Sunday, November 28, 2010

Immediate Execution Upon Conviction For Treason

This isn't little, this thing with, run by Julian Assange. In case you aren't aware of WikiLeaks, it is a website famous on the margins for leaking stuff that isn't supposed to be famous. Ostensibly a "whistle blower" site, lately it has become a portal to the world for stolen top secret documents. In today's case, it was top secret government documents that were leaked after they were allegedly stolen by PFC Bradley Manning, a military intelligence (oxymoron, eh?) analyst who was previously arrested for releasing the "Collateral Murder" video, which, shall we say, reflected poorly on our side.

The United States Government, of the people and for the people (it Will be again, my friends!) knew that this disclosure of classified documents was to be published against their will. How is this possible? A PFC is a "new guy" by military career standards, usually someone in their teens or early twenties. Manning is 22 and sent emails to his friends bragging about having leaked massive quantities of classified military information. Why did he have unfettered access to hundreds of thousands of pages of classified material without direct supervision?

Why, once Barack Obama was made aware of this upcoming leak (yes, he knew days in advance), didn't he do more than simply tell Assange not to do it? Understand the gravity here. People's lives are immediately endangered. International relationships and world peace and world cooperation, fragile as that is, are all immediately endangered. Global financial markets are immediately endangered. Our government will shut down a child pornography site (as well they should) in a second! Why not a known, previously proven traitorous site?!

Mr President, you do not get months to act when the emergency is now. Didn't the Gulf oil spill teach you anything??

People go to jail for a very long time for far lesser crimes than treason. When a person knows that documents are stolen (Assange was told) and when the United States of America notifies you to cease and desist and then you go ahead and release classified material during wartime, you have pretty clearly crossed the line into treasonous activity.

The penalty for treason during wartime is death.

PFC Bradley Manning traded the security of our nation for personal gain. Julian Assange traded the security of our nation for personal gain. Let's even toss in Michael Moore, yes, that's right, Michael Moore. That fruitcake hanging way out there on the left fringes has offered to pay for Assange's criminal defense. If Michael Moore can see the criminality from his vantage point, before an arrest has even been made, I think the state has a pretty obvious case.

If one single American life is lost due to this self-aggrandizing disgrace of a soldier or his accomplice, Julian Assange, the rule of law should dictate their immediate execution. I am speaking to you, directly, Senator. Yes. You.

This face is a treasonous disgrace to every soldier that ever carried a pack on their back and a rifle in their arms.

p.s. Yes I know WikiLeaks in in England. Doesn't matter. Also, The New York Times should be held just as accountable as any other entity that knowingly disseminates stolen, classified material.

And Here Is The Very Ungodly Obama Version

Oh dear. When I posted George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, I had no idea that our very own Barack Husein Obama would be the first President EVER to not directly acknowledge the existence of God. I also had the misfortune of wasting a minute and 13 seconds of my life watching Barry and what's-her-name telling BabaWawa what a wonderful prayer life they have. In fact they pray before dinner. Wow. I have a very accurate ACME BS Detector and it was beep beep beeping to beat the band as I watched that clip.

Maybe he thought because he referred to George Washington mentioning and thanking God for all that He has bestowed upon us, that that was somehow the same thing as him, Barack Obama, city planner extraordinaire, mentioning and praising God. Obama actually said that the spirit that binds us is our tradition of Thanksgiving. Wow again. Thank you for clarifying that for me. I always attributed that to something... well, other than Thanksgiving Day.

Oh My Goodness.
"I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others."

No. Let me rephrase my prior exclamation. Oh My God.
President Barack Obama, the correct thing in this nation, on this day, would be to say, "Oh My God, We Thank You!"
or if you prefer the teleprompter;

"I encourage all the people of the United States to come together in prayer, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather in His name, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to thank God for those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our God-given bounty with others."
Yeah. That's what he should have said. But he didn't.

The whole of Obama's abomination of a Presidential Proclamation can be found here. I am thoroughly disgusted and repulsed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

General Thanksgiving By the PRESIDENT of the United States of America

"Almighty God"
"rendering unto Him"
Today's politicians should not fear using such language. When someone objects, they need merely stare the whiner in the eye and give a multitude of examples of what our founding fathers truly intended for America. George Washington could not have made himself any more clear than when he uttered the Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789.

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
Source: The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why I Am Not an Environmentalist

The "environment" has long been an issue fraught with angst for me. Everyone wants to do the right thing for the environment. If you are an environmentalist you can hang with the cool crowd, you get to feel self righteous, and you can yell at other people because you are not out for yourself! You're only thinking of the children!

I used to be an environmentalist. I remember meeting at the home of a woman I didn't know (this was when I lived in Plant City, Florida), gathered with a group of women who were concerned about the planet. We were kicking around ideas for projects that we could start at a grassroots level. I felt pretty good as I sat there. Surrounded by women who were obviously very savvy, very aware, very concerned. Exactly the way I wanted to be (the way I saw myself, if I'm being honest). Heck, I love trees. I'm grateful for clean air, for safe water, for the birds in my backyard. Who isn't?

The first chink in my environmentalist armor came when I went to work for a recycling company. Our focus was on fluorescent light bulbs. You know -- those things that we're all going to be forced to have in our homes thanks to Congress essentially outlawing the beautiful incandescent bulbs that we all grew up with? Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury which is dangerous if it gets inside of you or seeps into drinking water (where it can get inside of you). We went around to businesses (like grocery stores) and picked up the bulbs that they were required by law to recycle. We had a HUGE room that contained a HUGE machine into which a worker would feed the spent bulbs. The machine would crush the bulbs in a contained unit, extract the mercury, and magically separate the other components. If you worked in the back by the machine you had to have blood tests regularly because even though the machine kept the mercury separate things have a way of not working exactly as advertised. If the blood test showed unacceptable levels of mercury, you had to work in the office until your body could get all of that nastiness out of your system.

(Now, of course, we will all be using fluorescent bulbs and almost none of them will be recycled. So the mercury will be free to settle into landfills (or to be in the air you breathe if a bulb breaks in your house). Smart move, Congress.)

We also picked up paper for recycling. Truckloads of undeliverable junk mail from the post office. Business trash. Old newspapers. You name it, we had it. Our intent was to sell paper to manufacturers where they would recycle it into new paper. Only...sometimes it would rain and the rain would make the paper wet and nobody will buy wet paper. Not because it's wet, exactly (the recycling process involves plenty of water), but because paper is sold by the pound and wet paper is HEAVY. So the "recycled" paper would end up in the dump.

Over the years so many cracks have appeared in the environmental movement that any pretense I ever had about being an environmentalist is completely gone. I love creation. It's one of God's great gifts to us and I firmly believe that we are to honor this gift and husband it wisely. But I will not call myself an environmentalist because I believe the term has been corrupted by politics.

I'm not going to rehash the global warming insanity here. There's plenty to rehash, though, as I'm sure you know. Today's rant is being sponsored by ethanol subsidies.

The whole ethanol business was a scam from the get-go. Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline and takes more energy to create (by a lot). Al Gore has come out against ethanol subsidies, but here is the point which reinforces my anti-environmentalist stance: he admits that he was for them in the first place because he wanted to pander to farmers when he was running for office.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is what is wrong with the environmental movement. It's NOT selfless, it's NOT scientific, it's NOT about what is best for the planet. It's about getting a piece of the pie, about profits, about power, and in extreme cases it's about pushing an anti-human agenda.

I'm not going to bother explaining all of this when Ed Morrissey does a dandy job of it. Click on this link and read all about it.

The bottom line is that I don't trust anybody who cloaks himself in the mantle of environmentalism. Gore won a Nobel prize based on "science" that has been debunked up one side and down the other. I would absolutely LOVE for someone to rise up and speak truthfully and reasonably, but I don't know who that is. Until I do, I'm not an environmentalist.

More later...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bad Guys

Remember how the whole left side of the universe was all up in arms about how awful the terrorists were treated in Guantanamo? Even though they're treated really WELL down there? Remember that?

Well, since September 3 the United States has killed at least 220 people in drone strikes in Pakistan and Waziristan and I haven't heard a peep out of anybody. Apparently if a liberal just goes ahead and KILLS someone without a trial it's fine, but if Bush treats terrorists with respect it's evil. (I have no problem with drone strikes, fwiw.)

It's so hard to keep the rules straight in my head.

More later...

Monday, November 15, 2010

America - Still A Beacon To The World

I have a friend who currently lives overseas but who grew up in America. She has almost totally opposite views of America, world politics, and social obligations than I do, but I like her very much and respect her points of view, regardless of how off the mark I might think she is (almost all the time). I think she feels the same way toward me. She posted a piece in her blog the other day, that I have hijacked and reposted here, along with my response to it. I hope she approves of my reposting of her blog entry. If she does not, she will surely let me know and I will remove it. I hope she, instead, smiles and sticks out her tongue at me. Without further ado, I present my friend, Molly.

"For my 200th post, I'd like to write a few thoughts on my home. I have spent most of my life in protest of the things America represents and the things the American government does in our name with our money. But something has been sticking in my brain over the weekend. On Friday, I interviewed a Sri Lankan family for an in-depth I am working on. The parents, three daughters and aunt are recognized refugees seeking to be resettled. When the 17-year-old daughter asked Stan (name changed) and me where we are from, I responded "America."

She gave a smile and repeated what I said with excitement. I moved on to my first question and forgot about the moment, but I keep thinking about it. I thought people stopped romanticizing the United States back in the Ellis Island days. I was puzzled to think this bright, young woman would think anything special about my country. If I read the situation correctly, she may have some drastically exaggerated ideas about the US, but she may also have a point.

Perhaps America really is to be admired. At least, in comparison to the region I now find myself. I just can't think of why at the moment. All America has going for it my mind is that it's not here. I'll keep pondering."

Being considerably older, having served our country for 6 years, having lived for years at a time in different cultures, and having advanced myself from true poverty to success in America through toil and sacrifice and long hours, my perspective is quite different than that of my young friend. My response to her blog post follows.

"Your Sri Lankan friend has a drastically different perspective than you do, my idealistic but (unknowingly spoiled) young friend. She hears "America" and remembers the letters she got from her mother's brother talking about his trip to America where he ended up staying and now owns a chain of small retail stores and to this day sends her mother enough money every month, to feed the entire family. Or perhaps she hears stories that in America, she can sleep in her own soft bed off the floor, or that she can actually own her own car and be allowed to drive it wherever she wants. Maybe she just sees on her 1965 black and white television that it seems that most of the roads in America are paved and that the poor people are fat instead of bony with distended bellies.

Maybe she is educated and knows that the per capita GDP (with purchasing power parity) in Sri Lanka is $4,764 and that approximately 43% of household consumption was spent on food versus in America the average GDP is $45,934. My eyes would get big too if I knew there was a magical land where I could move to and my children had the opportunity to make 10 times what I make and that I won't ever again have to worry about hunger. Growing up in a wealthy nation, very few of today's youth have the perspective to truly grasp the dichotomy between the greatly varied worlds found on our planet. I can get on a plane and fly to an earthquake devastated land and build houses out of the rubble for two weeks; houses that are cherished despite their lack of running water or electricity. That experience is vastly different than living there. Living in a place where the women do all the work and the men dress well but have no concept of going to work. Instead they sit around all day and do nothing, all the while dressed to the nines.

There is only the perspective of the lifestyle we grow up in, the one that is most indelibly stamped on our identity. Some of us were blessed to have been born in America. Born in a country where the vast majority of us are kept warm when it snows and have cool air in the house in the summer. Where food is on the table and someone loves us. Yes, you mention "America" and I smile too."

I truly like the author of the above blog, despite her naivete. Maybe she will stick to her guns and insist that America is evil. I think it more likely that she will one day wake up and realize that despite her faults, America is the best country in the world to be born in, to live in, and to defend.

America. To want to eliminate her flaws is noble. To correctly identify her flaws is difficult. To actually effect the necessary change to make her better is extremely difficult and dangerous because the risk of lessening her is so great. A steady hand at the tiller is required at all times. Hold accountable those men and women elected to stand on her bridge.


Friday, November 12, 2010

The Scary Virtue (Count the Metaphors)

There is one thing I am careful never to pray for: patience. I am afraid, you see, that God will teach it to me. Patience is something that everyone says they want, but very few demonstrate consistently. I am patient about some things, but I-want-it-yesterday about others. In other words, I'm pretty normal.

Anyone who hopes to be successful in politics must develop patience. If politics is the art of the possible, then it is also a dance: knowing when to wait, when to give in, when to move ahead. I think the greatest politicians are born to it the way great musicians or dancers must be; they have a sixth sense that tells them when to hold back and when to press forward. Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan -- all truly great politicians.

The last election has placed us in a position to do some ruminating on these very things. We'll have a majority in the House of Representatives. All of the races are not yet finalized, but as of right now there will be 189 Democrats and 240 Republicans in the upcoming Congress (there are currently 255 Dems, 178 Repubs, and two seats are vacant). We've picked up six seats in the Senate, but at 47 we do not have a majority. (In the Senate, we would need 51 seats for a majority because if we had fifty seats the Vice President would cast a tie-breaking vote. Also, you really need sixty votes in the Senate in order to invoke cloture and make a bill filibuster proof. To be veto-proof requires 67 votes.) And lest we forget, the White House will be Democratic for another two years (see how optimistic I am?).

We have reason for great joy and optimism, but let us not forget that we are still a minority party. And that the agenda is set by the chief executive.

We must hold our elected representatives to the promises they made when they were campaigning, but we must not expect them to walk on water or to feed 5,000 with a few loaves and fishes. Legislation is like an aircraft carrier; it takes a long time to get it to change directions. Some of the things that we most want will no doubt need to wait until after the 2012 election. Patience, patience.

Another phrase often bandied about in political circles is "we must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good." I am a very pragmatic person when it comes to politics. I think principles are important, of course (the current White House seems to poll all the big special interest groups before it negotiates trade settlements, for example, because they do not have a set of ingrained principles to guide them). But sometimes we simply cannot get everything we want. I believe it is better to have something than nothing and I will never fault a politician who gets the most that he can even if it's not all that one might wish.

This argument was very much in evidence during the primary season, when some candidates widely considered to be unelectable won the Republican primaries in their states. Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Sharron Angle in Nevada, for instance. They both had challenges during the primary process from candidates who were not as far to the right as they were and the argument was made that they were not going to be able to win in a general election. That was certainly proven on November 2. I would rather have had a moderate Republican in those seats than "the bearded socialist" and Harry Reid. Others argue for standing fast to principle; I believe they are very misguided. Politics is not religion where it makes (eternal) sense to be dogmatic. But this argument will not end any time soon; it's been going on ever since free men have nominated candidates to office.

My point is that we must all learn to dance for the next two years. Or if we cannot learn ourselves, we must be wise enough to watch the other dancers. Draw lines in the sand when they make sense. Don't try to fight every war on every front. Realize that some things are not possible -- yet. Pray for patience. ;)

More later...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Should I Go?

Al Gore's innerwebs is a grand place, a mysterious place, a place for education, for dummification (yes, I just made up that word), a place in which one can lose hours of productivity. It is also the place from which I get every single tidbit of news. I do not watch a single news show, neither cable nor local. The only time I see anything from television news is if someone posts a YouTube video of something from one of the shows. And I DO watch them on special occasions: the rescue of the miners and election night coverage are the last two events that come to mind. I do not subscribe to any newspapers. I do read assorted newspapers often, however -- but only online.

When I am searching for a reliable story about something, I know where to go and which sites to avoid. Some sites are too partisan and will broadcast anything that helps their side, accuracy be damned. The most recent widespread example of this was all the stories about Obama's "$200-million-a-day trip overseas." If you THINK about this figure for any length of time you can see that it's almost impossible that such a thing could be true. And that is, of course, because it is NOT true. This little detail did not bother many right-wing web sites, however, and it irked me to no end. We just won a smashing victory; we don't need to promote lies. The truth will do nicely.

There are sites that I read and know that I will have to find another source to back up their claims. And there are sites that I avoid like the plague because absolutely nothing is worth wading through the fever swamp.

Here are some sites that are always worth reading. They are written by human beings, however, so one must realize that mistakes will be made. These sites, though, are honest and will correct errors when they do slip through. And take steps to insure that those errors are made infrequently.

National Review Online is always my first stop. I read every single post on The Corner every single day. They have many other blogs, too, that are worth reading if their niche is also your niche. There is The Campaign Spot written by the incomparable Jim Geraghty; if you are not receiving his daily email, shame on you. Sign up for his Morning Jolt here. Immediately. I'll wait. Okay -- The Campaign Spot is about campaigns (I didn't really need to tell you that, did I?).

There is Media Blog, written mostly by Greg Pollowitz about what's happening in various media. (You have noticed, perhaps, that National Review does not go in for a lot of creativity when naming its blogs.) There's Phi Beta Cons, which is a conservative perspective on higher education. The Agenda, written by Reihan Salam, about domestic policy. Exchequer -- Kevin Williamson's take on fiscal issues. And there are others -- on health care, on the courts, individual blogs, weekly video segments, etc. All of the highest quality from reputable journalists and pundits.

You could read National Review's content all day, so I really don't read anything else EVERY DAY. There are sites, however, that I turn to with regularity and know that they are reliable.

There is Power Line -- a smallish blog that was started by a couple of Minneapolis-area attorneys and now includes a DC attorney and a business guy. These are thoughtful men, not given to signing up for the latest fad or conspiracy, and since I have the Power Line app on my iPhone I look at them pretty much daily.

The Weekly Standard is an invaluable site. As content rich as National Review, there is too much here for me to read all of it daily. If I have an interest in a topic, however, I always come here and check out what the guys and gals have to add. They are sober, serious, reliable.

Real Clear Politics was a daily source of information for me leading up to the election (they do a great summary of polls). It is not a conservative site like the others that I have mentioned -- they post links to articles from folks on both sides of the aisle. I have their iPhone app, too, and that's where I do most of my RCP reading. So far today I have read Maureen Dowd's NY Times column (usually she is, of course, quite liberal, but today she posted a letter from her conservative brother), Ruth Marcus' Washington Post column about what Democrats (especially the leadership) are missing about the last election (Marcus is a liberal), and Tim Rutten's LA Times column about Keith Olbermann. RCP is a one-stop shop for headlines from both conservatives and liberals and they tend to pick from reliable sources.

I still go to Townhall now and then, although I mostly go there if I am looking for a specific columnist. They make me uneasy now and then -- they used to be reliably smart but they have posted articles by idiots on occasion and I dislike the authority that their imprimatur implies with regard to these wackos. So be warned. If something sounds like a conspiracy, it probably is. Run. Run away fast. Do NOT be caught up in it. Nothing will ever be proved and if you go to Thanksgiving dinner and only talk about how Obama was born in Indonesia you will be consigned either to the kids table or they will make you sit next to your alcoholic Uncle George who won't be listening to a word you say. Conspiracies NEVER help your team and if they have any effect at all, it is negative.

And really -- that's it. Oh, I will wander over to Michelle Malkin's page or to the Drudge Report or elsewhere from time to time. But I am usually there for a specific reason and I don't rely on them necessarily (Malkin was off on the $200-million-a-day nonsense like a stray dog on a pork chop bone). There are other sites that are excellent -- The Volokh Conspiracy comes to mind -- but I don't go there daily (it's not about conspiracies; Eugene Volokh is a genius legal libertarian guy). If you confine yourself to the sites to which I have linked, you will stay safe. And there is way more than enough information here to keep you going.

There are liberal sites worth checking out as well -- The New Republic, Slate, the editorial pages of most national newspapers. Good to see how the other side lives, you know.

So be smart. Don't let anybody fool you. Get your news from reliable sources and if something sounds strange, get confirmation.

More later...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wow. November, Huh?

I wonder if anybody ever pops on over here to see if the gnomes have left new offerings? Ward gamely carried on for a while, but his annual October madness struck and he was otherwise engaged until the wee, small hours every night. I just abandoned ship with no excuse other than that of being unable to form coherent thoughts. Yes, yes, I know that this does not usually stop me, but there you have it. I'm back and think that I will stick around, so if anyone reads this thing (and even if no one does), I shall muse here from time to time.

The election just passed was a good one, yes? Any disappointment or sense of letdown was only because our expectations were too high (The Onion ran an article that said something like, "Democrats poised to lose 19,000 seats in upcoming election"). A year ago the numbers that we saw last Tuesday would have made me weep for joy. And so, I am relentless in my determination to be completely positive about the results. You don't win them all -- you just don't -- and so we shall have to rejoice at our pick ups and examine our losses to see how we can do better next time and march forward to get the work done that the election has laid before us.

Mostly, of course, we will be focused on January. There is this ridiculous lame duck session coming upon us, but I don't think anyone will have the stomach to do anything too dreadful, so I am not really worried. I am excited about a Speaker Boehner and cautiously optimistic, while trying to remain realistic. I want to see votes on Obamacare and if they are vetoed, I want them to starve the damn beast where they can. I want someone -- an adult, I hope -- to start paying attention to what we are handing over to Turkey, which is looking more Muslim and radical by the hour. I want a coherent Iran policy (which must come from the executive, I know, but Congress can holler about it). I want a sound fiscal policy to allow businesses to operate in an environment of certainty (with regard to government policies). I want a return to environmental sanity (I am going to stock up on incandescent bulbs in case sanity does not return quickly enough). I want statesmen who will grab the third rail and not let go until we have made the necessary adjustments to Social Security. The American people consider Israel a significant ally and I'd like the government to start acting like it again.

I know it's a lot -- too much, maybe. I'll be happy with just a few of these things (the fiscal policy and Obamacare, I guess). What do you want?