Political commentary from a conservative ideologue deep in the heart of Texas. Member: Jewish-Crusader Alliance, Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Thursday, August 07, 2003
RETURN OF THE GOREBOT
Instapundit links to Brian Carnell who doesn't think Al Gore is being 100% honest. Gee, that's a suprise.
Carnell effectively debunks the first of Gore's alleged false impressions about Iraq and I won't repeat his analysis here. But what about Big Al's list?
(1) Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for the attack against us on September 11th, 2001, so a good way to respond to that attack would be to invade his country and forcibly remove him from power.
What I remember is that the adminsitration suspected some links to al Qaeda but never maintained that there was any culpability on the part of the government of Iraq in the evens of 9/11. However it is easily provable that Hussein was supporting Islamic terrorists both by allowing them sanctuary in Iraq and via the cash payments he was making to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
(2) Saddam was working closely with Osama Bin Laden and was actively supporting members of the Al Qaeda terrorist group, giving them weapons and money and bases and training, so launching a war against Iraq would be a good way to stop Al Qaeda from attacking us again.
Bush never made this claim nor did the administration attempted to make this point during the public debate over the war. Iraq's support for other Islamic terror groups is not in dispute.
(3) Saddam was about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs that he had made into weapons which they could use to kill millions of Americans. Therefore common sense alone dictated that we should send our military into Iraq in order to protect our loved ones and ourselves against a grave threat.
It is premature to conclude that this speculation was false. We don't know yet where the WMD went that Saddam still retained when the weapons inspectors were forced out of the country in 1998. To beleive that he destroyed them clandestinely along with his capacity to produce new weapons is to believ that he was willing to risk his control of the country over nothing but his pride. Possible but unlikely.
(4) Saddam was on the verge of building nuclear bombs and giving them to the terrorists. And since the only thing preventing Saddam from acquiring a nuclear arsenal was access to enriched uranium, once our spies found out that he had bought the enrichment technology he needed and was actively trying to buy uranium from Africa, we had very little time left. Therefore it seemed imperative during last Fall's election campaign to set aside less urgent issues like the economy and instead focus on the congressional resolution approving war against Iraq.
I seem to remember that the estimation at the time was that Iraq could go nuclear in three to five years if they could gain access to the uranium they needed. It was the Democrats that who constantly demanded a debate on Iraq and determined that the focus of the 2002 mid-term elections be on Iraq and not on the economy.
The British information on Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium from Africa has still not been disproved. Tony Blair has recently reaffirmed his government's faith in the accuracy of their intellegence in this matter.
(5) Our GI's would be welcomed with open arms by cheering Iraqis who would help them quickly establish public safety, free markets and Representative Democracy, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US soldiers would get bogged down in a guerrilla war.
The assumption of the Democrats at the time was that the war would take many months and that casualties would be high on both sides. The popular wisdom was that we would encounter street-by-street resistance in Baghdad once our forces arrived there.
The war was over much faster and with far, far fewer casualties on both sides than even the most optimistic administration supporters could have hoped. There is still some resistance from former regime thugs, Iranian-backed troublemakers and other Islamic terrorist groups - we'll deal with it.
As for the reaction of the Iraqi people, perhaps the Gorebot was snoozing when CNN was broadcasting all of those pictures of the locals draging down statues of Saddam.
(6) Even though the rest of the world was mostly opposed to the war, they would quickly fall in line after we won and then contribute lots of money and soldiers to help out, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US taxpayers would get stuck with a huge bill.
Yeah Al, that's was the buzz at the time - the French and Germans were going to come to their senses and spend a lot of money to help us out after they figured out we weren't going to be stopped by all of their UN backstabbing - right.
Now, of course, everybody knows that every single one of these impressions was just dead wrong.
Only those who live in an alternate universe where Noam Chomsky makes sense and Michael Moore tells the truth.
Apparently a couple of Glenn Reynold's readers don't think that Gore was implying that the Bush Administration was misleading the public - that these were just false impressions that the citizenry got from nowhere. That's just plain wrong. Gore makes it plain that he believes that Bush is the sourse of all of the "false impressions" here:
That last point is worth highlighting. Robust debate in a democracy will almost always involve occasional rhetorical excesses and leaps of faith, and we're all used to that. I've even been guilty of it myself on occasion (come on Al, don't be so modest - Ed.). But there is a big difference between that and a systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology that is felt to be more important than the mandates of basic honesty.
Unfortunately, I think it is no longer possible to avoid the conclusion that what the country is dealing with in the Bush Presidency is the latter. That is really the nub of the problem -- the common source for most of the false impressions that have been frustrating the normal and healthy workings of our democracy.
Gore repeatedly implies that Bush is a liar throughout the speech. Pretty ballsy for a guy that routinely bends the truth so far as to render it unrecognizable. Par for the course - bravo Gorebot!
DR. DEAN-0 (D-PRV) DISSEMBLES THEN APOLOGIZES ON SOCIAL SECURITY
Our man Howie has been trying to deceive the public regarding his record on Social Security...tsk, tsk:
Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said Wednesday that he misspoke when he told the AFL-CIO he never favored raising the retirement age for Social Security benefits to age 70.
Dean acknowledged that he had called for such an increase when the country was faced with a deficit in 1995, but said he no longer thinks it is necessary. He said former President Clinton set an example of balancing the budget without raising the retirement age.
To make up for his error, Dean goes on to propose enormous tax increases:
He said the way to balance the budget now is to repeal President Bush's tax cuts and restrict spending. He said to balance Social Security, he would consider raising the retirement age to 68 and letting more salary above $87,000 fall under the payroll tax.
On Wednesday, Dean said since his appearance on "Meet the Press," he has consulted with experts and concluded that no increase in the retirement age would be necessary. A better solution, he said, would be to raise the salary limit.
"I'm willing to take it off entirely if we need to," he said.
This is pretty amusing coming from someone who is glorified by his supporters as being such a straight talker and courageous politician. His statement as governor was correct - we will have to raise the retirement age. With a rapidly aging workforce the federal government will have no choice but to raise the age to keep the ratio of current workers to retirees at a managable level. Social Security isn't like an annuity or pension fund where assets are invested to increase their value over the lifetime of the retiree - it is a pay as you go system. The money that I pay (and my employer matches) in payroll taxes goes directly into the federal coffers and current retirees are paid out of the same trough.
I would have had a lot more respect for Dean if he had come out and said what everybody already knows - the system can't work the way it is currently set up and one of the things that will have to be strongly considered is raising the retirement age. At least we owe it to people in their forties and fifties now to be honest with them on when they might expect to retire with full benefits. Instead Dean proposes massive new taxes which will have two effects: limiting new economic growth and encouraging additional current spending.
Unless the economy starts growing again we don't even have a little hope of solving the looming Social Security crisis. Dean says he understands that and then turns right around and proposes tax policy that will kill any recovery. All because he's afraid to tell the truth - so much for Howie the crusader.
Wednesday, August 06, 2003
LIMITED GOVERNMENT RANT
During the midst of political campaigns (and we always seem to be in the midst of one) the debate tends to settle around what steps the federal government should take to address social issues: healthcare, education, crime, pollution, jobs. But what is seldom asked is whether the federal government has the authority to act and, if it does, is the issue best handled at the federal level.
Somehow a lot of citizens in this country have come to the false conclusion that the feds have unlimited resources - in this regard they are seen in a similar way as insurance companies. Yes, Uncle Sam is the national Santa Claus - we all get presents if we've been good (or if we need them) and the goodies are all made by elves at the North Pole who toil without pay to bring smiles to the faces of all little girls and boys. Rudolf will bring your prescription drugs to the front door while Dancer and Prancer are teaching the kids algebra in a brand new school building that Santa and the elves built (OK Jimmy Carter and Elvis helped).
This may work great in a Disney film, but in the real world there are three ways to get what you want: buy it, steal it, or get the government to take it away from sombody else and give it to you. If you want a prescription drug "benefit" what you are really saying is that you can't afford the drugs you need (or perhaps you don't want to sacrifice your standard of living in other areas to pay for them) so you ask your government to, at threat of imprisonment, take money away from others to fund your "benefit". Essentially, you are asking your fellow citizens for charity.
I am not arguing that our society should not be charitable; I am only asking that, in the course of political debate, we acknowledge two things: first, that our fellow citizens are the source of the funds not a printing press at the Treasury Department and second, that while the causes we advocate may be worthy and desirable the Constitution grants us no right to things like Medicare or Social Security. If we could reach that point it might be possible to get to the heart of the problems that we face. First we agree on desirable goals for our society and then we debate how best to achieve them with no preconceptions about the process.
Nothing stops individual states from providing a drug benefit for seniors or building new school facilities or raising the pay of teachers and policemen. Nothing stops individual citizens from buying hybrid vehicles or installing solar panels to reduce local polution. We could do all of these things at the local level if only we had the willpower to tax ourselves to do it (or in the case of hybrid vehicles, inconvenience ourselves). How many citizens who call for raising CAFE standards drive cars that would no longer be made if the policies they support were enacted? And what keeps them from "practicing what they preach"?
I keep my thermostat at 78 degrees minimum when I'm at home - I set it up to 83 during the days in summer and sometimes I forget to turn it down at night. I also live with the 68 degree setting in the winter. I do this because I believe in energy conservation and because I wanted to prove to myself (and did) that you adapt easily to those temperatures. I don't want to pay more for energy than I have to; and I want to do my part to reduce dependence on foriegn oil supplies (small as it may be). How many green wannabes out there do this?
So why do we ask people in Washington, people thousands of miles removed from our problems, to take our money and then give it back to us with strings attached to make us do what we believe is right? We could just do the right thing in the first place. And the great benefit to keeping all the money at the state and local level is that it makes it that much more difficult for special interest groups to influence policy. Isn't that what everybody wants?
Keeping the reigns of government tightly held doesn't mean that we can't tax ourselves locally to support the programs we advocate. It just means that those programs are more likely to be successful and that they will cost less.
And then there is this drivel from the insane daughter of Saddam:
...Raghad said her father's regime collapsed because people close to him betrayed him, and she expressed negative feelings for Saddam.
"Unfortunately, people who my father trusted absolutely have failed him, have betrayed him," she told the Arabic-language network Al Arabiya. Without naming names, she said her father also felt he had been sold out.
"Even if I don't like him, in human terms, we should not betray a person. It is not in the Arab honor," she said.
"They have betrayed their country, they have betrayed Saddam Hussein, my father," she said. "They are men and they should not have given up so easily."
Perhaps "Arab honor" is the problem. If it means supporting a brutal sadistic dictator who murdered your husband and your brother-in-law and allowed your brother to regularly rape Iraqi women and torture athletes who disappointed him with their performances, then I suggest to you that there is no honor in this whatsoever. Keep in mind that Hussein Kamel, Raghad's husband, was killed by Saddam (the order was carried out by Uday I believe) for cooperating with the UN while the official Iraqi government position at the time was that they were cooperating.
Some would say that those who betrayed Saddam were serving their country well - that allowing a man who had brutally raped the country for his own enjoyment for thirty years to be defeated by the American coalition without destroying Baghdad was a great act of patriotism. But not Raghad. Despite the fact that her father and brother conspired to murder her husband, she thinks that abandoning Saddam was a betrayal of Iraq. Just amazing.
Monday, August 04, 2003
Maybe I've missed some important piece of information in my upbringing but I just can't understand how any church can have a divorced, openly homosexual minister much less elect that person as a Bishop. I wonder how this man's children have been affected by the breaking of his wedding vows and his indulgence of his homosexual desires?
I don't pretend to have done an in depth study of biblical references to homosexuality. But I'm pretty sure that the bible comes out against the practice - "men should not lie down with men", etc. It also takes a dim view of fornication and adultery among other things and I think divorce is also frowned upon ("until death do us part" don't you know).
Yes, we are all sinners. But to have a leader in your church be continuously engaged in a sinful practice and remain unrepentant - in fact, to deny the sinfulness of the practice altogether - is unbelievable. What good does it do to have ministers that don't believe in what the Bible says? How can a homosexual minister advise someone not to, for example, fornicate if he himself is engaged in sexual practices that God, in part, destroyed a society for partaking of?
This doesn't have anything to do with gay rights or inclusiveness or tolerance. It is perfectly acceptable to love a homosexual person as a brother or sister in Christ without endorsing their behavior; we can "love the sinner but hate the sin". The question is can a person who choses to selectively disbelieve some of the lessons of the Bible serve as a representative of the church? I think that it is clear that the answer to that is "NO".
WHERE DOES JUSTICE GINSBURG LIVE?
I don't suppose it would suprise anyone reading this blog that I find Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be an idiot. This is just one more reason why:
The Supreme Court is looking beyond America's borders for guidance in handling cases on issues like the death penalty and gay rights, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Saturday.
We live in the United States of America - not in Britain, not in the European Union, not in China but in America. I don't care what foreign courts think and it's not a Supreme Court Justice's place to impose foreign sensibilities on this country's legal system.
It is the job of the Legislative Branch to modify the law taking into account the changing opinions of society as is appropriate. The reason the Constitution gives this power to Congress is because they are the elected representatives of the people. If the citizens of this country don't like the legislation being enacted by their representatives they get a chance (every two years in the case of representatives and every six in the case of senators) to remove them. This builds a certain amount of accountability into the system.
The reason the Constitution does not allow the Judiciary the power to enact or change laws is because they are not elected. The Supreme Court is insulated from public opinion by reason of the lifetime appointment of its member Justices. This is a check against the "tyranny of the majority". Because of its insulation from the will of the people, it is extremely important that the Federal Judiciary exercise restraint in its actions. Apparently this concept is lost on Justice Ginsburg and her political allies.
Popular self-government is the core value of our country. If Americans want to utilize the death penalty while the European Union does not it is our right as citizens of this country to be able to do so without a Constitutional Amendment (since the Constitution doesn't prohibit the practice). U.S. Congressmen can draw from whatever sources they wish in consideration of the enactment of new legislation (assuming, of course, that such legislation does not violate the Constitution). However, it is completely inappropriate for Justices to draw from current legal opinions in Europe or elswhere as precedents for their opinions on U.S. law.
This new nugget of idiocy once again illustrates why court appointments are so important and worth the fight that the adminstration is waging with the Democrat minority in the Senate.
Sunday, August 03, 2003
WHERE IS THE "THERE" THERE?
Last night I saw Senator Bob Graham on Kudlow and Cramer.
Graham was asked about the President's speech where he talked about taking personal responsibility for the contents of the SOTU. The Senator said he thought that was great but that he thought that Bush should now hold someone responsible for the false statements in the speech and fire the appropriate party.
What I was waiting for was someone to ask him what false statements he was talking about. I would have asked him this: "Senator, given that that President Bush said in the State of the Union that British Intelligence had reported that the Iraqi's had been seeking to purchase uranium in Africa and that the British, including Prime Minister Blair, still stand behind their information in spite of CIA doubts, exactly what was false in what the president said? Do you have some new information that you'd like to bring to light here?"
There is a huge difference between maintaining that a piece of reported evidence does not have the amount of independent corroboration to be allowed to be part of a SOTU address and calling the information "false". What amazes me is the thunderstorm that can erupt over an issue like this which basically has no substance. Where is the issue? What was the "lie"? Who was deceived?
The more important national political question is "What happened to the political instincts of the Democrat Party?"