Thursday, February 21, 2008

On Break Temporarily

I apologize for the scarcity of posts in the recent past. I have been and continue to be somewhat overwhelmed both at my regular job and with family issues. I will resume posting once I have managed to clear a few of these off of my plate.

I hope to resume posting by the beginning of Marh as the election season kicks into high gear and the media brings out these best shots to disparage and smear the Republican candidate, Senator John McCain. I observe that the New York Times has already printed the first of presumably many smears on Senator McCain.

However, since they have no sourcing save for self-admitted disgruntled former campaign workers and the allegations are strongly denied by McCain himself, I feel safe in suggesting that there is no point in spending much time on this ridiculous attempt to smear Senator McCain- it is simply the Times being the Times. Fishwrap might better described the paper's worth than it's current claim to 'Alkl the news that is fit to print".

As a personal note, I did endorse former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. However, I said at the time that while I have had past disagreements with Senator McCain, he represents a far better choice for the United States than either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. I cheerfully will vote for him in November's general election, and urge all Republican/conservative/libertarian readers of this blog (and any stray liberals as well) to vote for Senator McCain in November.

Hope to see you all in March!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Then There Was One

Well, it appears that for all intents and purposes, the Republican primaries have come to an end. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced today that he was suspending his campaign. Although former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee remains in the race, his chances of winning the nomination are infinitesimal, especially with Romney's withdrawal. A victorious John McCain, meanwhile, is at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week, to bolster his credentials among the conservative wing of the Republican Party.

So what does this mean for conservatives? Firstly, it means that it is now time for conservatives to recognize that McCain is the nominee of the Republican Party and for better or worse, we need to make an accommodation with him. There are definitely areas where McCain needs to explain himself to conservatives, but it is also incumbent upon conservatives to make and effort to work with McCain as well. I cannot imagine a worse scenario than conservatives sitting out the election and handing the Presidency to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. Neither of these two represents conservatives at all, and while we have some legitimate issues with some of McCain's policy decisions, neither Clinton nor Obama has ever made an effort to work with conservatives and would certainly not advance conservative principles.

Secondly, it is time for conservatives to abandon any residual anger at McCain and recognize that despite his highly-publicized departures from conservatism, he does vote with conservative ideals most of the time. And while McCain may not be an ideal candidate, the Republican Party is not made up only of conservatives, and as Captain Ed Morrissey pointed out, even within the 'conservative' group there are some important differences. Captain Ed writes,
Despite the size of CPAC, the conservative wing of the Republican Party is one of several factions within a big tent. Within that movement exists sub-factions as well. In order to have influence over public policy, any movement has to align itself with other compatible factions to form a governing coalition. That means sharing decisions and sometimes subordinating some issues in order to hold the coalition together, including leadership decisions.

If we are to be adult and responsible members of the Republican coalition, as we should be, then it behooves us to accept McCain as our nominee and do everything we can to help him win in 2008.

However, it is also time for McCain to recognize that in order to win in 2008, he needs to reach out to conservatives who are not very pleased with some of his deviations. I believe I can understand his thinking on McCain-Feingold, though I deplore the methodology and the resultant attack on political speech. However, the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill needs to be explained, and McCain needs to assure us that he understands the anger and will not do that again as President.

I would hope that McCain also understands that he should end his faux populism- that kind of thing may work for Barack Obama, who after all has no experience, but it won't work for Republicans and conservatives in particular. And Captain Ed recommends that McCain promise to elect strict constructionists to the bench- that is one area where all conservatives can agree progress is needed. If he can do that, I agree with captin Ed that much of the conservative ire will be defused.

Ultimately however, McCain has won the Republican nomination. Conservatives are still much more at home in the Republican Party than they are in a Democratic Party that promotes defeatism, anti-Americanism, and government nanny-ism. Prior to Super Tuesday I wrote that I would prefer Romney, but I could happily support McCain. that is still true,. And with McCain's victory and Romney's withdrawal, it is time for conservatives to cease the harsh words and concentrate on supporting the nominee who, despite his flaw, is a far better choice for America than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Hillary's Bread and Circuses

Hillary Clinton has long stated that if she becomes President that she would raise the tax rates for the top income-earners in the United States. However, as the economy has slowed, she recently said that she would delay raising taxes while the economy was uncertain. In an article posted at today, Washington Times poltiical reporter Donald Lambro asks the question,
If cutting taxes across every income level, including the top two brackets, helps strengthen the economy when it is weak and skirting a recession, then wouldn't their retention continue to do that?

Mr. Lambro goes on to point out that raising taxes will have an impact on the ability of the nation's investors to invest their capital in projects that will end up increasing the economy and providing jobs. He writes,
A nearly 40 percent tax rate on the top income earners can rake in a lot of revenue, but what will that do to the economy's long-term growth?

It will redirect and redistribute incomes away from business-expanding, job-creating capital investment, rechanneling more private sector income into bigger government that creates no new wealth and no new capital investment.

This is all completely true. However, I think that perhaps Mr. Lambro missed the point. he titled his article 'Tax and Spend Democrats Just Don't Get It'. With all due respect to Mr. Lambro, I think he is mistaken- the Democrats do in fact get it. by raising taxes, they eliminate entry-level jobs, thus creating at one stroke a class of people dependent on government programs for their subsistence. it is the old Roman idea of bread and circuses. Government provides bread for the people and keeps them entertained. In return, the grateful people vote for those who keep their bread coming in and their entertainment fresh.

So I think that the tax-and-spend liberals understand the dynamic completely- they are trying to create a permanent group of constituents that will respond to their tired class-warfare rhetoric. Thus it is incumbent upon conservatives can do is work at tearing down the programs that promote such class-warfare and make people personally responsible for their own decisions. Give them a chance to make their own careers and remove the need for government support of said people and then the Democrats' rhetoric will ring as hollow in theory as it is in practice.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Revolutionary Turning Point

Today is a big day for history buffs. The United States would probably not exist were it not for the support France provided the fledgling nation against the power of Great Britain, then the world's most powerful nation. On this day in 1778, the Continental Congress signed a treaty with France that made France an ally and changed the Revolutionary War from a rebellion into an international conflict.

Once the treaty was signed, France dispatched their West Indies Fleet under Admiral Francois de Grasse to the United States. deGrasse's defeat of the British fleet commanded by Admiral Thomas Graves off Cheasapeake in 1781 led to the Franco-American victory at Yorktown over General Lord Cornwallis' army, which to all intents and purposes ended the Revolutionary War.

Although France was acting mainly for its own interests (France and Britain were then engaged in a long-running war that would cover nearly a hundred years and only end with the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815), France is to be thanked, as without their timely intervention, Britain would probably have won the war eventually.

Today is also an important day in history for naval history buffs. On this day in 1991, the battleship USS Wisconsin used her 16-inch main battery to destroy an Iraqi anti-aircraft battery in Kuwait. This was her first service since the Korean War. Today, the Wisconsin, together with her sister-ship USS Iowa, are the only two battleships remaining in US government service.

On Primaries

Well, after the Super Tuesday melee, it seems that for the Republicans, the race has solidified into Senator John McCain and everyone else. According to Ed Morrissey over at Captain's Quarters, it seems McCain has won nine states, including California, New York and Missouri. Interestingly, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee won in Alabama, West Virginia, Georgia and Tennessee. Mitt Romney only won Massachusetts and some small states.

This essentially means that the nomination is McCain's to lose. Romeny would have to virtually run the table in alll the other contests, while shutting Huckabee out entirely to have a real shot at the nomination. Since this is unlikely to occur, I think that Republicans have better start getting used to the idea that McCain will be the nominee. I said before Super Tuesday that I would prefer Mitt Romney, but I would happily support McCain. that is still true. Although I have serious policy disagreements with McCain, especially on the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, I believe that McCain remains a better choice for the nation than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Speaking of Clinton and Obama, it appears that on the Democratic side, there is a dead heat. Obama actually leads in delegates, although Hillary's superdelegate count is her trump card. If Obama can continue this impressive success in the remaining primaries, then Hillary will be in real trouble, as her need to use the Democratic superdelegates to win the nomination could fracture the Democrats' bloc votes (blacks, Hispanics and women). We could be in for a very interesting stretch run on the Dmocratic side.

For Republicans, much hangs on McCain's performance at the upcoming CPAC conference in Washington next week. If McCain can convince conservatives that he will not betray them, then the nominations is his. He will need the Republican base in order to win in November, especially as his current media support will evaporate as soon as the Democrats settle on a candidate.

Remembering Reagan's Birthday

As I was browsing the blogosphere, the Texas Rainmaker reminded me that today would be the late Ronald Reagan's 97th birthday. Despite his passing in 2004, Reagan remains the most important President of the latter half of the Twentieth Century. Not only did he propose and push a vision of a strong, forceful America, he was willing to truly speak truth to power. Journalists like to claim they speak truth to power, but advocating gay rights, or assisting bureaucrats expose secrets is not exactly courageous when most of the political elites agree with them.

On the other hand, Reagan truly did speak truth to power. As Captain Ed Morrissey reminds us, he was willing to tell the Soviet Union to 'Tear down this wall" and he was willing to spend the Soviets into the dustbin of history, believing as he did that the United States' way of life was in all respects superior. A YouTube video of Reagan's famous Berlin speech is embedded below.

In addition to his courageous stand against the Soviet empire, Reagan also produced some excellent quotes regarding freedom and the necessity to protect it. A few of these quotes are as follows (thanks to Texas Rainmaker for collating these):

“One legislator accused me of having a nineteenth-century attitude on law and order. That is a totally false charge. I have an eighteenth-century attitude. That is when the Founding Fathers made it clear that the safety of law-abiding citizens should be one of the government’s primary concerns.”

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”

“If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except to sovereign people, is still the newest and most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man. This is the issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

These quotes reveal that Reagan really did believe in the United States and he believed that personal responsibility and the individual pursuit and defense of freedom were very important. Reagan did not believe in socialism or any of its pernicious relatives such as National Socialism (Nazism) or Communism. And he, unlike so many of his contemporaries, was willing to fight for freedom- an impulse that I doubt Bill or Hillary Clinton would understand.

On this 97th anniversary of Reagan's birth, i hope that all conservatives remember that we must remain eternally vigilant if we are to defeat our enemies both abroad and hidden among us. President Reagan showed that they could be beaten, and his enthusiasm for his country should be an example for us all. God rest you, Ronald Reagan, and thank you for everything.

Hat tips to Captain's Quarters and Michelle Malkin

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wisdom From the Duke

John Wayne is one of my favorite movie stars. Not because he was a particularly gifted actor, though he was much better than he usually gets credit for, but because throughout his career and his life, he tried to live up to the principles the United States stands for and because he loved and was loyal to the United States of America until the very end of his life. He was willing to make The Green Berets in defense of the United States at the height of Hollywood's anti-Americanism during the Vietnam War and he staunchly fought America's enemies all his life- whether on screen or off.

In 1966, he was a guest on Dean Martin's television show and Dean asked him what he wanted for his then-eight-month-old daughter Marisa. Wayne's reply is one of the great responses in television history and is fortunately preserved on YouTube. Watch the clip below and see if this doesn't make you feel a little better- it certainly made my day.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

Super Decision Time

Today is the day that many of the biggest prizes in the 2008 Presidential primary season go to the polls, including my home state of California. I have been agonizing for the past few months over which candidate to endorse, but decision time is finally here. Therefore, after much cogitation, I have decided support former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Although I believe that either Governor Romney or Senator John McCain is a far superior nominee to either of the Democratic possibilities, I believe that Romney's established proficiency in the economic arena, coupled with his demonstrated competence as an executive gives him the edge. That being said, should John McCain win the nomination, I will happily support him for President.

In addition to the Presidential primary, there are also a number of propositions on the ballot today. Summaries of these propositions can be found at the California State Elections web page. My take on each is as follows:

Proposition 91: This essentially makes it harder for our elected representatives to dump funds intended for specific projects- in this case transportation upkeep- into the state General Fund. I have the lowest possible opinion of California's Legislature, so anything that makes it more difficult for them to spend our money on their pork projects is to be supported. Vote Yes on Proposition 91.

Proposition 92: This allows the politicians to spend more on eduication. Basically it is yet another way for politicians to throw money at a problem without actually solving it. This would allow our politicians to throw more money to teachers' unions, despite the fact that California is already one of the biggest-spending states in the country on a per-capita basis. I believe that we ought to work on improving the standards of both our teachers and our curriculum before we throw more money into education. Vote No on Proposition 92.

Proposition 93: This proposition will impose term limits on the California legislature in a manner that hopefully will withstand court challenges. I believe that term limits are a Good Thing, since we have far too many parasites in elected positions in this state. Therefore I urge you to vote Yes on Proposition 93.

Propositions 94 - 97: These are all the same- they allow four Indian tribes to increase their slot machines whilst paying lots of money to the state in return. I do not believe that the State of California has the Constitutional authority to negotiate agreements with these tribes. However, since the agreements have already been negotiated, this is essentially a judgment call- do you want these tribes, most of whom are in the Southern California area, to increase their slot machines? If so, and you like the idea of having these tribes pay more money to the State, then vote Yes. If you do not like this idea, then vote No.

Good luck with the lines at the voting places!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hillary's Iron Fist Shows

Hillary Clinton has been trying to cast herself as the 'mommy' for these United States. However, even when she is trying her best to assume a persona of the loving mommy, she cannot entirely hide her statist, big-government motives. Further proof, if any were needed, that Hillary is at heart a socialist Big Sister was provided by the New York Times this morning. According to the Times, Hillary is proposing to enforce her universal health-care ideas by garnishing the paychecks of any workers who choose not to participate. The Times writes,
Mrs. Clinton, who did not answer Senator Barack Obama’s question on the topic in a debate last Thursday, was pressed repeatedly to do so Sunday by George Stephanopoulos on the ABC program “This Week.” When Mr. Stephanopoulos asked a third time whether she would garnish people’s wages, Mrs. Clinton responded, “George, we will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it’s that or it’s some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments.”

Although the Times use of actual analysis (though very little) in revealing Clinton's intent was a small shock, it should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Clinton's career. From the very first, she is an unabashed big-government promoter, who believe that the government can do better at making individuals' decisions than those individuals themselves. Clinton tried to foist a massive government-run healthcare plan on the Untied States in the 1990s, and now she wants to try again, despite the fact that many Americans simply do not want to buy insurance- especially younger single people who do not see the need and choose not to spend the money. As the Power Line crew so correctly writes,
The least-acknowledged fact in the present debate over health care is that many millions of Americans have no good reason to buy health insurance. This is especially true of single young people, above all single men. They rarely become seriously ill, and they know that if they are unlucky enough to be in an accident or contract a serious illness, they will be treated anyway. So, quite properly, they see no reason to pay for health insurance or--the same thing--place a high value on health insurance as an employment benefit.

Pizza Hut learned this a few years ago when it pioneered a program that made health insurance available to its part-time workers at remarkably advantageous rates. To the company's surprise, few of its part-time employees--fewer than ten percent, as I recall--signed up for the plan. Even at subsidized rates, the vast majority of young, single employees had no interest in spending money on health insurance.

Thus, the crocodile tears that are shed over "the uninsured" are by no means entirely genuine. One of the basic purposes of just about anyone's "health care plan" is to find a way to force those millions of young, single people to pay for the health care required by their elders.

This is quite correct. And I for one, do not see anywhere in our Constitution that the government, especially the federal government, has any rights or power to force people to buy things they simply do not wish to purchase. If we were living in a Communist country, then the government would indeed have that power, as we see in China and other such countries. However, the United States is quite different- we deliberately chose to limit the government's power to force us to do things we don't wish to do. And forcing younger people to pay for their elders' healthcare is a particularly egregious abuse of that power. If Hillary wants to try that, then she ought to at least be honest about her intent to abuse the power of the federal government in ways that it was never intended. Hat tip to

Friday, February 01, 2008

Why Fund Anti-Americans?

That is the question US Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina is asking. In the wake of the anti-American Berkeley City Council passing a bill that informs the United States Marines that they are not welcome in Berkeley, and their attempts to place the Marine recruiting office into the same legal category as porn shops, DeMint is planning to propose legislation that will revoke all federal funding from the City of Berkeley. Said DeMint,
"This is a slap in the face to all brave service men and women and their families," DeMint said in a prepared statement. "The First Amendment gives the City of Berkeley the right to be idiotic, but from now on they should do it with their own money."

"If the city can’t show respect for the Marines that have fought, bled and died for their freedom, Berkeley should not be receiving special taxpayer-funded handouts," he added.

To me this seems entirely appropriate. If the City of Berkeley cannot support the United States Marines, why are we American taxpayers forced to support the City of Berkeley with our money? And the same argument can be made for any other city or municipality that cannot support the United States Armed Forces. They are absolutely free to be idiotic, as Senator DeMint commented, but there is no right for them to receive our money.

Unfortunately, I do not think that the prospects for Senator DeMint's bill are strong, especially with the San Francisco Democrats like Nancy Pelosi running Congress. However, if enough of us put pressure on Congress, maybe there is some chance. I urge all my US readers to contact your Senator or Congressman and urge them to support this legislation of Senator DeMint's. Let's send a message to the People's Republic of Berkeley- you may be idiots, but speech does have consequences and idiocy can as well.

NY Times: We're Above the Law

The mainstream media seems to believe that they are above the law. they feel that anything that they do should be protected by law, no matter if they are engaging in actions that walk close to the line of treason. Today, Breitbart News is reporting that New York Times reporter James Risen, one of the two reporters who blew the whistle on the US government's use of overseas wire-tapping (a program, mind you that has not been declared illegal) is being subpoenaed over his source in a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to Breitbart,
Attorney David N. Kelley said the subpoena issued last week seeks the source of information for a chapter of James Risen's book "State of War" regarding CIA efforts to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. Risen plans to fight the subpoena, Kelly said. The reporter has been ordered to appear before the grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Feb. 7. "He has an agreement of confidentiality with his sources and he intends to stand by that in the highest degree of journalistic traditions," Kelley said. Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said the paper "strongly supports Mr. Risen and deplores what seems to be a growing trend of government leak investigations focusing on journalists, particularly in the national security area."

To me, this is simply more evidence that the Press needs to be reined in. Nowhere in the Constitution is the Press appointed to be the arbiter of what information can and should be released to the public. And there is no defense against publishing information, as the Times is so pleased to do, that helps America's enemies and causes the deaths of Americans.

In addition, the Press seems to think that they are a class above ordinary Americans. Where in the Constitution do they find a right to refuse to assist in grand jury investigations? The sources of many of these reporters are in fact breaking the law, and the reporters are at the very least accomplices in this law-breaking. Especially if the law-breaking, as in the NSA and SWIFT cases hurts the ability of the US government to protect its citizens, then the Press should have absolutely no protection. Unfortunately, Risen and the Times have shown time and again that they would rather see their countrymen killed by Muslim extremists than lift a finger to help his government protect them. And since most of the press is virulently anti-American and anti-George W. Bush, they will try to wrap their actions in the cloak of the First Amendment. However, the First Amendment does not give the press any exemption for the responsibilities of assisting in criminal cases, which is what this is.

Ultimately, I hope that the court sends Risen to jail for a good long time and fines both him and his employer for their disrespect for the law. And this should be more evidence that the Press needs to be taught a sharp lesson about where the First Amendment ends and their responsibilities as American citizens begin. I believe that while we desperately do need a free press, it is time Congress passes a law specifying that if classified information is released like this, then reporters must assist in the subsequent investigations or face trial as accomplices. In addition, they ought to face punitive fines and jail time until they release their sources. Cross-posted on NewsBusters.