Saturday, December 25, 2004
Friday, December 24, 2004
I've really enjoyed putting this blog out and I thank all of you who have visited me, whether you like my work or hate it. My sincere wish for each of you is that your Christmas is safe, fun, full of presents and the presence of those who love. And don't forget, Santa's watching, so be good for goodness sake! Happy Holidays!
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Speaking of the Lind article, my post got a most curious response from Not a Fan (no kidding? I wouldn't have guessed it...). I quote in full:
People like you are a big reason that this country is on a downslide. You aren't wise. You aren't funny. You preach a political system that differs from facism only in name. You will wish you could retract your hate when the REAL American patriots return to power.Now, I took another look at my post, and I couldn't find anything remotely hateful in it. That's fine, though, I've got a thick skin and anyone is welcome to comment, good or bad, as long as the language is kept relatively clean - but I'm getting a bit fed up with this fascist charge that gets so casually throw around. Look at my post - what is even REMOTELY fascist about it?
This isn't about me, though - it's time to stand up against this willful ignorance. The liberal branding of people on the right side of the political spectrum as fascist comes from the old canard that the extreme left is communism and the extreme right is fascist. As discussed eloquently in this article by Joseph Farah, the distinction is quite irrelevant, as fascism and communism end up in precisely the same place: the subordination of the individual to the greater good of the state or collective.
Anyone who takes a look around here or any conservative website with an open mind will realize at once that the modern conservative agenda is the complete opposite of fascism. It is the individual we seek to strengthen, and the state we wish to weaken. This doesn't mean we want a 'weak' America - we strongly support defense as a natural and welcome function of government, and we won't settle for anything less than the best. It's the control of the state over individual decisions that is our target.
Here are three examples from President Bush's domestic agenda:
- Social Security Reform - partial privatization is a classic issue for modern conservatives in that it perfectly encapsulates our mission - it's all about who makes the choices, who has the control.
- Tax cuts - as should be blindingly obvious to any but the most rabid Chomskyite, there are two reasons conservatives are for tax cuts - one, to put more money in the hands of the taxpayer where it belongs, and two, to starve the state from its natural state of agressive growth.
- Health Savings Accounts with Deductible Premiums - taxpayers who take advantage of this proposal would save money on their taxes that would go directly towards reducing their out-of-pocket expenses and lowering insurance premiums. Again, more individual control means less control by the state.
For the family 'Progressive', Cooper For President has politically correct gifts form Neiman Marxist...
All good conservatives will love this US out of UN Christmas ornament...
Finally (this one is real), in the spirit on the season, I've got ten GMail invitations for anyone who's interested (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - first come, first served). Merry Christmas!...
According to the authors of The Great Divide: "If our analysis is correct, demographics will slowly bring the current Republican ascendancy to an end, even in retro America." This deserves to go down in history in a collection of famous last words. The truth is that the demographic prospects for blue-state Democrats are grim.That's all good stuff, but even an enlightened liberal like Lind still harbors some of the same ol' blue-state prejudices he so nobly warns against. He compliments Bush for adopting a religious tone of 'Enlightenment deism' while suggesting that his invocation of Jesus as his favorite political philosopher was a mistake. On the contrary, Bush's debate answer was the most frank moment in the history of those sorry, every-word-coached-and-rehearsed affairs. No one could have anticipated that answer, and none could doubt its sincerity.
Phillip Longman of the New America Foundation has pointed out that in terms of fertility rates the red states had a 12-point advantage over the blue states in 2004. This partly reflects the higher fertility of Latino immigrants in red states like Texas, but among white Americans fertility differences reflect a gulf between the religious and the secular...
My typical middle-class suburb included middle-class blacks and Latinos, whites and Asians, Protestants and Jews and Catholics and Hindus, Democrats and Republicans. It had a dense civil society, revolving around common institutions like the public schools, sports teams and backyard barbecues along with the sectarian communities based on churches and synagogues. I only encountered real anomie and social isolation when I lived for four years in Manhattan, where neighbours never spoke to one another in apartment buildings or stores...
Even the most appealing economic programme cannot save American liberalism if it is associated with values that most Americans reject...
Unlike fundamentalists, a majority of Americans support gay rights and civil unions for gays and lesbians. At the same time, a majority of Americans oppose redefining marriage to include gay couples - but so do a majority of Europeans, to judge from the fact that only a few European countries have redefined marriage in this way...
Lind also accuses the Republicans of gay-baiting during the campaign. How? By being honest about their opposition to gay marriage, along with the majority of the public? In fact, it was the Kerry campaign that seemingly couldn't get through one discussion of homosexuality without mentioning Mary Cheney. Why? Once, maybe...but why again? Of what possible relevance to national policy is the sexuality of Dick Cheney's daughter? Kerry's gratiutious reference was the opposite of Bush's, and his rushed delivery gave him away. It was obvious from his awkwardness that this was a coached reply.
Still, it is encouraging to see that not all elements of the Left think that Bush won because we're all a bunch of fanatical idiots. Lind's article, despite its occasional missteps, is a success because he gets the fundamental point exactly right. You can't win the votes of someone you look upon with undisguised disdain.
Arthur Chrenkoff goes around the world in 80 blogs...
In an astonishing display of stamina, Tim Blair posts the quotes of 2004, seperated by date - please check it out...
Forget Halliburton, why isn't someone investigating Maxine Waters?...
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
The great thing about the Radical Left is they not only give you enough rope to hang them, but they throw the noose over the tree and tie the knot for you. Observe the twaddle that issues from our honoree's lips:
[The government] plays off [Americans'] relative innocence, or ignorance to be more precise. This is probably why geography has not really been taught since World War II -- to keep people in the dark as to where we are blowing things up. Because Enron wants to blow them up...
The Afghans had nothing to do with what happened to our country on September 11. But Saudi Arabia did. It seems like Osama is involved, but we don't really know...
We went to Afghanistan partly because the Taliban -- whom we had installed at the time of the Russian occupation -- were getting too flaky and because Unocal, the California corporation, had made a deal with the Taliban for a pipeline to get the Caspian-area oil, which is the richest oil reserve on Earth. They wanted to get that oil by pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan to Karachi and from there to ship it off to China, which would be enormously profitable. Whichever big company could cash in would make a fortune. And you'll see that all these companies go back to Bush or Cheney or to Rumsfeld or someone else on the Gas and Oil Junta, which, along with the Pentagon, governs the United States. We had planned to occupy Afghanistan in October, and Osama, or whoever it was who hit us in September, launched a pre-emptory strike. They knew we were coming. And this was a warning to throw us off guard...
I sometimes feel like I am the last defender of the republic...
The right wing are the bad guys, but they know what they want -- everybody else's money. And they know they don't like blacks and they don't like minorities. And they like to screw everyone along the way.
The entire world is horrified by what we do. He [Bush] goes into an innocent country called Afghanistan, knocks it down. One of his cabinet members knocks it down. Then he gives contracts to rebuild it to his vice president with Halliburton. Then he knocks down another country which has done nothing to us. Why don't you hit Denmark?...
Bush is about as evil as you can get, in the way of an American president...
There is no representative government. Congress doesn't represent anybody. And the Supreme Court, I must say, why some of them are not in jail, I don't know. ..
...democracy was something that the founding fathers hated. This is not generally known because it shouldn't be known, but it is...
This is the nation of torture...
No Wictory Wednesday post yet from PoliPundit - but check out the blogroll to the right all the same; it's fun to check out new blogs now and then...
UPDATE 12/23 10:45 a.m. Central: Here's a Wictory Wednesday update at LeftCoastConservative...
Kerry Spot reports on some more CBS trickiness to watch for (hat tip to Hindrocket at Power Line)...
Find out what kind of dog you are here (it's fun and free, like Decision '08 - um, whatever...). I'm an Irish Water Spaniel (hat tip to bebere) ...
Kristoff is quite right that not every issue is a case of Left vs. Right. Surely there are some basic issues that all sides can agree on, and perhaps the way to that 'healing' that so many claim to want can be found through cooperation on, say, the genocide in Darfur. As Kristof concludes:
That would be a much better use of the next four years than sulking.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Got that? A federal grand jury investigation, a UN-sponsered investigation led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, five congressional investigations - my, this is the broadest conspiracy since Oliver Stone's JFK theory!
This whole O.F.F. 'scandal' is a joke: it's based on a list of people 'found' by an Iraqi general lying about the Ministry of Oil 2-3 weeks after Americans were 'protecting' the office, and given to a CIA-propped news organization!
Elsewhere on the, ahem, 'Progressive' front, Michael Pan at the Center for American Progress (there's that word again) lists 'Ten Things 'Progressives' (my scare quotes) Should Know About Oil-For-Food'. I highly recommend it, it's much funnier than any Ben Stiller movie. Especially hilarious is point number one - the program was badly managed. You can say that again, Michael! $21 billion down the toilet, I think that qualifies. Even Pan admits that there was massive fraud, though, and that action must be taken if the Volcker investigation shows wrongdoing. It bears repeating that Oil-For-Food is about the diversion of humanitarion aid in the BILLIONS to a tyrant who had three thousand palaces, give or take a dozen.
The 'Progressives' conveniently ignore the fact that the Bush administration is supporting Anan for now (what a sneaky conspiracy!). The proof of the ridiculous nature of the 'right-wing conspiracy' charge, though, comes from the man himself. This is Kofi Annan speaking:
Annan also rebuffed his 31-year-old son, Kojo, under investigation for having not revealing his full relationship with a firm that ran U.N. goods inspections in Iraq. The younger Annan, who had worked in West Africa for the Swiss company, Cotecna, has called the allegations "a witch hunt" and part of a broader Republican agenda. "I don't agree with that," Annan said.
Oh no, Kofi, they got to you, too! Sorry, lefties, it doesn't wash - checkmate. Please play again sometime....
The 3rd Annual Twenty Most Annoying Liberals in the United States (number 20 is Linda Ronstadt, so you can imagine how bad the first 19 are) - hat tip to deacon at Power Line...
The Daily Kos isn't happy about losing to a guy with a less than 50% approval rating: best line - The Democrats need to offer an alternative agenda over the next four years. It won't be enacted, so they can shoot for the moon. The hell with good policy, make proposals that sound great. It's a good thing the 'Progressives' aren't sore losers, isn't it? (hat tip to JustOneMinute)...
Fareed Zakaria in the Washington Post (hat tip to No Left Turns):
...Islamic extremism is losing. The movement, in all of its variations, has been unable to garner mass support in any Muslim country. While people in many countries still despise their governments -- and that of the United States -- this has not translated into support for Osama bin Laden's ideas. It doesn't mean the end of terrorism by a long shot. Small groups of people can do great harm in today's world. But it does mean that the political engine producing this religious radicalism is not gaining steam.
As I've said before, we can't get rid of every terrorist, but we can and will win the War on Terror...
We were told by such opportunists as Richard Clarke that the Iraq War is only worsening the War on Terror, and numerous 'experts' have warned that there can be no democracy in Iraq. Yet a vast majority of Iraqis are quite anxious to begin their democratic experiment, and the elections are only about six weeks away.
At ProgressiveTrail.org, Mike Whitney opined:
It's doubtful that either Bush or his friends in the media will be able to keep Afghanistan out of the headlines much longer. This mess bears the
American imprimatur, and sooner or later those chickens will becoming home to roost.
Wow, Mike, when you're right, you're right! Bush couldn't keep Afghanistan out of the headlines - now anyone who isn't blinded by ideological bias knows that Afghanistan just had democratic elections, the Afghan women have been freed from the tyranny of the Taliban, and the terrorist training camps disbanded - and yes, Mike, we proudly admit that this bears the American imprimatur.
Writing at Alexander Cockburn's ultra-left CounterPoint, Michael Labah had the following pearl of wisdom regarding Sharon's 'wall':
As with its other actions since 1967, Israel is again attempting to change the facts on the ground to influence the outcome of future negotiations
and continue its efforts to make life ever more miserable for the Palestinian population with the hope that they may simply give up and leave.
Michael, you're half right - of course Sharon is trying to change the tragic situation on the ground! Is the status quo what you're defending? I would suggest, though, that the Palestinian population has been made miserable by the failed leadership of the Arafat years, and Mahmoud Abbas is signalling that perhaps the time has come to forgoe violence.
I'm not naive - I know that Israel is still not secure, the Palestinians are still miserable, the drug trade and the War on Drugs are devestating Afghanistan in equal measure, and there are still way too many Iraqis and Americans dying in Iraq. My point is this: Bush and Sharon each have had the courage to say things are not acceptable as is, there must be a change, and we intend to move forward despite the inevitable harping from the Left. In this season of peace, let's say a prayer that their endeavors continue to bear fruit.
The most blogged story was Jon Stewart's pathetic grandstanding on Crossfire (though most didn't see it that way). Second place was much more meritorious, however - Christopher Hitchens' simply grand slamming of Michael Moore.
Monday, December 20, 2004
If you had to pick a picture that summed up what went wrong for Kerry, it would be the shot of [Michael] Moore and Jimmy Carter in the presidential box at the Democratic national convention. All you needed was P.Diddy, aka Puff Daddy (or vice-versa), of the Vote or Die mythical youth movement and it would have been the Democrats' equivalent of those Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin wartime summits. That picture is the Dems in a nutshell: yesterday's politicians, today's show-biz colossi.
Steyn is a former DJ and author of a book about musicals, among other things; he columns appear more places than I care to name (those interested can find out on his web site). I prefer to pay tribute with a few more choice excerpts.
On the election campaign: "I've been covering politics for 53 years, and that's just since John Kerry's convention speech. "
On the subject of Bush-hating: "In Britain and Europe, there seem to be two principal strains of Bush-loathing. First, the guys who say, if you disagree with me, you must be an idiot - as in the Mirror headline "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" Second, the guys who say, if you disagree with me, you must be a Nazi - as in Oliver James, who told The Guardian: "I was too depressed to even speak this morning. I thought of my late mother, who read Mein Kampf when it came out in the 1930s [sic] and thought, 'Why doesn't anyone see where this is leading?'"
On the Democratic field pre-nomination: "It's odd that when something big happens, as on Sunday, the Democratic candidates seem irrelevant to the story, like asking a lacrosse expert what he thinks of the Super Bowl. They get interviewed and they trot out their lame clich�s, about the need to "internationalize" Iraq, by which they mean not Tony Blair, John Howard, the Poles and Italians, but Kofi Annan, The Hague, the French, the Guinean foreign minister, all the folks who proved unwilling and unable to deal with Iraq before the liberation and who have given no indication of being likely to do any better after. "
Finally, Steyn on Oil-For-Food: "Oil-for-Fraud is everything the Left said the war was: it was all about oil - for Benon Sevan, the UN, France, Russia and the others who had every incentive to maintain Saddam in power. Every Halliburton invoice to the Pentagon is audited to the last penny, but Saddam can use Kofi Annan's office as a front for a multi-billion dollar global kickback scheme and, until it was brought to public attention by the tireless Claudia Rosett of The Wall Street Journal and a few other persistent types, the Secretary-General apparently never noticed."
Often funny, always caustic, but nearly always right on the issues: that's Mark Steyn in a nutshell.
Writing in today's OpinionJournal, Kenneth L. Cain says Kofi Annan must go - but not for Oil-For-Food (and JustOneMinute says it's about to happen again)....
Merle Haggard a poet? He sure is, says the Big Trunk at Power Line (I couldn't agree more)...
Don't miss the Media Research Center's Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting (hat tip to Commonwealth Conservative)...
- Don't use the 'Islamophobia' excuse to avoid condemning terrorism and hatred.
- Get over the use of 'imperialism' where it does not apply.
- Wise up to the scandalous behavior of the UN.
- Find some new heroes.
The whole thing is great, but here's my favorite excerpt:
Whether we call such notions �political correctness� or�progressivism,� the practice of privileging race, class, and gender over basic ethical
considerations has earned the moralists of the Left not merely hypocrisy, but virtual incoherence.
Democratic leaders are never going to be trusted in matters of foreign policy unless they can convince Americans that they once more believe in American exceptionalism and are the proper co-custodians of values
such as freedom and individual liberty.
In the words of the InstaPundit, indeed...
Sunday, December 19, 2004
More on the trials and tribulations of the UN in the Kofi Annan era at Capitalism Magazine...
Mark Noonan on Mark Warner:
Mark Warner, to put it in a nutshell, is the perfect Democratic candidate for 2008 - he's intelligent, telegenic, well-spoken, energetic and takes a common-sense approach to political issues. In short, he's everything a Democrat cannot be and gain his Party's nomination.
To get some idea of the mindset of Soros and the 'Progressives' who worship him, take a look at the opening of this profile in the New Statesman:
George Soros is angry. In common with 90 per cent of the world's population, the Man Who Broke the Bank of England has had enough of President Bush and his foreign policy. In a recent article in the Financial Times, Soros condemned the Bush administration's policies on Iraq as "fundamentally wrong" - based as they were on a "false ideology that US might gave it the right to impose its will on the world". Wow! Has one of the world's richest men - the archetypal amoral capitalist who made billions out of the Far Eastern currency crash of 1997 and who last year was fined $2m for insider trading by a court in France - seen the light in his old age? (He is 72.) Should we pop the champagne corks and toast his conversion?
After reading that, I don't know whether to hold Soros or his profiler Neil Clark in more contempt.
Where is the outrage from Soros and other human rights advocates towards the atrocities committed by our enemies? What could be more outrageous than the beheadings of hostages? Where is the outrage over the Islamic fundamentalists' treatment of women? Where is the outrage over suicide bombers killing people who were going to the supermarket, to work, or out for an evening of fun?
The United States is not perfect, but Soros knows better: there are literally dozens of countries that violate civil and human rights in the most egregious manner. The 'campaigns' for Saddam Hussein and the detainees are not about human rights; they are about publicity for a tired old rich man who spent $27 million of his own money to defeat George Bush, money that could have gone a long way towards really improving human rights in the areas that need it most.
Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr. - Official Biography
Unofficial 'Draft Sanford' site
Resume: South Carolina's 115th governor; former U.S. Congressman for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District; current Air Force Reservist
There's a lot to like about Sanford:
- He's a fiscal conservative, undoubtably Bush's weak point (though we Republicans tend to give Bush a pass on this because of 9/11, we must recognize that we have to control spending at some point). Sanford imposed major cost-cutting upon assuming the Governor's Office; when all but one of his 106 spending cuts were vetoed by the SC legislature, he strode into the statehouse with a live pig under each arm to symbolize the pork in the budget.
- He kept his word. When campaigning for Congress, Sanford said he would serve no more than three terms; at the end of his third term, he left.
- He's a tax cutter, preferring to control government growth through reduced spending. Steven Slivinski of the libertarian Cato Institute calls Sanford's proposed tax cuts the most agressive in the nation.
Do I agree with every position of his? Of course not. He voted in 1998 against abolishing race-based preferences in college admissions - I much prefer preferences based on economic factors. Does he have a shot? Alexander McClure at the excellent PoliPundit.com (hat tip to Country Fried) had this to say:
Very popular with mavericks and conservatives, Sanford comes from one of the reddest of red states, but he represents the New South. With his warm personality, Sanford could be just the candidate the GOP needs in 2008 to defeat the Democratic nominee, whom if past history is correct, will be extremely unlikable.
On the flip side, the great Ken Mehlman didn't mention Sanford when he recently tossed out eight possible GOP candidates in 2008.
Sanford will probably give it a shot, if the money and interest are there. How far he would take it if, say, McCain or Guiliani are running, is anybody's guess. He's young enough, smart enough, and conservative enough to be around for a while.
CURRENT ODDS: 12-1
UPDATE 01/10/05 7:39 pm central: Sanford's getting some good buzz. I'm upping him a notch.
CURRENT ODDS: 11-1UPDATE 04/07/05 10:56 am central: Downgrade after Sanford 'rules out' '08 run.
CURRENT ODDS: 18-1
UPDATE 07/24/2005 10:56 p.m.:
CURRENT ODDS: 16-1: see here...
Left: Newsweek.......................Radical Left: Rolling Stone
Left: Peter Jennings.................Radical Left: Dan Rather
Left: The New Republic...............Radical Left: The Nation
Left: Al Gore pre-2000...............Radical Left: Al Gore post-2000
Left: Joe Lieberman..................Radical Left: Howard Dean
Left: George Stephanopoulos..........Radical Left: Bill Moyers
Left: Bruce Springsteen..............Radical Left: Barbra Streisand
Left: 99% of professors/academics....Radical Left: 98% of professors/academics
Left: Mahmoud Abbas..................Radical Left: Yasser Arafat
Left: The British....................Radical Left: The French
Left: Christopher Hitchens pre-9/11..Radical Left: Noam Chomsky post-1776
Left: John Kenneth Galbraith.........Radical Left: Karl Marx
Left: Mickey Kaus....................Radical Left: Paul Krugman
Left: Thomas Friedman................Radical Left: Maureen Dowd
I think you get the drift. Feel free to add your own - it's fun and free!