Friday, October 27, 2006

The Left and Kidney Stones

Anyone who knows me could have seen this one coming. I have long tried to find meaning in everyday life events, and so again I apply a lesson from a literal pain in a private place to politics.

Earlier this week I wrote a comparison between The Political Left in the United States and Terrorists. The responses were predictable, but some missed the point or else were dishonest. So it seems appropriate to respond to those six comments.

The first comment agreed with me, and naturally I found it easy to accept. Yes, it was difficult to write that so many people have chosen to support a platform which has moved from inadequacy to hostility to common sense, to outright malice against the ideals of America. The problem is not that Democrats are evil, actually, but that their party has been hijacked by the worst sort of extremists and the people who support that party are for the most part unaware or unperturbed by this situation. For all the claims from the Left that the GOP has become fascists, in actual practice and historical comparison it is the Left which has become unpleasantly similar to the regimes of Il Duce and Der Fuhrer.

The second, third, and fourth comments were the sort of denial I have learned to expect from decent-minded liberals; the notion that criticism of the Right is always well-founded and reasonable, but that warnings about evil in the Left must be false and therefore the result of hate or misunderstanding. To that writer, I would repeat the questions which no one in the Left has yet even tried to answer:

[] What are your specific plans for Iraq and the Middle East? I have heard so many criticisms of Republican plans, complaints and blame – so very often far from rational – for all that has happened up to now, but never a specific plan for how you would address the threats from Iran and Syria and the Sudan. Never yet.

[] Why do you believe that raising taxes will, of itself, result in a more sound economy and more responsible government? The lie that Clinton created a surplus just doesn’t fly, since his “surplus” was largely projections for future conditions based on best-case assumptions, and the economic conditions of 1993-2000 were not influenced by any government action, especially not by any economic initiative from Clinton that can be found. Read up on Keynes, please.

[] Since his election as President, I have read and heard a large variety of unsubstantiated charges and vicious insults thrown at George W. Bush. In fact, many leaders on the Left, including DNC Chairman Howard Dean, former Democratic nominees for President John Kerry and Al Gore, and a number of senior elected Democrats, including Senators Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid, and Congresspersons Pelosi and Schumer, have uttered such foul imprecations and false allegations, as to make civil debate on the issues impracticable. While it is unfortunately common for extreme commentators and advocates to make such statements as to compare a sitting President to Hitler, or to pretend that a President would deliberately mislead Congress in order to pursue a desired conflict, it is quite out of bounds for a national party’s leaders to act in such a fashion, yet this is exactly the conduct from the Left for the past six years. Howard Dean publicly speculated that Bush “allowed” the 9/11 attacks to happen. John Kerry repeatedly claimed President Bush misled Congress in his intelligence on Iraq, even though Kerry saw the very same information, and – when he was not running for President – publicly agreed with the President about the threat and its magnitude. Al Gore has acted in a fashion far removed from decency, let alone respectful disagreement, yet he has never once supported his charges. Senator Kennedy publicly claimed that President “cooked up” the War in Iraq “for political gain”, a baseless lie and smear he never bothered to retract or defend. Harry Reid has repeatedly accused the Bush Administration of corruption, even while he himself is unwilling or unable to explain his million-dollar payoff for land he did not even own, and which profit he hid from reporting to the Senate, to say nothing of Reid’s connections to Abramoff which far outshadow in scale and severity any Republican connections yet proven. Congresswoman Pelosi has repeatedly made accusations against President Bush without merit or support, as has Representative Schumer. Taken together, it is completely reasonable to count this as a calculated and sustained smear campaign to avoid discussing the issues. And as such, I must ask supporters of the Left why they accept such conduct on the part of their elected officials.

The fifth comment spoke in much the same tone as my article here. The last comment was a disappointing attempt to twist my words, criticizing the Left, to an attack on all Democrats and Liberals. Full of insults and false allegations, it typifies what I have seen all too often from the Left. While there are clearly individuals on the Right who are hateful and petty, there seem to be so many more of them on the Left. Do I really need to bring up, again, those Democrats in Minnesota who slashed tires of GOP vehicles on election day in 2004 in order to keep folks from voting? Do I need to point out that the only violent acts by protestors during the 2004 political conventions were by anarchists and Liberal activist groups? Do I need to remind you that such people put an NYPD officer into Intensive Care by pulling him off his horse, kicking him in the head and throwing him down a subway stairwell? Do I need to remind you about your “Wellstone Memorial” in 2002, when a funeral for a good man, respected by all, turned into a near-riot of hate and anti-Republican venom, with Republicans who came to show respect for Paul Wellstone and his family targeted for insults and hatred just because they were Republicans? Can you still, even now, not see the poison in your own rhetoric? And worse, there is no prominent voice on the Left warning about this.

As I mentioned above, there are some hateful Conservatives and Republicans. We don’t walk on water. But we do call out those hate-mongers, even when they are as popular as Ann Coulter or Michael Savage. And none of our top elected officials attacks the Democrats as they do Republicans.

The problem is not that you are required to like President Bush, or Republicans, or Conservatives. But you really need to consider that the United States is becoming increasingly Conservative, as evidenced by the trend of the past decade. One comment whined that I was somehow insulting almost 40 percent of the country by criticizing the tone and rhetoric of the Left as displayed in forums and public statements for more than a half-decade. Such complaining is not valid, not only because the Democrats represent – at best – 35 percent of the voting population, not 40 percent of the general population, not only because less than a quarter of the population considers themselves “liberal” in political orientation, but also because even if we grant the notion that we must recognize the opinions of the Left and watch out for the tender feelings of their leaders, logic demands that we pay even greater respect to the mind and values of the Conservatives, who out-number liberals whenever the public is asked, that we respect the opinion of the clear majority of the voting public who voted to re-elect George W. Bush. The Leftists’ demand that they be treated to courtesy they never return, to rights they refuse to acknowledge they owe to the other side, is false on its face.

I mentioned at the start that I like to take lessons from real life. Well, passing a couple kidney stones is not a pleasant experience, but it’s my own fault. Too much potassium and sodium in my diet, along with way too much caffeine, and there you have a recipe for severe abdominal consequences. I will not go into too much detail about kidney stones, except to simply say that rocks in the tubes between your kidney and the – exit point for urination, scraping and cutting the tissue wall along the way, is zero fun. And unless you are wise enough to plan ahead and check for that sort of thing, your first warning is likely to be like mine; sudden sharp pain in your kidney, followed by several hours of burning, cramp-like pain and a lot of pressure where you don’t want it.

The reason I mention that little adventure, is because it could have been avoided. I have learned from that, in fact I have not had so much as a sip of a caffeinated beverage since Tuesday, which is very difficult for me. No coffee, no Diet Coke, no delight in my taste buds. But better than encouraging more of those little blighters; I still have a CT-Scan scheduled for next week to make sure there are not some more little rocks waiting to do a second chorus. The lesson is, no matter what you would like to do or have happen, you must be careful to consider the most likely results of your decisions. And this applies to politics just as much as diet and exercise.

Democrats may or may not take over one or both chambers of Congress. But it will not help them in the long run, unless they return to the Democrats’ manner of governance of more than sixty years ago, and the Liberal thinking which expanded on the rights of the general public and the way they mean to address problems with viable solutions. As long as the Left refuses to offer real, specific solutions, they basically do nothing to move the debate forward. When the Republicans won in 1994, they did not do so by merely attacking Clinton’s positions, but by offering a “Contract With America”, including specific promises which they kept. As much as I respect George W. Bush, he came to office on the strength of six years of Republican work to show they could do the job. If the Left can only deal with his election and re-election by making up vapid excuses to pretend they did not really lose, then they change nothing in substance and invite further defeats down the road. For all the shortcomings of the GOP-held Congress, if the Democrats win and cannot show results where the voters need them most, they most certainly will lose again in later elections.

It might sound from that claim, that I should not worry – the Left will die of self-inflicted wounds. Yet that would most certainly be bad for the country and her people, because America has always needed two viable political parties. Whenever one gets too powerful, things go wrong. But the Left does not deserve a seat at the table just for balance, but only if it can show a deserving quality. Real answers, not just mocking the people who take on the task. Real respect for dialogue, do not just cheer for your own side and viciously banish anyone in your ranks who is not deemed ideologically pure.

It hurts less to deal with a serious problem now, than to wait for it to become unbearable.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I will be absent from the blogging board for a little while, recovering from passing a couple kidney stones.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Defection of Real Clear Politics

I used to consider Real Clear Politics one of the best aggregators of political news and wide-range commentary in the Blogosphere. Not any more. The site, now aligned with Time magazine, has tilted to the Left, and readers should be aware of this. As evidence, I cite RCP’s own commentary on the most significant House races this fall.

Here is what RCP had to say, with an anonymous byline but a clearly partisan attitude, about TX-22, Tom Delay’s old district:

The absence of public polling in this race is proof that it is over. This is Dem pick up #1.”

That's right, RCP is saying that if you don't hear anything, that must mean that the Democrat is winning. I live near Sugarland, and I can tell you that the best term to describe that sort of opinion begins with "crock". But wait, it gets more obvious. Notes dated August 31 include the following tell-tale smears:

After initially being indicted by Austin D.A. Ronnie Earle, DeLay ostensibly perceived he could win reelection. His tepid performance in the spring primary, and – in all likelihood – soft internal poll numbers, convinced him otherwise.”

This is the sort of condition we need to have to see a district as conservative as TX 22 go to the Democrats: either the Republican has to be under indictment or there has to be no Republican on the ballot.”

Only a Democrat would write tripe like that. It is neither valid as analysis nor objective.

AZ-8 is tabbed by RCPas “a pretty safe Democratic pickup”, despite that the polls cited constantly show Undecideds in heavy double-digits, and Giffords appearing to be closing fast with more than two weeks to go.

Once again, this is not analysis, but spin. It's not even subtle.

IN-08 is one more case where you have to look closely, and not just buy the headline. RCP shows the Republican down here by 23 points, BUT – the poll cited is an intermittent poll, not one of the major services. THOSE polls show a much tighter race, and the most prominent of the polls noted, Research 2000, shows a race around the margin of error, and Undecideds at four times the margin between the candidates.

The point is clear – for some reason, the people at RCP are deliberately spinning the contests as clear Democrat victories, when closer examination shows their evidence to be weak, even invalid with regard to the stated contention.

Real Clear Politics is still useful as a barometer. But it is clearly no longer a conservative barometer, or objective by any reasonable definition. This is a Democrat-aligned website, make no mistake about it.

The Damned, The Left, and Terrorists

One of the most difficult things about being a fundamentalist Christian, is that you always have to clear away so many false assumptions and misconveyed statements by others claiming the same name, before you can even get around to saying what you want to make plain. To a degree, the same thing can be said for the three groups mentioned in my title here. There is a lot of confusion and a lot of assumption, which muddies the waters and makes it difficult to discuss the key issues and to advance the debate. With that in mind, I am tossing off a few thoughts on these three groups.

First, the damned. When I say the damned, I am not so much talking about humans as the fallen angels. I have noticed that when skeptics want to deny the sovereignty of God and the truth of the Bible, they often point to the rebellion of Satan and his angels, and ask why anyone close enough to see God as He really is, would rebel knowing the eternal consequences of hell. They say that if the angels were really as smart as claimed, they would never have made such a choice. That claim, of course, misses the fact that all creatures make irrational decisions, sometimes for worse, sometimes for better. It’s actually part of our identity; a perfectly rational being cannot be human at all. In fact, I rather suspect that our gracious Lord is not rational Himself, but I suppose I had better let that tangent go for another time.

And this brings me to my admittedly incomplete thought for the day. The Left and Terrorist groups have an awful lot in common. There was a time when I would not have touched such a thought, but more and more I see an echo between them; what one say the other repeats. Most people on the Left, certainly, do not approve of violence against innocents, yet they more and more turn a blind eye to the injustice and atrocity of Terrorism, because they find a common enemy. As cruel as it sounds, the Left is willing to accept a measure of Terrorism if it means the Republicans and Conservatives lose. And the Left is quite willing to use the same dishonest rhetoric and paranoia to advance their argument. Look at the upcoming election. Terrorists threaten violence if they do not get the result they demand, and now the Left is doing the same.

Is it any wonder the Left wants us to pull out of Iraq? Everytime a Marine kills a terrorist, a Leftist considers it the loss of a friend of his.

The Left are enemies of America and all she stands for. It really is that cold, hard, and true.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Decision Points – Why Japan Must Not Go Nuclear

September 6, 1976 – In the darkest hours of the Cold War, following America’s disgraced exit from Vietnam and the subsequent onslaught by the Viet Cong through the perfidy of Congress, during a time when Soviet proxies were enjoying success throughout Africa and South America, a single Soviet pilot took a MiG-25 “Foxbat” and flew it to the island of Hokkaido, and asked for sanctuary. In the following days, the Soviet government put intense pressure on Japan to turn over the plane and the defector to the tender mercies of the KGB, but Japan stood fast, telling the Soviets in uncharacteristic bluntness where they could go. In many ways this incident proved Japan’s friendship to the United States, as the Land of the Rising Sun showed honor and resolve in a time when it was hardly fashionable to be a friend to America. Yet it also started a new train of thought in Japanese international politics – shouldn’t Japan enjoy greater respect and position? Over the next three decades, this thinking resulted in new initiatives, both economically and politically, benefiting the Nikkei, MITI, and Japanese position relative to the rest of Asia. More than a few people began to say that Japan seemed to enjoy a Pacific version of the “Special Relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom. From that perspective, it is hardly surprising to hear many people suggest that in the light of North Korea’s attempts to create a nuclear weapon, as well as concerns about the People’s Republic of China with regard to their own nuclear arsenal, that Japan should not only be allowed, but encouraged to develop its own nuclear weapon. Yet this would be a very risky course for the United States to pursue, and one which long-term consequences could prove expensive, and bring about conditions the United States would never knowingly wish to bring about.

Japan, regardless of the Constitution under which it now exists, still considers itself an Empire. The military, now officially designated a ‘Self-Defense Force’, is top-of-the-line in equipment; the air forces include various sub-types of F-15s and AWAC Boeing 767s, and the naval force includes Aegis cruisers. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) has a history of imposing conditions and personally-advantageous interpretations of treaties and agreements on trading partners such as would make used-car salesmen blush. And the Japanese official version of World War 2 still remains singularly distant from Reality, and which refusal to accept responsibility for specific (and documented) atrocities offends many nations and earns complaints from historians and the families of victims demanding acknowledgment of responsibility and meaningful reparations. In short, Japan is far from a mature or accountable democratic republic, and future loyalty to America or her interests is anything but certain. Remember “A Japan That Can Say No”, by Sony Chairman Akio Morita and politician Shintaro Ishihara?

It should be understood that the path to nuclear weapons is actually a series of decision points; choices made which determine not only the course in a specific situation, but which also direct the color and direction of future decisions. As an example, the United States found itself in large part compelled to use the Atom Bomb on Japan in 1945. Here’s how that chain played out:

The first major step in the nuclear bomb chain is deciding whether it can be done. That was proven mathematically in 1931.

The second decision point is deciding whether a specific nation can make a nuclear weapon. Einstein (and other scientists) wrote a letter to President Roosevelt in 1939 which confirmed that the United States could build such a bomb.

The third decision point is deciding whether a specific nation should attempt to make a nuclear weapon. That same 1939 letter from Dr. Einstein warned Roosevelt that if the United States did not make such a bomb, they would be at the negligible mercy of the Nazis, who certainly were trying to make one.

The fourth decision point is deciding whether to deny progress on a nuclear weapon to another nation. This was an obvious choice for the United States against Germany in 1942-5, but later a much more difficult decision in “peacetime” against the Soviet Union, China, and so on.

The fifth decision point is testing the weapon. Conditions in World War 2 made that choice obvious, as well.

The remaining decision point in 1945 rested on actual use of the bomb. Bearing in mind that the Soviet Union was already sending signals that they intended to take full advantage of this unique opportunity to grab territory, as well as the anticipated cost of invading the Japanese homelands, which would be largely an American cost in lives and material, using the atom bomb to end the war and send a clear message against Soviet ambition was obvious.

The significance of this chain, is that at each decision point there was a strong or compelling need for the United States to continue on that path. With that in mind, here is the situation for Japan:

1. Can Japan do it? Japan faces two significant obstacles to creating its own nuclear weapon; its Constitution and the lack of a Nuclear Forces framework. In both cases the changes necessary to allow for development of a nuclear weapon would be in conflict with all known and recognized legitimate Japanese goals and ideals, and so would inevitably create political chaos, legal fights, and a vacuum in control of the military as its role and duties were redefined. By all existing measures, the foreseeable benefits are outweighed by the known costs.
2. What would Japan do with a nuclear arsenal? The sole argument presented in favor of Japan obtaining nuclear weapons is the notion that this would counter North Korea and possibly also China, perhaps serving to calm the governments in South Korea and other Asian governments. This notion is less than thought-through all the way. For one thing, nations which already have nuclear weapons have never yet abandoned them because a potential opponent acquired them. Also, because of Japan’s unwillingness to resolve issues surrounding Japanese aggression in World War 2, many Asian nations are unwilling to accept Japan as a regional leader, much less consider Tokyo as an appropriate guarantor of their sovereignty. Again, there seems to be no real reason to encourage Japan to obtain a nuclear weapon, and strong reasons to demur.
3. What would the United States do, if at some future time Japan was once again an enemy? If North Korea is a concern now, how much more would Japan be, given its obvious economic and military strength? There is no way to take back nuclear capability, and Japan has never rejected its desire to become an hegemony. They simply have used the available tools of economic and political pressure to gain as much as possible. A nuclear capability could easily tempt Japan into making military overtures, given their history, perceived threats, and resource needs.

In summation, a nuclear Japan would be far worse than a nuclear North Korea. Put away this foolish notion, please.