30 June 2006

Just a little bit more on the Hamdan decision

Carol Platt Liebau posts several links to absurd Democrat comments on the aforementioned Hamdan decision.

Again: these comments are the sort of substance that can only ooze from orifices of people so concerned with being more-cosmopolitan-than-thou that they will pretend that, in a sword fight in which your opponent wants to slice off your head—for real—at his first opportunity, you should be observing the rules for fencing!

Democrats talk about the rule of law. Fine. What republican can have a problem with that? But they ignore the fact that there are different laws governing different activities. You don’t defend yourself against a real—and therefore deadly—sword attack by observing the rules of fencing.

And you don’t defend your country by observing the rules criminal procedure.

Have a nice fifth on your Fourth. I know I will. I need it.

Is the Supreme Court now an ally in the Left's War on The President?

I don’t really know.  I haven’t finished reading the Court’s opinion in the Hamdan case.  I can’t wait.  I don’t know that the editorial writers of the WaPo have read the opinion, but here it is.  My guess is that they don’t have to read the opinion or analyze the Court’s reasoning: it’s enough for them that the President has been handed a seeming set-back.  In contrast with the WaPo, Ronald Cass has a reaction which I strongly suspect I will agree with once I have read the opinion myself.  Here’s a sample:

So we come to the last loop in the Court's triple jump - its reliance on international common law. The Court, interpreting the requirements of federal law, makes a critical observation, one no one would have expected a few short years ago: the military tribunals do not provide the sort of procedures "recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples." There you have it. We can now turn to international common law to find out what our laws require. Who better than the Iraqis and North Koreans, Khaddafi's Libya, Mugabe's Zimbabwe and Chavez's Venezuela to tell us what our laws command? That's the Court's reading of the law. To make matters worse, by making Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions (the linchpin of this analysis) both legally enforceable and dependent on international common law, the Court has opened a door to criminal liability for American citizens, soldiers, and government officials on terms we cannot predict and would never approve.

You can read SCOTUSblog’s Marty Lederman’s reaction, here.

Now, although I have not yet read the opinion I do have 2 observations.

1.

The Supreme Court applies the restrictions imposed on us by the Geneva Convention to our war on terror.  Now, I agree with Geneva, but as a soldier I reject the notion that terrorists ought to be elevated to the status of soldier.  Besides Geneva is a treaty to which terrorists are not signatories.  And the Senate has ratified no treaty with terrorists.  So the Court has essentially entered into a treaty with the terrorists.  How nice for the terrorists.  And the Times al-Nuyoriqi is worried about Bush’s expansion of the federal government’s power?  Give me a close, intimately personal break.

2.

Nancy Pelosi is happy about the decision.  According to her “all” are entitled to the protections of the Constitution.  In this context, all has to mean either: (1) Every individual or anything of a given class; or (2) everyone.  To her, this “all” includes terrorist suspects, so it cannot be the first option.  The first option would limit the “all” to all citizens of the United States—and only citizens of the United States.  (I think it obvious that we should extend these protections to visitors, which terrorists outside the territory of the U. S. are not.)  So she must mean that everyone on earth is protected by the Constitution of the United States.

Can she really mean that?  If so then one is at a loss to understand how the U. S. could ever wage war.  After all, one of the protections that we, the people of the United States, enjoy is not having our government wage war on us.  Really, if “all” are protected by the Constitution and no one can be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law (i.e., apart from court action), then just how is the U. S. to wage war on anyone, ever, much less terrorists?

This is the sort of nonsense that can come out of the mouth of someone who is in such a hurry to be more-cosmopolitan-than-thou that she doesn’t even think about the implications of the rubbish that comes out of her bung hole.

P.S.

It occurs to me:  The Dems are all excited about the possibility of winning the House and being able to impeach the President.  Fine.  Let them do so if they can.  But since the International wing of the Supreme Court is driven to subject us to laws foreign to our Constitution (one of the nasty things that King George III did to anger our founders) it would be really great if we could impeach them.  (Especially is this the case when you take into account the fact that the Supreme Court arguably ignored a statue depriving it of jurisdiction over the matters it adjudicated: The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, Pub. L. No. 109-148, § 1005(e), 119 Stat. 2680, 2741 [December 30, 2005].)  Otherwise we may find that we have won the war on terror and at the same time still have lost our sovereignty.  We ought not to allow the war on terror to blind us to the fact that a less obvious—but equally as serious—attack on our existence (i.e., as a sovereign nation) has long been under way.  We can be ruled by a Muslim World Caliphate, a Secular World Caliphate, or by ourselves—understanding, of course, that we must be honest players in the international community of nations, especially as the world’s lone “super power.”

Yes, both Democrats and Republicans are liberals, but they are still different...sort of.

A topic that comes up frequently is how similar to each other both Democrat and Republican parties are.  David Koyzis, who teaches political science at Redeemer College, has an explanation that I—for whatever it’s worth—find persuasive.  At any rate, I think anyone who wants to have an informed opinion on the matter should read the post.  Important to understanding his explanation is grasping his five stages in the development of liberalism.

And as long as you’re in the AO you might be interested in reading this older post as well, if you have any interest in the relation of religion and politics.
29 June 2006

Dick Durbin's flag rhetoric is a desecration of logic

I just happen to believe that, as our nation’s symbol, the flag is one of those things over which the nation—in Congress assembled—has jurisdiction.  A move by Congress to prohibit desecration of the flag just does not strike me as some sort of wound to freedom of expression.  You don’t lose your freedom of expression just because a limit has been specified.  In marriage, for example, counselors do not, so far as I know, advise their clients never to argue.  They do, however, advise clients to have what might be called a “no man’s land” for any argument.  There are some places where reasonable people agree not to go.  To me it has always seemed reasonable (even when I was of no sort of rightist persuasion) that those of us who are citizens of this nation recognize certain limits to how we go about expressing ourselves.  For example, I wouldn’t extend my middle finger to express my disagreement with a liberal over some issue.  I see no constitutional problem for Congress to say that, of all things, the flag is off limits.  And furthermore people who burn the flag to express some sort of displeasure with any U.S. policy have to my mind demonstrated their unwillingness to engage in civilized behavior.  One of those behaviors is debate.  To my mind one who burns the flag has run out of arguments (and probably didn’t have one to begin with) and forfeited.

Burn the flag if you want to.  But you lost the privilege of being listened to.

That said Dick Durbin has put himself on my radar scope again with remark he has made about the flag-burning amendment.

The text of S. J. RES. 12 reads as follows:

JOINT RESOLUTION

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States authorizing Congress to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following article is proposed as an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within 7 years after the date of its submission by the Congress:

Article --
“The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.”

One would think it an easy thing for a senator to present a simple argument against our having such an amendment to the Constitution.  And I mean an argument, even if that argument were something like, “We ought not empower  Congress to stifle a mode of expressing dissent.”  (Note the “framing” of the discussion here: “expression of dissent” as opposed to “desecration of our nation’s symbol.”)

I mean these are senators for crying out loud.  We should expect a deliberative body to deliberate, which ought to employ logic applied to facts.

That’s what we should expect.  What we actually get is something like the excrement which oozed from the mouth of Senator Dick Durbin (D – Ill.).  Samples of that excrement include:

Sample 1:  “There are scarcely any instances across America where people are burning the flag. And yet, now we want to set aside the important business of the Senate, health care and energy policy and education and debate for an entire week this concept of amending our Bill of Rights" (source).

Consider the logic of this position:  If an event “scarcely” happens, then Congress need not work on any legislation about it.  So if there were “scarcely” any instances of tax evasion, we would be justified in insisting that Congress not pass any legislation regarding tax evasion, right?  Of course, it’s funny—his using the word scarcely.  There are “scarcely any instances” of flag-burning; so he want’s to do nothing about it.  On the other hand, one could hardly argue that there are “scarcely any instances” of people violating our immigration laws.  His support of a bill which would do nothing—by all accounts—to stem the tide of immigration seems a bit inconsistent with the notion that Congress ought to deal with the non-scarce.  Then there’s the whole “we-can’t-take-a-week-from-health-care-energy-and-education-to-deal-with-flag-burning” thing.  And since, on my view, Congress’ meddling in health care, energy policy and education—for over fifty years!—has yet to yield a positive result, I don’t care if they never get back to work on those issues.  Finally, I suspect that Durbin doesn’t so much mind if the Bill of Rights is amended just so long as it’s amended by a liberal-dominated Supreme Court.

Sample 2:  “We are here because the White House and the congressional Republican leadership are nervous about the upcoming elections. They want to exploit America's patriotism for their gain in November. It's the same thing with the gay marriage amendment. It wasn't a priority for America. It's a priority for Karl Rove and the Republican strategists. The real issue here isn't the protection of the flag; it's the protection of the Republican majority. We're not setting out to protect Old Glory. We're setting out to protect old politicians. That's what this is about. Sadly, Republican leaders are forcing this debate so they could accuse some who disagree with them of being unpatriotic and un-American” (source).

Oh, what to say about this sample!  First, Durbin claims—tacitly, of course—the ability to read minds: he knows—just knows—that the Republican leadership are nervous.  Maybe they are, but if I were Dick Durbin I’d be more worried about thinking this is my best argument against the proposed Constitutional amendment.  (I mean, really, does he need to be told that this is ad hominem?)  Second, even if Durbin is correct about the Republican leadership’s motivations, that is irrelevant to the question!

How can it escape a senator’s notice that “the congressional Republican leadership are nervous about the upcoming elections” is no answer to the question, “Shall Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag?”  One can affirm both that “the congressional Republican leadership are nervous about the upcoming elections” and that Congress should have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag.”  Clearly, Durbin doesn’t think that protecting Old Glory is something that Congress should have the power to, and this despite the fact that there exists a body of statutory law, created by Congress, governing the proper care and display of Old Glory.  Now, let’s think about this:  Congress, which does not have the power to prohibit the desecration of the flag, somehow has the power to make laws governing its proper display and care.  Think of it: Congress cannot tell us not to desecrate the flag, but can tell us when it fly it at half-mast?  We can burn the flag in protest.  But Congress can tell us that if we fly the at our homes during the night, then there must be adequate light provided so that the flag can be seen in the dark?  If we have the freedom to desecrate the flag, then Congress has no business telling anyone how to fly, or otherwise display the flag.  I wonder if Durbin even knows that 4 U.S.C. even exists and hasn’t been repealed.

Here is a brief summary of the history of 4 U.S.C.:  Adopted by the National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., June 14-15, 1923, and Revised and Endorsed by the Second National Flag Conference, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1924. Revised and adopted at P.L. 623, 77th Congress, Second Session, June 22, 1942; as Amended by P.L. 829, 77th Congress, Second Session, December 22, 1942; P.L. 107 83rd Congress, 1st Session, July 9, 1953; P.L. 396, 83rd Congress, Second Session, June 14, 1954; P.L. 363, 90th Congress, Second Session, June 28, 1968; P.L. 344, 94th Congress, Second Session, July 7, 1976; P.L. 322, 103rd Congress, Second Session, September 13, 1994; P.L. 225, 105th Congress, Second Session, August 12, 1998; and P.L. 80, 106th Congress, First Session, October 25, 1999.

Notice some of the dates.  June 1942?  Goodness!  That was only six months after the attack on Pearl Harbor!  June 22?  Why that’s fifteen days after the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands?  And what did Congress do about it?  Nothing.  The Japanese occupied the islands of  Kiska and Attu for over a year, but Congress found time to worry about the flag!  And June 28,  1968?  With our  troops in Vietnam six months into The Tet Offensive?  I just can’t believe this.

Surely Congress had better things to do during World War II and the Vietnam War than bothering about legislation regarding the proper care and display of the flag of The United States of America.  If only Dick Durbin had been there.
28 June 2006

Conspiracy Theory No. 73,410

Now I know who is behind, and financing, those studies being used by the aforementioned anit-burgernazis.  It’s Big Soy!  Now if I can just find the corporate sponsor of the anti-smokinazis.  I’ve got my money on Big Clove.  (I’ve noticed my daughter surrepticiously smoking clove cigarettes, which is really suspicious given her professed disdain for tobbaco.)

Big Clove.  It’s gotta be them.  There’s no other logical explanation.
27 June 2006

Prohibition II?

This report is sure to make the anti-smokinazis’ day.  But if second hand smoke is as bad as this, then we need to outlaw the use of tobbaco products completely:  “Breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can damage cells and set the cancer process in motion….  Brief exposure can have immediate harmful effects on blood and blood vessels, potentially increasing the risk of a heart attack. Secondhand smoke exposure can quickly irritate the lungs, or trigger an asthma attack. For some people, these rapid effects can be life-threatening. People who already have heart disease or respiratory conditions are at especially high risk.”

In a few weeks, smoking will be prohibited in open-to-the-public-but-privately-owned places here in Colorado.  Notice that isn’t public places.  No, the anti-smokinazis are finally going to get their way and make sure that wherever they go, they won’t have to smell that nasty smoke or catch some second-hand-smoke-riding virus.  Never mind that, as a property owner, you no longer have the right to consider whether you want to cater to smokers,  people knowledgable of the risks to themselves of their behavior.  The anti-smokinazis have decided that if you are in business, they have a right against you to enter your establishment and have that establishment be smoke free.  (If The American Psychological Association ever decides that viewing naked people is somehow injurious to someone’s health, you strip club owners and girlie magaizine publishers are in big trouble!)

The next move of the anti-smokinazis will be to ban smoking in your own home.  Why?  Well, if you have any friends who are non-smokers and they come to visit you, surely they have the same right to good health in your home as they do in a restaurant.  And you won’t be able to go outside and smoke either (think of it, going outside at your own house in order to accommodate your friend) because your death-causing smoke will drift next door and kill your neighbors.  And don’t think you’ll be free from all this nonsense if you live in the country.  When PETA realizes that the anti-smokinazis are discrimating against our furry relatives, they will sue in court to ensure that your smoke doesn’t kill the spotted owl or the field mouse, or (God forbid!) the snake.  Come to think of it, they may not want to permit you smoking inside your house, whether you have company or not, because you might kill the spiders.

Imagine MADD pulling a similar stunt, banning alcohol consumption in public places.  It’s not so crazy when you think about it.  People who drink in public will get in an automobile eventually.  We all know that every person in a bar or club hasn’t got a designated driver with him.  And in many states, having had even one drink consitutes being under the influence.  And people who are under the influence and get behind the wheel of an auto have caused a great many deaths.  Think of the lives that could be saved if people were banned from drinking in public places, and limited all of their drinking to their own homes.  Of course, this would also mean that you could not give a party where there will be alcohol because when those under-the-influence people get behind the wheels of their cars they are putting lives at risk.

A question for anti-smokinazis, mad mothers, and people for the human rights of animals:  Do you presently engage in any behavior which someone else might find injurious either to yourself or others, and which someone, somewhere, might want to deprive you of the freedom to engage in?  Maybe you like to eat fast food?  Perhaps you are the owner/franchisee of a fast food restaurant.  True, this behavior affects only those who engage in it.  But don’t worry.  That won’t stop the anti-burgernazis.

In the meantime, I’m seeing an entreprenurial opportunity here: “smoke easies.”  It came to me while I was down in my as-yet-unfinished basement last evening.  I could turn it into a clandestine bar.  Only, unlike the purpose of such places during Prohibition, it’ll be a secret “smoking allowed” establishment.

Sshhhhh.  Don’t tell the New York Times.  They’ll blab it to everyone.

When it comes to Democrats regaining power, no life is too precious

We all know that journalists think they know better.  In his interview on Hugh Hewitt’s show yesterday, Doyle McManus downplayed any significant harm that may have been done by his paper by exposing our govenrment’s use of SWIFT.  Hewitt asked:  “Is it possible now that whoever was familiar with what Hambali [i.e., the mastermind/financier of the Bali bombing] did, those terrorists in Southeast Asia, could just simply reverse engineer his financing, and figure out what they shouldn't do now?”  McManus said, “Well, I suppose it's possible, except in effect, what we're talking about here is the simple question of whether international banking transmissions are monitored. And one of the perplexing parts of this story is that the Treasury Department has said you know, everybody knew that. We said that we were aggressively looking for the transactions, looking for the financial flows, doing everything we could to monitor where the money was going.”  So, since we’ve always known that our government was looking for financial transactions involving known or suspected terrorists, it’s okay for the story of how we were doing that to be made public.

One continuing argument I have with certain of my friends and family is whether it’s possible to really over think something.  I am on the negative side.  Be that as it may, it occurs to me that quite possibly that here is a journalist who in his haste not to over think something neglected to think about something in the appropriate way.  Journalists’ failure is a failure to think in terms of what is called operational security.  (This wikipedia aricle is also fairly informative.)  McManus believes that revealing what he believes is a minor detail is of no great consequence.  Of course, that raises the question: If it is such an inconsequential detail, then why run the story?  The answer depends on for whom one believes the story is inconsequential.  To McManus and others (and in their professional judgment) the detail is inconsequential for terrorists, but not for Americans.  In other words, McManus and his fellow travelers have decided that the SWIFT program is a greater danger to Americans than it is to terrorists.  And therefore Americans must be warned about it even at the expense of warning terrorists.

But whether the how is important or not, one important thing to remember about fighting a war is a simple OpSec principle.  That principle is: Don’t not give the enemy any—anyANY!!!—information, no matter how unimportant you may think it is.  (I should note that later in the same interview McManus acknowledged “these stories filled in some…important details, about how [the Treasury Department is monitoring financial transactions]” [italics mine].)  As George Washington said: “Even minutiae should have a place in our collection, for things of a seemingly trifling nature, when enjoined with others of a more serious cast, may lead to valuable conclusion” (italics mine).  Minutiae is the seemingly insignificant detail.  Clearly, if “minutiae” can help us, it can help the enemy.  That’s why we try to keep even “minutiae” from him.  Thank you NYT and others for giving the enemy “minutiae” which he may not previously have had.  Despite your apraisal of the value of this “minutiae” you—we all—may be surprised to learn what can be done with the seemingly insignificant.

The lesson here is this, and it’s nothing we don’t already know.  The left, and their servitor media, believe that The President of the United States is a greater threat to us and our liberties than all the terrorists in the world put together.  What is ironic is that the same media—among other people, of course—who ask how many more of our troops have to die in “The President’s War” don’t seem to be too concerned for how many of our troops will have to die in their war against the President.  For one of the other questions Hewitt asked McManus was this:  “Given that you're okay with the possibility that this might have helped the terrorists, and might have hurt our counter-terrorism, and damaged the program, are you losing any sleep over the possibility, Doyle McManus, that some terrorists will get away and kill as a result of these stories?”

McManus responded: “I'm not okay with the possibility, Mr. Hewitt. I think that possibility has to be measured against the possibility that the federal government has expanded its intrusive powers of surveillance and investigation without sufficient oversight and safeguards. If we want to ignore the balancing question here, well, then, we could grant the federal government license in the war against terrorists to do anything at all. I know you're not suggesting that. No one serious has suggested that. But I think it's also unfair to suggest that those of us involved in these stories decided that we were simply okay with letting the terrorists know any secrets it wants.”

First he says he’s not okay with the possiblity.  Then he says that the possiblity has to be weighed against some other possibility, namely that the federal government has expanded certain of its intrusive powers.  Well clearly, and by his own admission, those two possibilites were weighed against each other and the decision to run the story and possibly harm troops was made.  So despite his assertion to the contrary he really is okay with, and not losing any sleep over, the possibility that some terrorists will get away and kill more of our troops as a result of these stories.  In others words, the possibility of troops being killed is an acceptable possibility when compared to the possibility  that the federal government may expand some of its powers.  So, when he said he’s not okay with the possiblity he was lying.  He’s okay with it.  Oh, he’s not, to use his phraseology “simply” okay with it, but he is conditionally okay with with letting the terrorists know any secrets they want:  He acknowledged the possibility that some terrorists will get away and kill as a result of these stories, and then embraced that possibility by printing the story.

It’s interesting to note that the collateral damage that journalists (and probably any and all liberal-leftists) are willing to accept is that collateral damage which consists of dead Amercans.  Let’s all remember that, the next time one of these sphincter wipes asks how many more Americans have to die in Iraq, or anywhere else.

Oh, yeah.  It’s also interesting to note the irony in all this concern for the expansion of federal power.  I don’t remember this same concern, from this sort, when President Clinton and his wife were planning the federal take-over of one-seventh of our gross national product.  It is also ironic that the greatest expansion of federal power took place under the direction, and with the blessings of the same left that now pretends to be troubled by an increase in federal power.  We see the truth, even if they think we are too stupid to do.

And that truth is this:  They don’t really mind increases in federal power.  No way.  They just want to be the ones who have all that federal power.  By their fruits you shall know them.
23 June 2006

O, the loyal (HA!!!) opposition

Supposedly, the “freedom of the press” means that journalists don’t have to reveal sources.  On one hand it makes some sense: if you have to give up your source then you may be motivated not to publish the story.  Frankly, I think that’s rubbish.  “Freedom of the press” is the right to publish, if a possible requirement to give up the source of a story motivates you not to publish that’s your problem.  But whatever the case, it irks me that the media are quick to claim to rights protected by this nation, but not so quick to lift a hand in helping to secure the nation which protects those rights.  When they find out how the government is trying to find terrorists and their financiers they have to make sure that everyone knows—even if that includes the terrorists we’re looking for.  Supposedly, the concern is that this is just another illegal operation, and journalists are a fourth branch of our government.  Note this well:         “ ‘The key issue here is whether the government has shown that there are adequate safeguards in these programs to give American citizens confidence that information that should remain private is being protected.’ ”  So says Doyle McManus, Washington bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, which also published the story.  Oh, yeah, and Bill Keller, the New York Times' executive editor says,  “We remain convinced that the administration's extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use it may be, is a matter of public interest.”  Never mind that the “public” here also includes the terrorists we’re trying to find.
So what we learn from these two self-abusers is that, as a fourth branch of government, media—not courts—will pass judgment on whether there are “adequate safeguards” in any program which seeks to secure the nation.  And if they decide that there are not in their judgment such safeguards they will issue their own version of an injunction.  I mean, I guess it’s a good thing that the Times thinks it okay for the government to infiltrate suspected terror cells.  Otherwise they might have blown the lid off the operation which made this story possible.
Uh, just two questions:  Who in the hell elected them to that office?  When did they sit for Senate confirmation hearings?
Poor President Bush—the man can’t win for losing.  As the “evil” Glenn Reynolds observes:  “What's interesting to me is that when you talk about military force, we're supposed to use law-enforcement and intelligence methods instead. But if you use law-enforcement and intelligence methods, people shout ‘Big Brother’ and the Times runs stories exposing them.”  (That’s the first thing I thought, but The Evil One posted first.  A pox on him!)
Right.  It sort of makes you think that what is really foremost in the minds of journalists is just making sure that the President doesn’t win—as if it’s all about him.
No.  It couldn’t be that.  I’m sure that they are all honorable men.  All of them.  Honorable men.
And as for the President, well, one could wish that a “dictator” were made of sterner stuff, especially when it comes to illegal immigration.  But don’t get me started on that one.
22 June 2006

More minimum wage nonsense

Here we go with the minimum wage garbage again.  Fortunately, if you understand a little economics, the Senate Republicans blocked this latest move by Dems to increase the minimum wage.  And, no surprise, Democrats are complaining and making the usual accusations.  According to Nanci Pelosi, the Republicans have sided with the Big Oil friends.  I will spend some time to figure out who might work for an oil company and make minimum wage who might not work for some non-oil company and still be making minimum wage.  (My logic: If there are people who make minimum wage working for companies that are not related in any way to the oil business, then the oil business has nothing to do with the Republican position on the minimum wage.)

Among other things, Democrats expressed skepticism that raising the minimum wage actually harms those it is intended to help.  I explain here just how that happens.  This, I hope, is a telling excerpt:

“Employees whose wages are set by the market are happy.  Employees whose wages are set by Congress are unhappy.  The market compensates well and Congress doesn’t.  It’s the sort of thing that makes you go, ‘Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.’”
21 June 2006

WMD: an update

Here’s the story on the aforementioned WMD.  Incidentally, Hugh Hewitt is also reporting the same thing.

Here's a strategy, Dick

Dick Durbin thinks that the deaths of Thomas Tucker and Kristian Menchaca in Iraq are reminders of just what a failed policy the war in Iraq is.  I guess that depends on from which perspective you are looking at matters.  For the likes of Dick Durbin there is no war—unless run by Democrats—that is going so well we can’t find, or create from whole cloth, a reason to oppose it, or quit it.  (Just recall the left’s reaction to the death of Zarqawi.)

For me, these latest tortures-to-the-death (including, I believe, at least the obligatory beheading) are reminders of why these people and their ilk must be destroyed, annihilated, chopped up into little bits and ground into powder.  And then those desiccated remains should be launched into space (and out of the solar system), because there is no place on earth deserving of the ignominy of having to store those remains.  But that’s just me.  And as a soldier, I take the deaths of soldiers as seriously as The Tanker Brothers.

I’d like to ram my elbow into the Dick Dirbin’s windpipe so hard that he wouldn’t be able to talk much, if at all, for a few weeks.

Dick Durbin also told Nora O’Donnell that the present administration has never had a strategy for how the war in Iraq would end.  That’s really how he put it.  Silly Dick Durbin: a strategy does not provide for how a war ends except insofar as it provides for how a war, God willing, will be won.  And when a war is won, that is when it ends.  You can’t have a strategy for ending a war; you only have a strategy for winning a war.  In fact, you don’t need a strategy for ending a war.  If you want simply to end a war, just quit it.  It’s that simple.  Just quit it.  (And it helps in winning a war, if you will continue to fight the damned war!)  That’s the problem with a lot of politicians when it comes to military matters: they don’t know what certain key terms really mean.

A strategy for how the war will end?

Okay, but this is the last time:  The strategy is simple.  We win.  That’s when it ends.  And let’s define the win as “The Iraqi government says, ‘Thank you Coalition Forces. Your services are no longer necessary.  Go in peace.’”  How ‘bout that for a strategy?  Simple enough?  Even for militarily ignorant Democrat mouth?

WMD found!!!

Maybe.  I hope.

I just heard on Sean Hannity:  According to Senator Rick Santorum we have found WMD in Iraq and have in our possession 500 of them.  Haven’t heard it anywhere else just yet, but I’m trying to verify it.

Don't let them die...not like this!!!

I hear that Saddam Hussein and his fellows are on a hunger strike.  I suppose some would say let them starve to death and save us some time or something like that.  I say get some IV bags and force-feed them.  Any death that is good enough for Terry Schiavo is too good for Hussein and his fellows.

"Redeploy! Redeploy!"

That’s the modern Democrat version of “Run away, run away!” in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

And now for something completely different: According to Democrats, this redeployment is not “Cut and run,” it’s “Cut and win.”

Cut and win? Are they serious? Oh, well. Remember, these are the same people who think they are spending money when they decide to take less of what you earn.

Cut and win. Hmmmmm. Cut and win.

Ha! And all this time I thought we lost in Vietnam.

Drug cartels taking over big U. S. cities?

Debbie has details.  And, oh my, those details.
20 June 2006

A stroll down Amnesia Lane

A little fun in an otherwise hectic professional, and blogging, life...

I’m not from San Antonio, but I am from close enough to remember most these:

You Know You're From San Antonio When...


You lost your virginity at Mission Drive-In. [Well, I heard stories, anyway.]
You know exactly how to get to the Ghost Tracks from anywhere in town.
You think pro-choice means flour or corn tortillas.
You've never been to the Alamo.
You think a health drink is a margarita without salt.
You think being able to read the Taco Cabana menu makes you bilingual.
You used to live in a neighborhood you wouldn't even drive through now.
There has been a road crew on your street since before the Alamodome was built.
You remember when Crossroads Mall used to be called Wonderland.
You've been to Midget Mansion and the Fat Farm.
You know all about the Dancing Diablo and the Donkey Lady bridge.
You know that Wheatley and Brackenridge is the same school.
You remember the Captain Gus show.
Your subwoofer has twice the value of your car.
You have three rodeo outfits but never have been on a horse.
You are an expert with the brake pedal, but you have no idea what a blinker is.
Your idea of culture is wearing a Hard Rock T-shirt.
You think the last supper was at Mi Tierra.
You do your grocery shopping at a flea market.
You think local politicians are crooks, but you still do not vote.
You have a 'Selena Lives' bumper sticker on your car.
You care if San Antonio is in the national spotlight.
A formal occasion is getting a glass with your longneck.
You believe tacos, barbecue, tequila, and beer are the four basic food groups.
You think wearing bows in your hair will get you a husband.
Your white mother learned how to make tamales & menudo from your neighbors.
You know the real definition of Fiesta is 'stay home if at all possible.'
You have ordered Mexican food at a Chinese restaurant.
You had breakfast tacos at Taco Cabana on Christmas morning.
You remember the Joske's Christmas display.
You remember when JC Penney's had a restaurant.
You remember hamburgers from Whopper Burger.
Your elementary school field trip was to the ButterKrust Bakery.
You complain about how cold it is when the temperature dips below 70.
Your cholesterol is over 300.
You had a birthday party at Kiddie Park.
You have had nightmares about the giant cowboy boots in front of North Star Mall.
You own an album by, have seen or are even aware of any of the following bands: 'Moxy', 'Legs Diamond', 'Trapeze', 'Garfield' and especially 'Ozz Knozz' or 'Heyoka.'
You know what people are talking about when they refer to the 'hey-she-b.'
Your idea of a tropical vacation getaway is Port Aransas.
You get defensive when your friends from Austin talk about the great show they saw last night.
You party with your cousin more than twice a week.
You call any convenience store 'icehouse.'
You have only seen snow once in your life and it was twenty years ago.
You think a flash-flood warning means 'go drive through a low water crossing.'
You think the exit ramp is your own personal lauch pad.
You get annoyed when tourists ask for 'fa-jite-as.'
You could care less about the Rodeo but never miss the Cowboy Breakfast.
You know the location of both the Hanging Tree and the Hollow Tree.
You don't have to look at the menu when you order at Bill Miller.
You have never, ever called this city 'San Antone.'
You have watched the Battle of Flowers parade from the Pig Stand parking lot on Broadway.

I can add a few of my own:
55 KTSA, which actually played music back then, was the only station in the world, until you discovered KISS-FM.
(Additionally, you may have marveled that KISS-FM could be heard all the way in Eagle Pass!)
Logan Stuart (of aforementioned 55 KTSA) woke you up for school with his, “Hola! A todos mis amigos!”
You wondered if John and Juan (KTSA) were the same guy?
There was nothing good on TV Sunday Mornings until after Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez shut up.
You remember when I35 through San Antonio was two lanes in each direction.
You also remember when they started widening it to four lanes in each direction.
Your football team played against schools like Alamo Heights and Winston Churchill.
You used to sing, “Win-ston Church-hill
You know where you can go.
You’re the biggest bunch of fags
We’ve ever known.”
You remember when they actually played music on
1200 WOAI.
You remember the animated Ancira-Winton Chevrolet commercial where they were singing to each other.
You got your TV news from
Chris Marrou on KENS (Channel 5).
Your grandparents watched nothing but
KWEX (Channel 41).
In elementary school, you watched Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Carrascolendas on
KRLN (Channel 9).

H/T:
“fishergirl” for this stroll down Amnesia Lane.
19 June 2006

Under the gun

Posting will be sporadic this week, and probably the next. Several deadlines are quickly approaching and will cut into my blogging time.
16 June 2006

When you can’t refute your opponent…

You do what Josh Gryniewicz does, in typical leftist fashion. You call him names and mis-characterize his position, and engage in guilt-by-association rhetoric. Gryniewicz’s summation of the Minuteman Project is that it is a group of anti-immigrant racists. He writes: "The far right is trying to make a comeback, and it is using anti-immigrant hate as its wedge issue. As the narrow debate about federal immigration policy continues among politicians, the racist vigilantes of the Minuteman Project have become accepted as a legitimate voice in mainstream politics. These bigots and their less "respectable" far-right allies like the Ku Klux Klan and other neo-Nazi and white supremacist are making the most of it" (italics mine).

You see? People who oppose what is clearly Gryniewicz’s position on illegal immigration are not simply wrong. No, his opponents are racists. His opponents are not simply wrong about open borders, or limits on immigration. No, his opponents are simply anti-immigrant bigots. His opponent just doesn’t like immigrants, even if at least one of his opponents (e.g., The Dragon Master Gunner) is married to an immigrant.


And, of course there is the obligatory guilt-by-association. The Minutemen are deserving of being called racist because Gryniewicz is able to list some racists who also oppose illegal (and probably legal) immigration. The logic is simple: If the Minutemen oppose immigration, and these racists also oppose immigration, then the Minutemen are racists. Observe: "In a recent Time magazine article, Mike Martin, a member of western Ohio’s National Socialist Movement…bragged about harassing day laborers and disrupting a May 1 pro-immigrant rally in Dayton. ‘After the rally, the Klan called us,’ Martin said. ‘Now we’ve started working together more often.’" On Gryniewicz’s view, this is all that is needed to convict the Minutemen of being racists.

And don’t think you can get yourself out of Gryniewicz’s scope by pointing out that you oppose only illegal immigration. Gryniewicz has an expert who knows more about you than you do and will testify to the contrary. " ‘People talk about immigration as if race doesn’t matter, saying "No, I don’t have anything against immigrants or Mexicans, it’s just the illegal part of it I don’t like," ’ Gonzalo Santos, a sociology professor...told the Associated press. ‘But those are code words.’ " There you have it. Your talk of illegal immigration is just a code word to disguise your racism. Professor Santos doesn’t even have to know you. You could be a white guy married to a latina, and it wouldn’t matter. Santos knows that you are simply using code words. (And he probably pities your latina wife for not having figured that out by now.)

Neither will it work if you tell Gryniewicz that you yourself are a hispanic who opposes illegal immigration. You see, he has another expert who will tell you that you are being co-opted by these racist bigots. You are that "exceptional" hispanic that these bigots use to legitimize their movement. Because you are an exception, you don’t count as evidence that the Minutemen are not racists. The majority of hispanics are not with you. See how it works? Of course, what Gryniewicz and his logic-refusing socialist ilk don’t know is that actually you are what logicians (i.e., people who know more about logic than Gryniewicz) call a counter-example. And a counter-example defeats the sort of argument (a "universal affirmative") that Gryniewicz is trying to make. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he doesn’t know that. Shhh. Don’t tell him. Now that I’ve discovered him (thank you,
Debbie) I hope to have him entertain me again.

H/T:
Debbie Hamilton for the link to Gryniewicz’s socialist screed.
15 June 2006

Coming soon: A “conservative” judicial tyranny?

Mike Rosen interviewed Mark Smith, the author of Disrobed, who wants to use the Constitution against the left the way the left have used it to advance a liberal agenda. In other words he wants what I suppose we should call “reverse judicial activism.” While denying, the left’s “living, breathing document” thesis, he nevertheless argues for its use by the right. (In other words he wishes to employ what he holds to be an illegitimate tool to accomplish what he regards as legitimate ends.) So, for example, while Roe v. Wade is on all accounts bad law, we (i.e., the right) can still make use of the right of privacy which Roe recognizes in order to push a conservative, free market agenda. In other words, Smith wants to play the left’s own game against them. We can employ improperly decided cases to bring about proper ends.

I can’t get past the fact that whether or not he explicitly denies the “living, breathing document” thesis, he wants to apply it anyway. But,
as I’ve said before (not that I’m the only one who has) this approach to the law, however well-intentioned, ultimately means that there is no law. If the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” then there is no Constitution; we have no rights. I cannot see why someone who calls himself a conservative, and wishes to be worthy of the name, should propose such a move.

One of the hallmarks of conservatism has been, among others, the rule of law. One of the other hallmarks has been objection to the rule of unelected judges. Conservatives, at least since I joined the movement in the early 1990s, have asserted the obligation of all our leaders, Executives, Legislators and Judges to obey the laws. This idea is something to which, in my experience, the left have by and large given mere lip service. The “great work” of the left is much more important than the laws, when the laws (“unfairly,” of course) work against that “great work.”

As a Christian, I must admit to having necessarily right-leaning views (without, at the same time, being co-opted by the political right). However, what I most want, and what I believe God calls me to want most, is a nation ruled by laws, not men. By that I mean that we are to be ruled by the laws, and not by the personal whim of men. What Smith proposes, despite its understandably angry rhetoric is the substitution of a rightist judicial tyranny for a leftist one. As it turns out, he doesn’t oppose tyranny; he just wants a “conservative” one. We ought to think that “conservative tyranny” is a contradiction is terms. Clearly, he doesn’t.

I won’t have it, not even for the sake of conservatism, but especially a “conservatism” which ultimately, if implicitly, rejects the rule of law in favor of the rule of nine Supreme Court justices.

Inasmuch as I have resented a leftist court vetoing rightist legislation by judicial fiat, I do not believe that the sort of integrity to which God calls us permits us to get back at the left by using the courts to do unto leftists as they have done unto us. And let’s not kid ourselves: what Smith is arguing for is a Court no less tyrannical, however “conservative,” than the one we presently have.

In my aforementioned post, I wrote: “This ‘living, breathing document’ could become as arbitrary a ruler as the worst tyrant—all the while hiding from simpletons the fact that the real tyrants are the black-robed pretended prophets who claim to be translating for us the will of this living, breathing, riddle speaking oracle.” That won’t change just because the tyrants are “conservative.”

NOTE: I am arguing here against Smith’s position as he explained it to Rosen, not as he explains it in his book. I have not yet read the book.
14 June 2006

Even in France?

France has recently imprisoned 25 Islamist militants for planning attacks. In accordance with expectation, their defense attorney painted them as victims.
13 June 2006

Another brilliant Christian shows the way

A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show wanted to criticize Joseph Vento’s requirement that customers order their food in English. And, of course, he had to drag Jesus into it. “Did Jesus,” the caller asked, “go around with a sign that said, ‘If you want to talk to me you have to speak my language’?” Aside from serving as further evidence that one has to check his brain, but definitely not his heart (snif, snif), in order to be a Christian (as I used to believe), this guy tacitly asserts that Americans, when you come right down to it, need to learn each and every language spoken on the face of the earth. (Where is my Universal Translator when I need it?)

Let’s say, for purposes of argument, that we could stuff this caller…. I mean, let’s say that this caller climbed into a time machine and went to the Judea in which his apparently panlingual Jesus walked and talked. Our caller walks up to Jesus and says, “Hello, lord! How are you?” Does Jesus understand him?

Of course, this caller would probably say that Jesus, being God in the flesh, would know every language. But then, the burden of proof would be on him. And what might we conclude if we applied his logic? Well, we would have to conclude that Jesus never slept, because Jesus is God; and God never sleeps. And of course, Jesus never died, because God cannot die.The list could go on.

Besides, Vento isn’t proclaiming the gospel. He’s selling sandwiches. And he isn't panlingual.

There is a bit of irony is this Christian calling a talk show and talking about languages. Jesus’s Father is the One who confused all our languages in the first place (see Genesis 11.7).

I don’t know which is more astounding, this Christian’s tacit insistence that Americans learn every language in the world (since we can’t ask that they speak the most common one spoken here in the conduct of business), or his trying to use Jesus to bolster a weak (and stupid) argument, especially his one-sided use of Jesus. After all, the immigrants could follow Jesus’s example. When He entered into the world at the incarnation He made the effort to learn the language of that area of the world into which He entered. Shouldn’t immigrants—legal or otherwise—do likewise?


(Then there’s the question of whether Jesus would ever have been an illegal alien. After all, he submitted Himself to both Jewish and Roman law, even to the point of death on a cross. Had there been any immigration laws, I’m sure He’d have obeyed them. but I digress.)

But I guess only “white” Americans have to follow Jesus’s example—or at least some sissified version of it peddled by some pussilanimous caller to the Rush Limbaugh Show. Everyone else—but especially non-white, non-conservative types—gets to do what he wants, regardless what Jesus did or would do.

Thank you sir for making of yourself an example of just the sort of intellectual honesty, depth and rigor that people have come (not!!!) to expect from Christians.

Thor has video on Coulter

In a previous post I mentioned the left’s attack on Ann Coulter. In a comment on the subject at Red Sky!, the mighty Thor posted video of Sean Hannity interviewing Coulter. As she explained her position, it occurred to me why the left has a certain affinity for terrorists: they use similar tactics. Terrorists like to hide behind women and children; so do the left. The left like to hide behind the Jersey Girls, Cindy Sheehan (who hides behind her son), Valerie Plame and, of course, “the children.” These “shields” have that weird thing called “moral authority” which makes them unassailable, not subject to question or criticism. (Sort of like the nobility of the medieval periond in Europe.) And this comes as no surprise to me: in my Army days the terrorists I was most concerned about were terrorists of leftist persuasion.

As Coulter says: Stop putting up spokesmen we cannot respond to. It’s so terrorist-like.

Yes. A whole lot in common. Especially when you think about the millions who died after the left forced us out of Vietnam.


P. S. Yes I know that an important difference between terrorists and the American left is that terrorists hide behind women and children while they actually kill people and the American left do not actually kill people while they are hiding behind those women and children. But the left generally use the most superficial similarities to make their cases. (You know: like when some of them liken the war in Iraq to the "quagmire" in Vietnam, or compare Hadith to My Lai.) I just thought I'd show what it looks like when the shoe is on the other foot. But I doubt they'd see the point.

Battle weary?

Speaking of elite politicians, Debbie Hamilton writes about "battle weariness" in the immigration battle, specifically, weariness with politicians who just don't respond to constituents. What she writes is just about what I was going to write, hence the link.
12 June 2006

Always in season

This line sums up the story: "The producer of this opera says that if he manages to incite religious hatred then the opera has done its job."

Understanding Elites…of any stripe

We have learned in recent months that there are some areas where our legislators just are not going to listen to us. We know why, of course. They know better than we do. They are the elites. We are the unenlightened masses.

Anyone who wants to understand elites, why they think they are elite and why they think they are entitled to rule over non-elites should really read Plato’s Republic. Of course, that’s a tall order, but only because we weren’t made to do it in grade school like should have been. But I digress.

A passage from
this discussion on the Endangered Species Act provides a clue:

“The reasoning behind [the Act] can be found in the writings of environmental philosophers, particularly Roderick Nash. Nash suggests that human ethics have evolved from the point where people considered themselves responsible only to members of their own tribe to the point where people treat all other humans with equality and respect. The next natural step, Nash suggests, is that people will grant nature rights that have been traditionally reserved only for other humans.
“Until the ethics of all human beings have evolved to this point, however, it may be necessary for those who hold these new environmental ethics to forcibly or even violently force less ethical people to take care of, or at least do no harm to, other species. This is the logic behind the animal rights movement and it is the logic behind the Endangered Species Act.
“Historians of the twentieth century will recognize this logic. It is the same used by Vladimir Lenin when he suggested that, as capitalism was based on selfishness, socialism would be based on selflessness. The next step in human social evolution, Lenin proposed, was the formation of a New Soviet Man, who would automatically work and make all decisions for the benefit of society rather than for his (or her) selfish needs.
“Lenin recognized that New Soviet Men would not instantly appear. Until education and the benefits of socialism produced such people, the Bolsheviks would control society, making all decisions for the benefit of the people rather than for a few. The promise and goals of soviet society were so inspiring that they seemed to justify almost any sacrifice to reach them--including the deaths of millions of people.”


As a former leftward-leaning elitist myself I can testify that this is exactly how it works. We—because we have seen the “light” (of secular humanism, marxism, scientism, neo-conservatism, even Christianity, whatever)—determine, like Plato’s Gaurdians, what is the direction that society should go and determine that until we can “enlighten” society right along with us, why we’ll just have to run things until everyone sees the light (which is inevitable if only we control education--and just about everything else).

One more thing: It wouldn’t be wise to think that the only elitists to worry about are the ones on the left.

Now, why have I bothered about this? It may serve as useful background for
this post by “The Bald Chick.

Now this is good news

As someone who has consumed a tremendous amount of both alcohol (that’s confessing, not bragging: mis-spent youth) and coffee, this would be good news. Could also explain how, by the grace of God, I lived to survive that mis-spent youth.

Coulter tweaks the left’s nose

My friends The Red Sky Brothers have a post which is critical of the left’s treatment of Ann Coulter (mistreatment, actually). Miss Coulter is in “trouble” for some supposedly uncharitable comments she has made about a handful of World Trade Center widows. I just had to leave a comment, being a fan of Coulter’s. But I did want to say more about this. Since the “Comments” section is for comments, and not essays of one’s own, I expand here:

One problem that Coulter has--and it's a problem that any thinking person should have--is that the left like to employ logically fallacious reasoning. And one of their favorites, after ad hominem of course, is the appeal to authority. According to some on the left, these women have "moral authority"--whatever the heck that means--because their husbands died in the WTC. This moral authority, so the "argument" goes, means that any criticism that these women have of the Bush administration is not subject to question or criticsm. Logically (let's give the left their infrequent due) if someone has absolute "moral authority" then someone who questions or ciriticizes that authority is clearly out of line, especially when that authority is (sniff, sniff, sob, sob) a widow. (Note that the widows of other men, who happen to favor Bush policies, are not accorded the same unquestioned "moral authority.") The left, being logically challenged, and therefore preferring emoting to thinking, can hear nothing but "insensitivity" to widows.

One thing that is interesting about the left's reactions to Coulter is that these are the people, in general, who tell us that it's wrong for one group to impose its morality on everyone else (especially if that morality is Judeo-Christian). It seems to escape their notice that in criticising Coulter--applying a moral standard to her, that is--they are imposing their morality on her.

I don't know which angers me more, the left's attacks on Coulter or the fact that they think we don't see the utter hypocrisy displayed in those attacks. Since I happen to think I'm pretty smart—okay, pretty darn smart--it's probably the latter.
09 June 2006

Krauthammer on the federal marriage amendment

Charles Krauthammer has a column in the WaPo today which spells out why the amendment is a bad idea, even if you oppose gay marriage, especially this part right here:

“The amendment actually ends up defeating the principle it sets out to uphold. The solution to judicial overreaching is to change the judiciary, not to undo every act of judicial arrogance with a policy-specific constitutional amendment. Where does it end? Yesterday it was school busing and abortion. Today it is flag burning and gay marriage.”

When the problem is rooted in the actions of those who execute or adjudicate the law, the best solution is not always just another law for them to execute or adjudicate. Besides, haven’t proponents of the amendment noticed that there is a debate over what constitutes male and female? Even in the face of this amendment, if it passed, we could still see two “men” marry each other, on the grounds that one of them is really a female in a male’s body. In order for the amendment to have achieved what it sought, it would have to define marriage as being between (all kidding aside) a “penis-bearer” and a “womb-bearer.”

But that wouldn’t work either since it would ban from marrying women who’ve had a hysterectomy and men who have had, well, some sort of accident.

"Don't cry for me" -- al-Zarqawi

I don't understand any of the handwringing on the left. The left believe that you should die the way you want to, right?

Zarqawi, as I understand (I mean, understood) him wanted to die a martyr's death. Unless I'm gravely mistaken, he went the way he wanted to go. That's something that very few people can say. Most people die in ways they would never choose for themselves.

On Rembrandt’s “Holy Family”

My friend Andrew has a good essay on the painting by the Dutch Reformational painter .

“Reformational Christians are not halo-sporting moralists. They are not mystics or ascetics. They are normal people, struggling to live their lives to the glory of God quietly and in peace. They eat, they drink, they laugh, they cry, they rejoice, they lament, they work, they rest, they love. In short, the Reformational saint is simply human in the fullest sense of the term. Thus, it is my contention that Reformational piety is true piety. That is, it is a piety that is true. It is a piety that allows the religious to be both fully spiritual and fully human.”


It's also the piety that makes us so darn difficult to understand. For example: we sound like prudes when we talk about things like sexual promiscuity and pornography, but we copulate with great enthusiasm--certainly much more enthusiasm than most people would ever imagine, and much more than the true prudes would even want to know about.

O, Blogger! Where are thou?

B-L-O-G-G-E-R—it’s how I spell “pain in the…” anyway. For the last several days I’ve been having difficulties with Blogger.

Seems to be working well today. 'Bout darn time!

A little more on the Third Party issue

Speaking of a third party, my friends Matthew and Lee (here, here, and here) hosted discussions of the issue at their respective sites.

I believe one problem with both parties, and why they end up seeming so much alike, is that they must make their appeal to a broad spectrum of the populace. And the problem is with that populace. Neither party can afford to make its appeal only to its base. (The Democrat base is just as unhappy with their party as the Republican base is with their own.) Both parties must make their respective appeals to a populace which increasingly prefers emoting to thinking. (Thank you, NEA.) With this in mind, it should come—disappointing as it is—as no surprise that both parties end up looking a lot alike.

Professor Carroll W. Powell, of New Geneva Seminary has a biting criticism of this populace. (Hint: put a baseball glove in your pants! This is gonna hurt!)

The (marxist) social engineering goals of the inheritance tax

A response to this column by Sebastian Malleby.

The federal government faces a future of expanding deficits. Thanks to the baby bust and medical inflation, spending is projected to rise by nearly 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, a growth equivalent to the doubling of today's Medicare program. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Take a source of revenue and abolish it outright.

Yes, this is the dumbest response. But only if, as a solution to expanding deficits, one looks only at the revenue side of the equation.

[more...]

More fodder from Molly Ivins

Commentary on certain parts of this column by Molly Ivins. (I’m picking on her lately for two reasons. First, she demonstrates vividly one of my favorite theses about liberals: they don’t think, they emote; they don’t analyze an opponent’s position, they caricature it; they don’t argue, they insult. Second, she lives in my home state, the Great State of Texas.)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Thank goodness the Republicans are around to tell me what to worry about.... [O]f great concern to Republicans is God Almighty, who...has been elected chairman of the Texas Republican Party. That's what they announced at the biannual convention in Fort Worth this week: "He is the chairman of the Party." Sheesh, the Democrats couldn't even get Superman.

Quite right, the Democrats can only manage Supermouth. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) Besides, what exactly is so bad about God being the chairman of the party? It’s an overstatement, of course. I wouldn’t have made such a statement. Assuming that there is a "God Almighty" having "great concern" for him seems pretty rational (rational, I mean, if one grants the assumption, which I explicitly do). Indeed, one could say that God Almighty is, as theologian Paul Tillich would put it, of ultimate concern. Of course, to say that God Almighty is of ultimate concern is one thing; to say that He is the chairman of a political party is a bit over the top. I’ll grant Ivins that much.

Also weighing down the nation with a heavy burden is the estate tax, which the Senate will try to repeal this week. The estate tax applies to around 1 percent of Americans, and I have yet to find any record of it costing anyone a family farm or business. It affects only very, very, very rich people, of whom you are probably not one. And they don't, actually, need another tax break. [more...]
08 June 2006

Prager on target

“It is a remakable statement about the selfishness of Americans that they care more about the price they pay at the pump than they do about what a marriage is.” – Dennis Prager (yesterday). Whatever one thinks is an appropriate definition of marriage, it is an ethical issue. To assert that what happens to my pocketbook is more important that how my society defines something with the ethical implications of marriage is to be self-centered.

I think it is also testimony to just how well marxism is progressing in this. The connection to marxism may not be apparent.
Pat Buchanan explained it to Bill O’Reilly last year. I don’t agree with Buchanon about a lot of things, but I think he was on to something here. Don’t miss the importance of this statement: “There was a communist known as Antonio Gramsci in Italy who argued that this is the only way that Marxism is going to win. And I have to say they are sure making progress and I think they're on the offensive.”

No good deed...

Nick berg's father, rather than being satisfied that justice has been served, expresses concern that this will spark more terror. (Of course, he doesn't see it as justice; he sees it only as revenge.)

I leave aside the question of whether terrorists really need an excuse to be given them before they increase attacks. Think of the implications of Mr. Berg's postition. No one may ever receive justice for fear that friends and family of the "victim" of justice will seek revenge for the execution of justice.

Yes, Mr. Berg, let's not do the right thing only because it's the right thing. Let's only do the right thing only if doing so doesn't cost us down the road.

Thank you, Zarqawi

Business Week reports: oil prices drop on news of the death of Zarqawi. Who says war never accomplishes anything?

We're still glad he's dead, though

The British Prime Minister is correct: Zarqawi's death won't stop the killing in Iraq.

As expected there is a down side to this story. Tom Ball has it. No surprise there.

P. S.
Attention leftists: we know that you would prefer that the news be the death of the President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of State--if not all them. Too bad.

Ding, dong, the wicked witch is dead

Or however that goes.

Weak stomached Christians would never feel this way (or at least they would never admit if they did) but I find myself taking pleasure in the fact that Zarqawi is dead. I also find myself hoping that his death was as long and as slow and Nick Berg's was.

God forgive me.

If necessary.

Obscene oil profits: a post script

I have a little more to add to this post.
07 June 2006

Assimilation, yes, but…

Among six things listed by the President during a recent interview as a solution to our illegal immigration problem was the need for assimilation. What I have yet to hear anyone ask him is how he plans to facilitate assimilation by dealing with the problem of multiculturalism. To assimilate immigrants is to make them part of a nation’s culture. No how pretty the talk is, there is and can be no such thing as a multicultural society. Think about the two words, culture and society. Now ask yourself how you go about having a many-cultured society. You can have a multilingual society and a multiracial society, but not a multicultural society. That would be like saying that you can have a multicultural culture. A multicultural society is a balkanized society.

What I don’t like about the Federal Marriage Amendment

The amendment is going to define marriage, for all fifty states, as between a man and a woman. As a Christian, I am behind that idea. But I’m a believer in states’ rights. I recognize two logically consistent truths: (1) according to the ethical standards in the Scriptures, homosexual acts are proscribed, which also then proscribes homosexual marriage; (2) in a federal republic which, in the case of ours, is a union of sovereign states, states are free to define things like marriage. The amendment seeks to define marriage for all fifty states. If, as proponents assert, the justification for the amendment is judicial activism, then the amendment ought simply to contain language to the effect that states, through their elected legislatures and not their judiciaries have the right to define marriage. (Note that this language also bars the U. S. Supreme Court from acting to legalize gay marriage.)

But since the judicial activism “legalizing” gay marriage is going on in the states, that’s properly where the constitutional amendments are needed.


Of course, now that the measure has been defeated it doesn't really matter. For now.
06 June 2006

Appropriations in S.2611

You’ve heard about all those Border Patrol agents to added to the current stable. Something like:

(1) 2,000 in fiscal year 2006;
(2) 2,400 in fiscal year 2007;
(3) 2,400 in fiscal year 2008;
(4) 2,400 in fiscal year 2009;
(5) 2,400 in fiscal year 2010; and
(6) 2,400 in fiscal year 2011.

But
the bill also includes the fact that all of this is “subject to the availability of appropriations for such purpose.” Seems to me that if Congress doesn’t provide the appropriations, the agents won’t be there.

“Innocuous” fiction

There is argument that fiction is “innocuous” merely virtue of it’s being innocuous. And because it is innocuous (merely by virtue of being fiction) anyone who attempts to refute any claims made by a work of fiction is making a big deal about nothing.

Here’s a bit of innocuous fiction:


“But you told me the New Testament is based on fabrications.”

Langdon smiled. “Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith--acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors.”



That’s from the innocuous, merely-fiction-and-for-that-reason-alone-harmless, DaVinci Code.

That passage contains no less than five truth-claims. Are they false (and therefore not worthy of logical rejoinder) merely because the person who asserts them is a character in a work of fiction? Or is it that they do not count as truth-claims (and therefore not worthy of logical rejoinder) merely because they appear in a work of fiction?

If fiction is so innocuous, then why did we have to read so much of it in school? Just for entertainment? Please.

More ad hominem in public discourse

A caller to Dennis Prager’s show wanted to argue against the federal marriage amendment on the grounds that the people who are in favor of it are so because of their religious beliefs.

Also, this caller overlooks the fact that what constitutes a “religious” belief is somewhat arguable. On one view (which is one to which I hold) a “religious” belief is a belief about what, or whom, is ultimate. Hence, on this view, both theism and atheism are religious beliefs. For theists, God is ultimate; for atheists, the cosmos is ultimate. Another view holds that a belief is “religious” only if it concerns a deity.

Speaking of Normandy

You can listen to Ronaldus Magnus’s D-Day address (delivered 6 June 1984 in Pointe Du Hoc, Normandy, France) here. (H/T: Laura Ingraham for the link.) If you’re into it, you can download the pdf file.

Instapundit is the "instabeast"?

You'll love this. More fun-poking at all the 060606 nonsense.

H/T: The "evil" Glenn Reynolds.

Coming soon...

I have a bit more to say about "obscene" oil company profits.

Bogger for Word

I use "Blogger for Word" to post. Know what? It sucks the liquid out of the bottom of a dumpster.

And you can quote me.

060606: something a little more noteworthy

I meant to mention this earlier. With all the attention given to the fact that today’s date is 060606, one could almost forget that on this date in 1944 The Battle of Normandy began.

How a nation can be its own worst enemy sometimes

Interesting article at MSN.com on moderate Islam in France.  Most interesting is the “Key dates for France’s history with Islam,” a timeline, which includes this important fact.

1950s and 1960sFrance brings in many new immigrants in an attempt to ease a labor shortage after World War II. Many of the imported workers come from France's heavily Muslim former colonies.


Gosh.  Maybe we really should have a guest worker program here in the U. S.  It’s worked so well in France.

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About Me

James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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