Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Secret Service Is On The Job

Many of you have seen this photo in the news in the past few days.  Apparently this past Tuesday a Virginia couple , Michaele and Tareq Salahi, crashed President Obama's state dinner  honoring the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  The Secret Service was quite embarassed by the breach of security.  Here is the image in question showing the couple in a photo op with Vice President Joe Biden.

 But it seems there was at least one other unauthorized couple present at the party who were definitely not on the guest list.   As far as security breaches go, this one looks to be just a little further up the food chain.

 In the famous words of Ricky Ricardo,  "Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!!"


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Jewish Dilemma

There is a short editorial in the Wall Street Journal about congressional liberal David Obey who wants to propose an Afghan War surtax as a means of funding the conflict.  On the face of it, paying for the war rather than deficit spending to fund it is a better option.  I'm sure that conservatives in favor of the war would prefer to get the money from another program to keep it budget neutral rather than raise taxes, but that's just a bit of nuance these days.  However, this does pose a problem for Republicans.  Most want to prosecute the war with vigor, but will they raise taxes to do it?  That's obviously contrary to their instincts.  I'm sure that's why Mr.Obey is suggesting it; to put the Republicans in an uncomfortable box.  Kind of like Charlie Rangel proposing a draft a few years ago to try to damp down America's appetite for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I look for the administration to pick up on Obey's proposal.  Maybe as part of Obama's speech to the nation on 1 December to discuss his decision regarding troop requests.  What better way for Obama to weasel out of his commitment to fight the "necessary war" than to responsibly offer to pay for it.  Typical passive aggressive behavior.  "What's that America?  You don't want your taxes raised?  OK, well never mind.  I was willing to fight this war, but if you aren't in favor of that, I'll bow to the will of the people," our Dear Leader will say.  Poor Republicans will be in a bit of a pickle.  Reminds me of the old joke about the Jewish dilemma:  Free ham.


Up Time

Something Huge in Climate Change

 Something huge is developing in the climate change controversy.  Earlier this month someone hacked into the computer server at the Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of Britain's University of East Anglia.  They took e-mail files and other data going back over a decade that show that leading climate scientists in Britain and the US manipulated and suppressed data in an effort to exagerate their claims of man-made global warming.  The emails also show a concerted smear campaign against scientists who are global warming skeptics along with efforts to block their research from publication in the scientific literature.  The e-mails and data hacked had long been sought from the CRU under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, but the CRU had been stonewalling on the release.  There is speculation that the hacker may have been an insider acting as a whistle blower.

The skeptic community has focused so far on e-mails and data that show that the research published in the late 90's, and featured in Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth" showing a sharp rise in global temperatures in the 20th century, the so called "hockey stick", was the result of data manipulation.  One reviewer has been quoted as saying, "This isn't just a smoking gun; it's a mushroom cloud."  I'd have to agree.  I'm not sure what kind of coverage this has gotten in the mainstream press yet.  I know there were at least a couple of articles in the New York Times about it, but the quality of those articles were somewhat disparaged by the author of the article that I am linking to below.  I found a few FoxNews clips referencing the scandal, and they are quite good.  I think Glenn Beck may have run a short segment on this on his show yesterday, but I'm not sure.  Its funny.  I was listening to him yesterday on-line on a different matter.  The video was running in the background while I was reading something else.  I think I remember him speaking about this issue last night.  I can't believe I paid no attention to it.  I had just finished writing yesterday's somewhat tongue in cheek blogpost about continental drift replacing global warming as the new cause du jour now that global warming was seeing more criticism in the press.  At the time I wrote that, I had no idea that this other scandal was taking shape.  And I am amazed that I failed to take note of the significance of Glenn Beck's comments on the video.  Anyway, as I said at the beginning of this post, I think this is huge.  I seriously believe this could turn out to be the scandal of the decade.  Watch these videos first.  Its the easiest way to get the summary.  Then read the article linked below.  Its well written if a little complex, but with a couple of readings and a check of the further links in that article, you will be up to speed on what I think is going to be a blockbuster of a story.  And it looks like FoxNews may lead the way once again.  I'll be watching the mainstream media to see if they are as slow to pick up on this story as they were on the ACORN or Van Jones stories.

And here is a link to Robert Tracinski's article at Real Clear Politics


Monday, November 23, 2009

In-State Tuition for Illegals?

My son sent me this article this morning.  It is an editorial from the Boston Globe entitled "Where Conservatives Have It Wrong".  It expresses an opinion in favor of offering in state tuition rates to illegal immigrants residing in Massachusetts.  Here is the response I sent him:

Dear Will:

Wow!! That was a close one.  For a minute there, I thought we were about to agree on something.  Well close, but no cigar.  I saw the title of this article and thought it might say something I'd agree with.  Nope.  Didn't happen.  There was a little bit of common ground, but not much.  I believe that most illegal immigrants are here to work and make a better life for themselves and their families.   That part I agree with, and I have no problem with just live and let live.  They are to be admired for that.  I don't think they should be hunted down and deported or harassed.  I don't believe that their employers should be harassed.  But neither do I believe they should be offered legal status, or citizenship, or a path to citizenship, or any privileges of citizenship such as in state tuition rates.  I'm an American citizen, and I pay out of state tuition for my daughter in Pennsylvania.  Should an illegal immigrant get better treatment than I do in my own country?  Not on your life.  I believe the proper approach to immigration should be strict control at the borders, by a fence if necessary;  reasoned decisions on who should be  allowed to come here and for what reasons.  If allowing them in is to our advantage, then welcome to America.  If not, then better not cross that line amigo.  If they're here already and not breaking the law, then just ignore them.  Let them stay in limbo legally speaking.  If they don't like that, then they should go home.  And what a clever way the author of this article framed his argument.  The illegal in question was eighteen years old and had been in this country since just after she was born outside the USA.  Completely assimilated in every way.  What about the eighteen year old who has been here for one year?  How about five years?  Ten years?  Is the policy different in those cases?  If not, then maybe the author's real agenda is to push for all illegals to receive all rights and privileges no matter what, and this is just a sleazy way to make a disingenuous argument.  If he does support a time limit, then what kind of limit?  Not such an easy decision now is it?  Maybe they should all be entitled to attend school, but get no special treatment as per tuition rates.  Is that really so unfair? If so, do I have the same argument to make with the state of Pennsylvania.  And let's not kid ourselves that illegals pose no cost to America, or that they all pay their taxes and social security assessments.  I don't know the statistics on this, nor would I necessarily believe anyone who told me that they did.  But how many illegals are on welfare, collect food stamps, or burden our schools and emergency rooms with extra costs?  How many actually pay their taxes as opposed to working under the table in the gray economy.  I'm not advocating denying them critical health care or vital services.  But I'm not willing to ignore the costs they impose on me and my fellow taxpayers either.  This article does not convince me that I'm just a mean, nasty, xenophobic, racist, white Republican.  But I'm pretty sure that was the intention of the author.  All I've got to say to him is, "Nice try pal.  Better luck next time."   There was a time when I might have been more receptive to the argument.  But that was a year ago before every politician on earth started pissin' on my shoes and tellin' me it was raining.  Someone once said that a liberal was someone who was so open minded that he wouldn't take his own side in an argument.  If I ever was that guy, I'm sure as hell not that guy now.  I'm happy to exchange opinions with anybody and consider the other guy's point of view.  But I'm way past the point where I'm willing to suffer a fool gladly.  I've read the argument, considered its merits, and found it wanting. 

Nice to hear from you. Let's do this more often.


Move Over Global Warming

With every passing day we are seeing more and more evidence that the concept of global warming is a fallacy.  Apparently, the planet is not cooperating with the pinhead scientists' computer models and has failed to continue to warm over the past 10-11 years as the models had predicted.  I guess the planet didn't get the memo from Greenpeace.  The upcoming climate change conference in Copenhagen next month will produce nothing at all, much to the chagrin of our Dear Leader Mr. Obama.  We may have reached a tipping point where even the liberal media is starting to ask questions about the climate change orthodoxy.  Its almost as if they forgot that its all settled science.  The debate was supposed to be over guys.  What's with the inconvenient questions?  Hey, maybe that would be a good title for Al Gore's next movie, huh?  The climate change fraud has been debunked.  Maybe we need a new scam to take its place.  Perhaps its time for the tree huggers to find a new global bogeyman.  Fortunately for them, I have just the thing.  Continental Drift.  Think about it.  Its perfect.  It actually has the advantage of already being settled science.  Most people these days already believe that the continents are drifting apart.  There's a tremendous body of scientific literature on plate tectonics.  And it comes complete with a huge catalog of really scary scientific terms, like rift valley, subduction zone, continental collision, and my personal favorite, Ring of Fire.  The big idea guys at Save the Planet Inc. should be able to come up with all kinds of stuff to scare the bejesus out of Joe Bagodonuts who doesn't know any better. 

So here's the deal.  We get some schmo professor in the geology department of some third rate university to publish a paper citing some really obscure and unverifiable data showing that the rate of continental drift in the southern hemisphere has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past several years.  We have to be sure to use the word alarming over and over again, and always in italics.  Ooh, ooh, here's an even better idea.  We get some schmo professor in the geology department at Harvard to publish the paper.  That'll really impress the liberal wingnuts, and those Harvard professors are even dumber than your typical university faculty member.  Plus they'll say, do, or publish just about anything you tell 'em as long as it lends support to the cause.  The paper will say that the rate of continental drift has increased from 10-40 mm per year, the rate at which fingernails grow, to an alarming 160 mm per year, the rate at which hair grows.  The paper will cite statistics and provide really complicated graphs that purport to show that this alarming increase in continental drift is positively correlated with rising numbers of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and deadly monsoons in the southern hemisphere.  I know that monsoons doesn't really fit, geologically speaking, but disasters always sound scarier in threes, so I included monsoons.  Besides, including weather phenomena will bring over some of the global warming lunatics who aren't quite ready to give up their old religion yet in exchange for the new one.  Now it goes without saying that all this mayhem is accompanied by tremendous loss of life.  The bogus statistics on third world disaster death tolls should be the easiest to fabricate.  After all, nobody pays much attention to that stuff anyway.  The final conclusion of the paper has to confront the alarming reality, that unless something is done immediately and at tremendous expense, half the population of the planet faces certain extermination from the ravages of runaway continental drift.  Or something like that.  This would be a good opportunity to play up the "Ring of Fire" analogy.  Great potential visuals ya know?  Finally, we need to blame this fabrication we've created on something.  We can't blame it on CO2 emissions, or DDT, or CFC's and ozone depletion 'cause we've already used those, and someone might get wise.  We can blame it on overfishing in the southern oceans or industrial pollution from developing Brazil, or deep water drilling off the coast of Africa.  Ooh, deep water drilling!  That's a good one.  It even sounds vaguely plausible.  And it'll give us one more chance to sock it to Big Oil.  The Birkenstock crowd will love that.  Bottom line:  It doesn't matter what we blame it on as long as we can sell it.  How hard can that be?  Al Gore convinced Blue State America that Hurricane Katrina was caused by too many coal fired power plants and neglecting to switch off the lights when they leave the room.  As long as you include disadvantaged minorities and an appeal to white guilt in the sales pitch, you can sell anything to a liberal. 

Coming up with a new problem is one thing.  Selling the solution is where the real skill comes into play.  The solution will have to be something that will appeal to the anti-globalization crowd.  Let's face it.  They're the ones who are really driving all the climate change mumbo jumbo.  Well, them and the Democrats looking for a new excuse to raise our taxes.  Think Cap and Trade.  To appeal to the anti globalists, the solution has to be something that offers the greatest advantages to the third world while imposing the greatest burdens on the industrialized world.  Its got to be good enough to encourage them to forsake the cause of Climate Change and hitch their horse to the wagon of Continental Drift.    It has to promise the potential to damage the American economy and end our way of life.  It would be better still if it could destroy all of Western Civilization as we know it.  Sounds like a pretty tall order, but fear not.  I have a cunning plan. 

The solution I've got in mind is an inspiration, a work of art, a masterpiece.  Its a real corker.  Obviously, you can't stop an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, or even a monsoon.  Oh, we could try to stop all the deep water drilling, but the fight against global warming demonstrated how selfish and unreasonable some people get when you start messing with their ability to drive their SUVs, watch their big screen TVs, or simply maintain a basic standard of living without the government taxing them into oblivion.  Especially those conservative Republican types.  They just don't seem to be "big picture" kind of people.  And we never could quite figure out a way to cut down on CO2 emissions.  Nope.  You can't fight mother nature.  So what we do is propose the humanitarian approach.  If we can't make the southern hemisphere safe for its inhabitants, we just invite them all up here to the safety of the northern hemisphere.  The solution is elegant in its simplicity.  Yep, we just declare open borders in America and all across Europe.  Hardly seems like much of a stretch from the present circumstances does it?  Anyone from south of the equator is eligible.  I know that will leave out Mexico and Central America, but what the hell.  Most of them are here already.  Oh, we could fiddle with the data to exclude Australia, I suppose.  No sense encouraging immigration from an English speaking country with a western culture, no terrorists, high literacy rates, superior work ethic, and marketable job skills.  The anti-globalists will hardly find that too appealing.  On second thought, we probably wouldn't have to fiddle the numbers.  Once this policy is in place, the Aussies are not likely to want to come here anyway. 

Now as good as this solution is, it can't succeed without a marketing plan.  Global warming had a good one that almost worked.  Mine's better.  Here are a few modest proposals.  Ideally, the scholarly paper by the eminent Harvard professor should be published in the same year as a significant southern disaster with great loss of life.  The connection will be tenuous at best, but it will be portrayed by the media as proof positive that enhanced continental drift is the latest threat to the planet.  (see Hurricane Katrina; paragraph 2)  The media will be instrumental to the success of the plan, and once the original paper is published, its only a matter of time until the liberal press gets a hold of it.  Lets face it:  This whole idea just screams New York Times Editorial Page!!  With just a little encouragement, the liberal media will take this ball and run with it.  It will soon take on a life of its own.  America's journalists these days are not exactly known for their intelligence or critical thinking when it comes  to promoting a story.  Don't believe me?  Then I have just two words for you.  Swine flu.  Now that that's settled, we can move on.  The media will soon be abuzz with talk of continental drift.  Meanwhile, efforts to spur more research at the country's institutions of higher learning will start to pay dividends.  Tenure seeking professors in geology departments all across the land will be fighting for a place at the trough of big government research grants.  Nobody's gonna want to miss out on this gravy train, especially with all the global warming malarkey being tapped out and headed into the crapper.  "Climate change?  Oh that's so yesterday's news.  My latest research interests are along the lines of plate tectonics," they'll say.  Enhanced continental drift theory will be the new "settled science".  "The debate's over," they'll exclaim.

As the movement starts to gather momentum, Hollywood will come along for the ride.  Who wants to be the last of the beautiful people on board the political correctness bandwagon when continental drift becomes the cause celebre?  And think of all the millions they'll rake in on the left coast with a whole new genre of disaster movies.  I can see it now:  Global Warming:  The Next Generation.  This will help cement the concept of continental drift as the world's most pressing problem in the minds of thousands of America's simpletons.  "I saw it in the movies so it must be true.  Angelina Jolie wouldn't lie to me would she?"  The UN will join the chorus early on.  Those weasels can smell money from two continents away no matter which direction the wind or the continents are drifting.

But what if the plan fails?  What if after all the "hard science", the university support, the media blitz, and the UN appeals, the developed countries don't come across with an offer to the huddled masses to come and set up houskeeping up north?  We'll need a back up plan.  Further research could reveal that the drift was even worse than first imagined.  Huge swaths of subduction will be discovered where one tectonic plate plunges to its destruction under its opposing plate, annihilating whole continents in the process.  Instead of the southern hemisphere simply being racked by chronic natural disasters, entire continents will now be found to be disappearing at an alarming rate.  Why, in the next 100,000 years, Africa may be gone altogether.  The call will go out from Congress that we must act quickly on this vital new information if we are to avert disaster.  Not only must we open our borders immediately, but we must undertake an enormous new effort of monumental proportions and with utmost dispatch, to ferry these sad, unfortunate creatures to our shores aboard every ship and airplane that can be mobilized.  We can market it as the Manhattan Project to save the world.  We'll be told  we must set up immigration stations reminiscent of Ellis Island all across the country.  Think of the nostalgia that will be evoked with the reference to Ellis Island.  America will have the chance to relive a glorious piece of her history.  Yeah, I bet I could sell that oad-lay of ap-cray to your average progressive sucker.   These poor souls can be welcomed upon arrival with automatic citizenship and the opportunity to register as Democrats so that they can continue to vote themselves ever increasing welfare entitlements.  It's the least we can do in the name of humanity; in the name of rescuing the planet. That way the anti-globalization zealots will still be happy, and the liberal politicians will be peeing their pants with glee.

Now not everyone is going to be stupid enough to fall for this gibberish.  We should anticipate opposition from the more conservative citizens.  Not all Americans are brain dead.  There are, sadly, some American voters who are still awake and vigilant.  I propose a strategy to undermine their effectiveness.  What I suggest is a plan to peel away the evangelicals from the conservative coalition.  Coopt them in advance and turn them to the dark side, as it were.  This won't be easy.  I know a few evangelical Christians, and they're all smart, principled, and well informed.  In fact, other than the whole "read your Bible" thing, we're pretty much on the same page.  My guess is that they wonder what the hell I could be thinking as much as I wonder about what's going on in their heads.  Anyway, what we do is we find some vague reference in the Bible about famine, flood, pestilence or some other natural catastrophe.  How hard can that be?  We then somehow link it obscurely with our theory of enhanced continental drift, throw in some references to Armgeddon and end times, maybe even some hocus pocus about Nostradamus, and before you know it, they'll be eating right out of our hand.  After getting caught with their pants down with the whole evolution/intelligent design thing, they'll be willing to bust down doors to be on the same side of an argument as popular scientific thought.  Especially when it supports Bible prophecy.  They've been looking for a way to live down the whole "the earth is 5000 years old" fiasco for years now.  Well this is their chance.  Praise Jesus.  Without the strength and integrity of the evangelicals, the conservatives might just be vulnerable.

So that's the plan.  Mine is a message of hope.  Yes we can America.  So the global warming hoax didn't pan out.  We got close didn't we?  We almost had 'em. Next time we'll hit it out of the park.  I'm telling you; continental drift is the winning ticket;  Until then, I invite you to reflect on these immortal words with apologies to Earnest Thayer and the mighty Casey:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Copenhagen--Mighty Al Gore has struck out.  


Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's a Moderate Democrat?

What's the definition of a moderate Democrat?  I'd never given it much thought before, but after this weekend's health care proceedings in the Senate, I guess the definition is pretty clear.  Mary Landrieu, the " distinguished" Democratic Senator from the "great" state of Louisiana has been described as a moderate in this health care debate.  Apparently, a moderate Democrat is one who sits back and pretends to have serious reservations about this or that aspect of the proposed bill when what they're actually doing is soliciting a bribe.  Then when Harry Reid comes through with $100 million in federal Medicaid subsidies for your state alone, you somehow overcome your previous concerns and vote for the bill along with every other Senate Democrat.  That's what a "moderate Democrat" is.  So I guess a liberal Democrat is one who's too dumb to know as much about extortion as they do down in Louisiana.  What a bunch of suckers those liberal Democrats must be huh?  

How do these people look at themselves in the mirror every morning without puking up their breakfast?


Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas Comes Early for KSM and al Qaeda

I've been reading a lot of opinion pieces about the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct civilian trials for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and several other accused 9/11 terrorists.  I think this was a bad policy decision for all kinds of reasons.  I don't have that much new to add to the discussion, but I'd like to summarize some of the better arguments against his decision.

The simplest objection is that we have arbitrarily opted to provide these guys with the rights and guarantees of the U.S. Constitution when they are not entitled to them.  These men are not U.S. citizens.  They were captured overseas, and their alleged crimes were acts of war, not simply routine criminal acts.  We had no reason when we captured them to think we had to be concerned about reading them their rights, or protecting the chain of evidence.  Now these will become issues.  If we had no other venue in which to try them, then civilian courts might be appropriate.  But we do have an alternative in the military tribunal.  And where is the logic of Mr Holder's decision to try these five accused terrorists in civilian courts, while all the rest, presumably, will be tried in military tribunals?  Clearly this implies an acceptance of the tribunal as an appropriate venue for a fair trial. The tribunals offer the opportunity for justice without the obvious flaws of our convoluted constitutional legal system.  As Americans, we like to believe we do everything better than the rest of the world, but I believe we could make a lot of improvements in the functioning of our courts.  We are so meticulous in preserving what decades of liberal jurists have determined to be the rights of the accused, that we have a legal system that frequently releases criminals who are obviously guilty by all rational measures. One procedural misstep, and the perpetrator walks.  We pat ourselves on the back and say we'd rather let ten guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man, but that's nonsense.  Victims have rights too.  To allow a murderer to go free because he wasn't Mirandized prior to his confession makes no sense to anyone but a pinhead liberal Supreme Court Justice.  American justice is NOT the best in the world.  To try these men with all the Constitutional guarantees of citizens doesn't show the world how superior our system is.  It risks justice being frustrated and America being humiliated in the bargain.  And as far as showing the world what we're made of, I'd rather not bother.  There will always be critics of America.  Their barking concerns me not at all.

And what kind of legal sideshow will we be inviting?  If you thought the OJ trial was a circus, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  We will enable these men to conduct open lawfare upon us:  Using our system to make us look foolish.  And make no mistake, this is a propaganda war as much as any other kind of war.  If you succeed in making your adversary look foolish, that is a major victory indeed.  We will be engulfed in minutiae.  How many months did the Paris Peace Talks of the Vietnam era spend to decide the shape of the negotiating table?  I can only imagine what kind silliness we will be forced to endure.  How will an untainted jury be selected in the middle of Manhattan?  Motions for changes of venue are all but certain.  We need to anticipate request after request for classified information on sources and methods of intelligence gathering.  The enemy will reap enormous intelligence benefits no matter how careful we try to be.  I wouldn't be surprised to see regular recesses so the accused can fulfill their obligation to pray several times a day.  Surely we would not want to appear insensitive to the rest of the Muslim world by denying such a fundamental (no pun intended) request.  And consider this:  The significance of a terror act is rarely the act itself.  The death and destruction are horrible enough.  But the goal of terrorism is to terrorize:  To shock, frighten and demoralize your enemy while enhancing the image and morale of your own side.  By providing these men with a platform before the world, we will allow them to perpetrate another act of terrorism, only this one will last for years.  For this justice will not be swift.  This trial will not be concluded in a few weeks or a few months.  This will go on for years.  And how will America and the rest of the world react if these men are acquitted or we end up with a hung jury?  Or what if they are convicted but a squeemish jury is reluctant to vote for the death penalty.  How will our justice system look then?  They may admire us in Europe, but think of the message we'll be sending to Al Qaeda.

Then there is the physical risk factor.  New York is a terrorist target as it is.  This will only make the problem worse.  Are we so arrogant that we can't admit we are concerned about the terrorists' ability to stage another attack in New York City?  Of course they can do it.  To defeat them, we have to be successful every time.  To defeat us, they only have to be successful once.  In asymmetric warfare such as this, the willingness to die for your cause is a huge advantage held by the terrorists.  The danger is real, and we invite it at our peril.  What will we say to the victims and their families if another attack succeeds in New York City?  Guantanamo sounds like a much better venue for this trial. 

I particularly enjoyed this article by Pat Buchanan.  He asks an interesting question.  Are we at war or not?  Why do we hunt KSM's associates in Pakistan and kill them with Predator drones, yet KSM himself gets a civilian trial in the middle of Manhattan?  Why do we tolerate the occasional deaths of the families of these far away terrorists as acceptable collateral damage, yet we offer KSM the rights and protections of the U.S. Constitution?  When we prosecute mafia bosses, we don't claim the right to kill their colleagues in the streets when we find them or threaten the lives of their wives and children.  The difference is that we are at war with these terrorists.  And warfare is not the same as fighting crime.  If Attorney General Holder can't or won't grasp the distinction here, is it because he doesn't see this as a war at all?  Or is there another agenda?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist.  I like to think that I make rational assessments based on hard facts.  I'm a voracious reader; a news junkie.  I  do my homework.  I don't believe Attorney General Holder is an ignorant man.  I'm sure he is aware of all the pitfalls of the decision he has made, as I've outlined above.  So why has he made this decision?  Does he want to showcase to the world the superiority of the American sense of justice?  Does he think this is the way to do it?  Does he think the benefits justify the risks?  Maybe so, but I have some doubts.  Andy McCarthy suggests another possibility in this blogpost at National Review Online.  He suspects that the real purpose of this decision is to put the United States on trial.  More specifically, to put the Bush administration on trial.  Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has pled guilty before a military court.  He has no practical defense against the charges leveled against him.  His only alternative, and one he probably can't believe we are giving him the opportunity to choose, is to put us on trial.  We will hear endless accounts of all the evil the United States has perpetrated in the Muslim world.  We will be confronted with the unpleasant reality of his "harsh interrogation".  He was, after all, waterboarded 183 times.  We will hear about secret prisons, renditions, and covert operations targeting Muslims.  All the policies that the left has railed against for years will be dredged up anew in this show trial.  These policies, which arguably helped keep us safe over the past eight years, have been anathema to the likes of the ACLU and the opponents of the previous administration.  This will be one last opportunity for the sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome to take a club to our former president. I wonder if this is the real reason we are embracing a public trial in a civilian court.  Rather than regretting the public disclosure of the dark side of counter-terrorism policy, perhaps that is Mr. Holder's actual goal.  Isn't he the one who, just a few months ago, reopened the investigations into the activities of CIA personnel during the Bush administration, putting at risk the brave men and women who have struggled to keep us safe since 9/11?  This trial will provide the Obama administration and their left leaning allies the chance to put the entire Bush/Cheney strategy of homeland protection in the dock.  And they will deny the blame for any of the consequences.  They will, in true passive aggressive fashion, deny any responsibility for what they are about to unleash on this country.  "We are only interested in justice", they'll claim.  And if they can score points on their political adversaries and strengthen their position with their own base in the process, well, I'm sure that is not their intention. 



Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Catalyst toWake a Sleeping Giant

Webster's defines a catalyst as an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.  That's kind of the way I view Barack Obama these days.  There are lots of ways to spin this analogy.  His supporters will say he catalyzed a whole new segment of the electorate to win the presidential election.  They'll say he took  young people and minorities and transformed them from a politically apathetic voting bloc into a force to be reckoned with.  That's probably true.  But he also stirred up a conservative and libertarian hornets nest in opposition to everything he stands for.

It's worth remembering the words of Japanese Admiral Yamamoto reflecting on the consequences of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor.  He said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." 

Today's sleeping giant is the conservative base of the American electorate.  Lulled into such a slumber that they barely raised an objection when their own Republican Party was clearly marching them down the path to big government under George W. Bush.  No Child Left Behind, a new Medicare drug entitlement, and unprecedented growth in the federal deficit elicited barely a peep from the majority of conservatives.

The 2008 election was a wake up call.  Increased Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, combined with the election of the most liberal president since FDR, or maybe the most liberal president ever, have startled a somnolent America into the realization that we are in jeopardy of forfeiting our national identity based on free markets and free enterprise for a social democratic European model that most Americans reject.  The election of Barack Obama may turn out to have been a blessing in disguise.  Though I must admit, if this is a blessing, then it is indeed, a really good disguise.

Conservatives are asleep no more. Witness the Tea Parties all over the nation.  The typical remark from a Tea Party attendee is, "I'm not usually very political, and I've never done anything like this before, but I couldn't sit by and watch this happen and not try to do something to stop it."  And though the reaction is largely partisan, the movement is drawing in huge numbers of independent voters and significant numbers of Democrats.  This administration is over-reaching, and they are alienating a significant portion of their coalition.  This has been a call to action for all those opposed to the expansion of the welfare state.  Conservatives are examining their values and challenging even their own Republican politicians to meet the standards that they demand or face opposition as happened in New York's 23rd Congressional District recently.  The liberal press was quick to point out how this backfired in this particular battle with the election of a Democrat, but there is plenty of evidence to support the position that this race was an aberration.  The combination of local resentment at outside national interference, and a not particularly articulate conservative candidate with a less than commanding understanding of local issues made this contest less than typical. 

Conservatives and libertarians are motivated as they have rarely been before.  The reckless actions of this administration have filled us with a "terrible resolve", to quote Admiral Yamamoto.  If we can maintain this resolve into next year and beyond, there is hope we can defeat large portions of the Democrat's statist agenda in this Congress, remake the next Congress in 2010, and oust Barack Obama in 2012.  And if we're lucky, the Republican administration that follows will be one that will remember the small government principles that will have gotten them elected.  More importantly, they will know that they are being scrutinized by a newly awakened electorate.  They will know that if they violate those small government principles, they do so at their political peril, as they will incur the wrath of a newly vigilant conservative voter.


Tell Us What You Really Think!!

Do you think these guys have a problem with Glenn Beck?  Funny.  I kind of like Glenn Beck.


Victim In Fatal Car Accident Tragically Not Glenn Beck


I came across a line from Deteriorata, National Lampoons 1972 parody of Max Ehrmann's poem Desiderata.  Click on the links to learn more.  After all these years, it still makes me laugh.  For those of you who remember it, enjoy this walk down memory lane.  If you've never heard it before, consider this part of your popular education.

I'm sure I'd never heard or read the original poem upon which this was based.  But now that I'm older and have the resource of 'the internets' (sic), I was able to find it quite easily.  The original poem is quite charming, though I can see why National Lampoon chose to parody it.


So Much for Philosophy

Ginsberg's Theorem:
    (1) You can't win.
    (2) You can't break even.
    (3) You can't even quit the game.

Freeman's Commentary on Ginsberg's theorem:
    Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem
    meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg's
    Theorem.  To wit:

    (1) Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
    (2) Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break
    (3) Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Intersection of News and Vocabulary

Try this link to a video I found on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary website. It talks about the leading word searches that were made at Merriam-Webster's site in the week following Michael Jackson's death.  Its fascinating on several levels. First, its mildly interesting as a trivial factoid to anyone who pays attention to popular culture. I guess that's most of us , for better or for worse. Second, it illustrates what kind of insights can be gleaned about what's on the public's mind from examining data from various websites.  Third, of course, is the potential this data mining has to be exploited by third parties.

Now I am not a privacy zealot, but I would not be too quick to criticize those who regard this topic with far greater concern than I do.  Think of what Amazon knows about you based on your book purchases or even just your browsing.  They know, for instance, that I'm interested in money, markets, and politics, especially conservative politics.  They know I fix my own cars (three Haynes Manual purchases in recent months.)  They might guess I'm a gun owner.  They also know I'm frugal.  I buy used books to stretch my book buying dollars.  They probably suspect a lot of other things about me demographically speaking based upon how much I spend, and the number of books I buy compared to other customers. 

Lots of websites collect user information, most of it presumably not individually identifiable.  YouTube knows which videos are the most popular.  With so much political content there now, how might pollsters handicap a political contest like, for instance, today's governors races, if they had access to this information.  And of course, the big daddy of them all is how much the government might know about the population in general, and more concerning, about you in particular, if it had access to this data. (And its my guess they do.)

Try Googling your name, and see what kind of information about you is freely available in the public domain.  For some of you, it will be a lot more than for others.  There's not much about me out there, but it wouldn't take someone long to find out I'm a dentist.  With just a bit more diligence, they'd find out I do crossword puzzles (on-line results for the North American Crossword Puzzle Tournament.)  They'd also know that I'm not nearly as good at it as a lot of my peers.  Then, of course, there's this blog.  As I said, I'm not a privacy zealot.  You don't need to be a detective to find out what's on my mind.  Just ask me.  And even if you don't ask, I'll tell you anyway about 4-5 times every week.  So stop by often for the latest update on what's ramblin' through my mind.