Saturday, January 27, 2007


Generally, I like BusinessWeek magazine. It has a lot of good information, and it provokes thought into many issues involving Business. But the magazine also makes the mistake of playing to the fad of the moment, in which case it sometimes forgets important rules of business, even logic, in order to press the story for popularity. That’s what happened in its most recent issue, with a cover story titled “Imagine a world in which socially responsible and eco-friendly practices actually boost a company’s bottom line. It’s closer than you think.” Yeah, that’s the title. It shows up that way on the cover, in the index, and it starts the article that way. The exact wording every time, although when you get to the actual article, it does include the header ”Beyond the Green Corporation”. Pete Engardio, who wrote the story, is very proud of his words.

Before I go further, I want to emphasize that I like the notion of ecological responsibility, especially a company which considers the needs of its community and works to be a good citizen. My complaint with the BusinessWeek article is the major premise of the story, that “eco-friendly” practices directly make a company more profitable. To be blunt, the story fails to make that case, and there are danger signs in the story for serious investors to count against this claim. Chiefly, the story presents ecological policies as if there was no downside or risk, a claim which is not only false, but which could adversely affect both business decisions based on misleading claims, and which could also lead investors to count ecological efforts as a form of fraud.

The first warning sign is dependence on the buzzword, “sustainability” – there’s no real consensus yet on what that word means, especially for specific companies and their goals and practices. Also, I note that companies like Innovest play fast and loose with their ratings of company performance, choosing not only to include subjective social markers but also to discount and ignore traditional warning signs in a company’s finances. The story, for example, makes much of Sony, ignoring its recent quality and customer satisfaction issues, simply because Sony has crafted an image for energy efficiency and pollutant control. An image, not documented fact, and the rejection of valid financial data and sector performance hardly makes the case for a credible evaluation. The same for Ford, which has long pursued “green” policies, some of which are now blamed for company mistakes which have dangerously damaged Ford’s competitiveness with other carmakers. Innovest issues ratings for estimated risk which seem to have nothing at all to do with genuine financial risk. That is misleading at best. Serious problems are explained away or put off to other causes, a behavior which reminds me a lot of Enron or Worldcom just before they went crash. That’s not to say that Ford or Sony are in the same shape, but deceptive stories which ignore problems in a company or attempt to promote indicators which do not accurately represent the company’s risk condition, should not be published as the cover story in a major business magazine.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Congress and Cowardice

We have a Congress full of cowards. Without fail, when the issue of the war against Terrorism comes to their attention, the action of both chambers is to do the expedient; promise support for the troops, but do little to follow through, especially on any action which might actually move the matter towards victory. The Democrats sit on their hands when the President proposes that we win the war; they want to impeach him for doing his job, whatever excuse they pin on it. But the Republicans who applauded the notions of ‘victory’ and ridding the world of Islamofascism are no better, hypocrites who refuse any personal hardship and quail at the thought of doing what is right rather than what makes a good sound byte. What passes for “leadership” in either party bears a striking similarity in appearance, odor, and character to what passes from a Cholera victim. And this, God help us, is the nature of that body which will direct the nation’s course, and by extension the world, for the next 23 months.

The Democrats praise General Petraeus as they send him off to Iraq, even as they mock and insult the plan he helped create for dealing with the war there.

John McCain wants to run for President on his ‘pro-war’ credentials, yet he is meeting with other Senators to discuss legislation which would cut the knees out from our deployed troops.

Nancy Pelosi says she wouldn’t consider cutting off funding for the troops, even as she makes constant public statements which trash their efforts and press for abandonment of Iraq.

Tom Tancredo pretends to be a patriotic American, yet he deliberately attacked President Bush and the priorities of the Republican Party, simply because he failed to hijack the agenda in favor of his personal will.

Jim Webb engaged in a little hate-fest of lies this week, as his “response” to the President’s State of the Union address did little more than tear words out of context, and cherry-pick support to claim that we were losing and should basically give up and run away.

Chuck Hagel and Olympia Snowe, well, they basically shrugged off the last of their dignity and defected to the Dark Side. I figure they will start yelling ”Allahu Akhbar” during dull moments on the Senate floor.

You get the idea. There’s not a one of them with a spine. What passes for "backbone” in Congress is not checking the NY Times every morning to find out what the media expects them to say and do. I heard Hugh Hewitt say yesterday that a few of them “get it right”, but I cannot agree. Those few who do seem to understand the needs of the nation and the crisis we face, still do little to rebuke their shameful colleagues and demand responsible service from them. If a man attacked your wife, you should do more than remark that you would yourself not act as he has; you should defend her and beat the miscreant into a bloody pulp. So it is here, that the nation itself is in dire circumstance, and those who have not attempted to join in on the rape, neither do anything to stop it. A proper defender of the troops and the nation will yell, denounce, and obstruct the pursuit of defeat and abandonment, yet not one Representative or Senator has risen to his feet on this point. Some, to be sure, have made measured statements, when the cameras are on and they think they can impress their hometown voters with a little empty rhetoric, but if you check their actual submitted bills, co-sponsorship, or voting record on the decisions which might accomplish more than a political action, you find a wasteland.

It is well past time, for Americans of determination who desire accountability to make plain to Congress that the present condition of cowardice must cease. The miscreants turned out in the 2006 elections did not lose because they supported the war, or because of any one issue, but because they did not take clear stands in alignment with either principle or their voters, to a degree even worse than the ones left in office. They do not answer calls or mail from the voters, they do not respond to any press except softball interviews from known supporters, and they will not stand alone on principle. None of them.

What can the ordinary man do? Well, for starters we can send a louder message. There is a pledge circulating now, to remind certain Senators that we are, in fact, in a deadly serious war, and that they have made a commitment we expect – indeed demand, them to keep. Sign it and push for it.

After that, the principle for diligent voters, whether Republican or Democrat or Independent of any party, must be to hold the official accountable, completely, for both what he says and does, and for what he ignores. Otherwise, we should prove ourselves as cowardly as these liars and crooks now in office.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Up To The Job

This week I have been writing about President Bush and his management of our country in difficult times. The response has been mixed, from people who agree with me that Bush is one of our best Presidents, to vitriol-laced screeds that he is somehow our worst President. While the latter sort are clearly unbalanced by their hatred – their refusal to recognize the greatness of President Reagan does their credibility quite a bit of damage – it seems to me that it is worthwhile to explore the way we look at Presidents.

There are three methods generally available to consider the merits of a President’s accomplishments; ranking front-to-back, a grade scale such as a teacher would issue, and in-place comparisons. The first method, while an interesting exercise, is often devolved to a simple popularity contest, which really does not address the actual performance of a President. And a grade scale, while useful if applied as objectively as possible, is often the puppet of the grader, and is used to create an image rather than assess the man in total. Also, the difference in each President’s time and place to address the nation’s welfare to varying degrees and with shifting priorities, makes many comparisons unfair. Indeed, many leading historians decline to assess a President who served in their own lifetime, because they realize that personal bias will likely devalue the analysis they apply, as each President is awarded or penalized points simply because the historian personally likes or dislikes the man and his politics.

The third method, in-place comparisons, can also fall prey to personal manipulation, but at least an attempt to correct for bias can be made. I would further note that in-place comparisons should not be used to claim that one President was clearly “better” than another, because of the difference in each man’s environment; it is one thing to say, for example, that no President since Washington would be likely to have done a better job in his place at the start of the nation, yet it might also be valid to say that no President could have done better than Lincoln with the tasks laid to his charge. The purpose here is simply to consider whether President Bush was “up to the job”, as demonstrated by how other Presidents would have handled the same crises. I further note here that I am not including Bush’s non-Presidential contemporaries in a comparison, either as an opportunity to praise them or rebuke them, because we cannot truly know how a “President Gore” or a “President Kerry” would have faced the real events. Only men who have truly served as Presidents can honestly be weighed on the Presidential scale.

Setting the stage for these comparisons, therefore, requires me to consider the sort of actions which could be fairly considered without some personal requisite for success. That is, I do not consider the virtue or fault of President Bush’s judicial appointments, because a Conservative or Republican would see the matter much differently than a Liberal or Democrat. Also, while I personally find Bush’s efforts to reform Social Security and Medicare to be honorable and indicators of his sense of honor and duty to the country’s welfare, the fact that his efforts did not result in effective legislation makes it impossible to properly consider them accomplishments. Also, too complex a comparison would make the task cumbersome and cluttered in its results. Accordingly, I look to five key matters which I contend a responsible President would have addressed, and whose success can be clearly measured. Those matters are these:

[] April 1, 2001 – A PRC fighter jet collides with a U.S. Navy Reconnaissance aircraft in International waters. The PRC pilot is killed in the crash, while the U.S. Navy plane is forced to land and its crew taken prisoner by the PRC.

[] September 11, 2001 – Terrorists from the international group “Al Qaeda” hijack four US domestic commercial aircraft, and ram two of them into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, and a third airliner into the Pentagon.

[] Fall 2001 – The economic recession which began earlier in the year is aggravated by effects, technical and psychological, from the 9/11 attacks. The economy threatens to worsen unless the government acts.

[] October 2001 – The terrorist group Al Qaeda is directly linked to the Taliban regime in control of Afghanistan. The Taliban refuse to cooperate with demands to eject Al Qaeda, instead demonstrating a militant desire for war against the West through terrorist attacks.

[] February 2003 – The dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq continues to flout its violation of the 1991 Gulf War cease-fire terms, to support a large number of international terrorist actions, especially the tactics of suicide bombers against civilian Israeli targets, and the international consensus of the Intelligence Community is that Saddam is seeking the development of WMD, and his behavior strongly suggests he possesses stockpiles of WMD.

The situation in each of these crises is such that no President could have expected to have reliable prior knowledge sufficient to prevent the crisis from occurring, nor was U.S. policy able to anticipate these crises. It is no coincidence that four of the five defining crises of the Bush Administration emerge from international incidents.

With this in mind, the benchmarks established by the present Bush Administration are as follows:

I – The crisis, which could have ended in disaster and at times appeared in doubt, ended with improved U.S.-Sino relations and the safe return of the entire U.S. Navy crew. While often ignored by critics of the Bush Administration, this early crisis is one of his shining successes in Diplomacy, and demonstrated an often-missed subtlety to the Bush method.

II – The Bush Administration undertook a comprehensive review and overhaul of the National Defense paradigm. While controversial in places and not always well-explained, the actions taken under President Bush’s authority have prevented another significant terrorist attack on U.S. soil, while keeping Civil Liberties intact.

III – The Bush Administration pursued and accomplished an aggressive set of tax cuts and system reforms, which were largely responsible for the early recovery from the recession, in addition to improving collection of federal revenues. The plan was controversial for its effect on long-term debt, but Bush’s deft use of monetary tools provided critical assistance for small businesses and drove confidence for the U.S. Economy in general.

IV – The Bush Administration, despite heckling from the Left that they were inviting disaster and ignoring History, supported a bold plan which assisted Afghan partisans in overthrowing the Taliban and establishing a freely-elected government, which allowed the first-ever votes by women in that country. Terrorist camps based in Afghanistan were obliterated and their networks devastated.

V – The Bush Administration created an international coalition even larger than the one which repulsed Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, obtained both a United Nations Security Council sanction against Iraq and an authorization for the use of force from both houses of Congress, before carrying out the invasion of Iraq in alignment with the 1998 United States policy of regime change in Iraq. Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled, Saddam along with the overwhelming majority of his minions was captured and many others killed, and a democratic republic began to develop in the Mid-East nation. Despite claims which pretended the war was solely about WMD, and lies that no WMD were found in Iraq, the major objectives of invading Iraq were justified and accomplished, although the emphasis by some figureheads on nuclear material led to embarrassment when assurances by numerous intelligence agencies proved wrong on that count. Fear of a democratic republic in an Arab nation led a number of surrounding regimes to support incursions of terrorist groups, and fascist Islamic groups also fueled an insurgency which has been difficult to defeat, in some part because political enemies of the Bush Administration have played games with the issue rather than maintain an united front, which has been played by the Islamofascists for media propaganda. It should also be noted that the U.S.-led action led to collateral reforms, such as the promise by Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi to renounce WMD, and the rise of self-determination demands by Lebanese citizens against Syrian occupation. The Iraq issue remains the largest effort by the Bush Administration which success remains in any doubt.

With these benchmarks in place, I now consider how other Presidents since World War 2 would have fared, given their known job performance.

I – The key qualities necessary to resolve the China crisis would appear to be an understanding of world power relationships, along with a long fuse. Accordingly, Presidents Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Ford, Nixon, Kennedy, Eisenhower, and Franklin Roosevelt would all have enjoyed success in resolving this crisis without loss of life or an escalation in tension. President Carter often “gave away the farm” in negotiations, and so would have given the PRC more than necessary, such as granting an extension of PRC airspace demands, and so I count his effort as less successful. Presidents Johnson and Truman were known for provocative and confrontational statements, especially with regard to Asia, and so I conclude that in their cases an escalation would be more likely.

II – 9/11 is a seminal historic event, and so it is difficult to precisely name how any individual would react, but the style of crisis management reveals clues. The Clinton Administration, for example, repeatedly failed to respond to Al Qaeda attacks, including the 1993 attempt to bomb the WTC, treating it instead as a matter for criminal investigation. Also, when a threat was perceived as serious, the Clinton Administration typically over-reacted with a heavy hand, as the Elian Gonzalez raid, the Waco raid, and the attack on Ruby Ridge demonstrate. The temptation for immediate retaliation was a mistake both Bush Administrations resisted successfully, but the behavior of the Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Truman, and FDR Administrations indicate that they would have immediately struck at a target of opportunity, and in the 9/11 context such action would have played to the advantage of Al Qaeda, which hoped to enflame the region in a general war. On the other hand, the Reagan, Bush I, Carter, and Kennedy Administrations would – on the basis of their reaction to provocations in their own time – have refrained from spontaneous action and paid attention to their defenses instead.

III РIt is a clich̩ to say that Presidents get far too much praise for a good economy, and too much blame for a bad one. However, there are instances where specific and timely action Рor the duty to act missed Рcan have tremendous effect on the Economy. The lessons of Fiscal and Monetary Policy were developed from such understanding. In my opinion, only the Bush I, Reagan, and Kennedy Administrations would have properly understood and applied the Monetary action of broad tax cuts to reignite the Economy. The Clinton, Nixon, Johnson, and FDR Administrations would have tried Fiscal tools, which would have made the deficit worse than the Bush actions did, but without similar success in improving Employment and Consumer Confidence. The Ford, Eisenhower, and Truman Administrations would have tried to ride out the recession, which in the short term at least would have weakened the Economy and destroyed confidence and job creation. The Carter Administration, with its sometimes-myopic focus on the deficit, would never have consented to deficit spending or tax cuts, and so would have done the worst of all in that circumstance.

IV – The overthrow of the Taliban was a gutsy call, the kind of thing that no poll-driven President would have attempted. Only Reagan, Nixon, FDR and Truman would have understood the need for such an action, and only FDR and Truman would have had the nerve to take on the task the way George W. Bush did. While the other Presidents would have felt obliged to respond in force, bombings and a few raids would have been the end of it, by the lights of Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, and Eisenhower.

V – The most controversial decision of George W. Bush’s Presidency would have been tough on any President. For instance, most modern commentators have forgotten the harsh criticism Reagan took for liberating Grenada, an action far smaller and quicker, to say nothing of the blame smeared on him for the Marine Barracks bombing in Lebanon in 1983. We commonly see defenders of the former dictator Saddam Hussein parade on television, as if his monstrous crimes were irrelevant to the issue, and we also hear the claim – never supported by evidence – that Iraq would have been better off if we had not invaded. Certainly by that logic, 1948 Berlin was not nearly the happy-go-lucky place it was in 1944, nor could Tokyo in 1947 be said to be the happenin’ place it was in 1942. And since so many in the media like to interview people with agenda in the Middle East, perhaps we should weigh the victory in the Cold War by the opinion of former KGB agents and zampolits now left unemployed with the demise of their oligarchy? In any case, only Franklin Roosevelt could be said to possess the vision and the courage to have engaged in a similar course, especially as his vision for the reformation of Germany after World War 2 is significantly similar to the Bush plan for the re-emergence of Iraq as a stable, central democratic republic in the Middle East. A gamble yes, but a worthy one. The other Presidents, honorable though their intentions are, would none of them been bold and resolute enough to decimate Al Qaeda the way the Bush plan has done, to establish a free republic in the middle of the most contentious region in the modern world. Some, like Clinton and Nixon, would have anticipated the political maneuvering by their opponents which would have made the task harder, and so they would have demurred to meet the challenge. Others, like Carter and Eisenhower, would have found the stakes too challenging and abandoned the game rather than think too deeply about the need for a long-term American commitment. And sadly, some might have been frightened by the madmen in Iran just one border away, and fled from the challenge even if their cowardice cost the country in its long-term welfare. To be courteous, I will not name those timid souls, except to observe their presence in this matter.

Those who chose to pursue the matter would have fared the same as Bush has; it is too often ignored that the enemies of America are not idle in their campaigns against us, no matter who sits in the Oval Office. Those who would have declined to invade Iraq would doubtless have avoided the present specter of constant military action, yet they would not have emerged unscathed. Saddam had already shown a willingness, indeed an eagerness, to support and sponsor terrorist organizations, especially those most active against the United States, and connections between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda were known even prior to the 2003 invasion. Consequently, failure to remove Saddam Hussein through a military invasion would not only have allowed the region to continue its devolution into chaos, feeding the ambitions of Syria and Iran along the way (why is it that anti-Bush minions never mention those ambitions, which would surely have filled the vacuum with their own armies if the Coalition had not come in?), but would also have emboldened Al Qaeda and assured it of a stable base from which to launch new and ambitious attacks on America.

Overall, I find it impossible to find any President in history who would have done as well in meeting these challenges as President George W. Bush has done, and it is inconceivable that any man could have done better. The sole question is how long this fact will be evident before Dubya receives the respect and appreciation he is so clearly overdue. That, and how long before the first howling jackal posts a comment which does nothing to establish his case, but rather spews hate and venom in their ceaseless attempt to defame the President.

PS - Chuck Simmins has an excellent non-partisan way to compare the State of the Union at this point in three Presidencies. (ht Glenn Reynolds)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Madness By Choice

Tuesday evening I strolled over to Polipundit to check reaction to the President’s State of the Union address. I might as well have visited Andrew Sullivan’s site or Kos-land, for the level of maturity I found there. Of course, to expect maturity from the Polipundit readers at large is a bit like expecting Mike Nifong to do his job properly, but that’s not the issue for here. I mentioned that most people would ignore or mock what the President said, and I was proven right by the content of the comments which followed my observation.

Soon after that, personal insults against me started. Small wonder, since I am a known supporter of the President and therefore an enemy to many of Polipundit’s tenants. But what else happened was a strange study in mob dynamics; I was quickly – and quite falsely – accused of banning certain readers from when I was one of the hosts there. What’s intriguing is not the charge per se - that was a common lie used by a few individuals back in 2006, when the site polarized beyond repair and the site owner declared a dictatorship.

What is interesting is that the charge has taken a sort of “Woodstock” effect; where initially only two readers believed they had been banned – possibly an honest error, although the claim was never true – by this past Tuesday it was as common as buying coffee from Starbuck’s to claim that DJ Drummond had banned one from the site. I addressed those claims fully when they first surfaced, and I would ignore the matter now, except that I perceive a syndrome at work, and one which is likely more pervasive than people are aware or would like to admit. It is that syndrome which not only is willing to lower one’s standards of conduct into the muck of false accusation and slander, but which in some cases comes to prefer it, so that the lie is the first choice rather than a desperate attempt. In the perspective of the Rabid Right, the arch enemy is typified by sites like the Daily Kos, which controls the tone and direction of its debates by quite deliberately banishing anyone who even appears to be Conservative, Rational, or who dares to question the marching orders of the Left. Thus, when the Rabid Right wishes to destroy an enemy, the preferred attack is to accuse him – however falsely – of acting in a like manner to the Daily Kos, even when this requires the RR to use the Kos’ own dishonest tactics, as we see here. Ignored is the fact that I answered the claims fully when they first came up, and ignored too is the fact that it was always impossible for me to ban individuals from the site, even if I wanted to do so. But in examining this situation, another unfortunate action has become evident; apparent malice on the part of the site owner. was created by a single person, who posts under the screen name “Polipundit”. When he decided to bring additional writers onto his site, there were certain conditions under which we operated, one of them the obvious fact that the site owner retained control of the site. Early on, there were incidents with individuals who attempted to disrupt discussions, using foul language, personal attacks, and attempts to derail discussions onto non-seqiturs. Three of the four new writers pressed for the right to ban the IP addresses of those offenders, but the site owner declined to grant that right. Offensive posts could be and were deleted, and in extreme cases an IP address could be banned from a specific post, but since at that time usually had more than a dozen new threads a day, anyone kicked from one thread could simply show up again in another thread. Veteran readers of may recall that readers often complained about thuggish behavior which moved from one thread to another. So those people who pretend to have banned from the site are either individuals who were banned from a few specific threads where they refused to act civilly, or who were banned from by the site owner himself [the only person who ever that ability], or who were in fact never actually banned at all. In any case such people are lying, making false accusations for whatever reason their spite brought to being in their foul hearts.

The significance of this fact comes from the claims by some, that the site owner “restored” them to access to the site, and they implied that the site owner blamed me for their access difficulties. As I have no specific knowledge of communications between the site owner and such persons, I cannot say whether the individuals are lying or the site owner is, but in either case the actions and the lack thereof from that site owner are disappointing. When the site owner threw out the other writers from his site in May of 2006, certain promises and understandings were made in email communications, which I prefer not to detail here, except that all parties promised to act in an honorable manner, especially in not blaming the other side for any misunderstandings or in creating any hostility. I will say plainly that all the writers who left kept our promises, including not revealing the true name or location of the site owner, nor disparaging his reputation. I must bluntly observe that the site owner of has not done the same, failing to keep certain specific promises made, and in my case if he did not directly malign me for an action he knows full well I did not commit, he at the least made no effort whatsoever to correct the record when those individuals began falsely accusing me of banning them. The site owner knows full well that I am guiltless in that matter, and therefore he knows those accusations to be false and malicious, yet he has not once taken it upon himself to correct the record, apparently preferring the smear to the truth. He ignored email requests from me to correct the matter in mid-2006, and apparently is still happy to let a lie stand in order to malign me, even after I have wished him well, supported his endeavors and heretofore held from publicly pointing out his ignoble behavior. I suppose shame is powerless against some folks.

What is interesting here, however, is that used to be a site of fair discussion, obviously right-of-center but a place where Liberal perspectives and arguments were welcome. What has changed, is that while Liberals still visit the place and state their piece, the civility is gone. Completely. The place has the ambience of a biker bar, where only crude epithets and sub-graduate logic are acceptable; the more genial Liberals who could banter in good spirit are quite gone, replaced by knuckle-draggers who do little more than throw insults. The same for the Right, where anyone who supports the President may expect to be ill-used, and context is lost to the preferred simplicity of the mob mentality. In recent weeks, the feeling one gets from visiting soon after arriving, and especially after a comment which dares to pursue a modest discourse, is that one is glad to be there only in a virtual sense, because in a real-world establishment of this type, one would be fervently hoping for the appearance of a police officer or six. A rhetorical gang-rape is the program du jour at, without fail. While the present writers are generally good, and one in particular worth the read in 9 out of 10 times, the sense of the place is foreboding and dire for anyone who does not stay in the herd.

I have seen this also at other formerly intriguing sites, though admittedly at a mush lower level of hostility to reason and civility. Yet it must be said that in the Blogosphere, the number of sites which are truly open to considering alternative points of view and maintaining a civil atmosphere are in the decline. Whether Left or Right, the promise of the “New Media” is no longer the fresh invitation to expand one’s horizons and explore the full dimensions of an issue. In this measure, I fear that the Blogosphere is representing the mindset of the populace as a whole. The President addressed the nation last night on a number of critical issues, but it is doubtful that many people listened at all, whether on the Left or on the Right. Twice elected President of the United States, with more than 62 million Americans lining up behind him in 2004, George W. Bush is now ignored because of personal enmity, turf wars, an arrogant media, and a desire to put expediency ahead of principle. The liars pretend that deserting the President on Iraq won’t impact our troops there or the mission, they claim that they only ‘criticize’ the President when they call him names and lie about his intentions, and they all pretend to better qualification, these posers who have none of them been elected to office, nor who have borne the weight and responsibility that Dubya has carried for more than half a decade now. They defecate on the flag with their actions, but would have one believe they are freshening the place up. And their style is becoming the norm.

History warns us that these things may represent a greater threat than mere incivility. After the American Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan managed a campaign of terror for decades in the South, domestic terrorism and mob violence directed at millions of Americans simply for their race and culture. Along the West Coast in the 19th Century, race riots and lynchings of Asians were common, to the degree that law enforcement did nothing to stop it, even at the federal level. Immediately after the First World War, a period of civil unrest in the United States included assassinations and bombings, and waves of criminal violence that was only put down with near-nationwide martial law through the Palmer Raids. And there are people alive today who recall the polarization of race during the late 1960s and early 1970s, which still influence New York and California politics and social conditions. Yes, it’s a stretch to jump from name-calling on a discussion board to race lynchings, but it is important to observe that the road to such violence started just the way our present road is changing, away from personal discretion declining the use of personal invective and a constant application of context to discussions, to the wholesale and deliberate disruption of legitimate authority, and demands for violent and radical action. This present road ignores the root causes of Terrorism and the decay of procedural standards in political debate, replacing them with the self-satisfying personal attack and the expedient poll-advancing statement which promotes the next political campaign at the cost of the nation’s health and welfare. While we are but newly set on that road, we dare not ignore its destination. And the Blogosphere, which moves the quickest of all media and enjoys the repute of popular support and participation in the greatest measure, is now called to the duty to restore Reason to the helm.

The Next Long War

President Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. While still disputed by Liberals and Communist sympathizers (more on them later), this fact is increasingly accepted by the American people and much of the Western World. I mention this at the start of this article, because while he was President, this conclusion was far from acknowledged. I remember the taunts that he sent troops to Grenada, because he could not win in Lebanon. I remember the claim that Reagan’s tax cuts would cost the country’s economy in the long run, or that Star Wars would provoke the Soviets into World War 3. Although anyone with a working knowledge of history understood that Stalin’s acquisition of Eastern Europe was Act One of WW3; the ‘Cold War’ moniker cloaked the true nature of the conflict for many people.

Which brings me to the media. Flush from the propaganda victory which helped bring down South Vietnam, CBS led the way for the offensive against Reagan’s defense of the United States. National Security became mocked as somehow an excess of government action or attention, and traditional values like Family and the expectation of Civility by public officials were targeted for ridicule and assault, as if the majority’s interests were Unconstitutional. Indeed, the media assisted a number of lawsuits which claimed just that; only the fringe hold rights.

The Cold War therefore was a war with many fronts, some of them immediate and local, and the costs both real and personal for every American. The nation changed, sometimes for the better but not always, as it wrestled with the ideological enemy which began in Moscow, but which found allies even in American colleges. By 1980 Reagan faced a dire condition and a resolute enemy, yet when he left office the enemy was in full retreat. Reagan changed the world, and we all owe him a great debt and gratitude.

Yet there were other heroes of the Cold War, even among our Presidents. Because of his success as President, some people have wondered what if we had found a man like Reagan long before. What if a Reagan had been elected instead of Eisenhower in 1952, for instance. Yet even Reagan had his setbacks and defeats, and we cannot know that he would not have done, in Eisenhower’s place, exactly as Ike did. The conditions each President faces are indeed unique, and we do well to consider what options were truly open to them. And with that in mind, I again turn to the first hero of the Gold War, Harry Truman. I say here, quite plainly, that there were aspects to Truman’s Administration which I do not like at all, not least his partisan politics. Truman was a bitter enemy to most Republicans, and never made an effort to cooperate with the other party. Yet in the context of the Cold War, Truman has earned high marks from historians and people who understood the world he faced. Truman recognized, almost before anyone else, the ambition of Stalin and the Soviets, and he spared no effort or expense to protect the United States and the Western World from Global Communism. For his efforts, Truman was roundly criticized, even by his own party, and he did not run for re-election in 1952 in part because his own people deserted him. Yet Truman has been vindicated where the Cold War is concerned; he correctly measured the threat, and set up the defenses which made all the future efforts, including Reagan’s victory, possible. The Cold War was never a one man show, and part of what makes Truman great, is that he understood that he would never receive his due credit for the initial defense, yet he took on the challenge without shirking.

We see now another long war, and the man who first called us to defense also warned us that the fight would be long and difficult, enjoying victories but also suffering defeats, and sometimes those defeats would come from lowering our guard or from officials who take the easy road instead of meeting the call of duty. That President was falsely maligned for celebrating the success of one mission in the first campaign, his enemies pretending he was announcing the final victory prematurely. In so doing, these enemies gave aid and comfort to the very forces seeking the destruction of the West, as they showed the beginning of the relentless and often witless campaign to divide the American government against itself, a collection of Quislings willing to deny their own nation if it seemed they could personally profit by it. Major newspapers have deliberately and repeatedly revealed secrets which weakened the effort of our troops and the men who guard our nation. Major politicians have promised “support for the troops”, only to public second-guess every strategy and tactic employed in the war when it became opportunistic for them to do so. Political rivals have purposefully blurred the priorities of the nation in order to recruit voters to their personal crew on a theme of “Blame Bush”. And so just a few years after the swift destruction of Saddam’s regime and the initial work to begin a new chapter in Middle East governance, where the people freely elect their representatives under a Constitution which protects rights and advances individual freedoms as a template for a brighter future, we see groups and demagogues tearing apart that promise in order to feed their own empires of greed and pride.

This has always been so. Not every man is willing to fight when needed by his country, and not every man who enjoys the freedoms and blessings of America is willing to support the ideals which brought those very freedoms about. Freedom is too much for some individuals, we are told. Once it was the country rube who supposedly could not understand the depth of a democratic republic, then we were told the black man could not be trusted with freedom. Then we were assured that women could not be trusted with the vote, or that minorities would ruin this nation if given equal standing with white men. Oddly, it is still the party which claims to represent the poor man, and the minority, which does the most to deprive them of equal position with the privileged men of old, just as historically that party did the most to prevent those rights in the first place. But there have always been such men. By the grace of God, however, America has also always been blessed with people who were willing to do whatever was necessary to advance Justice, Freedom, secure the lasting Peace, and to act in true Honor, even at terrible personal cost. By God’s grace such a man still serves as our President.

It is our misfortune that after so long a war to defeat Communism, we are faced with yet another implacable enemy. It is hardly chance, however. Jackals have long been known to watch two powerful opponents fight, in hopes of picking off the survivor. And there are still many shards of the old Communist ideology still about, lusting to destroy the power which shattered Communism’s hope for world dominance, and those men who most resemble the Champion who won that fight. It is, to my mind, a false assumption on the part of the Islamofascists that they defeated the Soviet Union, or that they can win the long war against the West. It is, however, also clear beyond doubting that they are willing to murder a billion people or more in hopes of that goal. Before this war is finished, Islam must utterly divest itself of the violence of Fascism, or else it must suffer the devastation its feral rogues hope to unleash on the world as a whole. This has been done before, of course. Germany was purged of Fascism, as were Italy and Japan, but each at a terrible cost. And though the world was spared the nuclear holocaust of a Soviet immolation, the cost in lives, pain, and loss was still very large for so many years.

Tonight President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address. It will sadly be necessary for the President to remind the nation that we are still at war. It is even more sad, that many will fail to accept that this war is necessary, indeed inevitable, that the United States is the defender of the Western World, or that the actions taken in Iraq since 2003 have been right and effective. Instead of considering the President’s message thoughtfully, the opponents of the President will instead deliver a rhetorical knee-jerk response which ignores Reality, assists the enemies of America, and dismays the public who trust the government to speak plainly to them about what is going on. The media will do what it does best and most commonly; praise themselves as the true “experts”, and lie about President Bush in order to create a conflict about which they can report. And in so doing they will make the war longer, harder, and more costly.

In the end, I still believe the United States will prevail. God has blessed this country for a reason, and that reason, indeed God Himself, is unknown to the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, to Sam Brownback and Arlen Specter. It would not be right or fair to claim that God is a Republican, and He certainly is no Democrat. Yet it would be correct to suggest that in this war, He is the sure Defender of America, because of the ideals of America, and those who do His work are His allies.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The New Orleans Saints are getting their butts kicked by the Chicago Bears right now. And a few days from now, a lot of people who rode the Saints bandwagon will jump off, climb on the wagon for one of the Superbowl teams and pretend they were there all along. That happens, of course – everyone knows what a “fair-weather” friend or supporter is. It occurs to me that we see the same thing in politics, as well, even more often. Deserters always make excuses, but in the end few people show loyalty under the test, no matter how much it is deserved by the man they desert.

History will vindicate George Walker Bush, not only as a good President, but as one of our best. Not only because of the tax cuts which reignited the economy, not only because he was the first President to seriously try to reform Social Security, not only because he saw us through the 9/11 crisis without either a rash or cowardly result, but because he stood by his people, especially listening to the military and making decisions by what was best in the long run. For everyone concerned.

Few people will agree now. It has become quite fashionable to show a backbone of butter, or worse to falsely insult the President if one can make points off it. I heard more than one Republican this past week try to pretend that President Bush did not know how hard the fight would be in Iraq, a baseless lie obvious to anyone who bothers to recall any of his State of the Union addresses or his response to early and constant whining from the press. It is those politicians who never found themselves willing to bear the burden or keep the commitment, who so falsely try to shift their own guilt onto the President. We’ve certainly seen that before. Such cowards blamed Ford for Vietnam, and Reagan for Lebanon, while they themselves never found it convenient to stand with the President when the nation itself required such a sacrifice.

I am writing today’s piece as something of a bookmark. The day most certainly will come, when many pretend that they stood with President Bush. But only those who stand with him now can honestly claim that honor.

I stand with the President, as always, and support his efforts wholeheartedly. And so I condemn the desertion of pretenders and enemies who thought to fool the party and the nation.