Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dishonesty from the New York Times

The Mudville Gazette has a fine post on the constant Bush-bashing of the NYT regarding the liberation of Iraq. It's nice to see them worried about obstructionism with the new Iraqui government. Let's see how worried they are about the Dems obstruction tactics!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Cynical Construct of Social Security

This is an excellent discussion of the liberal left's mindset with respect to social security.

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Saturday, April 23, 2005

Lessons Learned on Fighting This War

Another great article by Victor Davis Hanson. He outlines 5 rules to remember as we continue to wage war against the Islamic radicals. An excerpt:

After all these years, do not expect praise or gratitude for billions poured into Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, or Palestine or thanks for the liberation of Kuwait, protection of Saudi Arabia in 1990, or the removal of Saddam — much less for American concern for Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Somalia, the Sudan, or Afghanistan. Our past sins always must be magnified as much as our more recent benefactions are slighted.

In response, American policy should be predicated not on friendship or the desire for appreciation, but on what is in our national interest and what is right — whose symbiosis is possible only through the current policy of consistently promoting democracy. Constitutional government is not utopia — only the proper antidote for the sickness in the Middle East, and the one medicine that hateful jihadists, dictators, kings, terrorists, and theocrats all agree that they alike hate.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Good News from Iraq

This post by Chrenkoff on a recent poll of Iraqi's is encouraging. The highlights: 55% believe that the security situation has improved since the start of the new government; 82% do not want the Americans to leave right away, but rather based on a future timetable. News you won't get with the MSM - definitely not the NYT.

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Saturday, April 16, 2005

Anti-Americanism in Europe

I found this article from Townhall.com to be interesting by Rich Tucker. I have always believed that it has been the Europeans that have changed, not the Americans. Although we have had strong and mutually beneficial economic relations, the strength of the Atlantic Alliance over the past century has been based upon the direct defense of their land. Military deterrence trumped all other social, philosophical, cultural, and political issues. It is clear that most Europeans do not feel as vulnerable with the collapse of the USSR. Do Europeans believe in anything anymore? Is this where the left wants to take the US? Does anyone really believe that France, Germany or Belgium will sacrifice anything for a purpose other than its own political or financial gain?

Money quote from Tucker...

"The difference between the United States and Europe can be summed up in one sentence. 'In France, there are very few people who believe that you can liberate people by dropping bombs on them,' an anti-war activist named Marie says. Then they must have forgotten that in 1944 the allies liberated France by dropping bombs on it.
Our country hasn’t changed, and Europe has. We’re still serious in our outlook, and they aren’t.


But the day of reckoning may come. Islamic extremists may attack western Europe, as they attacked New York on 9/11. If that happens, the Europeans again will get serious. And Americans will be ready to stand beside them -- and die beside them -- to win another war."


I always find it amazing that the people that gave us Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Vichy France, etc. have any standing to lecture us about our leadership and foreign policy. In any case, America will be there when duty calls. I know the hate America crowd does not like to hear this. Give me an example of a more generous and benevolent power in the history of the world.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Real Issue with John Bolton

David Brooks has a good article in the NYT discussing the real debate over John Bolton. Not surprisingly, the debate is not really about Bolton at all. It is really about the role of the UN.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Can we get our name back?

An enlightening litany of what it doesn't mean to be a liberal from Joel Engle in the Weekly Standard.

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Steyn on the CIA

I can't help it. I always have to link to Steyn's latest. Enjoy.

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Monday, April 11, 2005

MSM and the DNC

Is there any doubt whatsoever that the NYT is just a mouthpiece for the Democrats? Robert Novak discusses a Times' editorial page editor fishing for a hit piece op-ed on Congressman DeLay from a prominent former Republican congressman, Robert Livingston. Informed that the piece would be pro-DeLay, the answer was thanks, but no thanks.

I guess peace-loving, compassionate, inclusive, sensitive, anti-war liberals should be proud of this. If only these were isolated, events......I guess pies in the faces of lecturing conservatives on college campuses (Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol, David Horowitz, Richard Perle - a shoe, etc.) are the new method of exhibiting tolerance and respect for diversity of opinion. And these people wonder how 60 million people could vote for the other side. I am amazed that 56 million people would place their faith in the people who represent these yahoos. I haven't seen any reports of pies being thrown into the faces of liberal speakers. If anyone has any stories, I would love to hear from you.

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Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Fourth Awakening?

An article by Jack Kelly (a hometown Pittsburgh writer!) that I thought was on target with respect to our secular elites finding it tougher going against a - generally speaking - religious people. I have always found it interesting that the seculars have been fearful of the overreach of the religious right. In reality, I think it is the seculars who have engaged in overreach over the past 20 years, as we have seen an acceleration of attacks (perceived and real) on Christianity in particular by the ACLU, courts, etc. This has not been a legislative attack. It has been purely through the court system. "King George in Robes" as the Powerline blog mentions. Most agree with the general principles of keeping our government from thrusting God onto the people. However, most do not agree with the apparent hostility toward God in the public square and the people who have faith.

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Friday, April 08, 2005

The Bush Dilemma

An excellent article in National Review Online by Victor Davis Hanson on the odd domestic discontent with the President. An excerpt:

Yet after the president's successful reelection, and the stunning news of the Iraqi voting and its encouraging aftershocks in the region, George Bush enjoys little more than a 50 percent approval rating. Unemployment is low. Inflation remains moderate. Interest rates are affordable, and real growth is strong, Why, then, the discontent?



After the first four years, even the president's critics expect him to take on tough issues and offer controversial solutions. Calling for bipartisan efforts to cap federal spending and balance the budget, craft an energy policy involving more alternative and traditional domestic fuel sources (coupled with conservation and nuclear power), and close the borders to illegal immigration, fine employers who break the law, end ethnic Balkanization and state-subsidized bilingualism, and return immigration policy to equity and legality — all that is what we might have expected of someone who remade the Middle East.


....How odd that the more risk-taking and principled the administration's sense of purpose abroad, the more we demand the same at home — and thus feel it sorely when such tough leadership on what matters most to Americans is wanting. And that, I think, explains the paradox of why a president, in the midst of crafting one of the most successful foreign policies since World War II, can only convince half the population that they are, in fact, living in historic times.

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Nuclear Option Still on Table

Some news from the judicial nomination front. Hugh Hewitt reports from his interview with Senator John Kyl that the Senate Republicans are not giving up on fighting for their constitutional option to break the filibusters on judicial nominations. (Hat tip: Powerline).

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Thursday, April 07, 2005

A Democratic Maverick!

Mickey Kaus has a great response to Bill Bradley's Op-Ed in the NYT. Responding to Bradley's assertion that the Dems must develop a more institutional approach (like the Republicans) to developing and communicating its ideas through its extisting organizations:

The problem, of course, is that the Democratic party's most stable institutional elements are also its most problematic elements: 1) unions; 2) the civil rights and Latino lobbies; 3) the senior lobby (AARP); 4) institutional feminists (NOW); 5) trial lawyers; 6) Iowa-caucus style "progressives;" and 7) Hollywood emoters. If a national problem could be solved without trampling on the interests of this institutional base, Democrats would have solved it in the decades when they were in power....

Currently, the Democrats' only hope is that once every four years a maverick candidate will come along who tells the party's permanent institutional base to shove it and actually fashion an appealing platform.


Wouldn't we all be better off if the Dems could tell these institutional elements "to shove it?"

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More on the Battle over the Judiciary

This article by Duncan Currie adds to the discussion over the judiciary's present role in our government. An excerpt:

The underlying threat to American self-government is not merely "right-wing" or "left-wing" judges--but the imperial judiciary itself. Yes, most judicial activism these days occurs on the social left. Conservatives are wholly justified in their high dudgeon. But when they base their arguments on a narrow critique of "liberal" judges, rather than a critique of usurping judges generally, conservatives unintentionally concede a vital point: namely, that American courts should be reaching a sociopolitical consensus for the American people.

In fact, the Founders intended no such role for the courts. Divining and defining the popular will on, say, abortion, same-sex marriage, and the death penalty is properly the duty of the U.S. Congress and state legislators. But for several decades now, American politicians have shirked that duty. Congress has also ducked its constitutional obligation to lasso a renegade judiciary. The result: an unchecked court system with metastasizing powers and an insatiable appetite for legislating.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

UN's Incompetence

I have long wondered why those who place all of their faith in multilateralism are so loath to acknowledge the dramatic incompetence of the UN. Don't they realize that by defending the status quo, they are dooming it to irrelevance? I am encouraged by this article. A taste:

The second searing irony for me is that the American neoconservative right has occupied the moral high ground in critique of Annan, outflanking the left, which sits on indefensible territory in his support. But if prevention of genocide and protection of the vulnerable are not core priorities on the left, then what is? If anyone's values have been betrayed, it is those of us on the left who believe most deeply in the organisation's ideals. I am mystified by the reluctance of the left both in the US and the UK (the Guardian 's coverage, for example) to criticise Annan's leadership. The bodies burn today in Darfur - and the women are raped - amid the sound of silence from Annan. How many genocides, the prevention of which is the UN's very raison d'être, will we endure before the left is moved to criticise Annan? Shouldn't we be hearing the left screaming bloody murder about the UN's failure to protect vulnerable Africans? Has it lost its compass so badly that it purports to excuse the rape of Congolese women by UN peacekeepers under Annan's watch? Is stealing money intended for widows and orphans in Iraq merely a forgivable bureaucratic snafu?

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What About Social Security?

With the recent death of the Pope, public discourse has shifted away from the President's signature issue for 2005, Social Security Reform. I am amazed that there isn't more political courage with respect to this issue. Contrary to the prevailing conventional wisdom, I have faith in my parents' generation. They want what's best for their children and grandchildren. However, there is significant confusion over the proposed reform options. Our leaders in Congress, the advocacy groups, and the media are not doing us any favors. Honest discussions are clouded by ideological and political calculations. Quite frankly, we cannot make a rational decision without agreeing on the particulars and scope of the problem.

The reality is that there will come a day where we will be forced into draconian measures unless we objectively look at the facts today and develop and implement sound solutions. Personally, I like the idea of ownership and personal accounts with restrictions. More individuals with a stake in the US economy is a good thing. It broadens the political base with an interest in economic policy. Further, it actually makes sense. Most of us have 401(k)s or other assets that we own. We know from empirical evidence that, on balance, an investment in the US economy is a sound retirement strategy. The rest of the world obviously agrees with that assessment. What is the Left so afraid of? That personal accounts will actually succeed, thereby creating a new class of investors beholden to the memory of George W. Bush and the Republicans? Are they concerned that the transition costs will divert money from some of their pet programs? Do they not realize that the transition costs of today are in reality a discounted payment on the costs for future generations?

In addition to personal accounts, I am willing to consider adjustments to the retirement age, calculation of future benefits (inflation vs. wage growth), and progressivity in benefits based on income and wealth. This article by Robert Samuelson discusses the issue in more detail.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

World War IV

In September 2004, Norman Podhoretz of Commentary Magazine wrote an excellent essay on what we as a nation (specifically President Bush) have been trying to accomplish since September 11, 2001, "World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win It." At the time that I read it, I found it to be incredibly informative and insightful with respect to our history of fighting terrorism, our mistakes (all parties are faulted to some extent), and the nature of the enemy we face. He characterizes the Cold War as WWIII, with over 100,000 American military deaths in Korea and Vietnam in addition to other allied deaths. Starting with the Truman Doctrine, the US engaged in a shifting strategy that included economic (Marshall Plan, aid to Turkey and Greece, among others), political, and military tactics to win a four-decade battle. The case is made that the War on Terrorism demands many of the same shifting tactics and is just as global in scale. If for no other reason, Podhoretz's narrative describing the Bush Doctrine is worth taking the time to read it. I will warn you that the essay is lengthy. Grab your favorite beverage, find a quite spot, and digest it. You will be happy you did.

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Top 10 (Now 20) Categories of Media Bias

A great post by the Cassandra Page categorizing the way the media inject their bias into the news. It started at 10, but expanded to 20 after comments from readers. I am sure you will recognize your own examples that illustrate these categories as you read the post.

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"In Disunity There is Strength"

A great column today by David Brooks of the New York Times (you have to register to access it - it's free). Brooks believes that modern liberalism, formed in goverment, has not had an adequate public philosophy debate and, thus, has not developed a public philosophy to captivate the electorate. Money quote:

Liberals have not had a comparable (to Conservatives) public philosophy debate. A year ago I called the head of a prominent liberal think tank to ask him who his favorite philosopher was. If I'd asked about health care, he could have given me four hours of brilliant conversation, but on this subject he stumbled and said he'd call me back. He never did.

Liberals are less conscious of public philosophy because modern liberalism was formed in government, not away from it. In addition, liberal theorists are more influenced by post-modernism, multiculturalism, relativism, value pluralism and all the other influences that dissuade one from relying heavily on dead white guys.

As a result, liberals are good at talking about rights, but not as good at talking about a universal order.

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Monday, April 04, 2005

Steyn On "The Splendor of Truth"

As usual, Mark Steyn has his say on current events. Make him a regular read. He is insightful and a brilliant writer.

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Ominous Rumblings from China

This is insanity, but history teaches us otherwise. I actually believe they are capable of this.

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New Poll

Not surprisingly, a new Zogby poll, indicating that Americans were overwhelmingly not in favor of starving Terri Schiavo, came out just as her body was being cremated. As all the polls were saying otherwise while she was alive, it was interesting that most of the Democratic leadership remained silent during the controversy (Hillary Clinton in particular). I think they knew that the prevailing polls were ill-conceived, incredibly biased in how the questions were phrased, and were not willing to trust them. The following question was asked with direct reference to Terri's situation:

"If a disabled person is not terminally ill, not in a coma, and not being kept alive on life support, and they have no written directive, should or should they not be denied food and water," the poll asked.

A whopping 79 percent said the patient should not have food and water taken away while just 9 percent said yes.

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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Krauthammer on the Pope

As usual, Charles Krauthammer hits the right note with his latest on the Pope, focusing primarily on the political impact. For Catholics and non-Catholics alike, John Paul II's impact on freeing Eastern Europe, his moral leadership during turbulent and changing times, and his reconciliation with the other major religions of the world will be his most lasting legacies.

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Saturday, April 02, 2005

Provocative Retrospective on the Pope's Legacy

I don't entirely agree with the columnist's assertions; however, Clifford Longley makes some very interesting points - both positive and negative - regarding an amazing man's impact as Pope of the Catholic Church.

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Absence of Evidence

James Robbins article on the 600-page Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction discusses the fact that although our intelligence may have overestimated the extent of evidence that we ultimately found, the question of what is the truth may always be open for debate. Would you bet your life on the fact that Saddam didn't actually have WMD? Do you believe that absence of evidence is evidence of absence?

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Friday, April 01, 2005

Euphemisms

A particularly blunt discussion of the power of words...Orwellian-style. The Editors on Terri Schiavo on National Review Online

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Daily Reading

Here are some interesting articles on the issue of judicial overreach: Limbaugh, Coulter.

Just what did Sandy Berger cover up regarding Richard Clarke's after action memo on the 2000 millenium terrorist activities?

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