Saturday, November 26, 2005

Honest Error, But One Which Cannot Be Excused


The Wall Street Journal has an article questioning the “success against Terrorism”, based on an upcoming report from the Congressional Research Service.

A key passage in the article reads, “The report says measures such as the number of terrorist incidents per year and the number of terrorists killed or captured are inadequate. Instead, it urges the use of broader social indicators, like the ability of terrorists to recruit.” On its face, this sounds reasonable, but on closer examination, it not only is not a valid suggestion, but reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the war, in purpose and in effect.

The Wall Street Journal article gives a spotlight, unfortunately, to Ivy League (as in Ivory Tower) professors like Alan Krueger, a Princeton professor (specialty unidentified, most likely Political Science) who states, “We emphasize body counts, without acknowledging the elasticity of al Qaeda's recruiting”. The Journal goes on to state Professor Krueger’s claim that “al Qaeda is able to replace key personnel faster than they are killed or captured”, on no evidence of any kind.

The Journal notes that Raphael Perl wrote the report for the Congressional Research Service, suggesting that the report reflects his individual views, rather than a researched and supported consensus. Perl specifically describes the Terrorist operations in Iraq as “criminal organizations”, which highlights a significant error in his perception.

This is another example of impractical thought taking the place of experience and examination of the facts. This is not a police campiagn in Iraq, but a war. Frankly, Perl and Krueger are doing nothing more than parroting the Liberal arguments from the 1990s, that Terrorism is a criminal matter, rather than a threat to National Security and a violent element of warfare. A brief review of recent history shows the cost of making such assumptions. The trials of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers yielded six convictions, but failed to pursue connections to the people who funded and supplied the bombers, because the prosecutors were seeking convictions ahead of protecting against a future attack, and the Terrorists were allowed to delay the trials for years, providing information on American security measures to anyone interested in studying them. The terrorists were allowed to present themselves as victims, oppressed by the U.S. Government.

Al Qaeda certainly gained valuable information from the cirminal process, whereas the FBI and CIA were forbidden to communicate vital information to each other, because the acts were considered “criminal”. Democrats still refuse to accept responsibility for the results of their errors, the poor strategy employed by the Clinton Administration, allowing Al Qaeda to grow from a small regional group to a truly international threat. This is just a repeated attempt to take the war away from the men best able to win it, and give the terrorists another chance. I believe that Liberals like Perl and Kruger do not openly mean to put the United States in danger; their arrogance simply will not allow them to understand the need for a military solution to a serious threat to the nation. And that error, however honest, cannot be allowed to undo the victories accomplished, or imperil our future course.

Presidential Football League, Weeks 2 & 3

catching up...

Week Two Scoreboard

Washington (2-0) 63, A Johnson (0-2) 6
Polk (2-0) 45, Taylor (1-1) 3
Monroe (2-0) 51, Carter (0-2) 10
Reagan (2-0) 52, Taft (1-1) 6
J Adams (1-1) 45, GHW Bush (1-1) 6
Lincoln (1-1) 54, Harding (1-1) 6
Jefferson (2-0) 61, Buchanan (0-2) 3
Eisenhower (2-0) 38, Nixon (1-1) 6
Cleveland (2-0) 22, Hoover (0-2) 12
Arthur (2-0) 24, LBJ (0-2) 16
FDR (1-1) 60, Pierce (1-1) 0
T Roosevelt (2-0) 34, Grant (1-1) 3
Truman (2-0) 59, Fillmore (0-2) 3
McKinley (2-0) 42, Ford (0-2) 3
George W Bush (2-0) 48, Van Buren (0-2) 0
JQ Adams (1-1) 16, B Harrison (1-1) 15
Jackson (1-1) 30, Garfield (1-1) 7
Kennedy (1-1) 44, Tyler (0-2) 6
Madison (1-1) 41, Coolidge (0-2) 6
Hayes (1-1) 41, Clinton (0-2) 10
Wilson (1-1) 50, W Harrison (0-2) 6

Week Three Scoreboard

Kennedy (2-1) 31, Arthur (2-1) 9
George W Bush (3-0) 33, McKinley (2-1) 3
Hayes (2-1) 18, Cleveland (2-1) 16
Eisenhower (3-0) 59, Hoover (0-3) 3
Jefferson (3-0) 36, Nixon (1-2) 19
Monroe (3-0) 35, Van Buren (0-3) 9
Polk (3-0) 42, Carter (0-3) 9
Reagan (3-0) 45, J Adams (1-2) 9
T Roosevelt (3-0) 55, Garfield (1-2) 6
Truman (3-0) 42, Ford (0-3) 6
Washington (3-0) 54, Taylor (1-2) 10
JQ Adams (2-1) 48, Clinton (0-3) 9
Madison (2-1) 34, GHW Bush (1-2) 3
Grant (2-1) 54, Buchanan (0-3) 9
Harding (2-1) 16, Pierce (1-2) 15
Jackson (2-1) 15, B Harrison (1-2) 12 (OT)
FDR (2-1) 46, Tyler (0-3) 3
Taft (2-1) 31, LBJ (0-3) 0
Wilson (2-1) 45, Fillmore (0-3) 9
Lincoln (2-1) 51, Coolidge (0-3) 0
W Harrison (1-2) 19, A Johnson (0-3) 16

Friday, November 25, 2005

Presidential Football League

For those interested, and with a good memory from last year:

First Week Scoreboard

Washington 25, Lincoln 15
Polk 23, Madison 15
Monroe 23, J Adams 12
Reagan 46, Van Buren 9
GHW Bush 24, Carter 6
Taylor 24, Coolidge 12
Harding 21, A Johnson 18
Jefferson 18, FDR 15 (OT)
Eisenhower 31, JFK 3
Cleveland 29, LBJ 16
Taft 22, Hayes 18
Arthur 18, Hoover 15
Nixon 31, Tyler 13
Pierce 15, Buchanan 12
T Roosevelt 37, Wilson 6
Truman 27, Jackson 13
McKinley 22, JQ Adams 15
George W Bush 56, Clinton 3
B Harrison 27, Ford 0
Garfield 27, Fillmore 12
Grant 48, W Harrison 6

Thursday, November 24, 2005


[ ]

Call me hokey, but I always like to recall what I am thankful for on Thanksgiving Day.

I am thankful for a merciful and benevolent God, with a strong sense of humor.

I am thankful for a great wife and two wonderful daughters.

I am thankful for my family, and all they taught me.

I am thankful for everyone who has taught me lessons.

I am thankful for President George W. Bush.

I am thankful for Richard Cheney.

I am thankful for Condoleeza Rice.

I am thankful for Donald Rumsfeld.

I am thankful for the United States Armed Forces, past and present, and for all their sacrifices and service.

I am especially thankful for the United States Marine Corps.

I am particularly thankful for the National Guard.

I am respectfully thankful for the United States Coast Guard, who saved damned near every flood victim along the Gulf Coast, who could be saved.

I am thankful for the State of Texas.

I am thankful for blogs, without which we might well have surrendered to Terrorists by now.

I am thankful for a responsive readership, who take the truth and demand it be heard everywhere.

I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to meet, speak with, and come to know some truly fine people who have done exceptional things.

To all of you, thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

No Points For Imagination


The Democrats are rather annoying these days, as they try to claim that President Bush somehow misled America into going to war in Iraq, and that Republicans are corrupt politicians with no intention of serving the nation. Both of these attacks are not only false, they are no better than repeated attempts to pursue arguments which never gained traction the first or second time. One might therefore wonder why the Left thinks they can score with a proven loser, although the Kerry Campaign suggests that the Left does not fare well in spotting clear losers these days. The reason, of course, is that the Left has bought into the push polls in the MSM, and honestly has come to believe that the President is weak, and therefore vulnerable. Further, many on the Left, including their ostensible leadership, have not bothered to validate their own claims, or investigate the facts for themselves, lest they find out they could be very, very wrong.

So here we are, in the waning months of 2005, and the Democrats feel the need to say something, but they are not inclined to seek a tangent that might actually work, so we instead hear yet another verse of the same old lie and whine. Unfortunately, there is a segment of the population which believes anything they hear often enough, which the MSM is only too happy to oblige, resulting in a small but constant change eroding support for the President and Republicans among average Americans.

This could be a bad thing, except that the Democrats have forgotten an element they used to comprehend; the Internet. The two things which have radically changed the landscape are blogswarms and linking. That is, one smal voice is easily drowned out by a major network, but if enough voices carry the same message, it gets heard. And the virtue of linking, is the evolution of footnotes - it allows for a writer to support his claims with evidence, tied directly to his work. The lies are a lot harder to make stand these days, because people will demand evidence, and are far more inclined to make up their own minds.

So, I have a sneaking suspicion that this most recent effort by the Left will bear early fruit, but it will sour in their mouths come election day, as there’s nothing to grow roots on in these slanderous rumors. And what’s more, there’s no reason to believe the Democrats will reconsider their course of malice, since it suits their petty emotions too well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

War Residuals


One thing I cannot stand about the Democrats, is the way they put politics ahead of the country. Now, this sort of statement is common to partisans on any side, but what I mean here, is the unfortunate fact that wars last for a very long time, often long after formal hostilities have ended.

Look around. Communism, to anyone with a good sense of Economics or History, is very much dead, and Communist regimes have generally gone out of power, those Communist countries remaining have had to change their version of Communism to include some very Capitalist ideas. China for example, the largest ostensibly Communist government on the planet, has a department of its Inetrior Ministry devoted to seeking Capital investments from major Western corporations. That is, where in the past the Chinese Central Committee expected to deal with national governments for business agreements by way of treaties, they now seek direct negotiations with specific companies and individuals, very much like a large entrepreneurship themselves. Chairman Mao did not write or speak anything on the subject of commercial infrastructure, but the New China sees things differently. Yet it is also true, that there remain hundreds of thousands of otherwise reasonable people, who think Stalin was good for Eastern Europe, and Castro has built a paradise. I note that these same communist protesters, however, generally live and protest in more capitalist locations.

The Fascism of the Nazis would seem to be very much dead, yet neo-Nazi groups have sprung up around the globe, often with little rational purpose except a desire to revere Hitler, mass murder and all. The same thing exists for Anarchists, whose heyday helped spark World War I (most people do not realize that it was an off-shoot of an Anarchist group which murdered the Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo). Anarchists are everywhere, with loud and offensive banners and slogans which still manage to say nothing of why they think their goals are realistic or even possible. And for all the noise about the new Jihad of the Islamo-Fascists, historians could point out several Islamist uprisings in the past, often related to a ‘Mahdi’, but just as bloody and insane as anything cooked up by Bin Laden or Zarqawi.

What I am saying, is that for all the wars fought up to now, there is a residue left behind, a spirit of the defeated party which finds new spirit and voice later on, sometimes in surprising places. Therefore, winning a war is a matter which goes a good deal further than an Armistice. The Nazis lost on the battlefield in 1945, but it was a full generation afterwards, before the average German came to think of Americans as a natural friend. And the pendulum swung back against us, as by the end of the Twentieth century, German sentiment came to believe in a stronger role for Germany in Eureopean politics. Like the French, the Germans were quick to pay lip service to the cause of NATO, but slow to follow an American lead where risk and sacrifice were demanded.

I suspect that down deep, this is what the Liberal truly fears, the bookend possibilities of war in the Middle East. On the one hand, if the U.S. frees nations from tyrants, they may well come to applaud the U.S. at first, but one cannot help but wonder if they might go the way of Germany, France, and Japan, and turn against us economically and politically when they see an opportunity. And of course the other possibility is equally horrid in Liberal eyes; that the Conservative perspective on Foreign Policy might be proven by events, leading other foreign powers to reach agreements with the United States on terms which would move them towards a truly open government. This would be a clear strategic victory for Conservatives, as it protects U.S. National Interests in the best possible way, but convincing foreign nations that their best interests are to mirror our own. The reason this is opposed by Liberals, and hence by the Democrats, actually seems to be that they would rather have a tyrant they know, than a representative democracy which can make its own choices. That is, they fear a truly representative government in Iraq, for the same reasons they fear one in the United States.

And the reason for that fear is the residue of American History applied to national political parties. The Republican party is the truly revolutionary party, having come into existence to oppose Slavery and fight to end it. Over the years, the Republicans have often found themselves in the minority, and so blamed for evrything in government which went wrong, and given no credit for things which went right. When the Stock Market crashed in 1929, while Hoover's White House must carry blame for its inaction at critical points, and for failing to speak to the nation, it should also be noted that many economists now believe that Hoover's plan for recover ywas sounder than FDR's, and the New Deal actually extended hardship for some parts of the country. The difference is between showy Democrat gestures, and traditional Conservative restraint, and it's no surprise that Conservatives did not fare well in the age of television until former actor Ronald Reagan found a way to mix Conservative pragmatism with populist drama. Since then, Republicans have come around to play the show game, and President Bush is criticized most harshly by fellow Conservatives, for failing to put on a good show, preferring instead to dwell on substance. Even modern Conservatives have failed to study the reasons why so many minorities support Democrats over Republicans, even when the voting record shows much better treatment of minorities by Conservatives than Liberals; the Liberals simply package their work in such a way, that they lie effectively about their own votes while claiming credit for everything done by Conservatives.

This all comes back to four wars; the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War 2, and the Cold War. The Civil War was a clear Republican success; it's a historical fact that the Democrats lined up largely with the Slave-owning South, and negotiated at one point for British intervention against the Union forces, which smells suspiciously like Treason, and for that reason Democrats had a very hard time taking the White House for a generation after the war. The Spanish-American War was controversial in its time, but it was a victory which not only claimed a lot of territory for the United States and scared the European powers into accepting the reality of the United States as a "great power" like themselves, but also reinforced the image in American minds that the military was at its best under a Republican, which image has been a burr in Democrat butts ever since. In World War 2, FDR discovered that he needed a broad consensus for many of his plans, and so had to reach accomodation with Republicans . This worked out well for FDR personally, but Harry Truman discovered that after the war, many Americans had begun to think of the Democrats and Republicans as equally to be credited for the war's victory, which hurt Truman's image in Korea and had a bit to do with Eisenhower running as a Republican.

And then there is the Cold War. Basically, by 1980 things were such a mess that most historians seriously considered the Soviet Union to not only be a permanent fact of the world, but likely to prevail in the long term over the West, who were widely tagged as weak and indecisive. Reagan changed all that, staring down the Soviets every chance he got, with strong rhetoric and carefully chosen action. By the time Reagan cried out, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", he had not only won the war against the Communists, but showed up every Democrat who had counseled appeasement.

So, here in 2005 the residuals are there to be seen. Republicans have been, historically, more reluctant to use military force than Democrats, but have enjoyed better effect. And Democrats have a long series of bad decisions, whcih they could correct, except that their pride will not let them consider the possibility.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Despots Strike Back

[ + ]

In their revolutionary book, 'The Third Wave', Alvin and Heidi Toffler explained how Information Management would become the next great paradign shift in human conditions, comparable to the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions before it. Unfortunately, just as with the first two revolutions, there are people trying to control access to Information and establish an effective monopoly of knowledge trade. The present campaign revolves around control of the Internet. The Washington Post (of all people) got it mostly right in an editorial dubbed “The Internet At Risk”.

It boils down to this; some twelve thousand people convened in Tunisia to discuss control of the Internet, including American control. I think it is significant that a location like Tunisia was chosen to discuss a high-technology issue. Not Seattle, Tokyo, London, Houston, Berlin, San Francisco, Bombay, New York or Kuala Lampur, but Tunisia, the city of Tunis to be precise, a “hot spot” only when one is speaking about the weather. And the forum was once again mainly about “rich” nations needing to share with poorer nations, without a single mention about how many of the poorer nations not only lack the infrastructure to benefit from end-user computer applications, but very often have governments not known for free elections, to say nothing of accountability for funds received. And naturally, the leaders of those poorer nations, however they came into office, found it appropriate to demand that they be granted shared control of the Internet.

The Post noted, “Many delegates want an end to the U.S. Commerce Department's control over the assignment of Web site addresses”, but also observed “The reformers' argument is attractive in theory and dangerous in practice.” The Post observed, as an example, that any nation or authority which controls Internet names and domains can prevent ‘undesirable’ groups or individuals offline, or charge varying rates to show preferences where they please.

Of course, the Post did not get the story completely right. The Post contended that governments “can order Internet users in their territory to take offensive material down. They can order their banks or credit card companies to refuse to process payments to unsavory Web sites based abroad. Indeed, governments' ample ability to regulate the Internet has already been demonstrated by some of the countries pushing for reform, such as authoritarian China. The sovereign nations of the world have no need to wrest control of the Internet from the United States, because they already have it.”

And there lies the hidden threat. The best reason for American control of the Internet, is that little thing we call the First Amendment. Yes, it allows for the Nazi Party, the Hell’s Angels, and the Democratic National Committee to say all manner of malicious and false things, but it also protects minority viewpoints which would otherwise simply disappear. The same Internet that allows for pornography and propaganda, also allows any individual to have their voice heard, and for any argument to have a chance to stand on its own merit. Recent years have shown that network and cable broadcasts have just as much offensive material, and arguably the pursuit of ratings and sponsors makes them less act less responsibly than a website which exists or fails on its own accountability to its audience. The same Internet that drives radical malice like the Dean Campaign in 2003-4, also provided for a critical watchdog which tripped up a fraudulent attempt to influence the campaign with forged documents. There is even reason to believe, that the oppression of certain minority groups in other parts of the world is restrained by the knowledge that a webcam makes it possible for the word to get out to the entire planet. The Internet is a wild territory, but compared to other mediums for news, entertainment, and opinion, it is far more effective and honest than anything else available.

Naturally, this sort of honesty scares bureacrats, which has led to attempts to regulate political speech on the Internet. And there is already history on the books, showing that political speech is not always given protection by the Congress or the Courts.

It’s easy, in between elections and with so much other noise going on, to miss something this quiet and this subtle. But it’s important to remind folks, that for all the value blogs provide, there are many people who hate them, and would like very much to see them shut down, even as they deny their intent.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

God and Politics

One thing which always sets Liberals off against Conservatives, is the assumption they make that we are claiming God is on our side. To compensate for this feeling of inadequate holy ordination of their policies therefore, many Liberal politicians and candidates can be seen attending churches, albeit very often only so they can speak from the pulpit in defense of their own politics, something almost every Conservative eschews, but I digress.

It has long been understood that Conservatives and Liberals are held to different standards. An obvious example is Congressman Murtha’s slander of Vice-President Cheney, claiming that his deferment earlier in life makes him unfit to give orders or establish policy for the military, which makes one wonder why Congressman Murtha never had a problem with Bill Clinton. And more than a few Guardsmen have taken issue with the Democrats’ blunder in suggesting that Bush’s National Guard service was less than honorable, since the claim assumes either that the Guard excused Bush’s supposedly poor peformance, or that the Guard standard was rather low. It should also be noted that Trent Lott was essentially hounded into leaving a leadership position because of an ambiguous statement that some claimed suggested he was a racist, but former KKK Kleagle Robert Byrd was not only allowed to hold a leadership postion in the Senate, but has been often held up by the Democrats as a moral leader.Go figure.

But there is a deeper divide between Conservatives and Liberals on the question of God and faith. While both Conservatives and Liberals vocally support the First Amendment right to practice faith as one believes, there is a significant difference between the two sides on how to protect that right. For Conservatives, religion is personal as well as cultural, and so long as Congress does not pass a law which attempts to establish a state religion or demonstrate a specific religious preference, religious demonstrations and displays should not be denied or suppressed. Liberals have long pursued a course which essentially demands an atheist America, as exemplified by the ACLU and People for the American Way’s attempts to deny basic rights to churches and faith organizations, such as the Boy Scouts or the Roman Catholic Church. The dichotomy of professing the rights of the indivdual, but denying people the right to publicly express faith or use their faith in key decisions, is an hypocrisy the Left simply chooses to ignore.

The expression of faith goes deeper. Liberals and Conservatives alike had no offense at Jimmy Carter saying he was a devout Christian in 1976, but Liberals scorned President Bush’s statements of faith, as though the Jesus Christ worshipped and followed by Carter was now off-limits to Conservatives. That is brazenly dishonest, yet common to the point of ubiquity. And here in the days of Michael Newdow, religion is taken as a sign of evil intent, as evidenced by comments from many Liberals about Samuel Alito’s intentions, as though the man coordinated his own nomination, and doubtless will be brainwashing his SCOTUS colleagues if he is confirmed to the High Court. Otherwise, one would be forced to consider that the anti-faith bias of so many on the Left, is more indicative of pathogenic disorder than reasonable discernment.

One last thing, a clarification of sorts. Conservatives do not generally claim that God is on our side. It is, however, worth noting that God has made His priorities and commandments rather plain, and from what I can see, while God is sovereign, it appears that Conservatives are more on His side than Liberals. And that distinction is paramount in this category of debate.