Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Price Gouging

I am as unhappy about high gas prices as the next guy.

However, as a believer in freedom and the free market, I think screams of price gouging are simply wrong-headed, as Cox and Forkum point out in this brilliant cartoon.

Gasoline is something, like coal, steel, lead, lumber, and mulch that real people take real risks and spend real money and work to extract, process, and deliver to the market and they have every right to ask whatever price they want for it. The price Wal-Mart charges for pillows is between Wal-Mart and me, not between Wal-Mart, the government, and me. Bottom line, government should not be involved.

Besides, if you want to look at real price gouging, consider that the federal government makes about twice as much on each gallon of gas as the gas stations do... and the same goes for state/local government. Taxes on a gallon of gas, when you add the taxes up, are around 40 cents a gallon. Depending on what state you're in, it might actually be a percentage of the sale price rather than a premium per gallon -- which is even more price gouging. So if we're going to talk about price gouging, we're going to have to take a good hard look at gasoline taxes.

If government wants to get involved, and I'm not saying it should, but I suppose its possible to make a national security issue out of it -- if it wants to get involved, it should encourage research into making ethanol production more efficient. Same with solar cells. And nuclear power. If there was a way to run Uranium all the way to lead, I think our problems would be solved. Otherwise, gas is going to cost what gas costs, and the market will have to adjust.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Earth Day Taken Over by Evil Capitalist Pigs

A friend sent me a link to this article on Earth Day, an event even I have been sucked in to from time to time -- after all, I consider myself an environmentalist. Who wants a polluted planet? My take is that even most evil capitalist pigs do not.

Anyway, I had to laugh -- the article didn't even mention that the takeover was Bush's fault until the 5th paragraph. They're slipping. It's probably because FrontPage isn't the Left, it's just quoting the Left in this article.

Then I found this quote amusing (and revealing) :

"They will frame the issue saying that corporate interests are working on the technological fixes that will allow Americans to continue to drive their Hummers."

Here they expose the real agenda, probably without even realizing it -- as most of the celebrators probably don't really know the underlying theology philosophy of The Day. See, it's not really about the environment at all, it's about capitalism. The problem isn't what Hummers do to the environment, what they object to is the existence of Hummers themselves and the capitalism and technology they represent. The solution is not to invent ways to make Hummers pollute less, the solution is to get rid of Hummers and the evil capitalist pigs they represent.

To the Socialist Greens, the word "Corporate" itself is a curseword, enunciated with venom and a spit of disgust. Quick, somebody tell them that's a Jewish gesture. ;-)

Straw Immigration Man Argument

I hear over and over again that we can't make our rules on illegal immigration too "draconian" because it would be impractical to round up and deport 11,000,000 people.

Using the same argument, should we say that keeping murder and rape illegal is impractical, because it would be impractical to round up all of the murderers and rapists and throw them in jail?

Nobody said we had to go round them all up at once and get rid of them. We just want laws enforced when people break them, and our border security tightened up dramatically.

Just because you can't catch all of the people who are breaking the law doesn't mean you shouldn't keep your laws and enforce them.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Another Fake Bin Laden Tape

Bin Laden is dead. At least that's what I believe, and I've believed it for a couple of years. My main evidence is that the media whore hasn't shown his face since -- well in at least a couple of years. The ultimate slap in the face to the U.S. and other allies would be to show his face and prove that he is alive -- but he does not. This can only be because he cannot. And "he cannot" -- not because the means to get such things out from caves in Pakistan or Afghanistan are not available. He cannot because the means to get such things out when you're dead are unavailable. Unless Allah is truly on his side. Which he apparently isn't, because ... where's the beef, man?

So I'm parusing through this story on the fake Bin Laden tape where the fake Bin Laden (FBL) once again talks about the "Zionist-crusader war against Islam".

Well, let's see, what FBL calls Islam has declared war on "The West", which consists of what he calls Zionists and Crusaders... so it stands to reason that the people he describes, if they are to fight back, must be waging a war on what he calls Islam. Ok. Fine, Fake Bin Laden. What's your point? It actually seems pretty reflexive to me.

Of course, FBL's point is that he wants to rile up those who feel, or at least publicly declare, that what FBL calls Islam is not, in fact, Islam -- so that they'll join his fight. If he can get them to believe that America et al wants to kill and enslave them, they will fall in line with what FBL calls Islam. Which is kind of Ironic, because FBL's Islam pretty much calls for the killing and/or enslaving of the entire non-Muslim world, and they've started doing things like flying planes into buildings and blowing themselves up in restaurants and discos, ramming boats full of explosives into other boats, trucks full of explosives into embassies, and kidnapping people and sawing their heads off and videotaping it for the world to see to make it happen. And the rest of Islam lifts nary a finger to stop it. Which makes the rest of Islam ... a defacto accessory to the war.

So Islam declares war on the West. The parts of the West with any cajones remaining declares war on Islam, with one hand self-tied behind it's back so as to avoid, if at all possible, actually killing people who aren't actively fighting them even if they aren't against the enemy and harbor some sympathy for him. I fail to see why that should send any of the west running for sack cloth, tails between legs.

Of course it's not a war on terror. As Dan Simmons points out in his April, 2006 message, declaring war on terror in 2001 would be like declaring war on aviation in 1941. You don't declare war on a tactic. You declare war on people. What people have declared war on the West?
People who say they are Muslims have, that's who, and that Allah justifies their actions. The rest of Islam is, for all practical purposes, silent except to say "don't blame us!!!"

There is also plenty of evidence, if you care to read past the CAIR's carefully chosen and edited Koran verses, that Islam not only allows ample justification for Islam's War on Everything Not Islamic, it actually demands it.

The rest of Islam may not be waging the war, but they perpetuate a friendly climate for the one FBL and Friends are waging. Think of Muslims as gasoline (no, the irony isn't lost on me), and FBL's and his buddy's groups as part of that gasoline which is actually aflame. The rest of the gasoline is not actually on fire (yet), but it is a favorable environment for that fire to spread over. It feels a kinship and an obligation to it, and will not stand in its way -- even get caught up in the flame front as it sweeps through. As Christians are more amenable to Christian ideals, even more extreme ones, Buddhists more amenable to Buddhist ideals -- you get the picture; so are Muslims more amenable to Islamic ideals. Spread them all over the world, light a match... and see what happens. That's what OBL et al started. It's what FBL is trying to continue.

FBL's war is far closer to a "Crusade" against the West than the West's fight back against it, which is more like begrudging self-defense.

So that's pretty much it for that. Not to wage war back on that which wages war on you is either slavery or suicide, take your pick. So we have a war on Islam, but only because Islam insists upon it and we must fight back.

FBL apparently also said that the the West's cutting funding to the Palestinian government since Hamas won the Palestinan elections was further proof of an anti-Islamic campaign.

Well, it's not, but since it shoudln't need proof anyway, it's kind of moot. Imagine a little boy running up to his sister, slapping her in the face -- and when she punches him back the little boy screams "She is fighting me!" Yeah? Duh! You get no sympathy for me.

Then I made the mistake of going and looking in the comments, where one person talks about "the only acceptable democracy is one imposed by America and its allies", in self-congratulatory leftist agreement with FBL's QED above.

Of course, the first thing I'm thinking of is, uh, no ... but if we feel that a democratically elected party government having as its chief reason for existence the annihilation of one of our friends and that they further use tactics that are unnaceptable to anyone in the civilized world ... we might just have a teensy-weensy problem handing them money.

"Hey, John, I know you're friends with your neighbor and all, but I'm going to try to blow up his house with him and his family in it. I'm taking donations, and you're a big fat meanie for not giving any to me because, well, you gave it to my family before and my family elected me to represent them."


Then there was the confounding smattering of "reality" based folks whose only problem with Bin Laden was that he keeps the TRUE evil person, G.W. Bush in power. They expect people to take them seriously, because they only hang around people who take them seriously. Seriously, you ought to walk in on one of these pow-wows some time. The Daily Kos... The Huffington Post... to name a couple. And the tinfoil brigade shows up here as well.
Anyone with an ounce of intelligence is aware of the fact that Bin Laden was a creation of the CIA. They used him as a figurehead to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Close family associates of Bin Laden were meeting with Bush snr on 9/11. Please people of the world wake up to the bogus and utterly contrived 'war on terror'. It is being used to remove our basic freedoms and justify the mad scramble for the world's dwindling energy resources.
These people need to go back to sleep as it appears their only reason for existence is to parrot what they hear from people they think are intellectual and in possesion of some obscure knowledge of which they are one of the few chosen and sainted few who have the brain capacity to comprehend in a never ending feedback cycle of baseless ego massage.

Fortunately, these days on this BBC story -- comments seem to be, on the whole, much more sane that some of the cow-mire buckets of screed I've seen in the past, with some really to-the-point ones like:

"We're used to hearing him issuing threats to everybody with the audacity to
be western."
and this one

"Until I read the latest Bin Laden message, I was somewhat indifferent to this war on terrorism. But his message on Sudan has convinced me that he is the very embodiment of all that is evil. In addition, I think the man is a racist, given the way he views non-Arab and non-Muslim Sudanese.

His message is very clear: he is a crusader who doesn't care about human lives, including the lives of the ignorant youth who follow him blindly."

Like I said, I think the man is dead. His movement lives on, though -- but its not happy about the conditions, and its getting more and more desparate.

Personally, I vote we keep up the pressure on these worms.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bob Parks Weighs in on Illegal Immigrants

I love Bob Park's stuff. Matter of fact, I just may give him the honor of a sidebar link here in a bit. Anyway, here's his latest weigh-in on the illegal immigration issue.

In response to the idea of a "National Day Without (illegal) Immigrants", he passes along this gem a counter to the masses of illegals protesting in American cities, shutting down commerce in a “f*ck you” to we, the law abiding, Sher Zieve threw out a suggestion that has taken on a life of its own. In part she wrote, “…I think it’s time that we
actual-and-verifiable citizens took to the streets- or just stayed home - to show our Senators how a “National Day Without Citizens” would impact the country. There are more of us than there are “them”. Immigration (that’s legal immigration) is not a right. It’s a privilege….”
I love it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gonna have to keep an eye on this contest

My bet is the total of $10 is safe.

Joseph Wilson Yellowcake Fiver

Media - I used to think it might be unintentional

Bias, that is.

This morning, though, I happened to catch the beginning of "Good Morning America" where our friendly and cuddly hosts talked to the serious guys in the field, and one of their top stories was about a Washington Post article that shows that when Bush said in an interview on Polish TV back in 2003 that "we found weapons of mass destruction" that he knew otherwise.

Yet more embarrassing for the Bush administration -- is pretty much what the consensus between the hosts and reporter was.

Now if you've read me much, you know that I don't operate under the assumption that Bush is either stupid or evil. I find it difficult to believe that the man would be that careless as to say something he knew wasn't true.

But about half the country is convinced that "Bush Lied" -- and no wonder. It appears that the mainstream media is going out of its way to promote and perpetuate that perception.

So I hunted up the interview to read it. I thought "well, he probably couched it in more careful language than that and was just selectively quoted". But after reading the interview... nope, he wasn't. Either he was convinced, or he was lying.

So I was a little troubled by this.

The story in the Washington Times is headlined "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War". Reader perception: no evidence of biolabs. Subtitle "Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary". Reader perception: The administration knew better (note, though, that it doesn't end up being an actual lie, for that is excactly what the administration did -- however, the implication is that that's all the evidence the administration had).

I stopped reading the article at this point:

"There was no connection to anything biological," said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: "the biggest sand toilets in the world."

As an aside, I'd like to point out that toilets are very biological.

At any rate -- that apparently was my mistake. But it's what readers do. The read enough of an article to get the gist of it -- and the gist seemed to be, and I'll say actually was "Bush Lied". My assumption was that I had read all of the important facts that were going to be presented. I took a journalism class -- I know how newspaper articles are supposed to be written. Inverted pyramid. Important stuff at the top, later paragraphs written such that the editor can chop it off at the end of any one of them and have a coherent story.

However, later a link to the Captain's Quarters -- where Ed actually read the whole article, he points to information later in the article, where some very critical information was burried. So I went back and read the rest of the article. Most of the rest of the article was focused on the report of the team report ... "the" team report .... the very last paragraphon page 1 of the electronic story says:

Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said.

Wait... so we spent all that time talking about "the" technical team's report up to this point without revealing that there were at least three teams - and in fact, two concluded that they were weapons labs.

The rest of the story goes on to detail when the report was made, what their findings were, a few choice quotes about the opinions of the team (back to "the" team ... only once is there a subtle indication that there were other reports when they used the term "that" report) and a damning undercurrent of coverup and denial.

In the end, when you glean the facts out of the story, we know of three teams that investigated these trailers. Two said they were, one said they weren't. We're given details about the production of the one that said they weren't, which turned out to be true. But the whole thing is spun to add fuel to the lying Bush administration perception that 90% of the MSM buys into and desparately wants everyone else to.

I"ve said it before. If you go looking for evidence of something hard enough, you start looking too selectively and anything can be construed as evidence supporting your premise. This is why there is no such thing as unbiased reporting. When 90% of the MSM press are self-proclaimed liberal Democrats, this is what you can expect. Using terms like "continuing", "yet again", "yet more" day after day, they're hoping to brainwash the American public into believing as they do. If they say it enough, it will "become" true.

I will be interested to see if the next democratic president is subject to the same fine-toothed and intensely magnified scrutiny that this one has been subjected to.

I'm pretty sure he or she won't be.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Contingency Plans, Iran, & Seymore Hersh

I heard an interview with Hersh on NPR on the way home today. He was talking about an article he recently wrote in the New Yorker. Hersh went through this extremely lengthy and tedious attempt at an explanation as to why actually discussing and figuring out how you would carry out one of your options is way beyond just a contingency plan.

After hearing Bush refer to the article as wild speculation, Robert Siegel asked Hersh if he thought president Bush would go to war to keep Tehran from getting nuclear weapons. Here's his response

" Absolutely, I think there's no question and ... I hope the president ... and I.. it was... it's great news that [the president] said it's wild speculation, maybe he's changed his mind in the last few days. But as of last week I can tell you there were many people high up in the military and civilian beaurocracy who really don't know ... what he'll do ... but think he's ... prepared to go to war."
Never mind that the answer subtly attempts to re-form the question to "is the president definitely going to war?" -- what a slippery answer! I know it because last week some unnamed sources told me that they didn't know what he'd do, but they think he's prepared to go to war???

Wow. Nothing like a smoking gun.

Not being prepared to go to war invites your foes to call your bluff. Being prepared to go to war does not mean that you will go to war. But you can't go to war if you are not prepared to go to war.

I suppose if the president just said... "well, Dick, we could bomb 'em", that constitutes a contingency plan. Apparently any further discussion of just excactly how feasable that would be and why -- which one would assume would include discussions of what we would do and how ... goes "way beyond that".

I guess they think you can just sketch this stuff out on a napkin the night before your attack right after a decision has been made.

Hersh also expressed worry that our intelligence in Iran might be worse than what we had in Iraq. Iran might not be capable of producing a bomb... and they might not mean to. So maybe we should just leave 'em alone. So what's all this planning stuff? We have time to talk to them.

Yeah. They seem like reasonable people.

Folks, we're not talking about Portugal here. We're talking about Iran. What we do know is that the country sponsors terrorism, trains terrorists, whose president has a vision of Islam reigning supreme in the world, of wiping a whole country off the map, and the typical two-sided talk we've heard from people like, oh, Saddam Hussein... Ho Chi Min... Kim Jong Il ... I mean, do we really need to see this movie again?

Well, it's just a little test run on the uranium enrichment. A small amount. Hersh asks, do we really need to go all hard line on them over that?

Well, Seymore, excactly when do you think we should go hard line, if ever? When Irainian missiles are in the air?

Quick, get out the napkins, we need to go beyond our contingency plan!

We Are Not Criminals ????

Just saw a sign in a photo of one of the many immigration protests. A group of hispanics carrying a big sign that says "We are not criminals."

So, you didn't break any laws?

Then what's the fuss? Go home. You have nothing to worry about.

Mob Rule

In France, president Chirac backed down on his new labor law because of mobs in the streets.

The way I see it, he was trying to address a problem in France that basically obliges an employer to support you for the rest of your life once you're hired. This law was supposed to allow employers the opportunity to make sure they are getting a quality employee before they make that huge investment.

But it doesn't matter. What does matter is that mobs tend to scare politicians. In other words, if you can get a critical mass of people to scream and stomp for the cameras, there is no need to actually go through a legislative process. You know, the people elect representatives, they draft legislation and vote on it, that kind of thing.

But better behaved people who are too polite to just come out and say "Hey, if you're a responsible person who works reasonably hard, what do you have to worry about? Unless you're irresponsible and lazy."

But that would be hateful and intolerant.

Anyway... most Americans want our imigration laws enforced at the very least. We elected officials to represent us. But we have scary mobs in the streets. What will happen here?

I hope the right thing. But I probably shouldn't hold my breath.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Right Brothers

I surfed upon a link the other day to The Right Brothers. Apparently they're famous for the song "Bush Was Right" -- which I gave a listen to. It was interesting enough for me to look further.

It's conservative-friendly issue-based music. The songwriting is bent very sharply toward articulating their message and the lyrics can get slightly awkward at times, but it can actually get quite brilliant in places. They make no apologies for it, and they shouldn't because basically to them the message is more important than the music, and by God, it is their music. It's fun.

My favorite piece is their response to the tons of hate mail they've gotten from lefties called "What About the Issues?" Normally a group with a decidedly country sound, they chose to do this one in a Green Day-esque style (no accident I'm sure considering the target of the song) and it comes together real well.

About my favorite line of all is
"Duck... here comes the F-bomb once again
Is that the only word that fit?
Oh, I forgot you also used bleep! and bleep! and bleep!"

I really love it when it all comes together like that.

Other favorites of mine would be "Tolerate This" where they take on the intolerance of the "tolerant" Left, and for similar reasons "If You Ain't Outraged" where they take a famous leftie slogan and turn it right back around on them. Their first piece "Hey Hollywood" is dead on for a lot of us. "What Happened to the Pot?" -- at first I thought maybe it was a sendup of "duude, if you ain't outraged, man.... " culture, but no, it's about the Melting Pot that multi-culturalism is doing its best to get rid of. And I guess their latest, "The Illegals" just comes out and says it... I mean, it sounds kind of stupid because it's so simple -- but it's so simple, and that's what they're pointing out -- so it actually works. I mean, there it is. Argue with that!
Tell me why we allow the illegals
After all, they're illegal
Tell me why we allow the illegals
To keep on comin' in

Sometimes getting too creative with the lyrics can unneccesarily obfuscate the issue. :-)

And finally, I'll mention "The Waffle House", a song about a President Kerry nightmare, where my favorite line is:

Cause I believe we absolutely ought to sometimes never change what we believe without a doubt -- Welcome to the Waffle House.
Hey, I won't say I'm 100% behind 100% of their beliefs on all of the issues. But... I'm on board with their general message. I can tolerate our few differences.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Brian is back

Brian is back from Iraq, and on U.S. soil.

A moment of joy for us and the families of the 99% of soldiers who go and make it back.

Followed by a moment of silence and reverence for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for a more secure world, and for their friends and families.


That is all.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Immigration, Man

As so many people have summed up - most Americans are against illegal immigration. They are not against imigrants or imigration in general.

Imigrants come here legally, work hard, and willingly assimilate into our society.

Using fancy language to make people who are here in violation of law is intentionally misleading.

It does not matter what the motives are. It does not matter who benefits and who doesn't or how. This is about following the rules, and coming here because you want to be one of us. Imagine this argument in a murder trial: "But I was only looking for opportunity! I'm the real victim." (Sadly, we're getting close to the point where that argument might work.)

I have no problem with immigrants. Congress & the President and other politicians need to find their cajones and deal with it.

Are Facts Obsolete?

Thomas Sowell sums it up very well.

I cannot improve on it. So you'll just have to go read it for yourself.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Update on Jill Carol

It looks like my hunch was at least partially right. Her words were carefully chosen to protect hostages -- but in this case "hostages" referrs to her. See, the slimebags interviewed her before she was released, telling her it wouldn't be aired -- so she was still in (understandable) fear for her life when she made those statements. And of course, moralless bastards that they are, it was all calculated because they knew that their "interview" would be the first people would see, the "scoop" -- their chance to spin the whole affair.

I thank Jill for correcting the record once she was out of harm's way.

The good news is what this means between the lines. Apparently the kidnappers understand that this strategy is backfiring on them. They knew they needed to release her and they wanted to save some face by having her tell everyone it was all tea and crumpets and watching pairs figure skating on a comfy couch (in a cramped room).

Good life and good luck to you Jill. We are all happy the throat-slitters apparently found it not in their best interest and you are back doing what you do.