TO ONE AND ALL--
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS
A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR
from the Nofzigers
Nov. 29, 2005--The War Against Christmas seems to have picked up a couple of new recruits named George and Laura Bush.
I am one of X thousands of Americans who is on what used to be the president’s Christmas Card list . As a result, a card from George and Laua arrived in my mail today. Needless to say I was pleased and honored. IAfter opening it, I was- and am—also disappointed.
The card was not a Christmas card; it was a holiday card. It was lovely but it wassn’t Cristmas-y.
The front of the cardis a replica of a painting by Jamie Wyeth. It is a scene of a snow-covered magnolia tree at the front of the White House with two small dogs and a cat in the foreground. Lovely!
Inside, there is no mention of Christmas. Instead it says, “With best wished for a holiday season of hope and happiness. 2005” It is signed by George and Laura.
Above this, in small print is a quote from Psalm 28, verse 7
Interestingly, the quote is from the Old Testament, wth not even an allusion to Christ or Christmas or the reason Christians—which George and Laura are—celebrate the day.
One thing about that quote, however, it won’t offend hardly anyone except maaybe few atheists. At the very least it is acceptable to Christians, Jews and maybe even Muslims. And isn’t that what we want at this holidaay season—not to offend anyone?
As for the First Couple’s “best wishes for a holiday season of hope and happiness,” that’s nice, but where is Christmas? Maybe they’ll send a Christmas card later, although I’m not betting on it/
What a shame that, apparently for political reasons, a president who professes to be a strong Christian turns his back on the celebration of his Savior’s birth because he doesn’t wish to offend anyone—except, maybe his fellow Christians.
Merry Christmas everyone
Nov. 25, 2005--John Murtha is a Democrat congressman. He is also a wounded veteran of the Vietnam war who won a Bronze Star for heroism. Therefore, no matter how dumb he might be, he is given great credibility by the liberal mainstream media when it agrees with him. as it does when he proposes that the United States should hightail it out of Iraq in much the same way that it did in Vietnam.
No one doubts Mr. Murtha’s bravery or patriotism, nor should they. But that does not, and should not, exempt him from doubts about his IQ or his common sense. The fact is there is no correlation between brains and bravery. Neither do medals for heroism fit a man to set policy for the country. The liberals know or should know these things, but they figure a lot of their fellow Americans do not.
So they hold up John Murtha as a wise old warrior whose medals and wounds qualify him as one whose advice should be heeded, even when that advice means abandoning an ally and a cause. Why not? Murtha must wonder. We did it in his war—Vietnam—so why not here?
This is not a very nice war. No wars are nice. This one, however, is less so because our leaders made the same mistake another generation made in Vietnam; they thought the enemy would be a pushover.
But because the road is longer than they thought and the way is tougher and the libs have begun clamoring, there is no reason for the United States to fold it tents and go home, John Murtha to the contrary not withstanding.
The United States did that in Korea and again in Vietnam. Who could ever trust us again if we make it three out of three? What soldier would ever again go willingly into battle if he knew that those who sent him there had their white flags cleaned and pressed and ready to wave.
Not even John Murtha, I’ll bet.
Nov. 23, 2005—Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. I hope you have much to be thankful for. As for me, I’m thankful to be alive and to have family gaathered around for this special day. I am thankful that I was born in and live in the land of the free with all that that implies.
I am thankful that there is a God, a Creator to whom I can be thankful.
Thanksgiving, of course, is a religious holiday, whether or not one wants to admit it. Giving thanks implies that there is a superior Someone to be thankful to for the blessings one has received during the year. If God does not exis then who does one thank? His lucky stars?
I feel sorry for athiests. Who do they turn to in their hour of need or their time of joy? I have no idea. But I know who I turn to and in His name I again wish all who read this a happy Thanksgiving and much to be thankful for in the yearr ahead.
Oct. 31, '05--Conservatives are pleased with the president's selectiion of Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court. For them Alito bit goes a long way.
Oct. 7, 2005--It doesn’t matter to Harriet Miers that conservatives are suspicious of her, not so long as George W. Bush ad-Miers her.
Conservatives are fearful that Harriet
Will be George Bush’s Iscariot.
They have little doubt
That she’d sell them out
For a ride in a liberal’s chariot.
Conservatives are trying to figure out what attracted the prresident to his proposed new supreme court justice. Could it be something Harriet?
The results of the Chicago-Boston play-off series indicate one thing—White minus Red equals Blue.
Like everyone else, including the lady herself, I don’t have the vaguest idea what kind of a supreme court justice Harriet Miers will make—if, indeed the president hangs tough and she eventually is confirmed.
But I do know one thing: The president made a first class political blunder when he picked her, kind of like his daddy raising taxes a couple of weeks before the 1990 congressional elections. This was a typical Bush family blunder—completely unnecessary and hurtful not just to the president’s relations with his party but more important, to the party itself. That drool you see on the sidewalks these days comes from the Dems slobbering all over themselves with glee. The blood you see is the result of the president sticking sharp sticks in his supporters’ eyes.
One thing you can bet: a lot of Republican politicians will be distancing themselves from the white house in the weeks ahead, figuring it’s more important to hold on to their constituents than it is to hold onto their relations with the president.
And it’s all so unnecessary. On the one hand the president didn’t need to appoint Ms. Miers and thus aggravate his base and on the other, conservatives might have given the lady a chance. But neither event happened.
I suspect the uproar from his base caught George W. completely by surprise. After naming John Roberts as chief justice I suspect he thought conservatives would not question who his next appointee would be. Boy, was he wrong.
Conservatives remember too well David Souter and Tony Kennedy and Sandra O’Connor and a multitude of other justices picked by Republican presidents who drifted leftward to show the liberal Washington elites that they had “grown” in the job. They are not willing to take a chance on a complete unknown whose only apparent qualification is her friendship with the president.
Having said all of this, the odds are good that Ms. Miers will be confirmed. The Democrats will see to it, just for the fun of it. The odds are not so good that she will turn out to be a bright and shining star on the historical record of her mentor and benefactor.
Oct. 4, 2005--A word, or several, on behalf of President Bush and,Harriet Miers, the lady he has selected to fill the O”Connor vacancy on the Supreme Court.. I never heard of the lady before yesterday and I have no idea as to whether she’ll be a good or a bad, conservative or liberal justice. Furthermore, when you come right down to it, neither does the president.
But at least he has as chance of getting his kind of justice on the court because at least he knows the lady.
Too often Republican presidents name justices on somebody else’s recommendation. They don’t know the guy—or the gal—at all. And so they can wind up with a Souter, or a Kennedy, or a Warren or a Stevens when they thought they were getting a Rehnquist or a Scalia.
Ms. Miers may turn out to be not be as conservative as many Republicans, including me, would like, but you can bet that she will be more conservative than some recent Republican appointees.
The fact that she is not a judge is irrelevant. The constitution does not even require that she be a lawyer. The fact that she is a part of theBush inner-circle is relevant.
Bush is committed to picking justices who support the constitution. I doubt that when she takes her place on the bench she will do so with her fingers crossed.
Sept. 30, 2005--The lead editorial in today’s Washington Times, in referring to Tom DeLay’s legal troubles, notes that that has been a “trying week” for Republicans. Actaully that’s not quite right. For DeLay it’s been an indicting week. The trying comes later.
Talking about indictments, it is well to remember that an indictment is not a conviction. An indictment is a tool the government and its representatives too often use to intimidate and persecute citizens against whom it may have a grudge. Criminal lawyers (all lawyers are not criminals) have a saying that government prosecutors can “indict a ham sandwich.”
Their tool is the grand jury. That body was originally set up to protect the citizen from the overweening power of government. It has been hijacked by government,, however, and is now used as a tool of the prosecutors from which the citizen has no recourse..
Persons brought before grand juries are not allowed to have their lawyers present nor do they have the right to question witnesses. They can be and often are browbeaten and insulted and ethreatened by prosecutors and by members of the grand jury. And in the end even a ham sandwich isn’t safe from the vindictiveness of government prosecutors whose job supposedly is not to put their fellow citizens in prison but to see that justice is done.
Prosecutors well know that a conviction is not necessary to ruin a person; an indictment by itself is often enough An indictment to the average citizen strongly implies guilt. An indictment means a trial, means lawyers bills, can mean bankruptcy, can destroy a family, can ruin a business or a career..
Ray Donovan, Reagan's secretary of labor, was indicted, tried and after months was found innocent. Afterward he asked bitterly, "Where do I go to get my reputation back."
No one had an answer.
Perhaps Tom DeLay will be luckier.
Sept 28, 2005—There is little doubt that the senate will approve of Judge John Roberts as the next chief justice of the Supreme Court. What remains in doubt is whast kind of a justice he will turn out to be.
Off of his record to he will be a justice much like his predecessor, the late William Rhenquist, certainly more nearly like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas than, say, David Souter, who was put on the court and inflicted on the American people by the first President Bush.
However, in recent times Republican presidents have had bad luck with some of their supreme court appointees with many of them moving leftward after being appointed. Recall, if you will, Earl Warren,, William J. Brennan, Jr., Johm Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O”Connor, Anthony Kennedy and the aforementioned David Souter.
This does not mean that Roberts will. In fact his record today indicates that he won’t. But conservatices, if they are smart, will keep their fingers crossed, at least for the next few years, remembering that in this town most of the social, cultural and political pressures come from the left.
Sept. 16, 2005—Wes Pruden, who is the editor of the Washington Times also is one of the better and more perspicacious newspaper columnists in this town, asks a pertinent question in today’s column, namely: “Where are the Republicans, awash in their familiar cowardice, to defend the president....?”
Most of the time to many of them are nowhere to be found or else are found consorting with the enemy, critical of what ever stand the president might have taken or might be contemplating, putting their own ambitions first.
Of course, nobody can be expected to support any president all of the time, but on major issues, where there is a clear political division between the parties it is a different matter.
When liberal Democrats demand that a deadline be set for leaving Iraq it seems to me that it is not too much to expect from party leaders that they rally behind the president.. Likewise, the president deserves support for his judicial appointees when Democrats are actively opposing them for reasons having nothing to do with their qualifications.
Nor is it too much to expect that congressional Republicans rally behind their president when Democrats go on the attack merely for the sake of going on the attack.
The fact is, Democrats are determined to destroy any legacy George Bush might leave behind. From the beginning of Bush’s first term they have been united in that endeavor, believing there is no other way for them to regain control of the reins of government.
Unfortunately, the people who should should know this and who should be supporting the president too often leave him twisting in the wind, forgetting that in the long run it will not be just George Bush who is the loser; it may well be—come the next election--the Republican party and the country itself.
Aug. 25, 2005--“How can people reach such high positions and then suddenly become so stupid?”
A friend in California, a political junkie, writes me this in utter frustration. He is referring, of course, to the governor of California, Arnold Shwarzenegger who started out like a house on fire and is winding up as little more than a pile of luke warm ashes.
My friend, here are some answers, which should come as no surprise.
.Reaching high position, either elective or appointive, is one thing. Serving well, living up to commitments, showing good judgment, exerting political courage, keeping promises under pressure, putting principle ahead of political ambition are something else again.
Let’s deal here with elective positions, governor, say, but the same principles apply to dog catchers and presidents.
Rarely is a person elected to high office solely because he or she is the most able, the most qualified, the most fit. There are too many other factors involved: The quality and numbers of the opposition, the make-up and turnout of the electorate, the issues, the ability of the candidates to appeal to the voters, money, the ability and enthusiasm of those running the campaign. Lastly, but maybe most important, everything else being reasonably equal, elections are won by the candidates who make the fewest mistakes.
None of this has much to do with how a person will run his office once elected and that is the mistake most peple make; they think and expect the person they elected will be the same having won your vote that he was when seeking it.. It never happens. Not with Arnie Shwarzenegger, not even with Ronald Reagan. You’re expecting too damn much if you expect this.
Things, once you get on the inside, are always a lot different than they appeared to be when you were on the outside. Nothing is as simple, nothing is as cheap and for darn sure, nothing is as solvable.
It’s no longer a case of “I will do this or that” but rather a case of “Howcome those s.o.bs in the legislature keep screwing up what has to be done?”
It’s no longer a case of fulfilling campaign promises but one of dealing not with what you said you’d do but dealing with what has to be done.
Politics is always a game of tradeoffs. A legislator can stand firm, knowing he has the support of his fellows. A egovernor or president has to get something done which means making a deal, giving a little to get a little.
Issues come up after a person is elected (Nine-Eleven for instance) that are unexpected, that may call for breaking campaign promises.
I am just scratching the surface here—books can and have been written on the subject—but one more thing needs to be said.
Ambition! The most important thing to almost all politicians is to get reelected. For term-limited governors and presidents it’s to leave behind a legacy. These are more important than principles or promises. When you see a governor or president flip-flopping on a major issue it’s because he thinks it’s to his political advantage to do so. It makes no difference if he’s wrong if he thinnks he’s right. It makes no differenc if he breaks your heart or a few others if he thinks it’s for his long term good. You think what he’s doing is stupid; you know it’s dishonest. Maybe so. But will it help get him re-elected? Will it send him into the history books as a great man? Nothing else matters. Which is why you and I and others who care and believe are left frustrated and in tears. Regardless, this is and always will be life in a political democracy and anyone who expects anything different is living in a dream world..
Aug. 12, 2005--When they come to write the story of the rise of the New Right as part of the growth of the conservative movement in the last half of the 20th century one of the names that will be writ large is Paul weyrich. I have not always agreed with Paul. I am part of the libertarian fringe of the conservative movement. Paul is not. I am a Reaganite. Paul is not. You think I am sot in my ways and beliefs? Meet Paul Weyrich.
Everybody has a right to be wrong and Paul has taken full advantage of that fact.
And yet I say without hesitation that few men have been as important to the growth of modern-day conservatism as Paul Weyrich. Without him there would be no Heritage Foundation. Without him the New Right likely would have floundered before it ever got off the ground.
Weyrich is one of those who puts principle before politics. On the surface that sounds great, but politics is a way of getting something done and unless you figure out a way to convert principle into action it (principle) ceases to have much meaning.
As a matter of principle Weyrich once decided Ronald Reagan was unfit to be president and he and a few others of like mind decided to find a more dedicted conservative to be the Republican presidential nominee. Their man was Indiana Rep. Philip Crain who foolishly seized the bait, lost big and quickly and and hasn’t been heard from since. Worse, after Reagan was elected ,Weyrich and his mates were left sitting on the outside looking in.
In a way that was too bad. In another way it wasn’t all that bad; it left Paul owing Reagan nothing and free to second guess and criticize, the importance of which cannot be minimized.
Paul is one of those essential persons who operates better and more effectively on the outside.
A while back Paul had a nasty accident that left him crippled and in constant pain. Doctors decided that the only way to alleviate the pain was to amputate his legs. That was to be done this week.
If you can spare one, lift a prayer to the Lord on Paul’s behalf. He is a brave man, a principled man and a man who has fought most of his life to make this a better country.
Aug. 7, 2005--To those of you out there in the great beyond who have not given up all hope: "Musings" lives! Sort of.
As some of you know, we've been fighting off the Big C, which has taken more time and energy than I had expected. How long the fight will last or who the eventual winner will be only God knows. In the meantime don't bet against me.
In the meantime, also, I'm hanging in there.
Thank all of you who have written, called, e-mailed, prayed and in other ways emerged from the woodworks to let me know you missed me; the feeling is mutual. It is difficult for me adequately to thank you, so I shall not try. But, anyway--Thanks!
July 20, 2005—It’s probably been said before.but I don’t know why they don’t change the name of that French bicycle race to the Tour d’Lance.
The only way they’re going to keep Armstrong from winning that race is to put up sign that says. “No pedalers.”
If John Roberts is the strict constitutionalist they say he is maybe we can begin calling the constitution Roberts Rules of Order.
July 18, 2005—Sorry folks!
I had meant to write today.
Even knew what i wanted so say,
Had it all pretty well rehearsed,
But doctors today must come first
So the things that I had to say
Must wait for another day.
“That’s life,” the philosopher said,
“And will be until you are dead.”
Regardless, tomorrow I write
And put all those doctors to flight.
Please know the things that I’d say.
By tomorrow will not go away.
Thanks for your patience!
July 15, 2005—Catching up.......
You may have read about the controversy involving Ken Tomlinson, that dirty old conservative who heads up the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Democrats and liberals (mostly one and the same) have complained because Tomlinson wants to bring political balance to the generally left-leaning, tax financed National Public Radio.
It seems to me there is an easy way to solve the problem. Abolish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio and any other propaganda outlet financed by your tax money and mine.
It is an outrage that the thieves in both parties who dominate congress can use tax revenues for no good purpose, including the financing of propaganda outlets.
I say this knowing full well ain’t nothing going to change: we are stuck with CPB and NPR, mainly because you, the voters don’t give a darn or don’t make your objections known and if you’re content to let congress squander your money on illigitimate programs the congress will certainly continue to squander it with the tacit consent of the president. Thse guys are interested in buying votes; they’re not interested in governing well.
As you can see, I came here today to tilt at windmills. Sorry about that.
I keep thinking about the liberal effort to canonize Sandra Day O'Connor as one of the Supreme Court greats. What a joke. She was appointed by President Reagan at the urging of Barry Goldwater as a political sop to feminists. She was not a great legal mind and was not one of Reagan’s better appointments, mainly because she was ruled by her emotions rather than by logic or any particular knowledge of the Constitution. The best thing she has done is resign. For this she deserves our praise
I don’t know or care if this president intends to replace her with another woman. The important thing is that he replace her with someone who knows and believes in the constitution, who will decide law and not make it and who willsnot let his/her feeling of right and wrong, good and bad, up and down affect his/her decisions.
It would be a pleasant change. And I can dream, can’t I?
July 14, 2005--First, I wish to thank all those who have emailed and phoned words of encouragement and who have remembered me in their prayers. I am grateful.
Second, the rhymester, Joy Skilmer, whose doggerel has graced these pages over the years, has grasped the opportunity to announce his retirement as “Musings poet laureate.” I have written the following verse in recognition of his departure.
FAREWELL, JOY SKILMER
Farewell, farewell, Joy Skilmer, bard
Of politics. You labored hard
Over the years to tell in verse
About the good, the bad, the worse
In politics and government.
Many an hour it was you spent
Reaming and rhyming liberals,
Also their left-wing Demo pals.
Billy Clinton and Albert Gore
And of that ilk some dozens more
All felt the sharp point of your pen
As you stuck it to them again
And again. Republicans, too,
Who strayed from Red to Demo Blue
And moved to take the lib’ral path
Also were victims of your wrath
As you sought in your own small way
To save the rights we have today.
But that was then, Joy Skilmer, bard.
Now you’ve retired to your backyard,
Leaving a verse to say goodbye
And the fight to another guy!
July 8, 2005—Friends, Romans, countrymen and others who may from time to time read these musings:
You—some of you at least—have wondered where is the daily input; is Nofziger on vacation?
I would it were so.
The truth is, I am having some serious health problems which is not unusual for people of 81. They have, to put it mildly,. impeded me. Pain makes writing difficult. Visits to doctors take time away from more important things. Contemplating the hereafter also is time consuming.
At any rate, at this particular time and into the foreseeable future entries into Musings will be sporadic. I hope you will bear with me.
I have enjoyed writing Musings for the last seven years and hope, God willing, that I can continue for another seven, but am not willing to bet on it. While I have written largely for my own amusement, the fact that others havc enjoyed what I have written has given me considerable satisfaction.
In recent days some of you have asked if there is anything you can do for me. Yes there is., You can remember me in your prayers. I will be grateful.
Like most conservatives in this town I am hoping that President Bush will name one of us to the Supreme Court. But I am not willing to bet on it.
Yes, I know he promised. But hey! He’s a politician and he’s the president and that combinaation can always find a reason for not living up to a campaign promise. Remember, he promised to veto the McCain/Feingold campaign finance bill, then signed it. So there is precedent
Every president in living memory has violated campaign promises, even the sainted Ronald Reagan. So who is George Bush to be different?
Of course it will be a disappointment if the president names an overt “moderate” but the odds are against that happening. It is a rare president who names justices whom he knows disagree with him but unfortunately, as presidents George H.W. Bush an d Ronald Reagan both learned to their dismay, high court appointees don’t always turn out to be what they are expected to be. Examples: David Souter, Anthony Kennnedy andd that new heroine of the left, Sandra Day O’Connor.
In any event, with his choice to replace Justice O’Connor, President Bush has an opportunity to go down in history as a man of principle and committment. Let’shope he doesn’t botch it.
June 28, 2005—I have so me suggestions regarding the supreme court. 1. That members face an up or down vote by the people at regular intervals, meaning that idiocy and ignorance no longer would be assured lifetime tenure on the court. 2. That members be forced to take an annual test on their knowledge of the constitution. 3. That all 5-4 decisions be sunsetted and revisited every so often.
There was a time we thought the fort
Defending freedom was the court
That sits on high and reigns supreme.
But now we know ‘twas but a dream.
The highest court in all our land
No longer seems to understand
The constitution’s full intent
Or that the founding fathers meant
For it to keep our country free
And to insure man’s liberty.
But liberty no longer seems
To be the thing this court esteems.
It rules instead that governments
In general takes precedence
And we who once had liberty
Now must bow down to tyranny.
Or stand and fight for freedom’s ground.
It worked before, the Redcoats found.
by Joy Skilmer
June 23, 2005—A reader who generally agrees with me (he must be a right-wing kook) takes issue with me regarding my support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. He worries that that would be a step toward legalizing marijuana for general usage.
First of all. I do not favor such a step although for the life of me I cannot see why a society that permits the general use of alcohol, in many ways more dangerous and more addictive than marijuana, can justify the use of the one but not the other.
Let it be noted here that I have never tried marijuana, but cannot say the same for whiskey, gin and other alcoholic beverages.
But back to the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Two points. One is a matter of states rights. If the people of a state favor the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes what right does the federal government have to deny them that right? I know, the Supreme Court recently handed down a far-fetched ruling that used the constitution’s interstate commerce clause to outlaw the growing by an individual of marijuana for that individual’s personal use. Ridiculous!
Point two. Regardless of what the feds say, marijuana, while not a cure, does have a palliative effect. It has been known to stay the advance of glaucoma. It relieves pain in instances where nothing else seems to work. It can ease the effects of multiple sclerosis. And this: An adult daughter of mine died of cancer a number of years ago. Like all cancer victims she was given chemotherapy treatment, the side effects of which were nausea and diarrhea which weakened her and caused her to lose weight. None of the legal remedies, including the highly touted marinol, helped. In desperation we turned to marijuana. It did the trick. It ended the nausea and the diarrhea. She actually put on weight. Of course it did not cure her, neither did the chemotherapy, but for while it did make her life more bearable. And yet this administration of so-called compassionate conservatives continues to ban the use of marijuana for people for whom such usage would make their lives more bearable.
Now I know what they say about marijuana—that it is worse than tobacco. But remember these things: First, users of medical marijuana do not smoke two or three packs a day. They smoke a relatively small amount. And second. If you are already dying or are in constant pain who cares if marijuana is bad for you? Not I.
If the time ever comes when I am in constant pain and nothing else works, believe you me I’m gonna find me some pot, the administration and the supreme court to the contrary not withstanding.
June 22, 2005—Connecticut Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd is one of those persons who want the United States to move the terrorists it holds prisoner from their current lodgings at the Guantanamo naval base. He thinks we ought to ship them off either to Iraq or Afghanistan and let one or both of those two unstable nations worry about them. That way, he naively assumes. the peacenicks. the America haters and Bush haters will qutk picking on us. Would it were so.
The proposal brings several thoughts to mind. First, if you were a terrorist being held at the place Rush Limbaugh calls “Club Gitmo,” would you really want to be moved to Iraq or Afghanistan to be guarded by people who hate you and who are not bound by any civilized rules, where you might not be fed as well, where you might not get your prayer rugs and Korans. Someone needs to poll the prisoners.
Second, would the world criticize the U.S, for shipping these poor innocents off to the desert and desolate gulags of A and I? Silly question. The answer, of course, is yes.
Third, could we depend on A or I to hold them indefinitely, to treat them humanely, feed them properly, air condition their quarters? Do pigs fly?
It seems to me that the only way to satisfy world opinion, if that is what is most important, is to turn the buggers lose so that they can resume their careers as terrorists and rejoin the jehad against the great satan who is us.
One of the things George Bush does well is stand firm against his critics. How he responds to demands that he shut down the Gitmo terrorist prison will be a test of his resolve.
June 20, 2005--A District of Columbia council member named Vincent B. Orange Sr. says he’ll run for mayor. If he wins the first thing on his agenda will be to change the name of the District of Columbia to Orange County. The mayor’s race will be a close one but Orange hopes to squeeze out a narrow victory. With luck he’ll gain the backing of O.J. Simpson—a case of “the Juice” supporting the Orange. Finally, if Mr. Orange, who is black, didn’t go to Princton he should have—since Princton’s colors are orange and black.
A couple of elections ago Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) considered running for president. Then it was revealed that he had plagiarized a speech and so he never ran. But now he says he’s going to run in 2008. Apparently all these years he’s just been Biden his time. However, a lot of people, including the lady senator from York, think the idea is nothing short of Hillaryous.
The more I think about it the more I think that the way the United States conducted its losing war in Vietnam in the ‘60s and ‘70’s was the beginning of the decline of this country as a world power. Oh, I know that this country is regarded as (for the time being anyway) as the world’s only superpower. But what good is that appelation if we will not or cannot win a war, if we are all blow and no go.
And that is the current situation with the War on Terror, especially as it is being fought these days not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also on the home front.
We hear talk that Americans do not take the war seriously because as a nation they are not being asked to sacrifice. And there is certainly a great deal of truth to that. But the probem goes deeper.
Since and including Vietnam our wars have been fought as public spectacles. Modern technology and modern attitudes have changed the nature of warfare. And I’m not talking about bombs and guns. I’m talking about coverage of our wars by our news media. I’m talking about the televising of the horrors of war, about the pictures of the dead and the maimed and the dying. I’m talking about news media attitudes which focus not on winning the war but on the costs of war in terms of lives. I’m talking about the daily drumbeat of the media on the negative aspects of the war, the emphasis on the bad, the ignoring of the good, the general approach that the United States is wrong, that when you come right down to it we have no business being where we are or doing what we’re doing.
Cris Core, a radio talk show host in our town, and a very good one, suggested the other day that we can’t win a war as long as we give the news media free rein to cover it because their negative coverage eventually persuades the public, including members of the congress, not only that the war is unwinnable but also that we’re in the wrong and that we, not the enemy, are the real villains. Abu Graib and Guantanamo are examples.
Core suggests that the administration no longer let the news media cover the war since most of their reporting is negative.
Sounds like a good idea, but the problem is, it won’t work. You can’t put the genii back in the bottle or the toothpaste back in the tube; you can’t unscramble the egg and you can’t keep the news media out of Iraq. Americans maybe, but not foreign reporters, not the pro-terrorist Al Jazeera.
Imagine, if you will, the outcry from the media, from the Democrats and many Republicans, from the congress if the administration were to talk of barring reporters from the war zone. It won’t work.
I have no answer to the problem. You can’t call on the media to change its ways in the name of patriotism because most of their members do not think it unpatriotic to emphasize the negativel and there is that little thing called “The First Amendment”which gives them coverage.
It boils down to this: Modern technology and modern-day attitudes in the news media, regardless of public support at a war’s beginning eventually turn the public against it, regardless of merit of the war or the need to fight and win it.
In the future any administration taking this nation into a war is going to have to figure out a way to keep the public rallied behind it, keep both politcal parties supporting it, keeping convincing the media of the rightness of our cause. And that, my friends, ain’t gonna be easy.
June 17, 2005—Today’s question: What do you get when you cross a Hummer with a Volkswagen? Today’s answer: A Humbug.
I think the average decent human being insstinctively rebels at the idea of torturing or physically degrading a fellow human.
That is why the pictures that came out of Abu Graib were so shocking and repellant and why allegations that third degree methods have been used on prisoners being held at Guantanamo have resulted in an outcry from the bleeding heart left. That is why, too, that the Geneva Convention specifies that prisoners of war musts be treated humanely. And that is why it is hard to forget after all these years the brutal treatment of Americans held captive by the North Vietnamese.
And yet when you come right down to it, this is a different kind of war the United States is fighting against a different kind of enemy, a merciless enemy for whom rules of civilized conduct do not apply. An enemy who kills and tortures and maims at will and with glee. An enemy who does not fight soldier to soldier on a battle field, but who kills women, children, innocent bystanders with equal abandon. An enemy with no conscience, no sense of right or wrong. And enemy who is not a soldier but an ununiformed terrorist.who fights by no rules except his own.
And for the United States to attempt to fight and deal with this enemy by the rules of traditional 20th Century warfare is to fight with one arm tied firmly behind its back. The same can be said for treating terrorists we have captured as if they were the same as the German and Italian and Japanese prisoners of war of World War II. These guys have no name, rank or serial number; they are not soldiers or sailors or airmen, they are terrorists pure and simple, they have no aim except to kill and murder and main those they hate, including Americans.
Turn them lose they’ll go back to killing Americans and others they deem enemies of Islam. They’ll go back to beheading captives just for fun.
These are not civilized people as we know the meaning of civilization. To them, decent treatment by the United States of captured terrorists is a sign of weakness.
Even members of the United States congress—house and senate, alike—should know this. Even members of congress and the news media should understand, also, that this is a war the United States cannot afford to lose. We could lose Vietnam because in losing we did not endanger our nation or our people. But unless we win the war on terror we open ourselves to the same kind of ongoing terrorist attacks we have seen in Iraq, Israel and many other parts of the world. Unless we win this war 9/11 was just the beginning.
And that is why we cannot fight an uncivilized, evil and merciless enemy the same way we have fought our previous wars. And if this means we have to take extraordinary steps to get information that will save American lives, if this means we must imprison captured terrorists indefinitely, then so be it.
There is much at stake here in terms of freedom and lives and a liveable world. And we will lose it all if our leaders knuckle under to the whining and complaining and the irrational demands of some people in the congress, and the news media and other public places who refuse to face reality.
June 16, 2005—In the first place these are grreat times for making money without working. In the second place, these also are great times for making a dishonest dollar without going to jail. What immediately comes to mind are the various lotteries where some guy too poor to have a cuspidor to spit in winds up as a multimillionaire. Which is okay by me. In fact it almost persuades me that I should go out and buy a lottery ticket.
But this is not really what I’m thinking about today. What I’m thinking about today are a couple of people preparing to cash in on what it best can bedescribed as their questionable activities.
One is Mark Felt, the sneaky leaky FBI agent whose heartFelt dislike of Richard Nixon for not promoting him into J. Edgar Hoover’s job led to his betrayal of his oath and his organization through his role as the Deep Throat of Woodward and Bernstein notoriety.
The other is the nutty “runaway bride,” Jennifer Wilbanks.
The 91-year-old Felt, who confessed a couple of weeks ago that he is/was Deep Throat, has, according to the Washington Post, a book deal and a movie deal. The amounts Felt will be paid for the two deals was not disclosed but each should come to more than 30 pieces of silver.
Miss Wilbanks has hit it pretty good for a ditzy broad who did nothing more than duck out on her wedding and then lie about it. For this she and her fiance, John Mason, get a cool half a mil and a one-hour prime time TV special. That’s almost enough to make one think it was planned that way.
Next thing you know some outfit will be buying the Michael Schiavo story about how he pulled the feeding tube on his brain-damaaged wife to put her out of her misery and so he could marry his mistress. Be interesting to see what his story is worth to the nation’s entertainment industry.
Tom Cruise is said to be line to play the Mark Felt role. No talk yet about who will play Jennifer Wilbanks or Mike Schiavo.
June 14, 2005—I voted today—a straight Republican ticket—in the Virginia primary election. A light turnout is expected, about 10 percent.Too bad.
The polls opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m. A couple of things occured to me as I went through the voting process. First, I was pleased that the ladies handling the voter registration books asked for a picture ID. Justr confirming my name and address was not enough. They needed proof that I was who I said I was.
But the other thing that occured to me was that I, and every one else who votes, should thank the patriotic citizens who get up early and work late in order to make it possible for us to exercise our right to vote. So I did just that. I thanked the three ladies—there were only three because of the expected light turnout—for making it possible for me to vote. They were pleased and, I think, a little surprised. I expect they are used to being taken for granted. I’m not going to do that anymore because these are the people who make our system work. Thank you, ladies. Thank you.
One other thing. I don’t like these new fangled voting machines. I have no way of knowing if my votes have been registered and counted. I liked the old-fashioned ballots, hanging chads and all. If they were good enough to elect George Washington, they’re good enough for me.
Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. today gives us the Republican presidential ticket for 2008, although I wouldn’t bet on it. The ticket? John McCain for president and Jeb Bush for vice president.
The theory behind the thinking is two-fold. One—McCain will to anything to get to be president, even going so far as to accept a Bush as a running mate. Two--the Bushes will do anything to carry on the family dynasty, even going to far as to stoop to having Jeb be McCain’s running mate.
Just for the fun of it, if you accept that the theory is accurate, you still have to get there from here which is a lot different from talking about it.
Let’s start with McCain. He was born on Aug. 29, 1936 which means he would be the oldest man ever to be nominated for president by a major party—2 ½ years older than Ronald Reagan was. Is that too long in the tooth? I think it probably is. Furthermore, McCain is not a team player; he is a maverick,. He has his fans in the party; he also has his enemies. He is not a conservative, rather he would use government to control people.
He is a long way from being a sure bet to be the Republican nominee.
In 2008 Jeb Bush no longer will be governor of Florida which pretty much means if he wishes to continue his political career he must run for president—against, among others, John McCain. Whether Americans will accept a third Bush is a moot point at the moment, but here’s a couple of things to consider. First, the Bush money machine and political organization will be at his beck and call. Second, it has always been generally agreed that he, not brother George, was the politician in the family. So why should e hang around waiting to be the disagreeable and erratic John McCain’s running mate when he has a real shot at the whole enchilada?
Republicans won’t pick their ticket for three years, but their presidential hopefuls will begin running after the ’06 midterm elections. In the meantime a lot of trial baloons will be floated and most will be punctured early on. I think that McCain is almost a sure bet to run. Jeb Bush a little less so. And who knows who else will come out of the wood work. I don’t, but I know some one will, maybe even someone I can vote for.
June 13, 2005—Well, here we are again. No need to go into details but last week was a bad week which is why you were spared five days of drivel. Anyway, here we go again.
Regarding last week’s ridiculous Supreme Court decision that in effect said growing a few marijuana plants for personal use was verboten under the interstate commerce clause, one wonders what got into the ordinarily very sane and very sensible Antonin Scalia in voting with the six to three majority. Is that boy bucking for chief justice? And does he think that aligning himself with the administration’s anti-medical marijuana fanatics will help get him the job? I hope not. I want to think better of Scalia than that; I want to think this was just an aberation that won’t be repeated. I would hate to think that after all these years our Antonin has turned out to be nothing but a scali(a)wag.
Talking about medical marijuana the high court’s decision brought out usual bunch of no-nothing idiots—primarily Republicans-- to denounce the use of marijuana for medical purposes and to claim that it has little or no medicinal value.
These are cruel, mean and self-righteous people who put their own narrow-minded, unsubstantiated opinons ahead of the suffering of persons on chemotherapy, persons with glaucoma, persons with various wasting diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
I will not again go into my own family’s experience with the palliative benefits of marijuana. Suffice it to say that we know first hand that they exist. What a shame that the compassionate conservatives of the Bush administration refuse to acknowledge that fact.
The other story last week had to do with Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, DNC. That’s Doctor of Name Calling. Howlin’ Howard has a lot of Republicans and some Democrats in a tizzy because he’s been saying bad things about Republicans. He says, for instance, that we’re the “white Christian Party. I, for one, plead guilty, but he should try telling that to lmy Jewish friends, my black friends, my hispanic friend and a few Asians I know who pass as Republicans. Where, for goodness sake, is Hiram Fong when we need him?
Howlin’ Howard also hates us because we’re “evil” and because instead of working we vote while Democrats, on the other hand, are toobusy working to take time to vote.
Anyway, this is all much ado about nothing. Howlin’ Howard is having a good time calling names, Republicans are having a good time pretending outrage and some Democrats with ambitious plans are just a bit embarassed. No matter, the next presidential election will notr hinge on who or what Dean attacks next. Bet on it.
June 3, 2005—The Washington Post, having been scooped on its own story, is doing its best to make the alleged unveiling of Deep Throat of Watergate fame into an important story. It ain’t. It is merely a fun story in this town where the interesting is often mistaken for the important.
In its effort to make sure that nothing remotely related to Watergate is overlooked, the Post, obiously acting on tip, perhaps from a latter day wouldbe Deep Throat, stationed a reporter outside the semi-exclusive Georgetown Club in the Georgetown section of Washington. The Post had heard that a group of old—and I do mean old--Nixon administration political appointees were gathering to honor the memory of Nixon’s friend and attorney general, the late John Mitchell who was heading up Nixon’s re-election campaign at the time of the Watergate break-in.
So far, so good.
But of course the Post thought there must be something sinister about the meeting. Certainly there could be nothing innocent about a gathering of Mitchell’s friends, most of whom hailed from the dark days of Watergate and The Committee to Re-elect the President.
So the reporter stood outside the entry to the Georgetown Club—the attendants wouldn’t let him in—and tried to find out what was going on inside. Without much luck. Primarily because there wasn’t much going on.
Because I left the party early—yes, I am one of those who attends this annual meeting of The Friends of John Mitchell and I am proud to count myself among his friends—the Post reporter was able to talk to me. One of my weaknesses, having been a reporter once myself, is that I talk to reporters. I don’t always tell them anything, but I talked to them.
I explained to this young man—I’m not sure he believed me—that this was an annual dinner, almost always held in June and that it was pure coincidence that it was being held in conjunction with the disclosure that the FBI’s former number two man, Mark Felt , was Deep Throat, the person who fed information—kind of Felt tips--about Watergate to Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. I pointed out that last year the dinner happened to be scheduled during the ceremonies surrounding the death of Ronald Reaga, another coincidence. Next year, who knows?
Actually, to the best of my memory, the Mitchell dinners have been held for the last 15 or so years. President Nixon attended at least one. They are stag get-togethers of old friends, they are informal, attendees come in from various parts of the country, no plots are hatched and Watergate is not the main topic of conversation. It was not last night, either.
June 1, 2005--A correspondent writes in regard to yesterday’s item about Michael Jackson and makes the point that the Santa Barbara district attorney’s aim is not just to convict Jackson but to destroy him. I’ll buy that.
And I think anyone who has stood up to defend himself against the legal arm of the government at any level will agree.
The United States prides itsself on having the world’s best and fairest justice system which only goes to show how bad the other justice systems are.
It is a rare government prosecutor who seeks justice rather than conviction. And it is a rare person who has the financial resources and the intestinal fortitude to fight the government if it seriously wants to get you.
Government has almost unlimited resources that it can throw at a person it wants to send to prison. Many an innocent person has copped a plea because he had no other choice. I know a man who pleaded guilty and spent 2 1/2 years in prison because a vindictive prosecutor told him “if we convict you you’ll never be around to see your children grow up.” He wasn’t willing to take that chance.
Government prosecutors can lean on potential witnesses to make them say just about anything and then coach them until they have their lies down pat. If you don’t believe that’s the case ask my friend. He’s been there.
And don’t talk to me about grand juries which once were there to provide a buffer between government and the accused. They have become tools of the government. Prosecutors have a favorite line, to wit: “We can indict a ham sandwich.”
It really doesn’t matter all that much if a person is found guilty by a jury because in the process the government can destroy the defendant’s reputation, his business and his family. And it can bankrupt him.
After Ronald Reagan’s first Secretary of Labor, Ray Donovan, after a lengthy trial was found innocent of some trumped-up charge he asked plaintively, “Where to I go to get my reputation back?”
Government had no answer nor was it interested in providing one.
It will take the same attitude if Jackson is found innocent.
In a town that’s known for its overblown stories the most overblown story of the year to date has to do with ex-FBI agent Mark Felt’s confession that he is the notorious “Deep Throat” of Watergate fame.
When you come right down to it, who cares?
Not me, for sure.
Besides, I don’t care what Felt says or what reporters Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein say or what former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee says, I still think that “Deep Throat consisted of more than one source. I still believe that whenever Woodward and Bernstein couldn’t quote a source for something they wanted to write they quoted a fictitious character they called “Deep Throat.”
This doesn’t mean that Felt didn’t supply them with anonymous information. There is no doubt that he did. Buat Idon’t believe he was alone. That there was only one Deep Throat is pretty hard to swallow
Others I know share my belief. It will be interesting to see what comes out in the next week or so after the bloggers go to work on the story.
May 31, 2005—I don’t think there is a normal person in the world who doesn’t thing Michael Jackson is a weirdo. But that really is neither here nor there. Everybody has a right, if he or she so desires, to be an oddball and if it is Jackson’s desire to be a forever young white boy living in a Peter Pan World why should I care? For that matter, why should the district attorney of Sana Barbara County care and why should he set out to prove that Jackson is not only a nut case but also a child molester when, in fact,he should be prosecuting the greedy and star-stricken parents who willingly subjected their sons to Jackson’s alleged sexual advances.
Jackson’s trial is staggering to an end out in Santa Maria, Calif. and the Associated Press tells us that “closing arguments could prove more decisive here than in many other trials.” And less decisive, I suppose, than in many other trials, also.
Me, I kind of hope Jackson beats the rap. I’v e never seen him in concert, I’ve never heard him sing, I’ve never seen sister Janet expose one of her breasts. The entire Jackson family means zilch to me. But I have a hunch there are a lot worse sexual predators wandering loose in Santa Barbara County than Michael Jackson. Only thing is, if the District Attorney gets a conviction in this case it will be a real feather in his cap which would not be the case if Jackson were a nobody. In fact, if Jackson were a nobody he’d probably not be on trial.
Such is life for the rich and famous. At least some of them.
I see where Holy Howard Dean, the Democratic National Chairman, is running around quoting the Bible in an effort to prove that, even more than Republicans, Democrats have religious values. But Howling Howard picked a strange verse to prove his point. He recently told a batch of Florida Democrats that “I saw in the Bible that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kindom of heaven.”
Hapless Howard apparently would like us to forget that members of his party include the likes of Ted Kennedy, George Soros, Barbra Streisand, Jane Fonda, Jon Corzine and a host of other multi million and even billionaires. Indeed, it is the Republicans, not the Democrats whose ranks of givers are filled with small contributors. No matter. Hustling Howard may have his strong points, but truth and accuracy are not two of them.
I note with interest Holy Howard’s terminology. A person familiar with the New Testament ordinarily would say, “The Bible says...”
But Holy Howard says, “I saw in the Bible...” as if he’d only now stumbled across something he hadn’t seen before. Which, coming from a man who once said that Job was his favorite book in the New Testament, is probably the case.
May 27, 2005--Used to be that all you found in the middle of the road were white lines and dead skunks. No longer. They’ve been joined by seven Republican senators.
It’s a mistake to call the seven Republican senaators who joined with the Democrats to preserve their “right” to filibuster judicial appointeesl “squishes.” Only six are squishes. The seventh, John McCain, ain’t nobody’s squish. He is, however, a man who hates George Bush, a man who wants to be president so bad he can taste it and a man who goes his own way in the senate without much regard for the Republican leadership.
You can look for McCain to throw a monkey wrench in the Republican works whenever it suits his presidential ambitions or he can make life difficult for the president.
The Democratic filibuster of John Bolton’s nomination as ambassador to the United Nations should come as no surprise. Senate Democrats, under the leadership of Harry Reid are determined to harry President Bush throughout his second term. It is clear that they are determined to paint him to the voting public as an ineffective president and a tool of the far right. Furthermore they are prepared not to let facts or the truth get in the way of their endeavors. Thus the smearing, first of several of Bush’s judicial appointees, then of Bolton, then the filibusters of the judicial appointees that only ended when it appeared that the Republicans were prepared to change the rules regarding filibusters, and now the delaying tactic used against Bolton.
What seemingly is behind this is the assumption that if Republicans can be depicted as weak and ineffective Democrats can pick up congressional seats, both in the house and the senate, next year and will have a better shot at the white house in 2008.
And they could be right.
Certainly it behooves the Republicans from the president on down to take tougher stands and, indeed, to go on the attack if only because they cannot afford to sit idly by while Harry the Harrier continues to harry them. Do you suppose the Republican leadership will ever figure this out?
The thought that the Republicans have a 10-vote edge in the United States senate is a snare and an illusion. Yes, there are 55 senators who call themselves Republicans and who were elected as Republicans but what is often overlooked is that half a dozen of them are genuine, certified, dyed-in-the-wool RINOs (Republicans in name only) and several more view themselves as above-partisanship statesmen. This means there are somewhere around 10 Republicans who in a pinch cannot be counted on, at least five of whom at any one time can be counted on to vote with the Democrats.
Let me name them: Lincoln Chaffee, R.I.; Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, Maine; Arlen Specter, Pa.; John Warner, Va.; John McCain, Ariz.; Chuck Hagle, Neb., George Voinovich and Mike deWine, Ohio; Lindsey Graham, S.C.
These ten and perhaps one or two others time after time leave the Republican leadership scrambling for votes and just as often assure the Democrats the votes they need to block administration proposals, appointees and policies.
Such is life under the capitol dome. And such will it ever be until Republican leadership finally figure out that they are going to have to beat some of these people in primaries and quit supporting them for re-election just because they have an R after their names.
May 25, 2005—One of the things I do to fill the waning hours of my life is write book reviews, mainly for the Washington Times. One of the great things about being a book reviewer is that you read books that wouldn’t ordinarily interest you. Another thing is that from time to time you run into interesting passages that don’t necessarily belong in a review.
Recently I read and reviewed a book by National Review magazine’s white house reporter, Byron York, titled “The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. It—the review--will probably run next Wednesday on the Times’ op ed page, so I will not discuss it here. However, there was a paragraph in the book that I do want to discuss. It has to do with the constitution.
I quote: “...many of the founders (of this nation) believed that the constitution does not grant us rights but rather safeguards those rights given us by a higher power.” Well, yes, and generally speaking, that “higher power” can be identified as God.
York seems a little tentative about this, about the idea that our rights are God-given and that the constitution cannot give us our rights, but can only safeguard them. The important thing here, however, is that the Founding Fathers were not alone. Patriots through the years have shared that belief. One who did was a recent president named Ronald Reagan.
In many of his speeches and elsewhere Reagan made that point—that our rights are God-given. That, he insisted, is one of the great differences between the United States and other nations. In most other nations, he noted, rights are granted by government and therefore are at the mercy of government. In the United States rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom to keep and bear arms and many others enunciated in the first ten amendments cannot be taken away by government or repealed legislatively or arbitrarily because they are not granted by government; they are the individual’s as a matter of God-given right.
I would venture to say that most Americans give little thought to this significant difference; they take their rights for granted. something they could not do if they lived in any other country.
Interesting, isn’t it, that the rights of atheists, America-haters and rabble rousers are all protected because the Founding Fathers turned to God for guidance as they sought to give themselves and those who would follow after them a more perfect union.
It occurs to me—I can’t prove it, but I’d be willing to bet a small sum—that while the Republican 7 senators who threw their lot with the Democrats this week in the matter of the legitmacy of filibustering judicial appointees worked in opposition to their leadership the seven Democrats who joined with them to thwart any effort to end the filibusters worked in close conjunction with their leaders.
It makes sense. The Democrats got the deal their leader, Harry Reid, had been willing to make all along while the Republicans who supported their leader, Bill Frist, in the effort to put an end to the filibusters, in effect would up settling for a small piece of the loaf. It explains why Reid was able to say he got a good night’s sleep Monday, something Frist could not claim to have had.
Frist clearly was double crossed and the leading double-crosser was John McCain who seems to take delight in sticking it to his fellow Republicans, especially if it means sticking it to President Bush whom he has never forgiven for wresting the Republican presidential nomination from him in 2000. The fact is, McCain is the meanest, nastiest, toughest, most contrary Republican in the senate. He is not a team player. In addition, despite being long in the tooth, he still wants to be president and that ambition takes precedence over everything else, including supporting his party’s leaders.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment among the members of the Republican 7 was Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who came to the senate as a conservative but in recent months has been all over the lot. One wonders if the ambitious Graham sees himself as McCain’s vice presidential pick if he, McCain, were to win the Republican nomination in 2008. It’s a thought, anyway.
May 24, 2005—Sen. John Warner is getting old and probably will not run for the senate again. Too bad, because it denies me my chance to vote against him.
Over the years I have closed my eyes to the times he has voted against his party to the detriment of his country. But enough is enough. Here is a man who voted against putting Bob Bork on the Supreme Court so we wind up with the unprincipled idiot Anthony Kennedy. Here is a man who persuaded a liberal Republican, Marshall Coleman, to run as a third party candidate for the United States senate in order to block Republican Ollie North from beating the Democrat incumbent.
And now, here is a man who for a third time has betrayed his party by agreeing to give the Democrats the right to keep filibustering the appointment of conservative federal judges.
Enough, I say, is enough. This guy pretends to be a conservative but when push comes to shove you’ll usually find him with the Democrats. If I am wrong and he runs again I will write in the name of Benedict Arnold. He only betrayed his country once.
There is an old saying in this town (I just made it up) that when the going gets tough the Democrats can always count on a few Republicans to switch sides. And yesterday was no exception.
Seven of them joined with seven Democrats to make a deal that supposedly commits the Democrats to agreeing not to filibuster judicial appointees except—and that’s the key word—under “extraordinary circumstances.”
That’s a great victory all right—for the Democrats who were not required to spec\ify the meaning of extraordinary circumstances which therefore can mean anything the Democrats want it to mean and which therefore almost guarantees that the Democrats will filibuster President Bush’s first appointee to the Supreme Court which will probably come this summer.
Perhaps when the Democrats begin that filibuster the senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, will have the gumption once again to try to change the senate rules so that a simple majority can end a filibuster. Try, I say. But succeed when he has to depend on the people who betrayed him last night, John Warner, John McCain, Lincoln Chaffee, Lindsay Graham, Mike DeWine and the liberal twosome fromm Maine, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, with the likes of Arlen Specter, George Voinovich and one or two others lurking in the wings? Don’t count on it.
The deal means that three of Bush’s judicial appointees who have been blocked by the threat of filibusters will now get their up or down votes but two others, thanks to the Republican Seven, will be left twisting in the wind. Had the seven stuck with their party all of Bush’s judicial nominees approved by the senate judiciary committee would have been accorded the traditional up or down vote, which basically is all the Republican leadership has been asking.
Such is life in “the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
May 23, 2005--The United States is a democratic republic. Theoretically, therefore, the citizens of this republic get, either directly or indirectly, to elect the people who govern (rule is probably a better term these days) them.
The most important man in the country—the president—has to stand for election every four years and is limited by constitutional amendment to two four-year terms. Members of the senate must run every six years, members of the house of representatives every two. Thus it is that two branches of the federal government, the executive and the legislative, must answer on a fairly frequent basis to the people.
The third branch, however, the federal judiciary, is under no such constraints. Supreme Court justices, circuit court and district court judges are appointed for life and they like it that way. Boy, do they like it. It beats working for a living.
Every time some one suggests that they, too, should from time to time be answerable to the people they bleat like stuck pigs. (I know pigs don’t bleat, but I like the metaphor.) They whine that to hold them accountable for their records would be to politicize the courts.
And you know what, they are right. But so what? This is a political system in which we live and they work and through which they receive their lifetime sinecures and their monthly paychecks. Many have been state judges, appointed first and then elected. Others have been in politics before being appointed to the federal court.
All of them are people, just like you and I (me?). They put their pants, or their panty hose, on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us. And, like the rest of us they have their strengths and weakness, their points of view, their prejudices. In short, they are political creatures who are creatures of a political system.
The idea that they should not be held accountable is selfish, egotistical nonsense, having nothing to do with insuring that they are above politics.
A judge or justice can be above politics if he wants to be, regardless of the length of his term. If he must stand for re-election and that is more important to him than rendering impartial decisions he shouldn’t be a judge or a justice.
There are ways to hold judges accountable to the people without forcing them into partisan political races. One way would be to make them every so often stand for an up or down vote.
I have come to the conclusion that almost any way would be better than issuing lifetime appointments. These people are not gods when they are appointed, nor do they become gods while sitting on the bench, although there are those who think they do, and as fallible men and women they should be held accountable from time to time by their fellow citizens.
May 20, 2005--Newspapers these days are filled with grammatical errors and mistakenly used words. I suspect it’s because young reporters and copy readers were not taught grammar in school or were told it was unimportant.
Here are are a couple of common mistakes that come immediately to mind: “Lead” when the writer means “led.” “Forbid” when the writer means “forbade.”
Which brings me to today’s blunder by Washington Post sports writer Jorge Arangure Jr. Describing a bad day by the Baltimore Orioles’ Miguel Tejada, Arangure writes: “He....flew out to right field...”
No, Jorge, he didn’t. He ain’t got wings and he never went near right field. He didn’t “flew” anywhere; instead he “flied” out to right field. That is he hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by the right fielder
Geez Louise, Jorge. And you call yourself a baseball writer.
And while I’m at it, here’s another pet peeve: People who, when they speak, put the “t” in “often.” The word is pronounced “offen,” The “t” is silent, just like it is in “listen” or “glisten” or “soften.”
Finally, even presidents should not be allowed to say “nukular” when they mean “nuclear.”
Washington D.C. is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the nation, with a murder rate that shames the country of which it is the capitol.
One of the reasons for its high crime rate is its strict gun control law under which only criminals dare have a gun. Now, over the whininge objections of Mayor Anthony Williams, there is a chance that that might change.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) has introduced legislation to repeal the district’s handgun ban.
At a press conference announcing her bill, Hutchison called it a matter of self-defense. She was joined by Senators George Allen (R-Va.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.)
A Hutchison spokesman, said she expects more than 50 co-sponsors on the bill, which would insure its passage.
As usual gun control advocates, in protesting, are ignoring the right of citizens to protect themselves, the fact that criminals ignore gun laws, and the fact that where citizens are allowed to own and carry guns crime rates drop.
The Washington Post quotes Allen as saying, “We need to restore the rights of the people to protect themselves. It is consistent with common sense and the deterrence of rime.”
May 19, 2005--Third political parties in the United States are notoriously unsuccessful. They don’t win important elections, although from time to time one may garneer enough votes to give one of the two major parties a victory it might otherwise not win. In l992, for example, Ross Perot’s third party may have prevented the reelection of President George H.W. Bush.
Likewise, Theodore Roosevelt’s Bull Moose party caused the defeat of President Taft and gave the presidency to Woodrow Wilson. And Democrats like to blame Al Gore’s loss in 2000 on the votes siphoned off by third party candidate Ralph Nader.
Nevertheless, despite a record of failures, the law of averages says that one day a third party will have the right issue(s) and the right candidate to win the presidency.
And right at this moment, far fetched as it seems, that that day might arrive as soon as the presidential election of 2008.
I’m beginning to believe the issue is there and what is needed now is charismatic candidate to rally Americans in support of that issue.
The issue: open borders and illegal immigration.
Currently both major parties are pretty much indifferent to it. Or rather, they show no desire to fix the situation by shutting down the border between the United States and Mexico. President Bush’s proposal is little more than an amnesty program for ten to twenty million illegals already here. As far as the Democrats are concerned the problem is hardly more than a blip on their radar screen.
Efforts by civilians to slow the flow of illegals across the border. far from being appreciated by President Bush, instead have unfortunately resulted in his calling them “vigilantes.”
Leaders in both parties appear to be indifferent to the growing problem, which is especially prickly in the southwest where illegals threaten to become a majority and where they are making no attempt to integrate into the American culture. Neither do they appear to be paying any attention to Mexico’s overt efforts to solve its economic problems by abetting the flow of illegals across the border.
Among other things the ease illegals have in entering the United States means its borders are also open to potential terrorists and to drug smugglers.
Unless the president and/or the congress take action in the next couple of years the situation will only get worse.
If the day comes when terrorists launch another successful attack within the U.S. and it is found that the terrorists walked across the border from Mexico how will the president explain it? How will congress defend its refusal to act?
The actutal launching or even the potential threat of a terrorist attack, along with the continuing influx of undocumented aliens, if properly exploited by a third party candidate, could well bring about a serious backlash against the two major do-nothing parties not only in the presidential race but also in the congressional races.
It seems obvious at this moment that both parties have become complacent about the problem. And in politics complacency, as the Democrats learned in the Republican sweep of l994, is the sure road to defeat.
May 18, 2005—In mid-l981 the Washington Star folded, making the nation’s capital a one newspaper town. In fairness, the demise of the Star wasn’t much of a loss; it wasn’t much different from the Washington Post—just another moderate to liberal newspaper. Nevertheless, it’s disappearance left a hole in this news hungry town that needed to be filled.
That being the case you might have thought that some wealthy conservative, or perhaps a group of conservatives, might have seen and seized an opportunity to start a conservative-leaning opposition-to-the-Post paper, take its financial losses for a few years but in the process, give the town—and the nation—the other side of the story from the Post.
But rich conservatives are rich because they don’t spend their money foolishly, even for the good of the country, so not one stepped forward.
Enter then The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the controversial Unification Church and object of scorn by almost everyone who didn’t and doesn’t belong.
Moon saw a need to give the nation’s capital a newspaper with a conservative editorial slant, a paper that would go its own way and not merely reflect the policies and attitudes of most of the nation’s major newspapers.
So he hired a newspaperman named Jim Whelan who set out to build a daily paper from scratch, an expensive and difficult job. But Whelan did it. He did it in spite of the sneers and snickers that emanated throughout the twin liberal worlds of journalism and politics.
They thought it couldn’t be done. They thought a paper financed by an out-of-the-mainstream church headed by a Korean former Presbyterian minister with a messianic complex couldn’t last.
They were wrong. Yesterday the Washington Times, the paper Moon finances and Whelan built, celebrated it’s 23rd anniversary, meaning it has lasted about 20 years longer than the experts and cynics thought it would.
It has lasted because Moon has been willing to take huge financial losses over the years, because he has kept the church and the paper almost entirely separate. And because a succession of editors—the current editor is Wes Pruden, an Arkansas Baptist—have put out a feisty, hard-hitting newspaper that goes its own way without regard to what the Post or New York Times or other liberal papers say or do.
As a result, if you care about politics, about what goes on in government, in this town and in the world you have to read The Washington Times as well as, say, the Post or the New York Times. If you care about conservative political opinion you have to read the Washington Times commentary section and its op ed page.
There are some days when you look at Page 1 of the Times and Page 1 of the Post you think you live in two different worlds, which, if nothing else, tells you why this town needs two different papers.
The Times, of course, is the underdog here. It suffers from the fact that it gets almost no department store or grocery store advertising.
Nevertheless it has became a must-read for people who want and need all the news and both sides of the news.
As a result while the much larger Post’s circulation continues to decline the Times continues to buck a nation-wide trend and inch upward. On it’s 23rd anniversary it boasts a circulation of 103,000, up 3000 from a year ago, not much but certainly not bad.
Will it ever catch up to the Post? It is doubtful. Will it ever turn a profit? It is to be devoutly hoped because not even the Unification church can absorb losses forever.
For now, however, and as long as it exists and as long as it retains its current editorial policy the Washington Times serves and will continue to serve a useful and necessary purpose in the nation’s capital.
By the way, I have been a subscriber for all 23 years of the Washington Times existance.
May 17, 2005—I’m willing to make a small wager—say l7 cents—that when push comes to shove “Nasty Harry” Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, will back down and give the president’s federal judge nominees, whom democrats have been blocking the last couple of years with the threat of a filibuster, the up or down vote they deserve.
One caviat: That he knows the Republicans have the 50 votes, plus the vice president’s, they need to change senate rules so that filibusters against judicial appointees could be broken by a simple majority vote instead of the current three-fifths vote.
In the long run, I don’t think “Nasty Harry” will want to go down in history as the man who was responsible for killing the filibuster, that sacred senate tradition that gives a senate minority a shot at thwarting the will of the majority, especially over an issue that is less a matter of principal and more a matter of politics.
Of course if the Republicans don’t have the votes “Nasty Harry” will hang tough and claim a victory for all that is right and holy. On the other hand if the Republicans don’t have the votes to block a filibuster it is doubtful that they will send to the floor the judicial nominees the Democrats oppose.
I suspect the reasoning behind the refusal of the Republican leadership to agree to a compromise Reid has offered has less to do with the current crop of circuit court nominees who are being blocked by the Democrats and more to do with the next opening on the Supreme Court which is likely to come later this year or early next year. It is almost a given that Democrats will want to filibuster a conservative appointee to the high court which they will not be able to do if the rules are changed.
All of which means Reid will need to count his votes in the next few days. If he doesn’t have fifty-one he could well decide to give the president’s circuit court nominees the votes the Republicans have been demanding, and live to fight another day, the day when Bush picks his nominee for the next supreme court vacancy. Anyway, that’s what my 17 cents says he’ll do.
May 13, 2005—If I were ever in a fight one guy
I would not want on my side is George Voinovich, a Republican
senator from Ohio. The reason is obvious—he would not be there when
you needed him.
I have known this for a long time and yesterday he proved again that you cannot change the stripes on a skunk by refusing to hang in with his party in support of the nomination of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
I found out what kind of a person Voinovich is back in l980 when Ronald Reagan was running for president and Voinovich was mayor of Cleveland. Voinovich sent word to the Reagan campaign that he would endorse Reagan, who by this time was the Republican nominee, if Reagan would meet with him.
We agreed, and the two men met in Voinovich’s office. Afterward, however, he never gave Reagan his endorsement. Reagan, of course, carried Ohio anyway.
Four years later, I told a reporter the story and added that Voinovich had again not endorsed Reagan. That brought a call from him to me protesting that he had. I told him that we hadn’t seenhis endorsement. He repeated that he had and that ended that—except that I never did see any public sign of his so-called endorsement.
Which is why I am not surprised at his actions of yesterday. In fact, the only thing that will ever surprise me about the good senator will be if sometime he does the right thing. But I am not holding my breath.
I wonder if the day will come
When Bush will know that he was dumb
To leave our borders open wide
So aliens can come inside
And wander through the USA
With not a soul to tell them “Nay,”
Or to check on where they’re from
Or who they are or why they’ve come.
Suppose a terrorist attack
Kills more thousands. Then, when we track
The killers down we learn that they
Came here from down Sonora way
And walked across our border, free
To wreak their hell on you and me.
I wonder then if Bush will try
To tell us how things went awry.
What e’er he says, ‘twill be too late—
The horse is out of the stable gate.
by Joy Skilmer
May 12, 2005—Democrat hatchetman James Carville in attacking John Bolton asks “Is this the face of the United States of America we want the world to see?” This from a man who wife has been heard to call him “Serpent head.”
I was one of the multitude evacuated from the United States capitol and adjoining congressional office buildings yesterday noon because a single-engine light plane wandered into the restricted air space above the nation’s capital. Capitol police moved us and occupants of the three House of Repubresentatives office buildings a couple of blocks south of the capitol where we stood around for a while and then went back to, in our case, the House dining room in the capitol.
Although police kept telling people to hurry there was no panic and, at least by the time we got outside, the crowd was too dense to allow for running, so we walked.
As is always the case with this sort of situation television cameramen materialized from nowhere which is why you saw what you saw on the evening news. It was easy to tell the members of congress because they all wear pins in their coat lapels that identify them. This is so they can move freely during this period where all ordinary citizens are viewed with suspicion. But as one congressman noted there are dangers to being so easily identifiable. He said if there are terrorists around the buttons stand for “Shoot me first.”
The incident shows one thing: Even after more than three and a half years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, people in this capitol city are still pretty antsy.
It occurs to me that the Republican Party’s most ambitious politician may be getting ready to run for vice president—with Hillary Clinton.
And who would that be? Why, none other than the man who led the Republican revolution of the ‘90s, the former speaker of the house of representatives, the rt. hon. Newt Gingrich.
Far fetched? Of course it is. But remember, we’re talking about Newt Gingrich, one of the most far-fetched pols in recent memory.
Would Newt like to be president? I the pope German? You bet. Can he be the Republican nominee? No way. So what to do?
Well, how’s this for starters.
Newt joins with Hillary to promote health care legislation. And goes on from there, helping Hillary move rightward, making himself acceptable to the vast American middl-of-the-road. Once, when Hillary was Bill’s co-president, Newt was instrumental in killing her health care proposals. But that was when Newt was on the way up, before he left the speakership under a cloud, before he became a former congressman.
But times have changed. Today Hillary is the leading Democratic presdential possibility. And Newt, still out in the Republican cold, is looking for a place to land. And where better than with Hillary who says, “I find he and I have a lot in common in the way we see the problems thaat we’re going tro have to deal with in order to have a 21st century health care system.”
For his part Newt says he’s “thrilled” to be part of a bi-partisan effort.”
Or any effort at all that can get his name in the paper and resucitate his political carreer.
This is going to be fun to watch.
May 11, 2005--I don’t know whether the people who work at my local Wendy’s are here legally or illegally, but i do know that some of them don’t speak English very well and understand it even less well.
If I had had any doubts about this they were dispelled last night.
Sitting in my car in the drive through lane I ordered a Big Bacon Burger, which is a very good hamburger, and a large frosty. From there I drove to the pay window which was closed so proceded to the window where they dispense your orders. There I paid a man who seemed to understand English and he in turn gave me two paper bags, one that contained the frosty and the other which I assumed contained the Big Bacon Burger. Next I drove home which is about a mile and a half from Wendy’s.
There I gave my wife her Frosty, reached in the other bag and got out—my baked potato. So much for my mouth-watering Big Bacon Burger. Did I then get in my car and drive back to Wendy’s? Of course not. Instead I ate the potato, which is rich in potassium and contented myself with the thought that the anti-obesity gods were looking after my best interests.
However, I also resolved that hereafter before I leave Wendy’s I will check what’s in the bag.
It’s either that or learn to speak Spanish.
May 10, 2005--With only 3 ½ years to go until the next presidential election polls are showing that the Democrat nominee will be Hillary Clinton and the Republican will be Rudy Giuliani. The winner will be elected president of New York, which deserves either or both of them. With any luck the rest of the country will get a conservative.
Reports are that when President Bush arrived in Georgia he kept asking where Zell Miller was.
The Washington Post has proved once again that if you look hard enough you can always find an identifiable Republican who will agree with the Democrats regardless of the issue.
Today the Post, looking for Republicans who approve of the Democrats’ filibustering against President Bush’s federal court appointees, came up with former Oklahoma Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards who warned that Republican threats to change senate rules so a simple majority vote could end a filibuster against judicial appointees (currently 60 votes are needed) would be “a total disavowal of the basic framework of the system of government.”
Well, not exactly, as Edwards, deep in his heart, must know. But how else could an all-but-forgotten ex-congressman get his name in the papers? Certainly not by agreeing with his party’s leadership.
Edwards, of course, is ignoring the fact that to all intents and purposes the Democrats have changed senate rules by coming up with an unwritten but de facto rule that says presidential judicial appointees subject to senate confirmation now need not a simple majority vote of approval but an unprecedented three-fifths vote. What is not being mentioned is that if the senate lets the Democrats retain their position on judges it will be easy for them to take the next step and apply it to all presidential appointees such as, for instance, Bush’s apointee as ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.
While Edwards got his name in the papers his view will have little if any effect on what senate Republicans will or will not do. For months, now they have been threatening to change Senate rules, which can be done with a majority vote, to say that judicial filibusters can be ended also by a simple majority vote.
Interestingly i have missed any stories that noted that some years back the senate also eased up on the rules regarding filibusters. At one time it took a two-thirds vote to end them. A rule change reduced that figure to three-fifths. A further reduction then would not be unprecedented.
In the meantime, a couple of senators, Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Republican Trent Lott are trying to work a deal that would let some but not all of Bush’s more controversial appointees get a strait up or down vote in return for Republicans not changing the rules.
In effect the deal would be a victory for the Democrats, but Lott, a former Republican leader, has knuckled under to the Democrats at other times and it is said that he still harbors a grudge against the president for not supporting him when he was ousted as Republican leader.
It needs to be remembered there is more at stake here than the current crop of judicial nominees. Sometime, probably sooner than later, there will be a Supreme Court vacancy for Bush to fill. If the current filibuster rule remains in effect at that time it is almost a given that the Democrats will use it to oppose any effort by Bush to name a strict constitutional constructionist to the court or, if Chief Justice Rehnquist retires as expected, to replace him with either of the court’s most conservative justices, Clarence Thomas or Antonin Scalia.
Which is one reason why Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist should quit dawdling and bite the nuclear bullet before ppush really does come to shove.
May 9, 2005--As has been noted here once or twice before, the federal government is not the only government in the land that misgoverns or that that uses its powers to oppress the people. That, unfortunately, is true at every level, federal, state, local, which means that citizens must be constantly prepared to guard their liberty or they will lose it. And it little matters at what level they lose it; tyranny is tyranny, regard;ess/
One of the powers that government has—and tends to misuse—is the power of emminent domain which is the right government has to busy a person’s property at an alleged fair price for public use. For instance, if government wants to build a road through property you own it can buy it whether or not you wish to sell it. That is emminent domain.
But, not surprisingly, some governments, primarily at the local level, are twisting and distorting the meaning and use of that right.
Out in Sacramento, Calif., there is a lawyer named Ronald A.Zumbrun who for years as been at the forefront of the battle to protect private property rights from the grasp of greedy governmental entities. From time to time he writes a column for the Sacramento Daily Recorder in which he talks about the fforts of one government or another to wrest property from its owners on the false pretext that their actions fall under the provisions of emminent domain law.
A recent column has to do with the city of New London, Conn., where the city fathers are blatantly misusing their power of emminent domain.
Zumbrun writes: The City of New London authorized the acquisition of 90 acres, not to elmininate slums or blight but rather for the purpose of private “economic development” in order to increase tax revenues and improve the local economy.
The 90 acres involves the homes of 15 residents who decided to fight the city. A public interest law firm, the Institute for Justice, which specializes in such cases, has taken on this one and has managed to bring it before the United States Supreme Court for review. Off of its record its chances of winning look pretty good because, as Zumbrun points out, it defeated an effort by Atlantic City to use emmient domain to acquire the home of an elderly widow whose home the city wanted to buy so it could sell the property to Donald Trump for parking space for one of his casinos. The court ruled the city had failed to meet the “public use” requirement.>
Nothing is certain, however, with this court. Do not look fora unanimous decision in favor of the constitution.
Zumbrun writes, however, that after the case is decided, “Hopefully we can continue to state that private property is the cornerstone of this country’s Constitution, and it is this principle that makes our country different.”
‘Hopefully” is, I guess, the right word.
Certainly if the court rules for New London, no persons’s property will ever again be safe if government decides it wants it for whatever purpose.
There is an old saying that “no man’s life, liberty or property are safe when the legislature is in session.” That saying may also appoly to the United States Supreme Court.
May 6, 2005--Standard and Poor’s has cut Ford and General Motors Bonds to junk status. At last their bonds now match their cars.
Several years ago I swore (figuratively) on my mother’s grave (it’s in California which made a literal swearing difficult) that I would never again wear formal clothes—tuxedos, tails, etc. That decision means that I no longer have to accept invitations to such fancy, long and often boring events as Gridiron Club and White House Correspondents Association dinners. This, in turn, means I miss hearing presidents, first ladies and other high mucky-mucks deliver meant-to-be-funny, self-deprecating speeches aimed at proving to this town’s “important” news media that, when you come right down to it, they are just one of the guys and they hold no grudge for the regular beatings they take in the daily press.
As a result I missed hearing First Lady Laura Bush’s recent, said-by-many-of-those-in-attendance-to-be-hilarious speech putting her husband in his proper place. (I must admit I liked it when she said one difference between her and him is that she can pronounc “nuclear.” He persists in saying “nucular.”)
It’s easy to see why her speech was a hit. We all like to see important people put in their place, especially if we can laugh at the way it’s done, especially if we can say it wasn’t meant to be mean, especially if we can say (in this case the First Lady) she was only kidding.
And yet, I’m beginning to wonder if maybe this time the white house didn’t go a little too far, if maybe enough isn’t really enough, if maybe the president should not be allowed to retain a little dignity or, better yet, insist on retaining a little dignity for himself.
Isn’t there something a little wrong with the president’s wife beating up on him in public, even though it’s done in fun and even though he obviously has approved of the speech in advance? Isn’t there something a little demeaning about a president—any president—taking jabs at himself in order to prove to a batch of journalists and their friends, most of whom hate him any way, in order to prove that he’s a regular fellow?
Why should he care what they think?
Whatever he says, or his wife says, at one of these events will not change the way he is treated by the news media tomorrow and all the rest of the tomorrows during which he holds office. He is not helping himself; he is merely making the members of the news media think how important they are because the president has deigned to come to their event and make a buffoon of himself.
The more I think of it the more I think these events are little more than a waste of time. Certainly the average American could hardly care less whether or not the president or his wife spoke at one of these events; it would not affect the way the average American votes; it would not affect the president’s ability to carry out the duties of his office. Neither, in the long run, would it affect his relations with the news media.
I wonder if down the road both the First Lady and her husband will look back a little ruefully and wish they had not dedignified themselves and their offices in such a way.
I hope they will. I hope that they will say enough is enough and in the future let the news media turn elsewhere for their comedy acts.
I can dream, can’t I.
May 5, 2005—Today is Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican holiday. Perhaps, in honor of the 10 million or so Mexicans who are in the United States illegally, President Bush should declare today an American holiday, too.
There is a story in today’s Washington Times that should be called to the attention of President Bush. It has to do with the law of unintended consequences. In this case it is some of the consequences arising from the president’s wecoming in and coddling of Mexicans and others from Central America who are flooding into the United States across its southern borders.
The president pretty much would have us believe that these are all poor, but honest and hardworking peons coming to this country to seek a better life by doing the drudge work most Americans refuse to do.
In some cases I’m sure he’s right, maybe even in most cases, but what he apparently hasn’t taken into account is the crime that follows in the footsteps of those illegals who, aside from breaking our immigration laws, may indeed be honest and hardworking.
Times reporter Jon Ward writes that “The violent MS 13—or Mara Salvatrucha—street gang is following the migratory routes of illegal aliens around the country.” The gang, whose leaders are Salvadoran, is being called “the new American Maffia” by the FBI.
Ward quotes FBI task force director Robert Clifford as saying the gang, which originated in Los Angeles, follows where the,migrants go, apparently recruiting young illegals.
The gang, which is active in Washington and the area’s suburbs, can also be found in other states including those along the east coast.
The FBI has set up a national gang intelligence center in order to cope with MS 13 and other violent gangs.
As usual, the feds are striving to cope with one of the many results of illegal immigdration rather than attacking the problem at its root which is the border dividing the U.S. from Mexico. In defense of the FBI its job is made infinitely more difficult by a president who refuses to take the steps necessary to stop the ongoing massive and illegal invasion of the United States by Mexican day laborers.
April 27, 2005--It turns out that all the idiots aren’t in Congress. Some are in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) This group of sanctimonious hypocrites has taken it upon itself to order 30 colleges and universities to justify their use of American indian nicknames, mascots and logos for their sports teams because some people consider them offensive.
Take, for example, the College of William and Mary (or is that William and Mary College?) whose athletic teams are called “the Tribe.”
Now there’s a real insulting name. I’m sure that if some professional Indians don’t object, some Jews. from one or another of the 12 tribes, will or maybe that lawyer/professor up at Harvard, Lawrence Tribe, although who knows, maybe he pronounces it “Tri-bay.”
Regardless, it seems to me that schools naming their teams after any one or anything do so to honor them and therefore why should anyone object?
You’ll notice that you won’t find any teams named “the cockroaches” or “the rats” or the “laughing hyenas” or “the pygmies.” But a lot of them are named after the noble red man.
It seems to me that the NCAA should have better things to do than to mix into the stupidity of political correctness.
Liberal Democrats are having a tough time these days trying to figure out how to deal with with the so-called “faith” issue.
Their problem is, how do they talk the talk in such away that genuinely religious Americans think they’re also walking the walk.
And it ain’t all that easy. Especially when, as a bleeding liberal, you have little in common with them.
True, Democrats have much in common with the so-called main line churches which themselves are pretty liberal, but their numbers are declining while fundamentalist churches, which are culturally conservative, are growing. Liberals already have those “Christians” who support abortion, same-sex marriage and homosexual clergy, treat the Bible as a fairy tale and the Ten Commandments as little more than idle suggestions.
They have them because they are them.
But who they don’t have for the most part are those whom they call, with just a bit of snideness, “people of faith,” Christians who believe in God, who believe Christ is the Son of God, who take the Bible and its precepts seriously, who in general oppose abortion, same-sex marriages, homosexual clergy and the homosexual life style, and the continuing debasement of traditional cultural standards on television and in the movies.
And this is what’s bugging them: They see people who frequently share their views on the role of government in public life and in the economy but who vote Republican because of where they stand on cultural and social issues.
How to change that?
It isn’t going to happen unless liberals change their way of thinking. It’s not going to be enough just to talk the talk mainly because “People of faith,” are not as dumb and easily misled as liberals seem to think. Among other things they think that by reciting a verse or two from the Bible or proclaiming that one book or another is their favorite they can convince people of faith that they share their views. But, in fact. they are only kidding themselves.
As long as they support Roe v. Wade, make common cause with Hollywood’s left-wingers and generally approve the homosexual life style they are not going to make significant inroads into the “people of faith” voting bloc.
They will be better off spending their efforts and their money elsewhere.
April 25, 2005—The Democrats may well be the minority party in Congress and in the country but regardless, just about everywhere one looks they have Republicans on the run.
In the house of representatives majority leader Tom DeLay is fighting for his political life.
In the senate Democrats continue to block the appointment of conservative federal judges and with the help of RINO Republicans may well block the appointment of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations.
And in the congress and across the nation President Bush’s proposal to revamp and reform Social Security is in deep trouble.
All of which leads one to ask, whatever became of the Republican Party?
True, some of DeLay’s problems are of his own making but even a cursory look at the broad spectrum of congressmen makes it clear that he is not alone. The fact is, the records and lives of most congressmen with any seniority at all, regardless of their party, could not withstand close scrutiny. For this reason alone his fellow house members should more strongly have rallied behind him instead of leaving his defense largely to conservative columnists and talk radio hosts.
In the senate Democrats continue to use the threat of a filibuster to block a vote on seven conservatives President Bush seeks to appoint to the federal bench. For well over a year Republicans have threatened to change Senate rules to prevent filibusters against presidential appointees but to date their threats have been nothing more than idle bluster as Democrats in turn have threatened to retaliate by bringing most senate business to a halt, which apparently is enough to intimidate the Republican leadership.
As for Bolton, four Republicans on the senate foreign relation have delayed a committee vote on his appointment on the flimsy grounds that he’s been mean to underlings in the state department. Unbelievable, but true. Even more unbelievable is that these four may join with Democrats to kill his appointment altogether.
As for Social Security, the idea of letting American citizens invest some of their retirement money, which the government nnow takes from them without their consent, in the stock market is anathema to Democrats and apparently a matter of indifference to many congressional Republicans. This leaves President Bush pretty much carrying on the battle by himself.
So what it boils down to is this: Too many Republicans in the house and senate are afflicted with one or both of two problems. Either they don’t believe in much of anything or they are afraid to fight for what they do believe in.
Makes one wonder sometimes why one should bother being a Republican, doesn’t it?
April 22, 2005--Back in 1951 the people of these United States in their wisdom ratified the 22nd amendment to the constitution which limits a president to two terms. In retrospect it seems to have been a good move. For the first 150 years of the nation’s existence presidents voluntarily stepped down after their second term. However, in l940 Franklin D. Roosevelt violated the tradition and sought and won a third term and then, in the middle of World War II, ran for and won a fourth term. Less than a year later he died.
His successor, Harry S Truman finished out that term, was elected on his own in 1948 and, though under the terms of the 22nd amendment he legally could have run again he wisely chose not to.
Since the 22nd amendment was adopted only three presidents have served two full terms, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Baring the unforeseen, George W. Bush will be the fourth to do so.
Although it is possible that the three presidents who served out their second terms could have been re-elected to third terms there has been no particular clamor that the 22nd amendment be repealed. There is, or seems to be, a general public satisfaction with the idea that presidents be term limited..
That being so, it seems to me that there is a case to be made for limiting the terms of all elected and appointed public officials. Yes, I know, there is an on-going—and so far unsuccessful effort—to limit the terms of members of congress, but so far there has been little if any attempt to limit the terms of members of the federal judiciary.
There is something to be said for opposing term limits for senator and representatives and, for that matter, presidents. All of them have fixed terms and the people can vote to keep them or fire them when their terms are up.
Not so with judges. They are appointed for life and can only be impeached under very limited circumstances, none of which have anything to do with public approval or disapproval of their actions or decisions. The theory was that by giving judges life-time appointments they were made immune from political pressures.
What the Founding Fathers didn’t count on was the propensity—which has increased in recent years--of judges usurping legislative and even executive authority and judges ignoring the constitution or interpreting it according to their own whims and beliefs. And they can do these things because they are answerable to no one, least of all to the people.
It seems to me that some smart people ought to begin figuring out ways to rein in the federal judiciary, either by limiting their terms or subjecting them to a vote of the people.
Judges and a lot of lawyers who want to be judges will object loudly to any such proposals, which is to be expected. After all a well-paying, lifeetime job which often gives its holder life-or-death decision-making authority is nothing at which to be sneezed.
Nevertheless, in this republic it is the people, not the judges who are supposed to have the last word. It’s about time we set about reclaiming that right.
April 21, 2005--Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s Austrian-born, weight-lifting, movie-acting, Kennedy-marrying Republican governor, is turning out to be a fast learner, too.
In less than two years Arnie has gone from being a tough, principled, stand up kind of guy determined to set his state on the path to solvency and security to being just another politician less interested in getting something done than in not making anyone mad.
Just the other day, for instance, he suggested that the California-Mexico border should be closed as a means of helping solve the continuing influx of illegal immigrants. That was the old Arnie.
But,oops! His advisers got all excited and told him he’d just put his foot in it; he couldn’t say that. It was sure to anger not only all of California’s illegal residents, but also the two presidents, Fox of Mexico and Bush of the United States. both of whom love the idea of flooding the U.S. with Mexican immigrants, both legal and illegal.
So Arnie, now an experrienced politician who is more interested in being re-elected than he is in standing on principle, immediately backed off and in doing so came up with one of those lame excuses that only a political adviser could invent. Arnie, it seems, didn’t mean what he said. The problem is, he says, he still doesn’t know English well enough to state clearly what he means. He says he needs to go back to school and study a little bit. He says he really didn’t mean to say “close” the border, he meant to say “secure” the border. What ever that might mean.
So now he tells us.
Come on, Arnie. You came over here at age l8. You learned English well enough to act in English language movies and run for governor in a statel where English is spoken almost as much as Spanish. And now, after a year and a half as governor you’re all of a sudden having trouble with the language?
Who’s kidding whom? It’s not the English language you need to study,it’s the language of politics. If you do that you may discover that even in politics there can be a certain benefit to standing on principle. Try it some time. Maybe you’ll like it.---
April 20, 2005—Mr. or Ms. Five-by-five can breath a sigh of relief today because it turns out that fat isn’t so fatal after all.
Last January the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention sought to scare the nation’s overweight population into losing weight with the announcement that obesity ranked number two among the most preventable causes of death, right behind smoking. It said fatness was to blame for 365,000 deaths a year. That amounts to1000 deaths a day that the feds were blaming on gluttony.
Only thing is, they were wrong.
The Journal of the American Medical Association now reports that only 25,814 deaths a year can be blamed on obesity. Big difference.
Still, one wonders where they came up with that figure. Why not 25,813 or 25,815?
Regardless, I suspect that the people who run McDonalds and various other fat food establishments today are collectively breathing a huge sigh of relief.
Now that Cardinal Ratzinger has become Pope Benedict XVI one question arises. Who is left out there to zing the rats?
The Washington Times has a Page 1 headline that says, “New pontiff loyal to Church theology.” What, for goodness sake, does the Times expect from a pope? Heresy?
I see by the papers where Education secretary Margaret Spellings is determined to bully the state of Utah into going along with the federal No Child Left Behind act. She threatened on Monday to cut off 76 million dollars in federal funds if the state refuses to knuckle under and does not comply with the act.
So far, however, the Utah state legislature in effect has told Spelling to go peddle her papers.. Yesterday both houses of the legislature overwhelming passed legislation giving state education goals precedence over the federal law, which is something Spelling can’t understand. She thinks that when she yells “Jump!” the states should ask “How high.”
The fact is the federal government has no business butting into state affairs and education is clearly a state affair. Unfortunately most states in recent years in various efforts by the feds to control them have given in to the feds’ carrot and stick approach, also known as a bribe. In Utah’s case it would get $76 million if it accepted federal control of its schools and it won’t get the dough, Spellings threatens, if it doesn’t.
There was a time when the Republican Party was the party of states rights. The Bush administration, however, has abandoned that principle in favor of forcing the states to accept federal rules and regulations.
The Utah legislature’s decision to thumb its nose at Spelling, however, may set an example for other states to follow and might even be a step toward the states reclaiming their constitutional rights. One can dream anyway, can’t one?
April 19, 2005--Veteran Republican congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois has announced he will not run for re-election, meaning Republicans will have to find someone to replace him. It’s kind of a question of lose Hyde and go seek.
One of the things that I don’t quite understand is the concept of dual citizenship and yet it is a growing phenomenon. Increasing numbers of people somehow or other are winding up as citizens of the United States and some other nation—Mexico, Canada, Germany, you name it.
It makes no sense to me. I don’t think it is possible for a person to be loyal to two nations at the same time. Therefore, were it up to me I would demand that persons claiming dual citizenship decide if they want to be American citizens or citizens of another country. If they refused I would take away their American citizenship, confiscate their passports, cancel their social security. take away their driver’s licenses and send them packing.
If they chose the United States I’d make them swear allegiance and notify the other nation in which they claimed citizenship that we no longer recognized them as citzens of that country.
Harsh, you say? I don’t think so. Just as no personn can serve two masters with equal fidelity, I don’t see how any person of either sex can be equally loyal to two countries. It seems to me that they are using dual citizenship to attempt to reap the benefits provided by both while evading the obligations each nation imposes on its citizens.
In any event I would put an end to it. After all, the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t begin “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and also to Mexico or Russia or France or where ever else I claim to be a citizen of.”
“Politics, thy middle name is corruption.” That’s an old saying that I just invented. Unfortunately it’s also a true saying and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long, not to come to that conclusion but to put it in words.
A minimum of 99 percent of persons who have been in politics for any length of time are at least a little bit corrupt. Oh, they’ll deny it, even those who are a lot corrupt but denial just verifies their corruption.
I think most people who seek governmental office do so because they want to do good, they want to make their city or state or country a better place. But I also think most people who gain elective or appointive office sooner or later come to several conclusions such as: “I know best what is good for my fellow citizens,” “I am an important person therefore 1. I can do no wrong, 2. I deserve these perks and 3. You may give me a little money or do me a little favor but you can’t bribe me.” “What I’m doing may not be quite honest but it’s A. for the good of the country or B. important to my constituents or C. essential to my being re-elected or re-appointed or whatever.”
This doesn’t mean those we elect or who are appointed are bad people, although sometimes they are, what it does mean is that people who hold office too long tend to lose perspective, tend to forget why it is they sought office in the first place.
Having said this, the question is: What do we do about it? The answer is, Not much.
Most people accept a little corruption as the price of being governed. Eventually, if a person grows corrupt enough, somebody else, or the news media, will raise enough of a stink so that person is not re-elected or maybe is indicted, convicted and sent off to the pokey, which happens now and then.
There is another old saying that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” It is also the price of honest government. Unfortunately, not very many Americans have the time or the desire to be always on the watch for those who would limit their liberty or corrupt their government.
It is a truism (I’m full of these today) that we get the kind of government we deserve, which means that since most people don’t really pay much attention to those who govern them we will continue to live in a land where liberty is always at risk and corruption, although they will deny it, is a way of life for those who govern us.”
April 18, 2005--I see by the papers where Howard Dean is wrong again.
The good doctor from Vermont who doubles as chairman of the Democratic National Committee thinks he’s found an issue for the 2006 and 2008 elections.
And that would be Terri Shiavo.
Dean may be a legitimate, certified medical doctor but for sure he is a quack politician and the fact that he thinks the Terri Shiavo case will be an issue a year and a half and again three and a half years down the road bodes ills for the Democrats.
Dean, a former Vermont governor failed candidate for president last year, outlined his plan to a homosexual organizating in West Hollywood, Calif., recently. He said he plans to run television spots featuring a picture of House Republican Leader Tom DeLay and asking, “Do you want this guy to decide whether you die or not?” And that is supposed to frighten voters into voting for Democrat candidates for congress.
Somebody needs to take Howie aside and explain to him that while Vermont may be part of America, America isn’t Vermont. More to the point, he needs to be told that
Americans have a short attention span and that by the time the mid-term elections roll around most voters will be asking “Terri who?”
The fact is many new issues between now and the elections will have cropped up to take the voters’ aattention, issues that affect them more directly and more personally. Think the economy or social security or health care, or natural disasters or the outbreak of war, or Iraq. While the nation was emotionally involved in the Terri Shiavo case for a while, a year and a half from now it will have faded from most people’s memories.
One vote on an issue that did not affect them personally is hardly likely to pursuade voters to switch parties or to vote against someone with whom they are in general agreement.
If trying to make an issue of Terry Shiavo is the best Dean and his fellow Democrats can do their chances of picking upcongressional seats next year would seem to be pretty slim.
April 15, 2005—Senate Democrats are grasping at straws in their efforts to block the confirmation of John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. According to the Washington Post they are charging that he tried to “purge” career State Department officials who he thought were attempting to block his policy goals.
Only in Washington is it possible to find people, in this case United States senators, who think an official should keep underlings who are trying to block what he is trying to do.
Bolton, who served during President Bush’s first term as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, has come under fire from Democrats for not being nice enough, for having a cynical attitude toward the U.N.and now, for having a bad attidude regardingl career state department officials who tried to thwart his policy objectives. In other words, for not being your ordinary go along to get along, don’t rock the boat, suck up striped suit diplomat.
There are probably two reasons behind the Democrat effort to block Bolton’s appointment. One, they’re afraid he’ll go up to the U.N. and proceed to tell it like it is and in the process do the unthinkable—make somebody mad or hurt someone’s feeling. And two, it has become the Democrat’s unwritten policy to put politics ahead of principle and create problems for whereever possible for Bush.
In this case, however, they are likely to fail because, like Bush or not, like Bolton or not, the same thing can be said for both of them; neither is easily intimidated. And this alone makes Bush the right man for president at this moment in time and Bolton the right man to be ambassador to the U.N.
April 14, 2005—Out in California the governor with the big teeth and the ambition to match may have bitten off more than he can chew.
Arnie Schwarzenegger who in 2003 traded movie stardom for politics and was every one’s hero less than a year and a half ago has wandered off into deep political waters and now is flailing around desperately just to stay afloat.
Like most non-political people who are elected to public office for the first time Arnie has had to rely on advice from the pols who picked him, ran him and elected him. And much of that advice has been bad. Which is not surprising because it doesn’t necessarily follow that people who are good at running political campaigns are also capable of giving sound advice on the intricacies of government. This is especially true if you’v e come out of make-believe land to try to bring sense to the job of running the nation/state of California which liberal legislators and governors in recent years have mismanaged and misgoverned beyond which any sane person would have thought possible.
You have to give Arnie credit for trying, but not for much else. At the same time about all you can give his advisers credit for is rank stupidity which, now that it is too late, Arnie may figure out.
Arnie means well and his advisers undoubtedly mean well also but the road to political oblivion is littered with the carcasses of well-meaning but unsmart and inept politicians.
What Arnie has done is overplay his hand. Instead of picking one battle to fight, winning it and then going on to the next battle, he has decided to fight four battles at once, urged on, I suspect, by sycophants who have been trying to figure out how to convince the congress and the several states that they should amend the constitution so that Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, can run for president.
The four fights Arnie has picked are four ballot initiatives, each of which, in itself would be good for the state but each of which also has strong, vociferous and well-heeled opponents. The four initiatives would impose merit pay for teachers, overhaul the state’s public pension system, reform the state budget process and depoliticize the drawing of state legislative and congresional districts.
Already, because it was badly written, Schwarzenegger has been forced to withdraw his proposal to reform the public pension system. Petitions are currently being circulated in an effort to get the other three proposals on the November ballot. Currently the proposal to reform the redistricting process would seem to have the best chance of gaining enough support to go on the ballot. If that happens and Arnie succeeds in getting it passed it will help revive his sagging poll numbers, which now give him a low 43 percent approval rating.
Failure of the three remaining propositions either to get on the ballot or to win voter approval will leave Arnie in a bad way politically. He is up for re-election in 2006—if he decides to run again—and movie star-power will not be enough the second time around, especially if the Democrats, who are the state’s dominant party, pick a smart, attractive and not-too-far-left candidate to run against him; he will have a record to run on and a record for the Democrats to oppose. Failure of his reform propositions will not leave him that much less to run on.
Success of at least one is almost mandatory if he is to be re-elected and of all three if the Schwarzenegger for president advocates are to have even the remotest chance of amending the constitution in order to give him a shot at the big enchilada somewhere down the road.
April 13, 2005--
The Dems are trying to find a way
They can get rid of Tom DeLay.
He’s too rough and he’s too tough
And now, because they’ve had enough,
They’ve gathered all their friends around
To try to beat him to the ground.
The media libs—The New York Times,
The Post, the Globe and other slimes
Like columnists out on the left
Now chop away with hatchets deft
In hopes that Tom’s right-wing allies
Will drop away like swatted flies,
And leave him twisting in the wind
Because the left claims he has sinned.
It’s worked before, therefore they think
They can shove him over the brink.
At times like this it all depends
On just how loyal are Tommy’s friends.
In politics one thing you know,
Friends disappear when storm winds blow.
by Joy Skilmer
April 12, 2005--I see by the papers that Mike Tyson is going to fight some stiff named Kevin McBride here in Washington on June 11. If McBride is smart he’ll wear ear protectors.
In all seriousness, Tyson should not be allowed to fight here or anywhere. He is old for a fighter--38, ponderous, slow and over the hill. He has lost two of his last three fights by knockouts. An unknown named Danny Williams kayo’d him in four rounds last July. He has dropped down to 27th in heavyweight rankings. The chances of his getting seriously and permanently hurt are pretty good and increase with each fight.
I have no problems with boxing as such. If two guys want to beat each other up for money that should be their business. But if boxing is going to be a sport sanctioned and controlled by government, which it is, then government should make certain that those engaged in boxing are mentally and physically fit. There is some doubt that Tyson is either.
The pictures of Ariel Sharon visiting President Bush confirm what we’ve always thought: The guy really has a stomach for the job. Actually, that wasn’t Sharon meeting with Bush; it was his stand-in—Mr. Five-by-five. One thing about Sharon. He’s the right man for discussing weighty matters.
Colin Powell drives a Corvette
Which is as sporty as a guy can get
But he says he obeys
The speed limit always.
No tickets for Colin, you bet.
John Bolton, who’s a hard man to fluster,
Looks like he’s passed senate muster,
Though the Democrats tried
He couldn’t be denied
Despite all their blowing and bluster.
April 11, 2005—Now at last we know why John Kerry lost last year’s presidential election. Democrats are unbelieveably stupid. Or so Kerry would have us believe.
In a talk to the Massachusetts League of Women Voters yesterday Kerrry complained that people—meaning Democrats—were duped into not voting. For instance, he said, leaflets were distributed saying Republicans would vote on Tuesday while Democrats would vote on Wednesday. In another case phone calls were made, apparently to Democrats, telling them that if they’d ever had a parking ticket they couldn’t vote.
What Kerry should have admitted is that if he was depending on the votes of people who were stupid enough to believe those sorts of things he should have lost.
There is a saying that animal lovers tend to resemble their pets. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Prince Charles’ new bride, Camilla Parker Bowles, is a horse lover.
Of course, if it’s true that animal lovers tend to resemble their pets you’d think Ted Kennedy would own a couple of pet pigs.
The pundits in this town, of whom there are many, mostly Democrats, have begun letting their wish that the troubles of Tom DeLay will lead to a Republican meltdown in the 2006 mid-term elections become the father of the thought.
Relax fellas, it ain’t gonna happen.
DeLay may be in trouble in the House of Representatives because of alleged ethics breaches and it’s possible he could be indicted in Texas by a Democrat District Attorney and its possible he could be forced to resign as House majority (meaning Republican) leader and it’s remotely possible he could lose his own bid for re-election. But anyone who thinks DeLay’s troubles could lead to a mass Republican defeat a year and a half from now is dreaming.
While Tip O’Neil may have been exaggerating when he said “all politics is local” the fact is members of the house are almost always elected or defeated on local issues. This is especially true in off-year elections where presidential coattails are minimal. There is no reason to expect 2006 will be any different.
Anyone who thinks that a Republican congressperson in , say, Pennsylvania or Florida or Oregon is going to lose because of what may happen to DeLay, is out of his mind. The average voter in those states couldn’t tell you who Tom Delay is, what his problems are or where he’s from. More than that, he doesn’t care. Matter of fact, the average voter today probably can’t tell you who his own congressman is.
And while Democrats right now are having fun giving DeLay a bad time, in return for all the bad times he’s given them, and while the liberal news media is doing what it can to stick it to DeLay, and while some of his gutless fellow Republicans are, as usual, preparing to desert the fight, don’t expect the Democrat national committee or the Democrat Congressional Committee to try to win back a House majority by convincing voters all across the country that they should vote out their local Republican congressman in order to get even with Tom DeLay.
Like I said, it ain’t gonna happen.
April 8, 2005—I don’t think it matters a whole heck of a lot whether John Bolton is confirmed as the next United States ambassador to the United Nations. Regardless of who reprecents America in that cesspool of anti-American corruption and incompetence, ain’t nothing much going to change.
We’ve had smart, tough, pro-American ambassadors before. Jeane Kirkpatrick and Vernon Walters come to mind, and their tenures there didn’t make a whole heck of a lot of difference.
Why? Because every president since Roosevelt or Truman, which ever one was responsible for getting us into that morass, has, for one reason or another, decided that the best the U.S. could do or can do was remain a member but do nothing, or at least next to nothing, about cleaning up the mess or alternatively, about throwing the beggars and barbarians out bag and baggage. Ambassadors such as Ms. Kirkpatrick and Gen. Walters, might have wanted to do more than rattle some cages but the sissies at the State Department always stood in their way and the presidents they worked for always figured they had something better to do than get in a spitting contest with the yankee-hating poltroons and pygmies of the third world who dominate the organization.
True, when Ronald Reagan was president, the U.S., tired of the rampant corruption in a U.N. offshoot, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), quit that body. But another Republican president, George W. Bush, for reasons never really made clear, rejoined it a few years later, even though there was little or no indication that the people running it had had an attack of honesty or even competence.
But bad as UNESCO is, one thing you can be certain of is that its mother organization, the U.N., under the on-going guidance of such Third World crooks and con artists as former Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghalli and his successor, that shameless schemer and skimmer of oil-for-food funds, Kofi Annan, is worse.
And so it is that Bolton, if he is confirmed, which he probably will be or his successor, will get up to New York and immediately be blocked by the policy makers in Washington from doing anything or saying anythink meaningful or signficant. And some time in the next year President Bush will fly up to New York and address (nicely and politely) the U.N. general assembly and all will be as it has been before, stretching clear back to l945. You can count on it. And so can John Bolton.
Lots of luck, John.
April 6, 2005—In competitive boxing, amateur or professionaL, the objective is to hurt the other guy—or gal. The one who is perceived to hurt the other boxer most is usually the winner. That’s why boxer one tries to knock out or at least knock down boxer two. That’s why boxer one, when he gets boxer two in trouble proceeds to beat up on him as much as possible. And that’s why too many boxers, including Cassius Clay, wind up physically or mentally impaired and why every now and then a boxer dies from a blow to the head.
That being the case you knew when some members of the so-called gentler sex, in the name of all that is holy and equal, decided to forego its traditional scratching, eye-gouging, hair-pulling and ash tray-throwing and take up boxing that eventually someone was going to be seriously hurt or even killed.
And sure enough, it’s finally happened.
The other day a couple of the ladies were engaged in a sanctioned amateur boxing match out in Colorado where men are men and some women would like to be, and now one of them is dead., killed by a blow to the head.
Her name was Becky Zerlantes. She was 34 and had been boxing for several years. Three years ago she won a regional Golden Gloves championship, which is something her heirs will have to remember her by.
The woman who killed her is Heather Schmitz, 31, who, properly, feels badly about what she did. In fact, she says, “I feel horrible. I didn’t want to hurt her.” Part of which is baloney. Of course she feels horrible. With rare exceptions human beings don’t like to kill other human beings.
But to say, “I didn’t want to hurt her”is nonsense. If she hadn’t wanted to hurt her she wouldn’t have hit her, wouldn’t have even climbed in the ring with her. Of course she wanted to hurt her.
And I’ll bet when she knocked Becky down her first feeling was one of satisfaction. It was only when Becky didn’t get up and they carted her off on a stretcher that she began to feel horrible. It may even be that like John Wayne in “The Quiet Man” she’ll feel horrible the rest of her life and may decide never again to indulge in fisticuffs. Which, if it happens, will certainly be a step in the right direction.
Regardless, I think we’ve seen about as much as we need to see of the manly art of self-defense as practiced, in this era of men will be men and women will try to be, by the ladies.
Usually, when a male boxer is killed by a blow to the head the story is carried on the sports pages. Interestingly, the story of Becky Zerlentes was written by a non-sports writer and carried as the lead story on Page 3 of the front section of the Washington Post. Apparently, as far as the Post is concerned, it is no sporting matter when women boxers are killed.
April 5,2005--Sorry, folks. Nuthin' today.
April 4, 2005—
The song from “Pippa Pitches”--
The year’s at the spring,
The season’s begun
The first pitch has been thrown
The first game has been won,
Though wars rage abroad
And battle flags are unfurled,
It’s time to play ball,
All’s right with the world.
by Joy Skilmer
With apologies to R.B.
Every now and then someone departs, leaving behind shoes that are almost impossible to fill. Think Abe Lincoln, John Wooden, Ronald Reagan and now John Paul II.
Advice to the next pope: Don’t try to be John Paul III. Settle for being yourself. The world, including most Catholics, will find that quite sufficient.
Advice to the president: Go to the pope’s funeral; don’t send the vice president.
Of course it always possible to change your mind, especially if you’re a politician, but as of now Vice President Cheney is not a candidate for president.
Cheney has done his best to puncture a little “Cheney for President” boomlet that a couple of his admirers among the conservative news media have floated in the last few weeks with a Sherman-like statement.
Indeed Cheney, talking to the editorial board of the New York Post, seems to have quoted Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman word for word, saying, “If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.” Making sure there would be no misunderstanding he added, “Not only no but hell no.”
The only question now is, does Cheney really mean what he said.
April 1, 2005--For a guy who stole and destroyed classified government papers and then lied about it, Sandy Berger is getting off light.
Federal officials say Berger has plea bargained his way to no jail time, an infinitesimal $10,000 fine, surrender of his security clearance for three years and a promise to cooperate with investigators. A judge must okay the deal; if justice means anything he won’t.
Berger stole and destroyed classified papers from the National Archives that had to do with how the Clinton administration dealt with terrorism. The question is: who was he protecting? Himself or Bill Clinton? And what was in those papers and why, when he was caught, did he lie about it, deny about it?
One has to wonder what kind of a deal he made, who was bought off, is this what it means to be part of an old boy network?
The full sentence for his crime is surprisingly light—a year in the jug and a $100,000 fine for an act that comes pretty close to treason. People who have no money and no political pull spend more time in prison for stealing a pack of cigarettes. And the feds want to give this guy no time. They don’t even want to put a bracelet on his ankle to keep track of him.
No wonder cynicism about the law and politics grows by the day.
It is not enough to call Michael Shiavo evil; he is clearly a man without a single redeeming trait. Look at his record. Not decent enough to divorce his wife while he cohabits with another woman and impregnates her twice.
Has Terri’s feeding tube pulled over the protests of her parents, insuring she will die slowly of dehydration and starvation over, it turns out, a 13-day period.
Refuses to let Terri’s parents be with her when she dies.
Will have her cremated against their—and probably her—wishes and inter the ashes in Pennsylvania, as far as possible from her parents.
Worst of all, and this makes one want to vomit, cuddle her and pretend to love her while she is going through her final death throes, death throes that he has spent years planning and arranging.
What have I missed? I don’t know. All I know is that anything Michael Shiavo could do to kill Terri and hurt her parents he did. If the devil hasn’t gone soft he will have a special place in hell for him .
It matters not whether you think the tube should have been pulled, whether congress or the courts should have intervened. What does matter is that his man and his abetters—the lawyers and the judges—allowed him, indeed helped him, to treat another human being, one to whom he ad special obligations, or so one would have thought, worse than the law would have allowed him to treat a dog—or a `17-year-old murderer.
How low can a nation sink to close its eyes to this sort of cruelty? How low has this nation sunk?
I almost forgot. Today is April Fools Day, our only national holiday in recognition of the members of the United States Congress.
March 31, 2005--I see by the papers that President Bush isn’t doing very well in the polls. Gallup has him at 45 percent approval, the lowest rating of his presidency. The indications are that those polled are unhappy with his handling of domestic issues such as Social Security, immigration and deficit spending.
I don’t think much of this matters and I have a hunch Bush feels the same way.
I certainly have my disagreements with the president—on immigration, on edeucation, on deficit spending—but where I don’t disaagree with him is his steadfastness, his refusal to react to polls or by political attacks.
I suspect that is one reason why he is hated by liberals. They see no give in him. Right or wrong he is a man of strong convictions. He is not easily swayed by criticism from either the left or the right.
Furthermore, because this is his second term he does not have to worry about being re-elected.
What he does have to worry about is his legacy, how he will be perceived when he leaves office. At this time one thing appears certain. Regardless of how his presidency is rated on the issues, it is difficult to imagine that he won’t be viewed, along with Ronald Reagan, as one of the strongest, most determined presidents since the end of World War II.
March 29, 2005—March 30, 2005--A few years ago there was a movie called “Back to the Future.” I never saw it so all I know about it is its title. And I must say, it haunts me, because sometimes I see the United States headed for a future that is 1984, with all that that implies. And what it implies is complete control of the individual by the government and the willingness by a majority of the people to accept it.
The natural proclivity of government to intrude into peoples’ lives, the demand by the people to be kept safe from terrorists attacks and their smug indifference to the truth that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. These, it seems to me, are some of the major reasons that the liberty for which our forefathers fought and bled is slowly slipping away.
In the last week alone there have been further indications that liberty is being slowly eroded.
Yesterday the president of Gettysburg College, Katherine Haley Will, in an op ed column in the Washington Post (of all places) talked about a proposal by the Education Department that would “force every college and university in America to report all their students’ Social Security numbers and other information about each individual—including credits earned, degree plan, race and ethnicity and grants and loans received—to a national data bank.”
Doctor (I presume) Will is not happy with the Feds. She calls the proposal “dangerous and poorly conceived” and concludes that “Congress must reject this measure.” She’s right, of course, but it is no longer possible to depend on the leaders of either party to take a stand in defense of freedom.
One Republican senator has just thrown in the towel in another area. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, once a staunch foe of those who favor inflicting a national identifcation card on every American citizen, has concluded that we have reached the point where “congress should carefully create an effective federal document (He means an ID card) that helps prevent terrorism—with as much respect for privacy as possible.
Hey, Lamarr, old buddy, you be living in dream world if you think that privacy and a national ID card can long exist side by side.
In fairness to the good senator, I think he knows that. But, he says, “I’m afraid this is one of the ways Sept. 11 has changed our lives.”
In recent weeks there have been stories about automobile companies installing “black boxes” in their cars without informing car buyers. These will record all kinds of information that could be made available to the government, including speed, miles traveled, miles per gallon and so forth. Worse, they could be rigged to record conversations, and there goes your privacy. Some cars already have these black boxes. There’s nothing like having a government spy riding around in your car with you, which is what this amounts to.
Today, more than ever big brother is intent on watching us, listening to us, gathering personal information about us. Anything to keep us in line.
We zipped past l984 24 years ago but more and more it’s looking as if somewhere down the road we made a U-turn.
March 29,2005--For a number of years now federal judges have been twisting the meaning of the constitution to suit their own philosophies of government and in doing so have usurped the right of the congress to make laws and the right of the executive to carry them out. Seemingly they have left their victims, the citizens of these Unite States, with no recourse.
But that is not so. The people through the constitution itself do have recourse. Its called amending the constitution.
The segment of the constitution which gives the federal courts close to dictatorial authority over you and me is Section 1, Article III. It reads: The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour...” In other words, as long as a judge behaves himself he can’t be fired by the president who appoints him or by the congress which approves of his appointment. Neither can he be recalled by a vote of the people.
This needs to be changed.
There is no reason why judges at any level should be given lifetime appointments which make them accountable to no one. One of the basic premises of any democraacy is that public officials should be accountable to the people. Why this does not include judges is beyond me.
Yes, I know, the theory is that judges should not be susceptible to political pressure and a lifetime appointment will accomplish that aim.
Putting a black robe on a man (or a woman) and giving him a lifetime sinecure and an overweening sense of self-importance, doesn’t make him any smarter, any wiser, any less susceptible to corruption than any other public office holder.
And the fact that we, the people, have assumed that it does is one reason federal judges have gotten away with usurping authority that rightly belongs either to the legislative or executive branches.
So what is needed is a way to bring these superior beings back down to earth, remove the halos from their heads and make them accountable in the long run to the people.
And the way to do that is take away their lifetime appointments. This doesn’t mean they should be term-limited nor does is mean they should be forced to run for re-election.
What it does mean is that from time to time they should be subjected to a vote of their peers, meaning you and me and the rest of the voters.
California is one state that has solved this problem. Members of its supreme court are appointed by the governor. But once every 12 years justices must present themselves for a vote of the people. Nobody runs against them; it’s not a political contest, but the people get to vote whether they want to keep them or replace them. If the vote is “yes” a justice goes back to the bench for another 12 years. If it’s “no” the governor names someone to replace him.
Once in a while, but not often, Californians throw a judge out. I think it has a salubrious effect on the rest of the gang.
And if it works in California it could work for the country, not only for the supreme court but also for the circuit and district courts.
Certainly, a constitutional amendment putting such a system into effect couldn’t make things any worse than they are now.
March 25, 2005—Well, as even most atheists have to know, today is Good Friday. (As an aside, it has to bug them just little bit that the stock market remained closed today in recognition of the day.)
I should note here that I am one of those terrible people who are responsible for the Republican stranglehold on the federal government—a conservative Christian—and therefore today, Easter Sunday and Christmas all have special meaning for me.
However, while maybe I should be, I’m not big on Ash Wednesday, Lent, Palm Sunday or Maunday Thursday. As a matter of fact, I’ve often wondered which comes first, Maunday Thursday or Tuesday Wednesday.
More seriously, I’ve often wondered also why the day Christ was crucified is known as Good Friday. It certainly was not a good day for Him, for his mother, for his apostles or his disciples. Easter is the good day though because that is the day we Christians celebrate the fact that “He is risen” and we are saved.
Anyway, here it is, Good Friday and some other things come to mind. For one, I cannot figure out why some Christians are anti-Semitic. I know they say it’s because the Jews crucified Christ, but that’s not true. Sure they clamored for his crucifixion but it was the Roman, Pontius Pilate, who ordered it and Roman soldiers who carried it out,
But still, it’s beyond me how any Christian can be anti-semitic when you stop to consider that Christ was a Jew, the Bible, both old and new testaments, was written by Jews, that the apostles were Jews, that Christianity, when you come right down to it, is a Jewish religion.
Under the circumstances I want it known that as far as I’m concerned Jews are welcome to join my country club any time.
Have you ever noticed that while you can find an anti-Semite also anywhere California is the only place you can find a Yosemite?
Here it is Good Friday and at least they’re not crucifying Terri Schiavo; they’re merely starving her to death.
Every now and then even the French can do something right. Yesterday, for instance they found the left-wing billionaire George Soros guilty of insider trading. The palindromic Soros is the godfather of the ultra-liberal organization Move-On and spent mega millions in a vain effort to defeat President Bush last year. This little slap on the wrist won’t hurt Soros ability to spend money to make political mischief, which is unfortunate, but at least it knocks his halo of self-righteousness just a bit askew.
And now comes the Washington Times slapping President Bush on the wrist for consorting with the arrogant, anti-American president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, while at the same time labeling law-abiding Americans as vigilantes merely because they plan to monitor illegal border crossings by Mr. Fox’s countrymen.
Says the Times: “It’s sad to see an American president roll out a royal welcome to a foreign dignitary so openly contemptuous of U.S.law while simultaneously condemning Americans who are trying to help duly constituted authorities enforce the law.”
Before his time as president is over Mr. Bush may find that the biggest can of worms he has to contend with in his second term is not Iraq, is not terrorism and is not Social Security, but instead is his weak and wishy-washy handling of the illegal alien problem. At this point it is the one problem that is arousing the ire of significant numbers of Americans.
And Bush’s solution to it, amnesty disguised as a guest worker program, is no solution at all.
March 24, 2005--I think it was Mr. Bumble who said it. And, though he wasn’t referring to the Schiavo murder case he could have been. What he said, in case you’ve forgotten, was this: “The law is a ass.”
I see by the papers (or, more accurately, the Washington Times since I can’t find a word in the Post) where President Bush opposes a civilian project to keep track of illegal aliens coming across the U.S/Mexican border.
Not surprisingly, the president has mischaracterized those participating in the project as vigilantes. My dictionary says vigilantes are members of a committee of citzens organized “to suppress and punish crime summarily.” The definition, as well as the general understanding of the term implies that vigilantes will resort to violence.
Those involved in the project, which has been labeled “The Minuteman Project,’ plan only to monitor the movement of illegals crossing the border and report their findings to the border patrol. Currently more than 1000 persons and 30 private airplanes are involved. Monitoring will begin in April.
Bush, who is notoriously soft on illegals, said he is “for enforcing the law in a rational way.” Which statement I suppose most of those participating in the Minuteman Project agree with. Where they disagree with the president is that they think he’s not “enforcing the law in a rational way,” or maybe hardly enforcing it at all.
Indeed, as the ranks of illegals have swollen to more than ten million, mainly latinos which means mainly Mexicans, the federal government has done little to stop the flow from the south. Yes, a fence is being build along the California border but little has been done along the Arizona, New Mexico, Texas borders.
As for those already here, the president has proposed an almost laughable guest worker program (he denies it’s amnesty but he’s having a tough time getting anyone to agree with him) that says guest workers will have to go home and reapply for admittance after three years. He has not said who will be in charge of sending them home or what will happen if they don’t go.
In the meantime, while the president opposes the Minutemen, Mexico’s Presidente Vicente Fox, continues to whine about any efforts to stop his countrymen from invading the U.S. He would like completely open borders. And why not? Its easier to send Mexican peons to work in the U.S. than it is to build the kind of economy that will keep them at home. Besides, money sent to Mexico from illegals working in the U.S. is recognized as signifcant boost to the Mexican economy.
In the meantime, as Fox complains about efforts to control the U.S./Mexico border, the State Department has issued a report condemning Mexico’s treatment of Central Americans trying to cross Mexco’s southern border. Apparently, in Mexico what is sauce for the vixen is not sauce for the Fox (for those of you who didn’t go to Harvard a vixen is a female fox.). But then, why should anyone be surprised?
Bobby Fischer is two things, maybe three. First of all he is a great chess player (talk about unimportant greatness!). Second he is a first class nut case. And now, third, he is a citizen of Iceland which serves both him and Iceland right.
But despite these three things I have yet to figure out why the United States wants to bring him back to America and charge him for that most heinous of all crimes, playing a chess match in Yugoslavia in violation of U.S. sanctions—back in l992 for goodness sake. Man, that’s a real crime. Need to put the man in jail for that. Maybe execute him.
You’d think, or at least I’d think, that this country would have better things to do with its time, its money and its resources. Like maybe find Osama bin Laden. Or keep Mexico frominvading the United States.
One thing I can’t figure out is why we want Fischer back here in the first place, especially since Iceland is hot to have him. Like I said, he’s a nut. He’s also a virulent anti-semite which must have his Jewish mother revolving in her grave.
Even if Iceland didn’t want him it seems to me there are better things to do with him that put him in prison here in the U.S. of A. We could, for example, send him back to what’s left of Yugoslovia.
March 22, 2005--It’s official now. U.S. district judge James Whittemore, a Clinton appointee, has said it’s okay to deprive Terri Schiavo of food and water until she dies. That should only take a week or two.
This will allow her husband, Michael, who once promised to love, honor and cherish her until death did them part, to marry the woman with whom he has been shacked up with for the last ten years and legitimize the two children she’s had by him. Even so, it’s hard to believe that’s going to be a happy marriage. For sure, the bride had better stay healthy.
Polls show a majority of the public is on the husband’s side. And why not? After all these are the same people who were silent when Bill Clinton okayed the slaughter of the Branch Davidians down in Waco and the return of Elian Gonzalez to Castro’s Cuba.
Still, i wonder why the husband, if he wanted to marry another woman, didn’t file for divorce and turn the guardianship of Terri over to the parents. You can be sure they s would have agreed.
There is, I think, more here than meets the eye.
As a result of the Shiavo case there is one thing you can bet on. A lot of people who hadn’t given it any thought until now will be drawing up living wills. And you can be sure very few of them will demand to be kept alive if they are in a state similar to that of Terri Schiavo, unless, of course, they wish to prevent their spouses from getting married again.
I don’t know if Michael Jackson is guilty of molesting little boys but I do know he’s the weirdest guy in town and I think any parents who let their sons mingle with this weirdo ought to have their own heads examined.
It’s time to draft a living will.
Do it now while you’re not ill.
All of a sudden there’s a little presidential boomlet under way on behalf of Vice President Cheney.
First Fred Barnes writes about a possible Cheney candidacy in The Weekly Standard. Then Tod Lindbergh follows up with a column in the Washington Times.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Cheney will run—he says he won’t, which doesn’t mean anything either—but it does mean some political types are not ruling him out.
And for good reason. Currently, he is the only serious conservative available. True, there are others. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Virginia Senator George Allen come to mind but neither has any kind of a national base.
Cheney does. Furthermore, if he were to run he would have the backing of President Bush. In fact he probably would only run if he had that backing.
On the other hand, he also has some serious negatives. A series of heart attacks means there will always be questions about his health and whether he could withstand the stress and strain of the presidency which is infinitely greater than that of the vice presidency which, as Bob Dole once noted, involves no heavy lifting. It is one thing to be an adviser to the president; it is another to attempt to shoulder the burden of the presidency.
Secondly, Cheney is low key to the point of being dull. He may have gravitas., as the press noted in 2000, but no one has accused him of having charisma. He will not excite the rabble.
Cheney is a smart and able man with vast political experience. As such he must recognize these drawbacks. But he is also the vice president of the United States and as such would be a rarity if he did not want the top job and if he did not pursuade himself—or allow himself to be pursuaded—that he could win it and that he could handle it.
It is early yet. But keep an eye out. Cheney candidacy is not without the realm of possibility.
March 21, 2005--Well, it looks like brain-damaged Terri Schiavo gets to live a little longer, thanks to bill passed last night a little after midnight and signed by president Bush at 1:11 this morning.
Ordinarily I believe the federal government should keep its nose out of state affairs and this is plainly a state’s rights, 10th Amendment case. It is also the exception that proves the rule.
For me it boils down to this: What kind of a nation are we becoming that we would be willing to stand by and let a state—in this case Florida—abet the murder by starvation and dehydration of a helpless human being whose only crime is that she is the wife of a man who wants her dead so he can marry someone else?
The husband, Michael Schiavo, has been living with another woman for the last 10 years and has two children by her
Florida courts have consistantly ruled in favor of Schiavo’s demand that his wife’s feeding tube be removed and that she be forced to die from lack of food and water. One wonders if the courts would so rule in the case of a dog or a horse or whether Florida judges would declare such treatment cruelty to animals.
I find it interesting that for the most part Democrats who are supposed to care about people voted against the measure while Republicans who are often accused of being cold-hearted voted for it.
At any rate the legislation means the feeding tube, which was removed Friday, can now be reinserted while a federal judge decides whether Terri can live or must die.
The Washington Post notes today—in the middle of a lengthy story—that there likely is little chance that the Federal Election Commission will try to regulate the political writings of internet bloggers.
The Post headline, more scary than accurate, says the “FEC Considers Restricting Online Political Activities” but halfway through the story, we find that four of the commissioners “oppose regulating independent bloggers”
Democrat Ellen L. Weintraub is quoted as saying: “We regulate campaign finance. We don’t regulate speech in the abstract. We only regulate when money is spent.” She pointed out that “Most of the time when people are sitting at their home computers...there really isn’t any money being spent.”
However, Republican commissioner David Mason has predicted that “We are almost certainly going to move from an environment in which the Internet was per se not regulated to where it is going to be regulated in some part.”
Once again this will bring up the question of whether the FEC has a right to regulate political speech. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the McCain/Feingold campaign reform legislation, which limits free speech rights, may well mean a government attempt down the road to limit what goes out on the internet.
If this happens bloggers and other internet users are going to have little choice except to ignore any attempt to regulate them. To do less would he to submit to government control of speech and of the press. Before that happens, comes the revolution.
March 18, 2005—Idle thoughts:
For the life of me I don’t know why scalping tickets should be illegal. It seems to me that buying low and selling high is in the best American tradition; it’s what capitalism is all about.
If I buy a ticket for $25 and sell it to a willing purchaser for $50 that ought to be my right. That’s what the guy who runs the grocery store does, or the guy who runs the automobile agency or the gas station. If I can hold a yard sale and make a profit on all the junk I’ve accumulated, why can’t I sell a ticket that I bought. After all, it’s mine. I should be allowed to do with it what I wish, whether it/s use it, eat it or sell it.
As far as I’m concerned the only scalping that ought to be illegal is what the Indians used to do. That, when you stop to think about it, is a real hair-raising experience.
Today’s unanswered question: Why didn’t that congressional committee investigating the use of performance-enhancing steroids subpoena Barry Bonds to testify?
I keep wondering if the actor, Robert Blake, who a jury this week found not guilty of murdering his wife, will take a cue from O. J. Simpson and spend the rest of his life combing the nation’s golf courses for the real killer.
My next question today is why is the use of steroids by baseball players any of congress’ business? It seems to me that it is up to organized baseball to set its own rules of conduct, including the use of drugs by players.
Sure, if players use drugs that are illegal, such as cocaine or marijuana, go ahead and sic the law on them. Otherwise, let baseball police its own nest.
If organized baseball doesn’t do an adequate job of keeping the game honest and clean, the fans will let it know—just like they do with professional rassling.
The trouble with government today is that it is forever butting into things that are none of its business. While trouble with the public today is that it accepts government’s ever increasing role in the people’s lives.
I see by the papers where the new Secretary of Education, Margaret Spelling, is trying to pressure the state of Utah into accepting the federal No Child Left Behind education act which, in effect, federalizes public education, which until now, under the Tenth Amendment, has been a prerogative of the states.
The Tenth Amendment reserves to the states all powers not delegated by the constitution to the states. However, in recent years the feds have gotten around the amendment by bribing the states to accept federal controls in certain areas with federal funds. State governors and legislatures, for the most part being gutless, have gone along.
In this particular case,however, the Utah legislature has rejected the idea of accepting federal controls in return for federal funds. Utah governor Jon Huntsman is said to be considering knuckling under to Ms. Spelling’s pressures. However, it is almost certain that the legislature will override any decision he makes.
A story in the Washington Times today indicates that the Bush administration is concerned that the heavily Republican Utah legislature would be the first to reject the president’s pet education proposal.
As of today the Utahns have a choice: They can give in to the administration so as not to embarass President Bush or they can continue to take the high road and put the constitution first. It will be interesting to see which choice they make.
March 17, 2005--It was to be expected.
As soon as the Washington press found out (nobody was trying to hide it, by the way) that various branches of the federal government are putting information on video tape and sending it out to television stations for their use, if they wanted to use it, the whining began.
In the eyes of the Washington press all information coming out of the federal government should be filtered through it. The idea of sending video taped information directly to television stations for them to use or not use as they see fit somehow is unethical. Especially if a Republican administration does it. The fact that the Clinton administration also did it is pretty much ignored.
Actually the whole thing is a tempest in a teapot. Especially when one considers that the governor of California, Ronald Reagan, was doing the same thing as early as l967.
How do I know? A woman named Nancy Reynolds, who worked for me, suggested the idea and I suggested it to Reagan and we did it. The only difference was that we used private funds.
That, however, did not keep the Sacramento press corps from complaining. They did not like our reasoning—that we were trying to get information to the people, unfiltered through the prism of the Sacramento press.
The fact that the government is paying for producing the video tapes it is sending out puts a little different spin on the situation, but not much. Afterall, all government press personnel are paid by the government as are their press releases. So why not their videos?
And, when you come right down to it, the video tapes being sent out are little more than glorified press releases. If the news operation at an individual station wishes to pretend that the information on the tape is something it dug up on its own, how is that different from a reporter rewriting a press release or a radio reporter paraphrasing what the press release said? The fact is, it isn’t.
So what it boils down to are a couple of things. One, some tv stations are willingly accepting government propaganda and pretending its news they dug up all by themselves. Two, lazy and/or self-important reporters can’t stand the idea that the government has figured out a way to get out the information it wants out without filtering it through the Washington press. Well, whoop-de-do.
March 16, 2005—It’s getting more difficult by the day to take seriously the Democrats in the United States senate and their leader, the man from Searchlight, Nev., Harry Reid.
The fact that the senate Democrats are willing to follow a weak Reid like Harry alone is enough to make of them a laughing stock.
Especially when he seems to be leading them down a garden path that leads to oblivion.
Reid, obviously feeling the oats of leadership, has decided to lead his minority troops into battle against the Republicans over the issue of how many votes should it take to confirm the appointment of a federal judge. For the first two hundred plus years of this republic it took a majority of those senators present and voting.
Their resentment of President Bush led them during his first term to block some of his conservative judicial appointments with unprecedented filibusters which required 60 votes to end, 60 votes that the Republicans do not have.
They do, however, have 51 votes which is all it takes to change the rule regarding filibusters so that one can be broken with those same 51 votes. This is what they are now considering doing. It is called “the nuclear option.”
And the very thought of it has panicked Weak Reid Harry. He has written a letter to the senate majority leader, William Frist pleading for him not to do it and threatening that if they do it the Democrats will block any legislation except that having to do with national security or critical government services.
What Reid doesn’t understand is that what he considers a threat conservatives for the most part will view as a promise. The idea of the senate not passing legislation is a thrilling one indeed, one that most conservatives will endorse.
As for those who favor lots of new laws, they will have no one to blame but the Reid-led Democrats. In other words it seems to me that Reid is offering the Republicans a chance to have their cake and eat it, too. This being the case his threat would appear to be pretty much of an idle one.
It is possible, of course, that he knows this because he ends his letter to Frist with a conciliatory whine: “If you abandon the nuclear option, I assure you that Senate Democrats will cooperate with you to consider legislation and nominations.”
If Frist and his fellow Republicans believe this they will deserve the beating the Demmocrats will hand them down the road.
March 15, 2005--The next presidential election is more than three and a half years down the road but already the silly season of Pick a Candidate has begun among the news media.
On the Democrat side the pundits have pretty much ceded the nomination to Hillary Clinton.
At the same time they’d like to see the Republicans nominate the new Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. And wouldn’t that be fun? A cat fight between, for the first time in our history, two female candidates for president.
Relax. It ain’t gonna happen. Miss Rice, being a smart lady, maybe even as smart as Hillary, and a better piano player to boot, hasn’t said 100 percent no, but she has said 99 percent, which ought to be, but isn’t, good enough for the political press.
This doesn’t mean that Miss Rice wouldn’t like to be president but it does mean she knows that it would take a miracle to make that dream, if it’s one that she has, come true.
For one thing, Secretary of state is not a very good place from which to run for president since, unlike being a senator or even a governor, it not only is a full-time job but also it is one that is focussed entirely on foreign affairs. If, indeed, Miss Rice changed her mind and decided to run she’d have to resign as secretary of state no later than mid-summer of 2007 just to bone up on domestic issues. I would bet that she wouldn’t do that.
But not to worry. The Republicans may not have a potential nominee as glamorous as Miss Rice but they’ve got a gaggle of potentials already scurrying around or at least dropping hints. Among these are Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senator John McCain, Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Vice President Dick Cheney. And, since it’s still early, there will be others. Count on it.
March 14, 2005—Some organizations with whom I usually agree are, I think, making a major mistake. They are petitioning the Federal Election Commission to give them the right of free speech.
Hey, fellas! You all ready have that right. It is guaranteed to you in the First Amendment. Remember? It says “Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech.” You don’t have to ask. Let them try to take it away from you.
Yes. I know all about the McCain-Feingold law that a renegade Supreme Court has held to be constitutional that limits freedom of political speech. And I know that Bradley Smith, a member of the FEC, has said that bloggers (those are the people who exposed Dan Rather’s phony smear of George Bush) face possible regulation because a federal judge has decided they are not exempt from the speech regulations of McCain-Feingold.
As a result of that decision a coalition of bloggers and cyber space columnists has asked the FEC to give them the same rights as newspapers and other “old news media” when it comes to commenting on politics.
Unfortunately, in doing so, the coalition is, in effect, admitting that the FEC has the power to control what bloggers say and write and send out . And if that is so then the FEC can control what anybody sends out in cyber space.
What bloggers and cyaber columnists and others who believe the first amendment means what it says should do is ignore the FEC, make it bring charges, if it dares, against the literally thousands of persons who send out their opinions and criticisms into cyber space every day. .
If it—the FEC—acttually tries to control this area of opinion dissemination I guarantee you that there will be a revolution or something very close to it. I for one, regardless of what congress or the FEC decides, shall continue to write what I believe and think. And I will not stoop to asking the FEC for permission to do so.
March 11, 2005--Dan Rather may claim to be an unbiased reporter but he can’t ignore the fact that from beginning to end he and the Democrats have at least one thing in common—rats. As in RATher and DemocRAT. Hardly a coincidence, wouldn’t you say?
Meanwhile, over in Hong Kong that territory’s chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, has resigned, proving once again that sometimes it almost impossible for the people of Hong Kong to hold their Tung.
Doctors have operated on Bill Clinton in part to remove fluid from his chest. So far, however, they been unable to do anything about the water on his brain.
Even though I’ve been a baseball fan most of my life I’m more than a little inclined to agree with Washington Post sports writer Michael Wilbon who calls profession baseball a cheaters’ game. As compared to other professional sports, I suppose he means.
For me, however, most of the cheating that goes on in baseball is part of the charm of the game, much more so than in other sports. The exception is the use of steroids to increase a batter’s home run product or jazz up the velocity on a pitcher’s fast ball.
I wish they wouldn’t do that. I wish that organized baseball would ban players who use the stuff and put an asterisk beside their records. That includes Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire and everybody else who it can be proved has used the stuff. These guys are setting or have set their records under false pretenses.
But the cheating that goes on during a game is another matter. I’m thinking of things like corking a bat which is stupid which is why Sosa did it and why he got caught, “doctoring” a ball, which most pitchers try to get away with, usually without much luck, or stealing the opposing team’s signs.
These are all part of the legends of the game and while pitchers who get caughtl marking or putting a foreign substance on a ball and hitters who are caught corking a bat should be suspended for their crimes it doesn’t seem to me that they do much damage to the integrity of the game.
Incidentally, a”corked bat” for those of you who don’t know is a bat that has been hollowed out and filled with cork. Such a bat theoretically—very theoretically—makes a hit ball travel farther. It also makes the bat break more easily which is what happened with Sosa. It was not a corking good idea.
It is against the rules to “doctor” a ball with saliva, or vaseline or mark one with one’s fingernails or a belt buckle perhaps a bit of sand paper because a knowledgeable pitcher can make such a ball do tricks that an undoctored ball won’t do.
But umpires are always on the watch for marked balls and it takes an unusual clever pitcher, such as 300-game winner Gaylord Perry, to get away with it very often.
But baseball isn’t the only sport where players cheat. The old Washington Redskin defensive end, Dexter Manley, has been known to have spit in an opposing lineman’s face just as the ball was being snapped. Holding, which is cheating, is a common offense in football.
One activity at football games which not only is not cheating but also is encouraged by players and coaches alike is to encourage home field fans to make so much noise the opposing team cannot hear its signals. Thus the home team has the advantage of having a “12th man” on its side. I guess it must be all right, though, because I’ve not heard any complaints about the practice
I guess in the long run cheating in professional sports boils down to this: Winning is everything and cheating is only bad if you get caught. Or so it would appear.
March 10, 2005--
For Dan Rather it’s anchors away,
One more lib has now had his day
He didn’t want to go,
But what can you do
When nobody asks you to stay?
I see by the papers (I won’t watch television news even though Dan Rather is no longer around to put a left-wing slant on it) that President Bush is hitting the road again to tout his plan for reforming social security.
You have to admire a man who will fight for what he believes and regardless of what you think of George W. Bush’s politics, there is one undeniable thing about him: he fights for what he believes.
And that is why it is too early to count him out on the Social Security issue.
However, I wonder if he’s going about his campaign to rally the public behind him the right way. From what I read, he’s spending much of his time and effort trying to assure us old folks that there is nothing in his proposal that will affect our social security checks. The theory being that so-called seniors vote in bigger numbers and are more actively politically than younger voters and therefore they are a threat to members of congress who support even a limited privatization of the social security system.
That may be true but still it seems to me that along with soothing the seniors the president ought to be carrying his message to the age group that would be affected by his plan.
Indeed, if I were running this show I would do several things that I don’t see being done at the moment.
First, I would send the president out to rally younger Americans behind his proposal. They, not the old folks, have the most to win if it passes. They also have the most to lose if it doesn’t pass.
Second, I would turn this into a major political campaign, identifying my supporters and persuading them to put pressure on their congressman.
Third I would put together a group of high-level, well-known surrogates—Jack Kemp comes immediately to mind as one—to speak all over the country and write in support of social security reform.
Fourth, I would utilize all the resources of the White House and the Republican national committee to keep a constant drum beat going on behalf of the reform measure.
It is not enough just for the president to carry the ball. Congress and the people need to know that he has broad support not only from voters but also from well-nown experts in the field and that he is unrelenting in his efforts to win apporoval of his proposal.
If there is any indication that he is not going all out the chances of reforming social security in this session of congress will be severe;y damaged.
March 9, 2005--President Bush’s selection of John Bolton to be the United States ambassador to the United Nations took a lot of people by surprise; kind of a Bolton from out of the blue.
No matter how badly some of us conservatives would like to see the United States get out of the United Nations that just ain’t gonna happen, not now and not in the foreseeable future.
That being the case President Bush has done the next best thing in naming John Bolton as the new ambassador to the UN.
You know Bolton is a good choice from the reaction of soft-on-the-UN internationalists such as Sen. Richard Lugar, the Indiana Republican whose record indicates he’d like to make the U.S. just another member of a world-wide community of nations. America first? Heck no. Everybody else first.
Lugar, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a strong proponent of the disastrous Law of the Sea treaty, has made known his disapproval of Bolton by saying he was going “to reserve any comments aboutl the appropriateness” of the president’s choice of Bolton. Lugar’s damning of Bolton with no praise at all is good news for those who think it is the primary job of the U.S. ambassador to stick up for and defend America’s interests.
Lugar’s problem with Bolton is that he, Bolton, not only is a conservative but
also is someone who puts America’s interests first.
Of all things, places and people, Bolton’s appointment has won the approval of Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum, who likes his bluntness and also likes the fact that he “is one of the few people in public life willing to draw the distinction between what the United Nations actually is and what everybody would like it to be.”
If, as expected, Bolton is confirmed by the senate, he may well turn out to be this nation’s best ambassador to the UN since Jeane Kirkpatrick.
March 8, 2005--I don’t suppose it can be proved one way or another but still I’d be willing to bet that the men who wrote the United States constitution, including the first 10 amendments, didn’t write the first amendment for the express purpose of preventing the display of The Ten Commandments on public property or in public buildings.
Matter of fact I’d bet that they’d be more than a little surprised to see the First Amendment used as a means for driving the mere mention of religion out of America’s public life.
Here’s what the first amendment says regarding religion: Congress shall make no law respecting an etablishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
That’s it. There ain’t no more. Yet these 16 words have been twisted into meaning that there is an unscalable wall between religion, primarily Christianity, and government in all its various facets and ramifications.
These days religion haters (perhaps “God haters” is a more accurate term) have been concentrating on getting “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance”and the Ten Commandments off of and out of public property and public buildings.
And I suspect, what with a majority of members of the Supreme Court being boobs and idiots, that they will eventually succeed.
What bugs me, though, is that they are basing their campaign on the grounds that the commandments, all 10 of them, are Christian. Because that just isn’t so. They’re Jewish and they precede Christianity by about a thousand years. On the other hand, since Christianity is also a Jewish religion, maybe they have a point. But not much of one.
Sure, Christians have laid claim to them and made them part of, but not the most important part of, their religion, primarily because the Old Testament in its entirety is also part of their religion, just as it is part of the Jews’ religion.
Still, it’s hard for me to believe that posting the Ten Commandments in a public place is an attempt to inflict the Jews’ religion on the rest of us.
I think it’s more likely that some Americans hate God so strongly or are so perverted in their morals that they can’t see them without having guilty consciences or being outraged that a simple code of conduct that happens to mention God is displayed in public? I guess the answer to that one is “yes.”
It is also hard for me to believe that some people really think a public display of the Ten Commandments indicates that government, or as the First Amendment says, “Congress” is trying to inflict the three thousand year old religion of the Jews on the rest of us.
Furthermore, I know I would not be bothered or feel threatened if I saw one of Mohammad’s’ sayings, or one of Buddha’s posted in a school, a park or even a courtroom.
And I still can’t understand why anyone, at least anyone who isn’t a born trouble maker, thinks the Ten Commandments are a threat to the body politic and should be barred from public places.
March 7, 2005--It’s taken long enough but it’s finally beginning to look as if the Republican party is getting serious about cutting into the Democrats’ strangle hold on the black vote.
It’s about time.
During all my time in politics—nearly 40 years now—the Republicans have to all intents and purposes ceded the black vote to the Democrats. Oh sure, once every four years they’ve made a half-hearted run at it but once the race for president was over they pretty much have gone back to ignoring it or, at best, reducing their effort to a lick and a promise.
Yes, I know, for years Republican presidents have put a token black or two in their cabinet and maybe found room for one or two others in high level jobs, thinking that would impress the black electorate, (somehow it never did), but until now I have seen little signs of a serious effort to woo the black community on an on-going basis.
But maybe things are changing.
And I don’t know who gets the credit for it—President Bush, his political guru, Karl Rove, or Rove’s man, Ken Mehlman who is the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.
All I know is that Mehlman, who maybe is the best young politician to come along since Lee Atwater, has already spent more time and effort wooing potential black
voters than most chairmen spend during their entire time in office.
His message is simple: “Give us a chance and we’ll give you a choice.”
One thing is clear, the Republican leadership, be it Bush, Rove or Mehlman or all three, have seen and recognize the need the Republicans have for a bigger slice of the black vote if they are to continue their holds on the congress and the white house. It is true Bush was elected with a measly eight percent of the black vote in 2000 and a nearly as measly 11 percent last year, but these percentages are not enough to insure Republican victories in the future.
Another thing the Bushies apparently have come to recognize is that it’s not enough for a Republican president to make a few high level appointments of outstanding blacks. Because blacks see it for what it often (but not always) is—tokenism. During his first term Bush had a black secretary of state, a black head of the National Security Council, and a black secretary of education. For which or in spite of which he picked up another three percent of the black vote.
While high-level appointments are nice, the fact is, they don’t really register with the majority of blacks. What will register is an effort to recognize middle-class blacks for who and what they are on an ongoing basis and to address them and deal with them not as apartheid blacks but as members of the community, with the same needs, ambitions and rights as the rest of the community.
What Mehlman is doing is a good start, but that is all. This is a long-term program, because it’s just not enough to ask blacks into the party or even to welcome them in. It is necessary to prove to them they are wanted, not only today, but also tomorrow and all of the future’s tomorrows.
Furthermore, if the next Republican presidential candidate doesn’t do any better in 2008 than Bush in 2004, Republicans must not view their efforts as a failure and walk away.
This is a 20-year program at its shortest. And only if the Republican leadership recognizes this fact and deals with it will their efforts succeed.
In the meantime and for the short run I would like to offer Mehlman a bit of advice. Mr. Chairman, go back next year and talk to all the black groups you’ve talked to this year. Not only would it show you’re serious about dealing with them and wanting them, but also it would prove to them that Republicans have finally taken to heart the old saying: The Mehlman always rings twice.
March 3, 2005—There is an old poem that starts out; Somebody said that it couldn’t be done/ But he with a chuckle replied,/That maybe it couldn’t but he wouldn’t be one/?To say so until he had tried.
Could it be, after all, that President Bush is going to succeed in doing what no other president, including Dick Nixon and Ronald Reagan, to say nothing (which is about all there is that’s worth saying) of Bill Clinton, which is to bring peace and some sort of democracy to the nations of the Middle East.
You read the papers and news magazines and it’s amazing what you will find there these days. Namely a sense of optimism regarding the situation in the Middle East, whether you’re talking about Iraq, or Israel or Lebanon or almost any other nation situated in that often troubled area.
I, for one, have always thought that Bush was spitting in the wind, that he was living in a dream world if he thought for a moment that he could bring freedom and democracy to a part of the world that with rare exceptions has never known either. In fact, no other president, including the always optimist Ronald Reagan, had even talked in those terms.
But here’s George W. Bush, like Reagan, a cowboy out of the west, leading the way, inspiring hope and courage in the often down-trodden masses in that part of the world.
What do we see? We see Iraqis ignoring the threats of terrorists and turning out to vote in massive numbers. We saw earlier the same thing in Afghanistan. We see Ukrainians demanding and getting a revote and an honest tally on their nationwide elections. We see, can you believe?, local elections in Saudi Arabia. We see public demonstrations in Lebanon against occupying Syrian troops. We see real signs of Israel and the Palestinians reaching some sort of accord, We see stirrings in Egypt, stirrings in Iran in the cause of liberty.
We see Bush’s gamble in Iraq and Afghanistan paying off. We see his refusal to deal with that nasty terrorist Yasser Arafat beginning to pay off. We see Libya, in the face of Bush’s steadfastness, putting an end to its nuclear weapons program.
We see Bush mending the rupture of relations with France to the point where the French stand with him in his demand that Syria get out of Lebanon. Across that whole volatile area we the tree of liberty beginning to bear fruit.
Of course, the Middle East being the Middle East everything could blow up overnight.
But I doubt that it will. Some times there is no turning back the clock. One wonders if Osama bin Laden would have run those planes into the World Trade Center if he could have foreseen the long term and totally unintended consequences of the attack.
March 2, 2005--You may have heard of (or even read) two relatively recent books, one titled “The Millionaire Next Door, the other, “The Sociopath Next Door.” All that’s needed now is for someone to write “The Idiot Next Door,” using Supreme C|ourt Justices as the key examples, starting off with Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Kennedy is the boob who wrote the court’s hardly unimous (5-4) decision to declare unconstitutional the execution of persons under l8, regardless of how heinous their crimes might be.
And since, only by stretching and twisting the Eigthth Amendment all out of shape could he find constitutional support for his ruling, he based much of his opinion on the fact that he wants other nations, most of which don’t execute killer kids, to like us.
Among other things, what Kennedy and his four fellow boobs have done is wrest one more right from the individual states, some of which execute 16 and 17-year-olds, some of which don’t and some of which ban capital punishment all together, as should be their rights.
What they have also done is given life to some of our nations most cold-blooded killers, including the teen-age sniper, Lee Boyd Malvo who killed strangers without cause, just for the thrill of it.
It is time, even past time for a new constitutional amendment, one that would make federal judges and justices answerable to the people by giving the people the right to approve or disapprove of them at the ballot box, say ever 10 years.
As it is these guys and harridans have it made. Once appointed they answer to no one and are free to inflict their own opinions and beliefs on the country at large without ever having to fear of the wrath of the voters.
Once, about 2,500 years ago the Hebrews were ruled by judges and after enduring for years the mischief unanswerable judges can make they petitioned God to give them a king. Which they got, which probably didn’t make things any better, but it’s hard to blame them for trying.
Fortunately we don’t have a king, (although from time to time we get a president who thinks he ought to be one) we have a president who we can, if we wish, dump every four years. It seems to me that we’ve come to the point in our history when the people should demand the right also to pass judgement on their judges who, after all, are not gods in black robes but people who put their pants on one leg at a time (I don’t know about panty hose) just like you and I.
I see where Rudy Giuliani is currently the favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination, which just goes to show that those polled haven’t been giving much thought to whom they really want.
True, Rudy did a fine job on 9/11 and the weeks after it, and has since cashed in on it by demanding up to $100,000 to appear before one group or another to tell them how great he is.
I think Rudy was a great mayor both before and after 9/11 but I wouldn’t want for president someone who believes in gun control, abortion up to and (apparently) and including partial birth abortion, and who eagerly marches in a parade along with a contingent from The Man-Boy Love Association which is made up of perverts who openly advocate homosexual sex between men and young boys.
I, for one, will look elsewhere for a candidate to support for president come 2008.
March 1, 2005--I have finnally figured out why the pope continues to put up with pro-abortion Catholics such as Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Mario Cuomo. He doesn’t want to go down in history as The Great Excommunicator.
The feds have taken one more step to make air travel safer. Come April 14 cigarette lighters will be banned from passenger planes. However matches will still be permitted, but probably not for long. I suppose the new regulation is meant to keep airplanes from going down in flames. In any event, it’s nice to know that Big Nanny is still working hard to keep us safe.
There’s something I don’t understand.
Why lighters from airplanes are banned,
while carrying matches
In very small batches
On to the airplane is grand.
Michael Jackson has now gone on trial
He’s accused of actions most vile,
Of getting his joys
by molesting young boys.
It’s enough to make pedophiles smile.
Martha Stewart has now served her time—
Five months for cheap two-bit crime.
As soon as she’s free
You can bet you will see
How quick she gets off of the dime.
Feb. 25, 2005--If it ever came down to choosing sides in the United States senate one guy you wouldn’t want on your side is is Arlen Specter, the sort-of-Republican senator from Pennsylvania.
You can always bet that when you need him Specter won’t be there. Likewise, you can bet that he is not a man to appreciate or repay past favors.
Specter is the new chairman of the senate judiciary committee, thanks mainly to the support of the senate’s conservative Republicans, most of whom, being not very smart, reluctantly supported him even though they knew he cannot be trusted.
Specter is one of five senate Republicans who voted against impeaching Bill Clinton.
He was elected to a new six-year senate term last fall after surviving a tough primary fight with conservative rep. Pat Toomey, thanks to the active support of President Bush and his fellow Pennsylvania senator, the ordinarily very conservative Republican, Rick Santorum.
Having won re-election and the chairmanship of the judiciary committee, Specter has made it known that while he will see to it that the president’s nominees to the federal bench are reported out of committee for consideration by the entire senate he is not obligated to support them.
Which should surprise no one who has ever looked at Specter’s record which, apparently President Bush forgot to do.
Feb. 24, 2005—Does anyone here really think that French president Jaque Chirac and German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder actually want to be our friends? Anyone who thinks that is living in a dream world.
The truth is,President Bush can send his new secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice to visit the French and German leaders, follow up by sending his old secretary of defense to pretend we’re really good friends despite an occasional disagreement and then go himself and nothing much is going to change.
The Frenchman and the German may talk nicer for a while and may even pretend to be nicer. But you can bet that when push comes to shove they won’t be there when needed; they’ll be somewhere else carping, complaining and criticizing because that’s the nature of the beast.
They are not America’s friends. They hate us and despise up because we are bigger, stronger, richer than they are and because in the long run they need us and we don’t need them. And they will oppose us, work against us or double cross us when ever it suits their fancy.
The president must know this. The secretaries of state and defense must also know it.
But at the same time they know also that it is good domestic politics and good foreign policy for the United States to extend an olive branch. Doing so will mute criticism both abroad and at home that America is arrogant, refuses to listen to or consult with its allies and is bent on extending and expanding American hegemony.
The visits by the American leaders also can be expected to ease any current tensions with our real allies such as the British who must deal with the French and Germans as fellow members of the European Union. And thaty’s about the only real good that can be expected to come out of this particular diplomatic foray.
Guess what. I don’t care if members of the Harvard University faculty are mad at the school’s president, Lawrence Summers for implying that their sex means women generally don’t do as well in mathematics and the sciences as men. I don’t care if they force his resignation. I don’t care if he stays or goes or apologizes another hundred times in the vain hope he’ll get these crybabies off of his back..
Speaking as a 1950 graduate of what was then San Jose State College, I think that as a whole college professors are the most overrated, underqualifed, smug, self-important. self-righteous body of people in the country and I don’t think you get any better an education in the Ivy League than you do in the average state college anywhere in the country.
Furthermore I think Summers was dumb for waving a red flag at his faculty and dumber for apologizing for what he said. One explanation, maybe, and then shut up was about all he owed them. The fact is, no job is worth putting up with the unmitigated crap being thrown at him by a bunch of petulant, spoiled brats passing themselves off as academics.
Thirty years ago a young Harvard grad named John LeBoutellier wrote a book called “Harvard Hates America.” I’ll bet if you took a poll today you’d find the opposite is also true.
It’s beginning to look as if all is not peaches and cream with President Bush’s effort to give the federal government control the nation’s public schools.
Out in Utah the state legislature and the governor are preparing to tell the feds to take their money and butt out. And as many as eight other states are considering taking similar steps.
At stake for Utah is the $116 million bribe the feds would pay it for agreeing to accept the rules and regulations contained in the presidents “No Child Left Behind” legislation.
In voting to reject the federal controls that would accompany federal money members of the Utah legislature say it is primarily a matter of state’s rights.
Interestingly, the Utah legislature, which is is two to one Republican is rejecting legislation passed by a Republican dominated Congress at the urging of a Republican president.
Could it be that this is a harbinger of things to come. That states—some at least—will begin deciding that self-government is more important than accepting federal funds and the controls that always accompany them.
Feb. 22—It’s difficult sometimes to figure out what gets into some people, why they do things they shouldn’t do even when they know better and even when, in the end, they are the ones who will suffer most.
Take Doug Wead, for instance, with, I’m sure, George W. Bush’s blessing.
Wead is the author, he says, of 27 books, at least two of which are about presidents, their families, their backgrounds, what makes them ticks. They’re not great literature, but they’re interesting and informative.
Along with bcing an author Wead also dabbles, or in the past has dabbled, in politics. He served a stint as a special assistant to President George H. W. Bush and when that Bush was running for president in l988 Wead worked under George W. Bush and in the process the two became personal friends.
Or so Bush thought.
He might and probably would have thought differently had he know that during a two-year period between l998 and 2000 Wead was secretly taping the frequent telephone conversations the two men were having. But Bush didn’t know and he had no reason to suspect; Wead afterall was his friend.
Fast forward now to 2005. Wead’s 27th book has just been published. It is titled, The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of our Nation’s Leaders.
And lo and behold, Wead has decided this is the opportune time to make available to the New York Times some of the tapes of his pre-presidential conversations with President Bush. Nice fellow. True friend.
The tapes are not particularly harmful but they hint that as a young man Bush may have used both marijuana and cocaine. It may be recalled that despite the proddings of the national press during the 2000 presidential campaign Bush refused to admit or even discuss the possibility that he had used either. Until Wead released his tapes the matter had been pretty well forgotten.
In his book Wead, apparently reading between the lines in his conversations with Bush, also mentions the possibility that Bush experimented with cocaine.
It would be interesting to know who, in the taped conversations between the two men, raised the subject, and for what purpose. I don’t know but I can guess.
Although he denies it, it seems clear that Wead released the tapes in order to hype sales of his book. Regardless of whether the ploy works Wead has undoubtedly done himself more harm than good.
Who, one asks, would ever trust him again?
FYI: The Washington Times in today’s edition carries a generally favorable review of Wead’s book written by yours truly. The review was written last week except for the second paragraph which was inserted late yesterday. It reads: Unfortunately it has now been disclosed that some of the information Mr. Wead uses comes from phone conversations he taped with George W. Bush before Mr. Bush became president, but without his knowledge. The fact casts a pall over the entire book although it is clear that Mr. Wead did not have an opportunity to tape others about whom he writes.
Because of the taping scandal I suspect that in the future there is going to be one fewer Wead among the Bushes.
Feb. 18, 2005--The time has come for those we Republicans have elected to high office either to fish or to cut bait, either to decide they are conservatives or Democrat-like moderates, either to cut the size and expense of government or enlarge them, either to butt out of our lives or muscle government’s way farther in, in short either to act like Republicans or admit that all this time they’ve been lying to us.
Over at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (C-PAC) the big shots are all talking like conservatives, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe them.
Pushing for tax cuts is important but it’s not enough. Endorsing a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (it will never pass) is merely a sop thrown to cultural conservatives.
Naming conservative judges is a step in the right direction but one cannot expect them to halt the advance of big government or block actions that affect national sovereignty.
Already this year we have see the house pass legislation that in effect, establishes a national ID card which is one way for Big Brother to keep track of you and me. Reagrdless of what you call it, the president continues to push for legislation that will leegitimize the presence in this country of more than 10 million illegal aliens.
Likewise, he’s pushing legislation to increase greatly the federal governments role in public education.
His spending proposals are a joke. Far from balancing the budget all he’s promised is to cut the size of the annual deficit. Well, hooray!
Behind the scenes the administration is working with Republican Senator Richard Lugar to resurrect and pass the infamous “Law of the Sea” treaty which would put under international control the world’s oceans, to the detriment of the United States.
Now we are hearing talk that Social Security reform really means another increase in social security taxes.
The Republican Party, once the party of small government, states rights, individual responsibility and, if you will, America first, is slowly coming to love Big Brother and big government and wanting to be loved inernationally at the expense of American sovereignty.
Over at C-Pac this weekend, they’ll be getting a different story. Too bad that what they’re hearing there has little bearing on reality. Anyone who thinks this is still the party of Ronald Reagan should think again.
Feb 17, 2005--There’s something I don’t understand. Well, actually there’s a lot of things I don’t understand, but today I’m referring to one thing in particular. I don’t understand why every school kid these days lugs a bagful of books back and forth to school every day in a back-straining backpack.
There’s no indication that they study them when they get home. In fact, there is every indication that most of them don’t; one of the major criticisms of today’s public schools is that kids don’t learn or at least they’re not taught. They’re generally ignorant. Maybe nobody’s told them they have to open those books
But still they carry these heavy loads around, mostly in back packs, although I’ve noticed recently that some pull them along in wheeled suitcase-type carriers.
When I was a kid—many years ago—we seldom had homework in elementary school and I don’t recall ever carrying more than a couple of books home when I was in high school—did my homework mainly between classes or in study period. Still, somehow, we learned mathematics, a little bit of history, not much English literature, some civics, a foreign language and a lot of useless social studies junk. Seemingly, this is more than most schools teach today.
I asked the mother of two children, one in middle school and one in elementary school, if her kids tote their books around in backpacks and if so, why? She allowed as how they do and admitted they don’t study all of them at home. She also complained that the heavy book load makes for lower back strain and pain and said it’s necessary to buy a new backpack every few months.
As for the wheeled carriers she said her daughter found it inconvenient in getting off and on the school bus.
This is a smart, educated lady with a master’s degree which she earned even though she says that during her time in school the kids never carried their books around in backpacks.
I think if I were a kid today I would refuse to travel down that lonesome road to school every day toting that heavy book load. And if I had children in school I would go talk to the teachers and ask them why. And most teachers, being what they are, I bet would have an answer but it probably wouldn’t make much sense.
So we know that Howard Dean,
The Dems’ lean, green, left-wing machine,
And hater of the GOP.
Has seized the reins of his party
And hopes to lead it on a track
To where it takes the congress back
Just two years hence, then in ‘08
Enters again the White House gate
And once again controls the land.
Now these are dreams that are most grand.
And Howard Dean thinks he’s the man
To carry out a victory plan.
Where others failed Dean thinks that he
Can lead the Dems to victory.
By obstructing down the line
All that the Bushies think is fine.
He’ll work with Reid, Pelosi, too,
To stop the things Bush wants to do.
And thereby show the voters that
The GOP has fallen flat.
Dean may be right, but maybe not.
Claiming the country’s gone to pot
Just may not work. Dean needs a plan
That stresses not “cannot” but “can.”
Which may be more than Dean can bring
For “positive’s not a Dem thing.
by Joy Skilmer
Feb. 16, 2005--If I am in my car on weekdays between 12 and 3 I usually am listening to (horrors!) Rush Limbaugh. Yesterday was no exception. What was an exception, however, is that he was wrong.
He was talking about the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, and he said the main job of a national party chairman is to raise money.
Sorry, Rush, but that just ain’t so.
True, some party chairmen are excellent fund raisers. Terry McAuliffe, the outgoing Democratic chairman, is a good example, but one reason the Dems lost the presidency and lost seats last year in both the House and the Senate is that McAuliffe overall did not do a good job. As a candidate for president last year Dean was an effective fund raiser, utilizing the internet to raise a large total amount from many small donors.
Whether he will be a good national chairman remains to be seen.
Just what is the job of the national chairman? It depends. The job of the chairman of the party that holds the white house is to do what the president wants done. The job of the chairman of the out party is to work toward winning the next national elections.
Of course, part of the job in both instances, includes raising money, but both parties have finance chairmen who are entrusted with that task. Many national chairmen of both parties have had little or no fund-raising experience at the national level.
There is a tendency by some to scoff at the work of national committees because presidential candidates set up their own campaign organizations and because both parties have separate committees dedicated to electing house and senate members.
Nevertheless a national committee has several major functions, one of which is to keep the party united. Another is to publicly support the basic principles of the party. A third is to provide research and opposition research to candidates and party functionaries.
When a party holds the white house its national chairman answers to it and the committee’s first job is to support the president, his policies and programs and also to attack his political enemies and defend him against them.
In the last 50 years there have been two outstanding Republican National Chairmen, Ray Bliss and Haley Barbour. Bliss was a low key nuts and bolts organizer. Barbour, more of a front man, modernized the committee and brought it into the high tech age. He has since moved on to become the governor of Mississippi.
Ken Mehlman, the committee’s new chairman, is a first class technician who ran the president’s re-election campaign. With Bush unable to run again it will be his job to support the president and fend off his enemies, to work toward holding a majority in both the house and senate and keep the party united as it heads toward the 2008 presidential election.
Already Mehlman has given indications of what lies ahead by releasing a 13-page political indictment of Harry Reid, the senate’s new Democratic leader. The lengthy memo, sent out to a million Republican activistsl has Reid complaining bitterly and demanding that the president retract it. Interestingly he has not refuted any of the facts the memo contains.
Equally interesting, there has been no reaction from the white house to Reid’s complaint.
From this incident alone it is apparent that both the white house and Mehlman see his job as one that involves a lot more than raising money. As a matter of fact, for the first time since Barbour’s departure, the RNC may be emerging as an aggressive, effective political force.
I am not an economist, but nevertheless that doesn’t stop me from recognizing that there are a lot of things wrong with a compulsory social security system in what is supposed to the land of the free.
I know what I would do to fix the situation but it will never happen because most members of congress believe in compulsion and have no confidence in their fellow citizens and all but one or two of the remainder are gutless wonders.
First, I would make the system voluntary. For those who wanted to opt out i would give them their money back plus a nominal rate of interest. For those who wanted to stay in it I’d give them a decent rate of return, let them borrow against it and let them pass it on to their heirs until what they had invested ran out. In other words I’d treat social security like a bank, not a welfare system workers are compelled to contribute to.
For those people who didn’t participate and wound up old and broke because of their own stupidity I’d put them on welfare, give them public housing and let them spend their golden years contemplating the error of their way..
I just wonder how many people would pay attention to preparing for retirement if they didn’t have the mistaken idea that the money they are now forced to contribute to social security would be adequate to live on when they are no longer working..
For the life of me I cannot figure out why it is the job of government, through the nation’s taxpayers, to worry about every citizen’s old age. Somebody tell me, please.
Feb. 15, 2005--One, meaning me, wonders sometimes if President Bush isn’t naming conservatives as federal judges in the subconscious hope they’ll protect him from himself.
With rare exceptions the candidates he has selected for the federal bench are constitutional conservatives even as his administration keeps veering leftward.
Yesterday the president resubmitted to the senate the names of 20 persons he wants named to the bench including seven filibustered last year by senate Democrats in order to prevent an up or down vote of approval.
Bush said he hopes the Democrats will give his nominees such a vote this year. The alternative, if the Democrats resume their unprecedented tactic of filibustering presidential nominees in order to prevent their approval by a vote of the entire senate, is for the Republican majority to change the rules. The proposed rule change, objected to, of course, by the Democrats, would allow a vote by a simple majority of 51 senators to end a filibuster on presidential appointees. Currently 60 votes are needed. Republicans now hold a 55-45 edge in the senate.
Republicans have been reluctant to change the rules because the Democrat leadership, after the manner of spoiled children, has threatened to get even by using parliamenetary procedures to prevent action on other administration initiatives. Their attitude is, “If we can’t have our way we won’t play.”
This worked during Bush’s first term. Apparently the White House has now succeeded in pressuring senate Republicans to put an end to the nonsense.
The rule change, if it comes about, will do more than affect the appointment of judges to the federal district and circuit courts; it will also make it possible for the president to fill the next Supreme Court vacancy, which otherwise would be subject to a Democrat filibuster. For this reason alone it is possible the Democrats will allow floor votes on nominees to the lower courts.
The naming of conservatives to the Supreme Court as well as the two lesser courts—circuit and district--likely means opponents to the expansion of government, government spending and government intrusion into the lives of its citizens increasingly will have the courts on their side when it comes to deciding the constitutionality of legislation this president will sign into law. Which is why Democrats have been filibustering in the first place.
Feb. 14, 2005--
It’s Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day,
When candy makers all make hay,
Florist’s sell flow’rs in big bunches
And men buy dinners and lunches
In fancy places for their wives,
Or other women in their lives.
Hallmark, too, with saccharin rhyme
Makes sure today is profit time.
Around the land merchants with smarts
Are making dough with Cupid’s hearts
By conning people everywhere
That they this day must show they care.
And if they would avoid a rift
They must present a card or gift
To any person they hold dear
So they won’t sulk throughout the year.
So it is that Valentine’s Day
Is one time more that men must pay
If they want love to come their way.
by Joy Skilmer.
Feb. 10, 2005—The papers tell us that attendance is light at the Clinton presidential library in Litte Rock that opened last November.. Even Hillary hasn’t showed up since the opening,while Monica appears to be boycotiting the place. Bill, however, is there frequently, apparently looking for someone to invite to his private apartment on the third floor.
Both of Washington’s daily newspapers today carried stories about a House of Representatives bill aimed at reducing the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, largely from Mexico.
Neither, however, addresses the concerns about the legislation shared by nearly 20 organizations.
In a letter addressed to members of the House the 19 organizations warn that the bill, which would nationally standardize driver’s licenses is a big step toward creating a national identification card. The bill would also create a national data base which would be shared with Mexico and Canada.
The letter concludes that “Standardization of driver’s licenses has long been recognized as a bureaucratic back-door to implementation of a national ID card.” It goes on to note that the billl “fails to even provide lip service to privacy concerns.”
An analysis of the bill by the Liberty Commitee, which was discussed here yesterday, asserts that it “punishes law-abiding citizens.” and adds that “Criminalswill ignore it.” Finally it concludesthat it “offers us a false sense of greater security at the cost of taking a gigantic step towrd making America a police state.”
The Washington Post ignores these aspects of the bill but points out that it would give the government “vast new power to build roads and barriers alonag the U.S. border with Mexico” which environmental groups oppose because this would “mar wild life refuges and pristine canoeing waters.”
The Washington Times quoted an administration statement of policy saying”The legislation tightens procedures for noncitizen eintry into and presence in the United States, facilitates the building of physical barriers where approate to protect U.S. borders, and facilitates the strengthening by the states of the standards for the security and integrityk if druver’s licenses.”
Neither the Post nor the Times makes any effort to analyse the bill. Which is too bad; this is one piece of legislation that should be analyzed and brought to the attention of those few Americans who still value liberty.
Feb. 9, 2005—The whole world knows now that it is President Bush’s dream to make freedom and democracy realities for all people everywhere.of the world. It is a grand dream, indeed.
But what is going on here in the U.S. of A. is hardly consistent with that dream.
Here, where freedom has always been paramount, there are those in the Congress who not only are willing but also are actively engaged in sacrificing liberty on the altar of security.
Tomorrow the House of Representatives, in the name of security, will vote on and probably pass a piece of Big Brother legislation that will establish a national idenfitication card and has lhe potential of intruding government into all aspects of every person’s life.
The legeislation, HR418, is the brain child of the venerable conservative Jim Sensenbrenner who should know better. It is oppposed by at least a score of organizations ranging from American Conservative Union on the right to the American Civil Liberties Union on the left.
The little known “Liberty Committee" has done the best analysis of the bill. Here’s what it does:
The Liberty Committee notes that the bill “does nothing” to solve the threat to national security posed by people already in the country illegally. What is does do is “impose a Soviet style internal passport on American citizens.”
Supporters say the bill is necessary to control our borders. And, as usual with this kind of legislation, they assume it will not be abused by those who administer it. Some people never learn.
Welcome to the United Soviet States of America.
Feb. 8, 2005--The new senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, comes from a tiny Nevada town called Searchlight and he likes to be known as the man from Searchlight. One thing has become clear, however. He doesn’t like it when someone turns the searchlight of truth on his record.
In fact, it turns out that he would be happier if that record were kept in the dark. Which is why he wants President Bush to order the Republican National Committee to quit picking on him. It seems that while it was all right a while back for Reid to call Bush a liar it doesn’t mean the RNC has any right to call Reid an obstructionist or, worse, to distribute widely his senate record, voting and otherwise.
Once a number of years ago in a speech I mentioned that a certain first term Republican senator thought God wanted him to be president. A couple of days later I received a letter from the senator complaining that I was picking on him. In my reply I told his this is a tough town and that politics is a tough racket and that he needed to develop a tough skin. From everything I’ve seen over the years he seems to have taken the hint. Apparently Reid has not.
Another time, many years ago, while working at the RNC I put out a memo describing Teddy Kennedy’s private life in some detail. At least one columnist chastised me in print and I received several letters, all from Republicans, telling me I was not a nice man. I responded by telling them the reason Republicans lose is that they’re not willing to fight.
Two persons I never heard from were the president for whom I worked and Kennedy who, for all his faults, understands that this is a tough town and that if you’re going to dish it out you have to be prepared to take it.
Not so, apparently, with Crybaby Harry Reid, which means that his life as the senate Democrat leader is going to a rough one.
For some reason or another, neither of which makes any sense, Reid thinks his record should not be open to public scrutiny or criticism. Clearly—and rightly-- the RNC, which is the political arm of the Bush white house, disagrees. It is distributing a million copies of a 13-page rundown and analysis of Reid’s record.
Reid whined about this yesterday in a speech on thte senate floor, calling the RNC memo “a hit piece.” He followed up, however, by attending a white house dinner.
At the RNC there is no sign that they have been intimidated by Reid’s complaint. Spokesman Brian Jones followed up by declaring that Reid is the Democrats’ chief obstructionist “and we’re going to continue to talk about this in the months to come.”
Interestingly, while referring to the memo as “scurrilous,” Reid did not attempt to refute any of the information it contained. Probably because he couldn’t.
The Democrat Party establishment apparently had concluded that what Horace Greeley really advised was “Go left, young man.” So that’s where they’re heading.
Leastwise it would appear so with former Rep. Tim Roemer dropping out of the contest for Democratic National Chairman, leaving only one serious candidate remaining, Shouting Howard Dean, medical doctor, former governor of Vermont and one-time presidential hopeful.
Last year when Dean ran for president he ran far to the left of the rest of the field including eventual nominee, John Kerry, which isn’t all that easy to do.
As national chairman he will bring his liberal peace at any price/left-wing socialist agenda to the entire party which threatens, if nothing else, to bring joy to the Republicans.
On the other side of the equation, Dean has proved he is a good fundraiser and an effective speaker. It remains to be seen, however, if he is the right man and is his philosphy the right philosophy to lead his party to some sort of a political comeback in 2006 and again in 2008. Time, as usual, will tell.
Feb. 7, 2005--It seems to me that the more you make people dependent on government the more they become dependent on government and the more they are dependent on government the more government becomes their master.
In this republic it wasn’t meant to be that way. The men who wrote the constitution wrote it to insure that individuals would be free and independent and responsible for their own lives. But that’s not how it has worked out.
Instead, along came Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal and Social Security and nothing since has been the same. Since the 1930s the federal government has done nothing but grow, expand, intrude, involve, tax and spend.
It has grown in size and numbers and scope, expanded into areas once reserved for the states, intruded into nearly ever aspect of people’s lives and taxed and spent as if there were no tomorrow. With minimal protest.
It is fashionable for conservatives to blame presidents, congresses and judges for the current state of affairs. But, in truth, that is not where the blame lies. The blame lies with us, (I bet you thought I was going to say “we”) the people.
The fact is, a majority of Americans approve of what has happened, what is happening and what the future appears to hold. And the minority that doesn’t like it is not willing to take up arms against it.
Their protests are lawful, but weak to non-existant.
Efforts to roll back the tide are sporadic, only temporary where successful, and usually fail, for a couple of reasons.
In the first place Americans who value security over freedom outnumber those who value freedom ahead of security.
In the second place too often conservatives elected or appointed as freedom lovers transmogrify into power lovers. As the conservative writer, M. Stanton Evans, has observed: “The trouble with electing our people is when we elect them they cease being our people.”
Thus it is that conservatives elected to congress become big spenders, vote for legislation giving the federal government more control over peoples lives and in general forget why they ran and were elected.
For which betrayal of their cause they generally are reelected by the same people who elected them in the first place.
As for presidents, even the most conservative either go along with expansion or give up as hopeless any effort to decrease the size and scope of goverment in the face of opposition not only from congressional Democrats but also from members of their own party.
Federal judges unfortunately are, for the most part, lifetime appointees and a goodly number find the constitution merely a hindrance to their own social views and congress which has constitutional power to limit judges has instead succumbed without a whimper to their rulings.
But this all brings us back to the people, who also have abdicated their authority, their responsibility and their rights. They elect people to represent them or lead them but refuse to hold them to their commitments.
Will they ever? It is doubtful. Once in a while, such as in 1994, there is a rebellion at the polls, but it ends there. There are seldom any demands that the newly elected live up to their commitments and within a few years things become just like they were before.
Thus it is today. A Republican majority has become much like the Democrat majority it replaced in taxing, spending, growing government and controlling lives..
And even a small effort by President Bush to roll back even a small part of government’s control over people’s lives by reforming Social Security is running into objections from congressmen who should be in the forefront of those advocating reform.
This, of course, is why the president is taking his case to the people. He has figured out that only if he can rally them to his cause will he succeed. And only time will tell if he can be successful. Opponents will work to convince the people that the president’s plan will take the security out of Social Security. And, as I noted at the beginning, these days when you match securaity against freedom most Americans unhesitatingly choose security.
Feb. 4, 2005—In his State of the Union speech Wednesday night President Bush, much in the manner of a reformed drunk telling the world of his reformation, promised to end his spending spree of the last four years.
“America’s prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government,” he said—about four years too late. He boasted that the budget he will send to the congress this year will hold the growth of discretionary spending below inflation and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. In addition, he said the proposed budget “substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs.”
Okay, so what does it mean? Let’s take a careful look first at the promise to cut the deficit in half by 2009. Notice he’s not talking about the national debt which will continue to mount; he’s talking about the annual deficit, much of which can be blamed on the fact that he has never vetoed a spending bill. In other words, during Bush’s entire eight years in office he will never have had a balanced budget, meaning the only thing he can brag about is that in 2009 the defict will be half as much as it is this year.
But not so big when you stop to consider that even this relatively small cut in spending will take the cooperation of a congress which is every bit as profligate as the president.
Which brings us to the 150 unnecessary programs Bush says he hopes to reduce or eliminate. First of all, while it’s a nice start, you can bet that there are at least that many more that fall in the same category, all of which have their supporters in the congress. What’s more important is that all Bush can do is recommend. It is up to the congress to agree.
And the chances it will go along in a significant way are miniscule unless Bush is prepared to do some severe arm-twisting. The fact that Republicans control both houses of congress makes little difference. At the end of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” the animals couldn’t tell the difference between the farmers and the pigs. The congress is much like that today. When it comes to spending it’s virtually impossible to tells the Republicans from the Democrats.
A reporter called me today and asked me if I had any idea why President Bush is pushing for social security reform now when there is so much opposition to it.
It didn’t occur to me to tell him—but it should have—that there are two reasons for a president to do almost anything. The first reason is because it’s right politically. The second reason is because it’s right.
In this case I think Bush is pushing for social security reform because it’s the right thing to do. Certainly, it would be easy enough to do nothing and let the next president or the next next president worry about rescuing the program at the time it becomes insolvent. Clearly it is better to solve the problem while there is time to do it properly.
As I have said before, I disagree with the president on a number of issues (not this one, however) but I have come to the conclusion that, right or wrong, he is a serious president who strives to do what is right for the nation. Political expediency was first nature to Bill Clinton; it seems not to be even second nature to George Bush.
The reporter asked if Bush is trying to build a legacy. There is more than one answer to that question. All presidents strive to build a legacy. But for some that is their major goal. Others know that if they are successful as president their legacies will take care of themselves. I could change my mind but right now I have put Bush in the second category.
There is something else here, however. Bush can look back at Clinton and even at his own father and recognize that neither accomplished anything that history books a hundred years from now will recall. It is logical to expect that he does not wish to be included in that category.
Lincoln, I think it was, who advised “Make no little plans.” At the moment it looks as if Bush has taken that advice to heart.
Feb. 3, 2005—I listened to the State of the Union speech last night; watched it, too. But I did not listen to any of the analysis that followed. Neither have I read the papers this morning; I did not want my own reaction to it influenced in any way, so what follows reflects nobody’s opinion or reaction but mine.
There may have been better State of the Union speeches, but last night’s was the best I can remember. In fact, it was the only one that didn’t bore me, that didn’t make me pinch myself to stay awake.
Let me say at the outset that the president stands for things I disasgree with and last night proposed things that I oppose. But that fact in no way lessens the effectiveness of the speech. Parts of it were eloquent, parts were tough, little was conciliatory, all was delivered by a confident and self-assured president who has become a smooth and effective speaker who, last night, at least, gave every indication he was enjoying himself.
Here’s what I liked about the speech.: It was not the usual mishmash and laundry list. Yes, the president threw out a couple of bones to please segments of his constituency. Support of the marriage amendment was one but, like the rest of us, he knows it won’t pass.
Much more important and what I really liked, the president literally threw down the gauntlet both to the congress and to some of the nations in the middle east.
Four years ago, Bush noted, he had submitted “a comprehensive energy strategy” that has languished in congress. “Four years of debate is enough,” he said bluntly. “I urge the congress to pass legislation that makes America more secure and less dependent on foreign energy.”
The main domestic focus of the speech was on social security and here he said.”You (congress) and I share a responsibility. We must pass reforms that solve the financial problemsof social security one and for all.” And taking a direct shot at Democrats who have been claiming old people will be hurt by Social Security reform, he declared, “I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. (He might have added “as they have so often done in the past.”) For you the social security system will not change in any way.”
Bush also made it clear where he stands on the appointment of federal judges, a number of whom have not been voted on by the senate because opposing Democrats, in an almost unprecented strategy have filibustered against them. In tough language that seemed to constitute a warning he said flatly that he has named qualified judges and that the senate has a responsibility to act on their appointments. “Every nominee,” he told them, “deserves an up or down vote.
Bush was no less blunt in talking about the Middle East.where, he said, “we will encourage a higher standard of freedom.” One by one he addressed nations in that part of the world: “The government of Saudi Arabia can demonstrate its leadership in the region by expanding the role of its people in determining their future.” And Egypt “...can now show the way toward democracy in the Middle East.” “We expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom;” Iran “must give up its uranium enrichment program...and end its support for terror” No please or thank you, not asking, but telling. When you come right down to it,pretty tough language.
Before laying down the law to those nations, however, Bush said, “The United States has no right, no desire and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else,” but then he added, “Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens and reflect their own cultures.” Especially, one might gather, in the middle east.
The president made it a point to praise the men and women in the armed forces: “They have given us an example of idealism and character that makes every American proud. The volunteers of our military are unrelenting in battle, unwavering in loyalty, unmatched in honor and decency...”
Bush mentioned the words “liberty” and “freedom” a total of 27 times in the speech. Clearly, they are what remain uppermost in his mind and are what wants and dreams of for all the world. At the very end he said: “The road of Providence is uneven and unpredictable, yet we know where it leads; It leads to freedom.” At least, that’s where he wants it to lead and he seems determined to help pave the way.
All in all, it was a first class speech, suject to some criticism to be sure and denigrated by leading Democrats who continue to carry on with their campaign to belittle and besmirch him.
But, forget them. If this speech is an example of what this president and his second term are all about they are doomed to failure.
Feb. 2, 2005—I have a proposal for the National Meat Packers Association, if there is such an organization. I want it to declare February 2 as National Sausage Day, you know, as in ground hog.
Even though I have some serious disagreements with President Bush, it seems to me that Democrats and liberals (for the most part one and the same), with their constantly strident attacks on him are overplaying their hand these days and thereby are in danger of losing their credibility with the electorate. For reasons one can only guess at they have become vociferously and viciously negative about every single thing this president has done or said, is doing or saying or is proposing.
To me it makes no sense. Even George Bush cannot be wrong a hundred percent of the time. Even for George Bush things cannot go wrong a hundred percent of the time.
But you’d never know it from listening to the likes of Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and others of their ilk. As far as they are concerned Bush is never right and can never be right.
Their apparent strategy is to beat him into the ground and never let him up. What is good for the country or the world is secondary to destroying this president.
Perhaps during Bush’s first term this sort of all-encompassing negativism made a sort of sense in that everything was prelude to his re-election campaign and there was a need for issues against which a Democrat candidate could run. And after all, in politics what is good for the country comes in a poor second to doing what must be done to win an election.
But Bush is term limited and the only reason to set out to make sure his second term is a failure is to ruin his legacy and that is a pretty poor reason when it is done at the expense of what is good not oly for the United States but also for much of the rest of the world.
It remains to be seen how long the Democrats can continue their efforts to disrupt and foil what ever it is Bush may seek to accomplish without a public backlash.. If there is no change in their tactics between now and then the midterm congressional elections of that 2006 should test the validity of their tactics.
During World War II agents of enemy nations operating in the United States were known as fifth columnists and were hunted down, jailed and even now and then executed.
Today again the United States is at war, this time against fanatical Muslim terrorists and again today there are agents of these groups operating throughout the country. The only difference is that today they are operating openly with little fear of arrest or detention. And the Bush white house seems not to care. And I’m darned if I know why.
The few voices expressing concern are like John the Baptist crying in the wilderness; nobody’s listening.
Two of those voices are the expert on the middle east, Daniel Pipes, and Freedom House, a New York think tank founded in l941 that calls itself “a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world.”
Pipes who writes frequently on Muslims and the nations of Islam has a column in yesterday’s New York Sun in which he quotes from a recent Freedom House research paper that ought to scare the bedickens out of those who read it, including, one hopes, the president or someone with direct access to him.
The Freedom House study is titled “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques.” Saudi Arabia, of course, is supposed to be an American ally but, Pipes notes, the picture of Saudi activites described by Freedom House “is not a pretty one.” Indeed, far from it.
Here is what Pipes writes: Freedom House’s Muslim volunteers went to l5 prominent mosques from New York to San Diego and collected more than 200 books and other publications disseminated by Saudi Arabia in mosque libraries, publication racks and book stores.
What they found can only be described as horrifying. These writings—each and every one of them sponsored by the kingdom—espouse an anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, misogynist, jihadist and supremist outlook.
The publications, Pipes says, insist that Islamic law be applied to Muslims in America. They see all non-Muslims as the enemy, see America as hostile territory and tell “true Muslims” to prepare for war against America.
The authors of the study, Pipes says, “correctly find that the publications under review pose a grave threat” to non-Muslims as well as to the Muslim community. He warns that “The materials instill a doctrine of religious hatred inimical toAmerican culture and serve to produce new recruits for enemy forfces in the war on terrorism.”
It is inconceivable to me that this administration can continue to ignore the situation. The war on terror is real and it is not enough to fight it abroad. We ignore it at home to our peril.
Feb. 1, 2005--Iraqui voters have a new sign of contempt for their enemies at home and Democrats in the United States. It’s called “the purple finger.”
Only in Iraq can an election make a Sunni day cloudy.
I am getting almost as tired of Republicans complaining about Democrats failing to cheer the voting turnout in Iraq as I am about the Democrats failing to cheer the voting turnout in Iraq.
After watching more than four years of unrelenting attacks on George Bush, all that he stands for and all that he’s tried to do, do Republicans really think that the Democrats are now—or ever--going to stand up and cheer when something goes right for the president or when he manages to strike a blow for freedom.
Leave us not be silly.
The Democrat party today is led by haters. Teddy Kennedy is a hater; in fact he drowns in hatred. Harry (Weak) Reed is a hater, Bill Clinton is a hater. So is Jimmy Carter and so is Howard Dean. So also is Nancy Pelosi. These sore losers—they are that also-- can’t bear it when things go well for the United States at home or abroad, not when there is a Republican president, and especially not when that president’s name is George W. Bush.
There was a time when this country’s proud boast was that “politics stops at the waterfront.” There was a time when Republicans rallied behind Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Jack Kennedy and even Lyndon Johnson; it was Democrats, not Republicans, who drove Johnson from office.
But them days is long gone.
It is more important to the Kennedys and the rest of the liberal Democrats in Washington, Hollywood and points left that they concentrate on destroying a president than it is to winning a war on terror, Indeed, they think if they close their eyes to that war it will go away and one reason they are angry is because Bush won’t close his eyes.
But literally everyone who has eyes with which to read or ears with which to hear knows this is the case, which helps explain why the Democrats have become an ever-shrinking minority.
Like him or not, one positive thing about George Bush is that he ignores the haters in the other party and goes on about his business. He has a goal and, right or wrong, he works toward it. The complaints about the Democrats are coming largely from conservatives in the media and on talk radio, not from people inside the Bush administration.
Some where along the line the Bushies seemed to have learned it is best not to interfere with your enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.
Jan. 31, 2005
Will the Democrats name Howard Dean
To run their political machine,
Or will they move right
And pick for the fight
A leader who’s not quite so green?
Because things in Iraq are a mess
Their election was anyone’s guess,
But voters came out
And erased any doubt
The election would be a success.
George Bush has given no sign
As to who will be next in line
Whether it’ll be-a
Thomas or Scalia
Or neither, should Rehnquist resign.
Jan. 28, 2005--It used to be the Democrats’ boast that Hillary Clinton is the world’s smartest woman. Maybe yes or may no, but one thing is becoming apparent: she’s smarter than most of her fellow Democrats.
Else how to account for Hillary moving rightward while the rest of the party’s leadership remains stuck in a well-to-the-left-of-center rut.
I doubt that Hillary will ever be elected president (I could change my mind, though) but I don’t doubt that she’s preparing to make a run for it. And I don’t doubt that both her political instincts, which are generally good, and her polls (and I’ll bet you anything she has some)l tell her the country is becoming more conservative, both culturally and in regard to the role of government in our lives.
That being the case it has behooved her (as it should behoove all the other Democrat presidential wanna-bes) to get out in front (“there go my troops. I must hurry and get in front so I can lead them.” I’ve forgotten who said that but you can bet that’s what Hillary’s thinking.) and get there first so that there can be minimal charges of opportunism or flip-flopping.
It is important, and Hillary must know this, that she position herself early and consistently on the right flank of her party so that come 2007 and 2008, when the race begins to heat up she has her positions well established.
It’s hard to find any other explanation for her current stands and statements on such conservative issues as abortion and illiegal immigration, unless, of course, she’s suckered you in to believing she’s had an epiphany (that’s the latest popular word among politcal pundits) and has come three-quarters circle from Goldwater Girl to darling of the left-wing to semi-conservative Democrat.
Regardless, unless the political climate changes radically, you can be sure that if Hillary gets into the race it won’t be as a bleeding left-winger or a warmed over version of John Kerry in a skirt.
Jan. 27, 2005--Pentagon policy chief Douglas Feith has announced his resignation. So much for the Defense Department’s Feith-based initiatives.
Meanwhile in the senate 13 Democrats, led by former Ku Klux Klansman Robert Byrd, voted not to confirm the new secretary of state, proving once again that Rice prejudice is alive and well in the Democratic party.
Over in England Prime Minister Tony Blair calls for action to counteract global warming. Funny, you’d think any one who lived in England would welcome a change in the climate..
Well, as the walrus said, “the time has come,” not to speak of many things but for the citizens of Iraq to go to the polls on Sunday and to hold the first free elections in their country’s short and turmoiled history.
And here in the United States in the Bush administration and among his supporters the official word is “optimism.” Meaning, I guess, that officially they expect a successful election with a turnout big enough to put our own voting turnouts to shame and an embrace for the long term by most Iraqis of American-style democracy.
I wish it were so and I wish I thought they really think it is so. But I don’t. I think they’re not so much kidding themselves as trying to kid the rest of the world. One thing I knowl that applies to Iraq is that wishing never made anything so.
Therefore, despite what we all may wish for, here is what I think: The elections will come off on Sunday as scheduled despite a large number of bombings and other terrorists attacks.
Afterward the winners will go about setting up a democratic-style government to which all factions—and there are many—will not agree. What form this non-agreement will take I don’t know, but I can foresee continued turmoil even among the non-terrorist factions, a possible breakup of the country along racial lines with the Kurds, among others, threatening to go their separate ways. And I can see continued terrorist attacks againt elected officials, police, judges and government officials.
Also I can foresee the American armed forces hunkering down in Iraq for at least the duration of the Bush presidency in vain effort to bring about peace and prosperity and freedom.
And finally, when the last soldier from the US of A departs after an American president finally decides that the impossible job of inflicting freedom and democracy on the Iraquis isn’t worth the lives of any more American GIs, I can foresee the rise of an Iraqi strongman riding a white camel and taking up where Saddam Hussein left off. And everything in Iraq thereafter will return to middle eastern, middle ages normal.
For the sake of everyone in Iraq who loves freedom I hope I’m wrong and that George Bush is right and that permanent liberty is right around the corner, but at this moment if I had to wager I’d bet on me.
I keep reading that people now drawing social security are opposed to President Bush’s proposal to privatize a wee bit of social security so that younger folks could invest some of their social security taxes in the private sector,make a little more money for their retirement and actually will what they made to their survivors.
Apparently the opposing oldsters think any change in the Social Security setup means they’ll get less money. Let me assure them it won’t happen. Dumb as they are members of congress are not that dumb.
Regardless, however, I want it known that I ain’t one of those old fogies who have been taken in by the likes of Ted Kennedy and the American Association of Retired Peoople (AARP).
Social Security as it is now set up is a lousy deal not only for its current recipients but also for those who come after us. So leave us change it. Let’s give future generations a chance to do better, even it means having government a little less involved in our lives. After all, when you come right down to it that would not be a bad thing, even if Kennedy, AARP and some of my fellow oldsters disagree.
Jan. 25, 2005—Radio newscasts this morning disclosed that the feds have arrested three different batches of illegal aliens, in one case forcing down a light plane flying four Chinese nationals up from Mexico.
These arrests, of course, hardly make a dent in the constant flow of illegals into California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Still, they may be indicative of a change in President Bush’s approach to the illegal alien problem.
As you and I and everyone else know, the president has a fondness for illegal aliens that in some ways is hard to fathom. (Somebody, I guess, has to round up the cattle while the president is busy spreading democracy throughout the uncivilized world.)
In any event the president’s approach to the illegal problem, which has been to welcome them with open arms and offer them some sort of guest worker statusl (amnesty by any other name is still amnesty) has been met with nothing that approaches enthusiasm, largely within his own party.
In fact, at present his chances of getting congress to go along with him range from zero all the way to a snowball’s chances in hell. And maybe he’s finally figured this out, figured that if he clamps down, or seems to be clamping down on the tide of illegals that daily swarms across the border, congress will look more kindly on the ten million or so already here.
This may account not only for the recent well-publicized arrests but also for yesterday’s “resignation” of Asa Hutchinson, the number two man at the Homeland Security Department who has been notoriously soft in handling the illegal alien problem.
Hutchinson’s bid to succeed Tom Ridge as the secretary of Homeland Security also was rejected by the president, possibly because of his reputation, even though he was “only following orders.” Just by chance Michael Chertoff, the designated successor to Ridge is known to be tough and hard-nosed.
It makes sense to think that the president believes an overtly tougher border control policy will result in the opposition to his guest worker proposal calling off their dogs.
We shall see.
Jan. 25, 2005—Radio newscasts this morning disclosed that the feds have arrested three different batches of illegal aliens, in one case forcing down a light plane flying four Chinese nationals up from Mexico.
These arrests, of course, hardly make a dent in the constant flow of illegals into California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Still, they may be indicative of a change in President Bush’s approach to the illegal alien problem.
As you and I and everyone else know, the president has a fondness for illegal aliens that in some ways is hard to fathom. (Somebody, I guess, has to round up the cattle while the president is busy spreading democracy throughout the uncivilized world.)
In any event the president’s approach to the illegal problem, which has been to welcome them with open arms and offer them some sort of guest worker statusl (amnesty by any other name is still amnesty) has been met with nothing that approaches enthusiasm, largely within his own party.
In fact, at present his chances of getting congress to go along with him range from zero all the way to a snowball’s chances in hell. And maybe he’s finally figured this out, figured that if he clamps down, or seems to be clamping down on the tide of illegals that daily swarms across the border, congress will look more kindly on the ten million or so already here.
This may account not only for the recent well-publicized arrests but also for yesterday’s “resignation” of Asa Hutchinson, the number two man at the Homeland Security Department who has been notoriously soft in handling the illegal alien problem.
Hutchinson’s bid to succeed Tom Ridge as the secretary of Homeland Security also was rejected by the president, possibly because of his reputation, even though he was “only following orders.” Just by chance Michael Chertoff, the designated successor to Ridge is known to be tough and hard-nosed.
It makes sense to think that the president believes an overtly tougher border control policy will result in the opposition to his guest worker proposal calling off their dogs.
We shall see.
Jan. 24, 2005--
I doubt that I will ever see
Freedom spread by diplomacy
Or that mere talk makes it expand
Across the earth from land to land.
Though freedom may be man’s by right
It’s seldom won without a fight
And never kept unless men stand
Against their ruler’s heavy hand.
Across the earth from pole to pole.
They’ve heard George Bush’s lofty goal,
Of winning liberty for all
Now held in evil tyrants’ thrall.
In lands where freedom never was
The dream of Bush is all the buzz.
But talk alone is not enough.
And winning liberty is tough;
You may not fight, but be prepared—
Freedom comes to those who dared.
And it is kept not just by chance
But by eternal vigilance,
While those who want security
Won’t win or keep their liberty.
One thing George Bush should know today:
Liberty’s price some men won’t pay.
By Joy Skilmer
Jan. 21, 2005—Republicans are saying that John Kerry has developed a “sore loser” complex. Or did they mean a “Gore loser” complex.
I’m sorry, but President Bush’s inaugural speech left me cold. And it wasn’t the weather.
Spreading liberty throughout the world, as the president wants to do, is a nice idea, but he is living in a dream world if he thinks it is practical or even possible.
When you come right down to it, it’s a full time job just maintaining liberty in these United States, what with 98 percent of our elected officials forever wanting to pass laws placing new limits on American rights and freedom. For example, there is a move afoot in San Franciso to ban possession, sale and manufacture of fire arms. And in Virginia the legislature is contemplating a law prohibiting children under l8 from using cell phones while driving.
These are minor examples to be sure but they are indicative of the mind set of our elected masters.
Presumably, however, the president will be too busy bringing freedom to the oppressed people of China where couples are limited to one child or to Saudi Arabia where women are third class citizens and amputation is the price of stealing, or to those African nations where female circumcision is practiced or to Cuba where Fidel Castro has filled his prisons with political prisoners to be concerned with maintaining freedom at home or finding time to deal adequately with important domestic issues.
I want to go back to a couple of things I wrote yesterday before I heard the president’s speech. One, that it is well that the United States stands as a beacon of liberty to inspire the down-trodden peoples of the world. That is as it should be but mixing into the internal affairs of other nations that do not threaten us is another matter entirely. The question is: where do we stop; where does diplomacy end and intervention begin? That is a question the President, Condoleezza Rice and the congress are going to have to answer.
Two, the real question is how many people in this world want freedom enough to fight and die to win it and fight and die some more to keep it.” If they’re not willing to do that giving them their freedom is a waste of time. Yesterday I quoted George Bernard Shaw saying, in effect, that most people don’t want to accept the responsibility that goes hand in hand with keeping their freedom. He was right then and continues to be right today.
Even in this land of the free even a casual observer can see that more and more people are willing to trade bits of their freedom in exchange for government-mandated security.
Dictatorships and other tyrannical governments offer security of a sort in exchange for freedom and for the most part those who live in those lands accept the situation as it is, at least in preference to dying for freedom. Patrick Henry would be looked on as a fool and a nut in most of these places.
Mr. President, it’s great to hold up this nation as a beacon of freedom and most Americans will support you when you do that. But please let us concentrate on making sure that beacon of freedom continues to burn brightly as a symbol to the rest of the world. At the same time please don’t think that imposing democratic governments on other nations is the historical duty of this nation or is worth risking American lives and spending American treasure to achieve.
Jan. l8, 2005—Even after almost 20 years there is still controversy over whether Martin Luther King should be the only American with a national take-the-day-off holiday in his honor. It seems to me that it’s silly for those opposed to it to still be making a fuss. It’s kind of like crying over spilt MLK.
On Thursday we’ll inaugurate
George Bush to leave the starting gate
For four more years
Of cheers and fears
And hot political debate
These days the sorest losers and biggest crybabies in American politics seem to be defeated Democratic candidates for president. Al Gore, for example, moaned and groaned for four years after losing to George Bush in 2000. In fairness, that race was close enough to justify a little whining.
But now comes John Kerry, loser to Bush by about five million popular votes and 120,000 votes in Ohio, enough so that he didn’t dare contest the outcome, complaining that he was cheated out of winning that key state and that Democrats were disenfranchised all across the country.
As I look back I don’t recall Dick Nixon whining about his loss to John F. Kennedy or Jerry Ford complaining about his loss to Jimmy Carter or George H. W. Bush crying about his loss to Bill Clinton. It may be that whining is an exclusively liberal trait.
Apparently neither Gore nor Kerry can understand why it is that Democrats keep losing. It’s a litttle late but someone should tell them that Americans don’t like sore losers and crybabies and candidates who think it is their duty to put down their country.
Bill Clinton understood that. The next Democratic presidential nominee, who will be neither Gore nor Kerry, should profit from his example.
Actress Virginia Mayo dies. In her prime it was said that the luckiest men in Hollywood were those who played opposite her because they were directed to hold the Mayo.
It's a little late but John Kerry has finally met with a foreign leader who didn’t want George Bush to be president. The French-looking, French-speaking Kerry recently got to meet with French president Jaques Chirac. Kerry was so thrilled he emulated the fifth little pig and cried, “Oui, oui, oui” all the way home.
Jan. 14, 2005--There is this fellow named Michael Newdow who seems determined to succeed the late Madeleine Murray O’Hair as the nation’s number one atheist.
Ms. O’Hair, a militant and strident atheist, led the successful battle to kick prayer out of the nation’s public schools on the grounds that praying in school violated the first amendment. Later she was murdered.
Newdow, a Sacramento lawyer, gadfly and publicity hound, is trying through the courts to oust God from every phase of public life, including the inauguration of presidents..
First he sued to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. He has not yet been successfull but who knows what some of the nitwits sitting on the Supreme court might eventually rule. In the meantime Newdow is not standing idly by. Instead he is suing to ban prayer from President Bush’s inauguration ceremonies. He says the prayer makes him feel like an outsider.
That, however, should come as no surprise. In this overwhelmingly Christian and God-believing nation he is an outsider. More than that, he is a 14-carat, revolving jerk who is attempting to impose his non-religion on an entire nation. And, surprisingly, with the idiots who congregate on the federal bench these days he has a shot.
In a way I’d like to see Newdow win this one for a couple of reasons. Mainly, it would test George Bush’s metal. He would have a choice. He could go ahead with the prayers he has asked for at his inauguration or he could knuckle under to the last-minute order from some brainless judge. I have no idea what Bush would do under those circumstances; I only know that his decision would affect the full four years of his second term. Depending on what he decided he would come across to most Americans as either a hero or a coward, and nobody wants a coward for president.
Secondly, l would like to see how the American people react. Will they finally rise up against those modern-day barbarians who are trying to detroy their heritage and their culture or will they continue meekly to submit as they have in most other instances in recent years.
I, by the way, know what Ronald Reagan would do if it were his inauguration and some judge tried to throw God out of the ceremonies: He would lead the prayer.
By the way, Monday we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. I suspect if King were still around he would vote—and march—in favor of prayer. Come to think of it maybe Newdow should sue to prohibit the federal government from closing on the grounds that King’s being a preacher makes Monday a religious holiday.
Jan. 13, 2005—I wonder why it is that people in government never seem to learn, but persist in making the same mistakes again and again.
The particular mistake I refer to today is the refusal by government officials who, when they have screwed up, to admit it, thereby compounding the felony by appearing to have something to hide.
In our times the most egregious example of this mistake is Watergate. President Nixon was forced out of office not because of what he insisted on calling “a third rate burglary” but because of efforts to cover up the identities of those responsible.
President Reagan, on the other hand, rode out the Iran/Contra scandal by immediately naming a commission to investigate the matter and making all pertinent records and personnel available to it.
But, like I said, succeeding governments never seem to learn. Take, for instance, the nasty little scandal currently involving columnist and commentator Armstrong Williams who took $241,000 from the Department of Education to peddle as news on his television program and in his newspaper column government propaganda about the federal No Child Left Behind program.
Williams at least, has come partly clean, saying he “made a mistake.” Which is true if you can call what comes close to taking a bribe a mere mistake.
But the people at the education department, after having defended the legality of the contract, have clammed up. Which is just plain dumb. If what they did is legal—and I think it was—dumb, unethical, but legal—they should open up their records and answer all questions. If it was illegal, they should do the same thing. In either case someone should be fired for incompetence, if for nothing else, and the person who has ordered the coverup should also be fired on grounds of downright stupidity.
All they are doing otherwise is letting critics in the news media and in the congress make a mountain out of a molehill. They are not going to let this thing die.
The Washington Post has editorialized on the matter and called on Williams to give back the money (which may be a case of the Post trying to strongarm Armstrong), some congressional Democrats are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate and Republican Rep. John A. Boehner, the house education committee chairman, has asked the department’s inspector general to investigate.
Furthermore, before this is over you can bet there will be congressional hearings which will be an additional waste of time and taxpayers’ money and which could have been avoided if the department had come clean when USA Today first broke the story..
It seems to me that we’re getting a lot of one-sided news out of Iraq these days. Or else things are worse than I think they are.
Every day the papers carry stories about Americans being killed by bombs or mortars or by other means but we seldom see stories about the damage we’re inflicting on terrorists. And I kind of wonder why.
Is it that we’re not killing or capturing the bad guys? Are our guys not fighting back? Are those in charge not making information available? Or is the news media ignoring this side of the story.
I think most Americans would feel better if they knew it just wasn’t Americans and their Iraqi allies who were being killed and wounded.
A lady I know who is a bleeding Democrat and who wept bitter tears at the outcome of the presidential election nevertheless has a point when it comes to the anti-Bush demonstrations scheduled on the day of his inauguration. She’s opposed to them.
She’s not opposed to demonstrations in general but she thinks it’s kind of tacky to try to disrupt any president’s inauguration.
Besides, she notes, the money the government is being forced to spend on security could otherwise be spent on causes even the demonstrators support.
She’s right, of course, but the fact is the demonstrators are more interested in creating problems than they are in doing anything worthwhile.
Jan. 12, 2005—To all of you who emailed me as well as to those who suffered in silence, I know yesterday’s Musings were fouled up. I accidentally hit a strange key and when that happens I’m totally helpless. I wander around the keyboard hitting this key and that but if I fix what went wrong it’s also purely by accident. Anyway, today should be all right. Thanks for your patience and understanding..
I see where Michael Chertoff has been nominated to head the Department of Homeland Security. His friends say he’s a good choice, the kind of guy who’d give you the Chertoff his back.
One thing we’ve learned this week about CBS. At 60 Minutes and the nightly news the buck does not stop with Dan Rather. While he whined yesterday about four “good people” being fired as a result of last fall’s effort to smear President Bush, in which he was a key player Rather didn’t exactly fall on his sword for them, much less resign in protest. Which is too bad. Rather could have shown a little moral courage which certainly wouldn’t have hurt him, and his departure certainly wouldn’t have hurt either 60 minutes or the nightly news.
Some folks still are in a lather
O’er the whitewash of Dan Rather
By Dick Thornburgh and Boccardi
Who somehow claim they cannot see
Any bias in Rather’s smear
Of President Bush’s guard career.
Mistakes and sloppy works, of course
And lack by Rather of remorse,
But bias? No. It could not be.
His motive? Just a good story.
A story, though, with phony “facts,”
Enough to give four folks the axe.
But not Dan Rather. CBS
Admits he’s mixed up in this mess,
But still they thinks that he should stay.
They’re wrong. This stink won’t go away.
Dan Rather, once a shining light
On CBS is now a blight.
by Joy Skilmer
Jan. 11, 2005--It seems to me that if Dan Rather had decency or any feeling for what is right and proper he would resign immediately from any and all of his jobs at CBS.
Instead of doing the right thing, however, he is standing silently by while four other people take the fall for something that essentially was his fault. One wonders if he’ll ever be able to look them in the eye again.
Rather, himself, was semi-exonerated yesterday by the phony committee CBS president Leslie Moonves hired to investigate Rather’s use of forged documents to smear President Bush during last fall’s presidential election campaign.
In their report the committee’s co-chairmen, former Atty. Gen. Richard Thornburgh and former Associated Press President Louis Boccardi cleared Rather and the fired four of any political bias, thus proving once again that there are none so blind as those who will not see.
Almost funny is the section of the report in which Rather and fired producer Mary Mapes were asked if they personally were motivated by political bias. Of course neither was under oath at the time. Regardless, it is difficult to believe that Boccardi and Thornburgh are so naive as to believe they would get honest answers.
It seems to me that this is the wrong year to stage an opulent and ostentatious presidential inauguration even though it’s being done largely with private money. It looks bad, not only abroad but also to a lot of Americans, and not just Bush haters either.
Somehow, it doesn’t seem the proper thing to be doing when young Americans are being killed every day in Iraq, when we are supposed to be waging a war against international terrorists and when much of the world is digging out from the worst natural disaster in centuries.
It’s not so much a matter of the millions being spent as it is of appearances. Rightly or wrongly this administration looks like it’s more interested in throwing a party than it is in tending to business.
If I were a kid fighting terrorists in Iraq or a rescue worker hauling bodies out of the muck and mire in Indonesia I think I would be just a bit resentful at the thought of my country’s leaders turning their backs on me in order to throw a big whoop-de-do gala.
Is this why we re-elected George Bush? I don’t think so.
It nice to find that every now and then the president and I see eye to eye.
Last week I worried that domestic charities would suffer because generous Americans were contributing so heavily to the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in those nations affected by the catastrophic tsunami that struck them a little over two weeks ago.
Yesterday President Bush urged Americans not to allow that disaster to “shortchange” the needs of domestic charities, pointing out that “we still have problems in other parts of our country and in other parts of the world.”
Jan. 10, 2005—I don’t know if you can call it a legacy, but Bill Clinton’s Oval Office dalliance with Monica Lewinsky along with all its ramifications, may have paved the way for other politicians with scandals in their backgrounds to make political combacks.
At least one apparently is considering making the effort. Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is said to be considering a run for President in 2008. Gingrich, under fire on several fronts, did not seek re-election as speaker in l999 and, in fact, though re-elected to the house in l998, chose to resign his seat before congress convened.
Gingrich led the Republican revolution in l994 that won the GOP its 10-year majority in the House and was elected speaker in l995. However, his years as speaker were marred by charges of ethical misconduct and an affair that eventually led to a divorce from his second wife and his mariage to his third one.
Although no longer in congress Gingrich has remained active in politics as a commentator and writer.
Now he appears ready to test the political waters again, this time as a candidate for president. While no one doubts his intelligence or his political acumen it remains to be seen if he can weather the attacks his opponents are sure to level on his personal life as well as his alleged ethical lapses.
Regardless of these, if he runs the ’08 presidential primaries are sure to be a lot more interesting than is usually the case.
It appears those elderly Americans trying to get by on their social security payments all made the same key mistake in their working years. They did not but should have run for and been elected to congress. If they had they’d be a lot better off today because one thing congress does is take care of its own, not only when they’re in office but also when they leave either voluntarily or at the behest of their constituents..
The National taxpayers Union Foundation has disclosed just how well congress does that job. Take, for instance Tom Daschle, the immediate ex-senator from South Dakota whose voters fired him in November for not paying enough attention to his home state. Fired or not, Daschle will get a pension payment this year of $121,233 which will be adjusted upward every year by four percent—a so-called cost of living increase. If Daschle lives to be 82 you, the taxpayers, will have paid this money grubbing bum a little over five million bucks.
Other retiring members of congress also will do pretty good. Former Rep. Dick Gephardt who didn’t run for re-election, will get an annual pension of $102,330. Two retiring Democratic senators, John Breaux of Louisiana and Ernest Hollings of South Carolina, and one defeated Republican representative, Phil Crane of Indiana, will get even more. Each will get an annual pension starting at $114, 102.
Of course, persons leaving congress with fewer years of “service” will get less but NTUF points out they won’t do all that badly. For instance Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.) who served six terms could collect over a million dollars in her lifetime.
Compare these pensions to social security payments which max out at under $20,000 a year, then ask yourself why the American people tolerate this kind of legalized theft.
I suspect that if Daschle and other “retired” congressman are asked how come they pay themselves so liberally compared to those on social security they will respond with that centuries-old reply that served Marie Antoinette so well: “Le them eat cake.”
Jan. 7, 2005—On the positive side, one of the things the tsunami has taught us is how to pronounce “Phuket.”
One thing always happens in this town when congress reconvenes; the lobbyists and fixers and wheeler dealers all come out of their hidey holes and head for the hill. Once there they begin to exercise their First Amendment right “to petition the government for redress of grievances,” real or imagined or not yet inflicted.
These will not be their personal grievances but rather those of companies, corporations, associations, indian tribes and anyone else who can fork up enough money to hire someone with connections and clout in the congress and or the executive branch of the federal government.
The services lobbyists offer are not to be taken lightly. At stake can be contracts worth millions or proposed laws that can make or break a corporation or product or laws that can increase or decrease federal taxes of certain items or legislation that can affect the way a company or organization does business.
What lobbyists offer is access to powerful people, members of the house and senate, especially committee chairmen and ranking members, department and agency officials who can recommend or make decisions and the like.
Lobbyists often help draft legislation that is favorable to their clients. And that isn’t all bad; they may and do offer a practical point of view a congressman cannot get from a staff member or a bureaucrat.
While there are strict limits on the cost of gifts, including meals, congressmen can take from lobbyists there are no laws limiting lobbyists’ personal contributions to campaign committees or PACs beyond those applying to citizens in general. Indeed, campaign committees and PACs lean heavily on lobbyists for contributions. And believe it, he who contributes the maximum is buying access. And there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that, either. Congressmen need to hear from their constituents just as much as their constituents through their lobbyists need to talk to them.
Furthermore, there is no law preventing lobbyists and congressmen and government officials from socializing on the golf course or elsewhere. No law prevents a lobbyist from introducing congressmen to wealthy potential contributors. And no law limits how much a lobbyist can charge a client. And there is nothing wrong with any of this, either.
One of the unintended consequences of the growth of the federal government in the concurrent growth of the lobbying industry. More departments and agencies mean more legislation which means that increasing numbers of affected businesses open Washington offices or hire lobbyists to look after their interests. Fifty years ago Washington lobbyists numbered in the hundreds; today they number in the thousands. Every law that is passed, every regulation that is written affects some business or some group and all of these need the services of lobbyists to advocate their cause or protect their interest.
And this is not a bad thing, either. Members of congress need input and points of view and suggestions and ideas from people having familiarity and knowledge in specific areas. It is not enough to rely solely on the judgment of congressional staff members or professional bureaucrats.
Sure, every year legislative mistakes are made and bad laws are passed. But things would be infinitely worse if those affected were not allowed to lobby for or against those proposals that come not only before congress but also before the multitudinous departments and agencies.
The system, for all its failings, has served the nation pretty well for more than 200 years. And one reason for it is that the Founding Fathers in their wisdom made sure that the people’s access to their government could not be denied.
Jan. 6, 2005—There is an old saying that “Charity begins at home.” What brings this to mind is the massive outpouring of aid from individual Americans to the tsunami-stricken peoples of Indonesia and other Asian and African nations.
It is hard to fault the generosity of Americans not only in this instance but in every instance of major calamities anywhere in the world in my lifetime. They give frequently and willingly out of the goodness of their hearts. The need this time, however, is immeasurably greater than previous disasters and the response, not surprisingly, is correspondingly greater.
Which, while certainly laudable, brings up a question and a concern. Namely, will the contributions to help tsunami victims result in a shortage of contributions to American charities, those that take care of and help this nation’s handicapped and needy, as well as other organizations, such as churches, that depend on voluntary giving? I suspect it will. And I suspect there is going to have to be some belt tightening among those organizations.
Far be it from me to suggest to others where and to whom they should give. But still, I would hope that our impulse to help those abroad will not result in a serious reduction in contributions to worthwhile charities here at home.
Politics, while normally a serious business, at times can be laugh-out-loud funny. Like, for instance, the stories now cropping up that say John Kerry and John Edwards are both considering running for president in 2008. This is true; it is not a joke.
Hope, I guess, springs eternal in political breasts. But it will take more than hope to get these two hasbeens anywhere near the oval office.
Does Kerry really think the swift boat veterans would give him a free ride the next time around? More important, does he think he can all of a sudden become charismatic? Or honest? Does he really think there’s any demand for a Kerry presidency? Is he really living in a dream world?
As for Edwards, he should forget politics and take up law.
This is not to say the Dems won’t elect a president next time around. In these United States anything is possible. Anything except Kerry or Edwards becoming president, that is.
Jan 5, 2005--
Whenever Congress reconvenes
There is no doubting what it means,
Because we know when congress meets
That Liberty always retreats,
Assaulted by a batch of laws
Notable mainly for their flaws,
And for the fact, in manner rude
Upon our freedom they intrude,
Insisting that security
Means more to us than liberty.
They also pass big-spending bills
That stir our economic ills,
But hardly build a better land.
But this they do not understand,
These “servants of the people” who
Know what is best for me and you.
Repub or Dem they’re all alike.
T’were better if they took a hike.
No luck. They’re back to spend the year
Endangering all we hold dear.
Perhaps it’s time we asked that Brown
Cart the congress clear out of town.
By Joy Skilmer
Jan. 4, 2005--The more I think about that politically correct phrase, HAPPY HOLIDAYS, the more I think that it’s not a bad idea.
The way I have it figured is this: In early January of every year you could send out a card that in big, fancy letters read HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Then under it you could list all the holidays on which you want your friends and business acquaintances and relatives to be happy. And there’s a batch of them—Marty King’s birthday, Valentine’s day, President’s day, Easter, Memorial Day, Mother’s day, Father’s day, Arbor day, Independence Day, Labor day, Columbus Day, Veterans day and Thanksgiving. What we have here in effect is a “one card fits all” situation, wth the exception of Christmas and Hannukah.
And surely, come December your politicallycorrect friends will forgive you if you weaken and send them Christmas cards or Hannukah cards or even Kwanza cards.
Yes indeed. The more I think about it the more it looks like to me that this is a good way to have your cake and eat it, too.
Eight days ago in one of the major natural disasters in recorded history an earthquake-spawned tsunami struck 12 Asian and African nations in or bordering the Indian Ocean with Indonesia and Sumatra suffering the heaviest damage. When the final numbers are in more than 200,000 deaths will have been tallied because of the tsunami and the starvation and diseases that will follow, thousands of families will have been left homelessand property damage will run in the billions
Within hours following the disaster the United States and a host of other nations had help on the way in terms of supplies, doctors, rescuers, money, whatever was needed.
Nothing runs or can be expected to run smoothly in such a situation. Coordination among nationss and among rescue organizations is an almost impossible task. Under the circumstances the fact that as much gets done as quickly as it gets done is pretty much of a miracle and surely is a testimony to the depth of man’s feeling for his fellow man.
Which is why it is interesting to note the news approach to the situation by Washington’s two newspaper, the big Washington Post and the smaller Washington Times. The Post, as usual, concentrates on the negative and paints the bleakest picture possible, especially when it comes to the role America plays. The Times is much more upbeat.
For the last three days, for instance, the Post has carried Page 1 stories that have had the following heads: “Disorganization, Shortage of Gear Complicate Task” on Sunday; “‘The Distributiion System Is Not Working’” on Monday, and a banner headline today which reads “Many Thousands Cut Off From Relief” with a drop head which reads “Small Fraction of Food Aid Has Been Delivered.”
Contrast these headlines with those in the Times. It’s Page 1 headline on Sunday read; “Global aid for tsunami at $2 billion” with a drop head that said, “U.S. military ramps up one of the biggest missions of disaster relief in history.” Its Monday banner read, “U.S. military speeds relief” and the lead on the story read, “One of the largest U.S. military perations in history...” Today’s banner reads, “U.S. choppers find remote survivora” wth a drop head reading “Additional Marines head to Indonesia.”
Note the difference. The Post goes out of its way to make this country look bad; the Times strives to make it look good.
Which America would you rather live in? The Post’s downbeat and inept America which always resembles the one that Jimmy Carter gave us or the Times’ upbeat, optimistic America of Ronald Reagan?
For most Americans that choice is obvious.
Jan. 3, 2005—Christie Whitman is a friend of mine; she is a good lady and a loyal Republican who supports even those fellow Republicans who are more conservative than she is, which is most of them. I helped her in her United States Senate race which she narrowly lost to Bill Bradley, and in her two winning New Jersey gubernatorial races and have no regrets. Conservative Republicans do not win in New Jersey
Having said that, I want it known that if she ever decides to run for president I will oppose her. Even self-identified conservatives when elected president tend to move leftward. Heaven help us if we ever elect a “moderate” Republican such as Christie Whitman.
All of this is prelude to commentary on a book she has written and in which she is clear off the mark in her suggestion that the Republican Party needs to move leftward in order to broaden its base. Indeed, she sounds like an echo of that other blue state politician, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who suggested the same thing a couple of weeks ago.
These people are living in a dream world. They have this weird idea that Republicans can broaden their base by moving leftward toward bigger government, higher taxes, more government regulations, more government control of people’s lives.
They are, in fact, little more than New Dealers in Republican clothing.
Among other things they are ignoring history. That history tells us that since World War II Republicans running as conservatives do better nationally than those running as moderates, the exceptions being Ike Eisenhower who was elected irrespective of his politics because he was a war hero, and Barry Goldwater, a conservative who was ahead of his time and who was running against the ghost of the assassinated John F. Kennedy.
Otherwise, go back and look. Tom Dewey, a moderate, lost. And four years after Goldwater’s catastrophic defeat, Richard Nixon, running as a conservative, won twice. Gerald Ford, a moderate, lost. Conservative Ronald Reagan was elected twice. George H.W. Bush, running as a conservative won, but running as a moderate lost his re-election bid. Bob Dole, running all over the lot, lost, while George W. Bush was elected and re-elected as a conservative.
And you can bet, Mrs. Whitman and her fellow Republican moderates to the contrary notwithstanding, the next Republican presidential nominee will be running as a conservative.
Just as important, it was only when conservatives took control of their party in Congress that the House gained—and has kept for 10 years—a Republican majority, while in the senate conservatives have given the GOP it’s biggest margin since before WWII. And Christie Whitman wants to change all this.
She thinks that moving leftward will give the Republicans more votes in the blue states while not costing them votes in the red states. Wrong. People who vote Democrat are not likely to switch to voting for pseudo Democrats, regardless of what state they live in.
While conservatives seeing their party move leftward on cultural and economic issues will vote Republican in fewer numbers, choosing instead to vote third party or sit on their hands.
Having come from a political family and having spend most of her adult life in politics, Ms. Whitman should know that the purpose of running for office is to win. And if you’re running for president it really doesn’t matter whether you win in the red or the blue states. All that matters is that you get a majority of the electoral college votes. At best, moving leftward would replace a proven conservative strategy with one that might or might not work.
President Bush and his political strategists understand this. That is why he is president and Christie Whitman is writing books.
Dec. 23, 22004--What does one write on the day before the day before Christmas? To thank God for the greatest blessing of all—his Son?
To weep, in print, for the dead and dying and wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan? And to pray that next year will put an end to the killing and maiming?
To pray for peace on earth and good will by each of us toward our fellow man?
To talk about love and forgiveness?
To pray that our children will inherit a better world than the one into which they were born?
Or maybe we should forget Christmas and write about the Winter Solstice holiday and it’s meaning, if there is one. Perhaps we should hold a contest to determine just what it might be.
While waiting for a winner, we could write about other important things such as college football’s bowl games and who will will play in the Super Bowl. Or the early jockeying for position among potential Republican presidential candidates.
There’s a certain similarity between these two subjects that ordinarily might be considered radically different. The bowl games, for instance, are played with a football while in the Republican presidential game being played by John McCain and Chuck Hagel, Defense Secy. Don Rumsfeld is the football and their goal is to boot him clear out of the Pentagon.
The really hot topic in this town, however, is baseball. After a 33-year absence major league baseball is returning to the nation’s capital and it’s only going to cost the city’s taxpayers half a billion bucks, which is the deal the mayor and city council agreed to. Funny, the local pols have been protesting for years that DC residents are forced to pay federal taxes but are not represented in the congress except for one non-voting delegate. But locally where they are represented by a city council they’re going to be stuck with the cost of building a big new baseball stadium. So much for taxation with representation.
And so much for these Musings until after Christmas.
Dec. 22, 2004—It is time, I guess, to wish you all a very merry Christmas. And also to express the hope that 2005 will bring an end to the violence in Iraq and that one more year will pass without a terrorist attack on America. So here we go:
MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Once, several years ago, I read where Clement C. Moore, who wrote “The Night Before Christmas,” was Jewish. I thought that was interesting and over the years have passed that bit of misinformation on to various and sundry friends, kin and casual acquaintances.
To top it off, I was going to write about it today as part of my on-going campaign to prove that it isn’t most Jews who are trying to obliterate Christmas from our public lives and places, it is militant, God-hating atheists.
Fortunately I saved myself a real blunder by first looking up the Rev. (that’s right, the Rev.) Moore on the internet. There I found that far from being Jewish he was the protestant Episcopal bishop of New York. He was also a noted theologian and scholar.
It must have been therefore, that the guy who thought he was Jewish got confused because, along with his Christmas poem, Bishop Moore also wrote a Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language. Anybody who’d do that, you figure, had to be Jewish.
Well, not in this case.
As for the poem, it turns out that on the day before Christmas in l823 Bishop Moore’s wife was roasting turkeys to help feed the poor and she sent him out to buy another turkey. While being driven (being a typically rich Episcopalian he had a chauffeur) in a one-hoss shay to whereever one went to buy a turkey (probably not a Butterball) and with time on his hands Clem composed his eventually-to-be-famous poem.
He lived another 40 years and composed some moore poetry, in fact, a whole bookful, but the only one anyone remembers is “The Night Before Christmas.”
All in all, it’s not a bad story but still, it would have been better if he’d been Jewish. Although,come to think of it, I’m not sure the world was ready for a poem starting out, “T’was The Night Before Hannukah.”
I just love the way the bleeding liberal Democrats are still running around saying that George W. Bush won re-election by splitting the nation into factions and then getting his factions to the polls..
By implication, therefore, the Kerryites not only didn’t split the nation into factions but also didn’t get the non-factions Bush didn’t bother with to the polls on their behalf.
Actually, what it boils down to is that it is the Dems who have split America into two groups, one made up of the factions who generally voted for Bush and another smaller, or lazier or more indifferent group of factions that supported Kerry but may not have bothered to vote.
Now what does this tell you? Well among other things it tells you that Bush did a better job of rallying his factions than Kerry did.
It also tells you that the Dems, who always look for excuses when they lose, are at it again.
The whining Dems really need to go back to basics. Let me explain it to them. The purpose of an election is to separate the winner from the loser. The winner wins by getting more votes than the loser. He gets those votes by convincing voters of what ever stripe or belief that he is a better choice than the other guy. Bush did that with the help of such factions as the Swift Boat Veterans who pursuaded a lot of people that Kerry was worse than the other guy.
Bush also pursuaded most fundamentalist Christians that they should vote for him. Democrats think that is wrong. They think religious people should really not have the right to vote because they want to keep God in public life, and even if they have the right they should have the decency to stay home.
But, to get back to factions, the truth of the matter is that every election is decided by factions. On the Democrat side you find people such as the pro-abortionists, the global warmingers, the tree huggers, the Bush haters, the peace at any pricers, the get-God out of our livesers and so forth.
Nothing wrong with that. If they want to vote for Democrats that’s fine by me. It’s also fine by me if the pro-lifers, the low taxers, the supporters of small government and yes, those dangerous nuts, the evangelical Christians, vote Republican.
This, not only being a democratic repubulic but also the place where the libs urge everyone, primarily other libs, to vote, it ought to be all right with the Dems, too. And for the life of me I can’t figure out why it isn’t.
Dec. 21, 2004--The foundation on which this nation was built can be described with one word—liberty. If you’d like two words try “individual freedom.”
The constitution and the first ten amendments were written for the express purpose of insuring liberty for the people as a whole and freedom for every person.
Under the constitution liberty and freedom are not given by government with the understanding that they can at any time be taken away by government. Rather they are God-given and one of the purposes of the constitution is, according to its preamble is “to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” “To secure” means to tie down, to hold fast, to make safe”
Liberty, freedom. These are what this nation is all about. This is what it stands for to the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan believed that God put this nation here between the two great oceans to be “a beacon of liberty to the world.”
And yet in times of danger, whether it be the Civil War, the two world wars or the current war on terror,steps seem always to be taken by the federal government, with the acquiescence of a fearful populace, to place limits on individual liberty and give government new powers that contravene those rights guaranteed by the constitution.
Such actions, whether congressionally mandated or taken by executive order, are always well-intentioned and meant to insure the safety of the people as a whole. Because their purpose and intent are benign, even though they intrude upon liberty and in doing so may violate the constitution, the majority of the people, including some who under other conditions and circumstances would protest, accept them as necessary. Always, however, with the tacit understanding that when the war is over or the danger has receded, that those rights will be returned.
Unfortunately, tacit understandings don’t often mean a whole heck of a lot, not when one is dealing with government. Governments and those who run them tend to accrue power, always, of course, in the best interests of the people, and are loathe to relinquish it, even though the perceived need for it may no longer exist.
That is why it is always dangerous for that minority who are conciously aware of the role liberty plays in American life, to accept, even temporarily, laws and regulations that intrude on the people’s constitutional rights.
That is why, also, it is important that liberty lovers protest against government decisions to intrude upon and limit individual rights, now matter how justified such decisions may be in the eyes of the majority, or the majority in congress or the president of the United States.
Unless there are continued protests, unless it is constantly brought to the people’s attention that for the sake of their security they have been willing to sacrifice some of their liberty they will forget it, they almost certainlywill accept those new limits as permanent and normal.
Thus, the next time the nation is imperiled it will be easier for government to encroach a little farther on the people’s rights and ignore a little more easily and with a lttle less protest the guarantees of the constitution.
This is the “slippery slope” of which we are constantly reminded the slope that leads from liberty if not to slavery then to something only a little better—control of our lives by big brother government. In our best interests, of course, but still government control and still at the cost of the one factor that makes and keeps this nation great—the liberty and freedom of the individual.
It is as true today as it was when it was first spoken over 200 years ago that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. In this Christmas season it seems to me it would be well to thank God not only for our liberty but also for those determined and courageous Americanswho continue to be vigilant in its cause.
Dec. 20, 2004--I have no problem with President Bush awarding Gen. Tommy Franks the Medal of Freedom, but, like a lot of other people I don’t know why he gave it to those other two weenies. I can live with Paul Bremmer but George Tenet is the wurst.
The more I think about it the more I’m convinced that the president awarded the Medal of Freedom to Franks, Bremmer and Tenet as a way of telling his critics, both here and abroad, to shove it. That certainly is something that Teresa Ketchup Kerry would understand.
There are now two reasons why Arnold Schwarzenegger ain’t never gonna be president. The first, of course, is that he was born in Austria and the constitution bars naturalized citizens from holding the presidency.
The second reason is that he has proposed that the Republican Party move leftward. And that, my friends, done kills him with us right-wingers..
Arnie has been two places in his life—Austria and California. Austria is a socialist nation. California is populated and run by loonies. There is a true saying about Californians in general—what ain’t fruits are nuts. Which is why Arnie not only belongs there but is also the governor.
There is, as most of us know, a small,nascent move afoot in California to amend the constitution to allow naturalized citizens, primarily Schwarzenegger, to be president. Legislation to that effect has also been introduced in the House by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) who should know better, and in the senate by Sen. Orrin Hatch who every now and then goes off on a tangent.
But, like I said, it ain’t going nowhere. It takes a two-thirds vote by both houses of congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states to change the constitution. Show me if you can, and believe me, you can’t, more than a handful of Democrats who will support changing the constitution so that a charismatic Republican can run for president.
And even if that unlikelihood were to happen Republicans are not going to nominate for president a candidate who sneaks over to Germany to urge his party to move leftward. Which is what Schwarzenegger did.
In Berlin on Saturday, he was was quoted as saying he would like the Republican Party to “move a little further left and place more weight on the center. This would immediately give the party five percent more votes without it’s losing anything elsewhere.”
Wrong, Arnie, wrong. RINOs like you are in for a surprise if you actually succeed in moving the GOP any farther to the left. You will see conservatives either voting third party, voting for a moderate Democrat (if there is such a thing) or sitting on their hands. Goodbye GOP.
Fortunately the good sense of the founding fathers made it impossible for Arnie to take control of the GOP and the chances of another so-called moderate who wants to move the party leftward winning the Republican nomination in 2008 are slim to none.
The Associated Press is quoting a poll taken by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that shows that nearly three-fourths of middle-aged and older Americans support legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Why am I not surprised? After all, today’s middle-aged Americans are the generation that grew up smoking pot and despite all the warnings of dire consequences, somehow survived.
I have never smoked the stuff because I was always afraid I’d like it, but I know my kids and their friends and also their kids smoked it and the nation somehow survives.
The fact is, although blue noses in this and previous administrations, continue to oppose the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is a palliative for persons made ill by chemotherapy or suffering from multiple sclerosis and some other neuro-muscular afflictions. It also slows the progress of glaucoma.
Opponents assert that its health effects are worse than those of tobacco, but for someone sick from the use of chemotherapy or going blind it seems to me that three or four marijuna cigarettes a day—not a couple of packs—are worth the risk.
Regardless, 72 percent of those polled said adults should be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes if such was recommended by a physician.
Currently about a dozen states have laws approving medical marijuana/ However, the federal government claims they are overruled by federal law. But this could change next year when the supreme court considers a case involving medical marijuana.
Efforts in congress by members of both parties to legalize medical marijuana so far have failed to get off the ground.
Dec 17, 2004—The other day I ranted against the ongoing
effort by militant atheists and other Christian haters to
abolish not only the meaning of Christmas but also any
public recognition of it and of Christianity itself.
Dec. 16, 2004--Baseball fans in Washington, D.C., thought
the city had finally managed to get a major league baseball
team. But the city council chairman, Linda Cropp, has
convinced a majority of her colleagues to vote for a change
in the deal Mayor Anthony Williams made with Major League
Baseball, which has promptly rejected the change.
Dec. 15, 2004--The Bush administration continues to support,
if not defend, the corrupt old crook who is
secretary-general of the UN, Kofi Anan.
Dec. 14, 2004--In case anyone would like to know, we have
now entered the Christmas season. Christmas as in Jesus
Dec. 13, 2004--A week or so ago I wrote that Maryland’s
Republican governor, Robert Ehrlich has ordered his staff
and department heads not to speak to a couple of reporters
from the Baltimore Sun. I said at the time it was a dumb
thing to do, that there are better ways of dealing with
reporters you think are treating you unfairly.
Dec. 10, 2004--George Bush, clearly and much to the surprise
of many people, is a visionary. And his vision is that of a
world in which every nation is a democracy. Nice, but hardly
Dec. 8, 2004--There is something about being president that
seems not only to make a man want to increase the size and
scope of the federal government but also convinces him that
adding new layers of bureaucracy to government make it
better and more efficient.
Dec. 7, 2004--Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Sixty-three years
ago today the Japs sneak-bombed Pearl Harbor, setting off a
chain of events that changed the world forever. And a lot of
lives along with it. Exactly two and a half
years later I and a few other GIs were landing on the
beaches of Normandy on our way to freeing the ingrate French
and most of the rest of Western Europe from the shackles of
Dec. 3, 2004--A couple of years ago Target opened one of
their big box stores in our neighborhood and since it opened
I’ve done a lot of my shopping there.
Dec. 2, 2004--
Dec. 1, 2004--Michael Kinsley is a columnist for the
Boston Globe. By definition that makes him a liberal (sorry
about that, Jeff Jacoby) which is what you would expect from
any one writing on a liberal, New York Times-owned paper in
the blue state of Massachusetts.
Nov. 30, 2004--Several weeks ago I was privileged to meet
with and speak to a group of about a dozen successful Ohio
business men, all of whom, before they grew too old, had
been active in The Young Presidents Club.
Nov. 29, 2004--If you’re a liberal or a Democrat, which is
pretty much one and the same, and you think, or at least
hope, that conservative talk radio will kind of dry up and
blow away in the aftermath of President Bush’s re-election
forget about it