Thursday, April 30, 2009

As a Matter of Fact, They Do

So I'm reading the latest argumentum ad absurdum against Conservatives Who Don't Mind Using "Torture" in Extreme Situations ... and I had to wonder ... is this guy trying to argue against his own implicit thesis?

He does, somewhere, in the middle of the article, basically lay out a fairly decent observation, answering his own question.

One suspects that the architects of the Bush torture regime, and its leading defenders, know perfectly well that it's torture. This, I think, is why they don't propose wider use of the waterboard in the criminal-justice system. They think it's torture and they think it's wrong, but they think it's useful and therefore justified under the extreme circumstances of the "war on terror." The public seems to see things the same way, with a recent CBS/New York Times poll showing that over 70 percent of Americans think waterboarding is torture, but a plurality deem it justified anyway.

So yeah, we do know what torture is, and we have a difference of opinion as to whether or not A) it should EVER be used (yes, we think it is appropriate in certain cases), or B) where we draw the line over what constitutes torture. It is subjective, and there are varying degrees. The Great Understanders of Nuance™ , though, can't seem to wrap their heads around the difference between giving someone the mistaken impression that he's drowning for 20-40 seconds and, say, sawing their living heads off for their family to watch on video.

But then he spends the rest of the article justifying his religious opinion that it was both wrong AND useless, despite what 70% of Americans allegedly say. Because ("Bush Torture Regime") ... he's not really interested in whether or not it is useful, or whether or not it is torture. He's interested in continuing to flog the Bush Administration. What's the term? Beating a dead horse? You're guy is in already!

He ends up the story by saying:

Even if torture was a useful investigative tool, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to do it. But the fact of the matter is that it isn't and never has been.
Suppose you had a very important problem to solve ... a life or death problem, and you didn't have any "reliable" tools to solve it, but you had some that might work. Would you not use any of them because they are "unreliable"? I know, that is the way of government, for sure -- say, when a terminal cancer patient might benefit from an experimental drug but the FDA won't let that person have access to the drug regardless of his or her financial resources to pay for it.

Another thing this report revealed was that the Islamists felt they had a duty to resist as much as they could for Allah, but after a point they were free to spill their guts since Allah has guaranteed victory in the end, anyway. A little "Torture-Lite™" seemed to let them feel they'd fulfilled their obligation to Allah and freed them up to talk.

We didn't yank granny off the street and torture her because we don't like brown-skinned people -- especially if they're Muslim. We grabbed a very few of cold-blooded, calculating, conscience-bereft people who spent their time planning the intentional murder of large numbers of civilians, some of whom had succeeded -- and did our best to try to figure out who was next and when and how ... so we could stop it. Do Progressives Understand Evil???? Hell no!!! They think George Bush is evil and Khalid Sheik Muhammed is a victim.

Add to this that Obama's National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair and Clinton-appointed CIA chief Bill Tenet are two of the people who say that the methods yielded "high value information", and you begin to wonder about the objectivity of this article. As a matter of fact, George Tenet said that the "enhanced interrogation" program alone yielded more information than everything gotten from "the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On the Miss America Gay Marriage Flap

A couple of observations.

One, a quote attributed to Andy Rooney that pretty much hits the nail on the head:

"I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion."

Same goes for gay "marriage".

And as my buddy Morgan noted a while back, it would be nice if the Left would show some of that open-mindedness and tolerence it's always talking about.

But the winner on this one actually goes to a caller into the Dr. Laura show I heard in the car today.

She said:
Barack Obama was asked the same question during the campaign, and gave basically the same answer -- and it didn't cost him his crown.
My opinion on the subject remains. The government didn't define Marriage. The government shouldn't define Marriage. It recognizes Marriage as a legal contract. But it has no business telling us what is and isn't Marriage. It does not belong to the government to define.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The "My Dog's Better Than Your Dog" Argument

Republicans don't criticize. They attack. Democrats don't attack. They criticize.

The mask came completely off the media last week with their "coverage" of the Tea Party demonstrations, as every report outside of Fox News sought to delegitimize them as Racist™. Organized by "The Rich™". Or Fox News. Or Talk Radio. Or "Republican".

The Obama Administration tried to delegitimize them by simultaneously saying "Oh? I wasn't aware" and releasing the executive summary of a memo that basically said that conservatives are potential terrorists and we'd best marginalize them. These are crazy people out demonstrating, after all, unlike ... say, Cindy Shenhan.

And I found out this morning that a comedian/actress whom I used to like thinks I'm an ignorant, racist redneck. Her words. Wound me, Jeneane ... I am none of the above. You clearly are at least two of them. And I could make an argument that the tattoos all over someone I used to think was attractive makes you the third as well.

She has no clue who was at these Tea Parties. But she's brought on to speak as some sort of ... expert... I guess. As if being popular qualifies you to speak on ... anything.

So here's a headline.... "Republican Pitt Bull Attacks Don't Hurt Obama". Yeah? Well my Superman can beat up your Spider Man. Yeah! I said "spider". They're icky bugs!"

Anyway, in it, Albert Hunt indignantly offers up several observations about the Right's criticism of Obama, The One™, such as:

One right-wing blogger wrote that the Somali pirates have been emboldened by the administration’s “touchy feely” military posture.
as it is self-evidently absurd. You know, the "laugh in your face" argument. Not that his own Vice President didn't predict events like this during the campaign or anything.

So Obama pulled the trigger, so to speak, and good for him. Most "Right-Wing" bloggers such as myself gave him credit for it. We're happy to be proven wrong over things like this. Liberals just never want to be wrong. (I didn't bow! I wasn't aware of those sermons. Yeah. Sure.)

He goes on to say:

it illustrates the vacuity of the Republican and conservative in those waters and more than 270 hostages, some Somali Sinbad realized that Obama had cut back on missile defense, showing the U.S.’s weakness, and so decided to attack.
Why is that vacuous, exactly? Obama made it clear that he abhors aggressive military action, runs around the world apologizing for the U.S., voted into office in large part by people who feel putting a bug in a prisoner's cell "torture" ... one might get the idea to test how far the non-violent, Rainbow-Farting Unicorn ideology goes. Just sayin' it's not all that huge a leap.

There is a case to be made against this administration’s foreign and domestic policies. It just isn’t being made by the chief opposition. The Republican governor of Texas won’t dismiss calls for secession, an issue that was settled on those Gettysburg fields.
Was it? Kind of in the same way that my right to resist a robbery was settled when the last guy who tried it was shot and killed? Ah, the depth of the arguments here. About as deep as The One's rhetoric turns out to be when analyzed for actual meaning.

This, as much as Obama’s persuasive communication skills, political acumen, strong advisers and appealing positions, may explain why the president remains so popular and Republicans so unpopular.
Kinda comparing apples to oranges there, aren'tcha? How 'bout we compare Democrats and Republicans? The edge pretty much goes away when you compare apples to apples. And like I said, only people who didn't go to these Tea Party rallies don't know that the anger is directed at both parties. I know you Libs find that hard to believe, because you think that conservatives are monolithically Republican and vice versa. Conservatives have had to vote Republican because the other party stinks worse. And we're pretty pissed about being forced into that position.

Never mind Obama. Do they really believe that Gates, the first President Bush’s Central Intelligence Agency director and the second President Bush’s defense secretary, would “disarm” America?
Oh look, a herring! And, hey, isn't it ... crimson??? Gates ultimately has to do what the President and Congress tell him to do. He can ask and make suggestions... but it's not really up to him in the end.

On economic issues, the Grand Old Party almost unanimously opposed Obama’s economic-stimulus package. When pressed for their own solutions, the best congressional Republicans could come up with was cutting taxes, especially for wealthier Americans.
Never mind the fact that that's the only thing that's been shown to actually, you know, work. And that the top 10% pays 60% of the taxes, the top 20% pays 70%. The bottom 80% pay the other 30%. And something like the bottom 30 or 40% pay no taxes at all. And that a poor man isn't the guy who creates jobs. Details, I know.

Politically and intellectually, the two most astute critics were to be Gingrich and Karl Rove, Bush’s former top political adviser. Instead, both have looked more like opportunistic attack dogs.

And so the liberal media never misses a chance to dismiss them in hopes that not too many people will pay attention to the fact that they have been very astute critics armed with insider insight .... just as the author is dismissing here. Just because they attack doesn't mean they're wrong. And calling them "dogs" may be a slight, but may I point out that dogs are known largely for being loyal, and man's best friend.

Rove joined Gingrich in expressing shock that, in a speech in Ankara to the Muslim world, Obama seemed to empathize with Turkey’s secular politics. Do they prefer Iran’s brand of Islam?

[sarcasm]Of course they do. Gigrich and Rove's support and love for Iran is well known. [/sarcasm] "Shock" is a purposeful overstatement here, making this statement at least as overreaching as he claims Rove's and Gingrich's to be.
As the new administration reaches its 100-day mark, the opposition really has only one strategy: Count on Obama to fail.
Well it does have one thing going for it. It is sure to happen. I just hope it doesn't end up being the final unraveling of the country as it was originally designed. The sad thing is is that the Republican Party hasn't been, in practice, a whole lot better than "Democrat-Lite". What we need is a return to founding principles, small government, and to remember that the "establishment" clause in the first amendment is followed by another clause prohibiting the enactment of laws that prohibit the free exercise thereof.

Like, for instance, being able to pray where ever you want. Even in public. And even if you're Christian.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Human Rights

Former US Ambasador John Bolton speaking on the Somali pirates during this last big hostage crisis:
"Hopefully we can get some allies to work with us, but uh ... I think we should take this on ourselves unilaterally, that's what we used to say in the Bush Administration, if need be. You know our military talked to NATO allies about this before, and many of our other NATO allies didn't want to do anything about it because they were worried that they would be accused of violating the human rights of the pirates if they took military action."
This is Europe. This is the "enlightened" countries Progressives want to emulate.

John Bolton for President!

Hey You! Stop Breathing!

It's official. CO2 is now pollution.

A major byproduct of respiration by every animal on the planet is now regulatable by the Government.

Don't run afoul of the EPA! Stop breathing today!

An "O"bservation

I made this observation out at RCP in response to part of the inestimable Charles Krauthamer's article today:
Obama's all about semantics. Saying impressive sounding things that really don't mean anything, saying things that sound like they mean one thing but they actually mean another, and saying things that mean one thing today and another thing tomorrow.
Which I'd like to leave out there by itself for people to remember how he operates, in a nutshell. (Hmmm... nuts "operate" in nutshells as well ;-) )

But here's the original context:

He further boasted of his frugality by saying that his budget would reduce domestic discretionary spending as share of GDP to the lowest level ever recorded.
Hey, Charles, it'll be easy. See, Obama's all about semantics. Saying impressive sounding things that really don't mean anything, saying things that sound like they mean one thing but they actually mean another, and saying things that mean one thing today and another thing tomorrow.

Here's how you do it. You make a bunch of what is discretionary spending today, and make it mandatory spending, or non-discretionary spending tomorrow. You just change what column you put the spending in, and budda-bing! Goal accomplished!

Of course, it doesn't do anything at all for the deficit.

Unless you find a way to re-define that as well. And you know Barack. "Yes he can!"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Keith Olberman is Disgusting

I just watched the MSNBC video of Keith Olberman "coverage" of the nationwide Tea Party Protests. Incidentally, "several times" doesn't even begin to cover what this smug a**hole did.

Apparently there's some male homosexual act called "Tea Bagging" (and apparently Mr. Olberman is quite familiar with it) as he made the entire piece one of ridicule and homosexual innuendo.

Little thought experiment. Imagine if, say, Bill O'Rielly had done a report like this on some coincidentally named Liberal cause (and this wasn't called a "tea bagger" party, and nobody there referred to themselves as "tea baggers" ... a reporter did, and Keith Olberman obviously did.)

Do you think for a moment there wouldn't be screeching calls from the Left for him to be fired as a homophobe gay hater?

Can anybody take MSNBC seriously anymore (if they ever did)?

Nope, No Bias Here, Either

And apparently, I'm an Extremist™.

I went to a Tea Party several weeks ago here in my home city. People were well behaved. A little angry, definitely frustrated, but in control of themselves. There were no calls for killing, hanging, nobody calling anybody Hitler.... all over the rampant and out-of-control growth of government that has been going on for years.

The media has decided to marginalize this movement. No shock there, really. But Tea Parties in 2000 cities across the country are dismissed as "Fox News" and "Talk Radio" or even "Republican" Propaganda. Those who believe especially that last one have no clue what these are about. They obviously payed no attention to what was being said about Republicans and Democrats alike. They say it's about "Obama Bashing". They are stuck in a partisan mindset and went to the rallies knowing what they were going to say before they got there.

I flipped on CNN last night to see how these were being covered. The two guests I saw were dismissive, but cautiously so. One found them "disturbing" because they were "anti-government". (When the government is doing something you don't like, and you go protest that, wouldn't that by definition be "anti-government", in a way? And what, exactly is he saying is wrong with that? Weren't the anti-war protests also "anti-government"?) Well really he's implying that it's a bunch of Right-Wing™, anarchist nutjobs. And that we should all be very scared. Only I'm one of those "nutjobs", and I know a lot of those "nutjobs"... and they're perfectly decent normal folks.

I saw this video on YouTube (titled "CNN Reporter Harassed at Chicago 'Tea-Party'"). Watch the video and tell me who you think is being harrassed. The reporter has decided that this is about taxes, asks a question, cuts the man off in a hostile tone, and goes on to say something about "Right-Wing" (Shut Up!) "Fox News" (Shut Up!) and says something about it not being "family viewing".

What about it isn't "Family Viewing"? Was there any swearing? Was anybody threatening her? She went in and provoked a response and started an argument ... and then the anchor calls it a "Prime Example" of what's going on across the country and what "she's dealing with".

I'm pretty steamed. These people have no clue, and they're doing what they do. Not reporting the news, but telling people what to think.

Update: I should've known this'd be broadcast far and wide. You have to love Shep Smith's response, though. No wonder Fox kicks their butt in the ratings.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Parties Are Not About Obama

I ran across this article this morning. Titled "Anti-Obama Taxypayer Tea Parties Steeped in Insanity". LA Times. Not shocking to see it there.

This is not about Obama. These aren't "Anti-Obama" tea parties. Certainly most of the people there are Anti-Obama, but that's because they strongly disagree with him over the size and role of government, and he's the current guy implementing it as policy. But it's not a "We Hate Obama so we're just here to bitch"-fest.

One thing the Left does not get is that the people at these rallies are just as upset with big-government Republicans as they are with big-government Democrats. It's just that Democrats have officially aligned and bound themselves to Big Government, and the Republican Platform at least gives lip service to the original principles of the country -- and in general they do a better job of acting on them.

The press is doing it's best to dismiss them by slapping the usual labels on them, like "Right Wing", "Conservative", "Fox News", "Talk Radio", etc.... All different ways of saying, "Shut Up!" (<--- if you haven't seen this video, you need to. It's brilliant). The public has been conditioned to take all of these terms to mean "illigitimate. I don't even need to address your issue. you can stop talking right now."

Monday, April 13, 2009

More Meaningless Obamaspeak

So here are Obama's comments on Somali piracy...

“I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of piracy in that region. And to achieve that goal, we’re going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks. We have to continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise. And we have to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.”
Ah, thanks for being clear. Clearly, you've cleared that up, and with clarity. Please note once again, and you will notice this again and again and again throughout his campaign and his presidency, he carefully avoids saying anything specific. Just lofty, meaningless generalities.

Quick, what's he planning to do to halt the rise of piracy?

Go read it again. It says nothing.

However, one thing's for sure, according to Senator Feingold. It's Bush's fault.
“For years, Somalia’s growing instability was neglected by the Bush administration and the international community,” Mr. Feingold said in a statement.
Couldn't possibly have anything to do with the steady chorus of "Imperialism!" and "Bully!" and "War Monger!" coming from the same people who now say, and here's another Democrat Rep Donald Payne (NJ) making statements as specific as Obama's:
“Illegal activities must be dealt with. If you don’t deal with criminal behavior, then it will continue.”
Well did you try writing them angry letters? I hear that's all the rage with the U.N.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jack Booted Thugs

I saw a comment on facebook... where I try not to get political (my use for it is solely to keep in touch with family and friends). But sometimes I have to say something. I'm tired of just shutting up when I hear see people saying stupid things.

Like a buddy of mine took some facebook quiz to tell him where he was on the political scale, and his came up "very conservative" ... no surprise there.

To which one of his friends responded with something about getting ready for the "Jack Booted Thugs".

I had to comment. I have vowed to politely correct people when they make stupid "everybody knows" comments like this from now on.

Not rudely.

But my comment was to the effect that all of the Jack Booted Thugs I know of are from the enforcers of Socialism. Not small government conservatism. Big government-is-all Socialism. Nazis. Fascists. Communists. That's where you find Jack Booted Thugs. And pretty much nowhere else.

Socialist revolutions are generally populist revolutions happily enforced by Jack Booted Thugs.

They're government jobs, after all.

And hey, Hitler was elected democratically. Then there's Mussolini and the Fascists and the Black Shirts of the "Third Way".

Sound anything like "false choices" and "Civilian National Security Corps"?

Yeah. Nazis (really a shortening of "National Socialist" in German) and Fascists (Italian National Socialists) .... were ... SOCIALISTS.

Other People Not Shutting Up

Today I read
"I would think the American people are tired of Karl Rove, and as we saw last fall, they overwhelmingly rejected his divisive brand of politics," Democratic National Committee Chairman Timothy M. Kaine said through a spokesman. "That's why it's so surprising that the Republican Party continues to allow him to be their top spokesman. It's too bad the GOP is looking backward for leadership rather than forward."
Well this American People isn't tired of Karl Rove. This American People has a new appreciation for Karl Rove.

The whole theory of Progressivism rests on the idea that the new guy has better ideas because he's new. New = Better. (even if the new guy is recycling ideas from the 1930's. Shut Up!)

Me? Leadership is leadership. The guy who can say "let's go this way" and articulate why he thinks we should -- present an actual persuasive argument that rises above "because that other guy didn't" ... that's leadership. And Karl Rove is a leader in that sense. He tells you why he thinks he's right and why he thinks the other guy is wrong.

It's not nebulous "Hope" and "Change".

I like Rove. I like Cheney. I like them more than I liked Bush. G.W. Bush is a fundamentally decent man, don't get me wrong. But he's only half a conservative. Still, that's better than a full-blown socialist defeatist apologist.

Yeah, I know, he got the three Somali pirate dudes shot in a quiet, dignified show of masterful intellectual gamesmanship heretofore unseen by mankind.

Really. What do Rove and Cheney have to gain by saying publicly why they think Obama and Biden are idiots? Neither are running for office, or likely ever will.

Oh, I get it. The problem is ... they're not shutting up.

Nope, no bias here

Just read the AP's gushing over Obama's "handling" of a piracy incident.
"Barack coldly stared down a group of third-world pirates, coat-tails billowing in the wind behind him as his chin jutted to meet the salty breeze. Strong as his predecessor, only better, his sheer will wore the foreign navy's will to mere tattered threads, and then boldly gave the order to 'take decisive action' against an entire division of Somalia's top crack pirates."
Well it's almost that bad. And hey, just in case it turned out badly, he could say "I didn't say 'shoot them in the head', I said 'take decisive action'... you know, like ... offer them a latte or something."

Well, kudos to the guy for not being too squeamish to turn a few bad guys' heads into hamburger this time.

Too bad he has an entirely different opinion about pouring water over a cloth over their faces to find out when, where, and how they and their buddies are planning to kill the next few thousand innocent civilians.

This is Me. Not shutting up.

My blog is me, not shutting up. I don't have a loud voice. But I'm not gonna shut up. I sincerely hope my voice gets out like ripples from a rock thrown into a pond, via bloggers and readers like Mr. Freeberg et. al. Passing on my little thought contributions via little things that stick in their heads. Ideas ... seeds ... growing, spreading.

This one, Morgan posted -- and I found it encouraging, in the motivational sense.

Incidentally, "Right Wing" also means "Shut Up".

(ht: Morgan)

Welcome to Reality

My wife sent me this one from another of her underground conservative coworkers.

I recently asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up.

She said she wanted to be President some day.

Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?'

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.' Her parents beamed.

'Wow! What a worthy goal.' I told her, 'But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.'

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?

I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.' Her parents still aren't speaking to me.

Heh. I'll say it again. I am not a Republican even though I tend to vote that way. But I am definitely not a Democrat.

My own step-son, Obama voter and out of a job, is doing some freelance work for his former employer, where they pay him as a consultant. He recently found out that they take something like 40% out when they pay consultants. So he wants to be paid more. I'm still not sure the connection has dawned on him. He doesn't like higher taxes when they are levied against him. They can't pay him more because a ton of what they pay goes to taxes.

But it's basically this.... the more expensive you make it to employ people, the fewer people will be employed.

And to extend that.... go back to this post.

Not Evil, Just Wrong

I've often said that about much of the Left.

New movie coming out later this year.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jeanne Kirkpatrick Address to the RNC in 1984

What drew my attention to this was the quote she made of (Frenchman!) Jean Francois Revel

"Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

1984 Jeane Kirkpatrick

Thank you very much for that warm welcome.

Thank you for inviting me.

This is the first Republican Convention I have ever attended.

I am grateful that you should invite me, a lifelong Democrat. On the other hand, I realize that you are inviting many lifelong Democrats to join this common cause.

I want to begin tonight by quoting the speech of the president whom I very greatly admire, Harry Truman, who once said to the Congress:

"The United States has become great because we, as a people, have been able to work together for great objectives even while differing about details."

He continued:

"The elements of our strength are many. They include our democratic government, our economic system, our great natural resources. But, the basic source of our strength is spiritual. We believe in the dignity of man."

That's the way Democratic presidents and presidential candidates used to talk about America.

These were the men who developed NATO, who developed the Marshall Plan, who devised the Alliance for Progress.

They were not afraid to be resolute nor ashamed to speak of America as a great nation. They didn't doubt that we must be strong enough to protect ourselves and to help others.

They didn't imagine that America should depend for its very survival on the promises of its adversaries.

They happily assumed the responsibilities of freedom.

I am not alone in noticing that the San Francisco Democrats took a very different approach.

Foreign Affairs

A recent article in The New York Times noted that "the foreign policy line that emerged from the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco is a distinct shift from the policies of such [Democratic] presidents as Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson."

I agree.

I shall speak tonight of foreign affairs even though the other party's convention barely touched the subject.

When the San Francisco Democrats treat foreign affairs as an afterthought, as they did, they behaved less like a dove or a hawk than like an ostrich - convinced it would shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand.

Today, foreign policy is central to the security, to the freedom, to the prosperity, even to the survival of the United States.

And our strength, for which we make many sacrifices, is essential to the independence and freedom of our allies and our friends.

Ask yourself:

What would become of Europe if the United States withdrew?

What would become of Africa if Europe fell under Soviet domination?

What would become of Europe if the Middle East came under Soviet control?

What would become of Israel, if surrounded by Soviet client states?

What would become of Asia if the Philippines or Japan fell under Soviet domination?

What would become of Mexico if Central America became a Soviet satellite?

What then could the United States do?

These are questions the San Francisco Democrats have not answered. These are questions they haven't even asked.

Carter Administration

The United States cannot remain an open, democratic society if we are left alone - a garrison state in a hostile world.

We need independent nations with whom to trade, to consult and cooperate.

We need friends and allies with whom to share the pleasures and the protection of our civilization.

We cannot, therefore, be indifferent to the subversion of others' independence or to the development of new weapons by our adversaries or of new vulnerabilities by our friends.

The last Democratic administration did not seem to notice much, or care much or do much about these matters.

And at home and abroad, our country slid into real deep trouble.

North and South, East and West, our relations deteriorated.

The Carter administration's motives were good, but their policies were inadequate, uninformed and mistaken.

They made things worse, not better.

Those who had least, suffered most.

Poor countries grew poorer.

Rich countries grew poorer, too.

The United States grew weaker.

Meanwhile, the Soviet Union grew stronger.

The Carter administration's unilateral "restraint" in developing and deploying weapon systems was accompanied by an unprecedented Soviet buildup, military and political.

The Soviets, working on the margins and through the loopholes of SALT I, developed missiles of stunning speed and accuracy and targeted the cities of our friends in Europe.

They produced weapons capable of wiping out our land-based missiles.

And then, feeling strong, the Soviet leaders moved with boldness and skill to exploit their new advantages.

Facilities were completed in Cuba during those years that permit Soviet nuclear submarines to roam our coasts, that permit planes to fly reconnaissance missions over the eastern United States, and that permit Soviet electronic surveillance to monitor our telephone calls and our telegrams.

Those were the years the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in Iran, while in Nicaragua and Sandanista developed a one-party dictatorship based on the Cuban model.

From the fall of Saigon in 1975 'til January 1981, Soviet influence expanded dramatically into Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Yemen, Libya, Syria, Aden, Congo, Madagascar, Seychelles, Nicaragua, and Grenada.

Soviet block forces and advisers sought to guarantee what they called the "irreversibility" of their newfound influence and to stimulate insurgencies in a dozen other places.

During this period, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, murdered its president and began a ghastly war against the Afghan people.

The American people were shocked by these events.

We were greatly surprised to learn of our diminished economic and military strength.

We were demoralized by the treatment of our hostages in Iran.

And we were outraged by harsh attacks on the United States in the United Nations.

As a result, we lost confidence in ourselves and in our government.

Jimmy Carter looked for an explanation for all these problems and thought he found it in the American people.

But the people knew better.

It wasn't malaise we suffered from; it was Jimmy Carter - and Walter Mondale.

Election of Ronald Reagan

And so, in 1980, the American people elected a very different president.

The election of Ronald Reagan marked an end to the dismal period of retreat and decline.

His inauguration, blessed by the simultaneous release of our hostages, signaled an end to the most humiliating episode in our national history.

The inauguration of President Reagan signaled a reaffirmation of historic American ideals.

Ronald Reagan brought to the presidency confidence in the American experience.

Confidence in the legitimacy and success of American institutions.

Confidence in the decency of the American people.

And confidence in the relevance of our experience to the rest of the world.

That confidence has proved contagious.

Our nation's subsequent recovery in domestic and foreign affairs, the restoration of military and economic strength has silenced the talk of inevitable American decline and reminded the world of the advantages of freedom.

President Reagan faced a stunning challenge and he met it.

In the 3 1/2 years since his inauguration, the United States has grown stronger, safer, more confident, and we are at peace.

The Reagan administration has restored the American economy.

It is restoring our military strength.

It has liberated the people of Grenada from terror and tyranny.

With NATO, it has installed missiles to defend the cities of Europe.

The Reagan administration has prevented the expulsion of Israel from the United Nations.

It has developed flexible new forms of international cooperation with which to deal with new threats to world order.

The Reagan administration has given more economic assistance to developing countries than any other administration or any other government, and has encouraged the economic freedom needed to promote self-sustaining economic growth.

The Reagan administration has helped to sustain democracy and encourage its development elsewhere.

And at each step of the way, the same people who were responsible for America's decline have insisted that the president's policies would fail.

They said we could never deploy missiles to protect Europe's cities.

But today Europe's cities enjoy that protection.

They said it would never be possible to hold an election in El Salvador because the people were too frightened and the country too disorganized.

But the people of El Salvador proved them wrong, and today President Napoleon Duarte has impressed the democratic world with his skillful, principled leadership.

They said we could not use America's strength to help others - Sudan, Chad, Central America, the Gulf states, the Caribbean nations - without being drawn into war.

But we have helped others resist Soviet, Libyan, Cuban subversion, and we are at peace.

Blame America First

They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do - they didn't blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians - they blamed the United States instead.

But then, somehow, they always blame America first.

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

But then, they always blame America first.

The American people know better.

They know that Ronald Reagan and the United States didn't cause Marxist dictatorship in Nicaragua, or the repression in Poland, or the brutal new offensives in Afghanistan, or the destruction of the Korean airliner, or the new attacks on religious and ethnic groups in the Soviet Union, or the jamming of western broadcasts, or the denial of Jewish emigration, or the brutal imprisonment of Anatoly Shcharansky and Ida Nudel, or the obscene treatment of Andrei Sakharov and Yelena Bonner, or the re-Stalinization of the Soviet Union.

The American people know that it's dangerous to blame ourselves for terrible problems that we did not cause.

They understand just as the distinguished French writer, Jean Francois Revel, understands the dangers of endless self- criticism and self-denigration.

He wrote: "Clearly, a civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself."

With the election of Ronald Reagan, the American people declared to the world that we have the necessary energy and conviction to defend ourselves, and that we have as well a deep commitment to peace.

And now, the American people, proud of our country, proud of our freedom, proud of ourselves, will reject the San Francisco Democrats and send Ronald Reagan back to the White House.

Thank you very much.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Charity and Government Health Care

Glenn Beck asks, on his 912 Project site:

If someone posted this as an HONEST QUESTION, how would you respond?

“I don’t understand how you can ‘do unto others’ or ‘really understand ‘charity’ when so many people don’t have health care”.

To which I responded:
One might as well ask how we can mow our grass and plant a garden when so many don't have trees in their back yard. The question is nonsensical.

Charity doesn't have anything to do with forcing people to pay for other people's health care. As a matter of fact, Charity doesn't have anything to do with force at all.

As far as "do unto others" ... I don't expect people to pay for my health care, just as I don't expect them to pay for my house or groceries. These things are my responsibility. I would hope that, God forbid I enter a time of need, other people's true Charity would help me through, just as I try to do when I see a friend or family member -- or sometimes a community member I've never really met ... is in need. You know, the way it worked before all the people who felt guilty about not doing these things decided it would be much less trouble to ease their consciences if they forced everybody else to give so they wouldn't have to. At which point it became robbery rather than Charity.

Monday, April 06, 2009

President "Me"

Iaian Martin of the Daily Telegraph has noticed that Obama "really does go on a bit".

And about himself a bit, as well. But it's mostly the going on. And on.

Even Europe is starting to figure him out.

Is there a computer which churns this stuff out for him? (ed. heh! probably!)

"For over a thousand years, Prague has set itself apart from any other city in any other place. You have known war and peace. You have seen empires rise and fall. You have led revolutions in the arts and science, in politics and poetry. Through it all, the people of Prague have insisted on pursuing their own path, and defining their own destiny. And this city - this Golden City which is both ancient and youthful - stands as a living monument to your unconquerable spirit."

Empires rising and falling, destinies being defined and a Golden City standing as a monument to unconquerable spirit... goodness, what a ham. When he really gets going he's worse than Tony Blair.

But Obama was only warming up. "When I was born," (Everything usually leads back to him, you'll notice)... "the world was divided, and our nations were faced with very different circumstances. Few people would have predicted that someone like me would one day become an American President." (Him again)...

And again... words do mean something ... don't they? Only what excactly did he say in that first paragraph above? I mean, that meant anything of substance? That Prague has been around a long time? Woah! Earth shaking! That it's old and young? Is it Silver as well as Gold? The man is so .... deep.

Update: Oh my. This ties in with the last two posts rather well. (HT: Morgan) - "What if Obama Directed 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'?"

Words Must Mean Something

What these mean, we can't be sure, because they don't really say anything.
"This provocation underscores the need for action," Obama said of the North Korean launch before an estimated 20,000 people in Prague's historic Hradcany Square. "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons."
And the need for this action is a necessary prerequisite for the action which must be taken. And when we take that action, make no mistake, that action will be swift, punishing action. The world will stand together in this action, because the action will be backed by other states that favor action. If North Korea does not wish to be subject to punishment by the action that must be taken, they must actively act today to ensure that no further action is necessary.

Yeah... I love it. "We must send a strong message." A message of action. And if Kim Jong Il will not cease and desist, we will be forced to take action a second time!

Funny, when Bush said basically the same thing about Iraq and the cease-fire that was continually violated and the 16 U.N. resolutions that went unmet and un-enforced, and decided that violations must be punished and actually decided to take, you know, action -- to carry out that punishing, he was condemned for it roundly by those who now praise Obama. So I guess action is great as long as it remains vague and undefined. (But WMD! WMD! CheneyVader! ChimpyMcBushiltler!!! But, but ... HALLIBURTON!!!!! Yeah, yeah, go read the actual speech.)

On the TV this morning I heard the "We must send a strong message..." comment, followed quickly by something about nuclear disarmament. So we'll send a strong message by disarming ourselves. Yeah. That sounds like a plan.