Friday, January 30, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Jim Manzi's post today at The Corner on National Review Online breaks down the stimulus package bill as it is currently proposed by Obama and Pelosi.
How do you say "bloated" in French?
You can't afford to miss Steyn's take on the issue here as well.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, mother of 5, defended the contraception initiative in the Democrats' economic stimulus package by implying that it would help reduce costs in the states if there were less children (and mouths to feed).
Meanwhile in Japan...the government and corporations are encouraging workers to head home early in order to make bigger families. Japan is in a recession and has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, and the powers that be over there see more kids being the answer to their problems.
Which one is right?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Nancy Pelosi is nothing if not classy, eh? The second most powerful person in Washington DC told reporters that when President Bush left town earlier this week she felt "like a 10-pound anvil had been lifted off my head."
But Karl Rove is the reason politics are so nasty these days, right?
Monday, January 19, 2009
by: R.J. Moeller (with a little help from Old Blue Eyes)
by: R.J. Moeller (with a little help from Old Blue Eyes)
When George W. Bush wakes up Wednesday morning, for the first time since 2001, he won’t be the leader of the Free World. The daily intelligence reports he receives over breakfast will be less about Al Qaeda and a soon-to-be-nuclear-armed
Not for him. Not for any of us.
With the over-bearing demand for change swirling in the political and cultural winds, one thing we know will never change is President Bush’s exemplary character, his steadfast personal convictions. To be honest, and with regrets to those who despise the man, that fact alone provides this humble American with a great deal of comfort. Knowing that there is still a man, a politician no less, left in America who cares enough about the truth to put aside being liked for its sake, is reassuring in ways the promise of more “stimulus” from Big Brother never can be.
Last Thursday night was President Bush’s farewell to the people he has loved and loved to serve for 8 of the most grueling and trying years a leader could never hope for. This “final curtain” address televised from the White House provided the president with the chance to briefly state his case, to remind the ever-forgetful American public of the seriousness and complexities of the challenges we have faced since
Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do, and saw it through, without exemption
According to both the president himself and those close to him the two things that affected him the most personally were the times he spent consoling and talking with the families of dead American soldiers, and Hurricane Katrina.
President Bush took his role as Commander-in-Chief very seriously and spent more time with military families and wounded soldiers than any other president in
Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit American soil. Bush and the federal government (FEMA) to this day are blamed for the chaos that ensued after the storm came ashore, and have been accused of everything, including racism and blowing up the levees themselves. You could see it on the man’s face in the days, weeks, and months after Katrina: Bush was never the same. This much was unmistakable. Regret is likely not strong enough a word for what President Bush felt for not having circumvented the utterly incompetent, bumbling “leadership” exhibited by the governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans, both of whom denied his request to send in federal aid ahead of time. Instead he accepted and endured the blame because that’s what leaders do, even when it isn’t their fault.
As Commissioner Gordon described to his son why it was that Batman, although he was not guilty, had to be made the villain at the end of Dark Knight, “He has to run because we have to chase him.”
No one would wish the burden President Bush has had to carry on their worst enemy. Because he wasn’t "perfect" (often defined by the American and European press as “liberal”), he was undermined and mocked at every turn. Even when he angered conservatives by supporting Center-Left policy positions or spending practices, liberals despised him. The sick obsession specifically our media has had with hating the man says infinitely more about the people attacking than the one they’ve tried to debase. He knew his task. He stood by his decisions. He saw them through, without exemption.
Yes there were times, I’m sure you knew
That I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up, and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
In his farewell address the president explained himself what he saw his task to be: “As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.”
If you think the threat was exaggerated, then make that case and come to grips with the fact that every war in the history of man has had to be “sold” to the American people. There were isolationists before the
The best and most legitimate criticisms of the Iraq War include the lack of sufficient numbers of troops from the start, and the numerous and inexcusable mistakes made by American transition teams running the Iraqi government in the early days after the resounding success of the initial invasion. In short, Bush bit off more than we could collectively chew in
But in the face of seemingly insurmountable criticism and political unpopularity, the president stood tall, took his lumps, and changed our strategy. “The Surge” has been an unmitigated triumph, and both General Petraeus and President Bush deserve the credit for standing tall, facing doubts about the likelihood of success in
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows, I took the blows…and did it MY WAY
George Walker Bush has faithfully and dutifully served his country for 8 years. It is often said that
“Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I've always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.”
What I admire most about the 43rd president is that he never confused adapting to new realities on the ground for changing one’s core beliefs and convictions. His confidence in himself, in his team, and in his fellow citizens was unwavering, perhaps in some cases even to a fault. He told you what he planned to do, and did it. That is a leader you can believe in.
While some might champion and cherish the idea of perpetual, direction-less change, men like George Bush are the types of leaders a nation might not deserve, but the kind they need.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
If I had a nickel for every time I've heard a Democrat say "It's the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression", I'd have enough to bail this country out of said economic crisis.
In the midst of all this, Barack Obama has decided to throw the most expensive Inauguration Bash in American History. Totaling more than the cost of both of President Bush's Inaugurations, more than $100 million will be used to usher in a first-term senator with no accomplishments to his name.
But he is a lot like Lincoln and FDR from what Time Magazine tells me...
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Just to prove I read columns by writers all across the political spectrum, here is one by Christopher Hitchens. A self-proclaimed atheist and ardent defender of the majority of liberal positions, Hitchens is nothing if not intellectually honest when it comes to glaringly obvious problems like the intimate connection Secretary of State Clinton and her ex-President hubby have with governments, oligarchs, and shady businessmen around the globe.
"Why is Sen. Clinton, the spouse of the great influence-peddler, being nominated in the first place? In exchange for giving the painful impression that our State Department will be an attractive destination for lobbyists and donors, what exactly are we getting? George Marshall? Dean Acheson? Even Madeleine Albright? No, we are getting a notoriously ambitious woman who made a fool of herself over Bosnia, at the time and during the recent campaign, and who otherwise has no command of foreign affairs except what she's picked up second-hand from an impeached ex-president, a disbarred lawyer, and a renter of the Lincoln Bedroom. If the Senate waves this through, it will have reinforced its recent image as the rubber-stamp chamber of a bankrupt banana republic. Not an especially good start to the brave new era."
Monday, January 12, 2009
by: R.J. Moeller
Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory.
-George Orwell’s 1984
Barack Obama, an opponent of gay marriage, asks Pastor Rick Warren, also an opponent of gay marriage, to give the opening prayer on Inauguration Day. Gay activists protest the choice on the grounds that Warren is an opponent of gay marriage. The media completely fails to point out, and subsequently few Americans remember, that the man being sworn in feels the exact same way and said so publicly a matter of mere months ago.
Hamas is a Palestinian terrorist organization masquerading as a political party in Gaza, and have broken every single solitary cease-fire agreement in the last 20 years. Israel is attacked last month with incessant showers of rockets from Hamas killers in Gaza, responds by attacking Hamas strongholds, and the world’s media (and United Nations) condemns Israeli military actions as “disproportionate” and demand from Israel an “unconditional cease-fire”. As if the previous decades of evidence that conclusively show Israel always being the one to honor such agreements mean nothing. Israel is supposed to suspend their better judgment because we don’t have the stomach to act on ours.
Congressional Democrats block legislation for domestic drilling in 1998 because they claim it would take “nearly 10 years” for that oil to have an impact on our economy. During the 2008 summer of $4 per-gallon-of-gas Congressional Democrats refuse to even vote on domestic drilling, citing the “nearly 10 years” it would take for that oil to become functional and relevant. Oblivious to history (and irony), the media remains silent and conversations in the lines at Starbucks or the grocery store are peppered with the regurgitated “10 years” mantra.
It appears these days Americans are more interested in a “victory over memory” than one over evil on the battlefield or inefficiency in our government.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most devastating forms of memory loss. The mind begins to break down and eventually before death the victim can’t even recognize or remember those closest to them. The tragedy of it is staggering. The person we once knew is reduced to a shell of their former self, becoming entirely dependent on others for the simplest of tasks.
Perhaps the toughest pill to swallow for the friends and family of an Alzheimer’s patient is that the loss of memory is involuntary. There is nothing anyone can do about it.
Our experiences, our memories, are what make us who we are. The moment we lose them involuntarily, or gradually destroy or numb them voluntarily, we become something we previously were not.
The fictional totalitarian “Big Brother” government depicted in George Orwell’s dystopian classic 1984 was able to keep the entire population of Oceania subservient by erasing in their minds the concepts of an objective reality and past. Orwell modeled his dictatorship after the Communist regime of Joseph Stalin in Russia, one infamous for the same tactics of instilling fear and erasing memory to retain absolute power.
The main character in 1984, Winston Smith, is an employee of the Ministry of Truth where his duties consist of going back through things like newspapers and history textbooks to re-edit or omit information that is incompatible with the current words or deeds of government officials. Down to the minutest detail imaginable, Big Brother wanted no contradictions in the past to the current realities of Party actions.
There is a famous saying about what life is like in a Communist country: “The future is known; it is the past that always changes.” When the media is complicit in covering up or ignoring facts for a political party, the vision of that party will always be realized because any time the results are different, the past can be altered.
Just as is the case with a single human mind, when the collective consciousness and memory of a nation is perpetually altered to conform to any one version of reality other than the truth, that nation is in danger of becoming slaves to the gatekeepers of information.
The government of Big Brother in 1984, Mao’s China, Saddam’s Iraq, Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea, Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany all left no detail to chance. They were willing to do anything, from revising economic figures on steel production to assigning “deity” status on themselves, if they thought it would ensure that their will would not be questioned.
The common theme among the governments of all tyrant leaders and totalitarian regimes is the control they comondeer over the press and schools systems. Bad guys know those two arenas are where their dangerous ideas go from theory to practice in a society. Shouldn’t a nation and people obsessed with liberty and free speech recognize this as well?
The idea of a free press was central in the minds of our Founders to the success or failure of our republic. An educated public, in conjunction with an active, objective press would, they believed, ensure that no one political party or politician would dominate the rest.
Americans are passionate about their freedoms and liberties, but increasingly we’re less concerned with the responsibilities that come along with them. One of the tasks each of us absolutely must complete on a daily basis is an insistence of the truth from our media and academia. Political correctness, religious beliefs, and party affiliations alike cannot be a barrier to the truth. The truth is what sets us free, it is what endures.
Today the truth is treated more like a luxury than a necessity in our culture and media. Politicians know this and act accordingly. History is re-written and both mistakes and triumphs alike are lost in the shuffle.
What are politicians who kill their mistresses by drunk driving, or who seduce and sleep with young male congressional pages, to think when they are allowed to remain in office and are lauded by the press while their colleagues on the other side of the political aisle are humiliated by that same press and eventually forced out of Congress for things like inappropriate instant-messaging and trumped up charges from angry District Attorney’s back in Texas?
What message does it send to elected officials that so long as you agree with the worldview of the media, you will have your past ignored, even if it includes anything from from manslaughter to having a gay lover who runs an organization your Congressional Committee has oversight on? What message are voters sending to their leaders in places like New Orleans and Detroit by voting for one Party for half a century while things get worse and worse? Politicians know that if our short memories don't hand them our vote, the presses ability to manipulate them will. (So long as the politician has a "D" in front of their name on the ballot, of course.)
I am not interested in getting only the news that pats me on the back. I am unafraid of learning my country’s entire history; because I believe the evidence is conclusive that it has done more good than evil since its inception.
Thomas Jefferson was a deist who owned slaves, but don’t leave out that he attended church every week in the Capitol Building, wrote extensively and passionately to promote emancipation for everyone in bondage, and freed all of his servants before he died.
Religion has been used to suppress women and minorities in America, but how can it go unreported that nearly every great social movement since our founding was either initiated or maintained by God-fearing folks? (This includes Women’s Suffrage.)
Mistakes were made in the prosecution of the Iraq War, but it is outrageous and intellectually dishonest not to remind people that Congress, the UN Security Council, Great Britain, Australia, and an initial coalition of 31 other countries all agreed Saddam Hussein had to be removed from power.
The only two reasons someone doesn’t tell you something is that they either think you can’t handle it, or they want you to only see things their way. Neither option speaks well to the motivations of those teachers, professors, and members of the news/print/television media who omit or slant information. This goes for either side of the political aisle.
We learn how to become better from our mistakes. Teach those to us; report it all.
The way to become great is by correctly identifying and emulating your triumphs, your successes. Teach us those; report everything.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Thomas Sowell writes a review here of the new book The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care by Sally Pipes. A must-read for those wondering about the pro's and con's of Universal Health Care, the kind the Democrats swear to give us during Obama's first term.
Cancer survival rates are higher in the United States than in Europe. A recent report by the Fraser Institute in Vancouver estimates that annually tens of thousands of Canadians seek medical treatment outside of Canada, even though treatment is free inside Canada and they have to pay themselves for treatment elsewhere.
Other studies show that waiting times for surgery are months longer in Canada, Britain, and Australia — all countries with government-controlled medical care — than in the United States.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Ready for your weekly Mark Steyn "fix"? The invasion of Gaza by Israeli troops this weekend is clearly the most important story in the world right now. Steyn offers his unique perspective on what is allowing this conflict to continue, year after year.
An excerpt from his column:
"The great majority of Palestinian people," Condi Rice, the secretary of state, said to commentator Cal Thomas a couple of years back, "they just want a better life. This is an educated population. I mean, they have a kind of culture of education and a culture of civil society. I just don't believe mothers want their children to grow up to be suicide bombers. I think the mothers want their children to grow up to go to university. And if you can create the right conditions, that's what people are going to do."
Thomas asked a sharp follow-up: "Do you think this or do you know this?"
"Well, I think I know it," said Secretary Rice.
"You think you know it?"
"I think I know it."
I think she knows she doesn't know it. But in the modern world there is no diplomatic vocabulary for the kind of cultural fault line represented by the Israeli/Palestinian dispute, so even a smart thinker like Dr. Rice can only frame it as an issue of economic and educational opportunity. Of course, there are plenty of Palestinians like the ones the secretary of state described: You meet them living as doctors and lawyers in Los Angeles and Montreal and Geneva … but not, on the whole, in Gaza.
Friday, January 02, 2009
Watching CNN might have confused the facts and circumstances of the Israeli-Hamas conflict in your mind, so let Charles Krauthammer spell it all out for you.
"For Hamas the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians."
Rockets, like the one shown here, are still being launched by Hamas terrorists into Southern Israel. Just imagine if it were Mexican or Canadian terrorists shooting rockets in to the suburbs of Seattle or San Diego...what lengths would we go to ensure such arbitrarily-conducted violence came to an abrupt and conclusive end?