Friday, December 18, 2009

Oooh, girls don't like geeks...

Or so moans Jeanna Bryner in a sob-story on the dropping numbers of women in computer science written for MSNB's Live Science portal. Writes Bryner,
The stereotype of computer scientists as geeks who memorize Star Trek lines and never leave the lab may be driving women away from the field, a new study suggests.

And women can be turned off by just the physical environment, say, of a computer-science classroom or office that's strewn with objects considered "masculine geeky," such as video games and science-fiction stuff.

Oh, the poor dears and their tender little sensibilities. Over a hundred years ago, English novelist Jane Austen wrote a novel entitled Sense and Sensibility that clearly showed the superiority of sense over sensibility. At the end of the novel, the character whose sensibilities had previously dominated her decisions realized that common sense was superior to being driven by her emotions (sensibilities). Women have been telling the world that they are equal (and for some feminists, more than equal) for many years. Thus, they have abrogated their privilege to being allowed to claim some 'sensibility' problem, in my view.

Let's turn the argument on its head. Most women-dominated professions decorate their offices with fluffy, girly things and engage in water-cooler discussions that mot men would find utterly inane. Men do not feel comfortable in such surroundings, but it is a rare man who speaks up to complain about this overly feminine, masculine-unfriendly atmosphere. Men prefer a different sort of atmosphere and women should accept it. If a profession is male-dominated as computer science is, then women need to realize that most of the atmosphere will be more masculine than they might prefer, just as men who enter occupations that are female-majority, like teaching or nursing, need to understand that football posters and discussions of the latest tech gadgets are unlikely to occur with any frequency. Both need to adjust.

This is not to say that women should be deliberately made to feel uncomfortable, any more than men should be made to feel uncomfortable. but both sexes have top understand that the majority is probably not thinking about that - they are creating an atmosphere that is best sited to themselves. men have long since accepted that idea. It is time and past time for women to do the same. And sob-stories like Bryner's do not help that progress.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Rules are for the Little People, Part...

I've lost count. How many members of the Obama Administration is this now who apparently believe that rules are only for their subjects constituents?

Meet Cindy Padilla who, according to Dan Riehl, got a lengthy vacation - very likely paid for by taxpayers - while she dealt with the results of a DWI conviction. Can you imagine any normal person getting that kind of treatment? No, neither can I. Just one more example of how the Washington crowd in general, and Democrats and Obama staffers in particular, seem to believe that rules are for the little people.

And as a bonus, the Associated Press, which originally reported this story, didn't feel the need to include her political party affiliation. Need we guess? Of course she is a Democrat.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Another One Bit The Dust...

According to CBS News (yes, the 'fake-but-accurate' people, so take this with a LARGE grain of salt), an unmanned drone attack in Pakistan killed Al-Quaeda's number three commander, one Abu Yahya al-Libi. The United States has yet to confirm the reports.

Good job, U.S. Armed Forces! Note to President Obama - kill these cowardly murderers faster, please.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Congressional Power Grab - Athletics Edition

The United States Constitution clearly spells out the areas in which the U.S Congress is entitled to exercise authority. I don't recall college athletics as being mentioned anywhere in the actual text of the Constitution. However, this has not stopped some of the Constitutionally illiterate members of Congress from attempting to impose their authority on yet another area where they ought to leave well enough alone. According to an Associated Press report posted on today, U.S. Representative Joe Barton, a Texas Republican who really should know better, sponsored a law to force the NCAA to have a playoff. The AP reported,
A House subcommittee approved legislation Wednesday aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine a national champion, over the objections of some lawmakers who said Congress had more pressing matters on its plate.

The only Representative to vote No was Democrat John Barrow of Georgia.
"With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on," Barrow said before the vote, although he stressed he didn't like the current Bowl Championship Series, either.

Barrow is right that this should have been hastily voted down, but he has his rationnale a little mixed up in my opinion. The United States Constitution's clear text on Congressional powers is pretty simple. As follows:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

I don't see anything in that text that allows Congress to regulate whether or not college football's Division One schools have a playoff system or not. It is obvious that the current system is a pathetic disgrace, the more so since every other division in college football has a playoff system. However, until the schools themselves decide to change things, Congress should focus their attention on things that are within their province. The utterly unconstitutional power grab by the EPA with their recent decision to class carbon dioxide as a pollutant - never mind that CO2 is a substance that is vital to human life on Earth - as a pollutant would be a good place to start.

It would be nice if our Congresspeople were actually cognizant that Congress - like the President and the court system - are not granted the power to do whatever they wish. There are limits on government power in the Constitution. If only our government would actually respect them!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Boxer: Leaked emails are 'crime'

So, California junior senator Barbara Boxer has decided that it is a crime to blow the whistle on a massive fraud. According to The Hill, Boxer is planning to hold criminal investigations into the hacked emails depicting the cover-up, lies and manipulated data produced by the University of East Anglia's global warming factory.

According to, Boxer is quoted as saying,
"You call it 'Climategate'; I call it 'E-mail-theft-gate,'" she said during a committee meeting. "Whatever it is, the main issue is, Are we facing global warming or are we not? I'm looking at these e-mails, that, even though they were stolen, are now out in the public."

So Boxer is unhappy with leaked data? Where was all this outrage when the New York Times was breaking laws left and right to blab national security secrets all over its front pages? Front pages that are currently bereft of any mention of the fraud being perpetrated by the global warming - oops, sorry - Global Climate Change proponents. Where was her outrage when the CIA was leaking left and right to try to undermine a sitting President?

It seems to me that the Left only cares about leakers who leak when a Republican Administration is in power. Funny how Obama, even though he is continuing virtually every single one of the previous Administration's policies, doesn't seem to have that problem. This tells me that the bureaucracy in Washington is so highly partisan and so hostile to Republican office-holders that they will commit treason - which is then facilitated by their allies in the media like Eric Lichtblau and James Risen - if they think it will hurt a Republican. Never mind what the results may be for the United States - these partisan hacks care only about putting their preferred political allies into power.

I think that it is time to flush out the entrenched bureaucracies in Washington. Dissolve the CIA. Get rid of all the various bureaus and let's start over. And this time, let's see if we can find patriots, not political partisans. Every member of the bureaucracy, just like every elected official, takes an oath to uphold the laws of the United States. Isn't it time that we demanded that they actually adhere to the oaths they willingly take, instead of preferring to cherry-pick the ones they wish to follow? It's time that they were called to account. And it is time that the government either enforced the laws - including forcing journalists who help lawbreakers to name their sources - or cease pretending that these laws even matter. You can't have it both ways.

Gay Lobby Loses....Again

You mean not only so-called 'red' states are ignorant and tyrannical? New York's state Senate kills gay marriage in New York.

This seems like a tempest in a teacup in many ways, but the underlying issue is one that we would do well to remember. The Left (and yes, this includes the militant gay lobby) has always been about the tyranny of the minority. And as I have written before, despite the gay lobby's in-your-face tactics and attempts to paint the issue as one of civil rights, most people simply do not agree that marriage is a right. And no minority has a right to dictate to a majority what that majority's idea of social normality should be. Absent some violation of civil rights (race-based discrimination, for example), the majority has the right to set their own standards. And homosexual behavior is simply not a normal social standard of behavior. This does not change my stance that government ought to get out of the entire debate and let the churches determine what marriage is or is not. But when a standard is as long-established as marriage, there is little reason to change it (again absent some violation of civil rights).

Ultimately, the people have the right to set their own standards and despite their enablers in the media and the support of large swaths of government, the gay lobby has failed to make a convincing argument. Instead, they have engaged in hateful, violent rhetoric against anyone who stands against them.

The worst part for the gay lobby is that in ultra-Left/liberal New York, a good percentage of the senate Democrats voted against it. Wonder how long it will take the gay lobby to call them insulting names and hurl hateful rhetoric in their direction?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Media (Un)Ethics

The media loves to destroy careers and damage peoples' lives. if someone is unfortunate enough to be in the media spotlight due to their iridescent talents, that person can count on being treated like the subject of the Truman Show. Especially if something in that microscopically-studied life should happen to occur that promises lots of free publicity for the jackals of the Press.

Tiger Woods is one of these unfortunates. The man is a supremely skilled golfer. He is athletic, rich, attractive to the fair sex and seemingly lives the Perfect Life. But he is also an intensely private person off the golf course. He doesn't appear on frothy 'celebrity' shows. He doesn't appreciate fake topless shots of his wife. And he certainly doesn't enjoy the media intruding into what he does off the golf course. All of which stands should be uncontroversial. But the media can't let it go. In a world populated by self-serving trash like TMZ and Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr (who calls himself Perez Hilton), if the media cannot catch a celebrity in an embarrassing, headline-provoking scandal, they are perfectly prepared to create it out of whole cloth.

Such is the case here. The undisputed facts are these:

  1. The National Enquirer magazine published a story claiming Mr. Woods had an affair with a woman.

  2. Both Woods and the woman (Rachel Uchitel, 34) promptly denied the report.

  3. Mr. Woods and his wife may have had an argument, possibly caused by the Enquirer's story. No physical force has been reported to have been involved.

  4. Mr. Woods left the house at a very early hour and was involved in a minor automobile accident.

  5. Mrs. Woods assisted in rescuing her husband, who suffered minor injuries.

As far as I am aware, no laws were broken by either Mr. or Mrs. Woods. However, the media, having created the situation that caused the problem, are now in full-throated roar demanding that Mr. Woods somehow owes them an explanation.

Er, how to put this in language our logically- and ethically-challenged media will understand? NO. Tiger Woods owes the the press nothing at all. In addition, unless some evidence emerges that he broke the law in some manner, neither does he owe the police an explanation. Jason Whitlock, one of the very few members of the press who has both respect for others' privacy and common sense (he was virtually the only member of the national media to get the Duke Rape Hoax right), put it best in his column this morning, writing,
The media members/outlets asserting Tiger Woods owes the public and the Florida Highway Patrol an explanation for a fender-bender and his wife's jaws-of-9-iron rescue owe America an explanation for their self-serving jealousy and obvious stupidity.

The price of fame and wealth should not be the sacrifice of marital privacy. Tiger Woods plays golf for our enjoyment. He didn't marry Elin Nordegren for our entertainment.

Jason Whitlock gets it. Why don't the rest of America's supposedly 'professional' press corps? The media does not have a right to invade the privacy of people just because their professions bring them into the public eye.

America's media has a lot of problems, from their abject failure to actually display any professional objectivity (11 'fact-checkers' for Sarah Palin's book, zero for Barack Obama's or Joe Biden's)to their complete failure to accurately inform the American public about many important stories currently ongoing (ACORN's corruption, the University of East Anglia's emails, etc.). But while they don't seem to have enough time to actually deal with actual issues of real importance to most Americans, they do have enough time to descend on a professional athlete who has done nothing wrong and try to wreck his life. For shame!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Courts Destroy Citizen Rights, Part 2,000,000

It has always been my understanding that the courts' major job is to ensure justice and uphold the law of the land. Pity that so many of them seem to have signed on to the statists' big government mantra. Starting with the empowerment of government over citizens in the Progressive era at the beginning of the 20th century, the courts have steadily ceased to perform their role as limiters of government's constant power grabs.

The latest example of courts riding roughshod over citizens' rights occurred in Brooklyn, New York. The New York Supreme Court ruled that the government could use eminent domain to force homeowners and businesses to give up their property so that a multi-millionaire developer could build a new sports arena among other things.

The main problem, as I see it, is that the Founders supposed that the government would not attempt to engage in mass redistribution of wealth at the expense of their subjects - er, I mean citizens. Therefore, they wrote in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution (which statement is echoed in the New York Constitution),
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Note that nowhere do they specifically say that property may not be taken for public use. Nor is there any mention that property may not be taken for private use. Thus the government is not breaking the letter of the law, though they have long since broken the spirit into a million little pieces (see Kelo).

The answer, I regret to say, is a Constitutional amendment stating that no private property can be seized for any reason save those specifically stated, and that under no circumstances can private property be seized for transfer to any non-public use. We have a government and a court system that wants to impose government oversight over every aspect of its citizens' lives. The only way to prevent this is to specifically bar the government and the courts for being allowed to impose. We have gone a long way down the road to serfdom already and unless we act, we will wake up in a feudal system - which of course is precisely what the big government proponents in the courts and the government want - a hierarchy where they may enjoy the fruits of everyone else's labors.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Tarkanian Touch

In the interests of full disclosure, I was never a big fan of Danny Tarkanian when he played basketball at UNLV and I have a long-standing contempt for his father Jerry. However, the Danny Tarkanian for Congress campaign has come up with one of the most hilarious political advertisements I have seen in a long time. As both Ed Morrissey and Jim Geraghty have said - watch this before YouTube pulls it for copyright infringement.

Danny Tarkanian advertisement:

Liberal Arrogance - and Guilt

It has been noted many times that the modern American Left - which includes a large percentage of the Democratic Party - seems to be more interested in controlling every aspect of the Little People's lives than they are in anything else. Evidence for this proposition includes the massive government power grab of the financial, automotive and health care industries, as well as the ever-increasing reams of regulation that are mainly spearheaded by the Left.

However, there is another piece of evidence for the predilection - the tendency of self-professed 'elites' in the United States to try to force Americans to pronounce foreign words exactly as a native speaker would. Food Critic and Top Chef judge Toby Young mercilessly exposes this affectation in his Spectator column today, writing,
In the States, pronouncing foreign words ‘correctly’ is a high-status indicator. It’s not just about demonstrating your racial sensitivity. It’s a way of advertising your membership of the elite. Saying ‘py-el-a’ rather than ‘py-ay-a’ is to risk being thought of as lower class.

I don’t mean that they’re concerned about appearing not very well travelled, though that comes into it. It’s more a question of manners. Not tiptoeing around other cultures is considered impolite. To make a ‘racially insensitive’ remark is to reveal a lack of familiarity with the code. They’re worried about appearing ignorant, but not of other cultures. What concerns them is that people might think they don’t know the form. Being politically correct is also socially correct — which helps explain its ubiquity. When a political trend is reinforced by snobbery it becomes an irresistible force, which helps explain the success of the environmental movement.

As a speaker of Japanese, I am well-acquainted with the fact that a Japanese person will not pronounce English words in precisely the same accent as a native American. Words are spoken differently by different cultures. For instance, in English Roma is Rome, 東京 is Tokyo, and Paree is Paris. In Japanese London is 'Rondon' and Los Angeles is 'Rosu'. And why not? Making an effort to pronounce words correctly when speaking a foreign tongue aids communication. However, when speaking English, I do not labor to pronounce foreign words as they would be in their native tongue - I give them the common English pronunciation.

In essence what these elitists are doing is trying both to show their elite status and to force everyone to meet their own narrow ideas of what is 'correct'. As Mr. Young so correctly concludes,
A world in which all ethnic groups speak slightly differently, following their own idiosyncratic rules when it comes to pronouncing words not in their language, is preferable to one in which everyone is forced to pronounce things ‘correctly’ by a bunch of guilty white people. In the end, that’s more ‘imperialist’ than saying ‘py-el-a’.

I could not agree more. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is Major Hasan a Traitor?

Austin Bay makes a strong case in his StrategyPage column today that the answer may be yes. Writes Bay,
One word aptly describes Ft. Hood mass murderer Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan: traitor.

Traitor is a tough word. It doesn't smudge and squish. "Traitor" draws a hard line, one that sharply divides essential life-determining values and marks a defining personal choice between the profound and the profane.

Treason is one of the few crimes specifically defined in the text of the United States Constitution. As defined in Article Three, Section Three,
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Well, then. Major Hasan was a voluntary member of the United States Army, sworn to protect the United States and furthermore, he was a member of the Army Medical Corps, sworn to serve his fellow soldiers. He voluntarily swore two oaths to that effect. Yet he opened fire on his unarmed fellow soldiers, on a military base on his country's soil. He did not take the honorable course of resigning and seeking to fight as a part of our enemies' forces, but instead hid behind his rank and shot down his fellow soldiers when they could not defend themselves. I would say that this meets the characterization of 'levying war' as well as 'adhering to their enemies'. Taken together, this is a pretty clear picture of a traitor. Colonel Bay compares Hasan with Benedict Arnold and I believe that to be a fair analogy but I would classify Hasan's acts as even more despicable than Arnold's.

Bay also takes to task journalists and activists like Joe Klein and the partisan hacks at for abusing the word treason - a word that in some cases (ie. Eric Lichtblau and James Risen) actually applies better to those same abusers. Bay says of these contemptible members of the chattering class,
Self-styled mainstream journalists with no regard for the awful moral weight and terrible consequences of the actual act of sedition heedlessly employ the accusation as a word weapon to thwart discomfiting political criticism. For example, Time Magazine's Joe Klein wrote this past Oct. 23 that "some of" what Fox News presents ("peddles" was Klein's verb) "borders on sedition."

Klein's rash innuendo (so indicative of people who live in a relatively safe world protected by cops and soldiers) is lightweight prostitution compared to the thoroughly dirty work of the hard left propagandists at, who all but called Gen. David Petraeus a traitor.

This is unfortunately true. Many members of the left like to throw around words like this in an attempt to silence their political opponents. However, treason has a deeper meaning - simply disagreeing with a President's policies, and pointing out the flaws and problems with those policies, is not treason. That is dissent, and is the lifeblood of a free country. The Left, however, prefers to silence their adversaries than to hold an open debate. I would suggest that my readers, such as they may be, might want to take note of that tendency. Republicans and conservatives are not known for silencing debate - quite the contrary. It is the Left who wishes to shut down open discourse, whether by the Orwellian 'Fairness Doctrine' or by cruder threats, such as frivolous lawsuits or even using their SEIU shock troops.

Did Major Nidal Malik Hasan commit treason? Based on the available evidence the answer appears to be a resounding yes. I fully support a full investigation in a military courts martial. However, should the resulting judgment agree with this assessment, we can only hope that a military overcome with dangerous political correctness can and will take the necessary steps to execute him for actions against the men and women he was sworn to protect and serve.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AP Rewrites History for Muslim Sniper John Muhammad

Today's AP article on the Yahoo! News site regarding the impending execution of convicted Virgina sniper John Muhammad is almost breathtaking in its politically correct craven-ness. Muhammad and his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, confessed that they were undertaking a home-grown jihad against Americans in support of their Muslim brethren overseas. In addition, drawings done by Malvo in jail leave no doubt that the two were inspired by Muslim theology.

However, the Associated Press cannot bring itself to admit what is well-known. Instead, in an article on Yahoo! News today, reporter Dena Potter writes,
The motive for the shootings remains murky. Malvo said Muhammad wanted to use the plot to extort $10 million from the government to set up a camp in Canada where homeless children would be trained as terrorists. But Muhammad's ex-wife has said she believes the attacks were a smoke screen for his plan to kill her and regain custody of their three children.

Um, no. Muhammad and Malvo were unrepentant Muslim terrorists. Their aims, as presented in court and reported at the time by the New York Sun newspaper, were to terrorize American cities and ultimately create a force of of like-minded terrorists to spread out and execute similar terror missions in other cities. At no time did either Muhammad or Malvo try to deny that Islamic teachings formed a major part of their inspiration. In fact, in his courtroom testimony, Malvo specifically said that Muhammad had introduced him to the Nation of Islam teachings.

So we must ask ourselves - is Ms Potter ignorant or is she simply following the meme and is unable to think for herself? Based on the AP's track record, I would suspect the latter. Remember - it's only news if it fits the narrative.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Fort Hood Thoughts

I had not intended to blog about the events that took place at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009. This is mainly because I do not believe that I can add anything to the discussion. However, an article on the Forbes online edition today has changed my mind. But first, allow me to offer my sympathy and outrage to the families of those killed and wounded in this despicable attack. And let me suggest to our elected leaders that a more sincere expression of outrage and tangible actions to deter any future episodes of this nature are absolutely required. The current lukewarm reaction simply won't cut it.

The facts of the case are not in doubt. Major Nidal Malik Hassan opened fire at a processing center on the base, killing thirteen and wounding twenty-nine people befire he was taken into custody. Based on reports that have been coming in regularly, ther seems to be little doubt that Hassan's motives were due to his identification with fundamental Islamic terrorists and thier attempts at global jihad - attempts that include the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

Since the attacks, the Obama administration has bent over backwards to obscure any possible linkage of the shooter with the Islamic religion. And they have also shown a startling lack of compassion or sympathy with the victims, choosing to focus on Indian tribal matters as opposed to the US Armed Forces.

Today, Forbes editor Tunku Varadarajan writes a column about the lessons and possibilities opened by Hassan's actions. Regarding the shooter's motives, he writes chillingly,
"Going postal" is a piquant American phrase that describes the phenomenon of violent rage in which a worker--archetypically a postal worker--"snaps" and guns down his colleagues.

As the enormity of the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sinks in, we must ask whether we are confronting a new phenomenon of violent rage, one we might dub--disconcertingly--"Going Muslim." This phrase would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American--a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood--discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.

This is a truly frightening thought. The United States, as Varadarajan points out, has a long history of assimilating new arrivals and in most cases, has successfully managed to integrate them quite well. This appears to be less successful in the case both of the illegal aliens from the south and the Muslim immigrants, regardless of their country of origin. As Varadarajan says,
America differentiates itself on integration from Western European countries, which are far more cringing and guilt-driven in their approach. But can the American swagger persist if many Americans come genuinely to view Muslims as Fifth Columnists? The integration compact depends on a broad trust that the immigrant's desire to be American can happily co-exist with his other forms of racial/cultural/religious identity. Once that trust doesn't exist, America faces a problem in need of urgent resolution.

This is undoubtedly true. If a majority of Americans come to see Muslims as incapable of assimilating, they could eventually lead to a violent confrontation. And that is something that no one in their right minds wishes to see. But if this phenomenon is not dealt with, that possibility could come to pass.

Finally, it is clear that the Army itself and the federal government ignored signs that Hassan was no friend of the United States. The question has been raised as to why he was still an officer in the United States Army. That question is salient. Why indeed? The Obama Administration has reportedly instructed the FBI to rule out any idea that this is related to Islam or Islamic terror. if this report is tru, then the Obama Administration is even more pathetic and less friendly to the country they are sworn to represent that was previously thought. The first and foremost duty of the President is to protect the United States. Hassan killed thirteen members of the US Armed Forces while they wer unarmed. This is murder, plain and simple. Why is the FBI not allowed to pursue all possible leads?

Finally, Varadarajan points out the the Army itself failed to take action on the many warning signs Hassan exhibited before he opened fire. Among these were the following:

  • Dressed in traditional Islamic garb

  • attended a mosque closely linked to the 9/11 terrorists

  • wrote comments highly critical of the UNited States and supportive of the Islamic terrorists

Why was Hassan never investigated for these actions? Taken together, they present a fairly consistent pattern of anti-American, pro-Islamic terror actions. But apparently no action was ever taken. Was this because Hassan was Muslim and no one dared to complain, fearing the lawsuits of the grievance-mongers like CAIR? Was there some policy that stated Muslims were to be given extra leeway in their actions? Answers need to be provided. As Varadarajan concludes,
Let the first lesson of the Hasan atrocity be this: The U.S. Army has to be a PC-free zone. Our democracy and our way of life depend on it.

I could not agree more.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Thoughts on Maine and Gay marriage

In the aftermath of last night's elections, it has become apparent that the gay movement has failed to redefine marriage in Maine, one of the most left-leaning states in the entire country. I have received several comments on Facebook to the effect that somehow this vote is a disgrace and that those who voted should be ashamed of themselves. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has weighed in with his thoughts, and between the two points of view, this has occasioned a few thoughts on my part as well.

First, the gay movement has for some time been heavily invested in painting its critics as racists, sexists and any other derogatory term they think they can get away with using. After losing the Proposition 8 vote in California, they unleashed a torrent of hatred and even violence against those they chose to identify as opposing gay marriage. This is tyranny and absent the government supporting it, it doesn't work too well in a free society. If I could give one piece of advice to the gay movement, it would be to concentrate more on persuasion and coming up with valid arguments as to why marriage even needs to be redefined. So far, the gay movement has not made a single valid argument for why society's definition of marriage needs to be redefined. Which brings up the second point.

Marriage is not a right. Not for heterosexuals, not for homosexuals, not for pedophiles, not for sado-masochists and not for anyone else. No one is guaranteed a marriage partner. Marriage has been many things through humanity's long history - a duty, a burden and a privilege. But it has never been a right. Just because four California judges are too arrogant or too power-hungry (yes, the original judgment that provoked Prop 8 was a judicial power grab, just like Roe vs. Wade and the more recent Boumedienne ruling) to understand that does not make their point of view correct. Five justices of the Supreme Court once ruled that slavery was OK too. Were they correct? Marriage is a social contract, and as such, should, be defined y society. For those of you who have difficulties with math, that means a majority. Homosexuals are not by any stretch of the imagination a majority and due to their utter inability to breed true never will be. So absent some violation of their rights, they are not allowed to dictate to the majority. Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air writes,
The recognition of marriage is a legitimate public policy question, one that should be decided through either the legislature or by direct vote in referendums. No one has proposed any law to ban gay relationships, and the law should not interfere with consenting, non-sanguinary adults in creating legal partnerships for property, access, and so on — the incidentals of long-term relationships. But the people of the states have the right to determine what relationships qualify for state recognition as marriage.

But the homosexuals claim that they are being discriminated against - that they are somehow being denied their 'rights'. As to the right of marriage, see above. As to their ability to form domestic partnerships with the consenting adult of their choice, no one is denying them this privilege. However, as Ed notes, it is society's privilege to set the terms of its contracts. Not a tiny little minority. And in most states, homosexuals are offered essentially the same legal protections for their relationships as normal people have. So I fail to see their complaint.

I would suspect that the real goal of the gays is to replace the current definition of marriage with their own and force the rest of society to embrace their particular sexual choices. Allowing them to do this would be a tyranny of the minority, especially when foisted on the majority by a group of arrogant, unelected judges. Which was one of the main rallying points for the Prop 8 supporters last year.

So for the gay movement, may I suggest that it is time to abandon the vicious language and hateful demonization of your opponents. Concentrate on defining a valid argument for why marriage ought to be redefined. So far, the homosexual movement has utterly failed in making a valid argument for redefining marriage. And no, making obviously false comparisons to the civil rights movement is winning no arguments. Persuade society that marriage needs to be redefined. Until that happens, you will continue to lose these contests and your behavior is not calculated to win any friends in the electorates you are so ready to insult!

Ed concludes his piece by writing,
People would be better protected by partnership contracts, where property and child access would be decided and agreed long before problems appeared in the relationship, and leave marriage to the churches, which are much better suited to protect the institution. Divorce is a much bigger danger to marriage than gay marriage ever will be, and the dissolution of the nuclear family a much bigger threat to the fabric of society than gays and lesbians living together. Everyone would be better off with government out of the bedroom and the chapel — and so would marriage.

I think if the homosexual movement wanted to make better use of their energy, they should join with the Tea Party folks in demanding that government get out of our daily lives. Let government give out 'partnership contracts' and leave marriage where it should be - in the domain of the churches and individual choice. Just a suggestion....

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Coming Crash?

Peggy Noonan has an opinion piece in today's online Wall Street Journal talking about the current state of things in the United States. She writes,
The biggest threat to America right now is not government spending, huge deficits, foreign ownership of our debt, world terrorism, two wars, potential epidemics or nuts with nukes. The biggest long-term threat is that people are becoming and have become disheartened, that this condition is reaching critical mass, and that it afflicts most broadly and deeply those members of the American leadership class who are not in Washington, most especially those in business.

She has a point. While the ignorant, self-important corruptocrats in Washington DC and mot State and local governments continue their orgy of spending, new taxes and increasing the size and power of their governments, ordinary Americans are beginning to turn away and lose faith in them entirely. And if the governed once lose trust in the governors, then he system will no longer work at all,

The Constitution is built upon one simple idea - that the governed PERMIT their elected representatives to make decisions for them. In return, they expect their representatives to exercise restraint and behave morally in their best interests. This contract has long since been abandoned by the inhabitants of that strange city we call Washington DC. Buoyed by the ranks of government unions (since when is it acceptable that bureaucrats get unions while the soldiers and sailors - the only government employees who actually EARN their pay have none), the elected representatives are busily dipping into the public till or their own perks while ignoring the interests of the people they profess to serve. William Jefferson had freezers full of cash, and the Washington establishment has ben almost entirely silent about his corruption. Chriss Dodds and Barney Frank have massive sweetheart deal with shady lobbyists - including many of the people responsible for the financial collapse, and the Washington establishment seems to think that is perfectly fine.

Noonan suggests that it is because they are the Baby Boomers - a generation that has never had to worry about anything and one that is infamous for it's selfishness and self-obsession. She writes,
We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists—they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.

I hope that they notice at some point. The tea partiers may not have the juice in the long run to end this orgy of disaster that the Washington elites are engaged in, but they symbolize a frustration and a slow-growing wave that may in time take down the corruptocrats. And I issue a warning to these self-important jacks-in-office. Be careful. You folks - particularly on the Left side of the political spectrum - have made a career out of polarization and personal attacks. Remember the typical descriptions of every conservative from Ronald Reagan to George Will to William F. Buckley. They have ben demonized, hung in effigy and compared to Nazis (who were actually closer to the political Left than to the modern American conservative movement). And these same people - many of whom could not have succeeded at a real job where there are actual performance reviews - who are increasingly telling us that only they are qualified to make decisions for us on all levels of our daily lives, regardless of the Constitutional limits on what government can and cannot do.

Be careful, government bureaucrats. Remember that it was a similar situation in ancient Rome that gave rise to Julius Caesar and the Empire. While I would be happy to see most of the bureaucracies disbanded (especially on the Federal level), I don't think that any of us wish to see an American equivalent either to the Roman Empire or to the Socialist nightmares that the current Adminitration seems to be bent on recreating here. But I warn the political elites (and their shills in the Establishment media) - ignore the rising anger and cycnicism at your own cost. Some day there WILL be a reckoning.

To the Democrats, I warn you to stop with the socialism. Most Americans are not socialists and socialism is a system that has failed everywhere it has been tried. Name a single state that has experienced success with a socialist philosophy. There is not one. You can bribe your way to power, but most Americans are still adamantly opposed to your particular brand of ideology - even those nominally DEmocrat. The Leftists who actually support your agenda are noisy, but they constitute under thirty percent of the UNited States. They are not a path to power. Respect the Constitution instead of merely picking the parts you like. All parts of the Constitution should hold equal power. Just because you don't like guns or conservative speech is no reason to toss aside the First and Second Amendments. Weren't you the folks who screamed about dissent being the highest form of patriotism when George W. Bush was President?

To the Republicans, I say - return to your roots or you will cease to exist. Conservatives outnumber liberals and if we have no place to go, we will form our own party. The Democrats are the party of bribery, of election-rigging, of racial politics and of out and out machine politics. The Republicans must be a viable alternative preaching small government, self-respect, individualism and the responsibility. If you are merely Democrat-lite, you have no reason for being. Small government, a strong defense of American interests and a healthy respect for free markets, private property and the individual are the path to power, but only so long as you continue to support those beliefs. The Left controls the Press, the educational establishment and most of the legal profession. You will get no help from any of those and they will sabotage you at every turn. But if you can put your case directly to the voters, I believe that you can persuade them that your path is the correct one. Maybe not in states too far gone down the corruption path - I refer to New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois, etc - but to the swing states you will need to get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. You must not merely reduce the rate of growth of government, but somehow begin reducing it!

Noonan suggest that if the government pushes people far enough, they might simply tune out and take their tax dollars with them. That is possible - in Italy, tax evasion is a national sport. if that begins to happen in this country, there is no way the Federal government could finance their grandiose dreams and the IRS cannot persecute everyone in this country - though they certainly will try! However, history says that is is far more likely that if the people are pushed far enough, a strong leader will arise who will simply take power in his own way. And ultimately, that is not a good thing for the country's survival. Rome itself endured a mere four hundred years or so after the change from Republic to Empire. And I doubt that a multi-cultural America ha any chance at matching that record.

If I had influence or money or power on the requisite scale, I would be busy recruiting solid conservatives in every state to go to Washington and their local governments and dismantle this socialistic nightmare that the left is busy erecting around us. But I don't have any of that. I wrote my thoughts on the future of this once-great nation when Obama won. Nothing I've seen since has changed that opinion.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11

I have been struck by the many posts on Facebook and other places remembering the attacks of September 11, 2001. So I thought I would post a few thoughts as well.

It is interesting how no one in our media (and few in our current Administration) seems to want to recall that this attack was unprovoked, uncalled for and thoroughly against every law of war that there is. It is strange how most Americans seem to have forgotten that the same people who organized the attacks of September 11 were the same folks who attacked US military bases, who attacked US embassies, who attacked US warships and who had tried once before to destroy the World Trade Center. And that these people were utterly unmolested by the US government prior to September 11.

The attackers of the World Trade Center on September 11 were all Muslim. They were mainly from Saudi Arabia, but their countries of origins were largely irrelevant to their mission. No government officially backed, them though many - including Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and others - gave them refuge and supplied money and training facilities. The Muslim terrorists who carried out the September 11 attacks and their ilk (such as Hezbollah) were fired by the ideals of Muhammad - the failed businessman who despite being run out of Mecca somehow manged (due entirely to a fortunate marriage) to create the greatest force for bloodshed and suffering the world has ever seen. Muslim armies exploded out of Arabia in the mid-sixth century AD and proceeded to being a campaign of blood and terror that would cause half the world to end up in the chains of Islam - a religion that is nearly as harsh on its female adherents as it is to anyone who is not a member. Islam has a simple ideal - join or die. And once joined, you can never leave. Trying to convert is met by death in the Arab countries - by imprisonment and 'reeducation' in the supposedly moderate ones such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

For al Quaeda and its many sympathizers around the world, such as the regimes in Iraq, Iran and many of the powers that be in other Muslim states, there are no rules of war. They are essentially cowards - fighting behind the unwilling human shields of the captive populations and refusing to show their faces. They wear no uniform, carry no flag and answer to no defined command structure. This is the reason that the Geneva Conventions specifically deny terrorists and those who fight without following acceptable rules of war the benefits of their protections.

Let us never forget the evil that these attackers did and continue to try to do. When we tried to fight them with criminal courts and lawyers, the lawyers turned against us, like the traitress Lynne Stewart and the courts, lacking any understanding of military strategy, ended up using laws the United States never agreed to to force us to allow these men to use our own courts against us. Only when President George W. Bush, in one of the most courageous decisions a president has undertaken in recent years, unleashed the military against their sponsor states did their reign of terror slowly begin to be brought under control. As Americans, we should know these people better. We have fought them before and for similar reasons - have we already forgotten the Barbary Wars against the Muslim Pashas of North Africa?

And then too, let us not forget that these enemies of civilization follow the creed that has been trying to destroy the West since Muhammad led his first imperial jihad out of the Arabia in the mid-sixth century AD. The civilizations of North Africa - wiped from the face of the Earth. Spain conquered in 714, France barely saved by Charles Martel in 732. None of that was provoked either. The Crusades were a reaction to the Muslim wars of conquest, not an action. I wish more Americans realized that. The people who attacked us on 9/11 are the ideological heirs of Muhammad and his bloodthirsty wars of conquest that nearly conquered the entire world. Europe barely escaped this fate many times, most recently in the campaigns of 1680 before the gates of Vienna, when forces led by the military genius Prince Eugene of Savoy fought off a Muslim force led by the Ottoman Sultans. After first serving in the great defense of Vienna in 1683, he finally stopped the Muslim tide in its tracks with his victories at Belgrade and Petrovaradin in the mid-eighteenth century. That is less than three hundred years ago - no time at all in terms of history. Muslims spent nearly eight hundred years trying to bring down the Byzantine Empire before they finally succeeded in 1453. A mere three centuries is nothing.

Many have claimed that Christianity is a greater force of evil that Islam and there are certainly many episodes of terror and brutality in the kingdoms that call themselves Christian. Nor have the Church's leaders always shown to advantage. But I cannot find any similar campaign to conquer the world as that carried out by Muslim armies for nearly a thousand years. Christianity has never tried to take by military force any of the traditional Muslim homelands in Arabia - I do not count Israel as that is a special case and is not a traditional Muslim homeland in any case. Christianity is also not a religion that mixes politics with its preaching. Although many political leaders have wrapped themselves in the Church, at no time has any Pope or other religious leader sent Christian armies out to conquer the world by force of arms for Christiantiy as Muslim leaders have done for centuries. And Christianity is aided by the fact that it has traditionally been a bottom up religion. many of its most influential leaders are not men of great power, but rather poor or ignobly born men. Islam, incontrast, is a religion run by the elites. Chirstianity is not, though it has gone through phases where the elites have tried.

As to the argument of imperialism, the West has been practicing imperialism for a far shorter time than has Islam. Islam has been exporting blood and war since roughly 550 AD. The West began to practice such in the 1500s, and mass imperialism did not become popular in Europe until the 1800s. Quite a difference. Nor did European imperialism involve forcible religious conversion in most cases - again utterly unlike Islam. In fact, under TE Lawrence, British imperial forces actually aided Muslims against other Muslims - the forces of Ottoman Turkey And the US itself has fought alongside Muslims many times - including defending Bosnians from other Christians. But to the wild-eyed Muslims, this matters not at all.

I put all this to paper to remind America that the attacks of September 11 did not occur in a vacuum. Are all Muslims bloodthirsty monsters? Of course not. But Islam itself has a streak of imperialist violence we would do well to remember . And we also would do well to remember that this is the same religion that calls non-Muslims inferiors and requires submission by such to Muslims. This attack is part of a long story of war and conquest. It was not begun by Christians, but if our children are to survive to see a world where they can freely worship and speak in public, we may need to finish it. In that vein I call upon all Americans to think well about the events eight years ago. While we argue about 'torture' and 'Abu Ghraib', Muslims are sharpening their spears and waiting for their next chance. They think that they can win and if we don't start defending our culture a bit more strongly, they may well prove to be right. The lessons of September 11 are that we must never relax - we are fighting a war and it is a war that we can only win by shouting the virtues of our civilization as opposed to the barbarian monsters we face.

So on this eight anniversary of the bloody and unprovoked attacks on the World Trade Center that took over three thousand innocent lives, I ask that you remember 9/11. Never forget!

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Bush and Reagan Speeches to Schoolchildren

There has been a lot of angst about President Obama's upcoming speech to school children. Spokesman Robert Gibbs made the point that both President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush also made addresses to schoolchildren. Just for reference, here is a link to the text of President George H.W. Bush's 1991 speech to schoolchildren.
The Bush speech can be found at The Bush Library online resources hosted by Texas A&M University.

For a transcript of Reagan's 1988 address, I have unearthed a link from the University of Texas: Reagan Address to School Children, November 14, 1988

Once Obama's transcript is posted it will be interesting to compare them. Both Reagan and Bush's were innnocuous, though Reagan did make the case for low taxes, and less governmetn spending. However, neither Reagan nor Bush tried to push the children in any particular direction as the Soviets, the Chinese and the imperial Japnese models certainly do. We shall see if Obama can rise to that level of statemanship - to date he is both more partisan and less willing to reach across the aisle to the opposition than either Ronald Reagan or either of the Bushes ever were.

Hat tip to Allahpundit over at Hot Air.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Beck, Letterman and Censorship

It appears that Fox News host Glenn Beck has gotten himself into some trouble of late. According to the New York Daily News, he referred to President Barack Obama as racist:
The combustable Beck ignited a firestorm when, during a Tuesday morning appearance on FNC's freewheeling "Fox and Friends," he said the President's reaction to the Henry Louis Gates Jr. arrest situation in Cambridge, Mass., suggested a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

To his credit, "Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade — who recently had to apologize for comments he made about racial issues — immediately responded, saying that most of the faces people see of the Obama administration are white, such as spokesman Robert Gibbs or chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

"I'm not saying he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem," Beck responded. "This guy is, I believe, a racist."

Around the Internet, this comment seems to have outraged a number of people, to the point where there is a Facebook poll asking if Beck should be fired. Funny how the same people calling for beck to be fired for suggesting that Obama is racist were silent when late-night host Dave Letterman suggested that baseball player Alex Rodriguez had sex with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's 14-year old daughter. As reported by the Hollywood Grind,
On Tuesday’s show, David Letterman joked in his opening monologue that the Alaska Governor Sarah Palin visited Yankee Stadium, sitting in "far, far right field" with Rudy Giuliani. "They had a wonderful time," he continued. "The toughest part of her visit was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter." Letterman also said that Alex Rodriquez knocked up Palin’s daughter at the game, except the daughter at the game was not 18 year-old Bristol Palin, it was Palin’s 14 year-old daughter.

Neither Beck's nor Letterman's comments are useful additions to political discourse in this country, and both are despicable. However, I disagreed with the campaign to ask CBS to fire Letterman and I also disagree with the campaign to have Fox fire Beck. What both these campaigns are trying to accomplish is pure censorship, albeit in the name of decency. I ask those calling for him to be fired - do you agree with censorship? Because that is what you are proposing. By all means show your disapproval and refute his statements. But to try to get him fired for speech with which you disagree is censorship, which is anathema to me. Censorship makes totalitarian governments like Cuba and Communist China possible.

As far as Beck and Letterman and all the other commentators making extreme statements - and yes, this definitely includes the many on the Left who used Nazi terminology to refer to former President Bush for the last eight years - should they face some sort of discipline? Maybe, but that is up to their employers. As far as we consumers, we can choose not to watch their shows. But we should never risk employing the whip of censorship. The power of censorship, once granted to a government authority, can never be revoked and can easily be employed against any subject. Censorship is the weapon most desired by totalitarian governments, and we should be exceedingly wary in its use here. Censorship in a war zone to protect troops? Absolutely. Censorship for two brainless commentators? Both needless and dangerous. The First Amendment was written for a reason and that reason has everything to do with political speech.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Media - Then and Now

Once upon a time, the American media was an organization that for all its faults, understood that American interests were more valuable than the interests of our enemies. Allow me to share with you a moment from World War II.

The San Francisco Examiner newspaper in 1944 wrote an editorial suggesting that the Marines were operating under incompetent leadership because they were in a bloody and desperate battle for the island known as Iwo Jima. The Examiner strongly suggested that perhaps the Army, under the leadership of the media's favorite general, Douglas MacArthur, could do a far better job. This provoked the San Francisco Chronicle - a that time a paper with some sympathy for American fighting men - to respond as follows:

To slur the United States Marines in one type of operation, however, to draw odious comparisons between theirs and the type of operations conducted by General MacArthur, is to raise a sinister fantasy. To hint that the Marines die fast and move slowly on Iwo Jima because Marine and Naval leadership in that assault is incompetent is an attempt at a damnable swindle of the American people.

The Chronicle does not propose to engage in controversy over the relative merits of our fighting forces in he various theaters of war. But neither does the Chronicle propose to remain mute when United States Marines or any force on the world battle line, is butchered at home to make a Roman holiday.

It is a pity that the media of today, and several of our supposed leaders - yes, John Murtha, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama, I mean you - cannot give our armed forces the respect that once was considered their due. It is a greater pity that when elements of our so-called intelligentsia do relapse into cheap attacks on the men and women of our Armed Forces that the Press cannot bring themselves to defend those who have given them the privilege of writing so negatively about that same military. I follow the line proposed by the San Francisco Chronicle before it decided that playing the role of Democratic Party propaganda organ as preferable to reporting news. I wish that more of our so-called elites did as well.

The Chronicle quote was taken from page 169 of Richard F. Newcomb's 1965 book "Iwo Jima", published by Signet.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Immigration Thoughts

It seems that the Obama Administration, like the Bush Administration before it, prefers to allow anyone who can sneak illegally across the border to remain free to enjoy the fruits of their ill-gotten rewards. However, as highlighted by Mickey Kaus, there IS a solution, and surprisingly, it was identified by the Jordan Commission, a bi-partisan group initially formed by President George H.W. Bush and continued by President Clinton. This group, headed by former Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, consisted of five Democrats and four Republicans. However, their recommendations were almost entirely unanimous. These recommendations consisted of the following:

1. Eliminate the diversity category (the green card lottery).
2. Eliminate the category for unskilled workers to come to the U.S.
3. Cut down or eliminate the extended family- restrict immigration to the nuclear family only.
4. Reduce total admissions to approximately 550,000 per year.
5. Enhance border management to reduce the number of illegals who can enter the United States.
6. Improve enforcement at worksites to catch illegals and punish employers who use illegal aliens.
7. Speedy removal of any illegals caught.
8. Total opposition to any new amnesty or guest-worker program.

Taken together, these recommendations can be boiled down to a succinct statement, as articulated by Vernon Briggs, the author of a paper on the Commission.

...people who should get in do get in; people who
should not get in are kept out; and people who are judged deportable are required to leave.

The complete reports of the Commission on Immigration Reform can be found at the website of the University of Texas. Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Presidential Popularity

The US Press Democratic Party Propaganda Corps likes to tell us that President Obama's popularity is immense, and indeed, according to Gallup, Obama still enjoys a personal support level of over sixty percent. However, when it comes to his policies, that support disappears in a hurry. According to an (admittedly unscientific) poll posted at MSNBC (yes, the network that is unabashedly in the tank for Obama, and whose commentators did not even attempt to hide their partisanship- do you recall Chris Matthews' "leg shiver" comment?), over seventy percent of the voters have given Obama's policies as expressed so far either a 'D' or and 'F' grade. Only 27 percent would give Obama a passing grade.

See the below chart for more:

This snapshot was taken at 0930 this morning. To me this clearly indicate that the is widespread apprehension and distaste for the Obama policies- regardless of how most people view The One himself.

And it is telling that in the first seven weeks of the Obama Administration, we have seen the stock market plunge further than it did in eight years on George w. Bush's watch. This despite a recession and a terrorist attack on the heart of American's Financial District that killed over three thousand people. Yet in those eight years, according to the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow's lowest point was 7673.99 on March 6, 2002 (following the recession and the terrorist attacks). After that low point, the Dow did not sink under 10000 for the remainder of the Bush Administration, and reached a high of over 14000 (four thousand points higher than it ever was under Clinton, by the way). Yet in the seven weeks since President Obama's team has taken control in Washington (and not coincidentally announced programs that would damage the US economy), the Dow is currently at 6326.94. Since it became clear in October that Obama would win the election, the Dow has been dropping steadily. Since Obama became President, the decline has increased. Since Inauguration Day, the Dow has dropped by almost two thousand points.

If Barack Obama and his far-left allies in Congress think that they can impose European-style socialism on this country without a fight, they may have mistaken their constituents. I hold my fellow voting Americans in the lowest possible light, seeing as how they have ignored the fact that the last two years- two years of increasingly partisan politics, increasing deficits and shrill rhetoric- the democrats have controlled Congress. They have ignored that the Democrats are largely responsible for the financial debacle we face. But when the Democrats make the naked power grab for their wallets that is going on in Washington, maybe they may arise from their self-imposed ignorance and fight back. Our money is ours- not those bloated corruptocrats in Washington DC. It is time to make that point. We cannot count on the courts. We cannot count on government. We can only count on ourselves, and it is time for the people of this country to tell Washington (and all other governments who engage in this type of behavior (are you listening Sacramento?)- "Enough!"

I would like to see Congress forced to pay out of their own pockets when they spend more than they take in. I would like to see the government workers forced to actually work a real workday. I would like to see government employees in office on all these holidays that they don't allow us, but only to themselves. And I would like to see them held accountable in the Press for their bad decisions. Of course none of this will happen.

I predicted when Obama won the election that this country had chosen to abrogate personal responsibility. For Obama is a Chicago machine politician and his party is the party of dependence. Not that the Republicans are much better. I would wish for a true third party- made up of those like me who are disgusted with the hypocrisy and corruption in government. But that is a pipe-dream. All we can do if fight as hard as we can, so that our children and grand-children might remember America with some kind of pride when the Democrats- helped by their shills in the media- have finished destroying her.

Hat tip for the poll to Glenn Reynolds.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Free Speech Trends

Remember how the Democratic Party has referred to President Bush over the past eight years? Remember all the 'Bushitler' references, the 'Kill Bush' signs seen at many if not most left-leaning rallies and the many, many suggestions by the political Left (including a Nobel 'Peace' Laureate) to kill the President? Does anyone recall the news media actually reporting in a negative manner on any of these insults and downright threats?

But how things have changed once the Obamessiah is in office. Now that Obama has reached the Promised Land (and intends to drag the country with him into the depths of mass socialization), a mere First amendment protest can be grounds for police or Secret Service harassment, as a now-approving Press looks on complacently. I warned of this shortly after the election, when I noted Obama's long-standing aversion to any sort of criticism.

Now, the results of this aversion are beginning to show. According to a report in the NewsOK site, an Oklahoma City man was hassled by both the local Oklahoma City police and the Secret Service for carrying a sigh saying 'Abort Obama'. According to the NewsOK site,
The police officers who stopped Oklahoma City motorist Chip Harrison and confiscated a sign from his car told him he has a right to his beliefs, but the Secret Service "could construe this as a threat against President Obama," according to the incident report released this morning.

Now I have no problem understanding the actions of the Oklahoma City police, especially as it seems the Secret Service was putting them under some pressure, although i think they went a little overboard. However, the story continues that the man was then visited by the Secret Service. This strikes me as harassment. Where were the secret Service when most of the literati and the political Left were issuing threats against President Bush? I certainly do not recall any stories about the Secret Service investigating these people. And since these people were preaching how 'brave' they were in standing up to power, one would think the media would be filled with those stories. There were certainly enough instances of Bush-hatred spilling out in signs, speech and other formats. Yet I cannot recall a single story of the Secret Service investigating.

But now, a sign that does have some potential ambiguity is cause for a citizen's First Amendment rights to be severely crimped? And even the Oklahoma news media cannot find any room to complain? The story appears to be written in a largely neutral voice, so apparently the Oklahoman newspaper is fine with government enforcing speech restrictions that were certainly not in effect during the last Administration. If the man had sported a sign proposing a violent death or even some bodily harm to the President, i would completely understand the actions of the authorities. But this is a case where it appears over-zealousness to stamp out criticism was the cause.

Liberals have liong been the party of censorship. Think back on the campaign trail and recall that not Gore, not kerry and not Obama was comfortable giving full access to reporters, and in fact the reporters mildly complained about it- even as they propagandized for their chosen candidates. Hillary Clinton was the same way- I recall a report from a reporter on her campaign about how she kept the media at arm's length. And the Democrats are the party who tries to suppress speech they disagree with via 'speech codes', the grossly misnamed 'Fariness Doctrine' and other Orwellian techniques. The Democrats, ladies and gentlemen, not the Republicans. None of these are creations of Reprublicans- they are creations of the Left.

And in government, did the Republicans shut the Democrats out of policy? When they proposed the so-called 'nuclear option' in the Senate, howls of protest arose from the media and every Democrat. But now, when the Democrats have gone even further to ensure that Republicans cannot participate in government, there is only silence from the media. Do these so-called 'professional journalists' not understand that censorship is a weapon that, once allowed, will sooner or later surely be used against them as well? I guess partisanship is more important that actually doing their job.

Obama himself is no stranger to the idea of political censorship. When a reporter on the campaign trail dared to ask hard-hitting questions, his station was banned from any further interviews. And Obama also banned the Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News and the New York Post (three newspapers that endorsed John McCain for President) from his campaign plane. It is no coincidence that these three newspapers are among the very few conservative news voices in the country. They were likely to be more critical of Obama, and he does not react well to criticism.

So I believe that we will be seeing more of this type of thing as Obama gathers the reins of power ever more tightly. As reported by the intrepid Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air, he has already removed the independence of the internal Inspector Generals with a hidden provision in his monster pork bill. This essentially removes any chance of an independent investigation into the 'Most Ethical Congress In History'.

Ultimately, i think that Obama will fail to completely eradicate the First Amendment, but he will probably do such severe damage that for conservatives and other members of the loyal opposition, we will be watching our backs very carefully for the next eight years- or however long the Obamedia can run interference for him and his cronies in 'The Most Ethical Congress In history'.

I predicted that America had sold itself out in this past election. i do not back away from that prediction- I think that by the end of Oabam's term in office, we will have essentially given the right to free speech only to those favored of the liberals, and we will have created a permanent class dependent entirely on government. that is what brought Rome down and that is what may bring us down as well. I predicted after the election that the United States had at most a hundred years of life remaining. I may have been slightly pessimistic, but I doubt that our great-grandchildren will see the bastion of liberty that we once knew- I think it more likely that they will live in a state more resembling Stalin's Russia.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Apologizing to Mark McGwire

Alex Rodriguez, supposedly the most talented player in Major League Baseball (MLB), has admitted that he took steroids - illegal performance-enhancing drugs - during the first part of this decade, while he was employed by the Texas Rangers baseball organization. Now FoxSports columnist Mark Kriegel has written a column in which he says,
At this point, the only guy I want to hear from is that one who changed the game's culture, the prototype, the ballplayer who made people think that ballplayers could look like comic book heroes, Mark McGwire. I'd not excuse him. I didn't then, and would not now. But 11 years removed from the counterfeit glories of '98, some context is in order, and now more than ever.

My question for Kriegel and every other member of the media who have so relentlessly vilified Mark McGwire is two-fold - first, what evidence do you have that he did anything that was illegal, and second, what makes McGwire the most culpable of anyone who played in what has jusitifiably become known as the Steroids Era?

I remember the home-run campaigns of the late 1990s, and unlike Jose Canseco (his former teammate with the Oakland Athletics) Mark McGwire did nothing illegal that I am aware of. The infamous bottle of antro that was seen in his locker was reportedly out in plain view and the substance itself was not banned at that time. McGwire himself referred to it openly as a 'supplement', and it was only later that MLB banned andro and many other substances. Can Kriegel, or any other reporter, show me any evidence that McGwire EVER knowingly did anything against the rules of Major League baseball?

I am not defending the decision to take performance-enhancing substances, and since MLB later did indeed ban andro, there is no doubt that McGwire did take said substance. However, why is he being demonized for doing something that was completely legal at that time? The blame in my mind belongs more on those players who took outlawed substances after MLB banned them. People like Bonds, who was well-known to be jealous of McGwire's accomplishments, took the substances AFTER MLB banned them- of that there can now be little doubt. But McGwire retired in 2001- andro was not banned until 2004! Why is McGwire demonized for doing something that was completely legal at the time he was playing? For that matter, if Rodriguez only took steroids up until 2003, then he also did not break any rules.

In McGwire's defense, he was a power hitter from the time he was in college. Was he doing steroids in college? Very possibly. However, unlike some of the obvious steroid users - like Bonds - there is no point in McGwire's career at which he physically changed or at which he suddenly became a huge home-run hitter. His 70-home run season in 1998 came in a competition with Sammy Sosa, and McGwire has said on a number of occasions that it was the competition that enabled him to hit that many. But he had hit fifty or more home runs before- even as a rookie he hit 49. Just for comparison, Bonds never hit more than 46 until he suddenly began hammering them in 1999- coincidentally the year after McGwire's and Sosa's well-publicized home run competition.

I also think it is extremely unfair to label McGwire as the face of the steroids era. He was the only player who refused to testify at the congressional hearings, but since Congress should have nothing to do with baseball anyway, I do not see that as a problem. Congress has far more serious problems that they ought to be dealing with- looking into allegations of illegal steroid use in a sport is not one of them. However, because McGwire refused to testify, and essentially took the Fifth Amendment, he was widely vilified by both sportscasters and regular journalists alike.

Mark McGwire came into the Major Leagues in 1987, and immediately became a home-run threat. Was steroid use widespread at that time? It is impossible to know. However, as a rookie, it is very difficult to suggest that McGwire suddenly introduced a culture of steroid use to his new team. If the 1990s were indeed the 'steroid decade', then it is very difficult to say that Mark McGwire was the face of that decade. There were a number of better-known players who were tied to the steroid scandal. These included Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi, Andy Pettite and of course Barry Bonds. Several of these players had more seniority and more fame in the league than McGwire. Therefore, to accuse McGwire of being the cause and the reason for the steroid problem seems to me to be going a bit far.

If I could give some advice to the sports columnists, it would be this- be careful to label a man you do not know. Kriegel accuses McGwire of being the problem, and basically suggests that he sold out to gain his son's admiration. I don't think so. I watched that home run too, and I saw a guy who would never have done something for a short-term admiration that would ultimately cause his son embarrassment.

I think the sports media owe Mark McGwire an apology. It is certain that he took supplements that were later outlawed. But since he didn't do anything illegal, I would suggest that reporters apologize for casting him the villain in a situation that he almost certainly did not create. In this country, a man is innocent until proven guilty. I think that the media too often forget that simple fact. And as Josephine Tey wrote in her brilliant 1936 mystery A Shilling for Candles in which her character Sergeant Williams says to the Press representative, (I regret I must paraphrase)
You know that the press is responsible for hounding more people in a day's work that Scotland Yard has in its entire existence. And ALL your victims are innocent!

Not much has changed in the intervening years since A Shilling for Candles was published. Pity.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Myth of Walmart

Most of the supposed elites and a large part of the political left views the Walmart chain of discount super-stores as something almost as evil as George Lucas' Empire. However, in an attempt to find out the truth about Walmart, Charles Platt, a former senior writer for the magazine Wired (itself not known for its sympathies to Walmart or to anything that Middle American finds attractive) went undercover as an employee at a Walmart in his locale.

Mr. Platt wrote about his experience in the New York Post recently. He was surprised at both how well-treated the Walmart employees he worked with were and at how much autonomy they actually have. And he marvelled, "Here was the unseen, unreported side of the corporate behemoth. Big as it was, it was smart enough to give employees a feeling of autonomy."

Platt then proceeds to take on a few of the standard canards and debunks them thoroughly, saying that the company informs all employees how to report anyone who orders them to do unpaid overtime and that the illegal alien story actually referred to the company Walmart employed as janitors- it was the vendor, not Walmart, who actually employed the illegal aliens.

He also emerged with a new impression of just why Walmart is so reviled among the self-elected elites in thsi country. As Mr. Platt tells it,
You have to wonder, then, why the store has such a terrible reputation, and I have to tell you that so far as I can determine, trade unions have done most of the mudslinging. Web sites that serve as a source for negative stories are often affiliated with unions., for instance, is partnered with the Service Employees International Union; is entirely owned by United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. For years, now, they've campaigned against Wal-Mart, for reasons that may have more to do with money than compassion for the working poor. If more than one million Wal-Mart employees in the United States could be induced to join a union, by my calculation they'd be compelled to pay more than half-billion dollars each year in dues.

Anti-growth activists are the other primary source of anti-Wal-Mart sentiment. In the town where I worked, I was told that activists even opposed a new Barnes & Noble because it was "too big." If they're offended by a large bookstore, you can imagine how they feel about a discount retailer.

And of course, most of those unions are major contributors to the Democratic Party, as most of the mainstream media sources are in need of union money to peddle their propaganda. Since those 'news' organizations and their elected representatives are financially beholden to organizations who desperately want the revenue that the non-unionized Walmart employees could bring to their organizations, it is unlikely that they would actually tell the truth about Walmart.

Mr. Platt, however, has a different view after actually working for Walmart. As he concludes,
Based on my experience (admittedly, only at one location) I reached a conclusion which is utterly opposed to almost everything ever written about Wal-Mart. I came to regard it as one of the all-time enlightened American employers, right up there with IBM in the 1960s. Wal-Mart is not the enemy. It's the best friend we could ask for.

Now if only our media and the Democratic PArty would listen...

Whose Country is it Anyway?

That is the question after a group of illegal aliens sued a US citizen for 32 million dollars in federal court. The defendant is an Arizona rancher who is trying to prevent said illegals from destroying his property. According to a report in the Washington Times online newspaper, the illegals filed suit against Arizona resident and US citizen Roger Barnett " for violating their civil rights".

The Washington Times says that,
An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as "the avenue of choice" for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

I'm not sure which part of this story is more outrageous- that a group of people who are deliberately breaking laws and destroying someone else' property have the gall to actually sue a citizen of that country who is merely trying to protect his property, or that the US courts are so skewed that they would allow a group of self-admitted criminals to sue someone who was attempting to enforce the law. And of course, the fact that the government admits that Mr. Barnett's ranch is a 'known crossing point' for illegals is aggravating as well. If so, why can't the government actually put some effort into enforcing the laws on the books? Why does Mr. Barnett have to do this himself- last time I checked, the government's primary responsibility was to protect its citizens against hostile invasions- and the influx of illegals from the South is certainly a hostile invasion. These people have no respect for our culture, our laws or our way of life- they just want as much of our money as they can grab, and their government is a willing conspirator in this, since the government cannot or will not actually do anything to improve Mexico.

It is time and past time for our government to enforce border security. And yes, that does include protecting and aiding US citizens who are trying to protect their property from the floods of illegals who come into the United States every year. A man's home is his castle, but while the government feels no constraints in zealously checking if a homeowner is smoking at home (and then fining him if he does), they become suddenly listless in actually helping said homeowner protect his property from a hostile invasion.

I cannot imagine that our courts will rule against the illegals, but it would be nice if once in while, these folks were informed that the only thing they can expect from our courts is a long prison sentence and a heavy fine. Suing a US citizen for enforcing US law should have been laughed out of court- only our open-borders judges don't seem to understand that illegal means illegal.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Taxation Is Voluntary...

...according to our representatives in Congress. Here's Colorado Senator Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, making the argument:

It seems that the only folks for whom taxation is voluntary are the members of the Democratic Party- even when they are nominated for posts in President Obama's Cabinet!

Yet another example of 'do as I say, not as I do'.

A New Year

Disclaimer: In the aftermath of the election disaster that showed so clearly how many Americans will put their own personal selfishness over the needs of our country as a whole, and with the Obama campaign's well-known tendency to silence critics, I thought that this blog had outlived its usefulness. However, as I survey the scene, I see that perhaps my commentary may have some value, so i shall re-open this blog.

Well, it is now 2009. The Great Obama is occupying the White House and the eeeevil George W. Bush is no longer President of the United States. But have things changed for the better? Let us see...

  1. Congress-critters still unable to follow the rules they want to impose on the rest of us? Check.

  2. President pushing for massive expansion of powers? Check.

  3. Media prostrating themselves at the feet of government? Check. (Yes, that would be CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, AP, UPI, AFP, {insert newspaper name here], and most local 'news' stations.

  4. Complete failure by the federal authorities to deal with a disaster in Kentucky? Check. (Funny how a far lesser failure was front-page news for weeks in New Orleans, where most of the failures were a direct result of the local and state failures, but this time, where it is unquestionably a federal failure, the Press is silent. Could it be they don't care about rural white folks?)

And several things have gotten worse. The economy, which the mainstream media has been lying about for the past eight years, is actually in much worse shape now than it ever was during the Bush Administration. This is partly due to forces beyond Obama's control (the spending orgy engaged in by both the Bush Administration and the last several Congresses), but also partly (and as we shall see largely) due to forces that can be laid squarely at the feet of the Democratic Party.

The financial mess, as has been stated earlier, was caused mainly by Democratic power grabs. See John Pilla's excellent essay on the causes of the financial crisis at Public Opinion Online. And many of the power-brokers in the Congress have taken more than their share of goodies from the people who caused the mess in the first place. John Murtha, Chris Dodd and Charlie Rangel are all guilty, as are most other members of the current party leadership on both sides of the aisle.

In short, this Administration seems to combine arrogance with incompetence. This is only to be expected, as President Obama has no executive experience and has never had to actually live up to any promises in the past (he is a creature of the Chicago political machine, after all). For the sake of our country, I hope that Obama grows up fast and begins to exhibit some leadership skills. Otherwise, I fear greatly for our country.