Saturday, December 11, 2004

Election Prediction Winner Profile 'Bronze Medal'

During the month of October, readers were invited to submit their predictions for the 2004 US Presidential Election. Twenty-three predictions landed within one percent of the actual results, and I have identified the five winners, promising profiles on these keen analysts. This article is the first of three such profiles.

The fifth place winner, Van Pham, and the fourth place winner, Charles Fulner, did not provide any additional information, so I will leave these men of mystery to their more subtle accolades.
Third place was taken by a reader named "Larry", whose e-mail name is "Hippy Leftist". If that tag is accurate, we need to acknowledge that Liberals are just as sharp in reading trends and political campaigns as Conservatives.

"Larry" is Larry Jones, who didn’t pass along much in the way of details, and he does not seem to have his own blog or website, but the first profile already provides a twist from what one might expect.

Profiles still to come, for runner-up "JB" and our champion, "Robear".

Again, Congratulations Larry!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Political Power of Jesus Christ

Now that President Bush has won a second term, the usual politicos have stepped out of the shadows to demand homage (and influence) for having 'delivered' the victory. This is especially important, if nauseating, because Dubya's twice-proven coat-tails. Everyone able to claim and hold a chunk of the credit for this election, will be able to build a little cottage business from that for the next 4 years, which is exactly what most of them mean to do. I leave that ugly business to Washington, who will unfortunately ignore the people as they carve up this golden goose.

Fortunately for the nation, the President himself has a bolder vision, and one keenly focused on the American people. A number of analysts have remarked on the peculiar fact that Bush kept Dick Cheney on as VP, a man who never wanted to be President, and therefire will not run for office in 2008. Very few seem to have considered why Bush wanted it that way. On the one hand, yes, it clears the decks for Bush to pursue major goals for his Administration in his second term, some of which are breathtaking in their scope and audacity, but it's also claimed that this will allow the Democrats at least an equal footing to start off the 2008 Presidential Race, possibly even an early lead. President Bush, however, has larger goals and responsibilities in mind.

Writing for The Weekly Standard, Fred Barnes identified five aspects of the Bush Presidency; Activist, Outsider, Press-Basher, Surpriser, and Visionary. It strikes me that these same qualities describe my Lord, Jesus Christ. I am NOT saying that President Bush is just like Jesus Christ, but I am saying that Jesus' influence on Dubya is showing, right down to how he does his job. And it occurs to me, that the main reason folks re-elected Bush was because he is true to his faith.

No, not many people voted for Bush because he is a Christian. Some were out-and-out offended by his clear devotion to Christ. But as the decision came closer, it became obvious that Bush was honest and direct about his work and his mind and heart. Agree with him or not, Bush was the one man who demonstrated the competence and confidence needed for the job. The war is controversial, but only those who are completely unbalanced believe that Bush did not care about the troops or the innocents. When leadership, integrity, decisiveness and clarity were considered, Bush came out the winner in every poll.

Now that the election is over, those who thought this was just a political trick expect the religion to go back in the box, but that's not the case. Dubya is serious about his faith, and he lives by it. We can expect that faith to direct him in decisions waiting for his attention, from Tort Reform to Tax Reform, from Supreme Court Appointments to School Vouchers, from Energy Independence to Eliminating Global Terrorism.

The downside of all this, is that once it's apparent Dubya lives by his faith, we're gonna see all the wannabes show up, the fakes who put up the image, but don't live by it. Then again, that's been the facade for more than a century, so it will come down to walking the walk.

In the coming generation,the Republican and Democratic parties need to retool and refocus their energies, or they will be passed and left behind by some as-yet unformed response to the needs of the nation. It is my belief that the Lord has allowed America its power to act as a trustee, and we need worthy leaders to follow up on the responsibilities we have on our hands. I worried that with weak men, America would be in its decline, and within a century would be no more consequential to world affairs than, say, France is now. With the energy and bold vision of George W. Bush, I think we have been given a new lease.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

New Site Worth A Look

I do not usually promote other sites, but a new site has started, whcih should be worth a visit or three.

Patrick Hynes, who started up the "Crush Kerry" site, has begun a sister site to promote American Values in movies and culture. the site is called "Passion for Fairness", and if it meets up to the "Crush Kerry" standard, should be both informative and entertaining.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Back to History Class

Sixty-three years ago today, the world changed radically and permanently. The Empire of Japan, fearing that the United States intended to thwart her ambitions in the South Pacific, especially regarding oil and rubber supplies. decides to launch a pre-emptive strike at the U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. Strategists believed that such an attack would prevent effective defense against Japanese offensives, and would allow the Empire to negotiate a treaty with the United States from a position of strength. The United States was engaged in diplomatic negotiations with the Empire of Japan at the time, rather naively believing several myths. Among those myths, that the U.S. could impose a blockade on oil and materials shipments to Japan without consequence, and that moving the Pacific Fleet from San Francisco to Hawaii would remind the Japanese of their relative weakness to American battleships. The U.S. Congress also believed that the 'small' Japanese were not willing to risk a conflict with a 'great' power like America. Thirty minutes into the first raid, those myths were violently dispelled.

Many people like to look at the present War against Terrorism in the context of Vietnam, especially our invasion of Iraq. I see it much more like a World War, with the fate of many nations in the balance. Terrorism is at least as great a threat as Fascism was, and it's not hard to look at Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, and see a counterpart to Marshal Tojo or Adolf Hitler. And frankly, the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese never managed to bomb New York, which the terrorists already did.

There are two ways, essentially, to view the WoT in the light of Pearl Harbor. One is to consider how tactically brilliant yet strategically wrong the Japanese were in the attack. The attack worked flawlessly, but instead of convincing America to accommodate Japan, the attack enraged the nation and convinced them to try to eradicate Japan. Some on the Left might want to argue that the decision to pre-emptively invade Iraq has united the militants against the U.S., and inflamed a hatred of America in the Muslim world. They may point to the continuing violence in Iraq as a sign that we are not considered liberators, to the missing bin Laden as a failure to accomplish a signal objective, to the lack of WMD stockpiles in Iraq as an indictment against the validity of the war. They may point to the resentment in many nations against perceived U.S. aggression, to the stubborn refusal by President Bush to admit significant mistakes as a sign of arrogance and myopia, and they may demand we return to the methods of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. But they would be wrong.

The second way is to consider History. People were being killed in many places by terrorists, long before President Bush was elected in 2000. The Khobar Tower bombings, the Kenya Embassy bombing, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and many other attacks during the Clinton years, show that appeasement and indecision cost innocent lives, and only encourage the monsters. We know for a fact that the 9/11 attacks were planned long before President Bush even chose to run for President, and would have happened no matter who was in office. In fact, one of Ronald Reagan's few mistakes in office, would have to include leaving Lebanon after the Beirut bombings which killed so many Marines. Terrorists are only stopped by force and determination.

The claim that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 is insultingly deceitful in its callous arrogance. That is, he was known to have sheltered, paid, supplied, and sponsored almost a dozen terrorist groups, right up to the invasion. Several of the worst terrorist leaders of the 20th Century were captured or killed by the Coalition in Iraq. Also, remember those warehouses of suicide vests found by Marines, or the torture houses cleared out just last week in Fallujah? Only the most cynical hypocrite could pretend that Hussein is not exactly the sort of terrorist supporter we need to remove. And as others have mentioned, when a rat bites your child, you don't want to just get that one rat, you want to wipe out ALL the rats. We are facing in Iraq the kind of thugs known to cut the heads off unarmed innocents, women as well as men. They are precisely the sort we need to hunt down and exterminate; they cannot be allowed to exist. If it is right to chase down Nazis for their atrocities, it is right to hunt down Islamo-fascists. And many people don't seem to understand where these thugs were bred. They blame the Americans, as if the humiliation of a few prisoners at a prison, however unlawful, would drive a person to become an inhuman monster. The fact is, anyone who has seen the mass graves, the laboratories where Bio-weapons were tested on prisoners, or prisons built specifically to torture children, should be able to understand that these thugs were bred by the policies of the Baathist regime of Hussein, and instructed in their cruel tortures by the sons of the beast, Uday and Qusay. To blame anyone else is obscenely dishonest.

Some have tried to claim that President Bush always wanted to invade Iraq, because there were plans made for the invasion before 9/11. Such claims amount to an admission of stupidity. At the time of Bush's inauguration, Iraq was known to have the largest standing army in the Middle East, Hussein was known to be in violation of his cease-fire provisions, including the disposition of known stockpiles of WMD, including Chemical and Bio-weapon stockpiles, and was known to be actively seeking fissionable materials. Hussein had already committed numerous clear acts of war, including firing on Coalition aircraft in the 'no-fly' zones, and at least one known attempt on the life of a U.S. President. Bush would have been justified in attacking Iraq on February 1, 2001, especially since the official U.S. policy on Iraq had been Regime Change since 1998. After the 9/11 attacks, Hussein's known contacts with terrorist groups, along with worries about the status of his WMD programs and materials, made tolerance of the regime unacceptable. Also, the U.S. was well aware that following the removal of the Taliban, Al Qaeda would seek to re-establish itself in another Middle Eastern country. The fact that AQ entered Iraq after the invasion, only confirms the knowledge that AQ intended to go there in any case. As for the WMD, if anyone wants to pretend that known stockpiles of BW and CW just went away, they are living in a dreamworld and in complete denial of the facts. Surveillance of smuggling operations across the border to Iran and Syria just before the invasion began show the likely new home of the weapons. Fortunately, the successful war is already making an impact, as Libya, Iran, and Syria have all modified their compliance with inspector to deal with the reality that the U.S. is able to enforce any necessary decision. And for those who want to suggest that the best response to our casualties is to give up and go home, I suggest that a few words with any Marine unit which has served in Iraq is in order. While a few individuals may be found who believe the war unworthy of their efforts, the heavy majority of U.S. troops are proud of their work, and serious about their mission. And not particularly interested in the sad-sack pessimism of the Left.

What next? In war, nothing goes completely according to plan, but plans can be made. The simple fact is, most Muslims are not fascists, and no more stomach for 'Jihad' than any other people, especially against innocents. There is reason to believe that Iran can be coaxed to a more moderate stance, especially with the help of China. While the Left likes to imply that President Bush is stubborn, unilateral, inflexible, and stupid, the reality is that he has a good grasp of the conditions in the countries involved, and his plans for the future will stabilize the region and all participants. Just as the Left falsely accused Bush of wanting to bring back the draft, they falsely believe he intends to invade more countries. It is not, to be blunt, likely that Bush will do that, but the Democratic Republic of Iraq will change the region and the world, and her neighbors will find themselves forced to adapt to that new reality, or be left behind.

The Empire of Japan is no more. There is still an Emporer in Japan, but the nation is ruled by a Constitution, one drawn up and implemented by the Americans when they liberated the country from the fascist regime. Japan does not see eye to eye with the U.S. in everything, but does remain one of our strongest allies, especially in that part of the world. Iraq may well follow the same course.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Fads, Trends, and Revolution

There’s all kinds of talk out there, and it’s easy to get swept up in the emotion. I am old enough to recall some of the completely foolish ideas to take root in my lifetime, from Pet Rocks to Polyester Suits to Ancient Astronauts to Bill Clinton’s “Black” Presidency. I also have been fortunate enough to witness some truly amazing changes, from the first Lunar Landing to the fall of the Berlin Wall to the Internet. I have also noted trends through time, as people changed their economic, social, religious, and behavioral standards, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. I agree with those who say we stand at a crossroads, but I don’t always agree with where the roads ahead really lead.

I write about whatever strikes my mood, but it is fascinating to me also, to see how many facets of life are presently coming together. For example, President Bush is the first truly Evangelical President, which may explain why so many secularists are anxious about him. This is not to say that Dubya pushes his beliefs on others; compared to Clinton or his father, George W. is not prone to make any more religious statements, and his public pronouncements are the epitome of tolerance and broad-minded acceptance of others. But the simple fact that when this President goes to church, he does so to praise God, rather than look good on the cameras, irks the anti-church crowd. The knowledge that President Bush prays before making important decisions strikes anger into the hearts of those who would rather he decided by committee. The reality that President Bush does what he honestly believes is right, rather than acting on the directives from Congress, creates panic in those who want a weaker President, someone less decisive, less likely to be direct and plain-speaking. Personally, I applaud the man. No, I don’t agree with him on everything, but in the main he has the right idea. Will future Presidents follow Bush’s lead? I don’t know, but considering that devotion to an absolute Justice, and a sense of total accountability for all his actions, have been the mark of great Presidents from Washington to Lincoln to FDR to yes, George W. Bush, it’s not a bad lead.

I wonder what we can expect from Congress. In the past, Congressmen and Senators had an easy out. Business was everyday stuff, except for those rare occasions when the public demanded action, and many politicos knew how to posture for the home crowd, while actually doing almost nothing to change the status quo, since they could always blame it on the other party’s obstruction. Now, however, there are clear lines. Democrats truly hate Republicans, and Republicans enjoy control of the White House and both Houses of Congress. They have an incredible opportunity to move the nation forward – if they are honest and bold enough to take the chance. I am truly encouraged by blogs in that respect; we need to keep their feet to the fire, not letting up just because they say they’re on our team.

Then there’s the Economy. We came out of the recession pretty well, but there’s a serious need to address the trade deficit, as well as the National Debt. It must not be a contradiction in terms any longer, to demand a lean Federal Budget.

As for the War on Terror, we must never forget that 9/11 was more than one evil planner, more than one group of murderers who hate America and all we stand for, that we are in a war for our very existence, and what happens in Fallujah is critical to what will be later in Houston, Washington, or New York. Every war has its point of decision, where will is tested, where determination runs against the cost, and the pessimists, cowards, and hidden enemies try to dissolve the effort. Now we run and throw away the hope of the world to come, or else we stand fast and remember the cost in the perspective of the deep reality of History, and hold precious the sacrifice of our fallen soldiers by not quitting the field, now or ever, until the war is completely won and the enemy utterly undone, by whatever means is needed. We must count this war as revolution against fascist ideologies, against a new and immoral enemy, against an evil subtle but feral, to establish not only a representative government for the people in the Middle East, but a model to instill hope and positive direction.

We can play at this, make it a fad, or we can start a trend, and change the world. Every issue, every vote, every decision now is critical to that work.