Thursday, June 29, 2006

How Was Our Financial Privacy Violated?

Sachi on Big Lizards asks why such turmoil about monitoring international bank transfers, when all along our banking system has been providing much more detailed and personal information to the IRS and FBI to track money laundering by drug dealers and to catch tax evaders.

The IRS knows I received $10.84 last year in interest on my credit union checking account, and I will be in deep kimchee if that $10.84 doesn’t show up in the total interest earned summarized on line 8 a. of my 1040. The IRS also knows about the embarrassingly dumb investment I made in MicroStrategy a couple of years ago, the same day it lost 90% of its value, because Charles Schwab sent the IRS a detailed summary of my trading and dividends earned. If I ever get called in on an IRS audit (please God, no), I expect the IRS auditor will rib me about the MircroStrategy investment even if it has nothing to do with the audit.

Is there a reason why the Left’s media, New York Times and Los Angeles Times, has kinks in their undies about using bland international bank transfer information to identify, track, and thwart terrorists, yet doesn’t care that the most detailed and personal information about American citizens is passed to the IRS and FBI? It can’t be that the Left thinks that only Republicans are drug dealers, money launderers, and tax evaders.

Perhaps I typed too soon, and they do. But I don’t think so. I think they have the biggest cases of Bush Derangement Syndrome ever recorded, and anything Bush does to fight terrorism will be looked on as a dangerous infringement of privacy. Why would that be? Simple. Bush’s programs might be very successful, terrorism may be sharply reduced, and Bush and the Republicans would get the credit. The Left can’t have that.

Palestinians Are Brats

“What do you think,” asked Alice, “about what Israel is doing in Gaza because Hamas kidnapped their 19-year old soldier?” I answered that Israel was doing the right thing, except they should be doing more, faster.

Palestinians are like children. They have no goals or leadership. After over fifty years of failure of leadership, failure of vision, endemic corruption, and wasted opportunities, all they have is poverty and misery and memories of Yassar Arafat and stories of his world-class wealth. They should be proud that, out of such poverty, Arafat was able to amass such wealth. Anyone can steal when surrounded by riches, but it takes a special thief to prosper so amongst the impoverished.

Like children, the Palestinians were easy to teach all the wrong things. They saw how Israel prospered, and how their Arab neighbors sank further into ignorance and poverty, so naturally they followed the Arab path. They saw how despots like Saddam used violence against his own people and neighbors, and they made him their hero. They saw how the Ayatollahs in Iran, and the Taliban in Afghanistan, tortured and oppressed their own people, and begged for the same for themselves. They saw how, until very recently in Iraq, the only democratically elected Muslims in the Middle East were in the government of Israel, and voted against democracy.

Muslim women are uneducated and oppressed. “That’s the way we like it,” say the Muslim women. Martyrdom is the highest calling for Muslim youth. “We want to die,” say the youth. “We want them to die,” say their parents.

How do you reason with children who have already learned all the wrong things? “Give diplomacy a chance?” What has diplomacy been doing for the past fifty years? Failing, that’s what. Then why should it work now?

Didn’t Einstein say that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results was a sign of insanity?

Children frustrate parents when the children have learned all the wrong things, and then the parents want to change their behavior. What good is it to tell them they won’t get what they want with a temper tantrum, when a temper tantrum has always worked?

The world has been harsh on Israel for trying to protect its people from violence, and easy on Palestinian terrorists for perpetrating violence. The United Nations has censured Israel, and condoned the attacks that have provoked Israeli retaliation. Much as we speak of children who can’t control their impulses, so the world expects nothing good from Palestinians, and are never disappointed.

"Treason Is No Vice" -- But It Is Illegal

The following letter appeared in the Letters to Editor section of the San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 2006. The bold print items are my interjected responses to his remarks. At the bottom is the letter I sent the Chronicle in response to Mr. Cripe’s letter. I am hopeful, as always, but it will probably meet the fate of all but two letters I have sent the Chronicle these past many years.

(UPDATE: My letter ran in the July 1, 2006 San Francisco Chronicle! Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen! (My joy and unforeseen rapture are tempered by the realization that many years will pass and many more electrons will be wasted before my next letter will be published. Each happiness attained contains its seed of sadness.)

My blog is worthwhile to me, even if for no other reason than my letters will not suffer death eternal in the electronic trash can of an assistant to the assistant Letters editor. At least one other person somewhere out there in the blogosphere will see what I considered so important that I invested time and emotional energy to register. Agree, disagree, couldn’t care less, at least in some small way a line was drawn, a flag was raised, a disunity of opinion was recorded.

Here begins the letter:

'Treason against tyranny is no vice'

Editor -- House homeland security committee Chairman Peter King called the New York Times' reports on two secret surveillance programs "treason." It is revealing that the cause of this treason are the views of his political opponents. Terrorism is a legitimate threat, but it is not the only threat.

No, the cause of this treason is the unlawful compromise of classified information by its disclosure and dissemination. A view is an opinion, a law is a law. Terrorism may not be the only threat, but aiding terrorism in wartime is treason.

When a closed government acts in a secret and unrestrained manner against its citizenry, whatever its professed goals, it creates the appearance of tyranny, and is of great public interest to scrutinize. This scrutiny can only be called treasonous if tyranny has indeed returned to our shores.

Our government is not closed. Congressional leaders of both parties were informed of both programs and apprised of their progress, including their purpose, scope, and safeguards. Its unlawful disclosure is called treasonous because it aids the terrorists, and does nothing to safeguard any rights of our citizenry.

As an acid test of this last point, even the New York Times has not shown even one instance where rights were violated.

The National Security Agency program was only against citizenry who had contacts with known or suspected terrorists, and the SWIFT program did not involve any identifiable American citizens at all.

The administration was doing what the 9/11 Commission said should be done. Today’s critics are the same ones who castigated the administration for not doing more of this sort of thing to prevent 9/11.

I would remind Rep. King and his supporters that long before this war on terrorism, the American and French founders initiated the much bigger war against tyranny. This war was not ended with the defeat of the monarch. Our founders warned constantly of the enduring and seductive power of tyranny, particularly tyranny in the pursuit of a noble goal.

Tyranny is too fine a word to be so grossly abused. A tyrant is one who has no legal power to rule. President Bush is an elected leader of the United States. His administration gained the cooperation of an international banking consortium through legal means. I doubt even the Left thinks he can extend his “tyranny” to the control of SWIFT.

The details of a legal surveillance program were disclosed in violation of our laws. The consequences of the disclosure are a reduction in the effectiveness of finding and tracking terrorist activities, and the consequences of reduced effectiveness are more deaths caused by terrorists.

Tyranny is seductive because it is always the shortest path to that goal. But support of tyranny, even to achieve noble results, is anti-American. According to our founders, treason against tyranny is no vice. We must not cut and run in the war against tyranny.

Is it tyranny for an elected official to use legal means to prevent murder by terrorists?

ERIC CRIPE, Pacifica

My letter to the editor, as yet and probably for all time unpublished:

Eric Cripe, Pacifica, (Chronicle Letters June 28, 2006) paraphrased Barry Goldwater, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue,” to arrive at the statement that: “According to our founders, treason against tyranny is no vice.” Such sophistry should not pass without comment. The treason our founders committed was against the tyranny of England; they would not have justified treasonous acts against democratically elected leaders.

Since Mr. Cripe objects to the tyranny of the majority, he may commit acts of treason but in the understanding that he is breaking the law. For that he should expect punishment as a rightful consequence. If our laws are bad, we have a democratic process for changing them. Any other process is anarchy, or vigilantism. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

Monday, June 26, 2006

By Their Own Words They Are Condemned

The website investigated emails making the rounds that claimed Democrats said the same things about Saddam and WMD both before and during the Bush presidency.

Bush Lied? Quotes from Democrats About the Threat of Iraq-Truth!

Summaries of the eRumorAccusations that President Bush lied to the American people about whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are counterbalanced by quotes from prominent Democrats about Saddam Hussein and weapons in Iraq. Most of these statements were during the debate over whether to use force against Iraq.

The Truth There are several quotes. Most of them come during a time in the Clinton administration when decisions were being made about action against Saddam Hussein and amid concerns about weapons of mass destruction. We'll take them one at a time.

"One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line." President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998-Truth!
This was a quote from President Clinton during a presentation at the Pentagon defending a decision to conduct military strikes against Iraq.

"If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program." President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998-Truth!
Bill Clinton went to the Pentagon on this occasion to be briefed by top military officials about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. His remarks followed that briefing.

"Iraq is a long way from USA but, what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face." Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998-Truth!
This is a quote from Albright during an appearance at Ohio State University by Albright, who was Secretary of State for Bill Clinton.

"He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983." Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998-Truth!
This was at the same Ohio State University appearance as Madeline Albright.

"We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S.Constitution and Laws, to take necessary actions, (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destructionprograms." Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998-Truth!
According to the U.S. Senate website, the text of this letter was signed by several Senators, both Democrat and Republican, including Senator John McCain and Joseph Lieberman.

"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998-Truth!
The text of this statement by Nancy Pelosi is posted on her congressional website.

"Hussein has .. chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies." Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999-Truth!
This was from an appearance Albright made in Chicago. She was addressing the embargo of Iraq that was in effect at the time and criticism that it may have prevented needed medical supplies from getting into the country. Albright said, "There has never been an embargo against food and medicine. It's just that Hussein has just not chosen to spend his money on that. Instead, he has chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction, and palaces for his cronies."

"There is no doubt that ... Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies." Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, December 5, 2001 Truth!
The only letter with this quote from December 5, 2001 that we could find did not include the participation of Senator Bob Graham, but it was signed by nine other senators including Democrat Joe Lieberman. It urged President Bush to take quicker action against Iraq.

"We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them." Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002-Truth!
These were remarks from Senator Levin to a Senate committee on that date.

"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002-Truth!
This and the quote below was part of prepared remarks for a speech in San Francisco to The Commonwealth Club.

"Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002-Truth!

"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002-Truth!
Part of a speech he gave at Johns Hopkins.

"The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..." Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002-Truth!
On the floor of the Senate during debate over the resolution that would authorize using force against Iraq. He was urging caution about going to war and commented that even though there was confidence about the weapons in Iraq, there had not been the need to take military action for a number of years and he asked why there would be the need at that point.

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary-- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002-Truth!
Senator Kerry's comments were made to the Senate as part of the same debate over the resolution to use force against Saddam Hussein.

"There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years ... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction." Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002-Truth!
Senator Rockefeller's statements were a part of the debate over using force against Saddam Hussein.

"He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do" Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002-Truth!
Representative Waxman's contribution to the Senate debate over going to war.

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002-Truth!
Senator Clinton acknowledged the threat of Saddam Hussein but said she did not feel that using force at that time was a good option.

"Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation ... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ..." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan.23.2003-Truth!
In a speech to Georgetown University.

These were last updated 4/16/04 by Truth or, over a year and a half ago. The information has been common knowledge, readily available, in some cases for over seven years Still the Democrats keep up the "Bush lied!" chant, and all their friends in main stream media places help them perpetuate the fraud.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Oikophobia - The Left's Affliction

Finally there is a name for the condition that guides the “Blame America First” crowd -- “oikophobia”, the mirror image of xenophobia. Oikophobia is the aversion to home; the repudiation of the national idea; denigration of the concept of loyalty to customs and traditions for which we are prepared to die to preserve.

Lemuel Calhoon at Hillbilly White Trash has linked to a remarkable speech by Roger Scruton, who pointed out how the Left bludgeons advocates of national pride and patriotism by labeling it xenophobia and racism.

We see it every day. The Left said George Bush was wrong, Jacque Chirac was right, concerning Iraq. George Bush acted out of concern for world safety from terrorism, Chirac by concern for the “Food for Oil” bribes and lucrative contracts France was gifted from Saddam. That America, not North Korea, Iran, or Iraq when Saddam ruled, is the greatest threat to world peace. Most Muslims and Leftists are sure that George Bush caused 9/11. Either George Bush had the Twin Towers destroyed (the “documentary “Loose Change” – interestingly, this movie and the Muslims say President Bush did it, even though Bin Laden claims responsibility), or his actions left Muslims no choice but to attack on 9/11 (even though all the planning and most of the preparation was done while Bill Clinton was President).

The speech raises questions such as, why do intellectuals and others despise the ideals which have brought freedom and prosperity to so many? Indeed, after you have read this article, in truth you will find that there are more questions than answers.

"There's Nothing To Do"

Boring. Young people standing on Main Street, Point Arena, Northern California, complaining “there’s nothing to do.” Over 200 TV channels, “there’s nothing on TV.” Summertime, and the athletic fields and school yards are empty. Pacific Ocean, miles of sandy beaches, swimming holes on the rivers – only tourists are using them. Great surfing, good fishing, boating, kayaking, snorkeling – “We really don’t have anything to do. What a boring place.”

Flashback fifty years. I ran along the streets of Point Arena (both of them), hurrying to the next adventure. Long summer days weren’t long enough. We kept playing as it got dark. When it got too dark for one game, we’d switch to another. We didn’t have organized youth sports, so we organized our own pick-up baseball, basketball, and football games, and played something every spare moment. That is, when we weren’t fishing in the ocean, rivers, and creeks, swimming in the river, getting together on the beaches, picnicking on the river – we caught crawfish with our hands and boiled them for lunch on the spot – and going to sock hops and square dances.

When the weather was right we received up to three TV channels, and the next day we would retell Groucho’s best lines, even though everyone had already heard them. As entertaining as TV was, watching it for an hour after dinner with the family seemed about right. Now the average person watches TV 4.5 hours a day, and the TV is on over eight hours a day. The passive act of being entertained by TV, instead of creating your own entertainment, is probably the main reason young people stand on street corners complaining of nothing to do.

While they're standing on the corner griping, if they would just pick up a book and start reading it, boredom would disappear.

Boredom. It’s a state of mind.

Bring On Global Warming!

This was the featured letter to the editor in today’s San Francisco Chronicle: “In denial of global warming

Editor -- The global-warming debate routinely ignores one simple truth: We cannot wait to react until a catastrophe is probable. We have to do something once we know it is possible. (Emphasis added by me, of course) In other areas of our lives, we seem to have no problem with this concept. We buy insurance. Premiums are an expense that serves no purpose as long as nothing happens. Except that it protects in case of an improbable, but possible, future loss or catastrophe.

(Strong Ox note: I must interject that the above paragraph is really dumb. We buy insurance because we recognize that events like auto accidents are certain to occur in a population of auto drivers, of which we are a part. The occurrence of auto accidents is certain, and our involvement in one or more of them is possible. Insurance rates are set based on the probability a driver will be in an accident. The higher the probability, the higher the rate. Insurance spreads the cost of the accidents among many, and we pay insurance premiums because we are certain we cannot and do not wish to pay the entire cost of the accident our self if we become the statistic.

Life insurance follows a similar pattern of certainties and probabilities. We know we are going to die, the question is when. Rates are set by actuarial tables which reflect the certainty of death and the probability of when it will occur.

Global Warming is not certain to occur, and if it does, its timing and consequences are unknown. If you want to put this to an acid test, buy a Global Warming insurance policy.

Thus endeth the Strong Ox interjection.)

Why do some people block out this obvious fact when it comes to global warming? I suspect it has less to do with intelligence than with denial: If it does not happen in their lifetime, it does not concern them enough to change their lives. Let our children deal with it. So much for intelligent design.


What a concept! Act when something is possible, don’t wait until it is probable. Following that guideline, we could get a lot done. Forinstance, it is possible that Iran will give a nuclear weapon to terrorists. If that happens, it is probable the terrorists will use it on us. I think I just heard a call for a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear capabilities.

Actually, it’s funny to see a call to action based on the “possible,” because the Left does not feel any urgency to act even when disaster is certain. Case in point, Social Security will be bankrupt in roughly twelve years. In 2018, give or take a year or two, Social Security payments will exceed receipts. Social Security has a so-called Trust Fund, which is full of special Treasury Bonds. When those special Treasury Bonds are sold to make up the shortage in Social Security payments, the federal government will have several choices, all painful.

(1) Cut and/or delay Social Security benefits – and get voted out of office. Can we agree that this option is dead on arrival?

(2) Increase Social Security taxes on current wage earners. That will delay the inevitable Social Security bankruptcy a few years, then what? Cut and/or delay benefits? Won’t work, see (1) above. Raise taxes some more? If we did that, the higher Social Security taxes would have produced stagnation in the economy and employment. The next tax increases would push the economy into recession, wages would fall, and Social Security contributions would be reduced when increased contributions were needed more than ever.

(3) Cut government spending to make up the deficit produced when Social Security sold the special Treasury bonds. Recession here we come!

You do understand why the rest of government spending has to be cut when Social Security has to sell the special Treasury bonds, don’t you? I didn’t think you did, so I'll explain. I’ll type very slowly. When Social Security was taking in more than it was paying out, President Johnson and the Democrats noticed that all that surplus Social Security money could be exchanged for the special Treasury bonds, and then spent to cover the rapidly increasing Great Society costs in the General fund. For many years now the federal government has been able to spend more lavishly because the Social Security surplus was diverted to cover non-Social Security expenditures. So you see, when there no longer is a Social Security surplus, other taxes will have to be increased to maintain government spending levels or those spending levels will have to be reduced. Drastically.

But wait, there’s more. As the Social Security deficit grows, other taxes will have to be raised to make up the growing deficit. Just as the General fund prospered with the Social Security surplus, so it will suffer increasingly with the Social Security deficit.

To recap, it is not just possible Social Security is going bankrupt, it is not just probable that Social Security is going bankrupt, it is certain that Social Security is going bankrupt. Following the dictum of Mr. Hanns J. Kristen of San Anselmo, we should have done something at “possible,” but we didn’t. We didn’t do anything at “probable” either. And the way the Democrats are blocking Social Security reform, we’re evidently not doing anything at “certain” either.

“Possible, probable, certain.” What comes next? Reality? Not until Democrats have forty or fewer Senators and can’t filibuster reform anymore.

According to Mr. Kristen, we don’t do anything if we’re not going to be affected. We just pass the problem on to our children. Mr. Kristen, we are going to be affected by Social Security’s bankruptcy, and our children even more. We know it. They know it. Republicans know it. Democrats are in denial.

When Social Security goes bankrupt, a good dose of Global Warming may be all that can keep us from freezing our poor miserable butts off.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

NY Times and LA Times Aid Terrorists

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The New York Times and Los Angeles Times were among the many liberal “news” outlets that took two courses of action when non-covert CIA agent Valerie Plame was “outed.” Their first step was to ally with over thirty other main stream media (MSM) organizations to present a “friend of the court” filing that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent.

Having done that, the same MSM campaigned relentlessly to have Republican heads roll for outing Valerie Plame, even though they had already agreed that no crime had been committed.

Now these same MSM have outed classified government anti-terrorist programs. Concerning the examination of international telephone calls involving contacts with suspected terrorists, and the examination of international money transfers, the MSM clearly have compromised national security by disclosing the legal methods used to monitor and investigate the communications and financial transactions of terrorists.

In the case of Valerie Plame, no adverse effects on security resulting from the disclosure of the name of a former covert agent who had worked openly in an office in CIA headquarters at Langley for over five years could be demonstrated. The MSM said as much in their “friend of the court” brief just before they launched their full-scale attack to try to bring down Karl Rove. Their pain when it was announced that Rove would not be indicted was heart warming. I guess Fitzgerald finally got around to reading the MSM’s “friend of the court” filing.

If nothing else, I guess this does prove that you really “can’t have your cake and eat it too,” even when you’re the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Now these formerly respected newspapers, not content with blowing away their shareholders’ investments, have deliberately disclosed classified information during wartime that will – not possibly, but that will – give aid to terrorists that will cause the loss of American lives and will reduce the effectiveness of anti-terrorists programs.

For that, I’m sure they expect Pulitzer Prizes. Knowing the MSM, I’m sure they will get them.

What I am most fearful of is that no legal action will be taken against them, meaning that the MSM will have anointed themselves as the ultimate security classification authority of this nation.

Of course, when American lives are lost because the MSM compromised anti-terrorist programs, the MSM will lay such failure on President Bush, and shamelessly deny their own blame.


Cancel New York Times and Los Angeles Times subscriptions.
Read them online so you can criticize them truthfully without them making a cent off you:
New York Times online
Los Angeles Times online
Go to Atlas Shrugs for scathing criticism of the New York Times
Go to Patterico's Pontifications for analyses of Los Angeles Times biased reporting
Go to Michelle Malkin for creative reactions to the Times' outrages

Friday, June 23, 2006

Left Takes Pride In Losing Wars By The Rules

What sense is there to fight by the rules when your opponent doesn’t? To fight an opponent in accordance with the Geneva Convention when your opponent does not? Do we have a feeling of smug satisfaction that we lost a fight fair and square because our opponents fought dirty and cheated? Will that earn us their respect, so they will cut off our heads with a sharp knife instead of sawing away with a dull one?

The Left says that if we fight the same way as the Islamofascists (the Left of course does not call them Islamofascists), that we are as bad as them. In other words, we must follow rules that cause us to sacrifice our people to prove that we are better than them. This is the height of stupidity masquerading as moral superiority. The Muslim unlawful combatants torture then kill our soldiers, and yet when we capture them we are supposed to treat them better than we treat our citizen convicts?

None of this makes any sense, and Deluded America, by Diana West in the June 23, 2006 Washington Times, is must reading on the absurdity of our highly constrained approach to fighting Muslims who unleash uncivilized attacks on civilized nations.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bill Clinton and the Democrats were right!

Bill Clinton and the Democrats were right after all. Let’s take a trip in the Way Back Machine to 1998, when Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and a hoard (I had better check the spelling) – better, big bunch -- of Democrats found that Saddam had all sorts of Weapons of Mass Destruction and was, in fact, a menace to the United States and the rest of the Free World. In fact, Bill Clinton and the Democrats were so sure of the Saddam menace that on December 16, 1998, Bill Clinton attacked Iraq and explained: “Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.”
(I added the emphases, just in case you were having a hard time catching the point I am making.)

In fact, for the dense Democrats who may be reading this - with one eye tied behind their backs so they don’t see all of it – Bill Clinton said: “Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.” That is “Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs”. (Annoying emphases also added by me.)

I know. No need to shout. You get the message. Bill Clinton and the Democrats thought Saddam had WMD. They were right then, and they stayed right until they decided that pinning Saddam with WMD possession was bad Democratic politics.

Of course, Bill Clinton and the Democrats were not alone at the time thinking Saddam had WMD. So too did the governments and intelligence services of France, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom, and many others. Naturally the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and North Koreans kept silent, but they also knew Saddam had WMD because they were selling him the stuff. In fact, as Saddam ripped off the United Nations “Oil for Food” Program, under the watchful eye of the United Nations, he slathered bribes on UN and foreign government officials like frat boys applying sunscreen at a swimsuit models convention.

When George Bush was elected President, most of the Democrat’s leaders still agreed that Saddam had WMD. Their belief lasted through the fall of Baghdad, and was only reversed when the main stream media reported that no WMD was found. While this was being reported and cast in stone, the troops on the ground steadily found WMD. In fact, finally, in a partially released segment of a classified report, since 2003 over 500 chemical weapons were found.

I will translate the above for dense Democrats (please excuse the redundancy). WMD was found in Iraq. I’m sure the Democrats will quibble. “That was old WMD, not new WMD.” But notice like the old TV commercial, “parts is parts”, WMD is WMD.

Democrats will protest: “Only 500 chemical weapons have been found.” Right, that means that chemical weapons have been found. Having chemical weapons is like being pregnant. There are no half measures. Remember, only 15 chemical weapons killed 5,000 Kurds.

The report also indicated that there are probably a lot more chemical weapons to be found in Iraq. More WMD may be found. Recently a tiny portion of the huge backlog of 36,000 boxes of Iraqi government records have been examined and translated, and a pattern of WMD research, production, and concealment is emerging.

If the main stream media put in half the effort inquiring into Saddam – WMD – al Qaeda issues as they do in inquiring about Angelina Jolie’s baby, the burning question of today would not be, “Did Saddam have WMD?” it would be “How much and what types did he have, where did he hide it, and how did he move it to Syria?”
Remember who, what, when, where, why, and how? Journalists used to be expected to ask such questions. Perhaps they will yet concerning WMD in Iraq, but at the moment it seems journalists are running from the story like it was a carrier of bird flu.

Once upon a time the Democrats knew Saddam had WMD. Then they knew he didn’t. Like Bill and Hillary Clinton, who both set records for saying “I don’t remember” in their testimonies in various judicial inquiries, Democrats all suffer from severe, selective short-term memory loss. They all appear to have “early Alzheimer’s”, as evidenced by their latest position paper for the 2006 Congressional elections. In it, they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re clueless about why they should be elected, and particularly why anyone would elect them to any position that has anything to do with national security.

The Democrat’s next advertising campaign:

We said Bush lied
But it came to pass
WMD was found
Now our ass is grass

Burma Shave

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

John Murtha, Democrats Best Military Mind

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Congressman John Murtha had a long and distinguished Marine Corps Reserve career, retiring in 1990 as a Colonel. Recently many conservative bloggers, for example Michelle Malkin, have ridiculed him for demanding that the United States pull its military out of Iraq and station elements nearby for use when needed in Iraq, and further suggested Okinawa as a suitable base. Many of Murtha’s conservative critics made significant errors in their criticism of Murtha’s Okinawa suggstion. It’s not that they were wrong saying that Murtha’s Okinawa idea was stupid. It’s just that they didn’t realize just how monumentally stupid it was.

A little background on Okinawa. The Air Force has Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, and the government of Okinawa would like us to remove it, and our other bases there, not enlarge it. It is puzzling that the Democrat's top military mind didn't know that.

To continue, Michelle Malkin noted that Iraq is over 4,000 nautical miles from Okinawa, and that it would take F-16’s flying at 1500 knots four hours to fly to Iraq. She also noted that the unrefueled range of the F-16 (carrying ordnance) is 750 miles, so they would have to be refueled several times enroute by KC-135’s, and since the direct line from Okinawa to Iraq passes over China and Iran, Michelle wondered how those countries would react to American fighter and refueling aircraft in their airspace.

There are many errors in Michelle’s analysis, and each error actually makes Murtha’s suggestion a lot dumber. The first major error is the route the F-16’s would fly from Okinawa to Iraq. There can be no overflying of China, India, or Iran. The F-16’s would have to fly south over the Pacific Ocean and thread their way into the Indian Ocean without upsetting Viet Nam, Indonesia, or Malaysia, then across the Indian Ocean and up or along the Persian Gulf to Iraq. Without upsetting Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc. So the 4,000 nautical miles is now more like 6,000. And the flying speed is not 1500 knots, because the F-16’s wouldn’t be flying “clean” – they would have 500 pound bombs, external auxiliary fuel tanks, plus other armaments which would increase both their flying weight and aerodynamic drag – making the cruising speed about 600 knots instead of 1500. Michelle got the unrefueled range carrying armaments about right at 750 miles, so during the ten hour flight to the target the F-16’s will need to refuel eight times or more. The refuelers would probably be KC-10’s flying out of Diego Garcia in the heart of the Indian Ocean.

So now we have a flight of F-16’s over target, ten hours or more after their need was established. I hope they weren’t needed in a hurry. And that the bad guys waited around.

The pilots get the job done and…and now they get to fly home. Hopefully, before they do, they will be able to land somewhere and take care of basic physiological needs, like taking a healthy “John Murtha.”

Monday, June 19, 2006

Israeli Anti-Terrorist Fence Increases Livelihoods

The anti-terrorist fence Israel is building will also limit livelihoods, so says a San Francisco Chronicle article. It’s strange that the article didn’t also note that the fence will increase livelihoods overall. The first and most significant way it will increase livelihoods is by saving the lives of a large number of Israelis. Each Israeli on average creates more wealth than over twenty Palestinians (Israeli per person GDP = over $20,000, Palestinian per person GDP is under $1,000 and falling steadily since the Palestinians started the Intifada). Once the anti-terrorist fence is in place, Israel can substantially reduce military expenditures while increasing investment in new businesses and business expansion.

Second, the fence will revitalize tourism, and that will substantially increase the Israeli economy. Israel already has some of the most compelling tourist attractions in the world, and the vastly improved security provided by the fence will pay back huge dividends on its costs. Looking at the fence rationally and logically, the only question about it is why Israel took so long to decide to build it.

Conversely, the Palestinians will lose many, perhaps most, of their good paying jobs in Israel at the same time their businesses are collapsing in the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestinian economy, which formerly received over $400 per person per year in foreign aid, will have that income cut to almost nothing because Hamas will not renounce the destruction of Israel.

However, if current trends continue, the loss of Palestinian incomes, admittedly an extreme loss in terms of their income before the Intifada, will be more than offset by the increase to Israeli incomes, and the incalculable value of the sharp reduction in violent Israeli and Palestinian deaths. The last point is probably cold comfort to the Palestinians, whose religion and teachings glorify seeking violent deaths, but over time even they may learn to renounce the futility and waste of “martyrdom.”

Therefore, the Israeli anti-terrorism fence, instead of limiting livelihoods, will actually result in a substantial overall increase in livelihoods when measured for the region as a whole.

Legal Immigration Problems

When trying to understand the illegal immigration problem, it probably helps to a certain degree to understand the legal immigration problem. The same feckless governments that find it is impossible to stop, reduce, or control in even the mildest form the illegal immigration problem, have designed a system for legal immigration that is complicated, convoluted, counter-productive, and crazy. And crass, cruddy, creepy; in other words, the sort of system that defies rational analysis.

Let’s look at it a moment. Those who apply to enter the United States legally face many years of expenses and frustration. They probably would be better off if they just came here on a tourist or student visa and got lost, or flew to Mexico or Canada and walked in. The first option worked for the 9/11 hijackers.

Instead, the legal applicants face fees. Then more fees. Then lost paperwork. And more fees. And more lost paperwork. And misunderstandings by the processors of their application which results in – you guessed it – more fees, more paperwork, more lost paperwork, and more misunderstandings.

Please read this San Francisco Chronicle article for all the fumbling, frustrating situations that legal immigration applicants face. After you read the examples, think of two things.

First, you want to reward the illegal immigrants for breaking the law, and at the same time make it even more difficult for the highly educated, highly skilled legal applicants to immigrate.

Second, you want the same government that designed the legal immigration system to take control of health care and continue to run Social Security.

That’s scary.

Choose Your Judge By Color

According to the San Francisco Chronicle Open Forum section, “It’s Time to Address Lawyer’s Lack of Diversity.” Charts and statistics were presented showing that most lawyers and judges in California are white, while just over half the California population is not. Apparently liberals think that justice should not be color blind. They must think a black man should have black lawyers, a black judge, and a black jury. That a Latino should have a Latino lawyer, Latino judge, Latino jury; that an Asian should have…you get the picture.

But wait. We have Philippinas, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Nepalese, and diverse others – shouldn’t each have their own diverse judiciary? Then there are Mexican, Guatemalan, El Salvadorian, Nicaraguan, Panamanian – and we still haven’t gotten to South America.

How do you draw the line on how much diversity is needed? No matter where you put it, someone is going to have hurt feelings. Unless you don’t put it anywhere, and just let natural legal forces map an ethical course. I would rather have an ethical judge than one who favored me because of my all-American Caucasian features, which tend towards the appearance of an Englishman. What if I got an Irish judge when I was being sued by Patrick Murphy?

Since this is the San Francisco Bay Area, the article also notes an emerging problem with the status of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender attorneys. What that problem would be I haven’t a clue, and I don’t want to know. Do they learn different law? Do these diverse attorneys and judges find litigants more or less worthy because of their ethnic or sexual status? If any do, including first, last, and always the white ones now a majority at the California bar, they should be forthwith disbarred. Ethics (and competence) over diversity any day.

But according to the authors of this cry for lawyer diversity, “We must adapt or become irrelevant to our clients and the community at large.”

How to adapt? “The first step to any meaningful change is serious self-examination. With this goal, the Santa Clara County Bar Association has appointed a blue-ribbon commission to address diversity issues in the legal profession in the Silicon Valley. Our society is changing and innovating, and the legal profession must begin to move to meet the demographic, business and professional demands of the future.”

Translation. They don’t have a clue.

However, I’ll bet that at some point they will put out a demand for lower standards for minorities in law schools and the professions. They will say, without blushing, and without saying “affirmative action,” that what the legal profession needs is less educated, less capable lawyers, who should be selected, compensated, and promoted at a higher rate than their white colleagues. The legal profession will fall all over themselves loving the idea, and trust that the Supreme Court, basic economics, and common sense will save them from themselves.

Meanwhile, the most capable of the minorities, for example the Chinese and other Asian ethnic groups that place a high value on education, will continue to ignore the legal profession and go into science, medicine, electronics, engineering, and other high-paying, hard-subject matter professions. And pray when they have to go to court that their judge didn’t get put on the bench through an affirmative action program, and resents that all the top students he competed against before law school were Asians.

In all the concern for ethnic, sexual, and gender diversity, there is one glaring omission. There is never a call for political diversity, even though almost all educators and journalists are liberals, and most of them are Democrats. Further, almost all defense attorneys, regardless of ethnicity, pledge their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor to the Democratic party, lest the specter of tort reform raise its fearful head above the land.

Wow, a defense attorney contributing to a Republican, that would be a real diversity breakthrough!

Newt Gingrich For President (Maybe)

Newt Gingrich is clearly running for President in 2008, and I am sorely conflicted. Alice and I were among the most fervent supporters of him and his powerful creation, “The Contract With America,” which swept Republicans to congressional power in 1994 for the first time in our adult lives.

We attended a Republican fundraiser in Walnut Creek featuring Newt in 1996, and Alice and I charged in amongst a crowd of protesters – paid union sign carriers, Berkeley “activists” (also paid), and other Democrat special interest groups – and we were so effective, just the two of us, that all the major newspapers the next day featured pictures of us, and none of the protesters. Can you imagine how bad that made the protesters feel? The Left owns protests. When you don’t have anything better to do with your time, like go to work, you can always join a protest. Yet there they were in Walnut Creek, spending their time carrying signs, yelling, looking for cameras to get in front of, and two Republicans in business suits get the front page pictures!

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One Democrat couldn’t contain himself. The following morning, Alice answered our phone. “I saw your picture in the Oakland Tribune this morning. You’re awful people! (Sound of phone being slammed down).” That was the first hint we had that we had become part of the previous day’s Newt Gingrich news coverage. Soon we got several calls from friends, who saw our pictures in the Oakland Tribune, Tri-Valley Herald, and the Contra Costa Times.

Not long after this I started having doubts about Newt. First there were his messy personal problems. The same journalists that gave passes on personal issues to Bill Clinton, Teddy Kennedy, and other prominent Democrats could be trusted to be all over any personal problem of a Republican leader. Have you noticed how a (former) Klu Klux Klan member like Robert Byrd can be the worshiped leader of the Democrats, can be the longest serving Senator ever, and yet an innocuous flattering remark to a retiring colleague can cost a Republican his leadership position. Isn’t that right, Senator Lott?

And then Newt started to exhibit an uncanny ability to lead Republicans in rounds of self-inflicted shots in the foot and other more sensitive body parts, of “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.” He started to exhibit arrogance in the conduct of congressional activities that I thought was reserved for Democrats only. He single handedly resurrected Bill Clinton’s pathetic presidency. Bill Clinton went from pleading publicly that his presidency was still relevant, when it wasn’t, to appearing as the champion that saved beleaguered citizens from Republican indifference. When he said, “I feel your pain,” he was probably laughing inwardly at the pain Republicans were inflicting on themselves. Bill Clinton still presided over a “do-nothing” presidency, but was able to step between the warring parties (Dick Morris’ “triangulation”) and claim Republican victories like Welfare Reform as his own.

So Newt is running for President in 2008, and I don’t know what to make of it. The guy is smart, sometimes brilliant, articulate in a way few modern-day politicians are, and able to look for answers “outside of the box.” I agree with too much of too many of his positions to dismiss him out-of-hand, like the American electorate will. Therefore I welcome his Quixotic presidential quest, because I hope his good ideas will be stolen by one or more of his rivals, propel them to victory, and end up reshaping the focus and nature of our political debate for the many decades to come. Even if he never gets the job, I think Newt is one of the few, maybe the only, American leader who can take us away from special interest politics and give us a coherent vision of a rational system of national governance.

I have taken the liberty of copying his latest newsletter and including it below. Read it, weep for what might have been, hope for what might become.

Winning the Future, by Newt Gingrich
A Twenty-First Century Contract With America
June 19, 2006
Volume 1, No. 9

The First War of Globalization

Watching Congress debate the Iraq War last week reminded me of how many politicians in Washington still don't get it. Some completely miss the lessons of history that teach us how important victory in Iraq is for the United States. Fortunately, the House passed a resolution to "complete the mission" in Iraq and rejected a date certain for withdrawal of our troops. But before House Republicans prevailed on this resolution, we had to sit through a debate in which some members -- amazingly -- suggested that the death of the terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by U.S. air strikes means it is a good time to withdraw our troops, completely ignoring the fact that coalition troops, along with the Iraqis, have conducted nearly 500 more raids since killing Zarqawi.

It is difficult for me to convey to you how wrong I believe this cut-and-run attitude is.

The killing of Zarqawi, as I discussed last week, was a substantial win -- a win that should be built upon with greater resolve to finish the job in Iraq. It should not be used as a justification to withdraw before the job is done.

The ‘Grey World’ of Terrorism

More importantly, our efforts in Iraq have to be understood in a much bigger -- a global -- context. We are engaged in a global, long war with the irreconcilable wing of Islam. In many ways, this is the first war of globalization. Just as globalization lets us send messages all over the world instantaneously via e-mail, use our phones to call people all over the world, transfer cash in and out of stock markets all over the world and travel easily and globally, it also has a downside.

Former CIA Director George Tenet describes this downside of globalization as the "Grey World." It's the world of terrorists who can organize much more effectively and globally, trafficking in human beings for the sex trade and trafficking in drugs, international crime, illegal arms deals and illegal international transportation that is made possible by technological advances. This Grey World is the dark side of the stunning increases in standards of living, communications and transportation that have marked the modern world.

That's why Zarqawi in Baghdad has a relationship with terrorists arrested recently in Britain and Canada. That's why Zarqawi in Baghdad relates directly to what happened in Mogadishu, Somalia, where a group of Islamic extremists took control, creating the potential that Somalia could become a new Afghanistan-like center of opposition to the civilized world. And that's why Zarqawi in Baghdad relates to the developments in Aceh in Sumatra, where a local group made a deal with the central government allowing them to impose sharia, the extremist, medieval Islamic law, on all citizens, including non-Muslims. By acquiescing to the imposition of Islamic law, a new center of militant behavior is being created right in the middle of Indonesia.

President Bush Should Call a Long War Council

Each of these developments is tied together by the fact that in this globalized long war, terrorists reinforce each other's worldview on websites, they study each other, they communicate with each other by e-mail and mobile phones, and they very often travel to many different countries. That's why we have to recognize that while it was right for President Bush to convene a war council on Iraq last week, my hope is that he will convene a council to plan for the long war. And in the months and years ahead, we need to have an open, honest dialogue around the world with those who are willing to defend our civilization. We need to discuss how we're going to make sure that the forces of democracy, the forces of the rule of law and the forces of freedom defeat the forces of terror and tyranny who seek to threaten us in every country in the world. Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. - The rush to judgment over allegations of military misconduct in Iraq got me thinking about its effect on our fighting men and women. So I asked a former Marine who served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom how all this talk is effecting morale. His remarkable answer follows:

It should be noted that the Marines on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan are the true embodiment of what America and Democracy are about. They are the 19-year-old young men and women that are making a sacrifice. They are not enjoying rush week at a university or going to the beach for the summer, but rather offering their lives in the defense of each other, their families and their homes. These 19-year-olds are the true tip of America's spear and bear more responsibility each day than most Americans do in lifetimes.

It seems that in this day and age there is more support and misdirected justice for prison inmates than these dedicated young Marines. For any American -- most especially the media -- to condemn or judge them is absurd. They will be investigated and judged by fellow warriors who understand the circumstances and the enemy involved. Rest assured, no one holds their people more accountable than the military, most especially the Marine Corps. "Keep our Honor Clean" isn't just a catch phrase.

Ask Newt

Question: How about this idea for "guest workers." Do you think it would work?

Any "guest-worker" immigration legislation must stipulate that a percentage of their income (10-25%) is escrowed by their employer into a U.S. bank money-market account in the state where the employment occurs. They get the escrowed money when they return to their home country on time and have not violated any U.S. laws. Funds not qualifying, because of violations, are to be given to the state where the money was earned to defray immigration costs.

Richard H.
Summerfield, Fla.

Newt’s Answer: Thanks for the question, Richard.

I think this idea, and similar ideas like it that have been discussed, could be a very effective part of a work-visa program. Before I get to why I think so, I would like to make the point that in addition to holding some portion of each paycheck in an escrow account, I would like to see all payments to work-visa holders made by electronic direct deposit for the same reason that it adds another tool for enforcing compliance. With electronic payments we would have a way to easily know where in the country the worker is employed and who is paying, and if there is a change in the worker's legal status, the account could be frozen instantly.

Now to your question and the two reasons why I like the escrow idea.

First, it creates an incentive for work-visa holders to return home before their visa expires. Not complying with the law or returning home after the work-visa expiration date would put their escrow money in jeopardy.

Second, it could help to level the root inequality in opportunity and the pervasive poverty that is driving the wave of foreigners, particularly from countries to our South, to the United States in the first place. Upon their return home from working in the United States, the workers would be able to use the money they have saved in their escrow accounts to start a new small business, perhaps even with another or several other former work-visa holders. Escrow accounts would not only give workers the incentive to go home in order to withdraw the money, it would create the motivation to dream about the day when they can open their own business back home, be their own boss and create and accumulate wealth for their families, and -- because small businesses create jobs -- for other families in their communities as well.

Helping hardworking people to start small businesses in their home countries will do far more to improve the long-term health of the economies of Mexico and other Central and South American countries than any amount of U.S. foreign aid that may be offered, which is often poorly spent and is almost never used to tackle the root causes of poverty.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Remittances Poison

Remittances are an addiction that poisons Mexico. As in all addiction, there is denial. Mexican politicians point to improvements in roads, schools, and investment in small businesses as positives for remittances, while using such improvements as excuses for not making fundamental changes to solve chronic Mexican problems of property rights and investment. If Mexican politicians couldn’t abuse the United States’ relaxed enforcement of immigration laws as a safety valve for their impoverished citizens, they would have long ago been voted out of office or thrown out by revolution.

In the United States we have politicians who pimp illegal immigration to get votes from legal immigrants. Just as the Mexican politicians look on illegal emigration to the United States as an excuse for doing nothing, so too do politicians in the United States look on illegal immigration as a reason to do nothing. Even if the illegal immigrants don’t get amnesty and eventual citizenship, the politicians that support them will get the votes of the rapidly growing by high birthrate Hispanic population. In Mexico a politician stays in power, in the United States Democratic politicians see a route to regain power.

So who suffers? We all do. The towns and villages of Mexico are stripped of young workers and fathers. Businesses are not started, businesses are not grown, children rarely see their fathers, and their only male role models are old men, the disabled, and the losers left behind. The only economic activity is generated through the consumption of the remittance checks.

In the United States, the illegal immigrants live a life of desperation and poverty. Many young men share room in squalid shacks, with barely enough money left each month after the remittance check is sent to pay for rent, food, and the relief offered by tired prostitutes. Employers take advantage of them, landlords take advantage of them, and their crime rate is several times higher than for the general population.

Their host communities take advantage of the low wages they pay the illegal immigrants, but that depresses the pay of legal low-income workers. The legal low-income workers and the illegal immigrants both place enormous burdens on social welfare systems, and flood hospital emergency rooms.

Roughly half of the money paid to illegal immigrants leaves the community. Instead of being spent in local stores, instead of taxes going towards local needs for schools and police protection, instead of being invested to grow businesses, the remittances go to villages where a substantial portion is spent on consumer goods. Roads don’t get built, schools aren’t improved, and in the final analysis, illegal immigration and resulting remittances create lose-lose situations at both ends of the illegal immigrant chain.

Only the politicians win.

For more on the problems of remittances:
Pati Poblete, on Remittance problems in the Philippines
San Francisco Chronicle readers react to Pati
More from PatiAre Remittances As Bad As Oil? by Victor Davis Hanson (You have to register to read this article - it is well worth the effort)

Conscience Of The Democrats

(Brought forward from the archives. Why? Because I love pointing out that Democrats are idiots to follow leaders like Teddy.)

Tim Russert read the following to Teddy Kennedy: "We know [Iraq is] developing unmanned vehicles, capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents ... all U.S. intelligence experts agree that they are seeking nuclear weapons. There is little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them. ...In the wake of September 11th, who among us can say with any certainty, to anybody, that those weapons might not be used against our troops or against allies in the region? Who can say that this master of miscalculation will not develop a weapon of mass destruction even greater -- a nuclear weapon."

Russert: Are those the statements you're concerned about?

Kennedy: Well, I am concerned about it, and that's why I believe that the actions that were taken by Harry Ried in the Senate last week, when effectively he said that we are going to get to the bottom of this investigation -- this has been kicked along by the Intelligence Committee, by Pat Roberts, for over two years, and Harry Ried did more in two hours than that Intelligence Committee has done in two years. And the American people are going to get this information and it is important that they get this information about how intelligence was misused because of the current situation. It's important to know where we've been but its important to know where we are today because we are facing serious challenges over in Iran, we're facing serious challenges in North Korea, and we cannot have a government that is going to manipulate intelligence information. We've got to get to the bottom of it. And that is what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the United States Senate last week. That was a bold stroke, one that has the overwhelming support of the American people. It is about time that they got the facts on it, they haven't got them to date, they deserve them and they'll get them.

Russert: But Senator, what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the Senate in 2002, let me show you who said what I just read: John Kerry, your candidate for president. He was talking about a nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein. Hillary Clinton voted for the war. John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry. Democrats said the same things about Saddam Hussein. You yourself said quote "Saddam is dangerous, he's got dangerous weapons." It wasn't just the Bush White House.

Kennedy (with a stricken look): The fact is -- and I voted against the war -- because every military leader, highly decorated military leader, said it was foolish to have a military intervention. General Hoar, with the Marines, General Hoar who has more silver stars than you could possibly count, said that if we go into Baghdad, it will look like the last five minutes of Private Ryan. So, we know we had enough information to vote against it, I believe.

(End of transcript)

How could the Democrats say they were misled into voting for war in 2002, when Teddy says they "had enough information to vote against it"?

Like a pregnant guppy, Teddy went for the bait, gulped it all down, and cut the legs totally out from under all the Democrats whining that President Bush cooked the intel books and fooled them into supporting "his" war. I have heard some Republicans say that fat, foolish, cheating, flunking, boozy, philandering Teddy is not as dumb as he looks.

Yes he is.

P.S. Highly decorated General Hoar was obviously quite wrong in his prediction that the occupation of Baghdad would look anything like any part of "Saving Private Ryan." The total Coalition casualties in all of Iraq in over three years of war barely exceed the Allied casualties on June 6, 1944, the single opening day of the Normandy invasion.

Cargo Cults, Reparations, and Casinos

On some South Pacific islands, Melanesian natives had developed “cargo cults” starting over a hundred years ago. The Cargo Cults believed that manufactured western goods ('cargo') were created by ancestral spirits and intended for Melanesian people. White people, however, had unfairly gained control of these objects. Cargo Cult followers believed that if they simulated the activities of the whites they observed ( here and here), the gods would restore what was properly owed the true believers. To that end, Cargo cultists crudely copied white dress, and built aircraft landing strips with control towers, complete with coconut radios and bamboo antennas.

During and after World War II it looked like their prayers and simulations had worked. The US military flooded islands like Espiritu Santu and Efate in Vanuatu (formerly The New Hebrides) with western goods.

“At the war's end all of the military cargo disappeared along with the servicemen and on some of the islands a cargo cult developed to use customary magic to lure back the great cargo-carrying airplanes. Mock military drills were conducted with the men dressed in carefully preserved military uniforms hoping to convince the gods to restore the manna.”

The war ended over half a century ago, yet reports still come in of true believers waiting for their cargo ships to come and make all their wishes come true.

Before we laugh at their simple faith, we should look about us. For at least as long as the Cargo Cultists have believed their Big Kahunas could convince the gods to provide the material equality with whites which they are due, Blacks have been waiting for the Good Ship Reparations to come in, courtesy of Guilt-Stricken Liberals in Washington, DC, to deliver them equality with whites through reparations for slavery. Various reparations advocates have produced a variety of demands – yes, demands – to give them the wages their ancestors never received.

The practical Blacks want money for everyone, probably on the theory that any other system for divvying up the booty would leave them out, or shortchange them. “Man, I’ve been suffering all my life, and you want me to give it up, so a bunch of college kids can live it up?” (This is a made up-quote, meant to get a point across knowing it will probably be considered highly offensive by anyone who does get the point.)

The idealistic Blacks don’t want filthy money – they’re not greedy – they just want free college educations for all Blacks for a very long time. Many young Blacks will probably say about this idea, “What the f--- have you been smoking? Show me the money! I’ve been working hard since I started school to not get the education that Whitey trys to shove down my throat, and now I have to fight against getting an education for four more years?” (Made-up quote, a forgery that tells the truth, like the CBS President Bush, Texas Air National Guard papers.)

White supporters of reparations are equally the most sincere and most idiotic. They want reparations to give Blacks every government program -- job training, housing projects, government subsidies, etc. -- that have already failed miserably every time they have been tried. The liberals are still pursuing making poor people the equivalent of their lab rats to test their Socialist dreams. “Someday, something will work. All our concepts are 'can’t miss,' at least on TV and The Sims™. Too bad we have to deal with people and human nature, and not Sims™. Maybe we can fix that” (This is another made-up quote.)

Not to be outdone, with the help of the Great White Fathers in Washington, DC (again), our Native Americans have come up with the Casino Cult. According to true believers, once the money starts rolling in from the casino, all will be well. First, education will be a priority, and many will go to college that don’t now because …because …well, just because.

Tourists come here now, but not in large numbers, even though we have a rugged coastline that rivals Big Sur, have miles of pristine sandy beaches, fishing in the ocean and rivers, diving for abalone, hiking among the redwoods, deer hunting, camping and canoeing -- did I mention I’m in real estate? -- large numbers of tourists don’t come here because we’re a two-hour drive over narrow, twisting roads, from the nearest big city. To get here, gamblers have to drive by other larger and handier casinos. Not many gamblers are nature lovers; they are gambling lovers, and the sooner at the tables and slots, the better.

When you talk to some Native American leaders here, the casino will take care of all problems. The chronic alcoholism – I guess just about everyone will go into rehab. The unemployment rate of 50% or higher – everyone will have a job at the casino. The long criminal records of the many who returned to the reservation to escape the law and be there when the casino opens – when a lot of the students become lawyers, they can clean those records up. The chronic health problems because of alcoholism and bad life styles – when the rest of the students become doctors, they can take care of those problems too. Compulsive gambling – just won’t be tolerated; every gambler will have to sign a form that they are not going to gamble irresponsibly.

Of course. Casinos reduce crime, compulsive gambling, and prevent unhealthy lifestyles.

The casino that will take care of all problems will be here in -- pick a number, but I’ll bet it will be a lot longer than 10 years.

“And it will make a lot of money because – because we believe in it. It just wouldn’t be fair if it didn’t. Those gamblers are tough. They’ll come.” (You guessed it. Another made-up quote)

Spoken like true believers. Cargos. Reparations. Casinos. The dreams are alive.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Haditha Marines Are Innocent

Editor, Arizona Republic

"Reference your Steve Benson editorial cartoon. Marines are Americans. Americans are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. All American citizens have Constitutional rights, non-citizens don't, and the Left always gets these simple truths backwards. I know they always blame America first, but can't they read? They can't all be public school students."

I sent the above letter to the Arizona Republic Editor. Apparently, over 160 Arizona Republic readers beat me to it, since I only found out about it this morning in Michelle Malkin's blog.

I know that not all the Left is ignorant of our constitutional presumption of ignorance. They claim repeatedly that it applies to terrorists caught in the act of attacking U. S. military forces. If the Left had its way, every unlawful combatant would be entitled to a presumption of innocence, a lawyer and jury trial, and the military would have to bring the combat troops that made the capture into court to testify, or the "accused" would walk. "How do you know the accused wasn't picking flowers? (Or looking for a lost camel? Or thought he heard someone popping popcorn?) How do you know he didn't just stumble over the AK-47, and just picked it up out of curiosity, like he said?"

The very Left-leaning editor of our local newspaper, The Independent Coast Observer, always ends each column of weekly police reports with the admonition that "all individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." So he, and his mostly far-Left readers, also know about presumption of innocence.

Still, I'm not shocked that the Left thinks the presumption of innocence is suspended for conservatives and the military. It's ironic that the Left thinks that the sworn defenders of the Constitution don't deserve a full deck of contitutional rights.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fight To Get Your Virginity Back!

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The latest bumper sticker to catch my eye philosophizes, “Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.” I laughed. I like a little salacious humor, and it’s fun to point out this sort of thing to see the reactions of the young ladies. It’s been a while since any of them blushed.

But remembering Socrates, "A life not analyzed is not worth living!" So too the bumper sticker not analyzed is not worth reading.

So to begin the analysis. The obvious first point that begs comment is that the author is unclear on the concept of virginity. I recall a story told many years ago of a young man’s first trip to Tijuana. He was approached by a young boy who said: “Hey, Meester, you want me seester? She a virgin.” When the young man indicated he didn’t want the sister, the boy persisted, “You want me madre? She a virgin too.”

Obviously, the Mexican boy and the bumper sticker author share the concept that virginity is a renewable resource. My late first wife Marilynn was also a member of the renewable virginity club. For years she told our three sons that she was still a virgin. Then one day, Bruce our oldest, said “Mom, they taught us in Sunday School that there was only one Immaculate Conception, but you had me and Scott and Jeffrey. You’ve been fooling us, right?”

Now the analysis of “fighting for peace.” When you are attacked by someone, if you don’t fight back you don’t get peace. You get involuntary servitude. If you're lucky. The only time after being conquered that you will have peace is at the whim of your conqueror, who may let you live in peace, but never in freedom.

So if you don’t fight back, you may have peace, but even that isn’t guaranteed. All you can be sure of is that you’ll lose your freedom. Of course, if you do fight back, you may still lose, in which case you could be as bad or worse off than by surrendering. However, you may win, or fight to a standstill and gain a truce. At either rate, fighting back is the only chance you have of keeping your freedom, and more to the point, of perhaps in the process eliminating your adversary as a future threat to peace.

As John Lennon said: "You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die." It's funny to be on the same side of an issue as John Lennon.

Relax. I know he didn't mean it that way.

There is one method which, if followed, will maintain peace without ever having to fight. If you demonstrate both the will and the ability to decisively crush any attacker, you will never be attacked by a nation-state. However, you are still open to attack by ideologues, such as Islamofascists, acting independently or supported surreptitiously by states such as Iran and Syria. The only way to regain peace when dealing with fanatics is to retaliate and pursue them relentlessly. To do anything else is just to set the stage for their next attack.

Once you lose your virginity, abstinence won’t get it back. But the only way to keep or regain peace is to be ready and willing to fight and win.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Same Time Next Year

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During the last half of the 1950’s, I went on many Point Arena High School trips to other schools in our northern California area – Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Laytonville, Anderson Valley (Booneville), Leggett Valley, Hopland, Willits, and others – and we often went up Highway 1 past the Heritage House south of Mendocino. For some reason, I started noticing the Heritage House each time we drove by. I noticed the guests there seemed to dress very nicely. Their cars looked expensive. In fact, they looked, and I imagined, talked and acted differently than my family, friends, and the people I knew. This cognition of things I knew nothing about was probably a result of movie watching. Anything and everything I knew about rich people I learned at the movies. I never met any of them, or at least never knew it if I did.

One thing I was sure of, and ignorance can lead a person to be sure of many things, is that they lived and acted differently than we ordinary folk. As our bus passed, and passed, and passed the Heritage House many times over my four-year high school adventure, I tried to imagine myself staying at the Heritage House. My first reaction was fear – what does it cost? And where am I going to get that kind of money? My next reaction was also of fear. How do I act, what do I say, to people who are so different? I bet they would know I’m a phony before I even open my mouth and prove it. But then after the waves of fear passed, I would think – “I bet I would really enjoy it. What an adventure! To find so much new almost right in my back yard. It’s like living next to a foreign country!” My curiosity and sense of adventure would overcome my fear of penury and social awkwardness.

Years later, after Alice and I met and married, I started to be more relaxed around wealthy people, because I slowly came to the realization that Alice and I were actually able to live very comfortably on our combined incomes. We were kind of, sort of, well off ourselves. That still didn’t make me feel “to the manor born,” but I became relaxed about confronting dinner checks for over $100 for just the two of us, and hotel bills for a one-night stay that I used to think would buy a full week.

However, I confessed my latent uneasiness to Alice, and as an example, how I used to feel like the kid at the candy store window when I passed the Heritage House and wondered how the other half lived. Actually, how the other five percent lived.

Alice’s gift for my 57th birthday, July 18, 1999, was a two-night stay at the Heritage House in the room named “Same Time.” It shared a cabin with another room named “Next Year.” In 1978 the cabin had been featured in “Same Time Next Year,” a movie starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.

Of all the wonderful (and expensive) cabins at the Heritage House, “Same Time” and “Next Year” were the closest to the ocean in the most beautiful setting. Alice had heard the longing from my youth, and had arranged for me not only to see how the other half lived, but to experience it in the premier spot on the premises.

Almost as an afterthought, an anticlimax, I realized that I still didn’t feel like I belonged, but I did feel comfortable and did feel a true sense of adventure and enjoyment. And then I also realized that I was probably enjoying the Heritage House more than any other guests, because I was the one feeling the strongest emotions just by being there. The kid who never thought he would be inside the Heritage House was inside and experiencing a special feeling that possibly no other visitor felt; a feeling of happiness, maybe of accomplishment, but still experiencing the strangeness of it. I knew then that I would never feel like I belonged in the Heritage Houses of the world, but I knew Alice and I would be going to many of them and that I would enjoy being a “stranger in a strange land.” I would never be one of the jaded and blasé, never asking: “Is that all there is?”

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I Just Won $1,843,210.00 (£1,000,000.00)!!!!!!!

I just got this. It is part of a new scam (to me, anyway) I sniffed out by Googling : "UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL LOTTERY," where the legitimate lottery explains that there are a number of scams using their good name. This one is easy to spot. As you can see, when you click on the "From" address to check it or forward it, it is "". No real, legitimate agency would be conducting their business on hotmail! Or have typos like “asignned Fudiciray,” and bad grammar. Only the Nigerians get away with that!

(Friend Roz also wonders, if I respond to this, what I will put as my "Marital Statue?" For that, I have posted Alice gazing admiringly at Michelangelo's David, hopefully because it reminds her so much of her man.)

Another reason I was suspicious is that I never buy lottery tickets. They anticipated that, and explained that I was chosen at random, no ticket sales were made.

Right! They just have to give approximately $1,843,210.00 (£1,000,000.00) to someone who never buys one of their tickets. Their warmest desire is to reward me for never giving them my business. On that basis, I can think of a lot of other activities I don't participate in, like purchasing yachts, private airplanes, expensive autos, diamonds and gold bullion, & etc. – the list is very long - where are my nonparticipant rewards from all those businesses? Since there are many builders of luxury yachts, shouldn’t I get several rewards for not participating in each category? It would be presumptuous of one yacht builder to decide that his was the yacht I chose not to buy, and reward me for that, when I am sure I chose not to buy from all of them.

I know it's hard to pass up $1,843,210.00 just there for the asking. I think that is what whoever put this together intended. This is just a straight appeal to greed. You don’t get to participate in international intrigues, like the Nigerian emails. I remember my Mother telling me that I would never get something for nothing, and she hadn't even heard about Nigerians at that time. And, "If something sounds too good to be true, guess what?"

Here is the temptation:----- Original Message ----- From: "Mrs. Rebecca Jenkins" <fuduciary_johnwilliams@hotmail.comTo: <mcombs@pacific.netSent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 1:21 PMSubject: FROM: UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL LOTTERY.
3b Olympic Way, Sefton Business Park, Aintree, Liverpool L30 1RD, UNITED KINGDOM

Dear Lucky Winner, We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws of UNITED KINGDOM NATIONAL LOTTERY International Lottery Programs. The online cyber-lotto draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 21,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet, no tickets were sold. After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address emerged as one of the two winners in the category "A" with the following winning information: REF No: UKNL-L/200-26937 BATCH No: 2005MJL-01 TICKET No: 20511465463-7644 SERIAL No: S/N-00168 LUCKY No: 887-13-865-37-10-83

You as well as the other winner are therefore to receive a cash prize of £1,000,000.00 (One Million Pounds Sterling) each from the total payout. Your prize award has been insured with your e-mail address and will be transferred to you upon meeting our requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report. To begin the claims processing of your prize winnings you are advised to contact our licensed and accredited oversea claims agent for category "A" winners with the information below:

To file for your claim, please contact the processing agent; Overseas Claims Unit United Kingdom Lottery Fiduciary Contact Person: Mr. John Williams Email:

Remember to quote your reference information in all correspondence. You are to keep all lotto information away from the general public especially your reference and ticket numbers. (This is important as a case of double claims will not be entertained). Please note; you are hereby advice to send the asignned Fudiciray Agent details below for Processing of your Claims;
Send reply to the processing agent:- Congratulations once more from our members of staff and thank you for being part of our promotional program. CONGRATULATIONS!!!
Sincerely Yours, Mrs. Rebecca Jenkins (Lottery Co-ordinator) United Kingdom National Lottery
All right reserved 2006®

NOTE: Anybody under the age of 17 and members of the affiliate agencies are automatically not allowed to participate in this program.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

John Kerry Running Again For President

John Kerry, who often exhibited the animation of a French cadaver without its Gallic charm while campaigning for the presidency in 2004, has disinterred himself from the political graveyard and is running again for - the presidency in 2004! – with the help of The New York Times, of course. Only this time around, Kerry is taking on the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, instead of ignoring them and hoping they’ll just go away.

Interestingly, Kerry and the New York Times reporter both look at truth as having the qualities of malleable plastic, capable of being bent and shaped to fit their current “truth.” This is most clearly shown in their treatment of Kerry’s memories of spending Christmas 1968 in Cambodia, a memory that was “seared - seared” in him. According to the Times reporter, the Cambodian incursion is now reflected in Kerry’s logbook as occurring on 12 February 1969.

For those among us with very short, very selective memories, also known as Democrats, the following succinct recapitulation of the salient facts is in order. John Kerry said he spent Christmas Eve of 1968 in Cambodia, listening to South Vietnamese allies whooping it up and firing off guns in celebration. He remembers being worried that he might be shot accidentally by a celebrating ally, and having the realization that his government was lying, that President Nixon was denying we had any combat troops in Cambodia.

Are we all together so far? All of this is in John Kerry’s book, Tour of Duty, and in the Congressional Record, if you need to refresh your memories.

Now for the fun part. Nixon wasn’t President in December 1968. Nixon made no pronouncements about combat troops in Cambodia until two years later.

Although the Times reporter keeps referring to the testimony of Swift Boat veterans as “unsubstantiated,” in truth it is Kerry’s statements that are unsubstantiated. Kerry’s superior officers are all on record that there were no Swift Boat missions to Cambodia at that time, and many of Kerry’s shipmates say they never were in Cambodia, and only Kerry has stated that he and any of his shipmates were ever in Cambodia. Even shipmates who worked in his campaign would not say they were in Cambodia.

For many reasons, Swift Boats did not run missions into Cambodia. One reason is that there is no record, testimony, or other statements that the Swift Boats were ever assigned to do such missions for the CIA, Navy SEALS, Special Forces, or etc. Except of course by then Navy Lieutenant Kerry. A review of the Mekong Delta geography shows that the Mekong River flows directly from Cambodia into Viet Nam. At that time, descriptions indicated that there were physical barriers, armed patrol boats, and guard stations at the point where the Mekong left Cambodia and entered Viet Nam.

Besides the facts they weren’t assigned the jobs, and that it would have been physically impossible for Swift Boats to cross the armed border into Cambodia by going up the Mekong, are there any other reasons why this could not happen?

Well yes, and I’m glad you asked. The Swift Boats were extremely noisy, and because of that, were totally unsuited to performing clandestine missions. WHAT! YOU CAN’T HEAR ME? I SAID THE ENGINE IS TOO LOUD!

There. That’s better. Blessed silence. Damned things would wake up the dead. Speaking of the dead, look, Kerry’s saying something!

“I have that memory which is seared - seared - in me.”

John, since you label any veteran who disagrees with you a liar, and your supporters label whatever they say as “unsubstantiated,” it’s time to get personal. Just stop whining, John, and show us your hat. The one you got from the CIA, or was it the SEALS, or was it Special Forces? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. While you’re at it, how about showing us your logbook, and all your military records, including medical? Especially the military record that shows you were awarded a Silver Star with a “V” for Valor device. The Navy says they never award a “V” for Valor device with the Silver Star. How did you get yours?

Meanwhile, back on the Mekong, you got a Purple Heart in an incident that was undocumented (you know, like unsubstantiated). When you applied to your commander for the Purple Heart, he turned you down because (1) there was no hostile report, and (2) your “wound” was only a scratch. The servicing physician concurred that it was very minor and did not appear to be the result of hostile fire. After your commander was reassigned, you reapplied, and like magic, got your Purple Heart.

By the way, John, since we’re hung up on this bit about unsubstantiated charges, you yourself in your book substantiated that, at the time of the Purple Heart action, you and your boat had not yet come under hostile fire. Did you lie in your book, or on your Purple Heart application? You can’t have it both ways. Even you can’t say: “I told the truth in my diary before I told it on my Purple Heart application.” You can’t change a story to fit the circumstances like you do with your votes in the Senate.

This is just a start, John, but I have to rest my fingers. “Unsubstantiated” is a big word to type over and over, and you’ve said and written so many other unsubstantiated things about your four months in Viet Nam that I need to pace myself.

Funny. You spent even less time in Viet Nam than Al Gore. I’ll bet that after you tried to ride those four months into the presidency, it seems like a lifetime.