Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Shape up or ship out

WW II Battleship sailor tells Obama to shape up or ship out !

This venerable and much honored WW II vet is well known in Hawaii

for his seventy-plus years of service to patriotic organizations and causes

all over the country. A humble man without a political bone in his body,

he has never spoken out before about a government official, until now.

He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president.


Dear President Obama,


My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor , allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.


I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.


I can't figure out what country you are the president of.

You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:


" We're no longer a Christian nation"


" America is arrogant" - (Your wife even

announced to the world," America is mean-

spirited. " Please tell her to try preaching

that nonsense to 23 generations of our

war dead buried all over the globe who

died for no other reason than to free a

whole lot of strangers from tyranny and

hopelessness.)

I'd say shame on the both of you, but I don't think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said," America hasn't lived up to her ideals."

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.

I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.


Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue . You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.


And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts , who was putting up a fight? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.

You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.

And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.


Sincerely,

Harold B. Estes


Monday, November 23, 2009

Joe

"NO."

Never thought I'd say this, but, THANK YOU JOE LIEBERMAN

Monday, November 16, 2009

DEMANDING TIMES

DEMANDING TIMES REQUIRE GREAT PEOPLE

THROUGHOUT HISTORY, WE HAVE BEEN FACED WITH CHALLENGES, BOTH DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL, WHICH HAVE TESTED OUR RESOLVE AS A NATION. AND THROUGHOUT THE SAME PERIOD, WE HAVE SURMOUNTED THESE ASSAULTS AND PERSEVERED AS THE GREATEST COUNTRY ON EARTH.

TODAY, WE ARE FACED WITH AN INTERNAL CHALLENGE, WHICH BY ALL ACCOUNTS, IS UNIQUE IN IT'S MOTIVE AND IT'S INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL SUPPORT. OUR SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT, OUR ECONOMIC SYSTEM AND OUR WAY OF LIVE IS AT STAKE. LEADERS WHOM WE HAVE ELECTED HAVE MOTIVES WHICH ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF WE CITIZENS. THE AGENDA, WHICH SHOULD PLACE US IN THE MOST IMPORTANT POSITION, HAS BEEN ABDUCTED AND MORPHED TO PLACE SOME NEBULOUS INTERESTS AS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.

SIMILAR PAST EVENTS INCLUDE THE CARTER ADMINISTRATION, THE MCCARTHY ERA, WORLD WAR TWO, THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND SO ON AND SO ON. FORTUNATELY, OUR NATION HAS ALWAYS FOUND A LEADER OR LEADERS WHO SHEPPARDED THIS GREAT NATION THROUGH THESE MOST TRYING TIMES.

RONALD REAGAN, EDWARD R. MURROW AND THE CONGRESSIONAL OPPOSITION TO JOSEPH MCCARTHY AND FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT WERE IN THE RIGHT PLACES AT THE RIGHT TIMES IN HISTORY. WITHOUT THEM AND THEIR INITIATIVE, THE UNITED STATES MAY HAVE A DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT FOOTPRINT TODAY.

IT IS WITH THIS IN MIND, THAT I SUGGEST THAT DICK CHENEY AND SARAH PALIN ARE THE TWO MOST QUALIFIED PEOPLE TO EXTRACT US FROM THIS PREDICAMENT WHICH THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS PLACED US IN. STRAIGHT FORWARD LOGIC, BOLD INITIATIVE AND DECISIVE LEADERSHIP ALWAYS WINS OUT VERSUS HAND-WRINGING AND INDECISION. THEIR TIME IS NOW. THEIR ABILITIES ARE WITHOUT DOUBT. AND THE COUNTRY IS LONGING FOR A LEADERSHIP TEAM WHO WILL ONCE AGAIN PLACE THIS COUNTRY AT THE PINNACLE OF WORLD LEADERSHIP.
SO, THIS IS MY SLOGAN: " CHENEY/PALIN IN 2012, BECAUSE DITHERING IS NOT AN OPTION".

GSG12538

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama at Ft. Hood

Overall, President Obama delivered a nice speech in mourning the 13 soldier who were murdered at Ft. Hood last week. It was reverential, mostly focused on the 13 dead, and praising of the service of all military members. There are some things that he left out, like that this was a terrorist act against the United States on US soil. However, two points that he slipped in are troubling, and emblematic of Obama's troubling view of the military and attacks against the United States:

1. It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know -- no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. For what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice -- in this world, and the next.

The president seems to be afraid to condemn illogical ideas. There is no logic to extremist terrorist attacks. I understand that by adding "twisted" the president is implying that the acts don't fit into normal logic, but it's worse than abnormal logic. Insinuating that there's any logic involved gives weight to their ideas. Murdering 13 people because you've been co-opted by an Islamic cult, Al Qaeda, carries no logic. They are illogical, driven by hateful dogma, and not sanctioned by the authority by which they claim to be sanctioned (The Quran).

Coming from a party and ideology (liberalism) that is quick to characterize any anti-abortion action as the action of "right-wing Christian extremism," you'd think the President would know dogmatic, illogical religious extremism when he sees it.

2. For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, all of us -- every single American -- must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who've come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.

It's an eloquent statement, but one that raises a few questions. We look across generations to find heroes, from hundreds of years ago to today. We should always be encouraged to look to the past for greatness, as well as recognize it in our midst. Without understanding what made greatness in the past, we'll never be able to fully appreciate it today and in the future. When it comes to people who died for the US and for global freedom, there's no need to be exclusionary.

Without doubt, this generation is every bit as courageous and noble as those who fought for freedom in the Revolution, the Civil War, the World Wars and Vietnam. But it's yet to be determined if their cause will carry the same weight as the monumental victories for freedom in the Civil War and WWII.

I hope this statement implies that Obama is ready to devote the resources necessary to taming and making sense of Afghanistan. These people are not reasonable, and can't be killed with kindness. At the very least, the resources must be made available to destroy al Qaeda. Don't just fulfill the campaign promises you made to capture and kill Osama bin Laden and to track al Qaeda. Fulfill the promises made to the thousands of people and their families who've been murdered by Islamic extremism, and to the troops that have given their lives over seven years to preserve American freedom from those who seek to destroy it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Blinding the Health Care System

The three biggest lies about the Obama/Pelosi/Reid health care "reform" are:

1. "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period." - Barack Obama, 6/15/2009.

Totally false. From a review of the bill passed by the House on Saturday:

Sec. 303 (pp. 167-168) makes it clear that, although the "qualified plan" is not yet designed, it will be of the "one size fits all" variety. The bill claims to offer choice—basic, enhanced and premium levels—but the benefits are the same. Only the co-pays and deductibles differ. You will have to enroll in the same plan, whether the government is paying for it or you and your employer are footing the bill.

That means if your plan, which you like, does not meet the parameters set by a government bureaucrat, you will not be able to keep it. You'll either pay more for inferior coverage or sacrifice good coverage that the government deems too expensive to fit in under a government mandated maximum coverage.

2. This bill will make health care less expensive.

On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer.

Definitely false. Average costs might appear to be lower due to subsidies and lower Medicare payments to doctors. But while some people will receive new subsidies to make costs appear lower and doctors will limit care to Medicare and patients in order to avoid a cost/compensation deficit, private insurance plans and taxpayers will be fleeced to pay for those subsidies.

3. The Republicans are the party of "No" and have no alternative.

False. In addition the the Weekly Standard's compilation of conservative market-based and tort reform proposals, the GOP has introduced a bill (.pdf) and a side-by-side comparison of it with the Pelosi monstrosity:


Basically, Pelosi and 219 liberal Democrats passed a bill just to show they could pass something. It doesn't accomplish any of the goals that the GOP bill does, achieves the same level of coverage as the GOP plan, and costs trillions more. It will cost $1.2 trillion between 2010 and 2020, and will probably cost about $2 trillion between 2021 and 2030.

Please, please, please kill this in the Senate.

Post Traumatic Stress by GSG 12538

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME BY PROXY

IT'S ONE OF THE MOST POTENTIALLY DISTURBING EXPLANATIONS YET. A BOARD CERTIFIED PSYCHIATRIST, MEMBER OF THE MILITARY WHO COUNSELS HOME-COMING VETERANS, IS SUSPECTED OF ACQUIRING THE SAME DISORDER AS HIS PATIENTS WHILE NEVER BEING CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE LEGITIMATE CAUSES OF SUCH A DREADFUL POST-COMBAT COMPLICATION.

GENERAL GEORGE S. PATTON IS SPINNING IN HIS GRAVE. THE ARMY WILL FOREVER BE TAINTED IF THIS MOST EXTRAORDINARY EXCUSE FOR TERRORISM IS ALLOWED TO DEVELOP VALIDITY.

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME IS A VERY SERIOUS, POTENTIALLY DEBILITATING AND VALID MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER. IT DESERVES ALL THE ATTENTION AND TREATMENT MODALITIES AS A DOCUMENTED CASE OF APPENDICITIS OR MAJOR DEPRESSION. BUT, IMPLYING A CASE OF PTSS BY PROXY WILL NECESSITATE ALL THINKING SERVICE PERSONNEL AND AMERICAN CITIZENS IN GENERAL TO QUESTION THE LEGITIMACY OF SUCH, RESULTING IN THE COMPROMISING OF ALL UNFORTUNATE VICTIMS WHO WILL PRESENT WITH THIS PROBLEM.

OUR SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WHO ARE SUMMONED TO DEFEND OUR WAY OF LIFE DOMESTICALLY AND AROUND THE WORLD REQUIRE AND ARE DUE ALL THE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT WHICH WE CAN MUSTER. LET US REJECT THIS MOST LUDICROUS ASSAULT ON THEIR INTEGRITY. GSG 12538

Ralph Peters on the events at Ft. Hood

Fort Hood's 9/11

Islamist terror strikes US again


headshotRalph Peters

On Thursday afternoon, a radicalized Muslim US Army officer shouting "Allahu Akbar!" committed the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11. And no one wants to call it an act of terror or associate it with Islam.

What cowards we are. Political correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Ft. Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did. And the media treat it like a case of non-denominational shoplifting.

This was a terrorist act. When an extremist plans and executes a murderous plot against our unarmed soldiers to protest our efforts to counter Islamist fanatics, it’s an act of terror. Period.

When the terrorist posts anti-American hate-speech on the Web; apparently praises suicide bombers and uses his own name; loudly criticizes US policies; argues (as a psychiatrist, no less) with his military patients over the worth of their sacrifices; refuses, in the name of Islam, to be photographed with female colleagues; lists his nationality as "Palestinian" in a Muslim spouse-matching program, and parades around central Texas in a fundamentalist playsuit — well, it only seems fair to call this terrorist an "Islamist terrorist."

But the president won’t. Despite his promise to get to all the facts. Because there’s no such thing as "Islamist terrorism" in ObamaWorld.

And the Army won’t. Because its senior leaders are so sick with political correctness that pandering to America-haters is safer than calling terrorism "terrorism."

And the media won’t. Because they have more interest in the shooter than in our troops — despite their crocodile tears.

Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan planned this terrorist attack and executed it in cold blood. The resulting massacre was the first tragedy. The second was that he wasn’t killed on the spot.

Hasan survived. Now the rest of us will have to foot his massive medical bills. Activist lawyers will get involved, claiming "harassment" drove him temporarily insane. There’ll be no end of trial delays. At best, taxpayer dollars will fund his prison lifestyle for decades to come, since our politically correct Army leadership wouldn’t dare pursue or carry out the death penalty.

Maj. Hasan will be a hero to Islamist terrorists abroad and their sympathizers here. While US Muslim organizations decry his acts publicly, Hasan will be praised privately. And he’ll have the last laugh.

But Hasan isn’t the sole guilty party. The US Army’s unforgivable political correctness is also to blame for the casualties at Ft. Hood.

Given the myriad warning signs, it’s appalling that no action was taken against a man apparently known to praise suicide bombers and openly damn US policy. But no officer in his chain of command, either at Walter Reed Army Medical Center or at Ft. Hood, had the guts to take meaningful action against a dysfunctional soldier and an incompetent doctor.

Had Hasan been a Lutheran or a Methodist, he would’ve been gone with the simoon. But officers fear charges of discrimination when faced with misconduct among protected minorities.

Now 12 soldiers and a security guard lie dead. 31 soldiers were wounded, 28 of them seriously. If heads don’t roll in this maggot’s chain of command, the Army will have shamed itself beyond moral redemption.

There’s another important issue, too. How could the Army allow an obviously incompetent and dysfunctional psychiatrist to treat our troubled soldiers returning from war? An Islamist whacko is counseled for arguing with veterans who’ve been assigned to his care? And he’s not removed from duty? What planet does the Army live on?

For the first time since I joined the Army in 1976, I’m ashamed of its dereliction of duty. The chain of command protected a budding terrorist who was waving one red flag after another. Because it was safer for careers than doing something about him.

Get ready for the apologias. We’ve already heard from the terrorist’s family that "he’s a good American." In their world, maybe he is.

But when do we, the American public, knock off the PC nonsense?

A disgruntled Muslim soldier murdered his officers way back in 2003, in Kuwait, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recently? An American mullah shoots it out with the feds in Detroit. A Muslim fanatic attacks an Arkansas recruiting station. A Muslim media owner, after playing the peace card, beheads his wife. A Muslim father runs over his daughter because she’s becoming too Westernized.

Muslim terrorist wannabes are busted again and again. And we’re assured that "Islam’s a religion of peace."

I guarantee you that the Obama administration’s non-response to the Ft. Hood attack will mock the memory of our dead.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Compost: Courage?

Obama, on 219 liberal Democrats and one first-term Republican in a poor, liberal district voting for a government run overhaul of the health care system:
Speaking in the Rose Garden exactly 24 hours after he appeared there Saturday to call for House passage of the bill, Mr. Obama praised House members for what he called a ‘’courageous vote” that “brought us closer than we have ever been” to extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. He said the bill fulfilled his promise to bring sweeping change to the lives of millions of Americans.
Obama, on visiting Fort Hood, TX in the aftermath of the shootings this week by an Islamist soldier:
"..."
Oh, right. That was former President Bush that visited. Obama was at the Capitol rallying his liberals in Congress to do what they do best: spend a trillion dollars on a wild-eyed, already proven to fail government program that doesn't achieve what it promises.

What else did Obama have to say about war strategy and troops?

Obama, on the courage of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq:
"..."
Obama, on his plans and his reaction to Gen. McChrystal's strategies for Afghanistan:
"..."
Obama, on the Cambridge, MA police department investigating a possible breaking & entering:
"No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home."
That's the courage in Obama's convictions.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mark Levin: The Conservatives' Paul Pierce

Because he is The Truth:



When Mark Levin says, "And see this building here. You own that building...," when he speaks of the constantly expanding presence of government in private lives and private business, when he speaks of an incredible debt that will burden people today, tomorrow, and generations from now, he is not speaking of abstractions. He is speaking of a reality in which peoples' freedoms - economic and social - are being taken away quicker and more permanently than ever.

For years liberals whined about the potential Bushitler and SkullFucker Cheney wiretapping potential terrorists. They whined about the Patriot Act being a transformative bill that would turn the United States into a permanent police state. Seven years later, where are the certain and abundant abuses of power by conservatives and bureaucrats that were supposed to be occurring daily? It never happened. And when the provisions that permitted secret wiretapping (FISA) were up for expiration and liberals controlled congress (2008), they voted for it as fast as conservatives.

Liberals love to whine about conservatives being anti-choice with respect to abortion. They thrive on characterizing the abortion debate as a dichotomous choice between women and state, without every acknowledging that the choice is much more elementary than that. It's between women and children.

While they whine about conservatives being anti-abortion "rights", they close off freedom of choice wherever possible: Would you like to keep the profit from the house you sold after seven years of living and improving it? Obama wants 20% first. Would you like to practice your faith as you see fit? Get an application, and maybe, after some bureaucratic review, you might get a permit. Would you like to speak freely, without restrictions and fear of retribution from one-sided human rights or speech panels? Don't go to a state university or work for the government. Do you like where you live, the home you've made your entire life? If the government sees a better use for it, say goobye. Did you own stock in Chrysler or GM? The unions needed that money and control more.

Private property, economic advancement is an abstraction to liberal politicians. They understand how it affects their goods and they know how to raise their salary, but couldn't care less what about what their constituents' property means to them or how badly it hurts some families to lose 20 or 30% of their income in taxes and receive little in public services to compensate.

Tonight, liberals in the House will try to take away the individual's right to decide their own health coverage: the level, cost, types, and availability of care will be put in the government's hands. All because they think American society is irreversibly inequitable and unfair. And because they think social services are a right for those who don't acquire them for themselves. If you've argued with a liberal before, you've heard it: "But, but, but they just can't do it for themselves. Some people can't. They were born into circumstances that prevent them from doing those things. You're a white male and can never understand." "Not having" or "not being something" is the excuse liberals use carte blanche to strip liberal in favor of a low-quality equality

Yeah, well bullshit. What about the droves and droves of 19th century German, Italian, Irish, and Jewish immigrants that got dumped on when they came to the US. "But that was different. They were white. They weren't discriminated against because of their skin. You can't change your skin!" The ruling class didn't care who was black and white. Irish and Italian whites were as bad or worse to Anglo whites because they shared the same skin color. Rum, Romanism and Rebellion was a battle cry against Catholics well into the 20th century. Intense discrimination was used to hold the central and southern European immigrants away from the descendants of English, French and Dutch colonialists. "But, but they were still white. They didn't know what it was like to have their skin color held against them." What about Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Hispanics who settled in American throughout the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries? They did so few to none of the institutionalized protections and advantages given to non-whites and lower class people now. They successfully built niches, became respected for them, and gradually assimilated while hanging onto the core of their culture.

Congress has the ability to pass discriminatory, economically crippling health care reform because of the blood and sweat shed by earlier versions of the groups they are now pretending to help. Those earlier versions of "different" and "poor" faced discrimination head on and changed the world, upholding democratic principles along the way by operating within them.

Color has nothing to do with it, economic circumstance has nothing to do with it. No matter who you are, you can do better than what the government is trying to give you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The President's "Frightening Insensitivity"

http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics/A-Disconnected-President.html

The best part about this is that it comes from NBC CHICAGO. Another disgrace.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Good Morning, Don. And I don't want you to worry. I'm going to be a big fat winner."

Prophetic words? Neil Cavuto might have gotten a little excited by saying this interview changed the race in Christie's favor, but they were both right:



Dunkin' jobs aren't as cool as ObamaGreen jobs, but they're actual jobs for New Jerseyans.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keep Clinging to Guns, Religion, and Winning

Republican gubernatorial wins in VA and NJ mean a lot to those states. In particular, New Jersey will benefit from someone with conservative fiscal beliefs. The state is a train wreck of government bureaucracy and property taxes:

Last year, the average bill for a homeowner was more than $7,000 — about twice the national average and 71 percent more than a decade earlier. It's a bill homeowners have to pay whether they get a big raise, a pink slip or a fixed pension.


Hopefully that will end for them. In Virginia, Democrats have promised to solve transportation and budget issues for the past eight years, but have continued to let smarter transit planning and mass transit languish and taxes rise. Bob McDonnell should help put an end to the malaise on those issues.

What does it mean to Obama? Enough for him to campaign heavily for Corzine, and even to continue to push for Deeds in VA when it was an obvious failure:





Well, big news: 2008 is over. Bush isn't president. People rightfully don't trust Democrats to create jobs or stimulate economic recovery at the state level. In 2 two years, hopefully they'll feel the same way at the national congressional level.

The Yankees and Taxing the Rich

I'm a big fan of political Catch-22s, and I think hatred of the Yankees' payroll is a big one.* For reference, the Yankees have had the highest yearly payroll in the game since 1996, and have been over $100M every year since 2001. They were the first team to crack $100M and $200M in yearly payroll. Generally, the angst over the Yankees payroll is overstated. Nine teams are over $100M in yearly payroll, and the two Los Angeles teams, two Chicago teams, the Mets, Boston and Detroit have been well up above $100M at various times. Anyway, there are many good defenses of the Yankees payroll, and that's not the point of this post.

*I'm from NY, but not a huge Yankees fan. I'm a Rockies fan. I'm only a Yankees fan in reflex to Boston fans, or those who rip on the Yankees for their payroll.

There are likely some conservative baseball fans who believe the Yankees' payroll is not good for baseball, but in general, it's hard to reconcile fiscally conservative principles with anti-Yankee payroll sentiment (operating within MLB is not the same as operating in a free market the parallel is not perfect). The major element of spending control in MLB are the luxury tax (in 2009, teams over $162M payed a 22.5-40% tax that was distributed to lower-revenue teams), and the most frequently proposed controls are a team salary cap and/or an individual salary cap.

Those are all forms of progressive taxation, and mostly don't mesh with fiscal conservatism. I'd guess that most people who advocate higher individual tax rates for the top income brackets or higher corporate tax rates would support the baseball luxury tax and would support a salary cap (not necessarily the other way around, since again, MLB is not a free market). The interesting thing is that in both of those cases, the total economic consequences end up hurting the interests that fiscal liberals want to help.

The ultimate result of higher individual income taxes is that high-income employees (who are generally the ones that set company rules and salaries) will freeze salary or limit raises for lower-income employees when their tax rates go up. This hugely affects minorities and young people, who depend on quick advancement through entry level jobs to higher salaries. The advancement may be there, but economic success will be limited. In sum, it will grow the wealth disparity in America.

The result of higher corporate taxes will be higher prices for American consumers, again disproportionately hurting low-income people. They depend on greater purchasing power to improve their standard of living. Price inflation decreases that purchasing power.

In baseball, the result of a salary cap would be more money for team owners and less money for players. With a 162 game schedule, there is a lot of tv, stadium and merchandise revenue in baseball to be spread around to players and owners alike. With a salary cap, owners wouldn't have to spend as much to put a team on the field. Necessarily, players' salaries would be depressed. There's not even a guarantee of parity in the standings. Higher revenue teams will still be able to spend more money on scouting and front office talent. That will create a gap in results that cannot be overcome by salary caps. Even if parity is achieved, fiscal liberals generally don't like putting more money in owners' hands and less in employees' (the players).

Interestingly, what fiscal liberals might hate about the Yankees' free spending, they love about the federal government. Just as the Yankees going 9 years without winning a World Series (and 6-8 other teams spending over $100M on payroll) demonstrates that spending does not equal success, fiscal liberals are quick to ignore the lesson that outrageous federal spending does not translate into a better American economy.

Don't Confuse the Meaning of Hoffman

Doug Hoffman's ascent to the only Republican/Conservative in the NY-23 Special Congressional election, and Dede Scozzafava's fall, is an incredible victory for genuine Republicans, and especially for conservatives who believe in limited and honest government. Scozzo had three major policy choices that should have prohibited her from gaining the GOP nomination: 1. She supports card-check, 2. She's pro-choice, and 3. She's stated that she would have/does support the stimulus.

Support for only one of these things may not have made her a terrible Republican candidate. If there was one, it was support of card check. If that ever comes to a Congressional vote, Republicans have to be a solid "No!". Supporting the stimulus, combined with being pro-choice, might be a prohibitive combination. It definitely makes her suspicious, and a very liberal Republican. It also likely made voters wonder if she would support Obama's healthcare reform. In the end, her support of all three absolutely prohibited Republican support for her. Supporting all three made her a liberal, not a liberal Republican.

Across conserative blogs, the significance of Hoffman's rise has been debated (see here, here, and here). In the national media, the three things liberal reporters have taken away from the proper function of democracy are:

1. The Republican party is fighting a losing battle with itself, consisting of mainstream Republicans vs. conservatives (even though 40% of the country identify as conservative). Liberal newspeople see conservatism as a dying breed. Therefore, the conservative Republicans are eating the party alive.

2. Extremists (which means 40% of the country that identifies as conservative) are going to be encouraged to primary incumbent Republicans, and to run on third party tickets in order to do an end-around on not-conservative enough Republicans. Again, the wishful thinking leads to Republicans eating themselves alive by splitting the vote and losing elections.

3. The purge of moderate Republicans will lead to the GOP further isolating itself from independents and moderate Democrats that are needed to win most state-wide and national elections.

These are conclusions that are illogically extreme, practically impossible, and/or partisan wishful thinking.

Republicans have nothing to worry about from losing a liberal as their candidate. This is not a RINO situation, but rather a circumstance where a liberal opportunist worked GOP county chairpeople to seize the nomination. She served in the NY Assembly for over 20 years, but that shouldn't be regarded as a positive. The NY Senate and the Assembly are dysfunctional organizations, where plenty of corruption thrives.

In a perfectly legitimate move, Doug Hoffman sought and received the Conservative Party nomination. He didn't appear to have original ideas, and isn't fantastically telegenic, but supports the right national policies and backs them up with the right knowledge. Gradually, with the aid of national attention and endorsement from blogs and prominent Republicans, he edged away at Scozzafava's base, and eventually pulled the race into a three-way contest.

Again, conservatives have much to rejoice for from this. They cannot afford to lose voices or votes in the House if card check legislation comes to a vote. Although the impact of a moderate House Republican waffling is not the same as Arlen Specter waffling, it does the party no good to have to handle a member defying ranks on a huge issue. The district is more than moderately conservative and, since both parties will only tolerate so many moderate Congressional members, it is senseless to waste a conservative district on a moderate-liberal vote.

However, while the national attention on the race is deserved, the national implications for GOP elections are limited. This was a solidly conservative district. 1) Most conservative districts will nominate a conservative Republican in the first place. 2) Only solidly conservative districts can sustain and support a third party conservative challenger. Also, it was a special election, and there will be another election next year. The negative consequences, while unfortunately giving Obama another vote in the Congress, were limited. There is already a huge Democrat majority in the House, and if the winner's vote went with Democrat often enough to make them a problem, they would be out in 2010. This was a perfect storm for conservatives and a unique set of circumstances, particularly in relation to the Northeast.

The race has little or no implications when it comes to other races or to incumbent moderate Republicans. It has little relation to Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist in Florida, where a conservative (Rubio) is going against a moderate (Crist) in a primary for an open seat. Conservatives should not fool themselves into thinking going all-out to defeating Crist is worthwhile. Rubio would be the better Republican, but he's not the general election lock that Crist is.

It has no relation to Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins in Maine. Snow (47.88 lifetime ACU rating) and Collins (49.55) aren't the most conservative senators, but Jim DeMint (98.40) isn't going to win in Maine. They are established Republicans in a liberal state that last voted for a Republican presidential candidate in 1988. Neither Snowe or Collins needs extravagant financial help from the national GOP that would hurt less established candidates in swing districts.

There's no great Schism within the Republican party. They pushed out a liberal from using their nomination to gain a seat for herself and other liberals. There is a need for reform at the organizational level. There is not a need for a purge of the organization, just real leadership. Redstate's Erick Erickson has a knack for using the most inflammatory language possible when describing issues internal to the Republican party. Too often that is turned against the party, as Frank Rich did with his Monday (Nov. 2) editorial in the NYT.

(Even though he says in that post that he only means the GOP leadership must be purged, too often he has spurred readers to oppose decently conservative, and ultimately winnable, Republican candidates - Crist, Kay Bailey Hutchison. The GOP does not need reactionaries like Erickson, they need conservative visionaries at the national and state levels to read local and state-wide elections better.).

There are implications for the national GOP and NYGOP: make better choices. There are only 435 Congressional districts. It shouldn't be hard to have an accurate read on the tendencies and preferences of voters in each district. The national GOP has the resources to gather that information, and has the resources to put an information sharing structure in place with the state and local GOP organizations. It could be accomplished by the national GOP hiring 55 people, conducting regular polls (they could even be online, anything) to get a read on tendencies and shifts in each district, and then starting an Access database to share the information with local GOP groups. It's not hard. Get a grip on what the constituents want, and provide the most conservative candidate who can give it to them. That may be Hoffman, that may be Snowe, or it may be DeMint. It's definitely not Scozzafava.

The real national electoral implications are in VA and NJ. In VA, Bob McDonnell crushed Creigh Deeds tonight. It showed that the Republican party has nothing to fear (especially in a historically conservative state) by putting forward a solidly conservative candidate. Conservative fiscal policy is the antidote to the country's current economic ills. Christie is a bit different of a candidate than McDonnell, but both are fiscally conservative people. It will be huge (but not an ultimate disappointment - it's huge enough that NJ is in play when the Democrat incumbent was previously a two term senator and outspent the Republican 3-1) if conservative ideas win tonight.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Unbelievable - Illegal Immigrant groups

This was sent to me by a friend this morning. It makes me sick. And it is accepted.

Check out this article on Lou Dobbs, who was apparently shot at outside his
home.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,570296,00.html

My favorite part is when William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal
Immigration says "it's very likely Dobbs' outspokenness on illegal
immigration led to the shooting."

Said in a matter-of-fact way, it is absurd that this man doesn't seem
shocked that Dobbs was shot at. This is unbelievable. We're okay with
illegal immigrant groups coming after an independent talk show host?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Where are all you privacy fanatics?

Let me just ask this simple question. Where are all of the "privacy advocacy" people during this health care debate?

You know, last time I was at the doctor's office, I was one of the many people patiently waiting their turn to be seen. As the receptionist came out each time to call the next patient's name, I noticed a trend - the first name was called, followed by only the first letter of the last name (Ted M.? Ted M.?) I started to wonder, why doesn't she just call the person's full name? I mean, there is bound to be an occasion where there are two people in the room who share the same first name, and first letter of their last name, right?

So, this lead me to think further, as I am a "critical thinker", like our President, does this have something to do with privacy? HIPAA - that is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act - was created in 1996 by the Department of Civil Rights (duh!), and honestly, we have all been in a situation where we were presented a piece of HIPAA paperwork to sign, and yet trying to read and understand it was like trying to decode hieroglyphics.

So, and think about this for a minute, where the hell are all of these people who are HIP-ites? PRIVACY is directly connected to health, right? So, if the government seizes control of our health care, does that mean that they seize control of our privacy? I think so, don't you?

Where's the outrage?

Oh, wait. I forgot. It is a Democratic, black man leading the charge. He just happens to be the President. So, obviously, you must be a racist if you disagree with the agenda. Duh.

Compost: Who Thinks Alike?

The other day Obama shined a little light into the national political discourse when he said Republicans "all think alike." I pointed out that Democrats are the ones who label those in disagreement with liberal policies as anti-intellectual, insensitive or greedy. That especially, and with much more vitriol, applies when Hispanics, Blacks, homosexuals or women do not abide by the liberal code. Then they are traitors, sell-outs, house slaves, or Uncle Toms. Democrats believe that people should vote out of self-interest, and make a political living out of urging people to identify by gender, ethnicity, or race first and country second (or not at all).

They then believe that they are entitled to those groups' votes because they work so hard to make special policies that supposedly benefit those groups. These are things like welfare and special social rights, which don't help them but actually entrap them into a cycle of poverty and/or expectation of economic and social entitlement that deters the development of genuine social equality (based on merit).

As part of this, liberals are always on the look out for potential social injustices in order to instill a victim mentality in their preferred groups. It accomplishes two things: 1) the group rallies together against a common enemy (usually a business owner or Republican) and 2) it identifies the liberal as the patron of this group. In reality, it usually just causes a minority group to vote against their own prosperity, and to sacrifice their own progress in order to score political points for liberal elites.

There is no better moment that captures all of these machinations than an interaction between CNN's Kyra Phillips and Rick Sanchez on Monday. Phillips is drilling the new owner of a Taos, NM hotel for a) after buying the hotel, laying off all the employees and making them interview for jobs, b) requiring his employees to speak English in his presence, and c) asking his telephone operators to Anglicize their names when dealing with customers on the phone.

The first two are standard procedure for a new owner in a service industry, and don't need to be discussed.

The last, and most controversial, aspect is something that immigrants have been expected to do, or done on their own, since the beginning of America. It happens all over the world. In this instance, the owner thought it'd be easier to attract customers from across the country if those people thought they were interacting with assimilated people. As a private business owner, it's also his right to set policies, so long as he is non-discriminatory in hiring and assignments.

Phillips trashes the hotel owner as a racist. Rick Sanchez joins the conversation, says that he agrees with the hotel owner, and Phillips is stunned. If she'd left it at being stunned, maybe it would have just been a surprise disagreement among liberals. But Phillips feels compelled to enlighten Sanchez, who she begins treating like an Uncle Tom:



She expects that she can show him how he should think by putting him back in touch with his people and his roots. And then, boom. It turns out Rick Sanchez Anglicized the shit out of his name. And did it because he wants to be respectful of American culture that has "allowed us as Hispanics to come here, and I think it's easier if someone's able to understand my name." Phillips continues to try to correct Sanchez, and tells him that he hasn't really Anglicized my name.

So, a liberal reporter tells a Hispanic man that she better understands the Hispanic circumstance becuase she expect all minorities to think alike and be offended by any perceived slight, even though the Hispanic man has lived through and prospered under the exact same circumstances. And Republicans all think alike.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The last place trophy

How many more times are we going to say to our children, or our students, "Great job, you got a 50!"? "Wow, you came in dead last! Awesome, you rock!"

There is, and has been a mentality that there are no losers. I'm all for that - no one should be called a loser for TRYING. No one should be made fun of. FOR TRYING. Yes? I think we understand that. However, there is a distinct line in the sand when it comes to defining a "job well done", deserving of a good grade or high commendation, and a "half - ass" job, with little or no effort put in. What I make of this is that we all of a sudden have a new generation emerging - the "Entitlist" generation.
Look, I am a recent college graduate. I landed a good job, actually two, soon after I graduated. I consider myself lucky. But let's not forget- my being hired twice already is a reflection of my merit, not the color of my skin, or another similar deciding factor. Back to my point. I can't stomach the typical college student - and this may be a broad generalization- that wants to save the planet by wearing Birkenstocks and riding a bike to work, and never misses an opportunity to lecture you on how you are a hater, bigot, racist, capitalist loving homophobe. But this same person does not declare a major, and decides to either use their college education to "find themselves" and out they come with their liberal arts degree. (I did not capitalize because in my humble opinion, that does not constitute a college education, much less warrant a degree from a so called institution of higher learning.)
OK, out into reality we go. Two choices: stay for another degree, or look for a job. Either is a personal decision - I get it - and I chose the former. But that was my choice, and everyone should chose wisely. Wisely. That is the key word here. Now, what the hell can you do with a degree in liberal arts? Is it a resume builder? A standout in the giant pile of other job applications? Hmm...don't think so. So now we have the same person who was told, "It's OK if you fail your tests, come in last place every time, dress like a clown, speak like an ignoramus, and don't like to bathe on a regular basis. It's OK."
News flash- there are thousands of people walking around out there, who were spoon fed this mentality, and it has produced a certain type of individual. One who will reason with a child instead of teaching discipline, one who will blame the process and not the product, one who will avoid work to gain success, and finally, one who will be granted something they are unqualified and undeserving of.
I always thought that if you worked hard at something, you would get what you wanted. It may not happen instantly, but just putting in the effort was something that was part of the pay-off. I find myself in a minority today. Look, I'm no preacher, and I'm not going to say it wouldn't be great to win the lottery and not have to work anymore. But the path that I take - work, and then get - is no longer what is "mainstream". The "Entitlist" must have everything, now, without putting in the work. Sorry people, but I don't buy it, and I never will. You want something? Go get it. And if you come in last place, it's not "Great job!" It's "try again, and you will get it."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Compost: Reinvesting In Waste

Since the Stimulus/$800B Pet Project Spending Kit was passed in February, these signs have popped up at tons of road construction projects. At the "strong encourage[ment]" of the federal government, states are spending between $1500 and $2500 per sign to let people know what they already know. Federal and state tax money is paying for this roadwork.

When the phony debate between conservatives and liberals about whether and what kind of stimulus should be passed, many conservatives reconciled themselves to the inevitability of a huge, wasteful spending bill, but hoped that a large portion would be spent on repairing and installing infrastructure - roads, bridges, mass transit. To some extent that has happened, but not to the extent it should have. And it hasn't fulfilled the dubious claim on the above sign of "putting America to work":


So no, people really haven't gotten back to work. In addition to the general waste inherent to bulk spending bills, there may not be a better illustration of conservatives' frustration with government spending than the Spending Bill road signs. Again, everyone is aware that highway repair is funded through tax dollars. There is no reason that extra money needs to be spent to remind people of this. In Georgia, the AJC estimates that the signs, costing between $1,200 and $1,600 apiece, could eat $600,000 of the stimulus funds. Quick math reveals that instead of wasting money on redundant and wasteful signage, $600,000 could be used to provide 20 one-year jobs paying $30,000. Not bad money during a time that the Vice President refers to as a "depression" for most people.

Instead, much like Barack Obama needed to remind people that he won the election with a $170M inauguration, he needs to remind people that his is the hand feeding them with these signs. More money could have gone to repairs or jobs, but the Obama administration has put more money toward sheer waste, including $4,600 for a sign in NY. As is typical of those who want to create a dependency on government, there are reports that stimulus money has been withheld if localities refuse to waste money on signs. After having their pockets picked by the government, people need to kiss the ring to get any of it back.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Contradiction: Healthcare and Education Reforms

It's pretty easy for conservatives to make negative comparisons between existing disliked or failing government programs and a greater role for governme. A litany of financially unsuccessful or socially misguided programs that have been enacted with good intentions - AMTRAK, the Post Office, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, etc - serve as cautionary tales to greater government involvement in health care. The lesson is that the government will spend, cover spending with taxes, and spend more if they are in control of a program that they do not want to give up.

However, there is one program that attracts equal dislike across the political spectrum (but especially by liberals): No Child Left Behind. It seems to be the one federal program both conservatives and liberals dislike. Teachers seem to dislike the law for it's interference with their ability to design their own curriculum. For most, it's harder to get into a much deeper defense of it than it was a law with good intentions. It was supposed to force states to create minimum standards of achievement, and then hold schools accountable. To conservatives, it was a step toward shifting control of education back to the states, creating standards that could hold teachers, administrators, and politicians accountable, and reducing education spending at the federal level.

Keeping in mind that this was a bi-partisan bill - Ted Kennedy sponsored it and 87 senators voted for it - serious problems emerged after several years. The framework and consequences for schools setting and meeting standards is rigid, and the timeline for remedying and complying with the standards is harsh and sometimes unrealistic. The consequences for failure to comply are daunting: additional requirements for potentially over-burdened schools if they don't meet the standards after the first year, dismissal of administrators if still the school is still non-compliant after the second or third year, and then closing the school if it is still not meeting standards after four years.

The problem with inflexible such inflexible guidelines is that many mitigating factors that could prevent a school from meeting the grade: teachers union protecting bad teachers, a community of disinterested parents, an unusual influx of special needs or disadvantaged students (or, a large group of overachieving students who require IB or AP classes that take up additional resources and budget space), as well as a dearth of capable administrators. No Child Left Behind certainly has good intentions, but it is a law that could only function properly in a world filled with average to above-average students (say, C- to B+), where a specific curriculum meets the needs of each districts and additional resources do not have to be allotted to slower or faster learners.

After considering the negative, unintended consequences of a well-intentioned, bi-partisan education bill (and all of the instances of exploding costs for government programs), why do liberals insist that a government-run framework for health care will solve the problem? Doing the same thing - adding government - over and over is not going to result in a different outcome. It's like Lindsay and Tobias experimenting with an open marriage:
Tobias: You know, Lindsay, as a therapist, I have advised...
[falls off the bed]
Tobias: ...a number of couples to explore an open relationship where the couple remains emotionally committed, but free to explore extra-marital encounters.
Lindsay: Well, did it work for those people?
Tobias: No, it never does. I mean, these people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might, but... but it might work for us.
A government option and mandated coverage may provide broader access health care, but, much like NCLB, the unintended consequences will be great:
  • small businesses dropping coverage because it's cheaper to pay the fine for not providing insurance,
  • low-income people being fined for not purchasing health care,
  • mandated minimum amounts of coverage eating up the savings of young, healthy people who may only want catastrophic coverage,
  • private premiums rising because of taxes on private plans that exceed the maximum mandated coverage,
  • increased taxes to subsidize lower middle and middle class people purchasing public option insurance,
  • sacrificing quality of coverage for access to a plan.
And on and on. This doesn't even touch on the failure to bring down costs - none of the current plans have an adequate plan for diminishing health care costs aside from rationing - or the problem of adequately reimbursing doctors if the public option acts like Medicare.

There is a solution that doesn't require complex, potentially disastrous government mandates. The "small bill" and other conservative proposals don't require willful ignorance of past government failures.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Compost: Excluding Compatriots, Washington and Obama

George Washington, 1796 (Farewell Address):
The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.
Barack Obama, 2009 (on Fox News):
"I think that what our advisers simply said is, is that we are going to take media as it comes," Obama said. "And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that's one thing. And if it's operating as a news outlet than that's another. But it's not something I'm losing a lot of sleep over."
The standard for political discourse set by Washington was for politicians to remember that your countrymen are your allies, that you both should expect them and need them to stand with you when the country is threatened. I imagine that the slight differences he refers to are over domestic policy, whereas he expected Americans to bond together when it came to national security or other imminent crises. In other words, health care and reducing carbon emissions should take a back seat to collaboration on fighting foreign enemies and preventing economic disaster.

Instead, heading into the second decade of the 21st century, President Obama pulls further away from Washington's message than any other president. Elected under the guise of being a post-partisan, post-racial politician, Obama has managed to alienate independents and parts of his own constituency faster than any other president. He's refused to collaborate with Republicans on the economic recovery package early after his inauguration and health care reform throughout 2009. Nor has he seemingly been willing to listen to the likely disastrous consequences of his desired cap and trade scheme.

Instead of collaborating, he's pursued the domestic equivalent of what Democrats accused Bush of doing in Iraq (even though they actually all supported it): unilateral, highly partisan legislation aimed at stripping economic liberty in the name of social equality.

Instead of rising above petty disputes, local issues, and the fast pace of political journalism, he's pursued every minor issue as if it were a personal feud: Rush Limbaugh's "fail" comment, the Henry Gates-Cambridge Police affair, Dick Cheney's rebuttals to his foreign policy.

And now, in addition to name-calling and denying any senior administration interviews to Fox News, Obama has tried to freeze them out of press pool policy briefings (which they pay, along with NBC, ABC, CNN, etc to be a part of). DrewM at AoS sums it up:
Fox is reporting on Special Report that the White House wanted to exclude Fox from the 5 member White House Pool who were going to be given access to Kenneth Feinberg.

The White House Pool, of which Fox has been a member since 1997, is a consortium of the five networks which fund its operations.

After the White House attempted to exclude Fox, the Washington bureau chiefs of the 5 networks met and announced none of them would participate if Fox were excluded.

It's amazing we are in the position we are. We have a President who is more interested in talking to murders around the world but is affraid to face a reporter who isn't enthralled with the crease of his pants.

I agree, but it goes beyond being afraid to face potentially unfavorable questions (even though O'Reilly's campaign interview was perfectly fair). His strategy for working with hostile countries is to engage them, speak diplomatically and offer an exchange of concessions. Yet, his strategy for dealing with domestic "enemies", as the White House as called FoxNews and other Democrats have called Republicans generally, is slash and burn. It's a serious contradiction of his foreign policy and outwardly tone of post-partisanship, and it's an indication of how badly he wants to consolidate power in America.

His foreign policy goal is to achieve enough of an international stasis that he can drastically lower military costs in order to shift that money toward his domestic policy goals. So while he is mute about Ahmedinejad slaughtering people in Tehran, he can't stop talking shit about Republicans and FoxNews:



Democrats think for themselves? Yeah, right. That must be why every liberal you'll ever meet thinks any black, Jew, female, homosexual or Hispanic that is a Republican is an idiot, Uncle Tom or traitor. I guess that's also why liberals are so tolerant of right-wing talk radio, profit margins, divergent religious expression, and economic freedom. They're big fans of economic success and independent thought. The reality is they're only fans of equality of outcome. The more they can tie individual economic success to party affiliation, the more they can control the entire domestic agenda.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Compost: Diplomacy in the Dark (Part III)

Part I and Part II centered around the lessons of the fall of Communist Dictatorships in 1989, and the continuing failure to apply those lessons to other long-term fights against ideologically motivated enemies (Fundamentalist Islamic terrorists). For all the crying about George Bush's supposed incompetency or short-sightedness, Obama has shown an extreme naivete and lack of vision in his foreign policy.

As extrapolated from the last 20 minutes of Charlie Wilson's War and this Reason column, Obama has failed to introduced the appealing alternative of economic and social freedom to the people living under oppressive regimes. Destroying the enemy and using US resources to rebuild infrastructure were huge parts of defeating Communist Dictatorships, but building a belief in the concept of individual liberty is a crucial third component. Without it, fights against ideologies will not be completely successful.

American is uniquely positioned to do perform the third component. As Charles Krauthammer wrote in "Decline Is a Choice", American primacy - hegemony - is a necessary component for any sense of world security:

The very expectation that these concessions would yield results is puzzling. Thus, for example, the president is proposing radical reductions in nuclear weapons and presided over a Security Council meeting passing a resolution whose goal is universal nuclear disarmament, on the theory that unless the existing nuclear powers reduce their weaponry, they can never have the moral standing to demand that other states not go nuclear.

But whatever the merits of unilateral or even bilateral U.S.-Russian disarmament, the notion that it will lead to reciprocal gestures from the likes of Iran and North Korea is simply childish. They are seeking the bomb for reasons of power, prestige, intimidation, blackmail, and regime preservation. They don't give a whit about the level of nuclear arms among the great powers. Indeed, both Iran and North Korea launched their nuclear weapons ambitions in the 1980s and the 1990s--precisely when the United States and Russia were radically reducing their arsenals.

...

There is a reason that we are the only hegemon in modern history to have not immediately catalyzed the creation of a massive counter-hegemonic alliance--as occurred, for example, against Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany. There is a reason so many countries of the Pacific Rim and the Middle East and Eastern Europe and Latin America welcome our presence as balancer of power and guarantor of their freedom.

And that reason is simple: We are as benign a hegemon as the world has ever seen.

It's a simple premise, and one that follows Reason's argument that the important lessons of the Cold War, and 1989 in particular, are incompletely remembered. America must be able to step into a conflict with the understanding that America's government, social freedom, and economic freedom are the best thing the world has seen since Pax Romana. The presence, or projection, of American force can go as far as actually using American force. That projection or use of force backs up American ideals, which are the motivation for interfering in foreign affairs.

Either out of moral obligation (Rwanda, Bosnia, etc) or security reasons (Iraq, Afghanistan), the preservation of American ideals is at the forefront of the use of American force. This is not to say that American force backs up the arbitrary imposition of American government, culture or values on foreign territories. People clamor for involvement in Darfur not to spread American ideals. They clamor for involvement because what has happened in Darfur is incompatible with American ideals. The abuses and darkness in circumstances like Kosovo are so egregious that, even though they do not directly affect America's interests, not to intervene would undermine American credibility. Essentially, as Krauthammer puts it, America is exceptional because its ideals are the best the world has to offer, and America polices the world without expecting anything in return but its own safety.

However, some people read the word hegemon and stop there. Krauthammer did not intend it to be read in the pejorative sense, but the NYT was quick to find people who read Krauthammer has bloodthirsty and war-mongering:

Joe Klein, Time: Barack Obama would probably argue — as would most foreign policy centrists — that the goal of his foreign policy would be to make the United States dominant in a more effective way: at the center of multilateral efforts to bring international miscreants under control. He goes on to list a number of ways this works: military coalitions, UN sanctions, etc. Except that the coalition disappeared in Afghanistan when people forget about the security threat posed by the people who ran that country, enabling and harboring terrorists. For effectiveness of UN sanctions, look at Hussein's cooperation throughout the 90s and early 2000s - there was none - and look at Iran's nuclear development program. Sanctions are temporarily effective at best.

More Klein: [Krauthammer] wants us to be more brutal, more like other historically powerful countries, more like the Russians in Afghanistan or the British in Mesopotamia. This is totally dishonest. Krauthammer never advocates using arbitrary force. He promotes relying more on the projection of force to intimidate repressive leaders into reforms. He also couples that with the idea that America has to bring ideas to fight against ideologies. The ideas that will appeal to people living under repressive regimes come from American ideals of individual liberty.

Klein jumps on Krauthammer for referring to Iraq as a prize being squandered by Obama, calling Krauthammer imperialistic. Krauthammer referred to Iraq as a prize to underscore the preciousness of what came out of a hellish situation. What could have been a total loss after three years of American blood and resources turned into a potentially viable, stable regime after 2007. This is a prize - totally unexpected, completely precious. Prize does not equal trophy. Iraq is certainly not a trophy, nor a shining example of well-thought military intervention. But in it's current condition, at the nascent stages of stability, it is a prize to the world.

The NYT then goes on to extensively quote a rebuttal from Yglesias at Think Progress, who further (deliberately) misreads Krauthammer. They read American hegemony as equivalent to American arrogance. They talk about it like modern liberals are the only ones who can see the negatives to American hegemony: the resources and lives America spends because of it. They act as if conservatives speak of this plan with no reluctance. Of course there is reluctance. There are other things at home that could be accomplished rather than expending energy around the globe. But the price of that is having to rely on hostile government to be considerate of a global balance that doesn't exist, and having a multipolar power structure where no country wants to expend their resources to solve the problem. Multipolarity exists in the form of the UN, and it doesn't work.

Krauthammer's hegemony isn't an imperialistic vision. It's really just a continuation of countering oppressive regimes who threaten American security with force and freedom, and the intervention in circumstances (genocide) where a lack of involvement (America doesn't just jump in for fun; it jumps in because it's the only one that will) is incompatible with American ideals.

It's understanding that unstable regimes (Iran and Russia) will act irrationally, out of self-interest, and without regard for other countries' interests because they don't see the world harmony that Barack Obama envisions. They don't share that vision because they still believe in domination of people and resources. The US never has believed in those things. They have believed in self-determination for sovereign countries (Woodrow Wilson), individual liberty for all people (Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan, Bush), and international security (Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Clinton, Bush).

The basic premise of the Reason column and Krauthammer's piece is that American force (projected or used) coupled with the rational ideas (economic freedom, social freedom) America can offer as an alternative to barbaric ideologues is a recipe that America used for most of the 20th century in a bipolar world and should continue to use in a unipolar world. Until another country (likely Australia or a Western European democracy) is ready to step up and share the power and ideals of America, there is no reason that America should give up the role of hegemon. The world would be a darker place for it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Compost: Diplomacy in the Dark (Part II)

Part I was triggered by a Reason Magazine piece about the fall of Communism in 1989. In many ways, 1989 was the reverse fall of the dominoes that US foreign policy analysts saw years before.

The point of Part I was that the Reason piece lamented the incomplete lesson learned from the defeat of Communism. The moral is that the best parts of the Free World triumphed over the worst of the Second World (Communist countries). The free exchange of information and ideas, and the introduction of economic liberty, defeated the repression of peoples' natural desires. This was accomplished through force - the USSR and Soviet Satellites couldn't compete with the US arsenal - and through ideas - social and economic liberty was more appealing than darkness.

When the US invaded Iraq and toppled the regime, people wondered why there wasn't a real plan for the fallout that followed. The idea that US could "democracy build" in Iraq was quickly dismissed. Gradually, a government was formed. For years, bombings and the insurgency prevented any progress. In 2007, the counterinsurgency began to slowly take back villages, towns and cities. Basic things happened: roads and bridges were protected, markets and stores stayed open instead of blown apart, school children attended new schools. Restrictions on economic activity were lifted, and Iraqis began to create in a freer market. Ideas began to accompany the force that had been in Iraq since 2003.

Nothing of the sort has ever, at least as far as I can appreciate, happened in Afghanistan. Towns and villages go back and forth between the US, Afghani Warlords and the Taliban. Infrastructure put in place beginning in 2002 was destroyed over time. Ideas never fully followed the force existing in the country since 2001.

In the 2008 election, Democrats excoriated George Bush for taking his eye of Afghanistan. They claimed too many resources were diverted to the "war of choice" (Iraq), and there was no plan for last success in Afghanistan. As happened in Iraq, some Democrats contended that success was not an option anymore. The situation was so far out of control that 7 years of fighting and work had been for naught. Typically, while they were quick with the criticism, they were also slow on their own robust plan for success (to be fair, I can't remember McCain ever articulating a clear plan either).

Essentially, nothing has changed since the campaign. Barack Obama won, and still does not have a plan for success. Other threats that existed - Iran, Russia - also remain untended. For all the complaining that Obama did about George Bush's supposed short-sightedness (or incompetency), Obama has also failed to grasp the concept of force + ideas. He has no large-scale plan to battle the Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters on local levels, and he has no plan for the problems identified in Charlie Wilson's War/ Reason Magazine. There's still no ideas accompanying the force.

Obama has no ideas to accompany the American force because: 1) he doesn't believe in American exceptionalism. Americans don't have the right to foster a new way of life for people in repressed countries because there is nothing special about American freedom or America's position in the world; 2) he has no understanding of how America fought and ended the Cold War. His version of the Cold War ending is many countries - good and bad - agreeing to stop a silly fight about arbitrary goodness and evil (Socialist/Communist dictatorships weren't evil to him because he didn't see the evil in mediocrity disguised as parity).

Obama's failure to understand that the US (and other Western democracies) are special because they have offered, preserved and introduced freedom to more people in the last hundred years than any other movement or country in history. His worldview is that all countries are willing to consider the effects of their behavior on other countries. It's that somewhere, somehow the leaders of all countries have the ability to think and behave rationally. That's, unfortunately, just not true.

This failure to behave rationally/thoughtfully is embodied in Russia. Obama wanted to start a dialogue with Iran. Russia has a tenuous and possibly dangerous relationship with Iran (in the sense that Russians sell nuclear secrets to them and probably trade arms with Iranians). In order to have a broader front with which to begin discussions with Iran, Obama began to bargain with the Russians. The Russians were skeptical and annoyed at the missile defense shield schedule to be installed in Poland and other Eastern European countries who still live in fear of totalitarian repression.

Those countries see that the name has changed, but Soviet-style behavior and aggression lives on in Russia. As a token for their cooperation (but before Russia agreeing to anything), Obama canceled the missile defense systems. The expected reciprocation never materialized (Of course, Russia knew that Obama would never install missile defense anyway, so maybe the carrot just wasn't tasty enough.). Russia refused to assist the US in engaging Iran on stopping Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions. In addition, Russia has refused to even support UN sanctions against Iran.

Aggressive countries headed by repressive governments are nothing like the US. Iran and Russia are concerned with defeating US interests, because the US prevents them from consolidating resources (land, oil, water, weaponry, religious domination) under their power. Unless the leaders are backed into a corner and the people are a moment from revolt, their leaders will only take from the US. Anything that the US offers as a gesture will be taken and nothing will come in return. If this sounds like a denouncement of appeasement, it is.

All during the 2008 debate, McCain ripped Obama for Obama's declaration that he would meet with enemy leaders without preconditions. But simply meeting with the leader of an oppressive regime doesn't seem like such a harmful idea. Unfortunately, these leaders will use the concessions the US offers as tokens to demonstrate to their people that the US is weak and desperate for the oppressive leader's cooperation. They spin to their people that the US is scared of Russia's potential power or Iran's attempts at nuclear weapons. They can shape the message to make the US look as weak or bad as they want because they control the media. They are interested in self-preservation, not interested in the reality of global power and economy, and are entirely willing to lie for their own interests. There is no consideration of offering good will in exchange for the US's "tokens."

Instead of engaging the leaders, Obama had a golden opportunity to incite reform in Iran during it's Summer elections. While people were angered about Ahmadinejad rigging the election and protesting in the streets, Obama stuck to his ill-sighted plan for direct discussion with the leadership (forget the hypocrisy of non-interference in Iran and a total willingness to involve itself in Honduras).

After 10 months of ObamaDiplomacy, the only pattern that has emerged is a five-step plan for failure:

1. Talk about the elements of America's past global and domestic policies that were unsuccessful or unaligned with the modern liberal version of freedom. Apologize for sins the US did not commit, committed in the midst of efforts to liberate large groups of people, or committed so long ago they have no relevance to American's modern image in the world.

2. Institute policy of directly engaging hostile countries through diplomacy (and continue to get spit on by them).

3. Offer concessions to hostile countries (enemies) in return for their cooperation or concessions.

4. Ignore complete rejection of overtures and total lack of reciprocation from hostile countries, watch them escalate their erratic and dangerous behavior, and continue to offer concessions and/or to meet with.

5. Due to Step 1, Obama has conceded the US does not have the moral authority to use means beyond Steps 2-4. The US has no ability to lead because it has legitimized the hostile regimes through distorted engagement and concessions, leaving allies and US interests unprotected. Remove possibility of multilateral force because other countries believe Step 1 strips the US of authority to intervene.

As much as countries like France and Germany may not have liked what modern liberals portrayed as American arrogance under Bush, they like even less being totally unprotected by American force, and completely undermined in their ability to deal with hostile regimes in a traditional manner modeled after past successes.