Friday, July 29, 2005

Model of Perfection

It seems that politics has taken a vacation for awhile, which is just as well. The Shuttle is in space, docked with the Space Station, and summer is being enjoyed in MN. Some discussions this week and happenings in my personal life have brought me to reflect on my “basic model” for liberals and conservatives.

One of the key features of liberals is that “consistency is not an issue”. They will allow a Ruth Bader Ginsberg to answer very few direct questions in hearings, but are very likely to turn around and demand that John Roberts answer all direct questions. Like all humans, conservatives are not consistent either, BUT, the difference is that for a liberal any such discussion will bring a blank stare. They simply can’t understand that there would be an issue with being “inconsistent” … Ginsberg is good, Roberts is evil. Why would you treat them the same?

While a liberal may be unable to discern “evil” in terrorists flying planes into buildings, pedophiles raping and killing children, or a Doctor partially delivering a baby and then sucking it’s brains out to both insure death and an easy remaining delivery, there are certain areas that they make exceptions. If one faces a liberal and tries to get them to admit to evil in such things, they will quickly point out “different points of view”, or “everyone’s right to see things as they want”, or “you don’t know what kind of background / thought process / brain chemistry, etc drove this person to do that which you judgmentally call “evil”.

One of my theories on why this is so is what I would call “the deity of the liberal mind”. Liberals tend to believe in no God, or in a God that is “unknowable”, “unrelated to us”, or “universal” in that sense that whatever you do would be OK with “*IT*”. Once one believes this, then what one person believes is no more valid than what another believes … but in the human equation, that quickly resolves to “my ideas are better” and ultimately "might makes right". 

When one is god, it is reasonable to expect that your model of the universe is correct and OUGHT to come to pass. It seems that most liberals have a rather abstract and rigid model of what the world ought to be. Since they don’t really believe in any concept of “original sin” and nearly always believe in the perfectibility of man, then the force of “evil” in the universe must be that which is preventing their abstract model from coming true.

This evil typically turns out to be “conservatives” or “Republicans” in some form. The “evil forces” will have names like “religious right”, “big business”, “the oil companies” and “the rich”. The abstract model in the liberal’s mind of a society that is “just”, “free”, “fair”, “peaceful”, “environmentally sound”, and “less filling” is something that would happen NATURALLY if it were not for those forces that are blocking it. Anyone blocking “heaven on earth” must be doing it for an evil purpose.

Once a liberal arrives at their “perfect mental model”, it is very hard to have allegiance to anything in this world and likely least of all the USA. It is a classic case of the “good being the enemy of the perfect” … and of course once it is identified as “the enemy”, it is hard to see it as “good”. Many may see the USA as the best of the best on the planet for governments, but since it falls far short from the abstract perfection inside a given liberals god-like brain, it is worthy of only scorn and derision. Americans being willing to “settle for” what the liberal sees as a sorry state of affairs earns them the derision of a Michael Moore to say about his fellow Americans; They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet... in thrall to conniving, thieving, smug pricks.”

While it might be easier to just respond to the left in kind, my guess is that they are actually thinking SOMETHING. Michael thinks Americans are dumb because many believe in odd things like God, Family, individual responsibility, morals, hard work, and a reasonable level of personal hygiene. Meanwhile, Michael neither believes in, nor practices any of these and makes millions of dollars while calling himself a “common man”.

I doubt that there is one iota of difference in the “hardware” (IQ) between the right and the left, but there is a significant difference in the “software” (mental models) that many of the people on either side are running. I’d rather accuse the left of “incorrect mental models” than being “stupid”. But I suppose that is only because I’m less sophisticated than the typical lefty.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Seven

Lance Armstrong wins his 7th Tour, what an incredible achievement. I’ve enjoyed watching him the past few years on OLN, and I really enjoyed reading his books … “It’s Not About the Bike” is a great one. There are so many moments in that book that make a chill run up the spine.

 My favorite is after he has recovered, done a decent job at a comeback placing 14th in a big race in Spain, given up cycling and hung around Austin playing golf, eating at Chuy’s and drinking Shiner Bock (BTW, having traveled to Austin a good deal on business, I can say his taste is pretty good on the Chuy’s and Shiner ;-) )

He has decided that biking is just too tough, and he wants to “enjoy life”. At one point, he makes the statement “… the old saying, that you should treat each day as if it might be your last, was no help at all. The truth is, it’s a nice sentiment, but in practice it doesn’t work. If I lived only for the moment, I’d be a very amiable no-account with a perpetual thre-day growth on my chin. Trust me, I tried it.” He was locked in the “what do I want to be when I grow up” black hole and going nowhere.

His wife, manager, and friends convinced him that he needed to race in a local Austin race called “Ride for the Roses” that he had set up for Cancer survivors, and if he didn’t train “a little”, he would embarrass himself. Chris Carmichael talked him into going to Boone North Carolina where he had won a couple of races and train. There is a peak there called Beech Mountain, and on the last day of the training he would climb that with Bob Roll, his training partner for that trip. For those of you who watch OLN during the Tour, Bob Roll is one of the commentators.

He buried Bob early on the ascent, and he started to get better and faster as he went up. “That ascent triggered something in me. As I rode upward, I reflected on my life, back to all points, my childhood, my early races, my illness, and how it changed me. Maybe it was the primitive act of climbing that made me confront the issues I’d been evading for weeks. It was time to quit stalling, I realized. Move, I told myself, if you can still move, you aren’t sick!

As I continued upward, I saw my life as a whole, I saw the pattern and the privilege of it, and the purpose of it too. It was simply this: I was meant for the long hard climb.”
He certainly was, and he has certainly accomplished it. “The privilege of it”. There is something in that line that separates the real “winners” in their hearts from the “losers” of this world. If you are reading this, you are drawing breath, so the privilege is yours. You are one of the privileged. 

One of the top surgeons from Mayo ran a stop sign on a country road that I know pretty well Friday AM and his privilege came to an end. A friend that used to live a across the street from my Grandmother was hit head-on by a drunk driver at 24, and her privilege came to an end.

There will be a ton of people, causes and even political parties that will try to tell you that you don’t have a chance in life and that the deck is all stacked against you. They may be your parents, they may be your “friends”, they may be the group you have always associated with and believe that there is no way you can ever think any differently. They will tell you that some other group will prevent you, that you don’t have “enough” … intelligence, connections, emotional stability, family background, money, etc. 

They will give you the message that you are “lacking”. The reasons they present it to you may vary a lot. They may just believe it, and misery does love company. They may feel that they would be invalidated by your success … that if you had success it would somehow mean that the powerlessness they peddle was somehow more of their own doing than that of some “other”. They may want to convince you to “join their cause”, because adding you to their roster will somehow improve the power of the powerlessness lobby.

Don’t buy it. 

Lance Armstrong was in the bottom 3% of the cancer patients that a noted oncologist had ever treated for SURVIVAL … not for winning the Tour de France 7 times, but for continuing to draw breath. As he says, “success” isn’t about winning the Tour 7 times. That was part of what it was about for HIM, but there are all sorts of success that are possible as long as you realize that as long as you have that privilege of drawing breath.

Thanks Lance, it has been a privilege.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

100 People Screwing Up America

I couldn’t resist Bernard Goldberg’s “100 People Who are Screwing up America”. Fun and easy read, and no, all the people in the book are not from the left … Ann Coulter, the Enron, World Com, and other Corporate excess types get roasted as well. It is however mostly predictable … the bias of the press (his first very good, and very successful book was called “Bias”), the extremes of the left, and the excess of sports and the media all get their turn.

His number two pick was Arthur “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times, and he included a revealing editorial that does a good job of showing the lunacy of press bias. 

On January 1, ’95, the Times provided this editorial:
“In the last session of Congress, the Republican minority invoked an endless string of filibusters to frustrate the will of the majority. This relentless abuse of a time-honored Senate tradition so disgusted Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat from IA, that he is now willing to forgo easy retribution and drastically limit the filibuster. Hooray for him. Once a rarely used tactic reserved for issues on which Senators held passionate views, the filibuster has become the tool of the sore loser, … an archaic rule that frustrates democracy and serves no useful purpose.”

On March 6, 2005, they provided the following:

“The Republicans are claiming that 51 votes should be enough to win confirmation of the White House’s judicial nominees. This flies in the face of Senate history, … To block nominees, the Democrats’ weapon of choice has been the filibuster, a time-honored Senate procedure that prevents a bare majority of senators from running roughshod. … The Bush administration likes to call itself “conservative”, but there is nothing conservative about endangering one of the great institutions of American democracy, the United States Senate, for the sake of an ideological crusade.”

Notice any difference? I suppose the true lefties will find some fig leave to cover the nakedness of that bias, but those that are that far gone won’t be coming back to reality anytime soon in any case.
Teddy, secretarial swimming coach, Kennedy was only #3. I really liked Bernie’s analysis of a famous Teddy bloviation on the Iraq war: 

 “a fraud made up in Texas to give Republicans a political boost”.  (Teddy) 
“This is pretty serious stuff-charging that the president of the United States went to war to win reelection. And exactly how would that work? Let’s see, President Bush takes a nation to war, an enormously risky political proposition, says the reason that we’re going to war is that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, even though the president KNOWS the weapons don’t really exist, and that sooner or later, certainly before the election, EVERYONE will know they don’t exist … and he does this to “give Republicans a political boost”? Am I missing something?”

Very well put I think, and the kind of logic that fortunately 51% of Americans had no trouble parsing. The idea that Americans are going to re-elect a President because we are war is of course also absurd. We only need to go back to LBJ, which is likely a major reason that the Democrats and the media spent so much time in ’04 trying to tie Iraq to Vietnam. Other than just not having anything else to run on after a wasted 20 years in the Senate, I’m pretty sure that is another reason that Kerry wanted to talk so much about Vietnam, and to make a connection to Iraq in every way he possibly could.
The book was entertaining, and I like his writing style. Michael Moore was #1, and as it says on the cover Al Franken was #37. High in entertainment, low in significant content, perfect for a nice summer read.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Vegas Prosecutes Gamblers

CBS News putting a prime time hour long show on during an election year that trashed a sitting President with no counterpoint was a milestone in press bias even if all the “important evidence” had been irrefutable. When the evidence turned out to be bogus, the fact of media bias was made clear enough that even very moderate people realized that the mainline press can’t be believed.

The press working day after day to try to get Karl Rove fired is a sign that they continue their move away from journalism and into extreme partisanship with no remorse. While it isn’t likely that most Americans will care enough to even notice the current adventure in press partisanship since the story is idiotic and it isn’t an election year, nobody should be surprised to see more news outlets of the Fox and further to the right gain success as the future rolls on

The press pushing to see a leaker punished is like Vegas trying to punish gambling. The press LIVES on “off the record sources”. “Deep Throat” was a secret source leaker that broke the law every time he talked to the press. In his position he was sworn to not go to the press or anyone else with inside FBI information, BUT, when he recently was identified the press treated him as a hero, which is exactly what would be expected. If the press wasn’t left biased, they would treat a leak from a Republican the same. Leakers are critical to the press, when they bite the hand that feeds them, one can see their true stripes.

If the DEMOCRATS were working to get Karl Rove out of office … hearings, interviews, talking to the media, etc, then we would have plain old garden variety press bias as the press did all it could do to help them. It is important to contrast however what happens when the Republicans see blood in the water and go after a Democrat, as in the case of Clinton. In that case we get a bunch of press navel gazing about “oh, is this really important?”, “how can anyone be in office if we expect “perfection””, etc.

This is different though. Much as in the CBS memo story, the press is driving this thing. It is Joe Wilson that shows up on the news shows, it is the press that finds some memo and tries to make it news even though there is no evidence that Rove even saw it. This is the press telling the Democrats to just get out of the way, THEY can get this job done!

The story itself is completely uninteresting to anyone but the most political partisan on either side. Even if Rove would be fired, it would be a “ho-hum” for all but the most partisan on the Republican side. On the left, it seems hard to imagine that anyone but a rabid Democrat would care about Rove for anything but “revenge”, and everyone knows they care nothing about CIA people, even REAL covert ones. When Phillip Agee, published “Inside the Company”, and covert agents WERE in fact killed, the left and the mainline media loved it. They hate the CIA, they just hate Bush more.

The meta-story here is “how biased can they be”? They have proved they can be biased enough to run a smear job on a sitting President during an election based on fake memos. They can be biased enough to use false information to claim that US soliders are desecrating the Koran, causing riots in which people are killed. Some interest remains, how biased can they be this time?

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Responsiveness

Having not had many posts from readers to deal with up to now, I’ve not thought much of what I would do relative to responding to such posts. Like a lot of things, it will likely vary depending on workload, the weather, my mood, and a host of other topics, but this entry is my “general thinking”. I think the general policy will be to ignore the fray at the post level, and provide feedback from a blog entry if I think there are things posted that I feel like commenting on.

One poster seems to put a lot more meaning in “Republican vs Democrat” than I think was warranted prior to the 60’s, or maybe even that ‘70s. The election of Ronald Reagan ushered in a new Republican era in which Republicans were that party of less Government, free market capitalism, strong defense, and a set of values that prior to the ‘60s would have been “American” rather than have any chance of being “owned” by one party or another … pro-life, pro-family, pro-religion, pro-sexual morality, pro-individual responsibility, pro-hard work, etc. As Reagan said, he didn’t leave the Democratic Party, it left him. It left a lot of Americans.

Some attempted list of “this is all the good things that Democrats have done” is meaningless to me, especially prior to Reagan. I wasn’t old enough to know anything directly about JFK, but from what I understand … cutting taxes, anti-communist, let’s put a man on the moon, etc, he would have made a good post-Reagan Republican. Reagan himself was an FDR Democrat, and nearly everyone supported the President in wartime in those days. There were a lot more issues that were “American” rather than owned by one party or the other. In the “big picture models”, my sense is there used to be a lot more agreement between Americans because they were Christians, Americans, members of a community, a profession or type of work (farmer, labor, shopkeeper, etc) and loyal to family and friends before they were members of some political party. Perhaps I believe in a time that never was, but those are my impressions … many core values of being an American were pretty much shared by both parties.

From 1865-1930, the “Party of Lincoln” Republican party held general sway. The party of Slavery, the Democrats turned the corner with the Depression and the election of FDR. The question of whether FDRs programs would have ever gotten us out of the depression without WWII can never be answered scientifically without some sort of an alternate universe time machine, but the fact is, he got credit for winning WWII and for the policies that ended the depression. There isn’t anything wrong with that for me. America ended up better, and if Democrats get credit for that, that is just fine with me. Americafirst, party loyalty should always contingent on what is better for the country. I've never cheered for America to do bad in Bosnia, or have a poor economy when Democrats are in control. I will live my life out as an American no matter what party is in charge.

It took the sixties and the “youth revolution” before one could concive that a US Political Party could be anti-family, anti-military, anti-religious, anti-life, anti-business, and in general “anti” and still have any viability at all. The Democrats, the party of slavery and the party of Jim Crow, with KKK members like Robert Byrd finally allowed the civil rights act of ’64 to pass 73-27, with 21 Democrats, and only 6 Republicans against. Modern Democrats (and thankfully for them, the media) don’t seem to like to point out that one of the great historical uses of the Filibuster was the Democrat party preventing anti-lynching and voting rights legislation).

The conversion of the party of slavery and Jim Crow into the party of Black Americans is one of the great government vote buying stories of history. By maintaining the idea that Blacks could not be successful on their own, breaking their families by having the Government replace their fathers as “the welfare father”, Democrats were able to enslave the same people that they had held in actual slavery, the slavery of Jim Crow, and finally the slavery of welfare. I find it to be one of the most amazing stories in American politics, and one of the saddest.

The idea that Republicans are “the party of the rich” is a pre-60’s idea that the media and many Democrats seem to remain fond of. Take a look at the very liberal book “What’s The Matter with Kansas” to see a long lament of how the “stupid poor” have hooked up with the evil Republicans and voted against their own pocketbooks”. I guess I’ll accept that Republicans are “the party of the rich” if rich in spiritual life, rich in work ethic, and rich in devotion to America (the real one, not some “hoped for America”) is included in “rich”. If Republicans must be the party of the rich though, then Democrats remain the party of slavery … slavery to old dead socialist and communist ideas that centralized government can provide, slavery to the belief that the economic pie is only so big so we must all beg the Government to cut the pieces so we benefit at the expense of someone else, and slavery as in the mold of enslaving special interest groups like Blacks, NEA, Government workers, and others through the purchase of their votes.

The term “liberal” used to refer to those that wanted less government of all types, as in “libertarian”, but when the “Union of Soviet SOCIALIST Republics” and the “National SOCIALIST German Workers Party” (Nazi) ended up making the name look less than stellar, the left decided that the term “liberal” sounded better than “Socialist or Communist” and made the switch. The Government staying away from your property … be it your house or your paycheck is one of those “basic liberties” that the modern “liberal” isn’t very interested in protecting. Rather than fight the standard terminology, I go ahead and tend to use “liberal” for the left and “conservative” for the right, since that is what people expect to see.

Oh yes, and on the old “am I better off” question. It is a Henny Youngman world. When asked how his wife was, he would answer “compared to what”. The stock market crashed in March of 2K when Clinton was still the President, the recession hit in 1Q ’01 when there wasn’t a Bush policy to be had, and of course we know about 9-11 (well, I guess conservatives do, most liberals seem to have forgotten it). Bush only needed to do better than the imagination of Al Gore’s potential to pass the “are you better off” question. It seems pretty clear that not even the DEMOCRATS never gave a second thought to putting Al up against Bush again to say “see America, you made a bad decision, you could have had **AL** !!!”. I rest my case.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

All a Schorr

I was able to hear a Daniel Schorr piece today on NPR, the thought that it brought to my mind was “The Hopeful Gospel Choir” from Prairie Home Companion. The subject was the evil Karl Rove. Whenever I hear the media talk of him I’m reminded of the movie “Spaceballs”, where the character “Dark Helmet” is a spoof of Darth Vader played by Rick Morainis. Rick is short and doesn’t look very evil, and his helmet is ridiculously large … one just can’t buy him as the nexus of evil, which is exactly the problem the media has with Carl Rove.

 It is clear they hate him, and why not? He was at least partially responsible for the election and re-election of the hated George Bush. The hatred drips a little too thickly though to try to retain any fig leaf of “we are unbiased”. When a picture of him is shown the thought of a cross between a cherub and Porky Pig comes to mind … not flattering of Karl, but not easy to picture as the nexus of evil.

I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the reasons that the media hates W so much is because they THINK that he does exactly what they do. It doesn’t dawn on them that he may believe, have evidence, or in a lot of cases be “right”, they assume that he is making it up and just saying it over and over like they usually do. A few examples:

  1. “Clarence Thomas sexually harassed Anita Hill yet …”. Actually no, he made a couple of comments that nearly nobody would define as sexual harassment, even if the comments were made to their wife or daughter. 10 years before the accusation and she moved to two different jobs with him AFTER the supposed “incidents”.
  2. “Bill Clinton was never guilty of anything but an affair between two consenting adults yet …” No in many and varied ways. The Paula Jones accusation, finally agreed to and apologized for and paid off by Bill was a case of a male governor dropping his trousers in front of a female employee and asking her to “kiss it”.  Even many liberals would find THAT to be sexual harassment if it was their wife or daughter. Not to mention perjury about the incident and others, forcibly fondling Kathleen Wille in a hallway at the White House and a host of other stuff. The media keeps repeating though … “meaningless waste of time”. 
  3. “The Soviet Union is pretty much like the US and will be around as long (or longer as we are). We need to work with them rather than have some fantasy that they are an “Evil Empire” or “Are going away” … nuff said.
  4. “There has never been any connection between Iraq and Al Quaeda” … “Iraq was never a threat to the US” … They may or may not believe some of these things, but repeating them over and over is no different than Bush using the opposite in a speech. There is certainly ample evidence to believe that there were and are connections, there may also be enough evidence for some to believe that there were and are none.

What the Schorr commentary does is postulate that:

1). There was never any evidence that Saddam was buying yellowcake in Niger (of course the British investigation, and in fact Joe Wilson himself reached the opposite conclusion until he started lying about it).

2). When Wilson made the claim that there was no evidence (even though it was later proven that he knew and reported that there WAS evidence), the Bush administration decided to “retaliate”.

Based on those two ludicrous assertions, stated as facts, it is “obvious” that the Bush administration would want to retaliate by “outing” a CIA agent that was not undercover and in fact drove into CIA headquarters every day ( I guess that would be DEEP cover) … if you are actually going in to work at a government agency, it is OBVIOUS that you don’t work there … government workers don’t actually go to work, they call in sick and goldbrick. The fact that she was driving into CIA headquarters would PROVE to anyone observing her that she was NOT a CIA agent … therefore the perfect cover for an actual undercover CIA agent. SIMPLE ! 

This is likely one of those things that those "inside the beltway" are aware of that those of us outside just don't understand.

The power of the media is great, but one would hope that this fantasy is a bridge too far. The idea that they are reduced to trying to take down Rove AFTER the re-election does a lot more to expose bias of an extreme nature than it does to shed any interesting light on anything else.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Listening Left

It is deep summer here in MN, temps in the 90s, no rain, lots of outdoors work and play, so I have been “listening like an average American” to the standard left media and have some thoughts.
If one even just watches the mainline media (closely), a veritable barrage of good news is streaming by, but since it only shows up for a second, and there is never any commentary on it (at least the good news), it is very easy to miss.

· 8 straight quarters of growth above 3%, first time since mid-80s. If there was a Democrat in the WH, this alone would be enough for media happy snoopy dance. As it is, buried on page 4-5 one day, and then the funeral dirge plays on.
· The CBO deficit projection for fiscal year ’04-’05 is down to well under $350 billion and may be under $325 http://www.cnn.com/2005/POLITICS/07/08/budget.deficit.ap/index.html
Contrast this with a Washington Post headline of January http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A35029-2005Jan25.html that stated it would be $427 Billion. There has been a lot of media and democrat hand wringing about how unrealistic the Bush campaign promise to cut the deficit in half was without the all-purpose media solution on massive tax increases. Expect the story of a lower deficit to see minimal coverage with many caveats about “the numbers being bad”. Next time you see a negative number; see if they tell you about the potential that “the number is bad”. Wonder why that is?
· Unemployment hit 5.0% in June, the lowest since 2001. http://money.cnn.com/2005/07/08/news/economy/jobs_june/

One of the reasons that it truly is sad to have a Republican in the White House is that we never get to enjoy any good news. If we had a Democrat in there, it would be wonderful happy times.
The good news of free market capitalism isn’t just for the USA though. Thomas Freidman had an Op-Ed last week where he pointed out that Ireland, the perennial land of famine and poverty is now the 2nd highest GDP per capita in Europe. Why? In the early ‘90s they looked at what was working and created a business friendly environment … cut corporate taxes, high individual rates, and reduces socialist kinds of rules that prevented business flexibility, on the “liberal side”, they made even secondary education essentially free to those that were willing to maintain grades. Now Dell, IBM, Motorola, and a host of other business has come to Ireland, while Germany, France, and those in Europe that maintain a socialist bent, slip ever lower. 

As a side effect, it is a lot harder to recruit bombers in a growing economy … people are more interested in living a better life than in blowing it up. The media generally likes to ignore these sorts of facts … the right kinds of decisions might be reached, more people would move up the income ladder and vote Republican … oops, I guess that has already happened. Well, they can try to slow it down at least!

Here in MN the media is intent on blaming Pawlenty for the State shutdown, which was the Democrat strategy from the beginning. One article that you will never read in the local media is that the Governor is part of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH … interestingly, they don’t write legislation, they sign it, and Pawlenty never vetoed a bill during the special session. Which means … drum roll please … that the legislation never got out of the legislature! Let’s see, there are two branches in the legislature, the House (Republican), and the Senate (Democrat). For some odd reason though, this startling fact never made the media, and all we heard about was “Pawlenty’s No New Taxes Pledge”.

There are few things that the media hates more than some limit on taxation, even when a God forsaken Midwestern state with a horrible climate, no mountains, and a bad business climate. However, we do a great job of taxation and always manage to make the top 5. From a liberal POV, high taxes on their own mean a great quality of life … as long as someone else is paying them.

The MN Democrats prevented any bonding bill from passing in ’04, and they were rewarded by picking up 13 seats in the House. Nationally they are obstructing well enough so that a UN Ambassador can’t even be approved. It remains to see if they will be rewarded at the ballot box for their efforts, but if they are one can only guess that even the dense Republicans will learn that obstruction pays and at least give it a ham handed try. Oh how the media will yell at that tactic, but I may be just wishful thinking, look at the Supreme Court.
The Democrats successfully Borked Robert Bork and prevented his confirmation, they carried out their high tech lynching on Clarence Thomas and he squeaked out a confirmation. 

We now hear the opening whine salvos of “Bush didn’t get enough of a majority to appoint anyone conservative”. Clinton NEVER got any majority at all (43% in ’93, 49% in ’96), and yet Ruth Bader Ginsberg sailed through 96-3. What would someone that is as far right as Ginsberg is left believe? I don’t think we can find anyone anywhere in the judicial system that comes close … an equivalent conservative judge would have to believe that Roe should be overturned ASAP, affirmative action / Gay Marriage / restrictions on the Ten Commandments and a host of other things would be constitutional abominations that would need to be fixed immediately. I’m not sure such a candidate exists, but if they did the media and the left would go to filibuster and manufacturing personal charges against the person for certain. 

Yet, the foolish Republicans let Ginsberg sail through AFTER Bork and Thomas. Did they think that the Democrats and the media would give them credit for civility? Of course not, it is the Republicans that have “destroyed the tone” in Washington, and Bush ought to appoint a liberal to “prevent a fight”.

I got a chance to listen to a little of “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross on MPR this evening as I journeyed home from a Church board meeting, and was rewarded with some great humor for my efforts. She was interviewing a Marine reserve Doctor that is head of some University Medical school as well as having served in Iraq. She did her best to try to get him to say something bad about the politics, the efforts, ANYTHING to do with the war, but he remained dedicated to the service, dedicated to the soldiers, and not willing to take any political bait. She finally got down to a question like “Well, the war in Iraq is a very unpopular war, do you feel that has reflected badly on you as you have returned?”. He had served at the time of (not in) Vietnam, and responded that his experience to the contrary was that they had a lot of support, people sending them letters, treats, helping their families, and telling them how much they appreciated their efforts when they got home. That was the end of the interview, her disappointment was palpable.

It is a great country, he goes to war to fight for the freedom of a tax subsidized woman whose high moments are if someone with Tourettes syndrome comes on and says something inappropriate or she can giggle about gay sex with a guest. If the Muslims that she respects and loves to talk positively about (as opposed to disgusting closed-minded Christians) ever were in charge, they would take her out and shoot her, with some unfriendly treatment on the way to having her brains blown out. How out of touch with reality can a reporter be to think she will get the better of a 30+ year military veteran, Medical Doctor, and head of a University Medical center? She was completely out of her league, but apparently her obliviousness knows no bounds as seems to be the case for most of the mass media.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Terror in London

We awoke this AM to news of terrorist attacks on the transportation system in London. The media breathlessly waiting and anxiously searching for blood, gore and body counts, the stuff of which headlines are made. Over the next few days we will no doubt be treated to statements of; “See, the price of taking on terrorists is too high, we should get out of Iraq, we should retreat and they will leave us alone”.

Such thoughts make the naiveté of Neville Chamberlain signing an agreement with Hitler and talking about “peace in our time” seem like the height of sophistication. Hitler may have been a bloodthirsty monster, but he at least had the PR sense to try to hide it. Al Qaeda has been very clear of their objectives, and even if they hadn’t, their actions have been more than clear. We certainly weren’t in Iraq on 9-11, nor when the Cole was bombed, nor when Kovar Towers were bombed, nor when the WTC was truck bombed in ’93. Bali had no troops anywhere, let alone Iraq in October 2002 when a nightclub was bombed by Al Qaeda, killing 180 people. One doesn’t even have to be looking at them to have them shoot you in the back. They are very capable of being outraged just by our very existence.

The facts may be 100% against them, but we know the liberal mind, and the facts will yet again be ignored and the cries will go out; “If only we are compliant and do as they say they will leave us alone”.

I often wonder if liberals exist on the same planet. They will wail this cry at the same time as the press discloses the details of a sex offender from MN, captured in Idaho with an 8-year old girl he had been molesting for months, along with apparently tying up and killing her family, along with kidnapping, molesting, and killing her 9-year old brother. Do liberals assume that these kids and this family threatened this man? By what odd view of the universe do they believe that terrorists are going to make some rational choice about what they find “threatening” or they “dislike”, and only attack those targets? Do they find that the men that fly planes loaded with people into buildings full of people, or plant bombs on busses and trains loaded with innocent people are somehow less evil than this child molester murderer? Evil has many faces, and for those that are awake, it is quite easy to spot.

To the extent that they are rational, I can only assume that liberals fail to see the existence of evil in any of the above. They see all people (with the likely exception of Republicans) as basically “good”. At times they “do bad things”, but there is always some justification … the crusades, too many oil profits, Bush is arrogant, I had a bad childhood, I was drunk/on drugs/crazy/ etc. The bottom line is always the same … there may be some “bad actions” out there, but there is nothing we can do to prevent any of them, and if we would just throw our arms into the sea, wear tie dyed clothes and listen to folk music, the people that might need anger management, counseling, or better drugs would likely get some and the world would be a sunny place.

Unfortunately, the universe that liberals live in is not the real one, and so we have to go on in spite of them. Prayers for the victims and the people of England, and prayers for the police and military forces of the world as they continue to hunt the evil that is Al Qaeda in whatever hole it chooses to hide in. All that is required for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. No doubt we will hear a strong round of support for doing nothing from the left in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Find the Leaks, But Don't Ask Us

The press is highly irate over NYT reporter Judith Miller going to jail for protecting her confidential source relative to the leak that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. This whole discussion requires a fairly complex program with a lot of gaps and oddness to even come to where we are today. Let me start with the basics, there is no “First Amendment Right to protection of reporter’s confidential sources. The Supreme Court ruled on that in the 1972 case of Branzburg v. Hayes.

The press consistently ignores the obvious here; if reporters have a guarantee of being able to protect their sources, then the ease with which they or sources that have an axe to grind can make up anything they want is frightening. Maybe you trust the NYT and I trust Fox news, but I’d suspect that if we think about it for a minute, there is SOMEONE in the media that we would like to avoid having carte blanche to make up any whopper that they want, print it, and claim “confidential sources”. Even if you look at the press as some kind of saints, there MIGHT be someone at either MoveOn.org or the NRA, or some other organization that could be guilty of leaking false information and might be worth having at least an outside risk of being exposed if it comes to a legal investigation.

So the media is spending time on a story in which the premise is false. They constantly portray “reporter/source privledge” as being fundamental to democracy like lawyer/client, doctor/patient, priest/parishioner. Hogwash. The other privledges are designed to protect the information from being divulged, at all, reporter/source is explicitly designed to allow a source to divulge the information with the hoped for result that they will achieve their ends and bear no consequence. Not all sources nor reporters are honorable, Jason Blair was caught making things up at the NYT, and either some sources or CBS itself saw fit to fake documents relative to the Bush Guard service.

For this specific case though, the oddness just goes on and on. Robert Novak, a conservative opinion writer did a column in July of ’03 that “outed” Valerie Plame, the wife of Clinton era ambassador Joe Wilson, as being a CIA operative. While the media seems intent to keep the facts undercover here, it seems that she was NOT a “covert CIA operative”, so therefore there was never any problem with her being “outed” in the first place. So, it would seem, a complete non-story.

For some reason though, months after the Novak article, the liberal side of the media started a witch hunt over Novak committing a supposed felony by mentioning her name, with further implications that the column was “retaliation” by the Bush administration for her husband criticizing the WMD data on Iraq. There was a reasonable media and Democrat frenzy, so finally a Special Prosecutor was appointed to look into the matter, and other than for the particularly strident left, the situation was pretty much forgotten.

Now, as the special prosecutor grinds on, Judith Miller, who never wrote an article on the subject by the way, has found herself in jail. The press doesn’t much like this result. Leaks on nearly anything, from national security to criminal investigations are of course the mothers milk of journalism in Washington. “Deep Throat”, so recently celebrated by the media made his fame leaking privileged information he was sworn to keep secret by his position, but since his target was Nixon, whom the press hated, he is a saint. During the Clinton administration, leaking of grand jury testimony (also a felony) was a weekly occurrence, press interest in the subject was nil.

The witch-hunt began as an effort to get some top administration official, hopefully Karl Rove, ideally before the election, to damage Bush. Certainly at least one leaker has been found, since Time Magazine’s Matt Cooper was released by his source and has agreed to testify. The very spectacle of the press moving to “root out a leaker” is very much proof of bias. Leaks are what they feed off, they must have leaks, and they must at least be able to give some percentage of their sources the illusion of confidentiality, even if the only way they can protect it is by going to jail.

In this case, their bias got the better of them and they decided to try to take a bite of the hand that feeds their enterprise (leaks). The “just desserts” is that the only way they can protect the promise that they make of “un-named sources” is by going to jail and refusing to talk. They asked for the investigation to close off the very thing that they need to make the news. They got the investigation, and now one of them is in jail. The symmetry is marvelous; the only thing better would be if the sentences for failing to testify were longer.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Sadness of the Liberals

Our local paper graced it’s Op Ed page with an editorial from Ellen Goodman and one from Paul Krugman this evening. Nothing like having some balance! Neither editorial was really worth the waste of good trees and ink. Ellen was lamenting that Bush has “co-opted symbols”, and her special ire was directed at the yellow ribbons on the backs of vehicles, and of course ESPECAILLY those on the backs of SUVs. I don’t have one at this point, but if they bother Ellen that much, they might we worth sticking on.

She sees “support the troops” as a proxy for “support their commander in chief”. She wants to be clear that she supports the troops, is very patriotic, she just doesn’t support what they are doing … and of course even though we live in a democracy where we have elections and Bush won, she doesn’t support him either. He keeps talking about “War on Terror”, and “911”, and he should just stop, it is awful and disgraceful, and it just bothers Ellen SO much!

I think can understand. It would be like if I had a “Support the NEA” sticker on my vehicle, but my real position was that public schools are a disaster, the only thing they are good at is teaching kids gay sex, rap music, and crime, and any student wasting their time going there was doomed to failure. Oh, and I hate the Democrats saying “it’s all about the children”. BUT, I’m really pro-public school, and VERY pro-teacher. All my criticism is based on “support for teachers and public education”. I support them, I just don’t support what they are doing. Not that many teachers die in the line of duty though, so I guess the analogy isn’t quite exact.

Krugman was in his usual “all is lost mode” relative to Iraq. It is wrong, it was always wrong, there isn’t anything right about it, it can’t get better, it can only get worse, Bush is stupid, Bush is a liar, we should get out ASAP, we have lost, lost big, the sky has fallen, might as well just kill ourselves as wait for the terrorists that we are creating to come and do it for us. There just isn’t any doom and gloom dark enough for Paul. I’ve always been against assisted suicide, but if only we could elect Bush to a 3rd term I’d say that would have to be the best idea for Paul.

I think holidays bring out the worst in liberals. Thanksgiving and Christmas are always hard on them … things like God and family involved. They don’t believe in the God part, don’t like the fact that some people that celebrate the holiday DO believe. Usually don’t like the family thing … lots of imperfection, probably some idiot relative that watches Fox and listens to talk radio, nobody should have to be exposed to that. People aren’t genuine, how can anyone be happy when Bush is President? Holidays make no sense.

July 4th is a really tough one. Patriotism and liberals is always a touchy subject. They are absolutely sure that they are really the only TRUE patriotic Americans. They just don’t like flags (too showy), or fireworks (pollution and noise), or grilling (pollution, People Eating Tasty Animals (PETA)), marching bands (too military, too regimented, too “Red State”) and most of all, that whole “rockets red glare” thing. The idea that America was born in war and war is often required to preserve their freedom to constantly find the worst in the country. That is a tough concept for them. They have a hard time really coming to grips with what they like the least, but the whole experience is very uncomfortable, and doesn’t feel like a holiday to them.

Liberals like MLK day. They can march in the streets and talk about how bad it still is in America, it is a celebration of badness and struggle. It is a celebration of the flaws of America, and those they love to celebrate. They love Earth Day. Again, they can point to pollution and all that isn’t right. We haven’t signed Kyoto. Labor Day is probably the most major holiday that liberals love. It celebrates labor, how hard labor has it, and how much we all need unions. More unions, more union dues, more money for Democrats. They like Halloween; witches worship nature, and trying to scare the weak is the favorite liberal strategy of all.

The plight of liberals is tragic. All those holidays celebrating God, home and hearth … Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and those celebrating country in a positive light … Memorial Day and July 4th tend to get much more attention than the liberal holidays. Yet another part of an unfair world in which liberals are forced to make their sad way.