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Political Rants & interesting thought pieces
Topic: Political Rants & interesting thought pieces (Read 391364 times)
Reply #400 on:
November 16, 2007, 08:29:49 AM »
On Setting an Example
Being a "beacon to the world" is more challenging than it sounds.
Friday, November 16, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
I thought I'd say a word for the Beaconists.
This election year we will, sooner or later, be asked to think about, and concentrate on, what American foreign policy should be in the future. We will have to consider, or reconsider, what challenges we face, what the world really is now after the Cold War and after 9/11, what is needed from America, and for her.
In some rough and perhaps tentative way we will have to decide what philosophical understanding of our national purpose rightly guides us.
Part of the debate will be shaped by the tugging back and forth of two schools of thought. There are those whose impulses are essentially interventionist--we live in the world and must take part in the world, sometimes, perhaps even often, militarily. We are the great activist nation, the spreader of political liberty, the superpower whose meaning is made clear in action.
The other school holds profound reservations about all this. It is more modest in its ambitions, more cool-eyed about human nature. It feels more bound by the old advice attributed to one of the Founding Generation, that we be the friend of liberty everywhere but the guarantor only of our own.
Much has changed in the more than two centuries since he said that: many wars fought, treaties made, alliances forged. And yet as simple human wisdom, it packs a wallop still.
Those who feel tugged toward the old Founding wisdom often use the word "beacon." It is our place in the scheme of things, it is our fate and duty, to be a beacon of liberty. To stand tall and hold high the light. To be an example, to be an inspiration, to encourage. We do not invent constitutions and impose them on other countries; instead they, in their restlessness, in their human desire to achieve a greater portion of freedom, will rise up in time and create their own constitution. And because they created it, and because it reflects their conception of justice, they will hold it more dearly.
So we are best, in the world as it is now, the beacon, not the bringer, of freedom. We are its friend, not its enforcer.
As a foreign policy this sounds, or has been made to sound, unduly passive. We'll sit around being a good example and the rest of them can take a hike. But if you want to be a beacon, it's actually a hard job. It involves activism. You can't be a beacon unless as a nation you're in pretty good shape. You can't be a beacon unless you send forth real light. You can't be a beacon unless you really do inspire.
Do we always? No. We're not always a good example for the world. And so, for the coming holiday, a few baseline areas, some only stylistic, in which we could make our light glow brighter in--and for--the world.
It would be good to have the most visible symbols of our country, the president and the Congress, be clean. So often they seem not to be. They are scandal-ridden, or an embarrassment, or seem in the eyes of the world to be bought and paid for by special interests or unions or industries or professions. Whether you are liberal or conservative, you agree it is important that the world be impressed by America's leaders, by their high-mindedness and integrity. Leaders who are not dragged through the mud because they actually don't bring much mud with them. There is room for improvement here.
To be a beacon is to speak softly to the world, with dignity, with elegance if you can manage it, or simple good-natured courtesy if you can't. A superpower should never shout, never bray "We're No. 1!" If you're No. 1, you don't have to.
To be a beacon is to have a democracy in which issues of actual import are regularly debated. Instead our political coverage consists of daily disquisitions on "targeted ads," "narratives," "positioning" and "talking points." We really do make politicians crazy. If a politician cares only about his ads and his rehearsed answers, the pundits call him inauthentic. But if a politician ignores these things to speak of great issues we say he lacks "fire in the belly" and is incompetent. So many criticisms of politicians boil down to: He's not manipulating us well enough! We need more actual adults who are actually serious about the business of the nation.
To be a beacon is to keep the economic dream alive. We're still good at this. The downside is the rise in piggishness that tends to accompany prosperity. It is not good to embarrass your nation with your greed. It disheartens those who are doing their best but are limited, or unlucky, or just haven't made it work yet. It is good when you have it not to keep it all but to help the limited, and unlucky, and those who just haven't made it work yet. Keep it going, Porky.
To be a beacon is to continue another thing we're good at, making the kind of citizens who go into the world and help it: the doctors, the scientists, the nurses. They choose to go and help. The world notices, and says, "These are some kind of people, these Americans."
To be a beacon is to support the creation of a culture that is not dark, or sulfurous, or obviously unwell. We introduce our culture to our new immigrants each day through television. Just for a moment, imagine you are a young person from Africa or South America, a new American. You come here and put on the TV, for even the most innocent know that TV is America and America is TV, and you want to learn quickly. What you see is an obvious and embarrassing obsession with sex, with violence, with sexual dysfunction. You see the routine debasement of women parading as the liberation of women.
Conservatives have wrung their hands over this for a generation. But really, if you are a new immigrant to our country, full of hope, animated in part by some sense of mystery about this country that has lived in your imagination for 20 years, you have got to think: This is it? This ad for erectile dysfunction? Oh, I have joined something that is not healthy.
Sad to think this. They want to have joined a healthy and vibrant and well-balanced nation, not a sick circus.
I haven't even touched upon poverty, the material kind and the spiritual kind. I haven't touched on a lot. But if we were to try harder to be better, if we were to try harder to be and seem as great as we are, we wouldn't have to bray so much about the superiority of our system. It would be obvious to all, as obvious as a big light in the darkness.
To be a brighter beacon is not to choose passivity, or follow a path of selfishness. It would take energy and commitment and thought. We've always had a lot of that.
A happy Thanksgiving to all who love the great and fabled nation that is still, this day, the hope of the world.
Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father" (Penguin, 2005), which you can order from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Fridays on OpinionJournal.com.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #401 on:
November 22, 2007, 04:39:22 PM »
Back in August, this speech from Newt:
(click the video, the article next to it is quite different)
Re: Political Rants
Reply #402 on:
December 04, 2007, 10:41:04 AM »
Islam and Teddy Bears
December 4, 2007
Sudan's President yesterday pardoned Gillian Gibbons, jailed last Sunday for insulting Islam -- an offense so arbitrarily constructed these days, it's getting hard to avoid. The British teacher incurred the wrath of the Islamic regime, otherwise busy slaughtering fellow Muslims in Darfur, by allowing her mostly Muslim students at an English school in Khartoum to name a teddy bear "Muhammad."
In a rally on Friday, thousands of protesters, many armed with clubs and swords, called for Ms. Gibbons's death. The faithful were angry that she was sentenced to "only" 15 days after being threatened with 40 lashes and six months. Her early release and the fact that Europe has been spared similar demonstrations of Muslim piety as during the 2005-2006 Danish Muhammad-cartoon riots, is probably the best one can say about this affair.
"I have great respect for the Islamic religion and would not knowingly offend anyone," Ms. Gibbons said. But what she intended doesn't matter. In the paranoid vision of Muslim fanatics, even a stuffed toy can be part of the "plot against Islam." Where believers are determined to feel insult where none was intended and, worse, use violence to revenge any slight, imagined or real, interreligious dialogue becomes, let's say, problematic. While Ms. Gibbon's ordeal seems over, thanks largely to Western pressure, another woman is still feeling the full justice of Shariah law. In Saudi Arabia, a gang rape victim was sentenced to six months and 200 lashes. Her crime? When the then-19-year-old woman was abducted by her tormentors, she was in a car alone with an unrelated man.
The Girl of Qatif, as the rape victim is known, is not as lucky as Ms. Gibbons. The Saudi Foreign Minister, responding yesterday to the White House's criticism of the punishment as "outrageous," showed his sympathy -- for the barbaric treatment accorded the woman. "What is outraging about this case" he told reporters, "is that it is being used against the Saudi government and people."
A measure of a society's moral stature is how it treats its weakest members. In the Middle East, women are among the most vulnerable. Western media and women-rights groups usually greet female subjugation in the Muslim world as a nonevent. This time, Ms. Gibbons and the Saudi rape victim received broad press coverage as well as expressions of support from Western governments. We await the day that more Muslims speak out against violence perpetrated against women in the name of their religion.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #403 on:
December 04, 2007, 10:44:59 AM »
Second post of the morning:
The Allure of Tyranny
December 4, 2007; Page A20
'It is ultimately a cruel misunderstanding of youth to believe it will find its heart's desire in freedom," says Leo Naphta, the great character of Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain." "Its deepest desire is to obey." On Sunday, voters as far apart as Caracas and Vladivostok took to the polls and put Naphta's theory to a practical test.
In Russia, the result of parliamentary elections was a triumph for President Vladimir Putin: His party, United Russia, won 64% of the vote. Add that to the votes taken by the Kremlin's allies and the Putin tally reaches 80%, with the principal "democratic" opposition represented (at 11.5%) by the Communists. The vote sets up Mr. Putin, an exceptionally fit 55, to rule Russia for another four-year term, and perhaps several terms beyond that.
By happy contrast, Hugo Chávez's effort to establish himself as Venezuela's president-for-life via a constitutional referendum seems to have failed by a narrow margin. Even so, an astonishing 49% of voters were prepared, according to the official count, to permanently forgo the opportunity to choose a president other than Mr. Chávez.
The phenomenon in which masses of people enthusiastically sign away their democratic rights is not new: It happened in Germany and Austria in the 1930s. But it's one that Americans especially have a hard time coming to grips with. The freedom agenda may no longer be in vogue, but most Americans implicitly endorse George Bush's view that "eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul." When it doesn't -- when, in fact, it is consciously and deliberately spurned -- we rationalize it in ways that go only so far in offering a persuasive account of the dark allure of tyranny.
Culture is one rationalization. The word is invoked by everyone from self-described Burkean conservatives to left-wing cultural relativists to explain the supposed failure of some benighted corners of the world to adopt and sustain democratic norms. In this view, Africa and the Arab world are too tribal; the Muslim world makes no distinction between the divine and the mundane; Latin America cannot find a stable middle ground between populism and paternalism; the Chinese are too used to emperors and mandarins, the Russians too used to czars and bureaucrats. And so on.
But cultural determinism often runs afoul of reality: The example of China is counterexampled by Taiwan; Zimbabwe by Botswana; Jeddah by Dubai; President Chávez by President Álvaro Uribe in neighboring Colombia. Like baseball statistics, culture has a way of explaining a lot until it suddenly explains nothing.
A second line has it that the Putins and Chávezes of the world owe their popularity to bread-and-circuses tactics: the canny manipulation of the media, their appeal to nationalism and xenophobia, bureaucratic patronage and above all the benefit of having petrodollars to shower on favored constituencies.
Here the argument is that the two men rule by what amounts to an elaborate hoax. Yet that only begs the question of why the hoax is so widely believed. Venezuelans and Russians can travel abroad, and still have considerable (albeit diminishing) access to foreign sources of news and opinion; they can read the anxious op-eds warning of creeping dictatorship. In Venezuela, that might have even tipped the scales in Sunday's vote. Yet in Russia, "outside meddling" has had no measurable effect on Mr. Putin's overwhelming and genuine popularity, which seems only to have been enhanced by the perception that the West increasingly fears and mistrusts him.
Perhaps the most conventional theory is that Messrs. Putin and Chávez, like most autocrats, ultimately rule through a combination of intimidation and dirty tricks. Thus in a Saturday op-ed in this newspaper, Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov asks why Mr. Putin feels compelled to engage in "heavy-handed campaigning if he knows he and United Russia are going to win?" Mr. Kasparov's answer is that the president "is very aware of how brittle his power structure has become."
Plainly the fear factor is central to the politics of both countries. But neither is it the whole story. Russians and Venezuelans alike elected their current leaders with bitter memories of democracy: economic collapse and social chaos under Boris Yeltsin; the incompetent revolving-door governments of Rafael Caldera and Carlos Andrés Pérez. Messrs. Putin and Chávez both came to office promising to reverse the disintegrating trend with what the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden once called "the smack" -- he meant the word in its physical sense -- "of firm government." Their track records over the past eight years represent, if nothing else, the fulfillment of that promise, and the widespread gratitude that promise-keeping engendered.
That is the crucial context in which Chavismo and Putinism need to be understood. "The totalitarian phenomenon," observed the late French political philosopher Jean-Francois Revel, "is not to be understood without making allowance for the thesis that some important part of every society consists of people who actively want tyranny: either to exercise it themselves or -- much more mysteriously -- to submit to it. Democracy will therefore always remain at risk."
There is a lesson here for President Bush, who in headier moments seems to forget that freedom's goodness must first be demonstrated instrumentally -- that is, in terms of what it tangibly delivers -- before it can be demonstrated morally or spiritually. There is a broader lesson here, too, that while tyranny may ripen in certain political climates, it springs from sources deep within ourselves: the yearning for a politics without contradictions; the terror inscribed in the act of choice.
Thank goodness there is usually more to human nature than that, as courageous Venezuelans proved Sunday. Other times, that's all there is. Welcome to Mr. Putin's democracy.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #404 on:
February 06, 2008, 08:59:59 PM »
Subject: Sleepwalking Into a Nightmare, by Newt Gingrich
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivered the following remarks to a Jewish National Fund meeting Nov. 15 at the Selig Center:
I just want to talk to you from the heart for a few minutes and share with you where I think we are.
I think it is very stark. I don't think it is yet desperate, but it is very stark. And if I had a title for today's talk, it would be sleepwalking into a nightmare. 'Cause that's what I think we're doing.
I gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute Sept. 10 at which I gave an alternative history of the last six years, because the more I thought about how much we're failing, the more I concluded you couldn't just nitpick individual places and talk about individual changes because it didn't capture the scale of the disaster.
And I had been particularly impressed by a new book that came out called Troublesome Young Men, which is a study of the younger Conservatives who opposed appeasement in the 1930's and who took on Chamberlain.
It's a very revealing book and a very powerful book because we tend to look backwards and we tend to overstate Churchill's role in that period. And we tend to understate what a serious and conscientious and thoughtful effort appeasement was and that it was the direct and deliberate policy of very powerful and very willful people. We tend to think of it as a psychological weakness as though Chamberlain was somehow craven. He wasn't craven. Chamberlain had a very clear vision of the world, and he was very ruthless domestically.
And they believed so deeply in avoiding war with Germany that as late as the spring of 1940, when they are six months or seven months into they war, they are dropping leaflets instead of bombs on the Ruhr, and they are urging the British news media not to publish anti-German stories because they don't want to offend the German people. And you read this book, and it makes you want to weep because, interestingly, the younger Tories who were most opposed to appeasement were the combat veterans of World War I, who had lost all of their friends in the war but who understood that the failure of appeasement would result in a worse war and that the longer you lied about reality, the greater the disaster.
And they were severely punished and isolated by Chamberlain and the Conservative machine, and as I read that, I realized that that's really where we are today.
Our current problem is tragic. You have an administration whose policy is inadequate being opposed by a political left whose policy is worse, and you have nobody prepared to talk about the policy we need. Because we are told if you are for a strong America, you should back the Bush policy even if it's inadequate, and so you end up making an argument in favor of something that can't work. So your choice is to defend something which isn't working or to oppose it by being for an even weaker policy. So this is a catastrophe for this country and a catastrophe for freedom around the world. Because we have refused to be honest about the scale of the problem.
Let me work back. I'm going to get to Iran since that's the topic, but I'm going to get to it eventually.
Let me work back from Pakistan. The dictatorship in Pakistan has never had control over Wiziristan. Not for a day. So we've now spent six years since 9/11 with a sanctuary for Al-Qaida and a sanctuary for the Taliban, and every time we pick up people in Great Britain who are terrorists, they were trained in Pakistan.
And our answer is to praise Musharraf because at least he's not as bad as the others. But the truth is Musharraf has not gotten control of terrorism in Pakistan. Musharraf doesn't have full control over his own government. The odds are even money we're going to drift into a disastrous dictatorship at some point in Pakistan. And while we worry about the Iranians acquiring a nuclear weapon, the Pakistanis already have 'em, So why would you feel secure in a world where you could presently have an Islamist dictatorship in Pakistan with a hundred-plus nuclear weapons? What's our grand strategy for that?
Then you look at Afghanistan. Here's a country that's small, poor, isolated, and in six years we have not been able to build roads, create economic opportunity, wean people off of growing drugs. A third of the GDP is from drugs. We haven't been able to end the sanctuary for the Taliban in Pakistan. And I know of no case historically where you defeat a guerrilla movement if it has a sanctuary. So the people who rely on the West are out-bribed by the criminals, outgunned by the criminals, and faced with a militant force across the border which practiced earlier defeating the Soviet empire and which has a time horizon of three or four generations. NATO has a time horizon of each quarter or at best a year, facing an opponent whose time horizon is literally three or four generations. It's a total mismatch.
Then you come to the direct threat to the United States, which is Al-Qaida. Which, by the way, we just published polls. One of the sites I commend to you is AmericanSolutions.com. Last Wednesday we posted six national surveys, $428,000 worth of data. We gave it away. I found myself in the unique position of calling Howard Dean to tell him I was giving him $400,000 worth of polling. We have given it away to both Democrats and Republicans.
It is fundamentally different from the national news media. When asked the question "Do we have an obligation to defend the United States and her allies?" the answer is 85 percent yes. When asked a further question "Should we defeat our enemies?" - it's very strong language - the answer is 75 percent yes, 75 to 16.
The complaint about Iraq is a performance complaint, not a values complaint.
When asked whether or not Al-Qaida is a threat, 89 percent of the country says yes. And they think you have to defeat it, you can't negotiate with it. So now let's look at Al-Qaida and the rise of Islamist terrorism.
And let's be honest: What's the primary source of money for Al-Qaida? It's you, recirculated through Saudi Arabia. Because we have no national energy strategy, when clearly if you really cared about liberating the United States from the Middle East and if you really cared about the survival of Israel, one of your highest goals would be to move to a hydrogen economy and to eliminate petroleum as a primary source of energy.
Now that's what a serious national strategy would look like, but that would require real change.
So then you look at Saudi Arabia. The fact that we tolerate a country saying no Christian and no Jew can go to Mecca, and we start with the presumption that that's true while they attack Israel for being a religious state is a sign of our timidity, our confusion, our cowardice that is stunning.
It's not complicated. We're inviting Saudi Arabia to come to Annapolis to talk about rights for Palestinians when nobody is saying, "Let's talk about rights for Christians and Jews in Saudi Arabia. Let's talk about rights for women in Saudi Arabia."
So we accept this totally one-sided definition of the world in which our enemies can cheerfully lie on television every day, and we don't even have the nerve to insist on the truth. We pretend their lies are reasonable. This is a very fundamental problem. And if you look at who some of the largest owners of some of our largest banks are today, they're Saudis.
You keep pumping billions of dollars a year into countries like Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Russia, and you are presently going to have created people who oppose you who have lots of money. And they're then going to come back to your own country and finance, for example , Arab study institutes whose only requirement is that they never tell the truth. So you have all sorts of Ph.D.s who now show up quite cheerfully prepared to say whatever it is that makes their funders happy - in the name, of course, of academic freedom. So why wouldn't Columbia host a genocidal madman? It's just part of political correctness. I mean, Ahmadinejad may say terrible things, he may lock up students, he may kill journalists, he may say, "We should wipe out Israel," he may say, "We should defeat the United States," but after all, what has he done that's inappropriate? What has he done that wouldn't be repeated at a Hollywood cocktail party or a nice gathering in Europe?
And nobody says this is totally, utterly, absolutely unacceptable. Why is it that the No. 1 threat in intelligence movies is the CIA?
I happened the other night to be watching an old movie, To Live and Die in L.A., which is about counterfeiting. But the movie starts with a Secret Service agent who is defending Ronald Reagan in 1985, and the person he is defending Ronald Reagan from is a suicide bomber who is actually, overtly a Muslim fanatic. Now, six years after 9/11, you could not get that scene made in Hollywood today.
Just look at the movies. Why is it that the bad person is either a right-wing crazed billionaire, or the CIA as a government agency. Go look at the Bourne Ultimatum. Or a movie like the one that George Clooney made, which was an absolute lie, in which it implied that if you were a reformist Arab prince, that probably the CIA would kill you. It's a total lie. We actually have SEALs protecting people all over the world. We actually risk American lives protecting reformers all over the world, and yet Hollywood can't bring itself to tell the truth:
(a) because it's ideologically so opposed to the American government and the American military; and,
(b) because it's terrified that if it said something really openly, honestly true about Muslim terrorists, they might show up in Hollywood. And you might have somebody killed as the Dutch producer was killed.
And so we're living a life of cowardice, and in that life of cowardice we're sleepwalking into a nightmare.
And then you come to Iran. There's a terrific book. Mark Bowden is a remarkable writer who wrote Black Hawk Down, has enormous personal courage. He's a Philadelphia newspaper writer, actually got the money out of the Philadelphia newspaper to go to Somalia to interview the Somalian side of Black Hawk Down. It's a remarkable achievement. Tells a great story about getting to Somalia, paying lots of cash, having the local warlord protect him, and after about two weeks the warlord came to him and said, "You know, we've decided that we're very uncomfortable with you being here, and you should leave."
And so he goes to the hotel, where he is the only hard-currency guest, and says, "I've got to check out two weeks early because the warlord has told me that he no longer will protect me." And the hotel owner, who wants to keep his only hard-currency guest, says, "Well, why are you listening to him? He's not the government. There is no government." And Bowden says, "Well, what will I do?" And he says, "You hire a bigger warlord with more guns," which he did. But then he could only stay one week because he ran out of money.
But this is a guy with real courage. I mean, imagine trying to go out and be a journalist in that kind of world, OK? So Bowden came back and wrote Guest of the Ayatollah, which is the Iranian hostage of 1979, which he entitled, "The First Shots in Iran's War Against America." So in the Bowden world view, the current Iranian dictatorship has been at war with the United States since 1979. Violated international law. Every conceivable tenet of international law was violated when they seized the American Embassy and they seized the diplomats. Killed Americans in Lebanon in the early '80s. Killed Americans at Khobar Towers in '95 and had the Clinton administration deliberately avoid revealing the information, as Louis Freeh, the director of the FBI, has said publicly, because they didn't want to have to confront the Iranian complicity.
And so you have an Iranian regime which is cited annually as the leading supporter of state terrorism in the world. Every year the State Department says that. It's an extraordinary act of lucidity on the part of an institution which seeks to avoid it as often as possible.
And you have Gen. Petraeus come to the U.S. Congress and say publicly in an open session, "The Iranians are waging a proxy war against Americans in Iraq."
Last Edit: February 07, 2008, 08:23:49 AM by Crafty_Dog
Newt part 2
Reply #405 on:
February 06, 2008, 09:00:52 PM »
I was so deeply offended by this, it's hard for me to express it without sounding irrational. I'm an Army brat. My dad served 27 years in the infantry. The idea that an American general would come to the American Congress, testify in public that our young men and women are being killed by Iran, and we have done nothing, I find absolutely abhorrent.
So I'm preparing to come and talk today. I got up this morning, and a friend had sent me yesterday's Jerusalem Post editorial, which if you haven't read, I recommend to you. It has, for example, the following quote: "On Monday, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, 'The problem of the content of the document setting out joint principles for peace-making post-Annapolis has not been resolved. One of the more pressing problems is the Zionist regime's insistence on being recognized as a Jewish state. We will not agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined.' "
What truly bothers me is the shallowness and the sophistry of the Western governments, starting with our own. When a person says to you, "I don't recognize that you exist," you don't start a negotiation. The person says, "I literally do not recognize" and then lies to you. I mean the first thing you say to this guy is "Terrific. Let's go visit Mecca. Since clearly there's no other state except Israel that is based on religion, the fact that I happen to be Christian won't bother anybody." And then he'll say, "Well, that's different."
We tolerate this. We have created our own nightmare because we refuse to tell the truth. We refuse to tell the truth to our politicians. Our State Department refuses to tell the truth to the country. If the president of the United States, and again, we're now so bitterly partisan, we're so committed to red-vs.-blue hostility, that George W. Bush doesn't have the capacity to give an address from the Oval Office that has any meaning for half the country. And the anti-war left is so strong in the Democratic primary that I think it's almost impossible for any Democratic presidential candidate to tell the truth about the situation.
And so the Republicans are isolated and trying to defend incompetence. The
Democrats are isolated and trying to find a way to say, "I'm really for strength as long as I can have peace, but I'd really like to have peace, except I don't want to recognize these people who aren't very peaceful."
I just want to share with you, as a grandfather, as a citizen, as a historian, as somebody who was once speaker of the House, this is a serious national crisis. This is 1935 or 1936, and it's getting worse every year.
None of our enemies are confused. Our enemies don't get up each morning and go, "Oh, gosh, I think I'll have an existential crisis of identity in which I will try to think through whether or not we can be friends while you're killing me." Our enemies get up every morning and say, "We hate the West. We hate freedom." They would not allow a meeting with women in the room.
I was once interviewed by a BBC reporter, a nice young lady who was only about as anti-American as she had to be to keep her job. Since it was a live interview, I
turned to her halfway through the interview and I said, "Do you like your job?" And it was summertime, and she's wearing a short-sleeve dress. And she said, "Well, yes." She was confused because I had just reversed roles. I said, "Well, then you should hope we win." She said, "What do you mean?" And I said, "Well, if the enemy wins, you won't be allowed to be on television."
I don't know how to explain it any simpler than that.
Now what do we need?
We need first of all to recognize this is a real war. Our enemies are peaceful when they're weak, are ruthless when they're strong, demand mercy when they're losing, show no mercy when they're winning. They understand exactly what this is, and anybody who reads Sun Tzu will understand exactly what we're living through. This is a total war. One side is going to win. One side is going to lose. You'll be able to tell who won and who lost by who's still standing. Most of Islam is not in this war, but most of Islam isn't going to stop this war. They're just going to sit to one side and tell you how sorry they are that this happened. We had better design grand strategies that are radically bigger and radically tougher and radically more honest than anything currently going on, and that includes winning the argument in Europe , and it includes winning the argument in the rest of the world. And it includes being very clear, and I'll just give you one simple example because we're now muscle-bound by our own inability to talk honestly.
Iran produces 60 percent of its own gasoline. It produces lots of crude oil but only has one refinery. It imports 40 percent of its gasoline. The entire 60 percent is produced at one huge refinery.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan decided to break the Soviet empire. He was asked what's your vision of the Cold War. He said, "Four words: We win; they lose." He was clearly seen by The New York Times as an out-of-touch, reactionary, right-wing cowboy from California who had no idea what was going on in the world. And 11 years later the Soviet Union disappeared, but obviously that had nothing to do with Reagan because that would have meant he was right. So it's just a random accident the Soviet Union disappeared.
Part of the war we waged on the Soviet Union involved their natural gas supply because we wanted to cut off their hard currency. The Soviets were desperate to get better equipment for their pipeline. We managed to sell them through third parties very, very sophisticated American pipeline equipment, which they were thrilled to buy and thought they had pulled off a huge coup. Now we weren't playing fair. We did not tell them that the equipment was designed to blow up. One day in 1982, there was an explosion in Siberia so large that the initial reflection on the satellites looked like there was a tactical nuclear weapon. One part of the White House was genuinely worried, and the other part of the White House had to calm them down. They said, "No, no, that's our equipment blowing up."
In the 28 years since the Iranians declared war on us, in the six years since 9/11, in the months since Gen. Petraeus publicly said they are killing young Americans, we have not been able to figure out how to take down one refinery. Covertly, quietly, without overt war. And we have not been able to figure out how to use the most powerful navy in the world to simply stop the tankers and say, "Look, you want to kill young Americans, you're going to walk to the battlefield, but you're not going to ride in the car because you're not going to have any gasoline."
We don't have to be stupid. The choice is not cowardice or total war. Reagan unlocked Poland without firing a shot in an alliance with the pope, with the labor unions and with the British. We have every possibility if we're prepared to be honest to shape the world. It'll be a very big project. It's much closer to World War II than it is to anything we've tried recently. It will require real effort, real intensity and real determination. We're either going to do it now, while we're still extraordinarily powerful, or we're going to do it later under much more desperate circumstances after we've lost several cities.
We had better take this seriously because we are not very many mistakes away from a second Holocaust. 'Three nuclear weapons' is a second Holocaust. Our enemies would like to get those weapons as soon as they can, and they promise to use them as soon as they can.
I suggest we defeat our enemies and create a different situation long before they have that power.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #406 on:
February 20, 2008, 11:11:16 PM »
Its been a while since Ann wrote something that I respected, but I find this one dead on:
How to Keep Reagan Out of Office
by Ann Coulter
Posted: 02/20/2008 Print This
Inasmuch as the current presidential election has come down to a choice among hemlock, self-immolation or the traditional gun in the mouth, now is the time for patriotic Americans to review what went wrong and to start planning for 2012.
How did we end up with the mainstream media picking the Republican candidate for president?
It isn't the early primaries, it isn't that we allow Democrats to vote in many of our primaries, and it isn't that the voters are stupid. All of that was true or partially true in 1980 -- and we still got Ronald Reagan.
We didn't get Ronald Reagan this year not just because there's never going to be another Reagan. We will never again get another Reagan because Reagan wouldn't run for office under the current campaign-finance regime.
Three months ago, I was sitting with a half-dozen smart, successful conservatives whose names you know, all griping about this year's cast of presidential candidates. I asked them, one by one: Why don't you run for office?
Of course, none of them would. They are happy, well-adjusted individuals.
Reagan, too, had a happy life and, having had no trouble getting girls in high school, had no burning desire for power. So when the great California businessman Holmes Tuttle and two other principled conservatives approached Reagan about running for office, Reagan said no.
But Tuttle kept after Reagan, asking him not to reject the idea out of hand. He formed "Friends of Reagan" to raise money in case Reagan changed his mind.
He asked Reagan to give his famous "Rendezvous With History" speech at a $1,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser in Los Angeles and then bought airtime for the speech to be broadcast on TV days before the 1964 presidential election.
The epochal broadcast didn't change the election results, but it changed history. That single broadcast brought in nearly $1 million to the Republican Party -- not to mention millions of votes for Goldwater.
After the astonishing response to Reagan's speech and Tuttle's continued entreaties, Reagan finally relented and ran for governor. In 1966, with the help, financial and otherwise, of a handful of self-made conservative businessmen, Reagan walloped incumbent Edmund G. (Pat) Brown, winning 57 percent of the vote in a state with two Democrats for every Republican.
The rest is history -- among the brightest spots in all of world history.
None of that could happen today. (The following analysis uses federal campaign-finance laws rather than California campaign-finance laws because the laws are basically the same, and I am not going to hire a campaign-finance lawyer in order to write this column.)
If Tuttle found Ronald Reagan today, he couldn't form "Friends of Reagan" to raise money for a possible run -- at least not without hiring a battery of campaign-finance lawyers and guaranteeing himself a lawsuit by government bureaucrats. He'd also have to abandon his friendship with Reagan to avoid the perception of "coordination."
Tuttle couldn't hold a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for Reagan -- at least in today's dollars. That would be a $6,496.94-a-plate dinner (using the consumer price index) or a $19,883.51-a-plate dinner (using the relative share of GDP). The limit on individual contributions to a candidate is $2,300.
Reagan's "Rendezvous With History" speech would never have been broadcast on TV -- unless Tuttle owned the TV station. Independent groups are prohibited from broadcasting electioneering ads 60 days before an election.
A handful of conservative businessmen would not be allowed to make large contributions to Reagan's campaign -- they would be restricted to donating only $2,300 per person.
Under today's laws, Tuttle would have had to go to Reagan and say: "We would like you to run for governor. You are limited to raising money $300 at a time (roughly the current limits in 1965 dollars), so you will have to do nothing but hold fundraisers every day of your life for the next five years in order to run in the 1970 gubernatorial election, since there clearly there isn't enough time to raise money for the 1966 election."
Also, Tuttle would have to tell Reagan: "We are not allowed to coordinate with you, so you're on your own. But wait -- it gets worse! After five years of attending rubber chicken dinners every single day in order to raise money in tiny increments, you will probably lose the election anyway because campaign-finance laws make it virtually impossible to unseat an incumbent.
"Oh, and one more thing: Did you ever kiss a girl in high school? Not even once? If not, then this plan might appeal to you!"
Obviously, Reagan would have returned to his original answer: No thanks.
Reagan loved giving speeches and taking questions from voters. The one part of campaigning Reagan loathed was raising money. Thanks to our campaign-finance laws, fundraising is the single most important job of a political candidate today.
This is why you will cast your eyes about the nation in vain for another Reagan sitting in any governor's mansion or U.S. Senate seat. Pro-lifers like to ask, "How many Einsteins have we lost to abortion?" I ask: How many Reagans have we lost to campaign-finance reform?
The campaign-finance laws basically restrict choice political jobs, like senator and governor -- and thus president -- to:
(1) Men who were fatties in high school and consequently are willing to submit to the hell of running for office to compensate for their unhappy adolescences -- like Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. (Somewhere in this great land of ours, even as we speak, the next Bill Clinton is waddling back to the cafeteria service line asking for seconds.)
(2) Billionaires and near-billionaires -- like Jon Corzine, Steve Forbes, Michael Bloomberg and Mitt Romney -- who can fund their own campaigns (these aren't necessarily sociopaths, but it certainly limits the pool of candidates).
(3) Celebrities and name-brand candidates -- like Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Bush, Giuliani and Hillary Clinton (which explains the nation's apparent adoration for Bushes and Clintons -- they've got name recognition, a valuable commodity amidst totalitarian restrictions on free speech).
(4) Mainstream media-anointed candidates, like John McCain and B. Hussein Obama.
What a bizarre coincidence that a few years after the most draconian campaign-finance laws were imposed via McCain-Feingold, our two front-runners happen to be the media's picks! It's uncanny -- almost as if by design! (Can I stop now, or do you people get sarcasm?)
By prohibiting speech by anyone else, the campaign-finance laws have vastly magnified the power of the media -- which, by the way, are wholly exempt from speech restrictions under campaign-finance laws. The New York Times doesn't have to buy ad time to promote a politician; it just has to call McCain a "maverick" 1 billion times a year.
It is because of campaign-finance laws like McCain-Feingold that big men don't run for office anymore. Little men do. And John McCain is the head homunculus.
You want Reagan back? Restore the right to free speech, and you will have created the conditions that allowed Reagan to run.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #407 on:
February 25, 2008, 07:49:25 PM »
This WSJ piece with local conservative commentator Jason Lewis (who occasionally subs for Rush L.) ripping Minnesota's Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty has relevance in the Presidential thread because because Pawlenty is a possible running mate for McCain, but I will put it here because it's a rant. Pawlenty is a very down to earth, super nice guy. I have had face to face political talks with him several times. Republican governors in Democrat states, like Mitt and Ahhnold, perhaps serve some purpose in slowing down the liberal freight train of new programs and taxes, but to be popular and re-elected they do not move, represent or lead anyone in a conservative direction IMO.
By JASON LEWIS
February 23, 2008; Page A8
"The era of small government is over . . . government has to be more proactive, more aggressive."
-- Tim Pawlenty, 2006.
Minnesota's 47-year-old governor is now one of a handful of names being bandied about as a possible running mate for John McCain. But if the Arizona senator wants to unite conservative Republicans behind him, there are better choices.
First elected in 2002, Mr. Pawlenty got off to a good start by holding the line on taxes in the face of a $4.5 billion state deficit. That shortfall equaled 15% of the state's $28 billion biennial budget, and the pressure on the governor to break his no-new-taxes pledge was unrelenting. Nonetheless, he showed resolve in dealing with Minnesota's recalcitrant liberal elite.
But in 2005, signs of his "progressive" instincts emerged. In a quest for new revenue, Mr. Pawlenty supported a 75 cents per-pack cigarette tax. He called it a "health impact" fee. No one was fooled. User fees are generally charged to ensure that those who use a government service pay for the cost of providing that service. In this case, however, it was obvious that smokers were just being tapped to fund health-care entitlement programs.
Following the tax hike, the governor pushed through a state-wide smoking ban in workplaces, restaurants and bars. Aggressive, Nanny-state government seems to be big with Republican governors these days -- although policies such as smoking bans do little to stem the costly tide of state-run health care.
In 2006, liberal Democrats (there is no other kind here) proposed a universal health-care behemoth to cover all residents. Mr. Pawlenty responded with a more limited proposal to expand the state's child health-care program, Minnesota Care, to cover all children. More recently, the governor's Health Care Transformation Task Force recommended imposing a mandate -- à la Massachusetts -- on residents to buy health insurance.
On prescription drugs, Mr. Pawlenty set up the state's RX Connect Program to import price-controlled Canadian drugs. The South St. Paul populist also advocated a temporary ban on ads paid for by pharmaceutical companies. Not exactly the stuff of which markets are made.
Not everything has been bleak for the right during Mr. Pawlenty's tenure. Last session he vetoed several major spending bills pushed by the Democratic Farmer Labor Party; they were so profligate that his vetoes elicited barely a whimper from Minnesota's reliably liberal media. Nevertheless, Mr. Pawlenty has presided over back-to-back biennial budget increases of 12.4% and 9.8% respectively. Last year the governor's proposed budget survived essentially intact but still spent the state's $2 billion surplus, with half the general fund increase going to education. Minnesota, with five million people, now has a biennial budget of nearly $35 billion.
Mr. Pawlenty's proactive government stance extends to support for mass transit and sport stadium subsidies, as well as for hiking the state's minimum wage, which is now $6.15 an hour for large employers (the federal minimum wage is $5.85). But it is education and the environment where Mr. Pawlenty hopes to establish his progressive bona fides.
He calls for accountability in education, but does little to buck the most powerful lobby in state politics, Education Minnesota. Indeed, Mr. Pawlenty has courted the unions, telling the Minnesota Business Partnership that "I can't have the Republican governor talk about changing the school system without having the support and help of the teachers' union and my friends on the other side of the aisle. It just won't work."
On the environment, Mr. Pawlenty imposed some of the most aggressive renewable energy mandates in the country. Other states will be requiring, in coming years, that energy producers get 20% of their electricity from "renewable" sources such as wind, solar or animal manure. In Mr. Pawlenty's Minnesota, the state's largest utility will be required to generate 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
Mr. Pawlenty is using his influence through the National Governor's Association to export his ideas across state lines. The NGA meets in Washington, D.C. next week. Look for Mr. Pawlenty to be on hand and stumping for renewable mandates.
In April, Mr. Pawlenty delivered the remarks that probably best reveal his views on the environment. "It looks like we should have listened to President Carter," he told the Minnesota Climate Change Advisory Group. "He called us to action, and we should have listened. . . . Climate change is real. Human behavior is partly and may be a lot responsible. Those who don't think so are simply not right. We should not spend time on voices that say it's not real."
At times it seems that Mr. Pawlenty's first political instinct is to placate liberal critics, as he did following the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis last August. When Rep. James Oberstar, a Democrat, tried to exploit the tragedy that killed 13 people and injured 100 others -- by blaming it on a lack of federal gas tax revenue -- Mr. Pawlenty responded by calling for a state gas tax increase. Thankfully, the governor started backpedaling on that idea almost immediately after proposing it. He now promises to veto any tax increase to come out of the legislature this year (handing down one such veto yesterday).
That's good. But it doesn't mean that he'll be able to deliver the state for Mr. McCain. In the run-up to Super Tuesday earlier this month, Mr. Pawlenty stumped hard for Mr. McCain only to watch as Republican voters delivered Minnesota overwhelmingly to Mitt Romney.
WSJ: With extreme prejudice (Kerry still an idiot)
Reply #408 on:
March 22, 2008, 12:21:24 AM »
With Extreme Prejudice
By JAMES TARANTO
March 21, 2008
Remember John Kerry? He was the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, lauded by his supporters for his intellect and his nuance, as compared with the simpleminded George W. Bush. Having lost the election, he decided to sit out the 2008 contest. He recently endorsed Barack Obama, and earlier this week he sat down with the editorial board of the Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.) to make the case for his candidate.
It's a real jaw-dropper. ABC News's Jake Tapper sums it up:
Kerry said that a President Obama would help the US, in relations with Muslim countries, "in some cases go around their dictator leaders to the people and inspire the people in ways that we can't otherwise."
"He has the ability to help us bridge the divide of religious extremism," Kerry said. "To maybe even give power to moderate Islam to be able to stand up against this radical misinterpretation of a legitimate religion."
Kerry was asked what gives Obama that credibility.
"Because he's African-American. Because he's a black man. Who has come from a place of oppression and repression through the years in our own country."
An African-American president would be "a symbol of empowerment" for those who have been disenfranchised around the world, Kerry said, "an important lesson for America to show Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, other places in the world where disenfranchised people don't get anything."
One obvious question: What do the events of this week, involving Obama's own church, tell us about his ability to "stand up against" a "radical misinterpretation of a legitimate religion"? Nothing very encouraging in this columnist's view, but many observers view Obama much more charitably in this regard than we do.
What is really striking about Kerry's case for Obama, though, is that it rests on what may be the crudest stereotyping we have ever observed. Commentary's Abe Greenwald has a chuckle over Kerry's racial stereotyping of Obama:
Where is this "place of oppression and repression" in which Obama has suffered "through the years"? Hawaii? Harvard? The Senate? We should find out immediately and do something about this horrific crisis.
But Kerry isn't just stereotyping blacks. He is stereotyping Muslims too. And he is drawing an equivalence between American blacks, a racial minority in one country, and Middle Eastern Muslims, a religious majority in a whole region.
Never mind that, as Greenwald points out, "Arab Muslims [are] none too happy with their black countrymen in northern Africa." Never mind that in some African countries, notably Sudan and Mauritania, Arab Muslims still enslave blacks.
To Kerry, it seems, all "oppressed peoples" look alike. The man has all the intellectual subtlety of a third-rate ethnic studies professor.
Good Times if,, ,
Reply #409 on:
April 05, 2008, 10:52:55 AM »
Friday Feature /Really Good Times Ahead, If...
(04/04/08): Our next President will look like
an economic genius if he or she doesn't goof up by raising taxes,
continuing the Bush weaken-the-dollar policy or sitting by while agencies
such as the FCC issue stupid regulations.
Yes, the new Oval Office occupant will have to clean up the Bush/Bernanke
monetary mess. But don't be misled by stock market gloom and lurid
headlines on the credit crisis. The U.S. and, indeed, the global economy
are on the verge of another surge of breathtaking innovations. As you'd
expect, major breakthroughs are evolving around the Internet, whose IP
traffic could grow fiftyfold by 2015. In January Bret Swanson, a fellow at
the Progress & Freedom Foundation, in conjunction with George Gilder, of
the Discovery Institute, released a report about a dazzling future of
movie downloads, Internet video and an explosion in business traffic.
Real-time 3-D will become a reality. Each month YouTube traffic is 50
petabytes; in comparison, annual original cable, television and radio
content created is 100 PB. In other words, YouTube matches traditional
media's annual content every two months. And this kind of creativity and
social interaction is only just beginning.
The implications for medicine are staggeringly positive. Imagine, Swanson
points out, digital medical imaging being able to examine your brain 1,024
ways. As he also notes, "[All this] will require a dramatic expansion of
bandwidth, storage and traffic management capabilities in core, edge,
metro and access networks. In the U.S., currently lagging Asia, the total
new network investments will exceed $100 billion by 2012."
Peter Huber, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an
extraordinarily insightful observer of technology, wrote in his Feb. 25
FORBES column ("Techno-Optimism"): "Scientists will soon bioengineer
bacteria to melt oil out of tar sands, turn grass into diesel fuel and
scavenge natural resources of every kind out of low-grade, thinly
dispersed deposits. They can design drugs to replace, boost or suppress
anything in nature. … Within a decade or two sensors will allow
microprocessors to see, hear and feel far better than we can.
Microengineered materials are simultaneously transforming the manufacture
of clothes, cars, jets--just about everything people make--because they're
far stronger, lighter and more functional than metals, plastics and
The next President must overhaul the FCC, lest it--with the connivance of
lobbyist-influenced Congress--gum up these advances with stifling
regulations or by enacting net neutrality, which would have politicians
and bureaucrats fixing prices for access to broadband networks. Such price
controls would halt investments in expanding capacity. It's happened
before: Congressional/FCC price controls in the mid-1990s cratered
investment in fiber-optics projects, which enabled South Korea and others
to leap past us. Observe Swanson and Gilder: "South Korea, with just
one-sixth the population of the U.S., now approaches the U.S. in Internet
traffic. [The country] deployed fiber-optic networks sooner than the U.S.
did. South Korea also was an aggressive first builder of 3G [broadband]
Are you listening, Senators McCain, Obama and Clinton?
Our Lives, Our Fortunes, our Sacred Honor
Reply #410 on:
April 07, 2008, 11:04:00 AM »
Our Lives, our Fortunes, our sacred Honor
From Patriot Post Vol. 07 No. 27; Published 3 July 2007 | Print Email PDF
OIF---A new dawn "Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!" --George Washington
Our nation began with these stirring words in the Declaration of Independence: "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." Now, 231 years later, they still ring true.
We may envision the Founders as rash, rowdy rebels. Not so. Already accomplished in fields of endeavor, they were settled in character and reputation. They deemed their decision necessary, and their first thought was of "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." They were men of purpose and principle, who well understood the peril of choosing to declare independence from Great Britain. Dr. Benjamin Rush wrote to John Adams, "Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the House when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe to what was believed by many at that time to be our death warrants?"
The Founders reasoned that the colonials were compelled to the separation, outlining a detailed list of particulars describing the King of Great Britain's "long train of abuses and usurpations" that could end only in an intended "absolute despotism" and "establishment of absolute tyranny over these states." They appealed that the free citizens they represented therefore had both a right and a duty "to alter their former systems of government" and "to provide new guards for their future security."
They further explained, "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." They had been patient, measured and restrained in responding to the incursions on their freedoms but could be so no longer.
The central passage of the Declaration's opening is the document's most famous, suggesting the form of government truly fit for a free people: "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."
The Founders sought liberty, not license -- rather than a loosening of restraints, a freedom to pursue right. The objective was citizens' safety and happiness, later called "the common defense," "the general welfare," and the "blessings of liberty." The mottos of the American Revolution were "No King but King Jesus!" and "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God."
Given their experiences with a leader who had violated the laws supposed to control his own conduct as much as theirs, the Founders sought to avoid the instability of democracy or of oligarchy, in which one or a handful of people can overturn the foundations by a simple vote or decree. Fisher Ames warned, "The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty." John Witherspoon referred to pure democracy as "very subject to caprice and the madness of popular rage." The Founders ultimately chose a constitutional democratic republic -- based on the foundation of the reliable rule of law, responsive to the people's "consent of the governed" through representation of the citizens, predicated on the virtue of the people.
The colonists came to these shores with a learned tradition of liberty, and this new land offered a manner of living that further taught freedom. Our performance in upholding this heritage is mixed. We are divided as a nation, no longer pressing toward unity and allegiance to shared principles. Facile commentary lauds comity as the antidote for what the Founders derided as faction, applauding the elitist establishment fetish for bipartisanship. But they are exactly wrong. Indeed, bipartisanship today is more akin to factionalism than are those adhering to the two major political parties out of principle.
There remains one crucial question: What are we willing to risk to salvage the heritage our Founders handed down to us? Our warriors in the field have demonstrated that they stand in the direct line from our Patriot Founders -- prepared to sacrifice all in service. Many activist citizens gave time, effort and resources to turn aside the Senate's recent attempts to foist a dangerous change in immigration laws on the nation. But the United States as a nation is not as secure as at its tenuous beginnings.
The signers of the Declaration concluded their treatise, "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.... 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." Do we citizens, inheritors of the Republic bequeathed us, still stand ready to hazard even half so much?
Re: Political Rants
Reply #411 on:
April 10, 2008, 10:26:42 AM »
The Airline Bomb Plot
April 10, 2008; Page A14
Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain brought their presidential campaigns to the Petraeus-Crocker hearings on Iraq this week. An Iraq-based reporter appearing on one of the cable networks in the evening said the hearings struck him as oddly decoupled from the daily reality of war for the Iraqi people and U.S. troops there. Yup, never hurts to pinch yourself hard on entering presidential campaign space right now.
The three candidates addressed Gen. David Petraeus in tones of high gravitas equal to the thin altitude of the American presidency. Sen. Obama colloquied with Gen. Petraeus about the status of al Qaeda in Iraq – asking whether the terrorist organization could "reconstitute itself" and said that he was looking for "an endpoint."
WSJ's Wonder Land columnist Dan Henninger discusses the disconnect between U.S. politics and global terrorism. (April 9)
Here's another hypothetical: Would this conversation be different today if in August 2006 seven airliners had taken off from Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport, bound for the U.S. and Canada and each carrying about 250 passengers, and then blew up over the Atlantic Ocean?
It is a hypothetical because, instead of the explosions, British prosecutors this week presented their case against eight Muslim men arrested in August 2006 and charged with conspiring to board and blow up those planes.
The details emerging from that case are quite remarkable and will be summarized shortly. Pause to reflect on the ebb and flow of public debate that has occurred over how free societies should order themselves after two airliners full of passengers knocked down the World Trade Center Towers on Sept. 11 in 2001.
The view that 9/11 "changed everything" did not hold up under the weight of our politics. Divisions re-emerged between Democrats and Republicans, in office and on the streets. These fights reignited over the Patriot Act, Guantanamo and the warrantless wiretap bill (or "FISA" revision). These arguers stopped to stare momentarily at their televisions when Islamic terrorists committed mass murder in the 2004 Madrid train bombing and the 2005 London subway bombing.
One sometimes gets the feeling that our policy debates over national security and the journalism that travels with them float, as it were, at 30,000 feet above the reality of the threat on the ground. A novelist or filmmaker, alert to the personal demons that drive modern terror, would with fiction better clarify what is at stake. Start with the details of the eight defendants now on trial in England.
The names of the accused plotters, all men in their 20s, are Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Mohammed Gulzar, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam. They lived around London, in Walthamstow, Leyton, Plaistow and Barking. Most are Pakistanis.
Abdullah Ahmed Ali was caught on a wiretap telling his wife that he wished to bring his baby son along on the suicide mission. She resists. His suicide video, intended to become public after the planes blew up and shown at trial, promises "floods of martyr operations against you" and "your people's body parts decorating the streets."
Waheed Zaman studied biomedical science at London Metropolitan University. In his video Zaman says, "I have been educated to a high standard. I could have lived a life of ease but instead chose to fight for the sake of Allah's Deen [religion]."
Umar Islam mocks complacent Brits: "Most of you too busy, you know, watching Home and Away and EastEnders, complaining about the World Cup, drinking your alcohol." This would be fascinating as one nut's reason for murder. It is instead the basis for an ideology to justify blowing up thousands.
The prosecution said a computer memory stick on one of the men at his arrest listed the targeted flights. They were: United Airlines Flight 931 to San Francisco; UA959 to Chicago; UA925 to Washington; Air Canada 849 to Toronto; AC865 to Montreal; American Airlines 131 to New York and AA91 to Chicago. The first flight would depart at 2:15 p.m., the last at 4:50 p.m., allowing all to be aloft and out of U.S. or British airspace when they fell.
The private intelligence-analysis agency, Stratfor, concludes from the trial that "al Qaeda remains fixated on aircraft as targets and, in spite of changes in security procedures since 9/11, aircraft remain vulnerable to attack."
The men planned to take the bomb pieces onboard for assembly: empty plastic bottles, a sugary drink powder, hydrogen peroxide and other materials to be detonated with the flash on disposable cameras.
The arrests of the men, who say they are innocent, were the result of broad and prolonged surveillance. For months, the suspects were bugged, photographed and wiretapped.
Here in the U.S., our politics has spent much of the year unable to vote into law the wiretap bill, which is bogged down, incredibly, over giving retrospective legal immunity to telecom companies that helped the government monitor calls originating overseas. Even granting there are Fourth Amendment issues in play here, how is it that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cannot at least say that class-action lawsuits against these companies are simply wrong right now?
Philip Bobbitt, author of the just released and thought-provoking book, "Terror and Consent," has written that court warrants are "a useful standard for surveillance designed to prove guilt, not to learn the identity of people who may be planning atrocities." Planning atrocities is precisely the point.
"Atrocity" is a cruel and ugly word, but it has come to define the common parameters of the world we inhabit. It is entertaining to watch the candidates trying to convince the American people of their ability to be presidential. It would be more than nice to know, before one of them turns into a real president this November, what they will do – or more importantly, will never do – to stop what those eight jihadists sitting in the high-security Woolwich Crown Court in London planned for seven America-bound airliners over the Atlantic Ocean.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #412 on:
April 10, 2008, 09:38:22 PM »
I'm incredulous to hear BO tell us we are less safe now than beofre 911.
I guess that is supported by the fact we have not had a single recureence since
I spoke with a phsyician colleauge who is from Paskitan. He felt the violence will never end there.
His from the eastern portion but the western Paskitani terrorists have been taking their Jihad accross the country and are now hitting targets all over.
He says you can't negotiate with them, you can't fight them, you can't do anything about it. In part, because you don't even know who most of them are. You don't know who sympathizes with them and who are your enemy. People are afraid to fight back. They or their families might be next. It is sheer terror.
Yet BO thinks we are worse off here.
I'll take McCain anyday.
Newt on High Energy Prices
Reply #413 on:
May 13, 2008, 01:32:35 PM »
We Can Thank Shortsighted Politicians for High Energy Prices
The starting point of any discussion of America's energy future has to be this: Shortsighted politicians have created the current energy crisis.
For decades left-leaning politicians have advocated higher prices and less energy. They were going to save the environment by punishing Americans into driving less and driving smaller cars. Now their policies have succeeded with a vengeance.
The very left wing politicians who favored a policy of no oil and gas exploration, no use of coal, no development of nuclear power, and no aggressive development of new technologies are now panic-stricken that their policies of higher prices have led to higher prices.
And now the same shortsighted, dishonest politicians who created the crisis are blaming everyone but themselves for the crisis. Because they refuse to be honest about the policies which led to this crisis, they can't be honest about the policies that will lead us out of it.
The politicians want scapegoats. The American people just want solutions.
The Solution? A Pro-Investment, Pro-Creativity, Pro-Production Energy Coalition
Politicians with vision -- working with entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers -- could rapidly replace
the current shortages and high prices with a flood of new energy at lower prices. And America's current vulnerability to blackmail by foreign dictators could rapidly be turned into virtual independence with a North American energy strategy that includes Canada and Mexico.
The key is to create a new coalition of Americans who favor greater investment, greater discovery, greater creativity, and greater production.
That coalition could lead to a new era of American prosperity with a more prosperous economy, more abundant energy, a healthier environment, and greater national security.
The Current Crisis of High Prices and Limited Supply
The fact is, with leadership that unleashes the potential of the American people, there is no reason why America can't have safe, abundant, and relatively inexpensive energy.
America still has the world's largest supply of fossil fuels. We have more coal than any other country by a huge margin. We have abundant oil and gas reserves. We have the potential for nuclear, wind, solar and biofuels in tremendous quantities.
And, critically, America is still technologically the most advanced nation in the world, despite decades of bad policies. We have the potential for enormous breakthroughs in future technologies such as hydrogen power.
Without Real Change the Energy Problem Will Get Much Worse
The second inescapable fact of America's energy future is this: India and China are realities. As they become more prosperous their people want to have better lives. And having better lives means using more and more energy.
This year Asia bought more cars than the United States for the first time in history. The pressure for more energy on a worldwide basis is going to continue to grow.
The only solutions to the current high prices and scarcity are higher energy supply and/or lower energy demand.
In the long run we will almost certainly find dramatic breakthroughs including electric cars (super hybrids) and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
But in the short and near term, oil is going to remain the primary source of energy for transportation. And any strategy that does not substantially increase the production of oil and the use of coal is a strategy for much higher prices and growing scarcities.
The Left's Strategy is Anti-Oil and Anti-Coal
Yet the current strategy of the left is anti-oil and anti-coal.
It is a recipe for very high prices for Americans who drive.
It is a recipe for higher inflation as the cost of energy is driven through the entire economy.
It is a recipe for growing vulnerability to blackmail by foreign dictatorships.
And it is a recipe for starving poor people in the third world. The price of oil has a much bigger impact on the cost of food than the production of biofuels. Higher oil prices mean higher fertilizer and transportation prices. Combine that with the impact of speculators and really destructive government policies (including the Left's opposition to scientifically improved food production), and you have a formula for starvation for the poorest people.
Americans Support Energy Independence, Innovation, Incentives, and Nuclear Power
At AmericanSolutions.com you can view the Platform of the American People, a collection of 91 planks with the support of the majority of Democrats, independents, and Republicans.
The Platform shows that the American people overwhelmingly agree that we should use our resources to become independent from foreign dictators.
Brazil recently discovered two very large oil fields in the Atlantic Ocean. They are so large that they will make Brazil completely independent from Middle Eastern oil.
This is important because the Minerals Management Service has estimated a mean of 85.9 billion barrels of undiscovered recoverable oil and a mean of 419.9 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered recoverable natural gas in the Federal Outer Continental Shelf of the United States. And that estimate does not include any Brazil-size surprise discoveries.
The Platform also shows that Americans believe deeply in the power of technology, incentives, and innovation to develop new sources of energy and new methods of energy conservation. For example:
"We can solve our environmental problems faster and cheaper with innovation and new technology than with more litigation and more government regulation. (79 to 15)
If we use technology and innovation and incentives we do not need to raise taxes to clean up our environment. (68 to 29)"
And Americans also believe in the safety and reliability of nuclear energy.
"We support building more nuclear power plants to cut carbon emissions. (65 to 28)"
The First Step: Replace Warner-Lieberman with Domenici
In a sign of how out of touch the Congress is with the current realities of the average American, the Senate is planning to bring up the Warner-Lieberman bill. This "tax and trade" bill will be an economic disaster. A better name for it would be "The China and India Full Employment Act" because it is going to raise the costs of doing business in America so dramatically that most future factories will be built outside the United States.
SUMMARY OF WARNER-LIEBERMAN
FINANCIAL COSTS OF WARNER-LIEBERMAN
ESTIMATED JOB LOSS DUE TO WARNER-LIEBERMAN
"Tax and trade" is a more accurate term than "cap and trade" because buried in this bill is a massive tax increase which will lead to a much bigger federal government with much more bureaucracy and a much smaller private sector operating only with the permission of federal bureaucrats.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CAP AND TRADE
At a time when the American driver is already complaining about the cost of gasoline and the American homeowner is beginning to complain about the cost of natural gas and home heating oil, the Warner-Lieberman bill will make those costs much worse.
Instead of turning to Warner-Lieberman, the Senate would send a better signal to the American people by taking up the American Energy Production Act, sponsored by New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici (R)
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AMERICAN ENERGY PRODUCTION ACT
Where the Warner-Lieberman bill is one more step toward higher prices, more scarcity, and less production, the Domenici Bill is a first step toward trying to increase production.
If the Senate votes to bring up the Domenici Bill, they are beginning to get the message that we want more energy and lower prices.
The Next Steps to Clean, More Abundant, Lower Cost Domestic Energy
After switching focus from the Warner-Lieberman bill to the Domenici bill, here are the next steps toward an energy abundant American future:
Change federal law to give all states with offshore oil and gas the same share of federal royalties Wyoming gets for land-based resources (48%). Today most states get zero royalties from offshore oil and gas development while states like Wyoming reap 48% of federal royalties for its land-based oil and gas. If Richmond, Tallahassee, and Sacramento suddenly had the potential to find billions of dollars a year in new revenues, their willingness to tolerate new oil and gas development with appropriate environmental safeguards might go up dramatically.
Change federal law to allow those states that want to permit exploration with appropriate safeguards to do so. Companies could be required to post bonds to pay for any environmental problems, and a share of the state and federal revenues from new offshore development could be set aside to finance biodiversity and national park projects.
Allow companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and development to write off their investments in one year by expensing all of it against their tax liabilities. This will lead to an explosion of new exploration and development.
Immediately renegotiate the clean coal (FutureGen) project for Illinois to get it built as rapidly as possible (see the chapter in Real Change for rapid contracting techniques with incentives that can reduce construction time from years to months). It is utterly irrational for the Department of Energy to postpone the most advanced clean coal project in America (LEARN MORE ABOUT DOE'S FAILURE ON FUTURE GEN).
Coal is America's most abundant and lowest-cost energy resource. If clean coal technologies can be demonstrated to produce power with virtually no carbon release, then coal becomes environmentally very acceptable. America IS the Saudi Arabia of coal. We simply must fund the most advanced experiment and get on with using our most abundant resource.
Congress should pass a series of tax-free prizes to accelerate innovation in developing new technologies for using coal. The result will be a better environment, more energy independence, and more energy at lower cost. Eliminate half the Department of Energy bureaucracy and turn the money into paying for prizes. America will get a much bigger, faster return on its investment.
Develop a tax credit for refitting existing coal plants. There are a lot of existing coal plants which are going to be around for a long time. The most efficient way to make them more environmentally acceptable is to create a tax credit for retrofitting them with new methods and new technologies.
Pass a streamlined regulatory regime and a favorable tax regime for building nuclear power plants.
Make the solar power and wind power tax credits permanent to create a large scale industry dedicated to domestically produced renewable fuel. A contractor recently told me about a solar project he had planned for the American southwest that is now being built in Spain because he distrusts the American Congress and is tired of it playing games with short-term tax credits. We have enormous opportunities in solar, wind, and other renewable fuels; and they can be developed with a stable tax policy.
Develop long distance transmission lines to move wind power from the Dakotas to Chicago. The potential is there for an enormous amount of electricity generation, but it is locked up geographically because the neighboring states have no reason to be helpful. The Dakotas can generate the power and Chicago can use the power, but the federal government may have to make the connection possible.
Allow the auto companies to use their tax credits for the cost of flex fuels cars, hybrids, and the development of hydrogen cars including necessary retooling for manufacturing. The American auto companies have billions in tax credits, but they have no profits to turn the tax credits into useful money. The federal government could make the tax credits refundable and therefore useful if they were spent on helping solve the energy problem. This would be a win-win strategy of much greater power than the fight over CAFE standards.
Conservation as a Parallel, Co-Equal Strategy with Production
At the same time we work to increase production of energy, we must work to find ways to increase energy conservation. There are a number of steps that can be taken.
Congressman Roy Blunt notes that we currently spend eight times more money on federal subsidies for low income heating than we spend on modernizing homes so they don't use as much energy.
A variety of tax credits should be developed to accelerate maximum efficiency in energy use and to accelerate the replacement of inefficient systems with more modern, more efficient systems.
The Choice is Ours
The time has come for Americans to demand a fundamental change in energy policy.
If we want less expensive gasoline, then we have to demand the policies that will increase the supply of oil and reduce its cost.
If we want a reliable energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign dictatorships, then we have to demand greater use of American resources and American technology.
If we want these changes to come before we are blackmailed or bankrupted by foreign dictatorships, then we must demand that politicians cut through the red tape, change the bureaucracy, and get the job done.
And if our elected officials want to stick with the current scarcity-producing, high price-resulting energy policies, then its time to retire them for leaders who want more production at lower cost.
The choice is ours.
WSJ: The Next American Frontier
Reply #414 on:
May 19, 2008, 02:26:28 PM »
The Next American Frontier
By MICHAEL S. MALONE
May 19, 2008; Page A15
The entire world seems to be heading toward points of inflection. The developing world is embarking on the digital age. The developed world is entering the Internet era. And the United States, once again at the vanguard, is on the verge of becoming the world's first Entrepreneurial Nation.
At the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, Frederick Jackson Turner delivered a paper to the American Historical Association – the most famous ever by an American historian. In "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," he noted that, according to the most recent U.S. census, so much of the nation had been settled that there was no longer an identifiable western migration. The very notion of a "frontier" was obsolete.
For three centuries the frontier had defined us, tantalized us with the perpetual chance to "light out for the territories" and start our lives over. It was the foundation of those very American notions of "federalism" and "rugged individualism." But Americans had crossed an invisible line in history, entering a new world with a new set of rules.
What Turner couldn't guess was that the unexplored prairie would become the uninvented new product, the unexploited new market and the untried new business plan.
The great new American frontiers proved to be those of business, science and technology. In the course of the 20th century, Americans invented more milestone technologies and inventions, created more wealth and leisure time, and reorganized their institutions more times than any country had ever done before – despite a massive economic depression and two world wars. It all reached a crescendo in the magical year of 1969, with the creation of the Internet, the invention of the microprocessor and, most of all, a man walking on the moon.
Along with genetic engineering, we are still busily spinning out the implications of these marvels. Yet it is becoming increasingly apparent that the cultural underpinnings of these activities have changed in some fundamental way.
We still have schools, but a growing number of our children are studying at home or attending private schools – and those in public schools are doing ever more amounts of their class work on the Internet.
We still have companies and corporations, but now they are virtualized, with online work teams handing off assignments to each other 24/7 around the world. Men and women go to work, but the office is increasingly likely to be in the den. In 2005, an Intel survey of its employees found that nearly 20% of its professionals had never met their boss face-to-face. Half of them never expected to. Last summer, when the Media X institute at Stanford extended that survey to IBM, Sun, HP, Microsoft and Cisco, the percentages turned out to be even greater.
Newspapers are dying, networks are dying, and if teenage boys playing GTA 4 and World of Warcraft have any say about it, so is television. More than 200 million people now belong to just two social networks: MySpace and Facebook. And there are more than 80 million videos on YouTube, all put there by the same individual initiative.
The most compelling statistic of all? Half of all new college graduates now believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Today, 80% of the colleges and universities in the U.S. now offer courses on entrepreneurship; 60% of Gen Y business owners consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs, according to Inc. magazine. Tellingly, 18 to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 35 to 44-year-olds. And 70% of today's high schoolers intend to start their own companies, according to a Gallup poll.
An upcoming wave of new workers in our society will never work for an established company if they can help it. To them, having a traditional job is one of the biggest career failures they can imagine.
Much of childhood today is spent, not in organized sports or organizations, but in ad hoc teams playing online games such as Half Life, or competing in robotics tournaments, or in constructing and decorating MySpace pages. Without knowing it, we have been training a whole generation of young entrepreneurs.
And who is going to dissuade them? Mom, who is a self-employed consultant working out of the spare bedroom? Or Dad, who is at Starbuck's working on the spreadsheet of his new business plan?
In the past there have been trading states like Venice, commercial regions like the Hanseatic League, and even so-called nations of shopkeepers. But there has never been a nation in which the dominant paradigm is entrepreneurship. Not just self-employment or sole proprietorship, but serial company-building, entire careers built on perpetual change, independence and the endless pursuit of the next opportunity.
Without noticing it, we have once again discovered, and then raced off to settle, a new frontier. Not land, not innovation, but ourselves and a growing control over our own lives and careers.
And why not? Each step in the development of American society has been towards an ever-greater level of independence, freedom and personal liberty. And as the rest of the world catches up to where we were, we've already moved on to the next epoch in the national story.
But liberty exacts its own demands. Entrepreneurial America is likely to become even more innovative than it is today. And that innovation is likely to spread across society, not just as products and inventions, but new ways of living and new types of organizations.
The economy will be much more volatile and much more competitive. In the continuous fervor to create new institutions, it will become increasingly difficult to sustain old ones. New political parties, new social groupings, thousands of new manias and movements and millions of new companies will pop up over the next few decades. Large corporations that don't figure out how to combine permanence with perpetual change will be swept away.
This higher level of anarchy will be exciting, but it will also sometimes be very painful. Entire industries will die almost overnight, laying off thousands, while others will just as suddenly appear, hungry for employees. Continuity and predictability will become the rarest of commodities. And if the entrepreneurial personality honors smart failures, by the same token it has little pity for weakness. That fraction of Americans – 10%, 20% – who still dream of the gold watch or the 30-year pin will suffer the most . . . and unless their needs are somehow met as well, they will remain a perpetually open wound in our society.
Scary, exciting, liberating, frustrating, infinitely ambitious and thoroughly amnesic. If you live in a high-tech community like Silicon Valley or Redmond or Austin, you already live in this world. It's hard to imagine more exciting places to be.
For all of our fears about privacy and security, for all the added pressures that will be created by heightened competition and clashing ambitions, America as an entrepreneurial nation will reward each of us with greater independence – and perhaps even greater happiness – than ever before. It waits out there for each of us. Being good entrepreneurs, it's time to look ahead, develop a good plan, and then bet everything on ourselves.
Mr. Malone's next book is "The Protean Corporation" (Random House). This essay was adapted from a recent speech at Santa Clara University.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #415 on:
May 23, 2008, 12:02:20 PM »
The Death of Conservatism Is Greatly Exaggerated
By FRED D. THOMPSON
May 23, 2008
Recent congressional losses, President George W. Bush's unpopularity, and bleak generic ballot poll numbers have conservatives fearing the "liberalization" of America – a move toward secularization, the growth of government, stagnation, mediocrity and loss of freedom.
Yet there is still a way to revive the conservative cause. Doing so will require avoiding the traps of pessimism or election-year quick fixes. Conservatives need to stand back for a moment and think about our philosophical first principles.
Conservatives value the lessons of history and respect faith and tradition. They are skeptical of mass movements, perfect solutions and what often passes for "progress." At the same time, they recognize that change is inevitable. They also know that while man is prone to err, he is capable of great things and is meant to be free in an unfettered market of ideas, not subjugated by a too-powerful government.
These were the principles relied upon by our Founding Fathers, and which paved the way for a Constitution that delineated the powers of the central government, established checks and balances among its branches, and further diffused its power through a system of federalism. These principles led to a market economy, the primacy of the rule of law and the abolition of slavery. They also helped to establish liberal trade policies and to meld idealism and realism in our foreign and military policies.
The power of conservative principles is borne out in the most strong, prosperous and free country in the history of the world. In the U.S., basic constitutional government has been preserved, foreign tyrannies have been defeated, our failed welfare system was reformed, and the confiscatory income tax rates of a few decades ago have been substantially reduced. This may be why the party where most conservatives reside, the Republican Party, has won seven of the last 10 presidential elections.
Still, a lot of the issues that litter the political battlefield today put conservatives on the defensive. What are we going to do to fix the economy, the housing market, health-care costs and education? Some conservatives try to avoid philosophical confrontation with liberals, often urging solutions that would expand the government while rationalizing that the expansion would be at a slightly slower rate.
This strategy simply has not worked. Conservatives should stay true to their principles and remember:
- Congress cannot repeal the laws of economics. There are no short-term fixes without longer term consequences.
- In a free and dynamic country with social mobility, there will be great opportunity but also economic disparity, especially if the country has liberal immigration policies and a high divorce rate.
- An education system cannot overcome the breakdown of the family, and the social fabric that surrounds children daily.
- Free markets, not an expanding and more powerful government, are the solution to today's problems. Many of these problems, such as health-care costs, energy dependency and the subprime mortgage crisis, were caused in large part by government policies.
It's not that conservatives today no longer believe in the validity of these principles. They just find it difficult to stand strong when the political winds are blowing so hard against them. To be sure, standing by conservative principles does not always guarantee success at the ballot box – it did for Ronald Reagan, but not for Barry Goldwater. But abandoning these principles doesn't ensure victory either. Circumstances often play the deciding role. Is there any doubt that the Carter administration's misery index and the Iranian hostage crises allowed Reagan to prevail in 1980?
In this unpredictable world, conservatives should adhere to their fundamental ideals. These ideals have brought our country much success, and may well win the day again. Conservatives must have faith that, more often than not, Americans will make the sacrifices necessary to preserve national security and prosperity.
A political party that adheres to conservative principles should have continuing success – especially if its leadership believes in those principles and is able to articulate them.
Mr. Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, was a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
WSJ: How Bush sold the War
Reply #416 on:
May 27, 2008, 10:31:08 AM »
How Bush Sold the War
By DOUGLAS J. FEITH
May 27, 2008; Page A21
In the fall of 2003, a few months after Saddam Hussein's overthrow, U.S. officials began to despair of finding stockpiles of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The resulting embarrassment caused a radical shift in administration rhetoric about the war in Iraq.
President Bush no longer stressed Saddam's record or the threats from the Baathist regime as reasons for going to war. Rather, from that point forward, he focused almost exclusively on the larger aim of promoting democracy. This new focus compounded the damage to the president's credibility that had already been caused by the CIA's errors on Iraqi WMD. The president was seen as distancing himself from the actual case he had made for removing the Iraqi regime from power.
This change can be quantified: In the year beginning with his first major speech about Iraq – the Sept. 12, 2002 address to the U.N. General Assembly – Mr. Bush delivered nine major talks about Iraq. There were, on average, approximately 14 paragraphs per speech on Saddam's record as an enemy, aggressor, tyrant and danger, with only three paragraphs on promoting democracy. In the next year – from September 2003 to September 2004 – Mr. Bush delivered 15 major talks about Iraq. The average number of paragraphs devoted to the record of threats from Saddam was one, and the number devoted to democracy promotion was approximately 11.
The stunning change in rhetoric appeared to confirm his critics' argument that the security rationale for the war was at best an error, and at worst a lie. That's a shame, for Mr. Bush had solid grounds for worrying about the dangers of leaving Saddam in power.
In the spring of 2004, with the transfer of sovereign authority to the Iraqis imminent, the president was scheduled to give a major speech about Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld received an advance draft and he gave it to me for review. In keeping with the new trend, the drafted speech focused on the prospects for Iraqi democracy.
White House officials understandably preferred to declare affirmative messages about Iraq's future, rather than rehash the government's intelligence embarrassments. Even so, I thought it was a strategic error for the president to make no effort to defend the arguments that had motivated him before the war. Mr. Bush's political opponents were intent on magnifying the administration's mistakes regarding WMD. On television and radio, in print and on the Internet, day after day they repeated the claim that the undiscovered stockpiles were the sum and substance of why the U.S. went to war against Saddam.
Electoral politics aside, I thought it was important for national security reasons that the president refute his critics' misstatements. The CIA assessments of WMD were wrong, but they originated in the years before he became president and they had been accepted by Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as by the U.N. and other officials around the world. And, in any event, the erroneous WMD intelligence was not the entire security rationale for overthrowing Saddam.
On May 22, 2004, I gave Mr. Rumsfeld a memo to pass along to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and the president's speechwriters. I proposed that the speech "should deal with some basics – in particular, why we went to war in the first place." It would be useful to "make clear the tie-in between Iraq and the broader war on terrorism" in the following terms: The Saddam Hussein regime "had used WMD, supported various terrorist groups, was hostile to the U.S. and had a record of aggression and of defiance of numerous U.N. resolutions."
In light of 9/11, the "danger that Saddam's regime could provide biological weapons or other WMD to terrorist groups for use against us was too great" to let stand. And other ways of countering the danger – containment, sanctions, inspections, no-fly zones – had proven "unsustainable or inadequate." I suggested that the president distinguish between the essential U.S. interests in Iraq and the extra benefits if we could succeed in building democratic institutions there: "A unified Iraq that does not support terrorism or pursue WMD will in and of itself be an important victory in the war on terrorism."
Some of the speech's rhetoric about democracy struck me as a problem: "The draft speech now implies that we went to war in Iraq simply to free the Iraqi people from tyranny and create democracy there," I noted. But that implication "is not accurate and it sets us up for accusations of failure if Iraq does not quickly achieve 'democracy.'"
As was typical, the speech went through multiple drafts. Ms. Rice's office sent us a new version, and the next day I wrote Mr. Rumsfeld another set of comments – without great hope of persuading the speechwriting team. The speech's centerpiece, once again, was the set of steps "to help Iraq achieve democracy." One line in particular asserted that we went to Iraq "to make them free." I dissented:
- "This mixes up our current important goal (i.e., getting Iraq on the path to democratic government) with the strategic rationale for the war, which was to end the danger that Saddam might provide biological or [other] weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against us."
- "There is a widespread misconception that the war's rationale was the existence of Iraqi WMD stockpiles. This allows critics to say that our failure to find such stockpiles undermines that rationale."
- "If the President ignores this altogether and then implies that the war's rationale was not the terrorism/state sponsorship/WMD nexus but rather democracy for Iraqis, the critics may say that he is changing the subject or rewriting history."
Again, I proposed that the president distinguish between achieving our primary goal in Iraq – eliminating a security threat – and aiming for the over-and-above goal of democracy promotion, which may not be readily achievable.
Mr. Bush gave his speech at the Army War College on May 24, as Iraq was entering into the last month of its 14-month occupation by the U.S. The president declared: "I sent American troops to Iraq to defend our security, not to stay as an occupying power. I sent American troops to Iraq to make its people free, not to make them American. Iraqis will write their own history, and find their own way."
I had hoped the president would explain why sending American troops to Iraq had helped defend our security, but he did not. The questionable line about sending those troops to make Iraq's people free had remained in the speech. And it was rather late to be promising the Iraqis that we would not stay as an occupying power but instead let them find their own way.
The president had chosen to talk almost exclusively about Iraq's future. His political opponents noticed that if they talked about the past – about prewar intelligence and prewar planning for the war and the aftermath – no one in the White House communications effort would contradict them. Opponents could say anything about the prewar period – misstating Saddam's record, the administration's record or their own – and their statements would go uncorrected. This was a big incentive for them to recriminate about the administration's prewar work, and congressional Democrats have pressed for one retrospective investigation after another.
But the most damaging effect of this communications strategy was that it changed the definition of success. Before the war, administration officials said that success would mean an Iraq that no longer threatened important U.S. interests – that did not support terrorism, aspire to WMD, threaten its neighbors, or conduct mass murder. But from the fall of 2003 on, the president defined success as stable democracy in Iraq.
This was a public affairs decision that has had enormous strategic consequences for American support for the war. The new formula fails to connect the Iraq war directly to U.S. interests. It causes many Americans to question why we should be investing so much blood and treasure for Iraqis. And many Americans doubt that the new aim is realistic – that stable democracy can be achieved in Iraq in the foreseeable future.
To fight a long war, the president has to ensure he can preserve public and congressional support for the effort. It is not an overstatement to say that the president's shift in rhetoric nearly cost the U.S. the war. Victory or defeat can hinge on the president's words as much as on the military plans of his generals or the actions of their troops on the ground.
Mr. Feith was under secretary of defense for policy from July 2001 until August 2005. This article is adapted from his new memoir, "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism" (HarperCollins).
You can't appease everybody
Reply #417 on:
May 28, 2008, 08:49:30 PM »
Ann has become , , , uneven in recent years, but this one works for me.
You Can't Appease Everybody
by Ann Coulter
After decades of comparing Nixon to Hitler, Reagan to Hitler and Bush to Hitler, liberals have finally decided it is wrong to make comparisons to Hitler. But the only leader to whom they have applied their newfound rule of thumb is: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
While Ahmadinejad has not done anything as starkly evil as cut the capital gains tax, he does deny the Holocaust, call for the destruction of Israel, deny the existence of gays in Iran and refuses to abandon his nuclear program despite protests from the United Nations. That's the only world leader we're not allowed to compare to Hitler.
President Bush's speech at the Knesset two weeks ago was somewhat more nuanced than liberals' Hitler arguments. He did not simply jump up and down chanting: "Ahmadinejad is Hitler!" Instead, Bush condemned a policy of appeasement toward madmen, citing Neville Chamberlain's ill-fated talks with Adolf Hitler.
Suspiciously, Bush's speech was interpreted as a direct hit on B. Hussein Obama's foreign policy -- and that's according to Obama's supporters.
So to defend Obama, who -- according to his supporters -- favors appeasing madmen, liberals expanded the rule against ad Hitlerum arguments to cover any mention of the events leading to World War II. A ban on "You're like Hitler" arguments has become liberals' latest excuse to ignore history.
Unless, of course, it is liberals using historical examples to support Obama's admitted policy of appeasing dangerous lunatics. It's a strange one-sided argument when they can cite Nixon going to China and Reagan meeting with Gorbachev, but we can't cite Chamberlain meeting with Hitler.
There are reasons to meet with a tyrant, but none apply to Ahmadinejad. We're not looking for an imperfect ally against some other dictatorship, as Nixon was with China. And we aren't in a Mexican stand-off with a nuclear power, as Reagan was with the USSR. At least not yet.
Mutually Assured Destruction was bad enough with the Evil Empire, but something you definitely want to avoid with lunatics who are willing to commit suicide in order to destroy the enemies of Islam. As with the H-word, our sole objective with Ahmadinejad is to prevent him from becoming a military power.
What possible reason is there to meet with Ahmadinejad? To win a $20 bar bet as to whether or not the man actually owns a necktie?
We know his position and he knows ours. He wants nuclear arms, American troops out of the Middle East and the destruction of Israel. We don't want that. (This is assuming Mike Gravel doesn't pull off a major upset this November.) We don't need him as an ally against some other more dangerous dictator because ... well, there aren't any.
Does Obama imagine he will make demands of Ahmadinejad? Using what stick as leverage, pray tell? A U.S. boycott of the next Holocaust-denial conference in Tehran? The U.N. has already demanded that Iran give up its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad has ignored the U.N. and that's the end of it.
We always have the ability to "talk" to Ahmadinejad if we have something to say. Bush has a telephone. If Iranian crop dusters were headed toward one of our nuclear power plants, I am quite certain that Bush would be able to reach Ahmadinejad to tell him that Iran will be flattened unless the planes retreat. If his cell phone died, Bush could just post a quick warning on the Huffington Post.
Liberals view talk as an end in itself. They never think through how these talks will proceed, which is why Chamberlain ended up giving away Czechoslovakia. He didn't leave for Munich planning to do that. It is simply the inevitable result of talking with madmen without a clear and obtainable goal. Without a stick, there's only a carrot.
The only explanation for liberals' hysterical zealotry in favor of Obama's proposed open-ended talks with Ahmadinejad is that they seriously imagine crazy foreign dictators will be as charmed by Obama as cable TV hosts whose legs tingle when they listen to Obama (a condition that used to be known as "sciatica").
Because, really, who better to face down a Holocaust denier with a messianic complex than the guy who is afraid of a debate moderated by Brit Hume?
There is no possible result of such a meeting apart from appeasement and humiliation of the U.S. If we are prepared to talk, then we're looking for a deal. What kind of deal do you make with a madman until he is ready to surrender?
Will President Obama listen respectfully as Ahmadinejad says he plans to build nuclear weapons? Will he say he'll get back to Ahmadinejad on removing all U.S. troops from the region? Will he nod his head as Ahmadinejad demands the removal of the Jewish population from the Middle East? Obama says he's prepared to have an open-ended chat with Ahmadinejad, so I guess everything is on the table.
Perhaps in the spirit of compromise, Obama could agree to let Iran push only half of Israel into the sea. That would certainly constitute "change"! Obama could give one of those upbeat speeches of his, saying: As a result of my recent talks with President Ahmadinejad, some see the state of Israel as being half empty. I prefer to see it as half full. And then Obama can return and tell Americans he could no more repudiate Ahmadinejad than he could repudiate his own white grandmother. It will make Chris Matthews' leg tingle.
There is a third reason to talk to dictators, in addition to seeking an ally or as part of a policy of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur talked with Japanese imperial forces on Sept. 2, 1945. There was a long ceremony aboard the USS Missouri with full press coverage and a lot of talk. It was a regular international confab!
It also took place after we had dropped two nukes on Japan and MacArthur was officially accepting Japan's surrender. If Obama plans to drop nukes on Ahmadinejad prior to their little chat-fest, I'm all for it. But I don't think that's what liberals have in mind.
Pipes: The enemy has a name
Reply #418 on:
June 20, 2008, 08:31:54 AM »
The Enemy Has a Name
by Daniel Pipes
June 19, 2008
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If you cannot name your enemy, how can you defeat it? Just as a physician must identify a disease before curing a patient, so a strategist must identify the foe before winning a war. Yet Westerners have proven reluctant to identify the opponent in the conflict the U.S. government variously (and euphemistically) calls the "global war on terror," the "long war," the "global struggle against violent extremism," or even the "global struggle for security and progress."
This timidity translates into an inability to define war goals. Two high-level U.S. statements from late 2001 typify the vague and ineffective declarations issued by Western governments. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld defined victory as establishing "an environment where we can in fact fulfill and live [our] freedoms." In contrast, George W. Bush announced a narrower goal, "the defeat of the global terror network" – whatever that undefined network might be.
"Defeating terrorism" has, indeed, remained the basic war goal. By implication, terrorists are the enemy and counterterrorism is the main response.
But observers have increasingly concluded that terrorism is just a tactic, not an enemy. Bush effectively admitted this much in mid-2004, acknowledging that "We actually misnamed the war on terror." Instead, he called the war a "struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies and who happen to use terror as a weapon to try to shake the conscience of the free world."
A year later, in the aftermath of the 7/7 London transport bombings, British prime minister Tony Blair advanced the discussion by speaking of the enemy as "a religious ideology, a strain within the world-wide religion of Islam." Soon after, Bush himself used the terms "Islamic radicalism," "militant Jihadism," and "Islamo-fascism." But these words prompted much criticism and he backtracked.
By mid-2007, Bush had reverted to speaking about "the great struggle against extremism that is now playing out across the broader Middle East." That is where things now stand, with U.S. government agencies being advised to refer to the enemy with such nebulous terms as "death cult," "cult-like," "sectarian cult," and "violent cultists."
In fact, that enemy has a precise and concise name: Islamism, a radical utopian version of Islam. Islamists, adherents of this well funded, widespread, totalitarian ideology, are attempting to create a global Islamic order that fully applies the Islamic law (Shari‘a).
Thus defined, the needed response becomes clear. It is two-fold: vanquish Islamism and help Muslims develop an alternative form of Islam. Not coincidentally, this approach roughly parallels what the allied powers accomplished vis-à-vis the two prior radical utopian movements, fascism and communism.
First comes the burden of defeating an ideological enemy. As in 1945 and 1991, the goal must be to marginalize and weaken a coherent and aggressive ideological movement, so that it no longer attracts followers nor poses a world-shaking threat. World War II, won through blood, steel, and atomic bombs, offers one model for victory, the Cold War, with its deterrence, complexity, and nearly-peaceful collapse, offers quite another.
Victory against Islamism, presumably, will draw on both these legacies and mix them into a novel brew of conventional war, counterterrorism, counterpropaganda, and many other strategies. At one end, the war effort led to the overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan; at the other, it requires repelling the lawful Islamists who work legitimately within the educational, religious, media, legal, and political arenas.
The second goal involves helping Muslims who oppose Islamist goals and wish to offer an alternative to Islamism's depravities by reconciling Islam with the best of modern ways. But such Muslims are weak, being but fractured individuals who have only just begun the hard work of researching, communicating, organizing, funding, and mobilizing.
To do all this more quickly and effectively, these moderates need non-Muslim encouragement and sponsorship. However unimpressive they may be at present, moderates, with Western support, alone hold the potential to modernize Islam, and thereby to terminate the threat of Islamism.
In the final analysis, Islamism presents two main challenges to Westerners: To speak frankly and to aim for victory. Neither comes naturally to the modern person, who tends to prefer political correctness and conflict resolution, or even appeasement. But once these hurdles are overcome, the Islamist enemy's objective weakness in terms of arsenal, economy, and resources means it can readily be defeated.
Ajami: Anti-Americanism is mostly hype
Reply #419 on:
June 23, 2008, 01:17:33 PM »
Anti-Americanism Is Mostly Hype
By FOUAD AJAMI
June 23, 2008; Page A17
So America is unloved in Istanbul and Cairo and Karachi: It is an annual ritual, the June release of the Pew global attitudes survey and the laments over the erosion of America's standing in foreign lands.
We were once loved in Anatolia, but now a mere 12% of Turks have a "favorable view" of the U.S. Only 22% of Egyptians think well of us. Pakistan is crucial to the war on terror, but we can only count on the goodwill of 19% of Pakistanis.
American liberalism is heavily invested in this narrative of U.S. isolation. The Shiites have their annual ritual of 10 days of self-flagellation and penance, but this liberal narrative is ceaseless: The world once loved us, and all Parisians were Americans after 9/11, but thanks to President Bush we have squandered that sympathy.
It is an old trick, the use of foreign narrators and witnesses to speak of one's home. Montesquieu gave the genre its timeless rendition in his Persian Letters, published in 1721. No one was fooled, these were Parisian letters, and the Persian travelers, Rica and Usbek, mere stand-ins for an author taking stock of his homeland after the death of Louis XIV and the coming of an age of enlightenment and skepticism.
"This King is a great magician. He exerts authority even over the minds of his subjects; he makes them think what he wants," Rica writes from Paris. "You must not be amazed at what I tell you about this prince: there is another magician, stronger than he. This magician is called the Pope. He will make the King believe that three are only one, or else that the bread one eats is not bread, or that the wine one drinks is not wine, and a thousand other things of the same kind." Handy witnesses, these Persians.
The Pew survey tells us that some foreign precincts show a landslide victory for Barack Obama. France leads the pack; fully 84% of those following the American campaign are confident Mr. Obama will do the right thing in foreign policy, compared with 33% who say that about John McCain. There are similar results in Germany, and a closer margin in Britain. The populations of Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan have scant if any confidence in either candidate.
The deference of American liberal opinion to the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Amman and Karachi is nothing less than astounding. You would not know from these surveys, of course, that anti-Americanism runs deep in the French intellectual scene, and that French thought about the great power across the Atlantic has long been a jumble of envy and condescension. In the fabled years of the Clinton presidency, long before Guantanamo, the torture narrative and the war in Iraq, American pension funds were, in the French telling, raiding their assets, bringing to their homeland dreaded Anglo-Saxon economics, and the merciless winds of mondialisation (globalization).
I grew up in the Arab world in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and anti-Americanism was the standard political language – even for those pining for American visas and green cards. Precious few took this seriously. The attraction to the glamorous, distant society was too strong in the Beirut of my boyhood.
It is no different today in Egypt or Pakistan. And what people tell pollsters who turn up in their midst with their clipboards? In Hosni Mubarak's tyranny, anti-Americanism is the permissible safety valve for Egyptians unable to speak of their despot. We stand between Pharaoh and his frustrated people, and the Egyptians railing against America are giving voice to the disappointment that runs through their life and culture. Scapegoating and anti-Americanism are a substitute for a sober assessment of what ails that old, burdened country.
Nor should we listen too closely to the anti-American hysteria that now grips Turkey. That country was once a serious, earnest land. It knew its place in the world as a bridge between Europe and Islam. But of late it has become the "torn country" that the celebrated political scientist Samuel Huntington said it was, its very identity fought over between the old Kemalist elites and the new Islamists.
No Turkish malady is caused by America, and no cure can come courtesy of the Americans. The Turks giving vent to anti-Americanism are doing a parody of Europe: They were led to believe that the Europe spurning them, and turning down their membership in its club, is given to anti-Americanism, so they took to the same fad. Turkish anti-Americanism is no doubt fueled by the resentment within Turkey of the American war in Iraq that gave protection and liberty to the Kurds. No apology is owed the Turks; indeed, it is they who must reconsider their intolerance of minorities. If the Turks were comfortable with the abnormality of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, it is they who have a problem.
And if there is enthusiasm for Barack Obama on foreign shores, his rise to fame and power must be a tribute to the land that has made this possible. Where else would a boy of marginality and relative poverty find his way to the peak of political life? Certainly not in his father's Kenya, where the tribal origins of the Obamas would have determined young Barack's life-chances. In an Arab world hemmed in by pedigree, where rulers bequeath power to their sons and the lot of the sons is invariably that of the fathers, the tale of Obama is fantasy.
There are lines, and barriers, of race which bedevil Arab lands, and they will be there awaiting a President Obama should he prevail in November. Consider a recent speech by Libya's erratic ruler, Moammar Gadhafi, to his countrymen.
He said he feared that Mr. Obama, as a "black man," might succumb to an "inferiority complex" if he were to come to power. "This is a great menace because Obama might turn out to be more white than the whites, exaggerating his persecution and disdain of blacks. The statements of our Kenyan brother with an American nationality about Jerusalem, and his support for Israelis, and his slighting of the Palestinian people is either a measure of his ignorance of international politics or a lie perpetrated on the Jews in the course of an election campaign."
There is no need to roam distant lands in search of indictments of America's ways. Tales of our demise appear every day in our media. Yes, it is not perfect, this republic of ours. But the possibilities for emancipation and self-improvement it affords are unmatched in other lands.
Meanwhile, a maligned American president now returns from a Europe at peace with American leadership. In France, Germany and Italy, center-right governments are eager to proclaim their identification with American power. Jacques Chirac is gone. Now there is Nicolas Sarkozy, who offered a poetic tribute last November to the American soldiers who fell on French soil, before a joint session of the U.S. Congress. "The children of my generation," he said, "understood that those young Americans, 20 years old, were true heroes to whom they owed the fact that they were free people and not slaves. France will never forget the sacrifice of your children."
The great battle over the Iraq war has subsided, and Europeans who ponder the burning grounds of the Islamic world know the distinction between fashionable anti-Americanism and the international order underpinned by American power. George W. Bush may have been indifferent to political protocol, but he held the line when it truly mattered, and the Europeans have come to understand that appeasement of dictators and brigands begets its own troubles.
It is one thing to rail against the Pax Americana. But after the pollsters are gone, the truth of our contemporary order of states endures. We live in a world held by American power – and benevolence. Nothing prettier, or more just, looms over the horizon.
Mr. Ajami, a Bradley Prize recipient, teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift" (Free Press, 2006).
Reply #420 on:
August 15, 2008, 10:52:08 AM »
Ruing A Return Of The Old World Order
By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON | Posted Thursday, August 14, 2008 4:30 PM PT
Russia invades Georgia. China jails dissidents. China and India pollute at levels previously unimaginable. Gulf monarchies make trillions from jacked-up oil prices. Islamic terrorists keep car bombing.
Meanwhile, Europe offers moral lectures, while Japan and South Korea shrug and watch — all in a globalized world that tunes into the Olympics each night from Beijing.
"Citizens of the world" were supposed to share, in relative harmony, our new "Planet Earth," which was to have followed from an interconnected system of free trade, instantaneous electronic communications, civilized diplomacy and shared consumer capitalism.
But was that ever quite true? In reality, to the extent globalism worked, it followed from three unspoken assumptions:
First, the U.S. economy would keep importing goods from abroad to drive international economic growth.
Second, the U.S. military would keep the sea lanes open, and trade and travel protected. After the past destruction of fascism and global communism, the Americans — as global sheriff — would continue to deal with the occasional menace like a Moammar Gadhafi, Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il or the Taliban.
Third, America would ignore ankle-biting allies and remain engaged with the world — like a good, nurturing mom who at times must put up with the petulance of dependent teenagers.
But there have been a number of indications recently that globalization may soon lose its American parent, who is tiring, both materially and psychologically.
The United States may be the most free, stable and meritocratic nation in the world, but its resources and patience are not unlimited. Currently, it pays more than a half trillion dollars per year to import $115-a-barrel oil that is often pumped at a cost of about $5.
The Chinese, Japanese and Europeans hold trillions of dollars in U.S. bonds — the result of massive trade deficits. The American dollar is at historic lows. We are piling up staggering national debt. Over 12 million live here illegally and freely transfer more than $50 billion annually to Mexico and Latin America.
Our military, after deposing Milosevic, the Taliban and Saddam, is tired. And Americans are increasingly becoming more sensitive to the cheap criticism of global moralists.
But as the United States turns ever so slightly inward, the new globalized world will revert to a far poorer — and more dangerous — place.
Liberals like presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama speak out against new free-trade agreements and want existing accords like NAFTA readjusted.
More and more Americans are furious at the costs of illegal immigration — and are moving to stop it. The foreign remittances that help prop up Mexico and Latin America are threatened by any change in America's immigration attitude.
Meanwhile, the hypocrisy becomes harder to take. After all, it is easy for self-appointed global moralists to complain that terrorists don't enjoy Miranda rights at Guantanamo, but it would be hard to do much about the Russian military invading Georgia's democracy and bombing its cities.
Al Gore crisscrosses the country, pontificating about Americans' carbon footprints. But he could do far better to fly to China to convince them not to open 500 new coal-burning power plants.
It has been chic to chant "No blood for oil" about Iraq's petroleum — petroleum that, in fact, is now administered by a constitutional republic. But such sloganeering would be better directed at China's sweetheart oil deals with Sudan that enable the mass-murdering in Darfur.
Due to climbing prices and high government taxes, gasoline consumption is declining in the West, but its use is rising in other places, where it is either untaxed or subsidized.
So, what a richer but more critical world has forgotten is that in large part America was the model, not the villain — and that postwar globalization was always a form of engaged Americanization that enriched and protected billions.
Yet globalization, in all its manifestations, will run out of steam the moment we tire of fueling it, as the world returns instead to the mind-set of the 1930s — with protectionist tariffs; weak, disarmed democracies; an isolationist America; predatory dictatorships; and a demoralized gloom-and-doom Western elite.
If America adopts the protectionist trade policies of Japan or China, global profits plummet. If our armed forces follow the European lead of demilitarization and inaction, rogue states advance. If we were to treat the environment as do China and India, the world would become quickly a lost cause
If we flee Iraq and call off the war on terror, Islamic jihadists will regroup, not disband. And when the Russians attack the next democracy, they won't listen to the United Nations, the European Union or Michael Moore.
Brace yourself — we may be on our way back to an old world, where the strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must.
Buchanan: Blowback from Bear Baiting
Reply #421 on:
August 15, 2008, 12:20:02 PM »
Second post of the AM:
Blowback From Bear-Baiting
Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to use the opening of the Olympic Games to cover Georgia's invasion of its breakaway province of South Ossetia must rank in stupidity with Gamal Abdel-Nasser's decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships.
Nasser's blunder cost him the Sinai in the Six-Day War. Saakashvili's blunder probably means permanent loss of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
After shelling and attacking what he claims is his own country, killing scores of his own Ossetian citizens and sending tens of thousands fleeing into Russia, Saakashvili's army was whipped back into Georgia in 48 hours. Continued
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Vladimir Putin took the opportunity to kick the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, as well, to bomb Tbilisi and to seize Gori, birthplace of Stalin.
Reveling in his status as an intimate of George Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain, and America's lone democratic ally in the Caucasus, Saakashvili thought he could get away with a lightning coup and present the world with a fait accompli.
Mikheil did not reckon on the rage or resolve of the Bear.
American charges of Russian aggression ring hollow. Georgia started this fight -- Russia finished it. People who start wars don't get to decide how and when they end.
Russia's response was "disproportionate" and "brutal," wailed Bush.
True. But did we not authorize Israel to bomb Lebanon for 35 days in response to a border skirmish where several Israel soldiers were killed and two captured? Was that not many times more "disproportionate"?
Russia has invaded a sovereign country, railed Bush. But did not the United States bomb Serbia for 78 days and invade to force it to surrender a province, Kosovo, to which Serbia had a far greater historic claim than Georgia had to Abkhazia or South Ossetia, both of which prefer Moscow to Tbilisi?
Is not Western hypocrisy astonishing?
When the Soviet Union broke into 15 nations, we celebrated. When Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo broke from Serbia, we rejoiced. Why, then, the indignation when two provinces, whose peoples are ethnically separate from Georgians and who fought for their independence, should succeed in breaking away?
Are secessions and the dissolution of nations laudable only when they advance the agenda of the neocons, many of who viscerally detest Russia?
That Putin took the occasion of Saakashvili's provocative and stupid stunt to administer an extra dose of punishment is undeniable. But is not Russian anger understandable? For years the West has rubbed Russia's nose in her Cold War defeat and treated her like Weimar Germany.
When Moscow pulled the Red Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved the evil empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States, what did we do?
American carpetbaggers colluded with Muscovite Scalawags to loot the Russian nation. Breaking a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, we moved our military alliance into Eastern Europe, then onto Russia's doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.
Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin's birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia's Black Sea fleet.
When did these become U.S. vital interests, justifying war with Russia?
The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior, then planned to site anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles, though Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to have us together put an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan was rejected out of hand.
We built a Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey to cut Russia out. Then we helped dump over regimes friendly to Moscow with democratic "revolutions" in Ukraine and Georgia, and tried to repeat it in Belarus.
Americans have many fine qualities. A capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.
Imagine a world that never knew Ronald Reagan, where Europe had opted out of the Cold War after Moscow installed those SS-20 missiles east of the Elbe. And Europe had abandoned NATO, told us to go home and become subservient to Moscow.
How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?
For a decade, some of us have warned about the folly of getting into Russia's space and getting into Russia's face. The chickens of democratic imperialism have now come home to roost -- in Tbilisi.
Evan Sayet's Right to Laugh
Reply #422 on:
August 19, 2008, 03:12:17 PM »
Reply #423 on:
September 04, 2008, 01:19:02 AM »
The Best Man Turned Out To Be A Woman
John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, as his running mate finally gave Republicans a reason to vote for him -- a reason, that is, other than B. Hussein Obama.
The media are hopping mad about McCain's vice presidential selection, but they're really furious over at MSNBC. After drawing "Keith (plus) Obama" hearts on their denim notebooks, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews stayed up all night last Thursday, writing jokes about Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the presumed vice presidential pick. Now they can't use any of them.
So the media are taking it out on our brave Sarah and her 17-year-old daughter. They claimed Palin was chosen only because she's a woman. In fact, Palin was chosen because she's pro-life, pro-gun, pro-drilling and pro-tax cuts. She's fought both Republicans and Democrats on public corruption and does not have hair plugs like some other vice presidential candidate I could mention. In other words, she's a "Republican."
As a right-winger, Palin will appeal to the narrow 59 percent of Americans who voted for another former small-market sportscaster: Ronald Reagan. Our motto: Sarah Palin is only a heartbeat away!
If you're going to say Palin was chosen because she's a woman, you're going to have to demonstrate that the runners-up were more qualified. Gov. Tim Pawlenty seems like a terrific fellow and fine governor, but he is not obviously more qualified than Palin.
As for former governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge and Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, the other also-rans, I can think of at least 40 million unborn reasons she's better than either of them.
Within the first few hours after Palin's name was announced, McCain raised $4 million in campaign donations online, reaching $10 million within the next two days. Which shortlist vice presidential pick could have beaten that?
The media hysterically denounced Palin as "inexperienced." But then people started to notice that she has more executive experience than B. Hussein Obama -- the guy at the top of the Democrats' ticket.
They tried to create a "Troopergate" for Palin, indignantly demanding to know why she wanted to get her ex-brother-in-law removed as a state trooper. Again, public corruption is not a good issue for someone like Obama, Chicago pol and noted friend of Syrian National/convicted felon Antoin Rezko.
For the cherry on top, then we found out Palin's ex-brother-in-law had Tasered his own 10-year-old stepson. Defend that, Democrats.
The bien-pensant criticized Palin, saying it's irresponsible for a woman with five children to run for vice president. Liberals' new talking point: Sarah Palin: Only five abortions away from the presidency.
They claimed her newborn wasn't her child, but the child of her 17-year-old daughter. That turned out to be a lie.
Then they attacked her daughter, who actually is pregnant now, for being unmarried. When liberals start acting like they're opposed to pre-marital sex and mothers having careers, you know McCain's vice presidential choice has knocked them back on their heels.
But at least liberal reporters had finally found someone their own size to pick on: a 17-year-old girl.
Speaking of Democrats with newborn children, the media weren't particularly concerned about John Edwards running for president despite his having a mistress with a newborn child.
While the difficult circumstances of Palin's pregnant daughter are being covered like a terrorist attack on the nation, with leering accounts of the 18-year-old father, the media remain resolutely uninterested in the parentage of Edwards' mistress's love child. Except, that is, the hardworking reporters at the National Enquirer, who say Edwards is the father.
As this goes to press, the latest media-invented scandal about Palin is that McCain didn't know her well before choosing her as his running mate. He knew her well enough, though admittedly, not as well as Obama knows William Ayers.
John F. Kennedy, who was -- from what the media tell me -- America's most beloved president, detested his vice president, Lyndon Johnson.
Until Clinton interviewed Al Gore one time before choosing him as his vice presidential candidate, he had met Gore only one other time: when Gore was running for president in 1988 and flew to Little Rock seeking Clinton's endorsement. Clinton turned him down.
To this day, there's no proof that Bill Clinton ever met one-on-one with his CIA director, James Woolsey, other than a brief chat after midnight the night before Woolsey's nomination was announced.
Barring some all-new, trivial and probably false story about Palin -- her former hairdresser got a parking ticket in 1978! -- the media apparently intend to keep being hysterical about McCain's alleged failure to "vet" Palin properly. The problem with this argument is that it presupposes that everyone is asking: "HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?"
No one's saying that.
Attacks on McCain's "vetting" process require the media to keep claiming that Palin has a lot of problems. But she doesn't have any problems. Remember? Those were all blind alleys.
Unfortunately, for the ordinary TV viewer hearing nonstop hysteria about nonspecific "problems," it takes a lot of effort to figure out that every attack liberals have launched against Palin turned out to be a lie.
It's as if a basketball player made the winning shot in the last three seconds of the game and liberals demand that we have a week-long discussion about whether the player should have taken that shot. WHAT IF HE MISSED?
With Palin, McCain didn't miss.
Re: Political Rant, energy and geopolitics
Reply #424 on:
September 05, 2008, 11:07:39 AM »
A political rant- I hate to over simplify, but isn't nearly the whole Russian problem rooted in the distortions of energy prices and the Russian hold over Europe, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, etc.? Same for Iran and others. If energy was legal, affordable and plentiful, wouldn't these rogue economies have to actually produce something else to make money and then be too busy in their enterprises to blow us up or invade their neighbors? Same for the slowness in the American economy. Other than high taxes, over-regulation and government messing up heathcare and other markets, aren't energy prices the main drag on the economy right now?
Several people here wanted Newt leading the ticket and that didn't fly but he hit the nail on the head with "Drill here, drill now, pay less" Even that is oversimplified because we need ALL forms of energy. We need to build nuclear plants here, now, if we plan to plug in a significant part of our transportation system soon. Natural gas is back in the discussion. Natural gas from the ground, natural gas from coal, I don't care if it comes from the cows. It's a great fuel, let's go. Legalize production. Find ways. Get government back in the business of ensuring public safety, not blocking production.
And what's up with burning food to produce energy and then the bewilderment when we discover food prices went up and hit the poorest people hardest. What kind of 'liberal' policy is that? I just drove through Iowa and Nebraska to get to Colorado. The government punishes you heavily to drive your car but makes you use taxpayer money and government mandates to put destroyed food (ethanol) in your tank. The Iowa primary is over. Can't the adults agree soon that this policy is horrible???
Of course one of the reasons for the stall in energy production was the confusion created over global warming. It reminds me of the Y2K scare. Did you all survive that one? lol. Up here in 'hockey mom' country (MN) I just put away all my air conditioners, none were used at all this summer while the winter was one of the longest and coldest in recent years. Try fact checking the oceans rising allegation and see if anything definitive jumps out. Looks to me like 20cm in 120 years with zero acceleration. Where the arctic ice is melting the sea level is actually falling. Hmmm...
Speaking of hockey moms, at the hockey arenas in the parking lots you can often count 15-20 SUV's or light trucks in a row before you see a sedan, much less a tiny car. The reason is because hockey driving involves carrying people and hockey bags with lots of equipment, often through snow and ice, and the people involved typically have other hobbies that involve liberties beyond the liberal vision of federally funded trolley car trains to government approved, clustered home developments.
End this rant with a hope that McCain's selection of the energy governor gives him cover to flop his anti-ANWR position and the hope that she can use that distinction to circle Sen. Biden in the debate, on domestic AND foreign policy. If she gets a word in edgewise. JMHO.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #425 on:
September 16, 2008, 11:09:33 PM »
Now THIS is a rant!!!
A Confederacy of Narcissists
Reply #426 on:
September 23, 2008, 10:36:15 AM »
That indeed was a rant.
This might not qualify as one, though:
September 19, 2008, 0:30 p.m.
The Undefended City
By Bill Whittle
When I first got to college, back in the last few weeks of the Seventies, I finally got a chance to see an ordinary game of Dungeons and Dragons. My immediate inclination was to play as a Paladin: the pinnacle of Lawful Good, a character required to dash in and fight overwhelmingly powerful evil forces anywhere and at whatever odds. These contests were short, depressing and hilarious, but all D&D really came down to in the end was slaying small monsters, taking their gold, buying slightly better gear and then slaying slightly larger monsters. Why not just save some time and become a Vorpal Sword distributor? Then you get the weapons and the gold, and people bring them both to you. And so a larval conservative was born. And I never played again.
That was the attitude I took into The Lord of the Rings when the first of the trilogy appeared in 2001, just a few months after the Two Towers actually did fall and the idea of good and evil suddenly became — to me and no doubt to you too — a great deal less ironic and a great deal more real.
And there, in the darkness, staring up at that screen, I marveled at this monumental font of deep and eternal ideas: the aversion to facing danger, even when it is right in front of us; the value of old and true allies; the corrosive force of addiction; responsibility forsaken, then reclaimed… and through it all the fear that we may be lesser sons of greater fathers, and that we may no longer have the courage or the will to defend the City entrusted to our care.
This, and more, what was what John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was trying to teach me, down that dark river of the future — and he ought to know. The Lord of the Rings was written between 1937 through 1949… years of dark waters, indeed.
A few years before Tolkien put pen to paper, an event took place that a man of his education would have undoubtedly been aware. On February 9th, 1933, the ruling elite of the world’s great Civilization held a debate in the Oxford Union. With thunderclouds growing dark across the English Channel, at a time when resolute action could still have averted the worst catastrophe the world has ever known, these elites resolved that “This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country.”
The Resolution passed by a vote of 275 to 153. Needless to say, this vote did not avert the fight. It guaranteed it.
How much of the weight of that, I wonder, sat along side him as he penned page after page about the decline of the Men of the West. For taken in its entirety, The Lord of the Rings is about the collective regeneration of the will and courage of a previous age, and ends with the hope that the greatest days of the City lie yet ahead.
I live a few miles from Santa Monica High School, in California. There, young men and women are taught that America is “a terrorist nation,” “one of the worst regimes in history,” that it’s twice-elected leader is “the son of the devil,” and dictator of this “fascist” country. Further, “patriotism” is taught by dragging an American flag across the classroom floor, because the nation’s truest patriots, as we should know by now, are those who are most able to despise it.
This is only high school, remember: in college things get much, much worse.
Two generations, now, are being raised on this poison, and the reason for that is this: the enemies of this city cannot come out and simply say, “Do not defend the city.” Even the smartest among us can see that is simple treason. But they can say, “The City is not worth defending.” So they say that, and they say that all the time and in as many different ways as they are able.
If you step far enough back to look at the whole of human history, you will begin to see a very plain rhythm: a heartbeat of civilization. Steep climbs out of disease and ignorance into the light of medicine and learning — and then a sudden collapse back into darkness. And it is in that darkness that most humans have lived their lives: poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
The pattern is always the same: at the height of a civilization’s powers something catastrophic seems to occur — a loss of will, a failure of nerve, and above all an unwillingness to identify with the values and customs that have produced such wonders.
The Russians say a fish rots from the head down. They ought to know. It may not be factually true that Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the saying has passed into common usage because the image as the ring of truth to it: time and time again, the good and decent common people have manned the walls of the city, and have been ready to give their lives in its defense, only to discover too late that some silk-robed son of a bitch has snuck out of the palace at midnight and thrown open the gates to the barbarians outside.
And how is this done, this “throwing open of the gates?” How are defenders taken off the walls?
Well, most of what I learned about Vietnam I learned from men like Oliver Stone. This self-loathing narcissist has repeatedly tried to inculcate in me a sense of despair and outrage at my own government, my own culture, my own people and ultimately myself. He tried to convince me — and he is a skillfull man — that my own government murdered my own President for political gain. I am told daily in those darkened temples that rogue CIA elements run a puppet government, that the real threat to the nation comes from the generals that defend it, or from the businessmen that provide the prosperity we take for granted.
I sit with others in darkened rooms, watching films like Redacted, Stop-Loss, and In the Valley of Elah, and see our brave young soldiers depicted as murderers, rapists, broken psychotics or ignorant dupes –visions foisted upon me by bitter and isolated millionaires such as Brian de Palma and Paul Haggis and all the rest.
I’ve been told this story in some form or another, every day of every week of the past 30 years of my life. It wasn’t always so.
But it is certainly so today. And standing against all this hypnotic power — the power of the mythmakers in Hollywood, the power of the information peddlers in the media, the corrosive power of America-hating professors on every campus in America… against all that we find an old warrior — a paladin if ever there was one — an old, beat-up warhorse standing up in defense of his city one last time. And beside him: a wonder. A common person… just a regular mom who goes to work, does a difficult job with intelligence and energy and grace and every-day competence and then puts it away to go home and have dinner with the family.
Against all of that stand these two.
No wonder they must be destroyed. Because — Sarah Palin especially — presents a mortal threat to these people who have determined over cocktails who the next President should be and who now clearly mean to grind into metal shards the transaxle of their credibility in order to get the result they must have. Truly, they are before our eyes destroying the machine they have built in order to get their victory. What the hell is so threatening to be worth that?
Only this: the living proof that they are not needed. Not needed to govern, not needed to influence and guide, not needed to lecture us on our intellectual and moral failings which are visible only from the heights of Manhattan skyscrapers or the palaces up on Mulholland Drive. Not needed. We can do it — and do it better — without all of them.
When all is said and done, Civilizations do not fall because of the barbarians at the gates. Nor does a great city fall from the death wish of bored and morally bankrupt stewards presumably sworn to its defense. Civilizations fall only because each citizen of the city comes to accept that nothing can be done to rally and rebuild broken walls; that ground lost may never be recovered; and that greatness lived in our grandparents but not our grandchildren. Yes, our betters tell us these things daily. But that doesn’t mean we have to believe it.
Ask the common people of all politics and persuasions aboard Flight 93 whether greatness and courage has deserted America. Through this magical crystal ball — the one we are using right now — we common people can speak to one another. And by reminding ourselves and those around us of who we are, where we came from, what we have achieved together and of the marvels we have yet to achieve, we may laugh in the face of despair and mock those people that think a man with an MBA from Harvard knows more about running a gas station than the man that actually runs the gas station.
It is the small-town virtues of self-reliance, hard work, personal responsibility, and common-sense ingenuity — and not those of the preening cosmopolitans that gape at them in mixed contempt and bafflement — that have made us the inheritors of the most magnificent, noble, decent and free society ever to appear on this earth. This Western Civilization… this American City… has earned the right to greet each sunrise with a blast of silver trumpets that can bring down mountains.
And what, really, is a Legion of Narcissists and a Confederacy of Despair against that?
— Bill Whittle lives and works in Los Angeles.
National Review Online -
Re: Political Rants
Reply #427 on:
September 23, 2008, 05:28:47 PM »
Sorry this article was too embedded to cut and paste. Well worth the read, however.
5 Myths About Those Civic-Minded, Deeply Informed Voters
Burning Down the Housing Market
Reply #428 on:
September 26, 2008, 04:27:16 PM »
This could be posted under several topics:
Re: Political Rants
Reply #429 on:
September 26, 2008, 07:08:23 PM »
Re: Political Rants, government's failed meddling in housing markets
Reply #430 on:
September 30, 2008, 10:52:45 AM »
Fannie Mae bragged to Dems through the Black Congressional Caucus about (bad) loans made into the community that were based on race and location rather than credit worthiness and the value of the asset. That's my read on the statement in this video as the meddlers and the buffoons are caught congratulating each other about bad lending practices:
It's amazing that Republicans and objective media (an unfortunate oxymoron) can't identify the policies and the people that got us to collapse BEFORE they ask us to pay our way out. Bush, McCain et al all put a higher priority on making nice and forging deals instead of straight talk and consequences. Result: Bush takes the blame and the McCain candidacy is punished by association while the Obama political philosophy is a perfect match with the programs that already failed. So we learn nothing and move on.
The "Community Reinvestment Act" should have been a welfare program subject to their own 'pay as you go rules' and transparency to the public and the taxpayer instead of fraudulently hidden and bundled with pretend private market investments.
It isn't 'affordable housing' when you put people into housing they can't afford.
The direct result of these phony and fraudulent investments is to artificially drive up 'values' making the community that already lacks sufficient income and work ethic even LESS affordable to those not receiving the phony subsidy, like an honest homeowner who plans to pay the entire 30 year loan.
So who were these heroic politicians and what were their arguments as the congressional committees faced off with the regulators as the writing started to become visible on the wall in 2004-2005?
Maxine Waters D-Calif.: Through nearly a dozen hearings, we were frankly trying to fix something that wasn’t broke. Mr. Chairman, we do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and particularly at Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Franklin Raines (Obama adviser who barely avoided prosecution for fraud.)
Gregory Meeks D-NY: … I’m just pissed off at OFHEO [the regulators trying to warn Congress of insolvency at the GSEs], because if it wasn’t for you, I don’t think we’d be here in the first place. … There’s been nothing that indicated that’s wrong with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac has come up on its own … The question that then comes up is the competence that your agency has with reference to deciding and regulating these GSEs.
Lacy Clay D-MO: This hearing is about the political lynching of Franklin Raines. (White House budget director under President Bill Clinton received 91.1 million from the corrupt GSE)
Barney Frank: I don’t see anything in this report that raises safety and soundness problems. (Now blames Bush and Republicans for "deregulation"!)
If I have to watch political commercials this autumn, I would like to see these sleazy characters on screen across the fruited plain in their own words, not just letting a few videos stay hidden on right wing internet sites.
PMI - Private Mortgage Insurance - is where you charge people extra for making a loan they can already ill-afford. As a landlord I know extremely well that charging extra to high risk applicants with lousy finances does NOT cause you to collect more money. The AIG failure was based on this phony scheme that lenders mandated on borrowers to compensate for their own bad lending practices. Now we own it. Good grief.
Whenever you hear terms like GSE's Government Supported Enterprises, and Public-Private Partnerships, please holler, scream, protest, vomit and consult your own copy of the constitution to see how far we have gone astray. Which article in the constitution (not the equal protection clause) establishes the proper role of government to partner up with selected businesses to make extraordinary amounts money and pay friends and contributors bonuses before fall belly up due to the lack any semblance of profit and loss market discipline or requirement to compete to succeed.
Opponents of markets and freedom (see above) always pick out failures in the LEAST free of markets - healthcare, housing, college tuition, energy - to show that market capitalism can't be trusted and must be 'overseen' by jackasses like we see in the committee meeting video linked above.
Foreclosure, the right of the lender to take back the property, the process that politicians like Hillary, Obama, and the congress want to stop is the cornerstone of home ownership. Without it, ordinary people could not 'own' their own home and pay for it over their income producing years. A mortgage is
a claim against the property
- the right to foreclose and take back. That right is almost non-existent with the statutory delays and restrictions from the wisdom of our 'regulators'. The period of time a lender is forced to wait under smart regulations should be at least partly dependent on the amount of equity ownership that the borrower paid or accumulated. In cases where the borrower has NO money at stake and the lender is carrying all the risk, the grace period for missing a payment should be measured in minutes. Then out they go. JMHO.
Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 11:03:40 AM by DougMacG
Re: Political Rants
Reply #431 on:
September 30, 2008, 11:09:54 AM »
It's amazing that Republicans and objective media (an unfortunate oxymoron) can't identify the policies and the people that got us to collapse BEFORE they ask us to pay our way out. Bush, McCain et al all put a higher priority on making nice and forging deals instead of straight talk and consequences. Result: Bush takes the blame and the McCain candidacy is punished by association while the Obama political philosophy is a perfect match with the programs that already failed. So we learn nothing and move on.
Wow. Very cogent analysis.
Reply #432 on:
October 01, 2008, 07:33:34 AM »
“Under [Bill] Clinton, the entire federal government put massive pressure on banks to grant more mortgages to the poor and minorities. Clinton’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Andrew Cuomo, investigated Fannie Mae for racial discrimination and proposed that 50 percent of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s portfolio be made up of loans to low- to moderate-income borrowers by the year 2001. Instead of looking at ‘outdated criteria,’ such as the mortgage applicant’s credit history and ability to make a down payment, banks were encouraged to consider nontraditional measures of credit-worthiness, such as having a good jump shot or having a missing child named ‘Caylee.’ Threatening lawsuits, Clinton’s Federal Reserve demanded that banks treat welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. That isn’t a joke—it’s a fact. ... In 1999, liberals were bragging about extending affirmative action to the financial sector. Los Angeles Times reporter Ron Brownstein hailed the Clinton administration’s affirmative action lending policies as one of the ‘hidden success stories’ of the Clinton administration, saying that ‘black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded.’ Meanwhile, economists were screaming from the rooftops that the Democrats were forcing mortgage lenders to issue loans that would fail the moment the housing market slowed and deadbeat borrowers couldn’t get out of their loans by selling their houses. A decade later, the housing bubble burst and, as predicted, food-stamp-backed mortgages collapsed. Democrats set an affirmative action time-bomb and now it’s gone off.” —Ann Coulter
Water at Gulliver'
Reply #433 on:
October 13, 2008, 10:17:25 PM »
America Will Remain the Superpower When the tide laps at Gulliver's waistline, it usually means the Lilliputians are already 10 feet under.By BRET STEPHENS
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Constantinople fell to the Ottomans after two centuries of retreat and decline. It took two world wars, a global depression and the onset of the Cold War to lay the British Empire low.
APSo it's a safe bet that the era of American dominance will not be brought to a close by credit default swaps, mark-to-market accounting or (even) Barney Frank.
Not that there's a shortage of invitations to believe otherwise. Almost in unison, Germany's finance minister, Russia's prime minister and Iran's president predict the end of U.S. "hegemony," financial and/or otherwise. The New York Times weighs in with meditations on "A Power That May Not Stay So Super." Der Spiegel gives us "The End of Hubris." Guardian columnist John Gray sees "A Shattering Moment in America's Fall From Power."
Much of this is said, or written, with ill-disguised glee. But when the tide laps at Gulliver's waistline, it usually means the Lilliputians are already 10 feet under. Before yesterday's surge, the Dow had dropped 25% in three months. But that only means it had outperformed nearly every single major foreign stock exchange, including Germany's XETRADAX (down 28%) China's Shanghai exchange (down 30%), Japan's NIKK225 (down 37%), Brazil's BOVESPA (down 41%) and Russia RTSI (down 61%). These contrasts are a useful demonstration that America's financial woes are nobody else's gain.
On the other hand, global economic distress doesn't invariably work at cross-purposes with American interests. Hugo Chávez's nosedive toward bankruptcy begins when oil dips below $80 a barrel, the price where it hovers now. An identical logic, if perhaps at a different price, applies to the petrodictatorships in Moscow and Tehran, which already are heavily saddled with inflationary and investor-confidence concerns. Russia will also likely burn through its $550 billion in foreign-currency reserves faster than anticipated -- a pleasing if roundabout comeuppance for last summer's Georgian adventure.
Nor does the U.S. seem all that badly off, comparatively speaking, when it comes to its ability to finance a bailout. Last month's $700 billion bailout package seems staggeringly large, but it amounts to a little more than 5% of U.S. gross domestic product. Compare that to Germany's $400 billion to $536 billion rescue package (between 12% and 16% of its GDP), or Britain's $835 billion plan (30%).
Of course it may require considerably more than $700 billion to clean out our Augean Stables. But here it helps that the ratio of government debt to GDP in the U.S. runs to about 62%. For the eurozone, it's 75%; for Japan, 180%.
It also helps that the U.S. continues to have the world's largest inflows of foreign direct investment; that it ranks third in the world (after Singapore and New Zealand) for ease of doing business, according to the World Bank; and that its demographic trends aren't headed toward a tall and steep cliff -- as they are in the EU, Russia, Japan and China.
Above all, the U.S. remains biased toward financial transparency. I am agnostic as to whether mark-to-market accounting is a good idea; last month's temporary ban on short-selling financials seemed a bad one.
But a system that demands timely and accurate financial disclosure and doesn't interfere with price discovery will invariably prove more resilient over time than a system that does not make such demands. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were financial time bombs of one kind, then surely China's state-owned enterprises are time bombs of another. Can anyone determine with even approximate confidence the extent of their liabilities?
This isn't to say that the abrupt failure of the SOEs would be in anyone's interests, including the U.S.'s. But one of the unremarked ironies of the present crisis is that America's financial vulnerabilities came fully into view months before Europe's (or the rest of the world's) did. That's one reason the dollar has rallied in recent months. It's also why the U.S. is likely to come through the crisis much more quickly than, say, Japan, which spent the better part of the 1990s hiding its own banking crisis from itself.
Exactly how -- and how quickly -- the U.S. does come through is anyone's guess. Recessions are periodic facts of economic life that tend to last anywhere between six and 16 months. Severe recessions or depressions are fundamentally political events that can last a decade or longer -- however long economic policy remains bad.
If the next administration is wise, it will do what it can to help the markets clear, let the recession take its course, and do what it can to preserve intact a financial system that has served us splendidly. If it is unwise, it will embark on several years of grandiose social experimentation. Either way, the United States will eventually regain its economic footing and maintain its place.
Prager: Two Americas
Reply #434 on:
October 20, 2008, 12:43:07 PM »
There Are Two Irreconcilable Americas
By Dennis Prager
It is time to confront the unhappy fact about our country: There are now two Americas. Not a rich one and a poor one; economic status plays little role in this division.
There is a red one and a blue one.
For most of my life I have believed, in what I now regard as wishful thinking, that the right and left wings have essentially the same vision for America, that it's only about ways to get there in which the two sides differ. Right and left share the same ends, I thought.
That is not the case. For the most part, right and left differ in their visions of America and that is why they differ on policies.
Right and the left do not want the same America.
The left wants America to look as much like Western European countries as possible. The left wants Europe's quasi-pacifism, cradle-to-grave socialism, egalitarianism and secularism in America. The right wants none of those values to dominate America.
The left wants America not only to have a secular government, but to have a secular society. The left feels that if people want to be religious, they should do so at home and in their houses of prayer, but never try to inject their religious values into society. The right wants America to continue to be what it has always been -- a Judeo-Christian society with a largely secular government (that is not indifferent to religion). These opposing visions explain, for example, their opposite views concerning nondenominational prayer in school.
The left prefers to identify as citizens of the world. The left fears nationalism in general (this has been true for the European left since World War I), and since the 1960s, the American left has come to fear American nationalism in particular. On the other side, the right identifies first as citizens of America.
The left therefore regards the notion of American exceptionalism as chauvinism; the United Nations and world opinion are regarded as better arbiters of what is good than is America. The right has a low opinion of the U.N.'s moral compass and of world opinion, both of which it sees as having a much poorer record of stopping genocide and other evils than America has.
The left is ambivalent about and often hostile to overt displays of American patriotism. That is why, for example, one is far more likely to find American flags displayed in Orange County, Calif., on national holidays than in liberal neighborhoods in West Los Angeles, Manhattan or San Francisco.
The left subscribes to the French Revolution, whose guiding principles were “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." The right subscribes to the American formula, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." The French/European notion of equality is not mentioned. The right rejects the French Revolution and does not hold Western Europe as a model. The left does. That alone makes right and left irreconcilable.
The left envisions an egalitarian society. The right does not. The left values equality above other values because it yearns for an America in which all people have similar amounts of material possessions. This is what propels the left to advocate laws that would force employers to pay women the same wages they pay men not only for the same job but for “comparable” jobs (as if that is objectively ascertainable). The right values equality in opportunity and strongly believes that all people are created equal, but the right values liberty, a man-woman based family and other values above equality.
The left wants a world -- and therefore an America -- devoid of nuclear weapons. The right wants America to have the best nuclear weapons. The right trusts American might more than universal disarmament.
The left wants to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples for the first time in history. The right wants gays to have equal rights, but to keep marriage defined as man-woman. This, too, constitutes an irreconcilable divide.
For these and other reasons, calls for a unity among Americans that transcends left and right are either naive or disingenuous. America will be united only when one of them prevails over the other. The left knows this. Most on the right do not.
COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #435 on:
October 20, 2008, 12:49:10 PM »
America will be united only when one of them prevails over the other.
And that is a d*mn shame. A homogenous, non-debate filled, toe the party line country that is either left or right is just about the last place in the world I want to live.
Fair and Balanced Unabashed Bias
Reply #436 on:
October 27, 2008, 09:26:46 PM »
Media's Presidential Bias and Decline
Columnist Michael Malone Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why
Column By MICHAEL S. MALONE
Oct. 24, 2008 —
The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game -- with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.
The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I've found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.
But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I've begun -- for the first time in my adult life -- to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was "a writer," because I couldn't bring myself to admit to a stranger that I'm a journalist.
You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I'm cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).
My hard-living -- and when I knew her, scary -- grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I've spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.
So, when I say I'm deeply ashamed right now to be called a "journalist," you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.
Now, of course, there's always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word "said" -- muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. -- to influence the way a reader will apprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.
But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.
But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.
That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can't achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty -- especially in ourselves.
For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.
Sure, being a child of the '60s I saw a lot of subjective "New" Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from "real" reporting, and, at least in mainstream media, usually was. The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.
But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.
I'd spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else's work -- not out of any native honesty, but out of fear: I'd always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense & indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.
And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes -- and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who'd managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.
Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation's leading newspapers, many of whom I'd written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.
But what really shattered my faith -- and I know the day and place where it happened -- was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I'd already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.
I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.
The Presidential Campaign
But nothing, nothing I've seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.
Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.
I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather -- not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake -- but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.
The few instances where I think the press has gone too far -- such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain's daughter's MySpace friends -- can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.
No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.
If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.
That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.
Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?
Joe the Plumber
The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.
Middle America, even when they didn't agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.
I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a matter that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it's because we don't understand what their motives really are. It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide -- especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50/50.
Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes & and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain's. That's what reporters do. I was proud to have been one, and I'm still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.
So why weren't those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?
The editors. The men and women you don't see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn't; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.
Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you've spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power & only to discover that you're presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn't have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you'll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.
In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -- and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway -- all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.
And then the opportunity presents itself -- an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.
With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.
And besides, you tell yourself, it's all for the good of the country . . .
This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Michael S. Malone is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the ABCNews.com "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000.
Big Tent GOP
Reply #437 on:
October 31, 2008, 03:53:52 PM »
Back to a Big-Tent GOP?
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
All eyes are on Tuesday. For the GOP, the real question is Wednesday.
That's the day the party will survey the damage of the 2008 election, and have to decide what it wants to be. Even if John McCain pulls out a win, the Grand Old Party will be in trouble. Contrary to recent liberal pronouncements, the conservative movement is not dead. But the GOP response to Tuesday will determine how long it remains on life support.
The GOP's problems are a result of a failure of action, not of philosophy. Everything, including this election, shows we remain a center-right country. If Barack Obama wins, it will be because he has doggedly (if not always believably) run to the right on everything from national security (wiretapping) to "tax cuts," guns and social issues.
Democrats may also achieve big gains in the House and Senate. But their wins in 2006 were the result of the party's decision to run "conservative" candidates -- pro-life, pro-gun and populist on economics. Democratic gains this year will come via similar candidates. The nation hasn't moved left; the Democratic Party has leaned right.
Because Nancy Pelosi and her old liberal bulls will likely overreach, the GOP will have an opportunity. But the risk is that Tuesday's results will cause panic, and exacerbate the reactionary, backward-looking behavior that has already done so much damage to the party.
[Potomac Watch] Getty Images
Republicans love to recollect Ronald Reagan, though they forget why. Reagan's strength was looking to the future -- and framing the issues of the day for Americans. When the focus had been balanced budgets, he made the issue the need for economic growth. When the debate had been détente, Reagan turned it into the need for a strong America. That tradition continued with the Contract with America, welfare reform, government reform, tort reform. George W. Bush tackled education.
Reagan's other great strength was not distinguishing between red and blue America. He offered a set of principles, and invited anyone who broadly subscribed to those principles into his political house. The result was that unlikely coalition of fiscal conservatives, defense hawks and social conservatives. These were the days of Reagan Democrats, of victories in states that now seem unwinnable to the GOP.
The further Republicans have moved away from this playbook, the further its fortunes have declined. The GOP was thrown out in 2006 because it had failed to evolve on the new issues facing Americans -- spiraling health-care costs, dwindling energy supplies, out-of-control entitlements. It spent its last years divvying up pork. As it has hit the electoral rocks, the party has also turned inward, harping on immigrants and gay marriage.
So come Wednesday, the Democrats will be energized -- and the GOP must make a choice.
The worst GOP instinct would be to mimic Britain's Tories after their 1997 shellacking by Tony Blair, becoming a "no" party that spends so much time howling against the opposition it forgets what to howl for. It could curl up and stoke bitter cultural fights (immigration, abortion) to rev up a dwindling base. It could cede its fortunes to an unreformed old guard who will happily wait out their retirements in the minority. It would be easy to do all this; the party has already had practice.
The other option is for the GOP to start elevating the new generation of reformers -- folks like Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor or Wisconsin's Paul Ryan. With them comes a new intellectual focus on today's issues. (See Mr. Ryan's recent blueprint for reforming taxes, entitlements and health care.) The Republican high point this year was when the party united to fix the energy mess. That ought to tell it something.
The party could also go back to recruiting real professionals ahead of career politicians. That's how the Senate obtained Dr. Tom Coburn who, because he isn't a lifer, hasn't been afraid to shame colleagues on earmarks or obscene spending.
Just as important, the party could again open its arms to those who should, naturally, gravitate to the GOP. Today's ballooning Hispanic community is socially conservative, the sort of up-and-comers who would appreciate lower taxes, more opportunity. America's YouTube generation is naturally entrepreneurial, and doesn't like anyone telling them what to do. If Republicans could tap into these sentiments, they'd widen the tent.
Doing so does not involve altering conservative principles. Politicians like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have shown it is possible to be for law and order, even while welcoming immigrants who want the American dream; and that it's possible to be pro-life without braying on the subject in a way that offends suburban moderates.
This transformation is necessary even if Mr. McCain wins. His difficulties have stemmed from his own struggle to articulate answers to the biggest American worries.
Parties have to evolve. This is a GOP opportunity, if it is smart enough to take it.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #438 on:
October 31, 2008, 04:42:24 PM »
***Republicans love to recollect Ronald Reagan, though they forget why. Reagan's strength was looking to the future***
Yes. Well said.
***Today's ballooning Hispanic community is socially conservative, the sort of up-and-comers who would appreciate lower taxes, more opportunity. America's YouTube generation is naturally entrepreneurial, and doesn't like anyone telling them what to do***
This one kind of makes me laugh. If this was the case the Latinos would be voting McCain as would the younger folks who at least according to all we hear on the news are overwhelmingly for BO.
And as for Latinos, Bush tried to reach out to them with only limited success. Which ever party can grab the lions share of their votes has the future. It is ironic that the most recent immigrants have electoral control over the future of the this country. But that appears to be the case.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #439 on:
October 31, 2008, 08:06:47 PM »
Bush received some 40-45% of the Latino vote in Texas for governor and did well when running for President too including a very strong majority of the Cuban vote in Florida.
What you say is precisely why he was so gung ho for amnesty and what has happened nationally with the Latino vote is exactly what happened to the Republican Party in CA after Gov. Wilson supported an initiative about no benefits for illegals.
Gore was shameless as VP in working to get the illegals vote for Dems, and BO will be worse with driver licenses for illegals, motor voter laws, and massive amnesty.
The Republicans are in a real existential bind on this issue.
If we want to continue this discussion lets take it over to the immigration thread.
Reply #440 on:
November 04, 2008, 04:18:26 PM »
But Where Did Bush Go Wrong?
by Patrick J. Buchanan
After losing control of the Senate and 30 House seats in 2006, the GOP is bracing for losses of six to nine in the Senate, and two dozen to three dozen additional seats in the House. If the party "were a dog food," says Rep. Tom Davis, "they would take us off the shelf." Bush's approval is 25 percent. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton left office with ratings more than twice as high. But while John McCain and others have deplored the Bush failures, what, exactly, did he do wrong?
What were the policy blunders to which Republicans vehemently objected at the time?
That Bush is a Big Government Republican is undeniable. His two great social spending initiatives, prescription drug benefits for seniors under Medicare and No Child Left Behind, so testify. But how many Republicans opposed Bush on these initiatives? How many have called for the abolition of either program, or for raising payroll taxes to pay for prescription drugs?
McCain now supports the Bush judges and justices and the Bush tax cuts, as do almost all Republicans.
True, Bush sought amnesty for illegal aliens and backs the free-trade globalism that exported our manufacturing base and 3 million to 4 million jobs. But McCain is even more enthusiastic about both.
Does the party dissent on free trade and mass immigration?
Two-thirds of Americans now believe the Iraq war a mistake. Yet, all but a few Republicans backed the war. At the time of "Mission Accomplished!" in May 2003, the nation gave Bush a 90 percent approval rating, as his father had after Desert Storm.
What turned America against the war was not the decision to invade, oust Saddam, destroy the weapons of mass destruction and depart, but the long, bloody slog, the five-year war, with nearly 5,000 dead, that Iraq became. It was not the lightning war of Tommy Franks, with journalists riding tanks into Baghdad, that soured America, but the unanticipated duration and cost of the war.
Yet, Republicans still believe that the war was not a mistake, only mishandled. And now that Gen. Petraeus got it right in Iraq, they say, we should pursue the Petraeus policy in Afghanistan.
How many Republicans have repudiated the Bush Doctrine that got us into Iraq -- the belief that only by making the world democratic can we keep America secure and free?
Americans no longer believe that, if ever they did. And history proves them right. For Iraq has never been democratic, and America has always been free. Yet, the Republican Party has never renounced the Bush Doctrine
Indeed, it is being applied today in Afghanistan.
That war, too, after we failed at Tora Bora to capture or kill bin Laden, has become a long slog to create a democratic Afghanistan, which, like a democratic Iraq, has never before existed.
In Afghanistan, we are entering the eighth year of war with victory further away than ever. The Taliban grows stronger. U.S. casualties are surging. Opium exports are breaking records. Our NATO allies grow weary. Even the Brits are talking of reconciliation with the Taliban, perhaps accepting a dictator.
These two wars helped to cripple the Bush presidency and end the GOP ascendancy. Yet, at the highest levels of the party, one hears no serious questioning of the ideology that produced these wars. McCain has pledged to stay in Iraq until "victory" and send 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan.
Nor have Republicans objected to the U.S. air strikes that have killed hundreds of Afghans, or the Predator strikes that have inflamed Pakistan or the helicopter raid into Syria that humiliated Damascus and enraged the population. If Republicans disagree with these policies and actions, their voices are muted.
Bush is for facing down Russia and bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Does any Republican disagree? For McCain is more hawkish than Bush when it come to Moscow.
The party says it is losing because the economy went south. But who caused that? Was it not because Republicans colluded with Democrats in pushing "affordable housing," subprime mortgages, for folks who could not afford houses? Is the GOP prepared to demand tough terms for home loans? Was it not GOP presidents who appointed the Fed chairmen who pumped up the money supply and created the bubble? How many Republicans objected to the easy money when the going was good?
The country wishes to be rid of the Bush policies and the Bush presidency. But where does the Republican Party think Bush went wrong, other than to be asleep at the wheel during Katrina?
The GOP needs to confront the truth: The failure of the Bush presidency lies not in a failed execution of policy but in the policies themselves and the neoconservative ideology that informed them. Yet, still, the party remains in denial, refusing to come to terms with the causes of its misfortune. One expects they will be given the time and opportunity for reflection soon.
"The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #441 on:
November 04, 2008, 05:31:47 PM »
***Was it not because Republicans colluded with Democrats in pushing "affordable housing," subprime mortgages, for folks who could not afford houses? Is the GOP prepared to demand tough terms for home loans? Was it not GOP presidents who appointed the Fed chairmen who pumped up the money supply and created the bubble? How many Republicans objected to the easy money when the going was good?***
Well there is a concept of "compassionate conservatism". The reason this concept arose dear Patrick is becasue the nature of this country is changing. And if the republicans don't change they will continue to swim upstream against a demographic current that does not see that trickle down is going to work for them.
***"The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves.***
The fault does lie with ourselves. But not for the reason you state dear Patrick. It is because the cans cannot preach the same old tired mantra of tax cuts and let the market take care of itself. Not unless you want to spend your life trying to sell a plan to a majority of new Americans who are skeptical.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #442 on:
November 05, 2008, 09:19:25 AM »
First I concede a point CCP made earlier that McCain would do better (and did better) in this environment than a more conservative Republican. It was a number of people who brought down the Republican party as we knew it. McCain, yes, but mostly Bush. Not just for his mistakes but for his inability to communicate when he did things right. How pathetic that a sitting President had to run and hide for months during the election.
On the other side of communication is Obama who even in his gracious 'unifying' speech still contends this is the worst economy of the last 100 years, but employment is down less than one percent.
Unfortunately from my point of view the terms elected-Republican and conservative are mutually exclusive. Fannie Mae wasn't governed conservatively. Federal spending wasn't run conservatively. Even a pro-war decision wasn't executed conservatively from a pro-war taxpayer's point of view.
Back to McCain. I didn't want to write negatively before the polls close, but now take a look at the recent political career of McCain prior to the campaign. My question, did McCain fight Republicans when they were right or did he fight them when they were wrong?
His biggest fights were: Campaign finance reform - a HORRIBLE law that led to his own demise. Opposing Bush tax cuts - wrong by his own admission. Opposing drilling in ANWR - political fodder, had nothing to do with the environment or the caribou and just conceded a huge symbolic point to the opposition. Immigration - caved on principle and lawfulness just to pander to a totally unappreciative audience. Supported cap and trade - don't get me started, the best explanation was Obama's saying he looked forward to bankrupting the clean coal industry and McCain did not and could not draw a distinction! My outlets are connected to coal and no one is building nuclear or anything else to replace it. McCain conceded the issue before the general election began. Torture - McCain has credibility here, but drew blurry lines impugning the Americans and hurting the war effort. Spending - I know he opposes earmarks, a minor item, but why didn't he scream bloody murder as Republicans poured more and more money into ALL spending. If he did I didn't hear it. And for all his fighting with his own party, he failed to pin blame for the subprime industry or any other else on his opponents. He's just too nice of a guy, so he let's Bush and the republicans take full blame with his silence. (Skipping over some things he did right - this is a rant)
McCain fought Republicans hard but if he had won he helped in leaving fewer Republicans around to support him. Zero coattails even in losing. Of course a McCain presidency would also have been a failure with the Pelosi-Reid congress setting most of the agenda.
One example I posted previously of McCain hurting Republicans was our
senator from MN, Amy Klobuchar, a political clone of Hillary without all the charisma. Every time her opponent tried to paint her as too liberal for MN she managed to point out that she had John McCain on her side of a vote or issue, opposing tax cuts, drilling, etc.
The party now in ruins has always had competing factions among the right wingers and centrists. The conventional wisdom is still that the R's need to move away from conservatism to win. McCain should have been a perfect centrist to win states like ours, after all a McCain clone and ally Tim Pawlenty is our twice elected governor. But McCain lost MN by 10 points and did even worse in neighboring Wisconsin, also of mixed politics. When people want a Democrat, they don't choose Democrat-lite. When people want Republicans out, they don't put a maverick Republican in.
The alleged wisdom is that R's can strategically reach to the center and the right wing has no choice but to support the centrist, the maverick. If we choose a conservative, we may energize 'the base' but the center goes Democrat. Two problems with that wisdom. It doesn't match the election reults we have had. Wishy washy republicans have done lousy (Bob Dole, GHW Bush reelection for examples), what kind of support do they get, luke warm? While candidates at least running as conservatives have generally fared well, at least since Goldwater. This was a Goldwater style year. It took us 16 years of meandering, incompetent government from both sides that nearly took down the republic to snap out of that. I hate to think how old I will be the new socialism and surrender fad passes.
Meanwhile, I stand by my belief that big tents are for circuses. I am here to seek out which policies are best and support them regardless of winning or losing elections.
I supported McCain and voted for McCain without regrets, but never gave a penny and as a precinct chair never held a meeting or organized a rally. He wasn't the choice of Republicans out of principle IMO, he was a marketing choice that Republican primary voters were hoping that others would like. It didn't work.
Last Edit: November 05, 2008, 08:13:01 PM by DougMacG
Re: Political Rants
Reply #443 on:
November 05, 2008, 09:28:04 AM »
Six months to a year and the public will want the adults in charge again. Our first "affirmative action" president will have people wistfully longing for W.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #444 on:
November 05, 2008, 10:01:14 AM »
Longing for W? That will never happen... Anybody but...
Did you notice GM; it was an OVERWHELMING victory for Obama and the Democrats.
"A return of Camelot". "The people have spoken". Etc. etc. etc.
"I think this is the passing of an old order," CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said as the results rolled in Tuesday night and the outcome became increasingly evident.
"I think what we see ... is a new coalition, a new order emerging. It isn't quite there, but with Barack Obama, for the first time, it's won. It is the Latino vote we just heard about. It is the bigger black vote that came out. Very importantly, it's the youth vote, the 18-to-29-year-old," said the Harvard University professor and former presidential adviser. Watch Obama pay tribute to McCain »
Bottom line; McCain was "thumped" both in the electoral college and in the popular vote.
Give him his due - he is your President elect.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #445 on:
November 05, 2008, 10:17:10 AM »
lets take this over to the 2008 Presidential Election thread.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #446 on:
November 05, 2008, 11:39:24 AM »
AGAIN, lets take this over to the 2008 Presidential thread.
Re: Political Rants
Reply #447 on:
November 06, 2008, 11:17:22 AM »
Well BOs first announced decision for White House Chief of Staff does not bode well for any hope of bipartisanship.
But I agree with those who say lets give him a chance. I hope he *will* be great. But I admit I am very skeptical, and this choice is certainly a bad first sign.
Did you see Dick Morris who stated Emanual will use BO for his personal gain and is someone who play to the Washington inside Crat establishment? Interesting.
Reagan: The Speech
Reply #448 on:
November 06, 2008, 11:49:27 AM »
Thread coherence please!
CCP, your comment belongs in The Coming Clusterfcuk or Politics. This thread is for Political Rants. Here's one from 44 years ago:
Program Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, we take pride in presenting a thoughtful address by Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan:
Reagan: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.
I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used, "We've never had it so good."
But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We've raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. We have 15 billion dollars in gold in our treasury; we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are 27.3 billion dollars. And we've just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45 cents in its total value.
As for the peace that we would preserve, I wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.
Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro, and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to." And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.
And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.
This is the issue of this election: 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 capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: [up] man's old -- old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
In this vote-harvesting time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago by the President, we must accept a greater government activity in the affairs of the people. But they've been a little more explicit in the past and among themselves; and all of the things I now will quote have appeared in print. These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say, "The cold war will end through our acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism." Another voice says, "The profit motive has become outmoded. It must be replaced by the incentives of the welfare state." Or, "Our traditional system of individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th century." Senator Fulbright has said at Stanford University that the Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the President as "our moral teacher and our leader," and he says he is "hobbled in his task by the restrictions of power imposed on him by this antiquated document." He must "be freed," so that he "can do for us" what he knows "is best." And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the masses through the full power of centralized government."
Well, I, for one, resent it when a representative of the people refers to you and me, the free men and women of this country, as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized government" -- this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize. They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.
Now, we have no better example of this than government's involvement in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see, that one-fourth of farming -- that's regulated and controlled by the federal government. In the last three years we've spent 43 dollars in the feed grain program for every dollar bushel of corn we don't grow.
Senator Humphrey last week charged that Barry Goldwater, as President, would seek to eliminate farmers. He should do his homework a little better, because he'll find out that we've had a decline of 5 million in the farm population under these government programs. He'll also find that the Democratic administration has sought to get from Congress [an] extension of the farm program to include that three-fourths that is now free. He'll find that they've also asked for the right to imprison farmers who wouldn't keep books as prescribed by the federal government. The Secretary of Agriculture asked for the right to seize farms through condemnation and resell them to other individuals. And contained in that same program was a provision that would have allowed the federal government to remove 2 million farmers from the soil.
At the same time, there's been an increase in the Department of Agriculture employees. There's now one for every 30 farms in the United States, and still they can't tell us how 66 shiploads of grain headed for Austria disappeared without a trace and Billie Sol Estes never left shore.
Every responsible farmer and farm organization has repeatedly asked the government to free the farm economy, but how -- who are farmers to know what's best for them? The wheat farmers voted against a wheat program. The government passed it anyway. Now the price of bread goes up; the price of wheat to the farmer goes down.
Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on freedom carries on. Private property rights [are] so diluted that public interest is almost anything a few government planners decide it should be. In a program that takes from the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a "more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he's now going to start building public housing units in the thousands, where heretofore we've only built them in the hundreds. But FHA [Federal Housing Authority] and the Veterans Administration tell us they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage foreclosure. For three decades, we've sought to solve the problems of unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency.
They've just declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over 30 million dollars on deposit in personal savings in their banks. And when the government tells you you're depressed, lie down and be depressed.
We have so many people who can't see a fat man standing beside a thin one without coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one. So they're going to solve all the problems of human misery through government and government planning. Well, now, if government planning and welfare had the answer -- and they've had almost 30 years of it -- shouldn't we expect government to read the score to us once in a while? Shouldn't they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? The reduction in the need for public housing?
But the reverse is true. Each year the need grows greater; the program grows greater. We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry each night. Well that was probably true. They were all on a diet. But now we're told that 9.3 million families in this country are poverty-stricken on the basis of earning less than 3,000 dollars a year. Welfare spending [is] 10 times greater than in the dark depths of the Depression. We're spending 45 billion dollars on welfare. Now do a little arithmetic, and you'll find that if we divided the 45 billion dollars up equally among those 9 million poor families, we'd be able to give each family 4,600 dollars a year. And this added to their present income should eliminate poverty. Direct aid to the poor, however, is only running only about 600 dollars per family. It would seem that someplace there must be some overhead.
Now -- so now we declare "war on poverty," or "You, too, can be a Bobby Baker." Now do they honestly expect us to believe that if we add 1 billion dollars to the 45 billion we're spending, one more program to the 30-odd we have -- and remember, this new program doesn't replace any, it just duplicates existing programs -- do they believe that poverty is suddenly going to disappear by magic? Well, in all fairness I should explain there is one part of the new program that isn't duplicated. This is the youth feature. We're now going to solve the dropout problem, juvenile delinquency, by reinstituting something like the old CCC camps [Civilian Conservation Corps], and we're going to put our young people in these camps. But again we do some arithmetic, and we find that we're going to spend each year just on room and board for each young person we help 4,700 dollars a year. We can send them to Harvard for 2,700! Course, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting Harvard is the answer to juvenile delinquency.
But seriously, what are we doing to those we seek to help? Not too long ago, a judge called me here in Los Angeles. He told me of a young woman who'd come before him for a divorce. She had six children, was pregnant with her seventh. Under his questioning, she revealed her husband was a laborer earning 250 dollars a month. She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise. She's eligible for 330 dollars a month in the Aid to Dependent Children Program. She got the idea from two women in her neighborhood who'd already done that very thing.
Yet anytime you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders, we're denounced as being against their humanitarian goals. They say we're always "against" things -- we're never "for" anything.
Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.
Now -- we're for a provision that destitution should not follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we've accepted Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.
But we're against those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means that we want to end payments to those people who depend on them for a livelihood. They've called it "insurance" to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified it was a welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people. And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and admitted that Social Security as of this moment is 298 billion dollars in the hole. But he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed to bail them out of trouble. And they're doing just that.
A young man, 21 years of age, working at an average salary -- his Social Security contribution would, in the open market, buy him an insurance policy that would guarantee 220 dollars a month at age 65. The government promises 127. He could live it up until he's 31 and then take out a policy that would pay more than Social Security. Now are we so lacking in business sense that we can't put this program on a sound basis, so that people who do require those payments will find they can get them when they're due -- that the cupboard isn't bare?
Barry Goldwater thinks we can.
Reagan: The Speech part 2
Reply #449 on:
November 06, 2008, 11:50:36 AM »
At the same time, can't we introduce voluntary features that would permit a citizen who can do better on his own to be excused upon presentation of evidence that he had made provision for the non-earning years? Should we not allow a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our beneficiaries will be under this program, which we cannot do? I think we're for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we're against forcing all citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially when we have such examples, as was announced last week, when France admitted that their Medicare program is now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.
In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that our government give up its program of deliberate, planned inflation, so that when you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and not 45 cents worth?
I think we're for an international organization, where the nations of the world can seek peace. But I think we're against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the General Assembly among nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. I think we're against the hypocrisy of assailing our allies because here and there they cling to a colony, while we engage in a conspiracy of silence and never open our mouths about the millions of people enslaved in the Soviet colonies in the satellite nations.
I think we're for aiding our allies by sharing of our material blessings with those nations which share in our fundamental beliefs, but we're against doling out money government to government, creating bureaucracy, if not socialism, all over the world. We set out to help 19 countries. We're helping 107. We've spent 146 billion dollars. With that money, we bought a 2 million dollar yacht for Haile Selassie. We bought dress suits for Greek undertakers, extra wives for Kenya[n] government officials. We bought a thousand TV sets for a place where they have no electricity. In the last six years, 52 nations have bought 7 billion dollars worth of our gold, and all 52 are receiving foreign aid from this country.
No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.
Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.
Federal employees -- federal employees number two and a half million; and federal, state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force employed by government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury? And they can seize and sell his property at auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico County, Arkansas, James Wier over-planted his rice allotment. The government obtained a 17,000 dollar judgment. And a U.S. marshal sold his 960-acre farm at auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the system work.
Last February 19th at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas, six-times candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United States." I think that's exactly what he will do.
But as a former Democrat, I can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to socialism with the present administration, because back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself, Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that the leadership of his Party was taking the Party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he walked away from his Party, and he never returned til the day he died -- because to this day, the leadership of that Party has been taking that Party, that honorable Party, down the road in the image of the labor Socialist Party of England.
Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether you hold the deed to the -- or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property? And such machinery already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment. Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, unalienable 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.
Our Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make you and I believe that this is a contest between two men -- that we're to choose just between two personalities.
Well what of this man that they would destroy -- and in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the ideas that you and I hold dear? Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy man they say he is? Well I've been privileged to know him "when." I knew him long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you personally I've never known a man in my life I believed so incapable of doing a dishonest or dishonorable thing.
This is a man who, in his own business before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan before unions had ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent monthly checks for life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provides nursing care for the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by the floods in the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and supplies down there.
An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas. And he said that [there were] a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. And then a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was a fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in those weeks before Christmas, all day long, he'd load up the plane, fly it to Arizona, fly them to their homes, fly back over to get another load.
During the hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his 19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this campaign that makes all the other problems I've discussed academic, unless we realize we're in a war that must be won.
Those who would trade our freedom for the soup kitchen of the welfare state have told us they have a utopian solution of peace without victory. They call their policy "accommodation." And they say if we'll only avoid any direct confrontation with the enemy, he'll forget his evil ways and learn to love us. All who oppose them are indicted as warmongers. They say we offer simple answers to complex problems. Well, perhaps there is a simple answer -- not an easy answer -- but simple: If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that we want our national policy based on what we know in our hearts is morally right.
We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion human beings now enslaved behind the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skins, we're willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said, "A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one." Now let's set the record straight. There's no argument over the choice between peace and war, but there's only one guaranteed way you can have peace -- and you can have it in the next second -- surrender.
Admittedly, there's a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face -- that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand -- the ultimatum. And what then -- when Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will be? He has told them that we're retreating under the pressure of the Cold War, and someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary, because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he's heard voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one commentator put it, he'd rather "live on his knees than die on his feet." And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest of us.
You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is worth dying for, when did this begin -- just in the face of this enemy? Or should Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs? Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to peace? Well it's a simple answer after all.
You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.
We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.
We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.
Thank you very much.
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