Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Ninny-Nanny State in Action

The Ninny-Nanny state I wrote about yesterday is not limited to the United States and Canada. Americans often look to California to spot new trends that will work themselves east. Let’s look this time at New Zealand where the next phase of the Nanny state is in full bloom. How long after the Nanny state comes fully to America will we lose the will and the means to defend ourselves?

It has started
New Zealand Conservative, October 28, 2007

Front page of today's Sunday Star Times: School dobs mum to CYF for smacking son's hand. There were several interesting aspects to this case:

1. The mother says her family feels traumatised after a visit from CYF and later (for a separate incident), by three policemen. The policemen questioned (interrogated?) her child separately. I wonder if that was without a third party witness? She feels she has been labeled a "child abuser" for a simple smack on the hand.

2. The mother was in favour of the changes to s59. Obviously, she bought the line that this law change was around stopping violent abusers from getting off serious abuse by a legal loophole. It wasn't.

3. She did not want to be named because she 'fears losing her children'. There were a few notable cases in Sweden where parents said they had been threatened with losing their children if they made any aspect of the case public. It is likely that those that will speak out are going to be in the minority. We can expect this theme of blackmailing parents by threatening to remove their children for unfavorable public attention will continue here.

4. We can see that it will not take much for people to 'dob in' parents for a minor smack, and this in turn will create the climate of fear. She was dobbed in by a school teacher when the child said he got a smack, and a neighbour. Had the child been 'educated' that a smack is a bad thing, so he thought he could use it to gain attention, or as an excuse, not realizing the implications?

5. Ruth Dyson, Associate Social Development Minister believes the CYF intervention was not a result of the law change, but 'reflected greater community sensitivity to child abuse'. Firstly, note how a smack on the hand, that leaves no mark, is equated to child abuse by Dyson. Also, reflect that the law change encourages zealots to report such infractions.

Over time, there will be an increase in cases where the punishment of removing children from basically good families will far outweigh the "crime" of physical discipline. Will we learn of these cases however? Will parents be forced to remain silent for fear of never getting their children back?

The first place to start to reverse this trend is in our public schools, most of which have long since become the asphalt jungle we recoiled from way back in the 1960’s. No teacher ever put a hand on me when I went to public schools; no teacher needed to use physical punishment on a student then because they knew, and the kids knew, that any word of misbehavior and the parents would land hard on their kid. A teacher today knows that this is no longer true; that today’s parents either don’t care at all, or else their little darlings can never do anything wrong.

In addition to my own two boys, who caused no problems, I had a stepson who could be a trouble maker. We put him in a small country high school and, in front of him, told the huge man who was the guidance counselor that we would go along with whatever he chose to do if the boy got out of line. There were no further problems. We should pass laws providing principals and teachers with complete immunity from criminal and civil liability unless serious, permanent harm comes to a student, and, in all public schools, we should reinstate ungraded rooms where paddling is an acceptable punishment. When a student seriously misbehaves, he should immediately be assigned to the ungraded room until he shows he can behave.

Those who are horrified at what this course would do to the self-esteem of students who cause trouble should focus their concern on the students who want to learn and on the teachers who want to teach. We have pandemonium in far too many classrooms where teachers are going through the motions because they have too many pupils who have no fear of the system or their parent(s) and are there only to disrupt the class and the process.


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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Nanny State (the Ninny State?)

Almost every week I see an article about a school being sued by stupid parents because a teacher or a coach has done something to upset a child’s self-esteem. Today in my local Florida newspaper is another story – this one about a volleyball coach who has been fired for “grabbing a student’s shirt”. In Rhode Island, where I live in the summer, there is an ongoing case about a parent suing (of course, with the help of the ACLU) the principal of a high school for his objecting to the female student wearing a tee shirt that contained an obscenity relating to the President. My goodness, who are these babies that need such protection from slights in life, and how are they going to handle some real problems they will face as adults?

Not only are these parents creating adults who will be perpetual children who fly into tantrums when everything doesn’t go just right (and we all suffer the consequences of these adult brats – especially road rage), but they are robbing their children as well. I had a high school track and football coach who threw a baton at me when he thought I was slacking in a race, and who picked me up and hurled me into my practice opponent to show me what the result of a proper block should be. When I got over it, I was proud to receive these harassments; most of my team members had similar experiences, and I was now one of them. Even now, more than 50 years later, my friends and I still remember these incidents involving me and them and that coach with great amusement and affection. (I’m sure that this causes feelings of horror among liberal do-gooders.)

In graduate school and in the Army, group solidarity was built by subjecting the group to some wearisome and, sometimes, humiliating experience. It worked, we became a team, and we got over it, but I shudder to think of what would happen to such a coach, a teacher or a platoon sergeant in today’s silly, liberal, mush environment.

There is an excellent book about this phenomenon and its consequences called “The Nanny State” by David Harsanyi , and many others have also noticed this state of affairs; here is an interesting article on the subject:

Targeting dodge ball and other inanities

April 2, 2002, World Net Daily

There was a time in this country when public school teachers could focus on teaching the basics. Today, unfortunately, they are all too often preoccupied with accommodating the silly concerns pervading our society.

To what concerns do I refer? Oh, those such as banning the innocent children's games of dodge ball, cops and robbers, musical chairs, steal the bacon and tag. You heard me right – it's not just the allegedly sadistic and violent game of dodge ball that schools are trying to outlaw.

Call me nostalgic for my childhood if you wish – for the days of Beaver Cleaver and Andy Griffith – but I long for the times when cockamamie ideas didn't pass for reasonable. Bring back the days when kids were allowed to have some harmless fun without certain hair-brained, social engineers coming unglued. Dodge ball is an easy target for the sourpusses because it involves students – heaven forbid – trying to hit other students with a dastardly rubber ball. And at least once in recorded history, one of those children was hurt.

For the record, we played the game all the time in Coach Russell's PE class at Franklin school, and I can't remember a single injury, even among the girls who played with us boys. Sure, when the ball hit you it stung slightly, but that was part of the fun of it. Real injuries were much more likely to occur in touch football or softball, which ought to tell you how likely they were.

So, under the pretense that dodge ball is too dangerous, there is an increasing trend among school districts across the country to ban it. But this seems more of a convenient excuse, as does the objection that the game provides a poor cardiovascular workout. Give me a break; softball involves more standing around than movement, and many other games cannot be said to be cardiovascular, being more anaerobic then aerobic.

Reading below the headlines we find that other reasons are motivating those who seek to purge these schoolyard games. One major reason, according to the Los Angeles Times, "is that the game can hurt children's feelings."

How does dodge ball cause this irreversible emotional trauma? Well, it is a contest of elimination where the last player to avoid being hit wins. So, like the perilous games of cutthroat in billiards and the heartless musical chairs, dodge ball is a game of exclusion – a capital crime in these times of politically correct inclusion.

Diane Farr, a curriculum specialist in Austin, Texas, explained that her school district implemented the ban to satisfy a panel of professors, students and parents who wanted to "preserve the rights and dignity" of all students in the district. So dodge ball is a dignity thief? Of course, claims Farr. "What we have seen is that it does not make students feel good about themselves."

There's more. According to one anti-dodge ball crusader, "at its base, the game encourages the strong to victimize the weak. … Schools preach the values of harmony, community and cooperation. But then those same schools let the big kids loose to see if they can hit the skinny nerd in the head with a hard, red rubber ball." (Have you noticed that no one ever sticks up for fat nerds?)

Educators also fear that dodge ball is not only violent, but that it and other games convey "a message of violence."

"With Columbine and all the violence that we are having, we have to be careful with how we teach our children," says Farr. They actually want us to believe that there is a logical continuum between dodge ball (and cops and robbers) and student on student massacres.

The Washington Times recently detailed a litany of examples, including: a threatened suspension in California of a 9-year-old for playing cops and robbers, two New York 2nd-graders suspended and criminally charged with making terrorist threats for pointing paper guns and saying, "I'm going to kill you," and a 9-year-old New Jersey boy suspended and ordered to undergo psychological evaluation because he told another student that he planned to shoot a classmate with spitballs.

These ideas are ludicrous on their face, but there is obviously something else at work here. While the secularists are paranoid lest any vestige of Western values remain in the classroom, they are eager to impose their own values at school.

They tell us they want to promote harmony, community and inclusiveness when what they really want is to push the notion of pacifism and discourage our traditions of competition and rugged individualism.

Maybe it's time to urge some of these educators, instead of the students, to seek psychological evaluations

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Iraq Veteran: Bush’s Surge Huge Success

I got the surprise of my life when I looked at the Sunday paper today. A Florida newspaper that is always a shill for Democrat propaganda and anti-Bush rhetoric actually published this piece. I can only guess that it is part of an attempt by Democrats to avoid being on the wrong side when America succeeds in the Iraq mission. At least they are moving in the right direction.

A Soldier Speaks and Sees Successes
October 28, 2007, Herald-Tribune, Joe Roche

Contrary to anti-war defeatists, our mission in Iraq is succeeding. Al-Qaida and Iran are facing strategic failure there, and our continued commitment to Iraq is the key to victory.I joined the Army in 2002, before we invaded, specifically to go to Iraq. I spent years in the Middle East studying the terrorist threat and never believed Afghanistan would achieve long-term success. Even before 9/11, Iraq was the key. Despite toppling the Taliban and evicting al-Qaida from Afghanistan, U.S. and Western standing in the Persian Gulf and Middle East was still collapsing. We had to go to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein's regime supported terrorists from all over the region.

After surviving the 1991 Gulf War, he constantly called for the overthrow of moderate Arab governments, undermined peace efforts, terrorized his people and organized annual gatherings of leading Islamic fundamentalists in Baghdad. Our air wars of attrition over the no-fly zones were failing, the containment of him was falling apart, and it was only a matter of time before Saddam broke out as an uncontrollable megalomaniac. Had we stopped after Afghanistan and limited ourselves to killing al-Qaida, this war would have been an aborted effort from the start.

President Bush was absolutely right to lead us into Iraq. My time there with the Army made this clear to me. Iraq borders on all the major powers of the region and contains the Arab world's most vigorous people. Had we fought this war any other way after 9/11, failure would have been unavoidable. Instead, though it is going to take years, victory is achievable through success in Iraq.

Prevailing against Democratic Party defeatism, Bush's surge policy is a huge success. Overall civilian casualties are down 70 percent since January, with none occurring last week in Anbar province, once the most violent of Iraq. U.S. casualties are down 40 percent with bombings cut nearly by half. According to Army Maj. Gen. Richard Sherlock, other statistics include 59 percent reduction in Baghdad's violence, 65 percent drop in car bomb attacks, 80 percent drop in road side bomb injuries, and 77 percent decrease in victims from enemy attacks since June.

Osama bin Laden acknowledged failure on Monday. He basically apologized to the Iraqi people for "wrongdoings" and "mistakes," going so far as to chide jihadis in Iraq for "extremism." He accused his followers of being "tardy in performing" and lambasted Iraqis for fighting against terrorism, calling them "hypocrites.

"He said this because of the stunning reversal in Anbar where Sunnis who once invited in the jihadists are now joining together with us. This is a massive blow to al-Qaida. Bin Laden has said Iraq is the central front, with jihadists from all over going there. Their terror campaign is failing.

Even in 2005, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's chief deputy, appealed to then al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for money. This was because the global al-Qaida effort is lost without Iraq. Had we not gone there, Saddam would be embroiling the whole region in war and turmoil, while al-Qaida would be free to focus on attacking us here in America and overthrowing Arab governments. Instead, the peace process might be restarted between Israel and the Palestinians, reforms are spreading throughout the Arab world, elections will take place in Lebanon, and no government faces being overthrown.

Iran now also faces strategic defeat via our mission in Iraq. Iranians threaten Israel and support global terrorism. However, their worst nightmare is an Iraq that can threaten Iran. They still suffer from the eight-year Iran-Iraq War. This is why Iran causes so much trouble with the Shiites in Iraq. They are terrified we might succeed.

The problem is that we are surrounding Iranians while their aggressiveness is making them more isolated each day. Their effort to get a nuclear bomb is desperation, and now Iran is in turmoil about how to avert the nightmare of U.S. success in Iraq.

Tehran thought we would retreat in defeat when the Democrats took over Congress last year, but Bush countered with the surge. Then Iran thought Gen. David Petraeus would call for retreat, but instead he affirmed our success.

Now Iranians are realizing that Bush is focusing on keeping them out of Iraq. So much has this thrown the Iranians into turmoil that key leaders are resigning in power struggles and factions are fighting over whether to negotiate with the United States or just pursue the bomb.

Al-Qaida faces defeat. This is why it is vital that we remain committed to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Iran is facing defeat there, al-Qaida is facing defeat there, and if any good over the long term for the whole region is going to be accomplished strategically, we must succeed there.

I saw fellow soldiers fall in Iraq, and I have visited many in hospitals in Germany and the United States after returning. I hate the human toll this takes, but this isn't the fault of Bush or our policies. This is the fault of past neglect and apathy that allowed the terrorist threat to emerge and for terrorist-supporting tyrannies to grow strong as they did for decades. However, I also know that our casualties in this war are nothing compared to past wars, and that calls from defeatists for retreat in the face of sacrifice are immoral and a betrayal.

No threat in human history has been ended by retreating while under attack. Surrendering Iraq to Iran and al-Qaida will not bring peace. We are doing the right thing there, and with the surge's success, I hope Americans will join me in supporting Bush against anti-war defeatism.

Joe Roche, a sergeant in the U.S. Army, is visiting Sarasota while on Individual Ready Reserve status. He served in Iraq from May 2003 to August 2004 as a combat engineer and in technical rescue. Later, he served in Washington, D.C., with the elite Rescue to Protect National Command Authority. He earned a bachelors degree in history from the University of Minnesota in 1998.

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Boy Scout Dispute Nearing Resolution

Boy Scout Dispute Nearing Resolution
By: Jim McCaffrey , The Bulletin, 10/26/2007

Philadelphia - Perhaps reacting to the avalanche of 150,000 emails supporting local Boy Scouts that nearly crashed the city's computers this week, word of an impending settlement hit City Council Thursday.

The city has told Boy Scouts' local Cradle of Liberty Council it must comply with city non-discrimination policies. The national organization does not allow openly homosexual members.

If the Cradle of Liberty Council cannot comply with city non-discrimination policies it has been told it must either pay market value rent of $200,000 a year to the city or abandon the city-owned Fairmount Park building the Boy Scouts built and have occupied since 1927.

City Council, the Street Administration and the Fairmount Park Board are unanimous in this demand.

Thursday, Councilman Jack Kelly introduced a resolution asking the city to give the Boy Scouts as much time as they need to find a new headquarters. The resolution also called on the city to reimburse the Scouts for improvements made to the building.

"It's an issue of fairness," Councilman Kelly argued to his colleagues. "They are being penalized for the policies of the national organization. I don't want to have to kick out an organization that keeps 40,000 kids off the streets."

Mr. Kelly then said he would withhold the resolution from an immediate vote.

"The cty solicitor and the local Boy Scouts both want a settlement agreement," he explained. "There have been meetings with both factions to settle this dispute."

Councilman Darrell Clarke, who introduced the legislation authorizing the imposition of rent on the local council, thanked Kelly for holding the resolution.

"I know where he is coming from," Councilman Clarke told his colleagues. "I continue to be optimistic some settlement can be worked out. It comes down to the interpretation of a couple of words."

The implication is the Boy Scouts may be able to stay in their headquarters while paying nominal rent if they can find language to adopt that conforms to city policy and is accepted by local and national leaders.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Philly Punishes Scouts Over 'Gay' Issue

Philly Punishes Scouts Over 'Gay' Issue
Raises rent for building use by $199,999 a year

October 20, 2007, (Excerpt)

“Prompted by opposition to the Boy Scouts' rule disqualifying homosexuals as troop leaders, Philadelphia has forced the city's local chapter to pay fair-market rent of $200,000 a year for its city-owned headquarters.

As WND reported in June, Philadelphia's city council voted to renege on a 1928 ordinance allowing the Cradle of Liberty Council to have its headquarters in a building on a parcel of public land "in perpetuity" for $1 a year.

The city argues it can't rent public property for a nominal sum to any group that discriminates.

City officials in San Francisco and Boston have made similar decisions displacing the Scouts because of the group's behavior code.

Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix announced this week the Cradle of Liberty Council must pay the $200,000 rent if it wants to remain in the building after May 31.”

Would someone please explain to me exactly who would be in favor of a homosexual male in the role of a Boy Scout leader? I do not understand why the ACLU is out to destroy such a wonderful organization as the Boy Scouts, I certainly would never have allowed my boys to be in Scouting if homosexuals were known to be in its leadership.


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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Katrina Lies Exposed by Charley Numbers

In the midst of wild accusations about the California firestorms, news comes out bearing on Katrina, the largest natural disaster in U.S. history, which provided Democrat politicians and the mainstream press (including the NY Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN) with an opportunity to spread distortions and outright lies in order to try to embarrass and destroy a sitting President. Lies were published about the amount of aid that was provided, the timing of the aid and the number of deaths; and also that bias supposedly motivated the distribution of aid. The press basically said that poor people were largely ignored, while wealthy people were helped. The press also claimed that President Bush was responsible for the poor performance of the levees – performance that was sealed years ago due to local corruption and questionable decisions by the Corps of Engineers.

This sorry situation is now being reprised in the context of the dreadful fires in California. The Lt. Governor, and Senator Boxer, both Democrats, yesterday blamed President Bush for the extent of the damage – saying there were not enough National Guard on hand because of Iraq. It is so sickening how Democrats try to politicize everything that happens in life. The charges were untrue and later somewhat taken back. There are plenty of Guardsmen, equipment and airplanes available; the problem has been that conditions wouldn’t allow for their use. Perhaps these Democrats should get some facts straight before they open their mouths.

Winston Churchill once said that a lie goes around the world while the truth is still getting its pants on. The left counts on this. The details about Katrina aid have not yet been completely enumerated, but this report about the 2004 Florida hurricane aid hits the mark and puts a different face on these lies.

Newspaper: Poorest areas got most hurricane aid in Fla. in 2004
Oct 22, 2007, AP (Excerpt)

“Floridians who lived in low-income areas received twice as much federal disaster aid on average as residents of wealthier areas after four hurricanes hit the state in 2004, an analysis by three newspapers found.

The Gannett Co. newspapers - Florida Today, The News-Press and Pensacola News Journal - sued the Department of Homeland Security for addresses where aid was distributed following Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan.

Using U.S. Census data, the newspapers found an average payment of $1,301.85 where the median household income was more than $75,000. Payments averaged $2,693.72 where the median household income was below $25,000.

The Panhandle was the only region where federal aid did not appear to correlate with income level, the newspapers reported. Lower-income area residents there averaged $2,245, compared with $2,149 for residents of high-income areas.

The newspapers' analysis did not include help received in addition to cash payments, such as free shelter or food.” AP

Editorial Note: The people of Louisiana just showed with their vote for governor what they thought of the Katrina performance of the Louisiana Governor Blanco, a Democrat.

Yahoo News, October 21, 2007 (Excerpts)

“Jindal, a 36-year-old Republican, will be the nation's youngest governor. He had 53 percent with 625,036 votes with about 92 percent of the vote tallied. It was more than enough to win Saturday's election outright and avoid a Nov. 17 runoff…..

Political analysts said Jindal built up support as a sort of "buyer's remorse" from people who voted for Blanco last time and had second thoughts about that decision. Blanco was widely criticized for the state's response to Hurricane Katrina and she announced months ago that she would not seek re-election.”


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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Country and I Are Not Ready for Hillary

Poll: Half say they would never vote for Hillary for president
Saturday, October 20, 2007, (Excerpt)

"While she is winning wide support in nationwide samples among Democrats in the race for their party’s presidential nomination, half of likely voters nationwide said they would never vote for New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a new Zogby Interactive poll shows.

The online survey of 9,718 likely voters nationwide showed that 50 percent said Clinton would never get their presidential vote. This is up from 46 percent who said they could never vote for Clinton in a Zogby International telephone survey conducted in early March. Older voters are most resistant to Clinton — 59 percent of those age 65 and older said they would never vote for the New York senator, but she is much more acceptable to younger voters: 42 percent of those age 18-29 said they would never vote for Clinton for president."

This poll is wonderful news for America. The idea that Hillary Clinton, who has professed to be a leader of the womens' movement but who has achieved her position by enabling and covering up her husband's destructive behavior toward women, and who has accomplished nothing on her own in her entire life except becoming mired in a variety of corrupt practices, might actually become President of the United States is absolutely galling. This article by R.Emmett Tyrrell details a few of the corrupt practices we must remember next November:

Their Seven Deadly Sins
By R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., 10/18/2007, American Spectator

WASHINGTON -- This week it was reported in the authoritative Capitol Hill newspaper, The Hill, that Don Van Natta Jr. and Jeff Gerth included some unsavory news about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Her Way, their recent book on her. Hillary, during the 1992 presidential campaign, "listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics...." Washington observers appeared shocked. Mein Gott, where have they been all these years? The Clintons have engaged in brute behavior for decades, much of it a matter of record. The Hill's report moves me to now list seven issues every American should know about the Clintons before 2008. Journalists should be particularly interested, as well as Democrats intent on avoiding a repeat of the Clinton 1990s.

1) Every Clinton Scandal of the 1990s had a precedent in the Clinton Governorship of the 1980s. Just as the Clintons abused the presidential pardon power when they left the White House and took property that was not their own, so did they abuse the pardon power and pilfer from the Governor's Mansion upon leaving it in 1981. Just as they have been caught taking money from the shadowy Norman Hsu this year and from other dubious Asian figures in the 1990s, so too were their 1980s campaigns marked by financial irregularities. The first Asian donors entered their political lives in 1986 with the Indonesian Chinese Riady family. In 2001 the Riadys paid over $8 million in FEC fines for their munificence in the 1990s. Hsu's donations are of a piece with what might be called the Clintons' "Chop Suey Connection." The Clintons dismiss all this as "old news," but that is only because they are what law enforcement officials call "repeat offenders."

Even Hillary's healthcare fiasco of 1993-94 had a precedent in her statewide education reform in Arkansas that left Arkansas still at the bottom of the heap in national education ratings.

2) For years the Clintons have bullied the press, political opponents, prosecutors, and those women who caught Bill's eye. Their successful efforts to suppress the recent GQ story by Josh Green show that their bullying continues. Since the 1980s the Clintons have employed private investigators, for instance, Terry Lenzner, Jack Palladino, and Anthony Pellicano, the last of whom is a convicted felon. Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, and Kathleen Willey are but the most famous of the many women who have been harassed by the Clintons' private detectives. In my recent book, The Clinton Crack-Up, I report that at least one Independent Counsel in the 1990s took to carrying a gun after being harassed on Washington streets. The harassment was very similar to harassment my reporters experienced in Little Rock in the mid-1990s.

3) Rumors of Senator John McCain's temper have haunted his campaign. Hillary's temper is even more widely documented, by disaffected Secret Service agents, military aides, Arkansas state troopers, and others. Hillary has repeatedly been in rows with agents whom she importuned to carry her bags despite Secret Service regulations against the practice. While First Lady, Hillary threw a book at the back of an agent's head, as reported to me by White House military personnel. She has repeatedly thrown temper tantrums in front of staff, used foul language, and hit her husband, as reported by security and other staff members.

4) She is given to what the historian Richard Hofstadter termed "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." In 1998 she famously claimed that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" had mobilized against her and her husband. She has repeatedly characterized simple two-party partisanship as the consequence of secretive conspiratorial maneuverings. No modern American politician so high in American politics has so frequently manifested the paranoid style, a style Hofstadter associated generally with political extremists, generally extremists on the far right.

5) The Clintons have, to use the words of President Harry Truman -- who while president scrupulously insulated the White House from fundraising and in retirement refused speakers' fees -- "commercialized the presidency." They used the White House, most notably the Lincoln Bedroom, to reward donors. Bill Clinton himself has earned over $43 million in speakers' fees since leaving the White House, including millions from the Red Chinese and the United Arab Emirates. Such venality by a retired president is unprecedented, and his encroachments on campaign finance regulations have been numerous.

6) Very little of this has escaped the notice of journalists and of Democratic leaders. Yet, after every scandal they forget their public denunciations of the Clintons. Here are some flavorous reminders. After the Clintons and their siblings were caught in the 42nd president's last-minute pardon scandal, Jimmy Carter called them "disgraceful." Robert Reich opined that "Clinton is utterly disgraced." Al Hunt called Clinton the "albatross" of his party who should "drop dead." Al Gore's campaign manager, Donna Brazile wrote in the New York Times that "It's time to let Bill Clinton go -- go on and live the rest of his life and allow a new generation of Democratic leaders to renew their fight on behalf of working families in America."

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert affirmed that "Bill Clinton has been a disaster for the Democratic Party. Send him packing. It's time for the Democratic Party to wise up. Ostracism would be a good first step. Bill Clinton should be cut completely loose....some of Mr. Clinton's closest associates and supporters are acknowledging what his enemies have argued for years -- the man is so thoroughly corrupt it is frightening."

Editorially in February 2001 the New York Times asserted that "the former president...seemed to make a redoubled effort in the last moments of his presidency to plunge further and further beneath the already low expectations of his most cynical critics and most of his world-weary friends." And the newspaper lamented that it might "never understand the process by which a departing president and his wife come to put sofas and flatware ahead of the acute sense of propriety that ought to go with high office." The New York Observer assessed Hillary's election to the Senate "a terrible mistake," adding that "Hillary Rodham Clinton is unfit for elective office."

Those are some of the unlovely things said about the the Clintons by their friends. Now are the Democrats really going ahead with a Hillary nomination?

7) The press has been lax in reporting the Clintons' unprecedented record of ethical failings and outright corruption. Most glaringly even the conservative columnists remain inert. The conservatives have adopted the position that all of the above is passe and to dwell on it is unseemly and awkward.

Well, call me unfashionable, but I find the Clinton record alarming.


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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Democrats Despoil American Graves

Those with long memories remember that American forces were winning the Tet offensive in Vietnam while the CBS leftist commentator, Walter Cronkite, was lying to us and telling us that we were losing. This, together with Watergate, eventually gave the Democrat-controlled Congress the impetus and the backing to throw away the honorable peace accords negotiated by the Nixon Administration, pull the rug out from under our troops and from the government of South Vietnam, and turn a phased withdrawal leaving in place some hard-won arrangements into a shameful rout.

I thought I would never again see the day when history would repeat itself, where America’s leftists would try again to arrange a defeat of our country at home when our troops had won victory at enormous cost in blood and treasure, but they are trying their best to do it again. First they tried to stop the surge; then they tried to smear General Petraeus; now they are trying to keep all news of our successes in Iraq from reaching the American public by burying all mention of those successes or by spinning them.

Hopefully, conservative bloggers will not let this happen. Reports by General Petraeus and by others in our military have been circulating over the internet attesting to the astounding reductions in military and civilian deaths and in the reduced number of violent incidents happening in Iraq now that the surge has reached its planned levels.

Now comes this report from the Iraqi Interior Ministry:

Violence in Iraq drops sharply: Ministry
By Aseel Kami, Reuters, Oct 22, 2007 (Excerpt)

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry released the new figures as bomb blasts in Baghdad and the northern city of Mosul killed five people and six gunmen died in clashes with police in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala south of the Iraqi capital.

Washington began dispatching reinforcements to Iraq in February to try to buy Iraq's feuding political leaders time to reach a political accommodation to end violence between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs that has killed tens of thousands and forced millions from their homes.

While the leaders have failed to agree on key laws aimed at reconciling the country's warring sects, the troop buildup has succeeded in quelling violence.
Under the plan, U.S. troops left their large bases and set up combat outposts in neighborhoods while launching a series of summer offensives against Sunni Islamist al Qaeda, other Sunni Arab militants and Shi'ite militias in the Baghdad beltway.

Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf told reporters that there had been a 70 percent decrease in violence countrywide in the three months from July to September over the previous quarter." Reuters

Editorial Note: When, last week, I posted an earlier news report confirming the success of the surge, irritated leftists tried to spin it – one even went so far as to post a non-existent link. When foreigners do this it attests to their envy and resentment of America’s success through the ages; when Americans do it, it attests to their stupidity.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

The Left's Attempt to Silence the Right Part III

We do have some allies in the fight to prevent the left from getting Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talk show hosts off the radio. As I have said, the whole purpose of the Hillary Clinton driven plan to eliminate effective criticism of her plans and her campaign that surfaced with Senator Reid's obnoxious letter was to eliminate talk radio. Indiana Representative Mike Pence is leading a fight to prevent the FCC from enforcing any "Fairness Doctrine" type rule.

The Left's Gag Rule

Fairness Doctrine: The Democrats' assault on the First Amendment has run into a wall. Republican Rep. Mike Pence is determined to see that freedom of speech isn't repressed in the U.S. as it is in tin-pot dictatorships.

For years, the political left has been setting the country up for a rerun of the Fairness Doctrine, looking for a Reichstag fire to whip up public support for a regulation that is clearly unconstitutional despite the Supreme Court's absurd 1969 ruling.

The Fairness Doctrine was instituted in 1949 as a Federal Communications Commission rule that required broadcasting licensees to provide balanced views on controversial issues. A Democratic Congress voted to turn it into law in 1987, but Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill and the rule was scrapped. In the bloom of freedom, conservative talk radio has dominated.

Which is why Democrats want to revive the Fairness Doctrine.

The market, in which people make decisions without government interference, has chosen. Conservative talkers such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity rule the airwaves because they offer the opinions and analyses most Americans want to hear.

At the same time, there is little market for the rantings from the Democrats' worldview. The public has heard both sides and has found the ideas on the left to be wanting.

So Democrats, jealous of the right's success and frustrated over their failures (they can't understand why everyone doesn't think correctly, as they do), aim to fix things with authoritarian regulation. Apparently the legacy of liberty left to us by our founders is an archaic notion. Censorship is the new freedom of speech.

Though he'll get no praise from the mainstream media for his vigorous First Amendment protection, Pence is pushing through the House a bill with more than 200 co-sponsors that prohibits the FCC "from having the authority to require broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance."

Should Pence get 218 House members to sign the discharge petition he filed Wednesday, the Democratic majority will be forced to bring his bill, the Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2007, to the floor for an up-or-down vote. Given that 113 House Democrats voted in June in favor of a one-year moratorium on the Fairness Doctrine, it's likely the Indiana congressman will draw the required support.

Getting the Senate to pass a ban will require a greater effort. Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has tried, but Democrats have blocked his bill from seeing the floor for a vote. Apparently their definition of fairness is the absence of opposition to the leftist agenda and their voices' artificial domination of the airwaves.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Left's Attempt to Silence the Right Part II

Yesterday’s post discussed the Senator Reid-Rush Limbaugh imbroglio as the opening gambit in the Democrats’ plan to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine” and shut down talk radio (which is mostly conservative).

What was it like and what is the history of the “Fairness Doctrine”? When it was in effect it was not just kept on the shelf as a potential weapon – it was actually employed to stifle free speech that was in opposition to the Democrat Congresses and leadership of the time. The blog, Volokh Conspiracy offers some history:

Some Fairness Doctrine History:

You may have seen snippets of this account before, as I have; here, though, is a pretty substantial excerpt, from Fred W. Friendly, The Good Guys, the Bad Guys and the First Amendment, pp. 39-42 (1975):

Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Kennedy years and an acknowledged leader in public relations, says frankly, "Our massive strategy [in the early 1960s] was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." ...

[Arthur Larson, chair of NCCR, one of the groups used for this purpose], who had long been a target of the radical right, recalls his role in the NCCR with embarrassment. "The whole thing was not my idea," he says, "but let's face it, we decided to use the Fairness Doctrine to harass the extreme right. In the light of Watergate, it was wrong. We felt the ends justified the means. They never do." ...

In retrospect, [Martin E.] Firestone, now a prominent Washington communications lawyer representing station owners -- a number of whom would want him to help repeal the Fairness Doctrine -- admits, "Perhaps in the light of Watergate, our tactics were too aggressive, but we were up against ultra-right preachers who were saying vicious things about Kennedy and Johnson." ...

Whatever lessons hindsight has taught, this campaign in 1964 against right-wing broadcasts was at the time considered a success by its creators. In a summary written during the closing days of the presidential election, Firestone pointed with pride to 1,035 letters to stations that produced a total of 1,678 hours of free time from stations carrying McIntire, Dean Manion and Smoot. Both he and [Wayne] Phillips felt a genuine sense of accomplishment.

In a report to the Democratic National Committee, Phillips wrote: "Even more important than the free radio time was the effectiveness of this operation in inhibiting the political activity of these right-wing broadcasts ..." In a confidential report to Phillips and the DNC, Firestone stressed the nature of the campaign that "may have inhibited the stations in their broadcast of more radical and politically partisan programs." ... "... Were our efforts to be continued on a year-round basis, we would find that many of these stations would consider the broadcasts of these programs bothersome and burdensome (especially if they are ultimately required to give us free time) and would start dropping the programs from their broadcast schedule."

So it sounds like the Fairness Doctrine didn't just have the potential for deterring controversial speech -- its users, including its most sophisticated, well-organized, and politically well-connected users, saw the potential and deliberately used the Doctrine for this very purpose. Seems pretty likely that the same thing will happen if the Doctrine were resurrected, though the Internet should make it easy to mobilize many more than 1000 letters of complaint.

The Volokh Conspiracy, October 7, 2007

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Left's Attempt to Silence the Right Part I

If, like most fair-minded people, you are having a good chuckle over the way Rush Limbaugh has turned the tables on the attempt by Senate Majority Leader Reid to smear Rush and then to focus the enormous power of the federal government on him to shut him up - think again. Rush may have won this battle, but it is the opening salvo in a war the left is starting in order to shut down conservative talk radio, which they fear like Dracula feared the sight of a cross.

Their real agenda is to reinstitute the discredited "Fairness Doctrine", which would require that any political opinion aired be matched by an opposing opinion in the same broadcast. Congressman Waxman has been hard at work lining up the troops, the weapons and the ammunition for the assault. It is not far off

Congressman Waxman Implements First Step to Shut Down Talk Radio
By Sher Zieve,, Oct 10, 2007 (Excerpt)

"Democrats claim to love free speech — but, only free speech from their side of the house. California leftist Congressman Henry Waxman knows that all too well and is now using his 50 person investigative team to monitor conservative private citizens with talk-radio programs. Dissent with the liberal and leftist viewpoint will no longer be tolerated and the Democrat-run Congress has begun efforts to shut it down. And it is starting with Talk Radio.

Rep. Waxman, also the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government, is using his ‘color of authority’ to intimidate and attempt to silence private citizens—make that conservative private citizens. He has instructed his “investigators” to monitor the programs of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin for “content”, the American Spectator’s Prowler reports. Presumably if Waxman doesn’t like said content (he hasn’t in the past so no doubt he’ll hate it now), the three will be hauled before a Congressional committee, grilled about their “inappropriate” ideas and the stations carrying their programs will be threatened by the leftist Democrat Industrial Complex. Then, in a fashion that would make dictator and genocidist Joseph Stalin proud, the grilled would be advised the reinstated “Unfairness Doctrine” requires that they present the leftist point of view — or their programs will be canceled. Further presumably, if Waxman is successful in implementing the rest of his brown-shirt Gestapo tactics, the days of conservative writers will also be numbered. Either you support the Democrat Fuehrer or you will be sent to reeducation camps—or worse.

The Russian purges — affected by Stalin — may soon have everything in common with the Democrats’ attempt to eradicate conservative speech — and thought. If you believe that free speech applies to everyone in the USA — including conservatives — I strongly suggest you contact one of Waxman’s numbers, listed below, and let him know. Then, contact your own Senators and Congress people and tell them that a government campaign against US citizen opposition viewpoints is unconstitutional — and to date illegal...

Waxman Contact info:

Washington D.C.:
(202) 225-3976 (phone)
(202) 225-4099 (fax)
In Los Angeles:
(323) 651-1040 (phone)
(818) 878-7400 (phone)
(310) 652-3095 (phone)
(323) 655-0502 (fax)"

If you are late to the party and haven't kept up with the Reid-Limbaugh imbroglio, read on:

The Media's Dilemma
By Thomas Lifson, October 19, 2007, American Thinker

Rush Limbaugh's political jiu-jitsu masterstroke comes to a climax at 1 PM, EDT today, when the ebay auction for the letter sent by 41 Senate Democrats to the CEO of his syndicator Clear Channel ends. With four hours left, the bid has already toppped two million dollars, with the purchase price to be donated to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, benefitting the education of children of deceased Marines and federal law enforcement personnel. Because Rush Limbaugh has offered to match the purchase price, the total donation will possibly exceed four million dollars.

The Mainstream Media have so far virtually blacked out the story, but when the auction is over and a highly impressive sum is paid, will they continue to ignore it? After all, the auction of a grilled cheese sandwich claimed to display the image of the Virgin Mary fetched only $28,000 and received widespread publicity in the US and overseas. Someone paying a million bucks or more for a contemporary letter is pretty big news, even without the charity angle. And this is no food product bearing a resemblance to sacred art, this is a historic document signed by 80% of the majority caucus of what is commonly alleged to be the world's greatest deliberative body.

Rush Limbaugh has outsmarted the Democratic Leadership of the Senate and cornered the media. If the media do not cover the auction results, they will look ridiculous. The letter is easy enough to explain that it will inevitably be discussed at water coolers, sports events, churches, parties, and other get-togethers. But if the media do cover it, they must include some explanation for the high price, and that will make Reid and the Democrats look silly or worse.

In case your media diet does not include talk radio and the conservative commentariat, the backstory is fairly simple, which makes the auction all the harder to ignore.

The blowback from the "General Betray Us" left the Democrats and their Soros-funded allies smarting, and they were anxious to demonstrate to their own supporters that conservatives behave reprehensively. Accordingly Media Matters (which Hillary bragged she "helped start") took out of context a phrase Rush Limbaugh spoke -- "phony soldiers" -- and alleged he had smeared good patriotic American soldiers and veterans who disagree with him.

In an effort to promote the fabricated media storm and perhaps force change on Rush, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got 40 other Senate Democrats to sign a letter to Mark P. Mays, CEO of the syndicator of Rush's show, calling on him to publicly repudiate Rush and to ask Mr. Limbaugh to apologize

Instead of cowering, Mr. Mays turned the letter over to Rush, who came up with the brilliant plan to make the Democrats regret their hasty attempt to intimidate a private citizen who is their critic. Invoking the majesty of the United States Senate to intimidate a private citizen demonstrates a remarkable degree of self-absorption. A simple thought experiment:

What if Newt Gingrich, while he was Speaker, had enlisted 80% of the House majority as signatories of a letter to the CEO of General Electric asking Jack Welch to apologize for a sin of NBC News? Do you think Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich and Paul Krugman would have ignored it? How about CBS and ABC? There was no Media Matters back then, but fax machines were in widespread use. How long would it take for everyone to be pointing out that broadcasting is a regulated industry, and that the evil politicians were muzzling the free press?

Reid & Company never for a moment imagined that anyone would characterize their act as bullying a free press and possibly even raising First Amendment issues. Because Clear Channel hold many radio licenses from the federal government, it is very vulnerable to pressure from the government, and the words "chilling effect" do not seem outrageously out of place in evaluating the intended consequence of the Senate Majority Leader's letter. Interviewed on Hannity & Colmes Thursday evening, Rush called the letter "neo-Stalinist."

The letter is, in fact, an important historical document, representing an attempt to silence the single most prominent private citizen critic of the Democratic Party, written on official stationery of the Majority Leader of the United States Senate and bearing the signatures of the vast majority of his caucus, including the front-runner and other candidates for the Party's presidential nomination. Should the purchaser be so-minded, it may someday be donated to the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives or some other nonprofit library or archive.

The mainstream media have taken a beating in viewership and readership and in credibility the past two decades that Rush Limbaugh has been on the air, and the Democrats are perpetually outraged that he dominates the entire medium of talk radio, while no liberal host has ever been able to mount a halfway comparable performance on the public airwaves.

Arrogance combined with the emotion of hate leads to dangerous mistakes. Reid and the media which gave initial credence to the Media Matters-generated smear of Rush have stepped in something whose smell may linger in the history of American politics.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Smearer Reid Horns In

Senator Harry Reid's chutzpah and hypocrisy apparently know no bounds. After an unsuccessful smear attempt of Rush Limbaugh, orchestrated by the Hillary Clinton smear machine, Media Matters, Senator Reid today tried to horn in on Rush's highly successful auction of the smear letter sent by Reid and signed by 41 Democrat senators (including Hillary).

As many of you know, this letter condemning Rush was sent to his broadcast partner to harm Rush further. The partner turned the letter over to Rush who proceeded to auction it off on E-bay for over $2 million dollars, with a matching contribution by Rush - to pay for college scholarships for the children of US Marines killed in battle.

Senator Reid just stood up in the Senate, and with butter not melting in his mouth, tried to imply that the whole idea, including the auction and the charity, was partly his idea too. After all, he wrote the nasty letter.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who Do They Think They Are Kidding?

As a resident of Florida’s Gulf Coast, I am bombarded daily by newspapers that are blatantly biased in favor of Democrats and liberal ideas. I find it hard to understand since Florida often goes Republican in national and state elections, and since such a large number of residents in this area are successful retirees who have little use for liberal nonsense. Each morning for me is a time of alternately grumbling and outright laughter at the way the news is presented, the biases of the columnists selected and the letters to the editor that are culled. Conservative ideas are routinely trashed, and liberal proposals that have failed everywhere are hyped.

Most major newspapers, like the Washington Post, the New York Times and the LA Times are decidedly liberal, and are rapidly going out of business. I know that the internet and the deteriorating reading habits of the public (a product of liberal ideas turning our schools into places for social experimentation) are the main causes of their plight, but cannot they learn something from the success of Fox News? People respond to a balanced presentation. I may choke when Alan Colmes spews his foolishness, but at least I know that Fox is trying to present both sides.
(As an aside, I think Sean Hannity is too far right).

Right now I am trying a little experiment on my blog. I signed up for a news service to present several capsules of news in a large box just under my profile to the right. The capsules change a few times every day. The interesting thing is how the news is presented in the capsules compared to the actual articles cited. Not only are the articles selected usually biased and sometimes just wrong, but often when you go to the article you find just the opposite of what the capsule said.

I know Americans have always had to deal with sensationalism and bias in the press, but we don’t have to put up with it any more. This is the real story behind the major declines facing TV network news and many newspapers. We don’t have to listen to Walter Cronkite lie about Tet, or Dan Rather lie about forged documents any more.

Silicon Insider: How The New York Times Fell Apart
Once the Paper of Record, the Newspaper Now has Investors Bailing. Why?

Oct. 18, 2007, ABCNews (Excerpts)
“Boom! And down goes the biggest newspaper name of all.

As you may have read, yesterday brokerage giant Morgan Stanley dumped its entire stake -- $183 million worth -- in the New York Times, in which it was the second largest shareholder. Not surprisingly, Times stock immediately slumped, bottoming at a nearly 3 percent drop to $18.28 -- the lowest it has been in a decade.
The actual damage is probably even larger than that. The Morgan Stanley sell-off has been expected for some time now. Ever since April, after Hassam Elmasry, managing director of Morgan's Investment Management Group failed in his attempt to challenge the Sulzberger family's iron grip on the Times, the market has been expecting Morgan to pull out -- and it is probably no coincidence that the stock has been in downward slide ever since….

As hard as may be for younger readers of this column to believe, twenty years ago, the New York Times was unquestionably the newspaper of record for the United States and (with the London Times) for much of the rest of the world. It had the most famous reporters and columnists, its coverage set the standard for all other news, and its opinions, delivered ex cathedra from the upper floors of the Gray Lady on 43rd Street set the topics of this country's political debate.

Incredibly, almost every bit of that power has been squandered over the last two decades. It's been a long time since anyone considered the Times to be anything but the newspaper of opinion for anyone but the residents of a few square miles of midtown Manhattan. Indeed, about all the newspaper has left of the old days under "Pinch's" dad, Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger, is that old Time's imperiousness -- earned back then, and more than a little absurd today


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why Be Pro-Life? By Jonah Goldberg

I thought this was an excellent article, and I agree with most of what Goldberg says, but I find it impossible to be so judgmental as he about those who have changed their minds. The reason is, although I’ve always been against abortion in my own life, I’ve changed my mind a couple of times about the role the federal and state governments should play on this issue. I would guess that politicians, who must spend huge amounts of time (compared to me, a private citizen who works at a regular job) contemplating where they stand on this and on other important issues, must be looked at somewhat cynically, as the author does. I still think, though, that everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt as to the honesty of their present position.

I’ve written at length about abortion so I won’t go into details here, but I believe that Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton should be overthrown on constitutional grounds, but that states should make all abortions in the first trimester legal, and place limitations on later term abortions. Partial birth abortions should always be illegal.

Why Be Pro-Life?
By Jonah Goldberg, RealClearPolitics, October 16, 2007

Being pro-life is so unfashionable, so uncool, I tend to trust politicians who are willing to hold the line.

This, in turn, points to why I have special contempt for antiabortion politicians who switch sides. Jesse Jackson used to call abortion "genocide." Dick Gephardt, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Dennis Kucinich and other pro-choicers all once championed the unborn. Did each of them revisit the moral, philosophical, scientific and theological issues involved and, after careful study, suddenly decide that abortion doesn't kill "babies" after all but, rather, merely evacuates "uterine contents"? I doubt it.

I could be wrong, obviously. But the fact that their conversions echoed the march of the Democratic Party and, for the most part, dovetailed with their own presidential ambitions suggests to me that they were willing to sanction the taking of what they had once believed to be innocent lives merely for political gain. That is disgusting.

Flip-flopping the other way (as George H.W. Bush, Mitt Romney and others did) may be no less cynical. To pro-choice voters, it's surely deeply offensive to watch someone sacrifice the individual liberty of women for political expediency. But, morally, it just doesn't seem as bad to me.

Every day, the government restricts what you can do with your body, from the drugs you can take to the surgeries you can subject yourself to. In other words, the line of personal autonomy is often blurry and narrow. The line between life and death is supposed to be bright and wide. Once a politician takes a stand that a certain population -- be they fetuses, Jews, blacks or anybody else -- has the right to life, their motive for changing their minds should be a lot better than fear of losing support from NARAL and the New York Times.

And that gets me to my more philosophical or principled reason for being pro-life: I just don't know. I confess that I lack passion about debates over RU-486, Plan B and other measures that terminate a pregnancy in the first few hours or days after conception, because that's when I'm least sure that a life is at stake. But when it comes to, say, partial-birth abortion, I am adamantly pro-life. I don't know if a fertilized egg has rights. But I am convinced that a baby minutes, days or weeks before full term is, simply, a baby. And despite what you constantly hear, Roe vs. Wade doesn't recognize that fact.

In death penalty cases, "reasonable doubt" goes to the accused because unless we're certain, we must not risk an innocent's life. This logic goes out the window when it comes to abortion, unless you are 100% sure that babies only become human beings after the umbilical cord is cut. I don't see how you can be that sure, which is why I'm pro-life -- not because I'm certain, but because I'm not.


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Monday, October 15, 2007

Senator Reid’s Ratings Plummet

All is not lost. It appears that Nevadans, in general, are just as outraged at Senator Harry Reid’s attempts to smear Rush Limbaugh as are the rest of us (well, fair-minded people anyway). Senator Reid’s favorability ratings in Nevada have plummeted, while his unfavorability ratings have risen sharply since May. Perhaps also Reid’s attempts to denigrate our military and torpedo the war effort, and his cries that we have already “lost” the War on Terror also have something to do with this development.

Sen. Reid's Favorable Ratings Tank
Posted by TOM BEVAN, RealClearPolitics, October 15, 2007

Molly Ball of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Senator Harry Reid's favorable rating in Nevada has "plunged dramatically," according to a new poll. Currently, Reid's favorable rating is at 32%, while his unfavorable rating is at 51%, a net 23-point drop from the last poll taken in early May when Reid scored a 46/42 favorable/unfavorable rating.

Ball reports this is the first time Reid's unfavorable rating has eclipsed his favorable rating. It also puts him below the favorable ratings recorded by President Bush and radio host Rush Limbaugh, among others:

Senator John Ensign 51/19
Bill Clinton 51/37
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman 42/17
Hillary Clinton 38/51
Rush Limbaugh 34/50
President Bush 34/53
Senator Harry Reid 32/51
Governor Jim Gibbons 30/29

Pollster Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon offered a wry observation of Reid and Limbaugh's similar ratings: "That's how polarizing Harry Reid has become. But Rush is trying to be polarizing. Reid just does it anyway."


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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gun Control Zealots Await Democrat Victory

This week’s school shooting in Cleveland has again raised the illogical cry to take guns away from legal owners because a disturbed youth wielding illegal guns has done something crazy. One of the stupidest aspects of liberal philosophy (and one of Mayor Giuliani’s main handicaps) is the belief that our Founding Fathers made a mistake in enshrining in our Constitution the right of individuals to bear arms.

They intend to come at us again if they gain the White House and retain control of the Congress, conveniently ignoring all of the data that shows: 1. when states changed their laws to allow law-abiding citizens to have carry permits, gun crimes and violent crimes have gone down significantly, and, 2. the number of gun crimes and gun accidents involving permit owners is miniscule.

Some intelligent insights from a British observer (from a country where guns are banned, and violent crime is escalating):

Wouldn’t you feel safer with a gun?
British attitudes are supercilious and misguided

Richard Munday, September 8, 2007, From The Times (Excerpt)

“Despite the recent spate of shootings on our streets, we pride ourselves on our strict gun laws. Every time an American gunman goes on a killing spree, we shake our heads in righteous disbelief at our poor benighted colonial cousins. Why is it, even after the Virginia Tech massacre, that Americans still resist calls for more gun controls?

The short answer is that “gun controls” do not work: they are indeed generally perverse in their effects. Virginia Tech, where 32 students were shot in April, had a strict gun ban policy and only last year successfully resisted a legal challenge that would have allowed the carrying of licensed defensive weapons on campus. It is with a measure of bitter irony that we recall Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia, recording the words of Cesare Beccaria: Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

One might contrast the Virginia Tech massacre with the assault on Virginia’s Appalachian Law School in 2002, where three lives were lost before a student fetched a pistol from his car and apprehended the gunman.

Virginia Tech reinforced the lesson that gun controls are obeyed only by the law-abiding. New York has “banned” pistols since 1911, and its fellow murder capitals, Washington DC and Chicago, have similar bans. One can draw a map of the US, showing the inverse relationship of the strictness of its gun laws, and levels of violence: all the way down to Vermont, with no gun laws at all, and the lowest level of armed violence (one thirteenth that of Britain).

America’s disenchantment with “gun control” is based on experience: whereas in the 1960s and 1970s armed crime rose in the face of more restrictive gun laws (in much of the US, it was illegal to possess a firearm away from the home or workplace), over the past 20 years all violent crime has dropped dramatically, in lockstep with the spread of laws allowing the carrying of concealed weapons by law-abiding citizens. Florida set this trend in 1987, and within five years the states that had followed its example showed an 8 per cent reduction in murders, 7 per cent reduction in aggravated assaults, and 5 per cent reduction in rapes. Today 40 states have such laws, and by 2004 the US Bureau of Justice reported that “firearms-related crime has plummeted”.”
Richard Munday

A liberal's lament: The NRA might be right after all
By Jonathan Turley, October 10, 2007, USAToday (Excerpt)

“Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda. Yet, two related cases could now force liberals into a crisis of conscience. The Supreme Court is expected to accept review of District of Columbia v. Heller and Parker v. District of Columbia, involving constitutional challenges to the gun-control laws in Washington.

The D.C. law effectively bars the ownership of handguns for most citizens and places restrictions on other firearms. The District's decision to file these appeals after losing in the D.C. appellate court was driven more by political than legal priorities. By taking the appeal, D.C. politicians have put gun-control laws across the country at risk with a court more likely to uphold the rulings than to reverse them. It has also put the rest of us in the uncomfortable position of giving the right to gun ownership the same fair reading as more favored rights of free press or free speech.

The Framers' intent
Principle is a terrible thing, because it demands not what is convenient but what is right. It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.

Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.

Another individual right
More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.

Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that ... here's the really hard part ... the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ken Burns Affirms Truman’s Judgment and Humanity

Former President Harry Truman has received much opprobrium from left-wing circles in the U.S. and elsewhere for his decision to substitute two atomic bombs in place of a D-Day type invasion of Japan in 1945. It was interesting to me to observe during Ken Burn’s current documentary, “War”, that Burns reported that credible estimates of the human cost of such an invasion were in the neighborhood of 500,000 dead Americans and 6,000,000 dead Japanese.

These estimates were based on the experience that was gained by the invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in particular where Japanese soldiers in the 100’s of thousands were killed, fighting to the last man, and 100,000 civilians also lost their lives – and by the tremendous onslaught of suicidal Kamikaze attacks carried out by the Japanese. It was also known that several million Japanese soldiers and practically every Japanese civilian were preparing to fight to the death to defend their homeland.

The number of Japanese casualties from the use of these bombs at Nagasaki and Hiroshima was 105,000 dead and 94,000 injured. Estimates of deaths from residual effects of these weapons vary widely with as many as 100,000 additional deaths accepted as possible. The decision to use the bombs and stop the war immediately instead of a two-year campaign leaving millions dead was obviously a wise one.

Ken Burns is widely recognized for his dedication to excellence and accuracy in his documentaries. He has won many awards for his previous series on “Baseball” and “The Civil War”.


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Friday, October 12, 2007

Machiavellian Plot Emerges Among Limbaugh Attackers

Machiavellian Plot Emerges Among Limbaugh Attackers
By Christopher G. Adamo, Oct 11, 2007,

Conservative Americans who witnessed the deliberate misinterpretation and unwarranted liberal hysterics over Rush Limbaugh's "phony soldiers" commentary, will be tempted to brand the incident an isolated, albeit ridiculously overblown, effort to discredit the powerhouse of conservatism in America. Yet while this assessment is not entirely inaccurate, it reveals only the tip of a malevolent "iceberg."

To many people's amazement, the sorry episode drags on. Yet its protracted nature reveals the intentions of those who seek to execute a much darker and grander scheme.

It is true that, as a result of their exaggerated complaints and indignant screed, this continued droning of key liberal players and the Democrat Party faithful makes them appear petty, hypocritical, and buffoonish for their participation in this squabble. Moreover, Limbaugh is having his usual good time successfully portraying them this way. Yet, that is a price they are willing to pay, and moreover believe they are compelled to pay, being that their future political successes are so contingent on neutralizing him and his kind.

Make no mistake about it. Liberal America knows that, like liberalism in all of its other forms throughout human history, survival is only possible in an environment where it holds an absolute monopoly on the availability and sharing of information.

The moment real America can consider House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's characterization of the GOP as a "culture of corruption" while recalling Hillary's "cattle futures" debacle, weigh Al Gore's facade of environmental concern against his lavish lifestyle, or be reminded of the host of other glaring examples of liberal hypocrisy, its house of cards completely crumbles.

No less vulnerable upon close examination are liberal/Democrat programs ostensibly intended to help "the children," the supposedly "downtrodden" among the middle class, and that pervasive excuse for governmental meddling, the "little guy."

So if liberalism is to have any chance of dominance, the agenda absolutely requires the stifling of objectivity, analysis and most of all truth. Only then can its useful idiots be unleashed to mindlessly parrot the "party line" with even a shred of believability. Since he hit the airwaves in 1988, Limbaugh and all who follow his footsteps represent the greatest threat to the liberal strategy.

From the moment the left became aware of his presence on the national scene, it sought to neutralize him through various means. To begin with, it was hoped that he could be rendered ineffective simply by being ignored. But as his popularity exponentiated, that approach proved to be an utter failure. Next, he was ridiculed and demeaned as "just an entertainer." Yet again his widespread propagation of fact and valid information among engaged Americans rendered such catcalls immaterial.

In contrast to liberal attempts to characterize him as inconsequential, the enormity of his popularity highlighted an overwhelming desire on the part of real America for a revival of its heritage and traditional values, which fly in the face of blind liberal ideology. Thus with his success, a tidal wave of alternative media swept the country, effectively destroying the critically important information monopoly which is the only environment within which the malignancy of liberalism can survive and metastasize.

Eventually, liberals realized that against such a formidable bastion, nothing less than a concerted and orchestrated effort must be undertaken if they are ever again to enjoy their hegemony over the American political climate. It is therefore dangerous to assume that the current scrap was, in any way, the result of randomness or reactivity.

While the particular topic on which Limbaugh was attacked is secondary, the plan to engage him in such a vicious manner has likely been engineered for some time, awaiting only a viable excuse to launch

In retrospect, the overblown episode of liberal squalling and caterwauling which drove Don Imus from the airwaves a few months ago has turned out to be little more than a stage-setting "dry run" for this current effort. Having witnessed the success of the Imus critics, the liberal media/Democrat cabal is now emboldened to take on bigger quarry.

Look for Limbaugh to be the regular target of a host of new "controversies" and their subsequent "news stories" which will predictably employ such phrases as "in yet another firestorm" and "in the wake of more outrageous commentary."

Eventually, America will be told by "experts" and major pollsters that it is completely exhausted from the missteps of talk radio, and alternative media, along with every form of communication outside of the "mainstream media," and that the nation is indeed ready for a return to the former congeniality of the Fairness Doctrine.

In his increasingly unhinged arrogance, Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman of California now openly proclaims his intention to exploit the "phony soldier" commotion as justification to invoke the power of his office and every government resource available to him in an attack on free speech itself.

So while real America recoils at the ominous and venomous words and actions of Waxman and his kind, those who accept their liberal/media feeding via the nightly news will believe that a "civil discourse" can only be reestablished by putting Congressional Democrats in complete control of the debate. Censorship, in light of the brutal alternative, is really not such a bad thing after all

Democrat political fortunes are riding on the prospect that America is either blind or stupid enough to accept such a premise. Thus is the reasoned discourse and deliberation, by which the founders intended government to function in the best interests of the people, being destroyed. The nation teeters on the threshold of a slippery slope.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Democrats Find Way to Stop War - Get Soldiers Killed

In one of the most breathtaking displays in history of irresponsibility, a House Committee yesterday voted to label the mass killings of Armenians almost 100 years ago – a genocide. What’s behind this senseless resolution at this time against a country that is not at all the same country that was defeated in World War I? Is it ignorance of history? Is it total arrogance, or is it a clever attempt to hamstring deliveries of needed supplies to American forces in Iraq and complicate our attempts to keep Turkey from acting militarily against Kurdish militants? It appears that Congressional Democrats have found a way, they think, to get us out of Iraq – get lots more American soldiers killed and cause chaos in the most peaceful area of Iraq.

The problem is, their meddling will not only make things worse, their meddling will ensure a continued major presence of the American military there to deal with the chaos they have caused.

Turkey condemns US over Armenian genocide resolution
Thursday October 11, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Turkey today condemned a US congressional committee for approving a resolution that recognises the 1915 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide.

Calling the move "irresponsible", and with reference to tensions on its border with Iraq, the Turkish government warned it could damage a strategic partnership at a sensitive time.

"Our government regrets and condemns this decision. It is unacceptable that the Turkish nation has been accused of something that never happened in history," it said in a statement.

The House of Representatives foreign affairs committee yesterday approved the resolution by 27 votes to 21. It goes to the House floor, where there will be a vote by mid-November, say Democratic leaders.

The committee approved the resolution despite warnings from the president, George Bush, and other top administration officials, who said it would damage relations with a key Nato ally and jeopardise an important route for US supplies to Iraq.

About 70% of US air cargo going into Iraq goes through Turkey, and US commanders fear access to airfields and roads will be put at risk.

Turkey also provides thousands of truck drivers and other workers for US operations in Iraq. Supplies also flow from Turkey's Incirlik air base to troops in Afghanistan.

More worrying for the US is that the congressional move will weaken its influence over Turkey at a time when the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party is under pressure from the military to authorise a major incursion into northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels

Pressure for major military action has intensified because fighters from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers party (PKK) have killed some 30 soldiers and civilians in the past two weeks.

Turkey has complained that US and Iraqi authorities have failed to crack down on 3,000 PKK rebels based in northern Iraq. But large-scale incursions by Turkey in 1995 and 1997, involving an estimated 35,000 and 50,000 troops respectively, failed to dislodge the rebels.

The US fears such an operation could destabilise one of the few relatively peaceful areas in the country.

Yesterday's vote was widely condemned in Turkey.

"Twenty-seven foolish Americans," the daily Vatan newspaper said on its front page, in reference to the committee members who approved the resolution. The Hurriyet newspaper called the resolution a "Bill of hatred".

Some politicians in the US had "once again sacrificed important matters to petty domestic politics despite all calls to common sense", said the president, Abdullah Gul.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Democrats want to control you through health-care 'rights'

Published: Sunday, 10/07/07, Tennessean

President Bush had the good sense to veto the Democrats' dramatic increase in the State Children's Health Insurance Program. SCHIP would increase enrollment by 67 percent under the Democrats' plan. President Bush wants to increase the program by $5 billion over five years but Congress wants to increase the program by a whopping $35 billion.

In typical Washington fashion, the president is accused of slashing the program simply because he doesn't want to increase it as much as Congress. President Bush pointed out, and rightly so, that the government has no business paying the health insurance premiums for children whose parents make as much as $80,000 per year.

Ah, but Hillary Clinton has declared health care a right. That settles it, right? The great oracle of Chappaqua has spoken. Not so fast. Just because Hillary deems something a right doesn't make it so. Hillary, of course, is moving toward a government takeover of health care. Understand, we may have a problem with some people affording health insurance but we do not have a health-care crisis in this country. We have the best health care on the planet.

Remember, we already take care of those who can't afford insurance. It's called Medicaid. In Tennessee, we call it TennCare and we have an astonishing one out of four people in the state on the program. I'm all for helping the less fortunate, but do we really have that many people who need our assistance? SCHIP is in addition to Medicaid and studies show one-third of the new enrollees will actually drop their private insurance to get on the government dole.

Therein lies the problem with Hillary Clinton's "American Health Choices Plan." Programs like hers and TennCare and the expansion of SCHIP simply encourage more people to drop their current insurance and jump on the government gravy train. What we need to be doing is encouraging people to take a more proactive role in their own health care. Through co-pays, we have disconnected the consumer from the product; therefore the consumer has no concern over the cost.

But let's get back to Hillary's statement that health care is a right. She says it's a right because it's a necessity. I can think of at least four other necessities that rank above health care or health insurance; food, clothing, shelter and transportation. Is food a right? Is clothing or shelter or transportation?

Obviously, the answer is no. We certainly take care of those who can't take care of themselves, whether it be any or all of those necessities, but not one of them is a right.

Rights come from God, not government. This has always been a hard concept for the left to swallow. Governments are designed to protect rights, not bestow them. Rights are also free. In that, I mean there's no cost involved in exercising your freedom of speech or assembly. We have the right to freedom of the press but we don't have the right to have the government buy us a newspaper. We have the right to keep and bear arms but we don't have the right to have the government provide us a weapon.

Don't be fooled by politicians who start rattling off so-called rights that they will provide for you. If they can provide you a right, they can control it. And, I suspect that's been the plan all along


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