started. […] The stunned Paras from 16 Air Assault Brigade were forced to tell the Iraqis they were not firing at them, and ordered them back to their home country telling them it was too early to surrender.It’s both funny and sad. I hope these guys do the sensible thing when the shooting really does start; Saddam’s not worth dying for.
Twenty thousand people go to a baseball game, but the game was rained out. A refund was then due. The team was about to mail refunds when the Congressional Democrats stopped them and suggested that they send out refund amounts based on the Democrat National Committee’s interpretation of fairness. After all, if the refunds were made based on the price each person paid for the tickets, most of the money would go to the wealthiest ticket holders. That would be unconscionable. The DNC Plan says:
1. People in the $10 seats will get back $15, because they have less money to spend. Call it an “Earned Income Ticket Credit.” Persons “earn” it by demonstrating little ambition, few skills and poor work habits, thus keeping them at entry-level wages.
2. People in the $25 seats will get back $25, because that’s only fair.
3. People in the $50 seats will get back $1, because they already make a lot of money and don’t need a refund. If they afford a $50 ticket, then they must not be paying enough taxes.
4. People in the $75 luxury seats will have to pay another $50, because they have way to much to spend.
5. The people driving by the stadium who couldn’t afford to watch the game will get $10 each, even though they didn’t pay anything in, because they need the most help.
“Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace.” —Thomas Jefferson
I thought President Bush raised two very important points during the press conference regarding Saddam and the United Nations.
One, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441 calling for Saddam’s immediate and total disarmament. Has Saddam committed to this? The answer is no, end of story.
Two, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441. Why now are four members of the Security Council refusing to enforce disarmament of the Hussein regime? Can they honestly say that Saddam Hussein has abided by Resolution 1441? Can anyone?
Don’t think of starting with “look at the missiles he’s destroyed so far.” Nineteen missiles. Nineteen, out of of one hundred. Destruction which is nothing more than a delaying tactic. Destruction that would not be happening without the quarter of a million troops stationed around the borders of Iraq. Can you honestly tell me that the destruction of nineteen missiles is the result solely because of the presence of weapons inspectors? Puh-leeze.
You do not have a constitutional right to a job or free/cheap health care, and it is not the job of the federal, state, or local government to provide you with either.
So students protesting against the war may continue to do so, but please don’t make the above cases. The first and foremost duty of the federal government is the protection of our nation from enemies foreign and domestic. Taking out Saddam falls into this category.
Government doesn’t “create jobs,” a phrase I’m sick of hearing from the mouths of politicians, including our President (whom I support, in case you haven’t guessed). The only thing government can do is affect the economy in such a way that it is stimulated to the point that the private sector grows, leading to higher employment. One good way to do this is by lowering and eliminating taxes.
Lower tax revenue inevitably means government will have to look at the things it funds and make hard choices. Defense of our nation is not a hard choice; it is a vital responsibility and should be funded accordingly (Dan’s comment re: un-needed weapons systems notwithstanding). Things like Social Security, Medicare — including the President’s proposed prescription drug aid, the Dept. of Education, funding to the United Nations, the IMF, et al, should and could be eliminated.
None of the above programs has benefited the American citizenry in the long term. They have made us more dependent, individually, upon the federal government, and restricted our sovereignty as a nation. Our country will be better after we cast off these oppressive, and unconstitutional, items.
And for crying out loud, tax cuts do not cause deficits! Spending causes deficits!
Yes, Virginia, beginning this fall, you can have your own wallet of rainbow-colored twenties…
The new bills will be introduced on 27 March, and enter circulation in the fall.
(props to Jim)
A six-year-old boy has been suspended for having a plastic knife in his bookbag at school. A plastic knife he obtained in the school cafeteria. As the WSJ’s OpinionJournal states, “No doubt the Struthers [Elementary School] lunch lady will soon be indicted for arms trafficking.”
The six-year-old student wanted to take the plastic knife home to show his mom that he could butter his toast.
Donna Long, the boy’s mother, states that while she was essentially forced to sign a form that Kevin was “showing other students in class [the knife],” the principal never stated that this was the case. Ms. Long also wonders, if her first-grade son was such a threat, why the police weren’t notified.
School administrations need to wake up and smell the reality that not every student is a Colombine waiting to happen.
Asked by Andrew Cuomo to pen an essay for a book on the future of the Democratic Party, Peggy Noonan, former Democrat, has delivered in spades.
This essay is utterly brilliant. I honestly hope the Demos take heed. Really.
I believe we need the Democratic Party to be better than it is, to spur the Republican Party to be better than it is, and vice versa. Kind of like how the computer industry needs Apple to be at the top of its game to push the rest of the industry forward.
Unfortunately, if the Demos are true to form, Noonan will be attacked by leftist whackos who are not interested in honest, constructive criticism.
(major kudos to Rick)
It’s been floating around the ether for a while, but it bears repeating:
Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day, ten men go out for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:
The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh $7.
The eighth $12.
The ninth $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20.”
So now dinner for the ten only cost $80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still eat for free. But what about the other six, the paying customers? How could they divvy up the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his “fair share?”
The six men realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being “paid” to eat their meal. So the restaurant owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to eat for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. “I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth. “But he got $10!”
“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than me!”
“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!” The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.
The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!
And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table anymore.
(with thanks to Ricky for the email)
“More than a billion dollars a year of federal aid for after-school programs in 7,500 public schools nationwide has not helped most children academically, a federally funded study concluded. Children who attend after-school activities at public elementary and middle schools are more likely to encounter bullies, vandals, thieves and drug users than those who do not, said the study, conducted for the U.S. Education Department.”The federal government has only one duty when it comes to the education of our children, and that is to ensure that none are discriminated against for their race, religion, or creed. You know, one of those things the federal government is constitutionally supposed to do. Funds sent to the Education Department black hole via taxes would be better spent in the states and municipalities from whence they come. This, in turn, would help weaken the horrendous National Educational Association, which seems to be interested in everything except actually teaching our kids:
“Public schools are run by the National Educational Association. They are not run by people you can hold accountable, such as teachers, superintendents and school boards. The NEA opposes merit pay, charter schools, and any decision by any school administrator that has not been determined in advance by collective bargaining. Simply put, the NEA opposes everything except its own power. “…Meanwhile, kids aren’t learning. The vocabulary of the average American 14-year-old has dropped from 25,000 words to 10,000. San Francisco Examiner reporter Emily Gurnon asked teenagers to identify the country from which America won its independence. Among the answers: ‘Japan or something, China. Somewhere out there on the other side of the world.’ ‘It wouldn’t be Canada, would it?’ ‘I don’t know; I don’t even, like, have a clue.’ ‘I want to say Korea. I’m tripping.’ “…The problem, says (author Peter) Brimelow, is that the NEA is the backbone of the Democratic Party and public education is a government monopoly. …If the NEA is to be undone, its undoing will come from parents and teachers deserting the schools. Homeschoolers, without benefit of fancy facilities, science labs, and huge expenditures of money, outscore public school students.” —Paul Craig Roberts
“Frankly, when my family’s income goes down, so does our spending as we tighten our belts. Why is it that government believes its spending of our money should always go up, in good times and in bad? Why shouldn’t government have to go on a diet just like the rest of us when hit with a reduction in income?” —Chuck Muth
“Americans objecting to the anti-war rhetoric of Hollywood celebrities are no longer remaining silent, but are starting to fight back with their own grass-roots offensive.”
Take note of the AOL poll mentioned: over 400,000 respondents. That’s a poll; you can be sure there is a wide demographic represented, unlike most CNN/USA Today/NBC/ABC/Wall Street Journal, et al, polls that are lucky to count 1,000 persons.
Be sure to check out Hollywood Halfwits.
Finally, I can’t wait to see Fred Thompson’s pro-war rebuttal to “Left Wing” Martin Sheen this weekend…
“After voting in favor of the war with Iraq right before the November elections, Sen. Hillary Clinton never had another kind word to say for the war. Just a few weeks ago, Sen. Clinton gave an interview on Irish TV in which she said she opposed precipitous action against Iraq. She said Bush should give the U.N. weapons inspectors more time. “Hillary did not object to precipitous action against Iraq when her husband bombed it on the day of his scheduled impeachment. President Clinton attacked Saddam Hussein without first asking approval from the United Nations, the U.S. Congress or even France. But now we have a president who wants to attack Iraq for purposes of national security rather than his own personal interests, and Hillary thinks he’s being rash. President Bush has gotten a war resolution from Congress, yet another U.N. Security Council resolution, and we’ve been talking about this war for 14 months. But he’s being precipitous. “When Clinton bombed Iraq to delay his impeachment, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle was ablaze with war fever. Daschle said: ‘This is a time to send Saddam Hussein as clear a message as we know how to send that we will not tolerate the broken promises and the tremendous acceleration of development of weapons that we’ve seen time and time again in Iraq.’ Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said of the impeachment bombing: ‘Month after month, we have given Iraq chance after chance to move from confrontation to cooperation, and we have explored and exhausted every diplomatic action. We will see now whether force can persuade Iraq’s misguided leaders to reverse course and to accept at long last the need to abide by the rule of law and the will of the world.’ “Now here we are, more than four years later, Saddam still hasn’t complied with U.N. resolutions, and America has been attacked by Islamic crazies—and these same Democrats think Bush is acting impulsively. Democrats are always hawks in the off-season. They’re all for war, provided it has nothing to do with America’s security.”
You know, go ahead and protest potential war with Saddam Hussein’s regime. But when you take it out on little kids just because their parents are in the National Guard, you’re stepping over the line. Further comment withheld due to incensed author.
“If liberals cared about ideas or knew any facts, they would cease being liberals. Even the audience for the left’s government-supported radio network, National Public Radio, has more conservative listeners than liberal listeners. According to a Pew Research Center study released last summer, conservatives consume far more news than liberals—including listening to NPR and watching PBS more than liberals. (As Mickey Kaus said, ‘No wonder conservatives are so pissed off.’) “Liberalism thrives on ignorance. Their media are ‘Lifetime: TV for Women,’ NBC’s ‘The West Wing’ and 4 billion ‘Law and Order’ episodes in which the perp turns out to be a Christian, white male who recites the Second Amendment before disemboweling a poor minority child. “Liberal persuasion consists of the highbrow sneer from self-satisfied snobs ladled out for people with a 40 IQ. This is not an ideology that can withstand several hours a day of caller scrutiny where their goofball notions can be shot down by any truck driver with a cell phone.”I don’t know why my wife watches “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue,” et al, when she spends half the episode complaining how the cops twist citizens’ rights to gather evidence and/or get a confession. No, she’s not a criminal attorney, but yes, she is a lawyer and remembers all of this good constitutional stuff from law school. (Thanks, Rick!)
Doing the right thing is oftentimes not the easy thing to do. With regard to Saddam Hussein, President Bush’s course of action is the right thing to do, though it certainly isn’t easy. This is counter to the Clinton model of executive leadership, always putting a finger to the wind to test popular opinion. What amazing foresight Winston Churchill had:
“Nothing is more dangerous in wartime than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature.”
This is why President Bush is also not listening to the “news” media and the peace protestors (whom with, again, I have no problem regarding exercising their right to protest, rather with their reasons). Despite what the “news” media would have you believe, the current peace movement does not reflect the popular will of the American people. Even if it did, that still wouldn’t make it right.
“The Founders understood that democracy was important, but if you didn’t filter it through a republican system you’d be just as likely to end up with a tyranny of the majority as you would with a healthy society. Don’t worry, I won’t quote the Federalist Papers, but trust me, it’s in there.” —Jonah Goldberg
The “news” media and peace protestors would be wise to hearken this advice, as well:
“We do need to remind everybody that tyrants don’t respond to any kind of appeasement. Tyrants don’t respond to negotiation. Tyrants respond to toughness. And that was true in the 1930s and 1940s when we failed to respond to tyranny, and it is true today.” —Condoleezza Rice, U.S. National Security Advisor, over this past weekend
Tyrants don’t respond to peace protests and sycophant “news” media in other nations as well. At least not in any way that would make them less of a tyrant.
A study by Washington University (of St. Louis, MO), published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, of 311 Australian twin pairs, concludes that teenage pot users are five times more likely to use or abuse cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, sedatives, or alcohol. The study was undertaken to prove the opposite.
Sorry, NORML. Keep trying to spin the positive aspects of marijuana. I’m sure Woody Harrelson needs something to do with all of his copious spare time.
You have to admire and respect a conservative startup at one of the bastions of leftist thinking. They give away the 4,000 copies they print to Berkeley students, and have no advertising, relying on donations.
Some times, real life is just too much fun to have to make up fiction.
(Yes, I know I’m paraphrasing; sue me. Thanks, Jim.)
Riddle me this: what good is it to have U-2 flights over Iraq, in the hope of locating production and storage facilities for weapons of mass destruction, if we’re going to tell the Iraqis when the plane flies and where it goes?!?!?
What is it with the “news” media and the hippie-throwback peaceniks out there? Oh, Saddam and the Iraqi government are making all of these concessions; we certainly can’t go to war now. We must give the inspectors more time. We must extend the time for inspections to continue. Why?
I have yet to hear one good reason why. Let’s see: Hans Blix, in his report Friday, called for more inspections. Gee, that couldn’t possibly be because he is a weapons inspector, could it? There’s great job security in being a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq; they’ve been working there off and on for more than 10 years. You find myriad violations of 1441 and earlier resolutions, passed by the very body you work for, yet your answer is not to punish the offending government, but rather to push for inspections to continue. How idiotic and foolish is this?
The U.N. itself, vis-a-vis Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is calling for yet another resolution to be passed before military force can be used against the Hussein regime. Why? Resolution 1441 already accounts for the need to use military force in the event of a material breech. I would say the illegal importation of 350 SA-2 rockets is a material breech. Saddam’s regime has declared only 8,500 liters of anthrax, while the U.N. inspection teams believe there are 25,000 liters. So we’re missing something on the order of 16,500 liters, with no proof of their destruction. Sounds like material breech. With each passing day, the United Nations shows how irrelevant is has become in international relations.
Pop quiz: name one conflict in the world the United Nations has successfully resolved without the use of some kind of military force since its inception. Good luck.
I’m still waiting for a President with the guts to not only pull the United States out of the now irrelevant United Nations, but NATO as well, and to stop the subsidization of an increasingly hostile-to-America U.N., giving them the boot from our soil. Let them go set up in France, Belgium, or Germany.
The “news” media and peaceniks are all running around congratulating Saddam on his joke of a presidential decree, as if such a promise from a known liar is worth the paper it’s printed on.
Speaking of all of the peace-love-and-happiness anti-war protestors, please allow me to congratulate you. You have managed to ingratiate yourselves with a mass murderer, with a man known for invading his neighbors and gassing his own citizens. I hope this makes you happy.
Oh, and that “smoking gun” you all keep whining about?
“[President Bush’s] critics demand a smoking gun [before attacking Iraq], but the problem with waiting till one is found is that a smoking gun has just been fired. It will be too late.” —Paul Greenberg
Please, get a clue.
This is not a war about oil. If America had oil-based imperalist aspirations in the Middle East, then we would have driven all the way to Baghdad in 1991, and stayed in Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia when we had the chance. And if it weren’t for the environmental extremists, many of whom are the same people “marching for peace,” the United States would be happily drilling all of the oil it needs itself.
Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction; he has used them in the past, both in the war with Iran and against his own citizens. No evidence has been provided by Hussein that he has ceased production of said weapons, nor has any evidence been provided that he has complied with international resolutions calling for those weapons’ destruction. Let us be perfectly clear: the burden of proof regarding destruction of any WMDs rests with Saddam Hussein, not the United Nations inspections teams or any other government. He has failed to provide this proof.
It has been proven that there is a link between the Hussein regime and al-Qaeda, the latter of which has sworn to do all it can to attack and harm the United States and its allies.
If you think that Hussein is not willing to supply WMDs to al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations willing to attack mutually perceived enemies, you are foolish and naive.
This is from an email sent to me, presumably posted by some radio personality, to show an illustration of the ongoing debate on how we should handle those who would terrorize and kill us:
Question: You’re walking down a deserted street with your wife and two small children. Suddenly, a dangerous looking man with a huge knife comes around the corner and is running at you while screaming obscenities. In your hand is a Glock .40 and you are an expert shot. You have mere seconds before he reaches you and your family. What do you do?
Well, that’s not enough information to answer the question! Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that is inspiring him to attack? Could we run away? What does my wife think? What about the kids? Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Is it possible he’d be happy with just killing me? Does he definitely want to kill me or would he just be content to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? This is all so confusing! I need to debate this with some friends for a few days to try to come to a conclusion.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! click… (sounds of magazine being ejected and fresh magazine installed)
Wife: “Sweetheart, he looks like he’s still moving, what do you kids think?”
Son: “Mom’s right Dad, I saw it too…”
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!
Daughter: “Nice grouping Daddy!”
On the February 12th “The View,” the ABC show created by Barbara Walters, former Good Morning America staffer and WABC Radio talk show host Joy Behar suggested some sort of nefarious doings by Bush operatives: “This is incredible timing. Really. I mean, here we are trying to find the link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, in comes the tape that exact day. The timing is better than Hugh Hefner finding Viagra at 78. You know what I’m saying? Here’s a man all his life, did whatever he wanted, and now that he’s old he has Viagra. Same idea.”
Former NBC News reporter Star Jones chimed in: “Really wagging the dog this time.”
Then Queen Latifah, who was nominated on Tuesday for an Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actress” for her role in the movie Chicago, wondered: “Don’t you want to know what’s real and what’s not? I remember when I was a kid, you know, this whole Cold War thing. They had us scared of the Russians. ‘The Russians, the Russians, the Russians.’ So it’s almost like what’s real and what’s not?”
Like anyone rational would trust her to know.
So, because we won the “Cold War thing” there never was a threat, millions didn’t die because of communism and no one was enslaved by Soviet expansionism?
—from the Media Research Center
And my wife wonders why I have no respect for any of these Hollywonks.
To wrap up Federalist coverage for today, I’d like to offer up my favorite results from their latest “Two Cents” reader feedback, wherein readers were asked to finish the sentence, “Going to war without the French is like…”
The following appeared in the 03-06 Digest of The Federalist:
By now you know that five of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia were U.S. military officers. The mission commander was Air Force Col. Rick D. Husband. Navy Cmdr. William C. McCool was the pilot of the Columbia. Also on board were Air Force Lt. Col. Michael P. Anderson, Navy Capt. (Dr.) David M. Brown and Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Laurel B. Clark. The death of all seven crew members was tragic, though given the indelible images of planeloads of civilians being flown into WTC1, WTC2 and the Pentagon, the shock of those horrible images of STS-107 falling from the sky was, somehow, benumbing.
One month ago, seven Marines were killed when their KC-130 fell from the sky in western Pakistan. Their names were not published by any media outlet. No network operating on a 24-hour news cycle had dramatic graphics and music to accompany endless special reports. No flags were flown at half mast, and many are scrambling to set up trust funds for their spouses and college funds for their children. Just two days before the STS-107 breakup, an Army UH-60 broke up in flight 12 clicks east of Bagram, Afghanistan, killing four servicemen aboard. Their names were never in print.
Our point, of course, is not to take away from the honor due and afforded the Columbia crew, but that same honor is no less due every one of our countrymen whose life is given in defense of our liberty. We grieve the loss of each and every one of these courageous Patriots, and our prayers go with their families.
I heartily second this assessment. Remember, respect, and honor our servicemen and women. Freedom is not free.
“Anyone who has ever been in a government office sees people sitting around doing little if any work. Yet these people are never the first target of government spending cuts. It is the front line police, firemen, teachers, etc.
“Yet there is never talk of eliminating some of the less essential elements of government in response to shortfalls in revenue. The politicians seem to go out of their way to make sure that any proposed cuts in government spending are going to be painful. This amounts to punishment of voters for opposing the will of the politicians.
“Unfortunately this is totally backwards. Government is elected to serve the people. Our Constitution was carefully written to avoid just this type of thing. Monarchs (believe that they) rule by divine right and the people are subservient to their rules. Communist dictators, military dictators, Islamic dictators all believe that power starts with them and only flows to the people in the quantities that they allow. Our system is supposed to be the opposite.
“The politicians need to please the voters not the other way around. If we allow politicians to threaten or punish voters who displease them we are walking straight into the arms of tyranny.” —Philip Safran
“Tony Blair said he and President Bush prefer another UN resolution before a war in Iraq. Their problem is the Security Council. France might command more respect if the French Ambassador didn’t always vote against war with both hands in the air.” —Argus Hamilton
Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. The Great Emancipator was fond of saying that God created all men as equal, and proved as such with the Emancipation Proclamation, and laying the foundation for what would become the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
An evil Republican, Lincoln did more for the black American than any Democrat of his time. They were too busy seceding from the Union and keeping the black American chained in slavery. Lincoln also signed in to law the act of Congress which placed the motto “In God We Trust” on our national currency. Lincoln didn’t have a problem with this because he was educated enough to know that there is no such thing as the separation of church and state, since he was familiar with the principles upon which our nation was founded.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President. May we not squander the legacy you left us, so “that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
You have to love the Left. When it comes to liberating the Iraqi people, ousting a sociopathic dictator in possession of weapons of mass destruction, hunting down and exterminating terrorists bent on the destruction of the United States, and Western civilization in general, we are “not at war.” They claim it’s not a “real war,” since Congress has not declared such. Right. Like Congress can declare war on a relatively faceless entity with no geographic boundaries (al-Qaeda). Or if we go to war in Iraq, President Bush doesn’t have the authority because Congress hasn’t declared war on Iraq. Gee, just like Kennedy and Johnson in Vietnam, right Demos?
Oh, but let the conversation turn to money, and specifically taxes, and the Left suddenly reverses course:
“If Bush is a serious war President he would increase taxes. This is a time for sacrifices. This is a real war and we need money to pay for it.” —Evan Thomas
So evidently we are at war, so long as half of the citizens of this country are forced to carry a larger tax burden while the other half contributes nothing.
I have an idea for Mr. Thomas (Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, by the way): how about the federal government end funding of unconstitutional social programs and departments like midnight basketball leagues, the Department of Education, the Social Security Administration, foreign aid to “allies” like France and Germany, and our subsidization of the “United” Nations. Then the government of the United States would have the money to pursue its primary constitutional duty, the defense of our nation “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
“Meanwhile, the peacenik predisposition of the other Continentals is a useful cover for French ambition. Last year Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish Prime Minister, declared that ‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’ This sounds insane. But, to France, it has a compelling logic. You can’t beat the Americans on the battlefield, but you can tie them down limb by limb in the UN and other supranational bodies.
“In other words, this is the war, this is the real battlefield, not the sands of Mesopotamia. And, on this terrain, Americans always lose. Either they win but get no credit, as in Afghanistan. Or they win a temporary constrained victory to be subverted by subsequent French machinations, as in the last Gulf War. This time round, who knows? But through it all France is admirably upfront in its unilateralism: It reserves the right to treat French Africa as its colonies, Middle Eastern dictators as its clients, the European Union as a Greater France and the UN as a kind of global condom to prevent the spread of Americanization. All this it does shamelessly and relatively effectively.” —Mark Steyn
Yet another instance where I am ashamed to share a surname with this moronic windbag:
Monday morning on Today, however, Turner maintained that Iraq is “too small to pose a threat” to the U.S. and kept up the usual liberal mantra about how poverty fuels terrorism as he told Matt Lauer that “trying to make it a better world is my top priority. A more equitable world, that’s really the best way to combat terrorism is to, is to build a world where nobody’s angry enough to want to be a terrorist.”
You can read the full analysis here. I’d like to see poverty erased from this planet as much as the next person, but you don’t go about it in a way that smacks of communism. We have seen that experiment fail in our lifetime, yet people still think it is the answer.
Jim shared via email:
“As income tax time approaches, did you ever notice that when you put the two words ‘The’ and ‘IRS’ together it spells ‘THEIRS?’”
Former President Ronald Reagan is 92 today. Major retrophisch well wishes to President and Mrs. Reagan.
“mobile biological weapons labs”
“some followers of a senior associate of Osama bin Laden are currently in the Iraqi capital, with the approval of Saddam”
To paraphrase Secretary Powell, not once has Hussein proven that any WMD he is known to possess has been destroyed. For the hard-of-understanding among you (read: “liberals”), just because a known liar says he has destroyed a weapon of mass destruction, and you find no evidence of said weapon of mass destruction, doesn’t mean said liar has destroyed said weapon of mass destruction. It just means it isn’t where it used to be.
I have pondered authoring an essay on how it is the Democrats, in fact, who have long favored racial discrimination, and not Republicans, but why go through all the trouble when someone has already done it for me?
We’ve been getting calls pretty steady all morning from friends and family, making sure we’re ok since all the reports have the Columbia breaking up over north Texas.
The shuttle broke up south of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, and local stations are using weather radar to track the debris field, which is now south and east of the D/FW metroplex, beginning around Nagodoches and moving slightly south and east through Rusk, TX, into western Louisiana.
I had heard on the news last night that the shuttle would be visible this morning, but forgot to mention it to my wife so we could set the alarms earlier than normal. A friend in Boston woke us up with a phone call to make sure we were ok, and that was the first we heard of it.
I recall a science demonstration at our high school in the mid-to-late 1980s where a guy had a blowtorch going on a space shuttle tile throughout his entire program. At the end, he had a student come up, removed the blowtorch, and dared the student to touch the tile. Trent (I remember his name!) was a little hesitant, but did touch it, and he reported it was completely cool.
Major Texas connections on this Columbia flight: Commander Rick Husband was from Amarillo, Pilot William McCool was from Lubbock, and mission specialist Kalpana Chawla was the 2d graduate of the University of Texas-Arlington to go into space.
Like many, I have now witnessed Columbia’s first flight into space, and it’s last return. Certainly, this is not the type of return anyone would have wanted. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the seven souls lost on the Columbia.
UPDATE (12:15pm CST): Lee has more thoughts and info.
My friends know that in general I detest Dennis Miller, but he made an excellent point regarding the ACLU on the Tonight Show this week:
“The ACLU spent this entire holiday season protesting public displays of the nativity scene. Yeah, that’s the problem with America right now: Public displays of Christ’s birth, that’s the problem. It’s unbelievable to me. The ACLU will no longer fight for your right to put up a nativity scene, but they’ll fight for the right of the local freak who wants to stumble onto the scene and have sex with one of the sheep.”
Hmmm. Maybe I’ve misunderstood Dennis throughout the ’90s, but I always got the feeling he never took a stand on either side of the political aisle.
I know several folks out there, even some I call acquaintances and friends, believe that the United States, and specifically President Bush, is acting as a bully against Saddam and that world opinion is not with us. Sorry to say, but France, Russia, China, and far-left peace protestors do not constitute world opinon, no matter what their apologists in the mass media would have you think.
My friend Michael reports that on MSNBC just a while ago, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stated, “When I see the American flag, I don’t just see a symbol of the United States, I see a symbol of freedom and democracy.”
Berlusconi gets it; our fight with Saddam isn’t purely about weapons of mass destruction, though that is the most significant reason. It’s not about controlling Iraqi oil reserves, either, despite what some conspiracy-minded leftists would have you believe. Beyond Saddam’s WMD threat, our fight with Saddam is about the freedom from oppression of the Iraqi people.
And if you think I’m wrong, then you need to check out the open letter sent to The Wall Street Journal, the Times of London and other newspapers today, by, respectively, the prime ministers of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Britain, the president of the Czech Republic and the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland and Denmark.
They get it. Each of these countries was touched in some way by oppression in the 20th century, namely Nazism and communism, and they note this. As nations, they speak from experience. As nations, they know what the Iraqi people are suffering; and they are willing to assist in the regime change necessary for Iraqi liberation. They get it. Why do so many Americans not?
Jordan’s King Hussein has apparently stated the U.S. can use his country as a staging area. At a press conference, Spain announced unconditional support for the United States with regard to handling Saddam. Other nations are rallying to America’s call to end Saddam’s tyrannical and threatening regime. I wonder how Jennings, Rather, and Brokaw will spin these developments in “world opinion.”
Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was about to finish her last year of college. She considered herself a very liberal Democrat, and her father was a rather staunch conservative. One day, she was challenging her father on his beliefs, and his opposition to programs like welfare. He stopped her and asked how she was doing in school.
She answered she had a 4.0 GPA, but it was really tough. She had to study all the time, never had time to go out and party, and often went sleepless because of all of the studying. She didn’t have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because of all her studying.
He then asked how her friend Mary, who was attending the same college, was doing. She replied that Mary was barely getting by. Mary had a 2.0 GPA, never studied, was very popular on campus, and was at parties all the time. She often wouldn’t show up for classes because she was hung over.
He then asked his daughter why didn’t she go to the Dean’s Office and ask if she could take 1.0 off her 4.0 and give it to her friend that only had a 2.0. That way, they would both have a 3.0 GPA.
She fired back, “That wouldn’t be fair, I worked really hard for mine and my friend has done nothing.” After a moment of silence, she replied, “I guess I will never vote Democrat again.”
One of the reasons why SIG is my favorite firearms manufacturer is the SIGARMS Academy. Located in New Hampshire, the Academy provides all types of firearms training to law enforcement personnel as well as to civilians.
Two upcoming courses I would love to send my wife and myself to:
Women Only Weekend: a Rape Prevention Seminar, Self Defense Keychain Course, and a full day of Handgun Orientation for Women.
Civilian Armorer Course: get the same kind of basic armorer’s course normally reserved only for law enforcement personnel.
The Academy’s ongoing education mission reflects the SIG philosophy of a right to self-defense coupled with personal responsibility.
A federal judge has thrown out the class-action lawsuit against McDonald’s which claimed the chain’s food was the reason for “obesity, diabetes and other health problems in children.”
I worked at McDonald’s in high school, and there was a regular supply of nutritional information pamphlets stocked at one end of the counter. I recall giving out several. The info is there, it tells you how bad the food is nutrition-wise, and yes, if you eat it every day, you’re going to get huge.
Take a little personal responsibility, people.
Jeff Jacoby’s latest column notes a wide array of topics, including the fact that the war between the enlightened West and militant Islam has been raging a lot longer than most of us think.
Now I could lay in to the various news agencies for their highly-skewed slant on the various anti-war protests over the weekend, but the Media Research Center has already done an oustanding analysis of the various stories.
I would like to note that the protestors in Damascus, Syria, that ABC News pointed out in its commentary were anything but peaceful, shouting, “Our beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv.”
I would also like to note that the group responsible for organizing the protests this past weekend is a radically leftist organization far more interested in seeing our national security forces dismantled than in seeing a corrupt, homicidal dictator rendered militarily impotent for the safety of the world.
Please do not construe any of this to mean that I am opposed to the protestors or the protesting in general. That is their right in this country, hope they had fun with all of their whining, misguided though a lot of it may be.
What I have a problem with is the irresponsible reporting that cast some sort of legitimacy on these pro-communist hippie throwbacks, purporting a “significant” portion of mainstream America is now beginning to throw its weight behind their antiwar movement. And don’t comment me with, “What about polls?” Polls are about worthless unless you start getting numbers and demographics really representative of the population. (Hint: this generally means a sample size of more than 3,000 people, and you don’t call all 3,000 within the New York or Los Angeles metro areas.)
Gee, what possible agenda could ABC, NBC, and CBS have for trotting out financial experts and accountants who poo-poo on the President’s tax plan, when those experts and accountants are heavy Democrat contributors?
British Pathe is putting old newsreels online, and they’re doing so without any high-tech, high-minded copy protection. Their old newsreel business is booming. Take heed, AOL Time Warner, Fox, MPAA, et al.
“Western values are superior to all others. Why? The indispensable achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. It’s the idea that individuals have certain inalienable rights and individuals do not exist to serve government but governments exist to protect these inalienable rights. It took until the 17th century for that idea to arrive on the scene and mostly through the works of English philosophers such as John Locke and David Hume.
“While Western values are superior to all others, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values. It’s no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person. There’s an indisputable positive relationship between liberty and standards of living.
“Western values are by no means secure. They’re under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America. These people want to replace personal liberty with government control; they want to replace equality with entitlement; they want to halt progress in the name of protecting the environment. As such, they pose a much greater threat to our way of life than any terrorist or rogue nation. Multiculturalism and diversity are a cancer on our society, and, ironically, with our tax dollars and charitable donations, we’re feeding it.” —Walter Williams
“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” —Edmund Burke
Lawrence Lessig delivered “Free Culture” in July 2002 at the Open Source Convention. If you read nothing else that I post here about copyright and your constitutionally-ordained fair-use rights, read this.
And if you don’t want to actually read this transcript, think on this, from Lessig:
“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” —John Adams
“A group of people may have rights, but it is their responsibility, and theirs alone, to defend or safeguard such rights.” —Murray N. Rothbard
A new site has appeared, protectfairuse.org. I encourage you to check it out. They make it easy for you to email and print letters to send to your Congresscritters regarding protection of your fair use rights.
Exercising the Second Amendment right he defends every day through his service, Marine Sergeant James Lowery shot and killed a would-be carjacker last Thursday, after being wounded himself. Sergeant Lowery is in fair condition, and will rejoin his unit, an aerial tanker squardon, upon his release from the hospital.
ABC News has conducted an exclusive interview with two FBI agents, who said they were repeatedly warned off of the cases they were working on. Beginning in the mid-1990s, “the two Chicago-based agents were assigned to track a connection to Chicago, a suspected terrorist cell that would later lead them to a link with Osama bin Laden. Wright says that when he pressed for authorization to open a criminal investigation into the money trail, his supervisor stopped him.”
They were ordered to stop investigations into the suspected terror cell linked to al Qaeda, which would eventually perpetuate the Sept. 11 attacks. One of the individuals they were tracking was “a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin al-Kadi. Al-Kadi is one of 12 Saudi businessmen suspected of funneling millions of dollars to al Qaeda…” After September 11th, Al-Kadi was confirmed as one of bin Laden’s financiers.
Way to go, Bill.
All I can say is, Ben Stein FREAKING rocks!
Michael links to Tim O’Reilly’s treatment of piracy and online distribution. This is in the vein of fair use and copyright noted yesterday with Dan Knight’s article. As an author, content provider, and publisher, Tim’s views reflect the concerns of all sides, and offers common-sense solutions for the music industry in particular, and other content providers/publishers in general.
So I’m a little behind in my LEM reading, but Dan Knight published an outstanding article on copyright and fair use. If you ever needed a simple overview of the issue, this is it. Dan also offers some common sense changes to current copyright law that would continue to benefit copyright holders as well as the public good.
My only suggestion would be that Dan’s recommendations for length of the copyright is too long, even with the suggested registration fees. As a copyright holder myself, and an aspiring author, this is an area of great interest to me. I am, however, a consumer as well, and therefore would like to see less restrictive copyright lengths. My own proposal would be an initial copyright of 25 years, with a maximum renewal of another 25.
Think of this; with that kind of copyright time length, Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, and Red Storm Rising, considered seminal fiction works of the Cold War, would enter the public domain in 2034 and 2036, respectively. Clancy will have more than made enough money off of those two tomes (which seem to get republished every time he releases another book) to pass on to his progeny. He would be 87 when the copyright on Red October would run out.
If I published a book right now, I would be 82 when the copyright, under my proposed rules, runs out in 2052. I think that’s long enough for me to make some dough off my work, don’t you?
“A liberal is a man who will give away everything he doesn’t own.” —Frank Dane
“Every day you meet a delegation going to some convention to try and change the way of somebody else’s life.” —Will Rogers
Digital “rights” management company Macrovision has completed its acquisition of Israeli-based Midbar Technologies, and will now take its copy-protection experience into the audio space. For those of you who may not have paid attention to any DRM stuff to this point, this is a bad thing. Fellow ATPM staffer Eric Blair, during a staff discussion, summed up my sentiments perfectly:
“The music industry continually finds new and interesting (or, in this case, warmed over and old hat) ways to shoot itself in the foot. It just kills me to watch the record companies take steps that actively push people towards piracy.
“…If the record companies actually look at the source of their problems, they’d see that costs are too high and most of the crap out there is, well, crap.
“…Honestly, I think the only solution is to embrace the Internet. Make the CDs reasonably priced. Make singles available for download at a small cost. Accept the fact that some people are never going to pay for what you’re selling if they don’t have to, but the majority of people will if you’re not actively trying to hose them.”
For all of you bleeding-heart lefties who think the federal government doesn’t focus enough on domestic issues:
“[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore…never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.” —Thomas Jefferson
Proving once again that they don’t get it and do not deserve the benches they sit upon, a three-judge panel of the left-leaning Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the 2d Amendment is not an individual right, but a state right.
Gee, I guess that the framers of the Constitution, oh so concerned with individual rights, would have made 9 of the 10 amendments listed in the Bill of Rights specific individual rights, but mark down number 2 as a state right? Please.
And as for Mr. Lockyer’s statement, the 2d Amendment has never been about hunting or target shooting. It has been from its publication about defense; of one’s person and property, and of one’s country. Do your homework, Mr. Lockyer, Mr. Nosanchuk, 9th Circuit judges. See what the Founding Fathers each had to say about firearms and the government beyond what they wrote in the Constitution. Not once do they mention hunting. Not once do they mention “sports shooting.” Defense, defense, defense. Of one’s person, of one’s property, of one’s nation.
And just because something looks like one thing, doesn’t make it that thing. In other words, just because a firearm looks like the same kind of firearm used by the military or police does not make it the same firearm used by the military or police. Get over it. (Thanks, Top!)
“Inasmuch as liberals are demanding that Americans ritualistically proclaim, ‘Islam is a religion of peace,’ Muslims might do their part by not killing people all the time.” —Ann Coulter
This week’s “Keen Sense of the Obvious” Award: “The Bush administration often seems to be completely engrossed with the campaign against terrorism.” —Peter Jennings, ABC News (from The Federalist)
Ummmm…yeah. Could it be, Peter, because the primary responsibility of the federal government as set forth in the Constitution of the United States of America is defense of the nation from enemies foreign and domestic? That’s right, contrary to what the Left would have you believe, the federal government’s primary duty is not to provide free or discounted health care, prescription drug benefits, prop up the stock market, or finance late-night urban basketball leagues. Your tax dollars should be spent building the strongest military and finest intelligence services in the world. And can we please stop listening to whiny, leftist Canadians? (With apologies to the non-whiny, non-leftist Canadians I call friends. If only there were more of you.)
Hey, Dan! Good thing complete opposites can still be friends, huh? :)
this quiz was made by Mod
And on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Great War ended with an armistice. November 11th was officially honored as Armistice Day from 1926 to 1954 in the United States. In 1954, the holiday was changed to Veterans Day, and we honor all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and sacrificed.
A special thank-you to my dad and my uncle for their service in the Navy and Army, respectively, during the Vietnam Conflict. Thankfully, neither had to serve in the Southeast Asia theater of operations.
So if you live next door to, work with, go to church with, or simply just know of, a veteran, take a moment today to shake their hand and thank them for serving their country.
“Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.” —John 15:13
“To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” —George Washington, First Annual Address, January 8, 1790
Veterans Day is Monday, November 11th, and this is National Military Appreciation Month. The Department of Defense has set up a web site where you can go and digitally sign a big thank-you to our men and women in uniform. The message, with names, will be distributed at the end of the month. These soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are at the forefront of preserving our national security and defending our liberty. Let them know you appreciate it. (Thanks, Dad!)
For our friends in the ACLU and other leftists opposed to profiling in our current war on terrorism:
1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, Israeli athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:
a. Olga Korbut
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
2. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
3. During the 1980s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
4. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked, and a 70-year-old
American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
6. In 1985 TWA Flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver was
a. Captain Kid
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
7. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
9. In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary, to distract attention from Wild Bill’s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
10. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked and destroyed and thousands of
people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
11. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
So can we get this through the thick skulls out there? Only one segment of world society has shown, since World War II, the propensity for terrorism and violence shown above: Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.
Mothers with small children, 80-year-old grandmothers, pilots with the proper credentials, artificial-implant patients, and Medal of Honor winners are not boarding planes with the intent of hijacking them. Let’s stop harrassing millions of perfectly innocent people who are simply trying to get from point A to point B, and search the folks who actually fit the profile of terrorists.
You do not have a right to not be offended. If you look like, and have a name similar to, Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40, you should expect to be searched at the airport. Repeatedly.
You can bet your behind that if the IRA had pulled off what a bunch of Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40 did on 9/11/01, then every white male in America would be getting stopped at the airport, especially those named Patrick, Kelly, et al. The terrorists with a grudge against the United States have a profile, yes. It’s about time we started using it. (Thanks to Kelly for the quiz via email.)
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle appeared on Fox News Sunday this past week. During the interview, hypocrite Daschle remarked: “Well, it’s not necessarily the position in that legislative approach that I think is the concern. It’s the attitude. It’s the way that we have gone about foreign policy, especially, Tony, this unilateral approach to foreign policy, dictating on a unilateral basis what the United States’ position is going to be and expecting, really, all these countries in a very autocratic or very authoritarian way to comply.”
What hypocrite Daschle fails to remark on is why he’s voted in favor of all the U.S. policies he discounts as “dictatorial” and “unilateral.” It couldn’t possibly be because it’s an election year, could it?
“Saddam won a 100 percent victory in an uncontested election Tuesday to remain the nation’s leader for another seven years.” —CNN
“Iraq is holding a sham election today, in which citizens ‘vote’ on whether Saddam Hussein should serve another seven years as president. Under the watchful eye of Saddam’s thugs, these ‘voters’ must sign their names to the ‘ballots,’ and any who dare vote ‘no’ can expect to be executed. It’s a mystery why Western news organizations insist on portraying this as if it were an actual election.” —James Taranto (from The Federalist)
“Are liberals incapable of the kind of practical moral reasoning that foreign policy requires? It seems that they are. Most liberals are content with slogans that cannot survive the slightest scrutiny. ‘Violence never solves problems.’ This is manifestly not true.
“Violence helped to end the regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however controversial their use, did solve the big problem of an unyielding Japan. Violence proved equally effective against the Taliban. ‘But you can’t impose democracy at the point of a bayonet.’ This is another liberal shibboleth.
“In reality, at the end of World War II, America imposed democracy at the point of a bayonet on Japan and Germany, and it has proved a resounding success in both countries. The problem with liberals is that they never give bayonets a chance.” —Dinesh D’Souza
“The Congress of the United States has now given President George W. Bush the authority to enter into preemptive war against Saddam Hussein, which Mr. Bush says is justified. Others have argued strenuously that preemptive war is unjustified and even un-American.
“… It might surprise some that justification for preemptive war is found in the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration, got his ideas on preemptive war from John Locke’s ‘Second Treatise on Civil Government’ and used them in the Declaration to justify the American Revolution. … In his work, Locke argued against despotic power or ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ because being absolute and arbitrary it can be used to ‘take away’ the lives of those subject to it. This makes despotic power opposed to self-preservation or ‘the preservation of Mankind,’ which Locke maintained was ‘the fundamental Law of Nature.’ Because this Law was the ‘will of God,’ Locke argued that each human being was duty ‘bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his Station willfully.’
“… Therefore everyone has the obligation to avoid subjecting themselves to despotic or ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ since it renders their own limited individual power to preserve themselves ineffective. … Some argue that even if there is a preemptive war against Saddam, it should not be used to install an American-type democracy. Locke and Jefferson would have disagreed, because American democracy does not allow despotic power or the ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ that Saddam enjoys, which makes him a threat to world security. He can do anything he wants.
“Not so with George W. Bush. His executive power is severely limited by the Constitution, under which power is shared with the two other co-equal branches of government — Congress and the Supreme Court. … Therefore, it is time to place Saddam, or his successor, under the same political power limitations in Iraq as Mr. Bush is under in the United States. This will provide greater security for mankind in this era of weapons of mass destruction — provided it happens before Saddam gets the bomb.” —Allen Jayne
“The House of Representatives packed up and went home for elections, and we can’t say we’re sorry to see the Members go. Senators are lingering for a while longer, but it’d be better if they left too and didn’t return until they’re at least prepared to fulfill constitutional duties, like confirming judges. The best that can be said about the 107th Congress is that it managed to do less damage than usual.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Of course, it’s a tragedy that the peace prize was awarded to Carter and not Reagan. I mean, who did more for world peace? Who did a great deal to end the Cold War? Who did a great deal to disarm and dismantle the Soviet Union, that mortal threat to world peace? Who removed the shadow of global annihilation from us, if only temporarily? Who envisioned a shield, not a sword?
“National Review once opined, many years ago, that, every year, the Nobel peace prize should go to the U.S. secretary of defense: The American military is the number-one guarantor of peace in the world. But maybe something like a Nobel freedom prize would be a more appropriate award for Reagan than a peace prize.” —Jay Nordlinger
There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth over Bush admininstration foreign policy, that the United States is “forcing” its will on the rest of the world, and rather we should just go along with what other countries have to say and just forget about our sovereignty and national security (read: Daschle). After all, what has America accomplished with force that successful negotiation could not top?
“Name, in the past hundred years, a single important triumph for peace and for liberal democracy that was purchased by the jaw-jawing the Nobellians so admire. No rush, take your time. Now, look at what American war-war (and the threat of American war-war) won: the defeat of the fascist attempt to rule the world; the defeat of the Communist attempt to rule the world; the consequent rebuilding of a Europe protected by American arms into a democratic and peaceful continent for the first time in history; the rebuilding of an American-protected Japan into a democratic and peaceful nation for the first time in history; the emergence of a world in which, for the first time in history, the peaceful values of liberal democracy are the ascendant norm. No, no, it remains unthinkable. To imagine American force was a force for good, one would have to imagine America was a force for good. And this, the Bourbons of Oslo will never, never do.” —Michael Kelly
“Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster.” —C.S. Lewis (translating the Devil’s words), The Screwtape Letters
Well, not that far past. October 2001, to be exact, but rather timely since there is new gun regulation being discussed in the wake of the DC metro serial sniper attacks:
“There are so many laws concerning the purchase and use of guns, including background checks, that it is hard to understand why any more are needed. Guns will always fall into the wrong hands, and criminals are not going to be governed by any of the gun laws. The gun laws have but one purpose: to discourage honest citizens from purchasing and owning firearms. No amount of laws will ever prevent someone intent on getting a gun from doing so.” —Dick Boland, nationally syndicated columnist
“After 19 months of study, experts convened by the National Research Council, an arm of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, concluded that ‘national security is too important to be left to such a blunt instrument,’ and noted pointedly that ‘no spy has ever been caught [by] using the polygraph.’”
You can read more in William Safire’s outstanding editorial. (free registration required)
“If I were Hispanic, I would be ashamed that so many American institutions take it for granted that people like me can’t understand English. I would notice that there were never any telephone prompts or hyperlinks for Italian or Hindi or Japanese. I would realize that no one assumes that German-, Arab-, or Vietnamese-Americans are unable to communicate in English.
“I don’t know which would depress me more: the knowledge that my fellow citizens feel obliged to condescend to Hispanics or my sense that so many Hispanics prefer it that way…. I am the son of a Jewish refugee from Czechoslovakia who immigrated to America in 1948. … My father was forced to learn English; it was the prerequisite to American life…. Not learning English was not an option. My father had to acquire the common American tongue. His life has been better for it.” —Jeff Jacob
Living in Texas, where too much of this sort of thing goes on, I have to say amen, and amen! Lefty multiculturalists love to remind us that the United States is a melting pot of different cultures and that we should respect all for our diversity. What these historically-ignorant windbags fail to grasp, however, is that for us to be Americans, we have to have a common identity. That identity incorporates the diversity we all bring to the pot, yet is distinct from them all.
Part of that distinction is our language. Like it or not, English has been the dominant language throughout the United States since the mid 1800s. It is the de facto official language of this country, even if there is no law stating as such (and there should be).
By all means, speak Spanish, German, Russian, whatever, amongst yourselves and in your homes. Hold on to and cherish your heritage, but integrate your heritage with that of America itself. Be prepared to interact with the rest of us in English, the tongue of Americans.
“Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.” —George Mason
The best news is that we will finally have an OS X-native version. You can try it out now through PGP’s public beta program. Highlights include: Full support for Mac OS X 10.2; full PGP Disk interoperability with PGP Disks created by all prior PGP Disk products for Mac OS, as well as with PGP Disks created with PGP Disk for Windows 7.0 and later; AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) support in PGP Disk; significantly expanded Unicode support; built-in support for Apple Mail and Microsoft Entourage X; PGP encryption and digital signature features are accessible as a Mac OS X service from Cocoa applications and Carbon applications that support services; PGP features are also accessible from the PGP’s Dock menu, providing a second ubiquitous method for accessing PGP.
This may actually get me back into the crypto game. You may very well have to finger me for my public key soon!