Thursday, November 29, 2007

3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, & a Loon Up a Tree

The transcripts of the You-Tube Republican Debate are now available on-line
part one
part two

From what I saw, and from reading the transcript I believe the debate highlighted and showcased a liberal view of Republicans. The questions about gays in the military, flying confederate flag, and the Bible are not what Republicans are most concerned about. Yet these are the issues CNN deemed most worthy to highlight in this debate.

From my title the 3 French Hens were represented by Fred, Rudy, and Mitt. These three wanted to speak to the conservative base of the Republican Party. Several times each of these 3 were frustrated with Cooper for misstating their answers, and serving up to them questions only a liberal would care about.

The 2 Turtle Doves were represented by John and Mike. These 2 wanted to pile on criticism for failure after Katrina and failure to show compassion for the children and for terrorist detainees. They both received thunderous applause from the liberal audience, and considerate leeway from Cooper in giving answers.

The loon up a tree was represented by Ron Paul. His answers at times made me think that he lives in some kind of alternate universe where everybody colors within the lines, and nobody ever acts out on their own agenda.

The candidates own words reveal who they are.

Loon up a Tree
The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That's the most important thing that we can do.

Already, part of their country has been taken back. In the south, they claim the surge has worked, but the surge really hasn't worked. There's less violence, but al-Sadr has essentially won in the south.

The British are leaving. The brigade of Al Sadr now is in charge, so they are getting their country back. They're in charge up north -- the Shia -- the people in the north are in charge, as well, and there's no violence up there or nearly as much.

So, let the people have their country back again. Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam now is a friend of ours -- we trade with them, the president comes here.

What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam.

So it's time for us to take care of America first.

Shortly after the Vietnam War ended, Colonel Tu and Colonel Summers met, and they were talking about this. And our -- and the American colonel said, "You know, we never lost one battle." And Colonel Tu, the Vietnamese says, "Yes, but that's irrelevant."

And it is irrelevant. But we have to realize why they want to come here. Wolfowitz even admitted that one of the major reasons that the Al Qaida was organized and energized was because of our military base in Saudi Arabia.

He says, "Oh, now, we can take the base away." He understood why they came here. They come here because we're occupying their country, just as we would object if they occupied our country.

Turtle Dove John
You know, this whole debate saddens me a little bit because we do have a serious situation in America. In 1986, we passed a law that said we would enforce our borders, and gave amnesty to a couple of million people. We gave the amnesty. Now we have 12 million people and still borders that are not enforced.

I came to the Senate not to do the easy things, but to do the hard things. Mel Martinez and I knew this was going to be a tough issue, but we thought the status quo was unacceptable: broken borders; 12 million people here illegally; a need for a temporary worker program, certainly in my state in the agricultural section, certainly in this state of Florida.

And we tried to get something done. We said we'd enforce the borders. The American people didn't believe us. They don't believe us because of our failure in Katrina, our failure in Iraq, our failures in reining in corruption and out of control spending.

So we tried and we failed. And I appreciate the president's efforts. He comes from a border state too. And what we've learned is that the American people want the borders enforced. We must enforce the -- secure the borders first.

But then you've still got two other aspects of this issue that have to be resolved as well. And we need to sit down as Americans and recognize these are God's children as well.

And they need some protection under the law. And they need some of our love and compassion.

Turtle Dove Mike
Mitt, let me finish. Let me finish, Mitt.

In all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We're a better country than that.

I have a great record on fiscal conservativism. But one thing I've learned, you know, when you get attacked, it's not always bad. It's like my old pastor used to tell me, when they're kicking you in the rear, it's just proving you're still out front.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

And as much as you've done it to the least of these brethren, you've done it unto me.

French Hen Rudy
Since we're on fiscal matters, I would be remiss if I didn't ask this question, since it did just break a couple hours ago. This is to Mayor Giuliani. Politico broke a story a few hours ago questioning your accounting of taxpayer dollars as mayor.

They say that as mayor, the report says you took trips to the Hamptons and expensed the cost of your police detail to obscure city offices.

One, is that true? And, if so, was it appropriate?

First of all, it's not true. I had 24-hour security for the eight years that I was mayor. They followed me everyplace I went. It was because there were, you know, threats, threats that I don't generally talk about. Some have become public recently; most of them haven't.

And they took care of me, and they put in their records, and they handled them in the way they handled them. I had nothing to do with the handling of their records, and they were handled, as far as I know, perfectly appropriately.

French Hen Mitt
Right now, with the kinds of issues we got in this country, I'm not going to get involved with a flag like that. That's not a flag that I recognize so that I would hold up in my room.

The people of our country have decided not to fly that flag. I think that's the right thing.

My own view is that this country can go beyond that kind of stuff, and that instead we can do as a party what we need to do, which is to reach out to all Americans.

Every time I listen to someone like John Edwards get on TV and say there are two Americans, I just want to -- I just want to throw something at the TV, because there are not two Americas. There's one America.

We are a nation united. We face extraordinary challenges right now. And Democrats dividing us and tearing down this country are doing exactly the wrong thing.

We're succeeding in Iraq. We've got tough challenges. We can overcome them. But we do not need to have that kind of divisive talk. And that flag, frankly, is divisive, and it shouldn't be shown.

French Hen Fred
So of the top three you would say Social Security?

No. I didn't say that. There is -- the OMB has come out with a list of over 100 programs. I would take all 100 of them, the ones that are full of waste, fraud and duplication. I filed a report in 2001, when I was chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, and identified billions of dollars that we should be saving.

But my point is that we're going to have to reform Social Security, we're going to have to reform Medicare. I've laid out a detailed plan that will give individual retirement accounts for people, matched by the government, and also re-index the way benefits are calculated initially when a person retires. And together, that program has been said by the experts already -- to say that -- have said that it would, after 75 years, make Social Security actuarily sound.

I've got the only program out there that really addresses specifically one of the programs that's going to have to be reformed.

Actually, given the nature of that video, we're not going to go to break right now.

I think it's something we should talk about.

Senator Thompson, what's up with that?

I just wanted to give my buddies here a little extra airtime.

Listen, I mean, what do you mean what's up with it? These are their words.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Gang That Couldn't Stab Straight Timeline

This timeline I created from an excellent piece by Noemie Emery at the Weekly Standard.

December 2006: Democrats have just scored a blowout in Congress, Iraq is in shambles, and the country is calling for Bush to change course. He does. But he changes course in the other direction, radically revising his Iraq strategy, adopting aggressive new rules of engagement, and sending in 30,000 more troops.

January 5, 2007: Democrats launched their assault.
Senator Christopher Dodd
A 'surge' of American troops will do nothing.
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi open letter to Bush
Surging forces is a strategy that you have already tried, and that has already failed.
Richard Durbin
The surge was "a sad, ominous echo of something we've lived through in this country
John Kerry
I'm confident it will not work

January 25, 2007: Senate Democrats joined the Republicans in late January in unanimously confirming the appointment of General David Petraeus, a counterinsurgency expert and coauthor of the new surge proposal, sending him off with godspeed and good wishes to the front.

February 5, 2007: Democratic Sen. Carl Levin introduces resolution that declared the Senate's disagreement with the "plan to augment our forces"

February 13, 2007: Politico website article
Afraid of moving directly to defund the armed forces, Democrats decided on a series of steps that would have the same effect without saying so, i.e., putting so many restrictions and regulations on troop deployments that the number available would in effect be greatly reduced. These would be sponsored by veterans (James Webb and John Murtha), and the stated goal would be to help the armed forces. The real goal, however, was to strangle the surge in its crib. "Top House Democrats, working in concert with antiwar groups, have decided against using congressional power to force a
quick end to U.S. involvement .  .  . and instead will pursue a slow-bleed strategy designed to gradually limit the administration's options." the "goal is to limit or sharply reduce the number of U.S. troops available for the Iraq conflict, rather than to openly cut off funding for the war itself."

February 19, 2007: Majority Leader Harry Reid introduces resolution that it's the sense of Congress that "Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."

April 12, 2007: Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding. We are going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war.

April 19, 2007: Harry Reid
I believe myself that the secretary of state, the secretary of defense--and you have to make your own decision as to what the president knows--know that this war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything.

May 1, 2007: Sen. Ted Kennedy
The surge was supposed to bring stability. .  .  . It hasn't and it won't.

May 15, 2007: Sen. Dodd
The evidence is clear it is not happening and it will not happen.

May 16, 2007: Sen. Durbin
This Senate knows that the administration's policy in Iraq has failed.

June 1, 2007: Sen. Biden
The surge has not worked and will not work.

June 13, 2007: joint letter from Speaker Pelosi & Maj. Leader Reid to Pres. Bush
As many had foreseen, the escalation has failed to produce the intended results.

July 9, 2007:Harry Reid
Democrats and military experts and the American people know the president's current strategy is not working and we cannot wait until September to act.
Sen. Diane Feinstein
Today, a majority of the Senate sees that the surge is not working. .  .  . Do we change course now or do we wait until September?  .  .  . I believe the answer is clear.
Sen. Webb
I don't care what the report says next week. I don't care what the report says in September.

July 27, 2007:The depth of the left's investment in an Iraq defeat came out during the last week in July, when, hearing from General Jack Keane that the surge might be working, Representative Nancy Boyda was so shaken she fled a congressional hearing.
Rep. Nancy Boyda
There was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while.

July 30, 2007: An op-ed in the New York Times by Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution--both men who initially supported the war but had become harsh critics--said they had been to Iraq and seen a substantial change in the climate, and believed for the first time there was hope. (The headline on their piece was even more upbeat: "A War We Just Might Win.") Worse still, some Democrats who went to Iraq over the recess came back and said they had seen signs of progress themselves. While a few Democrats said that what they had seen made them less likely to call for retreat and more likely to give the troops time to accomplish their mission, most proved themselves more than up to the job of putting bad spin on good news.

August 22, 2007: A Washington Post piece
Democrats have been forced to recalibrate their own message in the face of recent positive signs on the security front, increasingly focusing their criticisms on what those military gains have not achieved.
First on the list of things not accomplished was the creation of a strong central government. A pattern was emerging in which goalposts were moved steadily backward with each new accomplishment. First, military success was pronounced unattainable; when it occurred it was called insufficient. When once-hostile Sunni sheikhs begged to join the Shia-led police and armed forces, this too was called meaningless, as long as the "leaders" in Baghdad kept squabbling. Taking their lead from the media, where good news was no news and setbacks always resulted in large, screaming headlines, the war critics pronounced anything that was accomplished unimportant the moment it happened.

September 5, 2007: Senator Chuck Schumer
And let me be clear. The violence in Anbar has gone down in spite of the Surge, not because of the Surge.

The inability of American soldiers to protect these tribes from Al Qaeda said to these tribes, "We have to fight Al Qaeda ourselves.

September 9, 2007: An International Herald Telephone piece
Leading Democrats .  .  . preemptively assailed the expected findings on Iraq due this week from Gen. David H. Petraeus as 'dead, flat wrong' and said President Bush's likely call for continued patience in the war would simply extend an 'unconscionable' and 'completely unacceptable' policy.
Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts referred to the general's testimony as a
Petraeus village .  .  . a fa├žade to hide from view the continuing failure of the Bush administration's strategy.
Rahm Emanuel
We don't need a report that wins the Nobel Prize for creative statistics, or the Pulitzer for fiction.
Sen. Hillary Clinton
The testimony required the willing suspension of disbelief.
Senator Dick Durbin
By carefully manipulating the statistics, the Bush-Petraeus report will try to persuade us that the violence in Iraq is decreasing, and the surge is working.

November 16, 2007:Majority Leader Harry Reid
It's not getting better, it's getting worse.

The point of this timeline is that it shows In less than a year, the Democrats had gone from demanding a change in a policy that was failing, to demanding a change in a policy that hadn't been tried yet, to demanding a change in a policy that at the very least had forestalled disaster and was proving to have some success.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not Just a River in Egypt

Recently I wrote a blog here about author Jim Pierson's view of why America's far left liberals believe that Americans have no good reason to feel pride in their country's past or optimism about its future. Daniel Pipes has just a superior article on this same subject with additional superb research material.

President Kennedy was assassinated by a New-Left-style communist. Kennedy, in brief, died because he was so tough in the cold war. Liberals resisted this fact because it contradicted their belief system and, instead, presented Kennedy as a victim of the radical right and a martyr for liberal causes.

The additional research that Pipes provides is how the American liberals took two bold steps to alter the course of American liberals.

Step 1. They characterized Lee Harvey Oswald as a right-wing extremist. They started spinning in varying degrees a giant conspiracy in which Oswald was a dupe of the mafia, the Ku Klux Klan, anti-Castro Cubans, White Russians, Texas oil millionaires, international bankers, the CIA, the FBI, the military-industrial complex, the generals, or Kennedy's successor, Lyndon Johnson.

Step 2. They blamed the assassination not on Oswald the communist but on the American people, and the radical right in particular, accusing them of killing Kennedy for his being too soft in the cold war or too accommodating to civil rights for American blacks.

The final summation by Daniel Pipes is excellently written
In this "denial or disregard" of Oswald's motives and guilt, Piereson locates the rank origins of American liberalism's turn toward anti-American pessimism. "The reformist emphasis of American liberalism, which had been pragmatic and forward-looking, was overtaken by a spirit of national self-condemnation."

Viewing the United States as crass, violent, racist, and militarist shifted liberalism's focus from economics to cultural issues (racism, feminism, sexual freedom, gay rights). This change helped spawn the countercultural movement of the late 1960s; more lastingly, it fed a "residue of ambivalence" about the worth of traditional American institutions and the validity of deploying U.S. military power that 44 years later remains liberalism's general outlook.

Thus does Oswald's malign legacy live on in 2007, yet harming and perverting liberalism, still polluting the national debate.

I have disagreements with Republican candidates for POTUS 2008, but at least they are pragmatic and forward thinking compared to the 'blame America first' stable of candidates for POTUS 2008 in the Democratic Party.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Bill Clinton Appointee I Admire and Respect

I came across an article written by Margaret Talev of McClatchy Newspapers recently that reports about Marie and her life since 1978. a snippet:
The movie and TV roles that followed brought him wealth, connected him to interesting people, boosted his law and lobbying practice and helped him win election to the Senate. All that paved his run for president.

Ragghianti's path was less glamorous. Still, the mother of three, who'd escaped an abusive marriage, was able to put her life back together, raise her children and work toward things she considered important.

She did some research and consulting, wrote articles for Parade magazine and other publications, earned two master's degrees and, as a lifelong Democrat, served in the Clinton administration as the chief of staff and vice chairwoman of the U.S. Parole Commission.

She set her sights on a Ph.D. nearly 20 years ago, dividing her time between the Washington, D.C., area and Georgia, where she has family. This month, she moved to northern Virginia and took a job with the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland.

All the while, Ragghianti said, Thompson has remained a constant in her life. They talk every few months and, despite her party affiliation, she's supporting his bid for the presidency.

After Thompson remarried, Ragghianti gave his second wife, Jeri, her seal of approval: "She dotes on Fred, and I like that about her."

Apparently, the feeling is mutual. "She's an incredible woman," Jeri Thompson said in a telephone interview. "A brave, courageous woman."

Some days it seems easier than others to find people writing about how lazy Fred is or how he can not work hard enough to make any headway. I am sure that Marie would beg to differ with these so-called "expert pundits".

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Blog Reply to Hooah Mac

I lurked around your blog attempt to keep the debate going in just one direction of supporters of [insert candidate name here] convincing you in terms of what is so good about their candidate instead of convincing you of what is so bad about [insert candidate name here]. Great job, and most posts appeared to comply with your request.

The only problem with this approach of yours that I see is that every supporter will try to spin everything they can to win your support. This is not an insult, but it is a natural reflex.

Here is another way to get yourself an answer, and that is to read what each candidate has to say about 1 issue, taxes. Below is listed quotes from the 5 top GOP candidates. I suspect that each candidate's supporters will spin and nuance every noun, verb, adverb, and adjective listed below. I recommend you treat that as flies buzzing around in the background, and go with your gut feelings.

One of my complaints with Republicans in my own party is that, true or not, we’re perceived as the people whose tax policies do tilt toward the people at the top end of the economic scale, with disregard to the people who are barely making it.

Mike Huckabee

I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.

John McCain

GLENN: Oh, my gosh. I want to ask you, why are we not calling for a flat tax? You've got Macedonia, you've got Czechoslovakia, you've got all of these old other than block countries that lived under that socialist nightmare that are now -- I think it was Macedonia just went to a 9% flat tax for income and corporate. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world right now. How are we expecting to survive and why aren't we going for a flat tax?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, you raise a very good point. You'll find it interesting. I just read Bill Bradley's book to see what he was saying and he pointed out in his book that corporations can move anywhere they want in the world now. There's no requirement that a corporation is locked in our soil, and we have the highest corporate tax rates of any industrialized nation in the world. And what that means is we will see corporations and jobs leave here unless we bring our taxes down, and Democrats like John Edwards and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over the last few days are calling for tax increases and Hillary called for an increase in the corporate tax rate. This -- I mean, that's always their answer when their challenge is they turn to government.

GLENN: So you didn't really answer question. Why don't we have a candidate calling for a flat tax?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, you know, it's -- it has a lot of features that are attractive but the flat tax as it was originally proposed by Steve Forbes had some things I think that would not work and one that I pointed out, of course, is that you eliminate the home mortgage deduction and that would have an impact on the housing market. Another is that the very, very wealthy would pay no taxes at all, none, under a flat tax. And so I think as people hear the term "Flat tax," they like the idea but then if they hear that some people will pay no taxes at all, the very wealthiest, they've say, ooh, there's got to be something to adjust it.

GLENN: Hey, hey, wait. You're talking about the very wealthy. You were talking quite honestly about people like Hillary Clinton that have millions and millions and millions that are working for them and they are not -- they are not paying in income tax. You're saying that they wouldn't pay anything on capital gains.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah, that's right, under the Forbes flat tax plan, someone like Bill Gates who probably gets in a billion dollars of income a year from interest and dividends and capital gains, he probably pays $200 million in taxes a year. He would pay no taxes under the flat tax, and I don't think that's what people think about when they think about flat tax. So there's some --

GLENN: So why don't you -- why don't you fix those problems and introduce a flatter tax?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yeah. And that's one of the things that I'll be talking about is my own tax policy. One of the elements that I've already put forward is that I would like to reduce taxes across the board. I'd also like to go after savings for people of middle incomes, and my view is middle income Americans ought to be able to save their money and get their interest dividends and capital gains tax-free. I don't think we should tax people when they earn their money and then when they save it and then when they die. So I want to take that tax off on capital gains, interest and dividends for middle income Americans.

GLENN: Okay. So wait a minute. Hang on just a sec. It's not right for Bill Gates but it's right for middle Americans. Mitt, I know you well enough. I know your history well enough to know that you understand our founding fathers. Help solve something in my head that has been bothering me here recently. Why can't I sue for my equal rights as someone who has prospered in this country? I was born poor, I made my money, and I do not have equal rights under this system because you're penalizing me and you just made an example. You want to make sure that somebody who is middle class has rights that I don't.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: No, I really don't, Glenn.

GLENN: But I mean, help me out. How does that not work that way?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, obviously we have a whole series of provisions of the tax code that give advantage to people of lower income. Do you realize the bottom 30% of earners in this country pay no income tax at all, the bottom 30%. And then in addition, we give a child credit for every child so a person gets a $1,000 tax credit for every child they have. So that means the people who have children are getting advantages relative to people who don't. Those are the provisions that have been worked into the code over the years. Of course, in the Bush tax cut plan we put in place that we doubled the child tags credit. So there are dramatic differences in how we treat different types of income and different types of families, and I'll give you that. There are dramatic differences. But even the flat tax plan, it wouldn't charge any tax to people of lower income. They got no tax at all and no tax for the people of very high income.

GLENN: Right.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: And that's -- I think that has some problems associated with it.
Mitt Romney on Glenn Beck show

GIULIANI: I think it needs a massive simplification. If we were doing income tax for the first time. In other words, if we were starting off new back at the beginning of the last century, then probably we should go with a--we probably should've gone with a flat tax, maybe two levels of tax, but really simple. Our economy has kind of grown up now on depreciation and deductions and industries have grown up around that and so I don't know exactly how much you can simplify it, but you sure have to make a stab at it. And I think Reagan got it right. I felt that what Reagan did was, I kind of think of it as like cleaning out the forest. You got--the tax code was this big, he got it down to a simple code, reduced the top rates. Kind of leveled out the rates a little so there weren't as many. The tax code needs a simplification in addition to lowering your sum taxes. Another tax that has to be dealt with is the death tax. That's a double tax. People get it twice and it has a major impact on lots of people who aren't really wealthy. You know, people who have their money in land or they have they money in real estate or they have they have their money in the family business or the family farm and they've got to sell the darn thing or they get in a big dispute with the IRS about what it's worth on paper.
Rudy Giuliana on Kudlow & Co.

The U.S. tax code is broken and a burden on U.S. taxpayers and businesses, large and small. Today’s tax code is particularly hostile to savings and investment, and it shows. To make matters worse, its complexity is a drag on our productivity and economic growth. Moreover, taxpayers spend billions of dollars and untold hours each year filling out complicated tax returns, just so they can send more money to Washington, much of it for wasteful programs and the pet projects of special interests. We need lower taxes, and we need to let taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned dollars—they know best where and how to spend them. And we need to make the system simpler and fairer for all. To ensure America’s long term prosperity and economic security, I am committed to:

* Fundamental tax reform built on the principles of simplicity, fairness, and growth.
* A new tax code that gets the government out of our citizens’ pocketbooks, while enhancing U.S. competitiveness abroad.
* Dissolution of the IRS as we know it.

Fred Thompson

Friday, November 16, 2007

In Sympathy of the Devil - Rolling Stones

There is the line from this Rolling Stones' hit
I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?
’When after all, it was you and me.
that author Jim Piereson believes reflected a deep belief in liberal culture, that somehow “we” had killed the Kennedy’s — when in fact an anti-American Communist killed President Kennedy and a Palestinian nationalist killed Robert Kennedy, both in retaliation for American policies abroad. Oswald killed President Kennedy to interrupt his efforts to eliminate Castro; Sirhan killed Robert Kennedy because of Kennedy’s support for Israel. The irrationality of this belief was connected to the unraveling of liberalism, demonstrating that liberalism was not the rational doctrine that it claimed to be.

I give a hat/tip to fellow redstater gamecock for e-mailing me this article that Rich Lowry wrote about Jim Piereson and his book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution. A snippet from the article
From a distance of nearly 50 years, the liberalism of 1960 is hardly recognizable. It was comfortable with the use of American power abroad, unabashedly patriotic, and forward-looking. But that was before The Fall.

In his eye-opening book, Jim Piereson argues The Fall was the assassination of President Kennedy. It represented more than the tragic death of a young president, but the descent of liberalism from an optimistic creed focused on pragmatic improvements in the American condition to a darker philosophy obsessed with America's sins. Echoes of the assassination -- and the meaning attributed to it by JFK's admirers -- can still be heard in the querulous tones of contemporary liberalism.

The real John F. Kennedy wasn't the paladin of liberal purity of myth. He was friends with Joseph McCarthy. In his 1952 campaign for Senate and his 1960 presidential campaign, he got to the right of his Republican opponents on key issues. "Kennedy did not want anyone to tag him as a liberal, which he regarded as the kiss of death in electoral politics," Piereson writes. As president, he was vigorously anti-communist, a tax-cutter and a cautious supporter of civil rights.

His kind of liberalism -- "tough and realistic," as Piereson puts it, in the tradition of FDR and Truman -- was carried away in the riptide of his death.

I let google be my friend and found an interview that Piereson had with NRO's John Miller. Here are a few snippets
MILLER: Isn’t it a little early to say that 11/22/63 mattered more than 9/11/01?

PIERESON: No. We know from looking back over the decades that Kennedy’s sudden death cast a long shadow over American life, which I have tried to describe. Many of us thought that the terrorist attacks of 9/11 would also have great consequences for the way Americans looked at politics, the parties, and national security. In particular, some felt that the attacks might drive out of our politics the tone of anti-Americanism that had been a key feature of the American Left from the 1960s forward. That did not really happen. The liberal movement today remains far more the product of the 1960s than of the terrorist attacks and their aftermath. Indeed, the terrorist attacks now seem to have had very little effect on the thinking of American liberals who view the war on terror and the war in Iraq through the lenses of the Vietnam War. That is not true of conservatives. In that sense, the terrorist attacks have simply deepened the divide between liberals and conservatives. What is surprising, then, is what little enduring effect the terrorist attacks have had, particularly for liberals.

MILLER: Was JFK’s assassination more consequential than Abraham Lincoln’s?

PIERESON: The two assassinations had different effects. Lincoln’s came at the end of the Civil War. Since his assassins were southern partisans, the assassination was easily assimilated into the moral framework of the war. Lincoln was a martyr for the union and emancipation. His death punctuated the war and it tended to unify the nation around the Lincoln symbol. Kennedy’s death was different. In contrast to Lincoln, Kennedy was killed before he could achieve any great success. Kennedy was thus viewed in terms of dashed hopes and unfulfilled promise. Lincoln was viewed in terms of what he had achieved, Kennedy in terms of what might have been. Liberals at the time were convinced that the nation was threatened more by right-wing radicals like Sen. McCarthy or fundamentalist preachers than by Communists. Given their assumptions, they had great difficulty assimilating the fact that JFK was shot by a Communist — for this was exactly the kind of thing that the hated Sen. McCarthy had been warning against. Instead of seeing Kennedy as a casualty of the Cold War — which he was — they saw him as a martyr for civil rights. They saw his assassination as a sign of the nation’s guilt. Thus, Lincoln’s assassination reinforced the legitimacy of the nation while Kennedy’s undermined it, at least in the eyes of liberals.

MILLER: How did the killing of JFK shape the conservative movement?

PIERESON: Kennedy’s assassination had little effect on the conservative movement then or thereafter. Conservatives like Bill Buckley, Russell Kirk, or Barry Goldwater accepted the fact that Kennedy had been shot by a Communist. This did not surprise them in the least. The loss of faith among liberals in the years after JFK’s death opened a path for conservatives to come to power. It might be said that Ronald Reagan picked up the torch of national optimism that was dropped by the liberals when Kennedy was killed. Kennedy’s death, as its implications were worked out, destroyed the capacity of liberals to govern the country.

The 22nd day of this month of November will mark 44 years since the assassination of JFK. Perhaps this event has been a larger impact on the left than any event since then. I believe this much of what he writes is still holding true today. Then liberals were more threatened by right wing politicians or religious right Christian preachers than communists. Replace the word communists with the words islamist terrorists, and you've defined today's liberals.

I also believe that the torch of national optimism was picked up by Ronald Reagan, and as long as the liberals believe that Americans have no good reason to feel pride in their country's past or optimism about its future they are incapable to govern this country.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The U.S. blacklisted me. Let's talk.

Prof. Tariq Ramadan wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that the US should not exclude academics who are critical of its policies. I think it depends more on what are the consequences instead of the person's opinions of US policies. The US gave a nutjob President from Iran a pass to come here and speak to an audience at Columbia U. Apparently criticism of US policy was not a factor in that decision, and the consequences of Teheran media reporting was not good for the US.

I do not fear the same kind of dire consequences with the professor that I feared with Iran's president. I disagree with him on religion and on politics, but I do not fear him. He sees himself as a devout Muslim, and he is irked when others tell him what Muslims believe. Oddly enough, it reminded me of the reaction Mitt Romney has when others tell him what Mormons believe.

Here is a snippet of an interview he had with Prospect magazine

Q Parts of the Koran are clear about accepting other people of the book, the Jews and Christians. But other parts are pretty intolerant of anybody who is, say a polytheist, and by implication anybody who is an atheist. You have said that the acceptance of Jews and Christians should now be extended to others too.

A In the Koran we have very strong verses against polytheists and, in some situations against Jews or Christians. But, again, we have to put things into context. We have to ask: why was it so in this particular situation? Was it because the Prophet was resisting oppression? Remember that the Prophet himself had connections with polytheists all his life. When he had to flee Mecca for Medina, he was guided by a polytheist. The emissary of peace he sent from Medina back to Mecca was a polytheist. His close uncle, [Abu Talib who had raised him as a child] chose not to become a Muslim, but the Prophet never said: "I'm going to kill you because you are a polytheist." So here we have freedom of speech and freedom of conscience for a close member of his family who decided that he did not want to become a Muslim.

Q What about apostasy? What happens if you are born and educated a Muslim but then say: I have now decided that Islam is not for me. Would you accept that someone born into a Muslim family has a right to say that they no longer believe, and that families and communities must respect that?

A I have been criticised about this in many countries. My view is the same as that of Sufyan Al-Thawri, an 8th-century scholar of Islam, who argued that the Koran does not prescribe death for someone because he or she is changing religion. Neither did the Prophet himself ever perform such an act. Many around the Prophet changed religions. But he never did anything against them. There was an early Muslim, Ubaydallah ibn Jahsh, who went with the first emigrants from Mecca to Abyssinia. He converted to Christianity and stayed, but remained close to Muslims. He divorced his wife, but he was not killed.

Q But realistically, how far can you go in a non-literalist interpretation of the Koran? Let's take the issue of whether someone can be both gay and Muslim. In Christianity you'll get a variety of answers. Broadly speaking, in Catholicism homosexuality is a sin. But like all other sins in Catholicism, a little bit of penance can get you out of it before judgement day. In some versions of evangelical Protestantism, homosexuality is a complete sin because evangelicals tend to be literalists. But in the Church of England there are a large number of openly gay Anglican clergy. The argument being that the Old Testament has to be contextualised. Is it possible to have a similar reading of the Koran? Or is it that homosexuality is simply wrong. Could you imagine there ever being a homosexual imam in the same way that the Anglican church in the US has just consecrated a homosexual bishop? Would that be possible?

A It could happen if such an imam did not declare that he was homosexual. You cannot expect to see homosexuality being promoted within the Islamic tradition. Homosexuality is not perceived by Islam as the divine project for men and women. It is regarded as bad and wrong. Now, the way we have to deal with a homosexual is to say: "I don't agree with what you are doing, but I respect who you are. You can be a Muslim. You are a Muslim. Being a Muslim is between you and God." I am not going to promote homosexuality but I will respect the person, even if I don't agree with what they are doing.

Q Why can't you go to Tunisia, Egypt or Saudi Arabia?

A Why? Because they know exactly what I am saying. I criticise the fact that they are dictatorships and that the Saudi government is betraying Islamic teachings. When I called for a moratorium on Islamic punishments (death penalty, corporal punishment and stoning) I said it on French television when 6m people were watching, as well as in Islamic majority countries.

Some people are going to disagree with me. They will argue that we do need to blacklist this professor because he is someone to be feared. Daniel Pipes directed me to an article in the American Prospect
magazine that argues with their reasons for why we should be afraid, very afraid of this professor. I also got directed to another article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali who nobody characterizes as an apologist for islamists.
I think the US may eventually let this prof. enter the country and lecture at University Notre Dame in my home state of Indiana. I refuse to live in fear over this, and anyone is welcome to tell me why I'm wrong. I am a persistent cuss, however.

War on Christmas reaches Australia

Today I stumbled across an article in the Australia Daily telegraph that reports a recruitment firm, Westaff, is banning Santa's traditional greeting of ho, ho, ho and replacing it with ha, ha, ha.
Recruitment firm Westaff - which supplies hundreds of Santas across the country - has told its trainees that the "ho ho ho" phrase could frighten children and could even be derogatory to women.

Two Santa hopefuls reportedly quit the course because of the hullabaloo of the ho, ho, ho.

One would-be Santa has told The Daily Telegraph he was taught not to use "ho, ho, ho" because it was too close to the American slang for prostitute. He also quit.

"Gimme a break," Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualising children called Kids Free 2B Kids, said.

"We are talking about little kids who do not understand that "ho, ho, ho" has any other connotation and nor should they.

"Leave Santa alone."

Julie Gale, I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Edwards' Reception at Iowa Rock Concert

About halfway through this video of Mellancamp performing on stage in Iowa John Edwards comes onto the stage. Check out the reception that he receives. Let's just say sometimes a scripted plan does not quite get you what you think it will.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Thank You Michael Yon-Awesome Photo!

Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Iraq, Thanks and Praise, is a wonderful account spreading across the blogosphere. I do not see the account anywhere in the Driveby media. I google news stories, and get only 1 hit, NRO.

Michael Yon is making this photograph available to media outlets, such as print publications and cable and television news broadcasts, at no cost for a limited period of time.

Here is a snippet of Michael's dispatch about this photo.

Thanks and Praise: I photographed men and women, both Christians and Muslims, placing a cross atop the St. John’s Church in Baghdad. They had taken the cross from storage and a man washed it before carrying it up to the dome.

The Anchoress has written her impressions on her blog I completely agree with her, and appreciate her take on this. Here is a snippet of The Anchoress

In truth, we know so little. So much of the information we get from Iraq is filtered and delivered from “safe” locations. So little of it is unfiltered and delivered from the Iraqi streets.

Yon is delivering Iraq to us from the streets, and he’s doing it on donated dimes.

Wretchard compares this photo, in spirit, to the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. Rand Simberg calls it Pulitzer-worthy. I don’t know; I’m no judge of such things.

What I see in this picture is something more than a historic moment - I don’t even know if that’s what we should call it - I see the sort of thing people do when they are neighbors, when they are working together for their neighborhood, for the good of all who live there, and that makes it seem less “historic” than calmly, wonderfully normal, ordinary, wholesome and sane. I see tolerance, which so many are so certain cannot exist in Iraq - or anywhere in the Middle East. Tolerance in the best sense of the word - converting no one, insisting on nothing beyond ordinary acceptance; tolerance that gives people room to live their lives.

Thank you Michael Yon, Jeff Emmanuel, and others like them who provide a glimpse, a snapshot of events in Iraq that we otherwise will never know about.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Can You Match Candidate & Quote?

Some people think that our planet is suffering from a fever. Now scientists are telling us that Mars is experiencing its own planetary warming: Martian warming. It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto. NASA says the Martian South Pole's ice cap has been shrinking for three summers in a row. Maybe Mars got its fever from earth. If so, I guess Jupiter's caught the same cold, because it's warming up too, like Pluto.
This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non-signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle.
Silly, I know, but I wonder what all those planets, dwarf planets and moons in our SOLAR system have in common. Solar? I wonder. Nah, the science is absolutely decided. There's a consensus. Ask Galileo.

Al Gore wants carbon caps and a carbon tax. What's your take?

I don't like taxes. I don't know how to make that any clearer. I don't like taxes. Inventing new ones is a very big mistake. Find other ways to do it. If you want to deal with global warming, the way to deal with global warming is to develop these alternative technologies. Get serious about energy independence, so we wouldn't have to send money to our enemies. Let's put the resources in to catch up on ethanol.
Climate change is a serious issue, but we should not react to it as if it were a crisis. Because if we do we will make serious mistakes distorting our economy. We won’t get requisite changes from other countries that have to make changes for our changes to be worth it.

My plan to get us energy independent has a very positive by-product and that is it dramatically reduces greenhouse gases. I oppose the idea of the United States unilaterally placing limits on CO2 emissions and emphasize that we need to do it in conjuncture with other nations in order to protect the American economy. They don’t call it America Warming, they call it Global Warming.

I support an economy-wide cap-and-trade system to control greenhouse gases, which scientists say are causing climate change. The program, which has been introduced in Congress, would create a market for buying and selling permits to allow carbon-dioxide emissions.

We also have to recognize that the international system for addressing climate change is evolving. Only a few years ago, many of America's trading partners were reluctant to accept market-based solutions. But now they have embraced them, and the global marketplace for greenhouse gas cap-and-trade is beginning. A national cap-and-trade system could give American business valuable experience they will need to remain competitive with other companies in countries where greenhouse emissions trading is moving forward. We can expand trade opportunities through a new marketplace for the environment.
Given this developing international market, it also makes sense to ensure that what we do domestically can be integrated and recognized on the international level. Ultimately, we need to make sure that the emissions reductions our companies, our farmers, and our foresters produce are fully recognized and fully tradable in the emerging global greenhouse gas marketplace.

3 of these 5 candidates I can vote for POTUS in '08, although 1 of the 3 has an ambivalent view of Roe v Wade. The other 2 candidates support a liberal tax raising scheme which will destroy the US economy. I will never support this despicable movement of indoctrination to our youth.