Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Denounce, Reject. No difference really...

... if you don't do either.

Louie "Calypso" Farrakhan, a.k.a. Eugene Walcott, a.k.a. Louis X, gave up his music career in 1955 because Elijah Muhammad, then leader of the Nation of Islam, demanded that all NOI musicians completely and forever give up music within 30 days.

Music's loss. Racism's and UFOlogy's gain. (Check that UFO link, Farrakhan's mental capacity is an issue as we go along here.)

Fifty plus years later, Farrakhan is himself head of the Nation of Islam. He's the black equivalent of David Duke - racist, homophobic, and antisemitic - with that over-the-top dash of Dennis Kucinich. He is also supporting Barack Obama.
CHICAGO — In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the “hope of the entire world” that the U.S. will change for the better. The 74-year-old Farrakhan, former leader of the black Muslim group, never endorsed Obama outright, but spent much of his nearly two-hour speech Sunday to an estimated crowd of 20,000 people praising the Illinois senator.

...Farrakhan has drawn attention for calling Judaism a “gutter religion” and suggesting crack cocaine might have been a CIA plot to enslave blacks.
Obama is not quite trying to have none of it, however, telling Hillary (eventually) in last night's debate, that he both "rejects and denounces" Farrakhan's support.

Well, not exactly.
Obama did not, in fact, reject Farrakhan's support and neither have his spinpeople.
"Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan's past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister's support," Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
Some rejection. Some denouncement.

OK, so what? Obama says he completely disagrees with what Farrakhan says. Why not just accept that? Obama's a uniter, right? Well, maybe. We just don't know. For me it smells too much like Huey Long crossed with a sensitive George Wallace.

As a uniter, there are aspects of Farrakhan's associations that Obama should take head-on. Obama has not done that, even though Farrakhan's endorsement makes it an urgent requirement - because the endorsement is not Obama's only connection to Farrakhan.

Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the pastor of Obama's own Trinity United Church of Christ, carries some Farrakhan baggage, too. We'll get to that. First, here's the top item on TUCC's website:

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.
This is a mission statement which you can look at at least two ways. One, if you substitute the word "white" for the word "black," and "Aryan" for "African," you'd maybe be featured in a New York Times story on Internet bigotry. In Canada you'd surely be looking at a hate crime charge before some Human "Rights" Commission.

Two, you could substitute "Catholic" and "Western." Then it seems pretty reasonable, except perhaps to a bedraggled contingent of feminists, a handful of atheists and an postmodern multi-culturalist or two.

I'll even acknowledge a problem with my substitution algorithm. Skin blackness, except to Farrakhan and Wright, et. al., isn't a religious system. I, however, am not the one who said it was. I'm merely observing their taxonomy.

I'm not the one confusing race and religion. I think you can be black and be a Protestant, a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a Buddhist, a Wiccan, a Satanist, a Shintoist, a Confucian, a Jain, or a Jew (objectors need to deal with Sammy Davis Jr.). If you're any of those religions, however, there's nothing you can believe that can make you black if you're white, brown, pink or yellow. One is about your mind. The other is about your melanin content. This is why Bill Clinton wasn't really the first black President, and why Michael Jackson, even if his nose falls off entirely, will still not be white.

Notwithstanding, you're thinking, this is pretty small potatoes. Hyberbole-wise, where's the beef?

There isn't any. We have only this tofu-burger: in the '80s Pastor Wright travelled to Libya with Minister Farrakhan to visit terrorist Colonel Gadaffi, and this paean: in 2007, Trumpet Magazine (published and edited by Wright's daughter) selected Farrakhan as the recipient of the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeteer Award, saying Farrakhan "truly epitomized greatness." Wright went on to call Farrakhan "one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience" and praised Farrakhan's "integrity and honesty." There's a video tribute from Reverend Wright here. Note they forgot to edit out all the blackshirts. No motherships are evident, however.

So, here's the point. Barack Obama has not rejected or denounced the support of mental basket-case Louis Farrakhan, and Obama's pastor is an avid supporter of this racist homophobe who, by the way, is also antisemitic.

Not choosing to call Louis Farrakhan what he is, and not leaving the church run by Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is a choice Barack Obama has made. In that spirit I have modified a short poem I heard many years ago. My apologies to the author, whose identity I cannot determine:

'Twas an evening in Feb.,
As I very well rememb.
I was swooning at the rally - f**kin' fried.

My knees were all aflutter,
So I landed in the gutter,
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.

I lay there in the gutter
Thinking thoughts I could not utter,
When a donkey passing by did softly say,

"You can tell who's anti-Jewses
By the company he chooses."

And the pig got up and slowly walked away!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Channeling Mike Huckabee

From MEMRI TV via LGF:

Iraqi Researcher Defies Scientific Axioms: The Earth Is Flat and Much Larger than the Sun (Which Is Also Flat)

He knows this to be true because it's in the Koran. On other scientific questions I suspect he also heeds the literal Koran. For example, I suspect he diverges somewhat from Darwin - evolution theory-wise. He could probably find a sura demonstrating that only Jews are "descended" from Apes (and Pigs).

But, then, he didn't bring up Mormons, either.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Only first class for Joel Ferguson

Though he appears to be lacking any class personally.
'Second-class delegates'

A co-chairman of Hillary's Michigan campaign and has a line that's sure to drive a whole bunch of red state governors up the wall:

"Superdelegates are not second-class delegates," says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. "The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic."
Mr. Ferguson seems to have forgotten that at the nominating convention red-state delegates' votes are equal to blue-state delegates' votes. Moreover, both are equal to superdelegates' votes. One entity, one vote. Well, except perhaps for his vote. His vote is worth zero: Infinitely less than a red-state delegates' vote

In the general election he has a point, but it does not seem to be related to the process of selecting a candidate because he or she shares your principles. So, if you are looking for evidence of old-boys network cronyism, cynicism and corruption, you need look no further than Joel Ferguson. It's about the spoils, stupid!

Mr. Ferguson, of course, is a Clinton supporter who wants the "Michigan delegation" seated at the Democrats' nominating convention. Those are the delegates Hillary "won" when she was the only Democrat of any consequence on the ballot.

Ferguson would get credit for opposing the proposal for a third world style "re-do" caucus - if he objected to it from principle rather than solely because it hurts his federal sugar-momma, and if he hadn't supported subversion of the pre-primary DNC decision not to seat Michigan's delegates.

For a look at the other persons who make up Michigan's superdelegate class check out Michigan Democrat Super Delegates: Look For The Union Label!. Unfortunately, the Union label is only the half of it. It is more frightening yet.

Semper Fi, Marines

Here's two thoughts about the battle at Iwo Jima first posted here in 2005 and 2006.

Flags of our Fathers

John Bradley, Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon and Mike Strank are the Navy corpsman and Marines who, on 23-February-1945, raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi. It’s a famous picture.

Still, Suribachi’s island wasn’t declared secure until 26-March, and it was 7-April before American fighter planes took off from the refurbished runway so many had died to secure.

Describing the Americans who fought this battle, Admiral Nimitz uttered the words that appear on the Arlington Cemetery monument to that flag raising: "Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue".

Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal said that “the raising of that flag on Suribachi means there will be a Marine Corps for the next 500 years.”

Thank you Marines. Semper Fi. 440 years to go; though I expect you’ve extended that a bit in the interim.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the death-struggle for Iwo Jima, in which over 2,000 Marines died in the first 18 hours of fighting.

In the next 36 days Marines had a casualty every 2 minutes. 6,821 Americans and over 20,000 Japanese died. Of 353 Medals of Honor awarded during WWII, 27 were given for heroism on Iwo Jima; 13 posthumously.

And this was not the end of the Pacific war. In fact, it was just the first battle on Japanese soil.

My appreciation of this battle, and my gratitude to those who fought it, grew immensely when I read a book given to me by a former Marine. That book is Flags of our Fathers, by James Bradley.

Bradley discovered that his father, a Navy corpsman who survived the battle of Iwo Jima, had not only been awarded a Navy Cross for his efforts there, but was one of the men in the famous picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. He discovered this only after his father had died, as he sorted through his father’s papers.

Danielle Girdano is another person belatedly aware of her father’s contribution on Iwo Jima.

18 year old private first class Daniel Girdano, 4th Marine Division, 24th Regiment, 1st Battalion A Company, first saw Iwo Jima's beaches on 19-February-1945. His daughter learned what really happened there almost by accident. She bought a vial of Iwo Jima ash for her father as a Christmas present in 2003, and he could not speak of his experiences still. “He saw this vial of ash, and this man who I’ve known my entire life as the Rock of Gibraltar, broke down,” she said.

What she learned from her small gift resulted in the Legend of Heroes Memorial. A monument in glass, metal and wood; it has the faces of 10 Iwo Jima vets engraved on it. Her father is one of them. It is beginning a 49 state tour this weekend.

It is inscribed, "Boys became men, men became heroes, heroes became legends."

I am cowed by the modesty, even self-effacement, of men like Bradley’s and Girdano’s fathers; though it is typical of those WWII vets who saw soul-wrenching combat. Part of it is certainly the modesty becoming of a different era, but I think most of it arises from the pain their experiences brought. (Note to John Kerry – your eagerness, sustained for 30 years, to capitalize on your experiences of "atrocities" in Viet Nam is one of the reasons you were not credible.)

I recommend Flags of our Fathers, but for a brief tour you should read Arthur Herman’s piece here.

Herman also invokes contemporary issues via a perspective on the doubt and debate surrounding WWII strategies that most of us now think of as uncontroversial.

Posted by Hershblogger at 2/19/2005 06:46:00 PM


***********************************************************************

Here's look at how the story of Iwo Jima would be reported today.

Aid and comfort

The reporting on recent casualties in Afghanistan is even more abominable than I noted on Friday.

Bill Roggio reports:

The news reports of a major Taliban offensive in southeastern Afghanistan are inaccurate, as Coalition offensives and Taliban attacks have been lumped together to give the impression of a coordinated Taliban assault in multiple provinces.

...It is important to understand how the fighting was initiated, as the current reporting is giving the impression of a coordinated Taliban uprising. This provides the Taliban with a propaganda victory, as their power is perceived as far greater than it actually is, which can negatively influence the government and peoples of the Coalition forces serving in Afghanistan. The narrow passage of the extension of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan (by a 149-145 vote in Parliament) illustrates the fragile nature of the support for the mission in some Western nations.

Of course it is important to understand the nature of the combat, and if the PNB press were as dedicated to reporting facts as they claim to be, we might even have had information that reflected reality. Instead we have stories that reflect the predetermined attitudes of the left. To wit; the Taliban is gaining strength and resistance by the West is ultimately futile. Nichola Goddard's life was wasted.

I want to know, if we have Al-Jazeera, why do we need the AP?

If the AP had been constituted the same way in World War II as it is today, the reporting from Iwo Jima would have had headlines screaming; "2,000 Marines die in the first 18 hours of fighting".

The flag was raised on Mt. Suribachi on day 4 of the attack. The battle went on for another 32 days. Headlines would have been "A dead Marine every 2 minutes for 36 days" and "Marines suffer 6,821 deaths. Some ask - For what?".

The strategic value of Iwo Jima would never have been mentioned, and the fact that 20,000 fanatical enemy soldiers died would have been covered by a story headlined - "Japanese widows grieve".

Here's an example of how it was actually reported. Don't miss the audio link.

Iwo Jima was not the end of the Pacific war. In fact, it was the first battle on Japanese soil. We finished the War with Japan on August 15, 1945 - nearly 4 years after Pearl Harbor.

The Battle of Afghanistan will not end the War against Islamofascism - unless we lose. Whether we still have the will to win even this battle is an open question, in part because that will is being undermined by the AP's characterizations.

H/T SDA, where it is noted that Roggio is going to be embedded with Canadian Forces in Afghanistan starting next week. I've added an additional Counterterrorism Blog link to the blogroll for your convenience.

Posted by Hershblogger at 5/21/2006 04:15:00 PM

***********************************************************************

Finally, Democracy Project is recommending a National Geographic 3-hour special tonight: “Inside The Vietnam War”

CORRECTION, that was the 18th. It shows again on Sunday and Monday the 24th and 25th at 4PM.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Taqiyya and kitman

Lying to the kafirs.

An update on Ezra Levant's accuser to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Apparently, you can't trust a word the man writes or says.

Imam undercuts himself by twisting his own words

Earlier this week, Calgary Imam Syed Soharwardy spent nearly two hours with the Herald's editorial board before announcing he would withdraw his two-year-long Alberta human rights complaint against Ezra Levant, the publisher of the defunct Western Standard magazine.

Soharwardy lodged the complaint after Levant published Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were central to murderous protests around the world by Muslims, including renewed violence in Denmark on Friday.

Soharwardy is trying to take back his complaint, but it's already too late. Levant's resolve is too strong and freedom of expression too fundamental a right to be so easily shrugged off after the microscope of world attention ended up being turned on Soharwardy.

The founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) asked for a meeting with the Herald's editorial board via an e-mail, arguing that Levant was "attempting to paint me as a hate-mongering, anti-Semitic, Wahabi radical who wants to see Canada governed under sharia law. Nothing could be further from the truth."
Au contraire. RTWT

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jay Grodner - no longer practicing law in Illinois

Apparently he did not apply to renew his license. This is a result worse than having your car keyed, I'd guess.

I wonder if Grodner got enough enjoyment from keying a deploying Marine's car to make up for this. Grodner is petty, stupid and has undetectable impulse control. Having demonstrated that so publicly probably destroyed his practice. Even if you agree with his politics and hatred of the military, you sure wouldn't want him to be your lawyer.
While there is no indication given publicly as to why Grodner would decline to reregister, one consequence of doing so would be to avoid disciplinary actions.
RTWT

Thursday, February 14, 2008

This is what you get when you elect CINOs...

Promises breached
The Department of Justice's (DOJ) previously stated position is that the Second Amendment secures a right of individuals not restricted to militia service. But astonishingly, the Justice Department now recommends an elastic standard for determining whether a handgun ban is reasonable. According to the DOJ, the courts should consider the nature and functional adequacy of available alternatives. That may sound sensible at first blush, but it could be fatal to the Heller litigation.

...In effect, a conservative administration has thrown a lifeline to gun controllers. Following the DOJ blueprint, they can pay lip service to an individual right while simultaneously stripping it of any real meaning. After all, if the D.C. ban can survive judicial scrutiny, it is difficult to imagine a regulation that would not.
By the definition of "conservative administration," prior to George Bush and John McCain, that is a misuse of the word "conservative." It's what I said.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Incumbent Protection Act in operation

If private money is an evil, corrupting influence that must be restricted, how does John McCain justify taking any beyond the public finance matching limit?

McCain had asked to participate in the public system last summer when his campaign was broke and his polling was in single digits. The FEC declared that McCain was eligible to receive $5.8 million in public funds in December.

Things have changed for John. If he becomes an incumbent President, he'll want them to change again: Not for the better from a First Amendment standpoint.

McCain Nixes Public Funds for Primaries

Apparently, if the message is John McCain's it is automatically above any appearance of corruption. If the message is John McCain's, it's a message that is so important that we must acknowledge that money = speech, at least when the money is used to deliver a John McCain campaign message.

Should any of the rest of us speak politically about a candidate, McCain for example, within 60 days of the election we may be vulnerable to arrest under the provisions of McCain-Feingold. We can't opt out.

Just think of the sabre-teeth the Federal Election Commission will have if McCain is elected President.

Monday, February 11, 2008

‘Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?"

There was a time when Christian religious leaders could remember that Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” There was a time when honor lived in Canterbury, but we're apparently a long way past Thomas Becket: Sharia law in UK is 'unavoidable'
The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable".

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.
The problem is that in a one-way multi-cultural society where the courage of Western convictions has been lost, Dr. Rowan is absolutely correct. Surrendering your legal system to the demands of the religion of immigrants may temporarily achieve "social cohesion." Don't ask them to assimilate. It's your guilty penance to accomodate.

On this side of the Atlantic we have a parallel example. Polygamy is not legal in Canada, but in Ontario male Islamic Torontonians with more than one spouse are collecting more than one welfare payment: Polygamy under fire
An abuse of the welfare system by GTA [Greater Toronto Area] Muslim men allowed to live in polygamous marriages under a controversial Ontario law was met with shock and outrage yesterday.

Politicians and the public reacted angrily to an exclusive story in yesterday's Toronto Sun about how the men collected social benefits for up to four wives.

Mumtaz Ali, president of the Canadian Society of Muslims, said hundreds of members of his community in polygamous marriages have been collecting welfare for some time.
Frankly, the strange thing in that story is how it is possible for Ontarians to muster the shock and outrage necessary to experience shock and outrage.

Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket died in 1170. His brutal murder sent a shock through Medieval Europe. It was another 45 years before the Magna Carta was forced upon King John in 1215, but these events are not without connection.

Is it possible that English speaking democracies go past their "best before" date if they have not had a revolution in 800 years? To be fair, no other language group has had democracy for that length of time, but Canada and Britain share the slow suicide of one-way multi-culturalism, and they both have severe restrictions on freedom of speech. It is not coincidental that neither has adopted the concept of our First Amendment, the same Amendment John McCain thinks should be subservient to the "appearance of corruption."

In the US it has started with Somali cabbies in Minneapolis refusing to transport customers possessing alcohol, then Muslim Piggly Wiggly check-out clerks refuse to sell you bacon. It progresses to an unwillingness to defend our borders. Welfare for polygamists is about one election cycle away.

After that, the lobbying for sharia will begin in earnest here.

Mark Steyn at CPAC

Mark Steyn speaks at CPAC.

Absolutely Not To Be Missed. Allow an hour.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

With friends like John, who needs Bob Dole

I am not amused by commentators urging those of us with strong small government principles to “grow up,” and stop opposing John McCain for President because he would be better than Hillary. So would my son's dog (my own dog is too old). Is that enough reason to vote for John McCain?

The mistake here, it seems, is the assumption that some people are invested in GOP success regardless of GOP policies and actions. The Democrats are the greater evil, so if you don't vote for a flip-flopping, backstabbing, self-obsessed, economically ignorant Constitution trasher, you're being childish.

Let the people on whose behalf he advocates, maybe the 26 lobbyists on his campaign team, vote for him. It's not my job. I'd like to either effect GOP policies or see the party replaced. Not voting for John McCain seems most congruent with those objectives.

I am fed up with the idea that McCain's statist policies are somehow my fault. I'm not the one writing a GOP platform with headings like: In Support of Trial Lawyers; Amnesty for Illegal Aliens; Implementing Global Warming Hysteria; and Suppression of Free Speech - Round II. To quote Mark Levin, "If John McCain is nominated and loses, it is because he doesn’t appeal to enough Americans, including the base that he has repeatedly betrayed."

If he isn't nominated I won't have to not vote for him. The prospect for his non-nomination isn't looking good, however. So, by not voting for John McCain in the general election I may (through some miracle, since I live in Michigan), actually increase the possibility of a Clinton or Obama Presidency. The central question being posed by those advising me to "grow up'" is - "How is it possible to prefer Clinton or Obama over McCain?"

The answer is that that's the wrong question. Politics is a multi-year game, and I prefer classical liberalism over statism in the long run.

For example, Goldwater's failed run arguably begat Reagan's presidency. Few today, though John McCain should be among them, remember this watershed. Hillary probably does. She was a Goldwater Girl.

The Democracy Project has a nice bit here on the AuH2O legacy - Conscience of a conservative, and you should RTWT.
There aren’t many of us who remember the Barry Goldwater of the 1950’s who challenged many of the safe, consensual policies of the Eisenhower administration as prudent to the point of ineffectual, just tightening a bit the liberal orthodoxy, and excessively reticent to confront the Soviet threat. There aren’t many of us who remember Barry Goldwater’s challenge to the excessively liberal common wisdom of the 1960’s, his conscience of a conservative trumpeting the creed that put the individual first and launched the modern conservative movement said to dominate the Republican Party, which in turn is said to dominate American politics.

But, that creed has morphed into a political machine in which the purism of Goldwater’s beliefs are peripheral to obtaining, keeping, and using power, as often for self-enrichment and glorification as any statist. There aren’t many of us who remember Barry Goldwater’s libertarian core in the 1970’s running contrary to some of the social conservatism that much of the Republican alliance rested upon. Most Republican leaders paid him as much false homage as to Lincoln, but treated him mostly like a loved but aged and quirky uncle. Today, I can’t even remember the last time I heard his name, not to mention his views, mentioned by a Republican.

There are faint echoes today of the debates over the fundamental meaning of conservatism and of liberalism that dominated discourse in the 1960’s and 1970’s. But, that’s all they are, faint echoes heard in the halls and media of power, largely treated as trivial to the business at hand. And, that’s what is at hand, the business of power, not the power of ideas, including the powerful idea of individual responsibility and morality.

...Out of their loss of power, like conservatives in the 1950’s, liberals are at last realizing they need new thinking. It may be comfortable to see their state of thinking epitomized by their equivalent of conspiratorial Birchers whose insanities we highlight, but below that surface there are some saner thinkers stumbling toward a newer more attractive vision that may resonate over the coming decades. Meanwhile, the primary contrary thinking from the right is more concerned with cutting spending, but of the other guy’s programs, or the same programs but at a state instead of federal level, but not much new that recognizes the fallibility of relying on government programs to the relative exclusion of individual initiative and acceptance of the limitations of group programs.

Both liberals and conservatives have reached virtual bankruptcy of ideas. Both are rummaging around their vaults of oldie goldie slogans, and polls show most Americans except the few most partisan see through both’s emperorial clothes. Both need to really rethink their core assumptions, and take on their vested interests. If conservatives don’t get a new Barry Goldwater soon, the liberals may find theirs first.
Peggy Noonan picks up the theme in a link at the end of that post. Another Bridge to Nowhere
But saying The Bush administration is a lot better than having Democrats in there is not an answer to criticism, it's a way to squelch it. Which is another Bridge to Nowhere.
In another political environment, Christopher Hitchens makes the same argument I make here. RTWT The Tories are still useless, and if you really want to get Labour out, you should not vote Tory:
I think we now have a unique opportunity to remake British politics and recapture Britain from the people who have messed it up and trashed it for so long. The next election cannot change the government. But it can change the opposition - from an ineffectual, useless, compromised one, into an effective one genuinely opposed to what New Labour is doing.

And such an opposition, no longer weighed down by the awful record of the Tories and their miserable reputation, could throw New Labour into the sea, perhaps within five years of coming into being.

The destruction of the Tory Party, which is now both possible and desirable, is the essential first step to this. In our two-party system, new parties arise out of the collapse and splitting of those they seek to replace. They cannot be created until that collapse, and that split, have begun. A serious, undoubted and decisive defeat for the Tory Party at the next election would make this possible and likely. Such a defeat is possible, despite the events of the past few weeks, and can be aided by voters simply refusing to waste their votes on a party that is both likely to lose, and certain to betray them if it wins.
In the United States, what would a McCain single term presidency (he'd be 80 midway through a second term, so I discount it) beget? Somewhat more feisty foreign policy and somewhat more statist domestic policy seems probable.

But, one need not feel the least bit compelled to seek fleeting marginal political advantage by supporting a candidate willing to betray the Constitution. What's that you say? Clinton and Obama support McCain-Feingold too? Yeah, but they're not claiming to be on my side, and their names weren't on the bill. It wasn't their crusade. Without a "conservative" like McCain it might never have happened. Clinton and Obama aren't in the vanguard of those trying to extend it.

It's not just that issue where a conservative mantle has enabled McCain to assist Big Brother, but that assault on the First Amendment in and of itself is always and forever a deal breaker.

As I'll demonstrate at length in a minute, I've been no fan of George Bush's domestic policies. I will, however, give him credit for steadfastness, calm in the face of opposition and adherence to a set of principles - like them all or not. The myth is that McCain is cut from similar honest cloth. I don't think so. A recent Reason Alert newsletter provides this insight:

In McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, Reason magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch, who was recently labeled "one of the world's foremost experts on all things McCain" by WashingtonPost.com, writes, “The McCain desperate to be president bends his positions for political considerations, spins furiously when caught out on his contradictions, and makes absurd declarations about how none of his policy positions have changed…McCain’s 34 years of voluminous on-the-record verbiage – the best-selling books, the hundreds of appearances on Sunday chat shows, the inspirational speeches – are positively cluttered with cautionary tales about what happens when he elevates his own self-interest over what’s good for the country.”

“…this book excoriates John McCain as a calculating flip-flopper and the media for mythologizing him as a straight shooter. Welch compares McCain's ‘ritual self-criticism’ to Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12-step program: First, he admits his flaws, then he sublimates them to a greater cause, and finally he takes that cause to the people. - The Washington Post
I voted third party in 2000 because George Bush's domestic agenda was statist. I held my nose and voted for him in 2004 solely because John Kerry promised to cut and run in Iraq. Preventing John Kerry from becoming president was my sole motivation. I explained this in a Lansing State Journal OpEd in October 2004:
In peacetime elections, the candidates' domestic policy positions matter most to me: particularly spending, trade, federalism and civil liberties. On these issues, George Bush has been disappointing. John Kerry promises me that he would be at least as disappointing.

Disappointment abounds: Kerry's ambivalence on the Second Amendment. Bush's cynical amendment defining marriage. Kerry's promise to add billions to health-care spending; Bush already having done it. Kerry supporting such economically devastating and ludicrously ineffective environmentalism as the Kyoto Treaty. Bush signing campaign finance "reform."

Domestically, John Bush and George W. Kerry lead mirror-image political parties whose entitlement-laden pandering promotes divisiveness and disinterest.
In peacetime, this undifferentiated statism should prompt everyone to boycott the election.

But this is not peacetime.

We are at war, fighting a global alliance of barbarian states and Islamofascist fanatics to whom classical liberalism is anathema.

We are not fighting a "war on terrorism" or "war in Iraq." We are fighting for civilization itself. And this war was declared on us decades ago.

The enemy includes Hamas suicide bombers, Hezbollah thugs, Baathist executioners, al-Qaida murderers and other Jihadists too numerous to mention. They receive aid and comfort from gangster countries for which mass graves, child murder and enforced female illiteracy are policy instruments. Sudan, Chechnya, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya are, or have been, culpable. And this is hardly an exhaustive list.

We also are culpable. We sleepwalked through 25 years of this war by failing to respond effectively to dozens of attacks, from the Iran hostage crisis to the first World Trade Center bombing.

After 9/11, we chose to stop waiting for the next attack. We seized the initiative in places like Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and Iraq. Now we are wrecking Jihadist hatcheries worldwide.

Iraq, John Kerry says frequently, is "the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time."

He has the wrong ideas.

Wrong war?

Those who have repeatedly murdered our countrymen and stated their goal to destroy us don't think so. What atrocity do they have to commit to get Kerry to consider a war "right"?

Wrong place?

Would the senator prefer to fight in New York? Iraq is but one front in this war and it is hardly the "wrong place."

While the 9/11 commission called ties between Saddam and al-Qaida "real, but shadowy," an al-Qaida connection has never been necessary to justify invading Iraq. Saddam's sheltering of Abu Nidal and Abu al-Zarqawi; a decade of shooting at our forces enforcing U.N. sanctions; and his financing of suicide bombers place him squarely in the Islamofascist alliance.

Wrong time?

Shall we accept further decades of casualties?

Kerry's words also imply that the "wrong country" is carrying the load. Of that I ask: If not us, who?

Sometimes Kerry says he would seek victory in Iraq, sometimes he says he would not. Sometimes he votes for funding our troops and sometimes against. He calls the war a bigger mistake than his own vacillation. Kerry's dual mistake, then, is that his ill-considered words accurately describe his deplorable actions.

Kerry's continuing mental stalemate always involves elaborate qualification; as if nuance matters to those who behead handcuffed aid workers and shoot children in the back, as if these cowards might desist could we just get the French to let the United Nations intervene.

Recognizing the Jihadist threat is prerequisite to mustering the will to defend, literally, civilization. Kerry can't even distinguish the threat between one "position" and the next.

Whatever his domestic failings, George Bush understands the nature of this war.
And he will get my vote.
You might think this thinking would imply a similar backhanded endorsement of John McCain in 2008 - but read on.

I offered more specific advice on domestic policy to the Republican National Committee about a year after the LSJ piece:
Thursday, Sep 16th, 2005

Robert M. Duncan
Treasurer
Republican National Committee

Mr. Duncan,

You have solicited my monetary support for Republicans in this year's elections. I do not blame you for not wanting "to believe [I've] abandoned the Republican Party". However, I think you have it backward. It is the Republican Party that has abandoned me.

If, as RNC Treasurer, you know that Republican Party success "depends on grassroots supporters like me", you may wish to pass along my comments to Karl Rove and President Bush.

If the President is counting on me to "help him with the tough challenges ahead", he might well have displayed more ability to cope with the tough challenges of the past (Rhetorically accepting the sophistry that acting according to principle is a tough challenge.)

His leadership in the War will attract my vote and I will most likely support other Republicans on a local basis. I am happy he was able to get tax cuts. I applaud the administration’s position on the 2nd Amendment. I’m pretty sure I will prefer Judge Roberts to Justice Ginsberg. These are areas where Republicans offer a clear and principled difference.

I have not any interest, however, in contributing, indirectly or otherwise, to those individuals responsible for restrictions on free trade in steel, softwood lumber or textiles.

I will not hold my nose and contribute to those who threw my tax dollars into the egregious pork barrel of the 2002 Farm Bill, or the 2005 Energy or Highways Bills. The quid was much too high for the quo on CAFTA, and the new drug entitlement for Medicare recipients is an abomination.

I am unimpressed by the continuing attempts to dissuade Israel from its own defense.

Oh, and in counterpoint to your support of the 2nd amendment, the NRA also has needed money to pursue court challenges to the Campaign Finance Reform bill signed by this President. When I sent the NRA a contribution, I knew what they would do with it.

I was already not impressed by the compromise, should I say gutting, of the President's education reform policy prior to these other failures of principle.

Perhaps some of it is necessary. The education compromise, for example, could be viewed as a tiny, hopeful first step if you've been fitted with Big Government rose colored glasses. No Child Left Behind can also be viewed as Ted Kennedy’s unfunded mandate. Even the Liberals in Michigan see it as an opportunity to increase demands for Federal money.

The Farm Bill reversed a major Republican accomplishment, and the tariff impositions are the opposite of what this President had led us to expect are his principles. That is, there is no detectable difference here between Republicans and Democrats rushing to the trough in their feeding frenzy on my tax dollars, or pandering to special interests for votes. Well, there is one – I expect it from Democrats, since it aligns with their Statist principles.

From Republicans it is simple hypocrisy. Which is worse, not sending money to Democrats since I know what they'll do with it, or sending money to Republicans who act like Democrats?

I think I'll just keep it; it'll help me afford the increased price of steel, softwood lumber, clothing sugar, soybeans and various other CAFTA pork. I’ll preserve it against my taxes for the Alaska “bridge to nowhere” and the apparently unending funding required to rebuild New Orleans. It will help me continue to assist the NRA's defense of the 1st amendment, necessary because the President failed to veto Campaign Finance Reform.

While we’re on the subject of vetoes, can the president even spell the word? Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, calling it "[among] the most far-reaching reforms of American business practices since the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt." Odd praise, indeed, from a “conservative” president.

It is difficult to care about your contention that a Democratic victory in Congress will "cut the President's term in half" or “threaten his programs.” He appears to be doing that without their help.

Now we are asked to accept on spec, on the fact that Bush “knows her heart” a Supreme Court nominee who is at best a cipher and at worst a betrayal to his base. This “trust” argument comes from a President who said of Vladimir Putin: "the more I get to know President Putin, the more I get to see his heart and soul, and the more I know we can work together in a positive way."

So much for the President’s judgment. Worse, he’s been joined by his wife in the spin surrounding Harriet Meirs. Laura Bush says that “it is possible” that opposition to Meirs is motivated by sexism. Please! Spare me the culture wars of the last generation. It isn’t because she’s a woman that her nomination is questionable, it’s because she is clearly not the best choice that could have been made!

In closing, your records are correct. You have not received my 2004 RNC membership contribution. Neither have you previously received any membership contribution from me, nor will you in the near future.

If we stand together, as you say, we can win in November. But, if the point of holding power is to exercise it, I'd say we have a problem.

Get back to me when the party can do both.
This long preamble is intended to demonstrate that my disgust with Republicans is neither new, nor unique to John McCain. I can't "get over it" in general any more. Worse, John McCain has a long record of delight in sticking it to conservatives.

So the electorate again faces this question; “Does energetic pursuit of the long war with murderous external religious-statism trump the long creep of domestic nanny-statism?” It's a multi-year game. Do we accept measly scraps now, or hope for more fundamental reform after our putative leaders spend some time in the wilderness?

Since John McCain's domestic policies promise to be far, far worse than those of George Bush, there are only two possible reasons to vote for him over Clinton or Obama. One, he will more vigorously prosecute the War on Jihadis. Two, his opponent's domestic policies will be sufficiently worse.

He wins the first point handily against Obama, who has promised to cut and run. Obama, however, is the "great uniter" and insubstantive bullshit though that may be, McCain will have a hard time overcoming it. John is no longer a rock star.

Against Hillary, the practical difference is not so clear. Her vote for war in Iraq is less damaging with sane voters because of our recent success. McCain's appropriation of all things "surge" has become less relevant. Moreover, for conservatives, his National Security anti-credentials include opposition to water boarding, pushing to get Gitmo closed and leading the effort to confer constitutional and international rights on the enemy there incarcerated. In pushing his illegal alien amnesty plan, McCain opposed every amendment to prevent gang members, terrorists, and others from receiving 'Z' visas. He also voted for the Specter amendment, which provided that the Mexican government, among others, would have to be consulted before building physical barriers along our southern border.

National security is more than singing “Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran,” on the Senate floor, or promising to keep troops in Iraq for a century “if needed.”

In domestic policy McCain would have an obvious edge in only two instances; appointment of judges and slowing the adoption of Universal Health Care. On the judges, his comments about Justice Alito are discouraging. As reported by John Fund in the Wall Street Journal:
...Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because "he wore his conservatism on his sleeve."
Adding this to his record with the Gang of 14, I don't think the judge issue is a big winner for McCain. It matters to conservatives, but conservatives would be hard pressed, yet again, to believe they matter to John McCain.

On the general domestic policy front, one has to wonder whether McCain would actually derail, for example, another Hillarycare initiative. His instincts are remarkably and consistently to work with Democrats against small government.

It's one thing to overlook one or two issues, but in McCain's case, it's every important domestic issue: McCain-Feingold (restrictions on political speech), McCain-Kennedy (amnesty for illegal aliens), McCain-Kennedy-Edwards (trial lawyers' bill of rights), McCain-Lieberman (global warming legislation), Gang of 14 (McCain-Byrd, obstructing change to the filibuster rule for judicial nominations), saying he voted against the Bush tax cuts because they “favored the rich” and bashing pharmaceutical companies as if he were John Edwards.

Any liberal Democrat would be proud of this record.

In the end, we are faced with a candidate running as a conservative who demonstrably is not. His presidency would be another blow to the perception of what small government actually means. John McCain demeans the term conservative, and this is no small thing. Principles matter, as do the words that describe those principles.

How did the word “liberal” come to describe those who favor massive government intervention? By the actions of those who claimed the title. Even the liberals are running away from it now, in favor of "progressive."

On the heels of the Georges Bush, John McCain will do the same for “conservative.”

You may decide that the differences between John McCain and the Democrats are more important than they seem to me. You should ask yourself, though, what WOULD be too much for you? Unless something radically shakes up the GOP, you'll be getting whatever that would be in four to eight years. Your next decision will be even harder.

Then, it won't matter at all.

Friday, February 08, 2008

MEA Culpa

I reproduce an e-newsletter* from Jack Hoogendyk regarding Governor Granholm's proposal to spend $300 million on high school reform.
Dear Duane,

In her state of the state address a couple of weeks ago, the governor introduced a new idea to improve high school graduation rates and encourage more students to attend college. There was a note familiarity to the idea...

The Proposal: Specialized High Schools

As described by Peter Luke in his column of February 4th, "A new $300 million state fund would over the next three years provide planning grants and startup cash to districts that agree to dramatically change the way high school students are educated. The proposal would replace large high schools that don't work well with smaller schools of 400 pupils or fewer. The principal and a teaching staff of his or her selection would have broad freedom to personalize learning environments for students.

The financial incentive for districts to participate is clear. Every student who drops out of school represents a loss of nearly $7,500 in annual state aid."

Why Does This Idea Sound Familiar?

Five years ago, retired businessman Robert Thompson offered $200 million of his own money to build 15 specialized high schools in Detroit. You could accurately describe it as startup cash in a district that dramatically needed to change the way high school students are educated. His offer would have replaced large high schools that didn't work well with smaller schools. The principal and a teaching staff of his or her selection would certainly have been given broad freedom to personalize learning environments for students.

If it was such a good idea five years ago, why didn't it happen? Follow the money.

As described in a National Review article on July 28, 2004, "Granholm may have committed her most ignoble act in late 2003: the craven rejection of $200 million proffered by Michigan businessman Robert Thompson to build charter schools for Detroit's inner-city poor. Her cave-in to Michigan's powerful teacher-union lobby was a slap in the face of Democrats' claimed constituency, the thousands of urban black families on waiting lists to send their kids to charters."

The Thompson offer of five years ago and the governor's idea of two weeks ago are similar; they both look for ways to improve graduation rates in failing districts. They key difference is that Mr. Thompson's proposal uses private dollars and works outside of the MEA and union scale employment; the governor's proposal is a government solution that will cost much more to implement.

A private investment of $200 million would have provided hundreds of new jobs in an ailing economy. Under the governor's proposal, new schools will be constructed under the prevailing wage which means inflated labor costs with the bill going to the taxpayers rather than a private business owner.

While I certainly am open to any ideas the governor has to improve the abysmal graduation rates of inner city school districts, I find it unfortunate that the governor and the city of Detroit were unwilling to accept a $200 million gift and the Legislature was unwilling to lift the cap on charter schools to give students in Detroit better opportunities for success.
This newsletter is written by Jack Hoogendyk, who is solely responsible for its content. The opinions expressed here are those of the author alone.
I, for one, share Hoogendyk's opinion.

The net difference between private and state funding for this idea is half a billion dollars on its face. It is actually quite a bit more, because the economic impact must include the loss to consumers and investors of $300 million in loot that could have otherwise been deployed, the inefficiency of processing that money through the government bureaucrats, the closed-shop prevailing wage requirement for State funded construction and the lowered productivity the MEA's tentacles will wring out. Not to mention the increased risk of failure of the entire concept due to increased government regulation.

It is quintessentially Democrat to decide that an idea that would have been privately funded will work better if it is funded by the State. Better yet if it involves an entrenched labor union. The total costs noted above, which I guess to be a billion dollars, can be laid directly at the feet of the MEA. This is what it costs to buy their support. You're paying for it. You didn't have to. The project would now be in its fifth year, instead of not even begun. On Robert Thompson's dime.

The UAW, though it has been running General Motors since about 1960, has finally had to come to terms with the fact that the market won't support the wages and benefits to which it had become accustomed. The MEA does not care about a market, and this arguably damages teachers, students and Michigan's future. Thompson's proposal was rejected because it was likely to make this starkly obvious.

On a related note, Hoogendyk makes note of a bill reported out of the Michigan House Education committee last week to raise the compulsory education age to 18.
The governor says this will lead to higher graduation rates. There is no data to support that assumption. What it will do is inflate the school population by 25-30,000 "students" who have no interest in being in school, and probably shouldn't be there. This will increase the expenditures to the school aid fund by over $200 million, putting pressure on a fund that is already short of cash.
Ask yourself, who does this benefit most?

*
If you would like to receive the free weekly newsletter via e-mail, just drop a note to jackhoogendyk@gmail.com.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Voting for McCain is like...

More on John McCain this weekend. For now...

Plus ça change...

A retrospective on the Fourth Estate as a Fifth Column. They're still doing it today, but no one any longer thinks of newsreaders like Charles Gibson, Brian Williams, or Katie Couric as "the most trusted person in America," as they did Walter Cronkite.

To have squandered such trust, much of it gained by people like Ernie Pyle, is a remarkable achievement. Cronkite initiated the decline by announcing we'd lost in Vietnam: The Lies of Tet
On January 30, 1968, more than a quarter million North Vietnamese soldiers and 100,000 Viet Cong irregulars launched a massive attack on South Vietnam. But the public didn't hear about who had won this most decisive battle of the Vietnam War, the so-called Tet offensive, until much too late.

Media misreporting of Tet passed into our collective memory. That picture gave antiwar activism an unwarranted credibility that persists today in Congress, and in the media reaction to the war in Iraq. The Tet experience provides a narrative model for those who wish to see all U.S. military successes -- such as the Petraeus surge -- minimized and glossed over.

In truth, the war in Vietnam was lost on the propaganda front, in great measure due to the press's pervasive misreporting of the clear U.S. victory at Tet as a defeat. Forty years is long past time to set the historical record straight.
Read The Whole Thing, especially if you are not aware of the history. Also, be aware that it was the refusal of a Democrat Congress' to provide aid promised to the South Vietnamese that was directly responsible for the defeat of South Vietnam and the atrocities that followed in Cambodia.

Friday, February 01, 2008

=(

Notice: My Internet connection is down and does not appear to be coming back up until Feb 6th.

Back ASAP.