Sunday, December 30, 2007

The year in Review

Dave Berry, the syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald, has done another of his "Year in Review" pieces. As a public service, in case you can't get it in your own paper, it is presented here.

Political Predictions

Although totally meaningless, it is sometimes fun to make predictions and commit them for further review at a later date. A sort of time capsule that remains open for viewing at any time. As such, and with all of the gravitas of a fortune teller, here are my predictions for the coming primary season.

Democrats: Although the race in Iowa has supposedly tightened up, I still think that Hillary will either win or come in a close second to Edwards. The reason for this is that Edwards has been camping out the most in Iowa, and has considerable support from the party regulars that he will be able to use. But Hillary has the advantage of the Clinton machine. Don't underestimate their ability to both get out the vote, and then to put the votes in the right places. If I remember right, Iowa has a threshold level of 15% for a candidate to be viable. That means that all of the Dodd, Biden, Richards and other supporters can be knocked off of their first choice by flooding precincts that have close support with her own supporters, and then persuade them to go with her inevitability. I just don't think that Joe Trippi (Edwards' campaign manager) has the ability to efficiently move supporters to the necessary precincts like Hillary's machine can. If Edwards wins, I think that he will fall to third at best in New Hampshire after Hillary and Barak. After that, South Carolina will probably be the nail in the coffin for Edwards, as the state rejects their native son and Hillary will sweep that state, and then all of the rest.
Barak will be poised for his return in 2012.

Republicans: Huckabee has been the media darling for the last few weeks, but that has also brought increased scrutiny. With Romney attacking Huckabee, they may be tied into a death spiral that will knock both down, although not enough to have a replacement winner of either McCain or Thompson. But, since the primary season has become so compressed, both Thompson and McCain will probably emerge as the new leaders after New Hampshire with McCain probably being the ultimate winner, but I am still hoping that "No fire in his belly" Thompson could pull off an upset in several Southern states, and actually make the race interesting.

Well, let's see what happens. Wish the Republic well. We will need it.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to get Rich

Someone once said that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Evidence of this is shown by the buzz generated by Jonah Goldberg's new book "Liberal Fascism." Dave has a post on this already at his site. In the comments, Wulfgar, in his usual inarticulate manner, cites to a site that supposedly has a review of the book, which is interesting, since it is not due for release until January 8th. Tracking the site that he mentioned, you find that he refers to a posting by Dr. Helen, in which she and her husband Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit have a podcast interview with the author. As usual, Wulfgar fails to actually think before he denounces, nor does he actually bother to read that to which he links. Typical.
In any event, the buzz generated has created an attempt to Googlebomb the book. You can't pay for that kind of publicity. Jonah is going to be rich!
But I think that the reason this book has generated so much publicity is that it touches on commonly and wrongly held assumptions. For instance, if you were to use the classical definition for liberalism, you would find that liberals are people who believe in
the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill,[3], Montesquieu, Voltaire [4], Thomas Paine and others.
Now compare this list with the objectives of people who call themselves "liberals" today. You can't be trusted to smoke, let your child ride a bike spend your money the way that you want. You should also succumb to what the government thinks best with regard to health care, schools, speed limits, and just about any other item that a special interest group is able to get the government to impose on you. Oh, and Free Markets? they simply don't or shouldn't be allowed to function because they are made up of those evil corporations.
Getting back to my point, I think that the reason that the Left is so upset with Goldberg's book, is that it strikes a chord that they recognize, and don't really like about themselves. Not that I think that todays Liberals are Nazis, but that the same techniques used by Mussolini who is associated with Hitler in the Axis Pact, are in play here. And even then, it's not that the particular policies are necessarily evil, but I do think that the Left fails to appreciate that even good intentions can have disastrous results, and if hijacked by people with evil intent, can become so destructive to the individual that they bear no relation to the original intent of being liberal.
But what do I know? Since I am not a member of the Left, I must be a fascist, right?

Notes From Paradise

I have returned, tanned, rested, and ready from a wonderful vacation in Mexico at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso. I thought that I would share some interesting observations from the trip that you might find amusing.

On the way down, we stopped for a transfer at Atlanta's airport, and due to my wife and my enjoyment of the Native American ceremonial herb, we had to stop in the smoking lounge where there were a large number of soldiers on their way to Iraq. While there we made the acquaintance of a few of these fine young men and women, and were talking to them about going to Iraq. Most were positive and upbeat, saying that their only regret is that so few people understand what is really happening in Iraq. Then there was one young soldier who was definitely scared about going back. All perfectly normal reactions, in that the majority believe in what they are doing, and there are those who are sure that their number is going to come up this time, and there is nothing that they can do about it. I hope that the young man has a good sergeant that will straighten him out and help keep his head on a swivel.

After we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by a valet with iced towels to refresh ourselves and then champagne while we checked in. After getting our room, we were walking down corridors of polished marble, with paintings overhead that rivaled the Sistine Chapel. I immediately turned to my wife and told her "We don't belong here." But we quickly got over it. It is a fantastic hotel, with excellent service, fine food and spirits, and a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere.

Our first full day there was raining, so that afternoon, I had the chance to watch Special Report with Brit Hume, which I normally don't get to see because it is on when I am working. My wife (The Good Democrat) watched patiently with me, and afterwards she started to gag about Fox news because she knows that I am not allowed to watch her Keith Olbermann show with any heavy objects at hand in order to save the TV from destruction. So I asked her what specifically she did not like about Brit Hume, and she said that she didn't know any facts to disagree with but she told me that they were saying "blah, blah blah" and did not say that Bush was absolutely horrible like Keith would have done. Laughed my ass off. Talk about seeking reinforcement for your opinions.

Mexico in mid December is absolutely wonderful. One thing about the Mexicans, they are second only to the South Koreans for being the hardest working people that I have ever seen. The image of Mexicans being lazy is probably predicated on the siesta, which when you have been in really hot climates for any length of time, you do appreciate a break from the heat. The phrase "Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun" certainly comes to mind if you don't have a pool and someone to bring you a refreshing chilled drink.
One aspect of the immigration issue that will need to be addressed in the future, is that we will be needing their workers for tasks that the Baby Boom echo will be unable to fill. In exchange, I think that we will be sending them our retirees. Anybody got tips on American style nursing homes in Mexico stock?

I really didn't want to leave, but the realization that I couldn't afford to live there for the rest of my life quickly sank in. So now I have to work for another year to afford a few days in Paradise.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Radio Silence Reimposed

Just as some things are starting to get interesting, like Fred Thompson standing up to the moderator at the last debate, and all of the other candidates going "Me too," I am going on vacation. To Mexico, warm beaches, Don Julio, Cuban cigars, and Mayan ruins.
I thought about taking the lap top, where I could blog about the vacation and include photos. But that would just make people jealous, and besides, it's a vacation.

See you after Christmas.

Happy Hannuka, and whatever seasons greetings that you might enjoy, I wish you and yours the best of the season, and may peace and goodwill extend to all of humanity.

Rabid out.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Iran's next Revolution?

Students in Tehran are protesting against the oppressive policies of their clerical government. One has to wonder if the Mullahs aren't at least a little bit concerned, since this is how they came to power in the '70s.
Of course, I have always argued that we should be supporting opposition groups in Iran that would change it from a theocratic megalomaniac state to one that is welcome to participate in the realm of civilized nations. I argue that the best way to do this is to fly over Iran every night and use B-2s to drop Victoria's Secret catalogs and credit card applications.
We can only hope.

Friday, December 07, 2007

NIE versus Reality

The recent release of the National Intelligence Estimate that says that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons has been widely trumpeted as proof that we don't have to worry about it anymore. Why am I still concerned then? Oh yeah, that's right, look at the history of the Intelligence Community.
First, they were completely surprised at how far along Saddam was in 1991, Then they missed the Pakistanis development until they actually tested their nuke. After that, there was "Slam Dunk" Tenet, and his wonderfully incorrect failure. At the start of the Iraq war, a nuclear weapons program was found, in Libya, that the IC had no inkling of.
But I am sure that they have this one right. Right? I mean how often can they be so darned wrong and still be taken seriously? Of course, as shown at the link above, it is possible that this is just political chicanery, designed to make Bush look bad. Not that that has ever happened before. Snark!
It is also reasonable to question why the basis for the change was based on some notes from a meeting. Color me skeptical. It couldn't be part of any organized disinformation campaign could it?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Harry Reid is an idiot

Arlen Specter went to the Senate floor today to call out Harry Reid for his intemperate remarks. Now Arlen is perhaps to cute by half, but his remarks certainly ding the present Majority leader. Link to the video is here.

When you contrast Reid with our own Mike Mansfield, you have to wonder about Reid's competence. Now it could be that Reid is just playing to his base and "standing up to the Republicans." But it just demonstrates his lack of effectiveness. This is either a lack of control on Reid's part, or a calculated undertaking that realizes he will get no assistance from the Republicans, so he might as well play to his base. Either way, it means that nothing will get done.

But maybe that isn't such a bad thing.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Edward's Mandatory Health Plan

Protein Wisdom put this up, and at first, I thought that I had been misdirected to the Onion. Using the IRS to make sure that everyone buys health care.


Who wants to question the real power behind the facade of our democratic republic. Not me. In fact, I try to make it a point to overpay my taxes every chance I get, so if I should receive a visit from the kindly gentlemen who want only to suck my life's blood, that I will in the end receive a refund.

Please don't audit me. I really don't need the hassles.

Class is not dead

The Missoulian letters to the editor was taken up almost exclusively by fans of Wofford who were writing to thank the Griz fans for their sportsmanship during last week's loss to the Terriers. Give them a read. They should make you proud that our fans can be fanatical without being a**holes.

Of course, this probably wouldn't be applicable to how the Bobcats are treated.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Who says that we are fat?

The Times reports that the rate of growth in obesity in America seems to have peaked. Apparently the rate of obesity had been accelerating over the last 25 years.

So, why bring it up, since I seem to be attracted to gravity at an increasing rate every year? Think about the last 25 years and diet recommendations. We have spent a significant portion of our GDP on diet aids, weight loss gimmicks, gyms, personal trainers, etc. but have nothing to show for it.

My thinking on the matter is that our weight problems accelerated from the 1970s when lawyers who were staffers for Sen. McGovern originally designed the food pyramid. Some may remember it as the pyramid which divided up the various food groups in a size relation to what you were supposed to eat. Notice that it was done by lawyers. I am sure that it is perfectly logical, but it doesn't seem to have done a darned thing but increase the rate of weight gain.

This is symptomatic of so many things that the government does. War on Drugs? It really isn't that hard to find whatever drug you wanted. War on poverty? Still haven't changed the numbers that much. In fact, the only thing that I can think that the government has done well is the Rural Electrification Act. But measure the successes of the government versus doing it completely balls ass backward, and tell me why anyone thinks that it would be a good idea for them to run health care.

Our Future Leaders Speak

And it ought to scare the heck out of you. In a particularly poorly reasoned opinion piece, the editorial staff of the Harvard Crimson have called for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment, (The right to keep and bear arms). Well, using their reasoning, since more Americans die of heart disease than are murdered by hand guns, why don't we repeal the right to be free from unreasonable intrusion of our homes, papers and effects, so that the health police can bust in the door - "Drop that cigarette Buster, or I'll blow your f'ing head off!"
Maybe we should all just open our homes for inspection by the government. After all, it's just for our own good.

Me, I figure the Constitution means what it says. When the health police come to my house, I plan to reintroduce them to the 2nd Amendment.

What is Tester doing?

Western Word has a post about our junior Senator's "fact finding mission" to Iraq. The Missoulian article included a statement from a Montana soldier that if we were to leave in a hurry “the country would collapse.”
Undeterred from his day long in depth research, Sen. Tester is still pushing for a pull out. The question is why? He says that the Iraqis are using US forces as a "crutch" and that he wants to pull that crutch away from a fledgling democracy. So much for compassion.
But let's face it, he hasn't changed his mind since he was elected, in spite of the change on the ground as a result of the "surge." This is all being driven by his MoveOn masters who do not want facts to interfere with making Bush look bad.
Luckily, there are enough responsible people in the Senate who will prevent a precipitous withdrawal ala Tester/MoveOn want which would invalidate the sacrifices already made.
We get the government that we deserve, damnit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kerry Has Answered!!

Previously, I had mentioned that T. Boone Pickens had offered $1 million to anyone who could prove any part of the SwiftBoat Vets for Truth ads as being false. Well, lo and Behold! The less than distinguished junior Senator from Mass. has responded with where he wants the reward money to be deposited.

Just one little problem though. He hasn't shown where any of the accusations are false.

Now, this either the height of chutzpa, or he is absolutely delusional, and really does believe his fabrications. Couple this with his pronouncement that he was going to fully and completely release his military records, which he has not done, and you really have to wonder about the candidate the Democrats picked for 2004.

Let this be a lesson for both parties: Don't hold your nose and pick the person you think is "Electable." Go with your own honest gut feelings and pick the candidate you want, not the one that you think the general population will want. You will be happier win or lose. As it is, can you imagine a President Kerry right now? My bet is that he would be announcing that Teresa has decided that he would not run for re-election.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How to find your candidate

I never would have thought that I would be matched up with Romney. Take the test for yourself.


I have pulled this poll because it seems to be overly representing Mitt, and alternatively Kucinich, which makes me think that it is a manipulated poll.

I apologize, but that is the beauty of the Internet isn't it? Put something out there and quickly find out that you were wrong.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Krugman is an Idiot Pt. Oh, Hell, does it really matter?

James Taranto of Best of the Web is amazing in his ability to help Krugman look like a fool. Or maybe Krugman is amazing in his ability to look like a fool. Not sure.
But scroll down to Krugman's Excuse, and you will have many a moment of glee at the expense of the Former Enron Advisor. But my favorite line: We think Groucho Marx's version is more fitting: "Those are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others."
And they are all for sale at a reasonable price, say, Secretary of the Treasury in a Democratic administration?

The Viceroy has Moved

Please reset your pointers for the Viceroy's Fuguestate. I have been too busy to check on him regularly this week, and missed it until now. He is both amusing and entertaining. Although, to the Sinestra I would advise avoiding him, since he may make your head explode, and I do not want that responsibility.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Further Evidence

That John Kerry is an idiot. T. Boone Pickens offered up $1 Million if Kerry is able to prove any of the SwiftBoat Veterans for Truth allegations wrong. Kerry says that he accepts the challenge and is looking forward to proving them wrong. Of course, this is the same guy who said that he would release all of his service records, and still hasn't done so.
At the article linked above, the best line has to be:
Senator Kerry, prove them wrong. I dare you. I don’t have a million dollars to pay you but your honor, if you have any left, ought to be worth that.
If he had any honor that is. The fact that he has to be enticed with a monetary reward says more than anything else about his character, or lack thereof.
The Democrats have been using Swiftboating as a verb to allege false accusations. Maybe they ought to rethink that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Football Playoff Season

Blogging has been light lately, partly due to the lack of interest in anything, but mostly due to the Griz being in the playoffs again after beating the Cats last weekend. We in Montana are really lucky to have such a quality program that is the envy of the nation. The team is doing really well, especially late in the season, and they could have a fantastic run through the playoffs.
Football can be enjoyed on many levels. My wife (the Good Democrat) first started going with me to the games about 6 years ago. Initially, she was only interested in the tailgating and the cheerleaders, but she is now totally into the game. That is because you have 22 different people (plus 7 refs) who are interacting in a dynamic environment, where if any one of them fails to execute, the result could be a disaster.
I had a German girlfriend years ago who thought that soccer was much more exciting than football, because the ball was always in motion. But there really only two guys playing soccer at any time: The guy with the ball, and the guy who is trying to take the ball away, or waiting for a pass. With American football, you have misdirection, coupled with speed and brute force. It's wonderful.
If you are in Missoula this weekend, come get a ticket and go to the game. It is an experience that you will never forget, and make you want to be involved for the rest of your life.
If you want, you can check out some of the message boards, which seem so much more interesting than politics at the moment. There is e-griz and Any Given Saturday that I spend most of my time on. You might enjoy them as well.

See you at the game.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Some Advice From a Public Defender

I have only been a full time public defender for less than a year and a half. But the link that Instapundit posted to a Bay Area PD is just too funny because it's so true.
Some of my favorite lines:
You have the right to remain silent. So SHUT THE FUCK UP. Those cops are completely serious when they say your statements can and will be used against you. There’s just no need to babble on like it’s a drink and dial session. They are just pretending to like you and be interested in you., and I’m a lawyer, not your fairy godmother. I probably won’t find a loophole or technicality for you, so don’t be pissed off. I didn’t beat up your girlfriend, steal that car, rob that liquor store, sell that crystal meth, or rape that 13 year old. By the time we meet, much of your fate has been sealed, so don’t be too surprised by your limited options and that I’m the one telling you about them.

The two types of clients that are the biggest pains are the "virgins" those who have never been arrested before, and intend to rely on the defense that they are really a good person, so they shouldn't be prosecuted, and those who I have been able to beat the charges for two or three times, and they still keep getting arrested. But they are all interesting nonetheless.
I made a promise to myself that I would always treat my PD clients in the same way that I treated my paying clients, and I think that I have kept it for the most part. Except for those one or two that I absolutely loathe and can't fire like I did in private practice. But I like to think that I am professional enough to represent their legal interests to the best of my ability, even if I do hate them.
But for the majority of my clients, I sympathize that there but for the Grace of God go I. That they are confused, scared, and at the mercy of a very well funded and powerful institution that really doesn't care about them as a person, but simply see them as "the Defendant."
There is a poster at the office which says (if I can remember it correctly): As Public Defenders, we are forced to deal with some of the most vile, disgusting, immoral people in the world, who will lie, cheat and steal to get what they want. It is our sworn duty to protect our clients from those people.

God, I love my job.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Democrats Inability to Win

The Democrats in Washington are an amazing group. Their myopia of anything other than what MoveOn and George Soros tells them, prevents them from dealing with reality, much less being able to take advantage of it. At the present time, remarkable progress is being made in Iraq. The Anbar Awakening is being followed by still more tribes recognizing that the fastest way to get the Americans out is to quit trying to kill them. Not to mention all of the free money that is being handed out to the tribal sheiks, not directly to buy their support, even if that is the real result. Since tribal government has such a large impact on life there, that is really the source of the solutions of the political problems, not the Green Zone Government.
The best strategy for the Democrats would be to continue the operations as they are. Think about it. Since progress is being made on the ground, they could take advantage of it by claiming credit. On the other hand, if they actually try to cut off funding and everything goes to hell, like some claim they will be given the blame.
Every place you go you hear about no progress being made in Iraq," said Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid.
Maybe Harry needs to go to some other places.
But the reality is, that success in Iraq is not going to be a positive for the Republicans. People are tired of the war. With out short attention span, not to mention the reportage which focuses on failure and ignores success, Americans are ready to wash their hands of it. Even as we are making significant progress.
The bottom line is that we are doing the right thing, and for the right reasons. Who gets the credit or the blame matters little to me. What matters is that the first steps to changing the dysfunctional Middle East are happening. And that is a very good thing.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Good Read

The New York Times does a really good piece on the last surviving American veteran of WWI. I'm not sure that I would ever want to be in his shoes. I can still find people who have been places that I have been, and done things that I did. I can talk to them in a way that I can't talk to someone who didn't do those things.
It must be lonely being the last, but I am sure that he will be answering roll call with his fellow soldiers soon. And that is not a bad thing.

Jay Stevens gets it Wrong and Wronger

At Left in the West, Jay Stevens examines the roots of terrorism. Now, I have to give him credit that he acknowledges that poverty is not the root of terrorism, as he had previously thought. But then, in a stunning display of muddle headed thinking, he goes on to proclaim that the root of terrorism is our occupation of Iraq. Excuse me? If we didn't invade Iraq until 2003, how were the terrorists so prescient that they attacked us on 9-11, the USS Cole, the African Embassy bombings, and Khobar towers before we invaded? Could it be that Jay is trying to shoehorn the root cause of terrorism into his preconceived notions?
Jay cites to Alan Kruger who has this special observation:
One set of factors that I examined did consis­tently raise the likelihood that people from a given country will participate in terrorism-namely, the suppression of civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and democratic rights. Using data from the Freedom House Index, for example, I found that countries with low levels of civil liberties are more likely to be the countries of origin of the perpetra­tors of terrorist attacks. In addition, terrorists tend to attack nearby targets. Even international terror­ism tends to be motivated by local concerns.

So, this explains the rapid rise in homegrown Islamic terrorists in that repressive, civil rights violating, lack of freedom country of Great Britain? Don't suppose that there might be another answer do you?
Well, in the spirit of Jay, here is as good a half baked answer as any of his: Terrorism, especially of the Islamic version, is the direct result of high self esteem accompanied by low rates of real achievement. If your entire region published less books than Greece, and you haven't had any scientific development since the end of the 12th Century, you know that it just has to be the result of Satanic forces, since Allah loves Moslems. It must be Allah's will that they should be ruling the world, not apostates or infidels. And anything that prevents their ruling the world is in opposition to Allah, and therefore legitimate to exterminate.
I have been toying with the thought for awhile, that about 1200 years after a religion is founded, it goes crazy. Think of the Spanish Inquisition, and look at Islam today after the same amount of time. As a Christian, there is nothing to be proud of what was done in our religions name.
I can only hope that Moslems will feel the same way about their excesses, and hope that they don't take as long as we did.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An Iraqi Complaint

This is my favorite part:
I know those who are wedded to the idea of a failed Iraq are calling me a deluded idiot and worse. But things are improving slowly. My relatives in Baghdad say there's no comparison; things are much better than they were six months ago. They can visit friends in different areas and walk about the neighbourhood in the evening.

Frankly, I don't understand why so many mock us for wanting a future for Iraq. Is your hatred for George Bush so great that you prefer to see millions of civilians suffer just to prove him wrong?

It really comes down to this: you are determined to see Iraq become a permanent hellhole because you hate Bush. And we are determined to see Iraq become a success, because we want to live.

Read the whole thing.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why I Like Fred Thompson

The Daily Telegraph has a piece out today which shows that Fred Thompson does not have the fire in his belly of the other candidates for the highest office in the land. I admire that. Why don't we have people who are less than enthusiastic about wanting to take on the responsibilities of being the leader of the Free World. As Thomas Jefferson once said: "Any man who would actively seek political office is not worthy of it." And this from a man who desperately wanted to be President.
Another hit on Thompson is that he is lazy. Fine with me, hyper energetic lawmakers are more of a problem than a blessing. As Count von Moltke, the guy credited with developing the Prussian General Staff used to do, dividing up people into four different areas of abilities can reveal a lot, and make it easier to pick the best person for the job.
Moltke used Hard Working/Lazy, and Stupid/Smart as his categories. Naturally, the Hard Working Smart guys were put into position as the Chief of Staff of each of their units. Interestingly, the Smart but Lazy ones usually became the commanders of those units. The reason according to Moltke, was that they would always make the best decisions with the least amount of effort, and could rely on their Smart and Hard Working Chief of Staffs to solve all of the problems.
Stupid and Lazy was not necessarily a bad thing, since they were not likely to do anything, good or bad. Which of course leaves us with Stupid and Hard Working. These are the people who energetically endeavor to screw things up. Think Jimmy Carter. Sure Jimmy had to be smart to pass through the Navy's nuclear engineering school, but that doesn't mean that he knew what he was doing as President. Remember, this is the President who personally managed who got to use the White House tennis courts, but couldn't figure out what to do when US sovereign territory was attacked.

That's why I am going with the guy who probably doesn't want the job. He is my kind of politician.

Monday, November 05, 2007

You Can't Make this Stuff Up.

Okay, Krugman can, but this is too funny to pass by. As Taranto notes in the Best of the Web:

Where Credit Is Due
Further evidence of Philip Klein's observation that the Angry Left really, really hates Rudy Giuliani: Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman devoted his column last Friday to attacking the former New York mayor. Claims Krugman:

Mr. Giuliani has a habit of saying things, on issues that range from health care to national security, that are demonstrably untrue.

Hmm, where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, it was from the New York Times's then-ombudsman, Daniel Okrent:

Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.

OK, it's not word-for-word identical, but the idea is pretty much the same. Krugman really should have credited his source.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Rest of the World is Going to Hate Us Even More

The Volokh Conspiracy has a post about Fred Thompson rejecting the UN determination that there is no right to self defense.
I am sure that the many cowboys in this country are just going to ignore our betters in the United Nations, and continue their otherwise uncivilized ways by refusing to die quietly when asked to.

Mike the Machine

Mike at The Last Best Place has another edition of Look Right up, and I thank him for including me.
I haven't been really inspired of late, mostly because the muse tends to move me better when there is something amusing, ironic or just plain stupid. But Mike is able to compile a review of all of the Dextrasphere into a quick and easy tool to review anything that you might have missed.

Good On Ya Mike.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

On Racism in Montana

I have been thinking about racism for quite a while. I suppose it was inspired by the Missoula YWCA ad on racism. The guy starts out by saying "I lived my whole life in Montana. Growing up I remember hanging out with the Native American kids in my schools and neighborhoods. I miss those friendships. Am I missing out on others?" Maybe you have heard the commercial. If I remember right, that ad won some sort of award.
But if you think about it, isn't the ad racist? Imagine you go to a party where some guy introduces you to a Native American and says: This is Joe, he is my Native American friend, and because of him, my life is complete. No mention of what Joe thinks of this pretentious asshole. Having a friend of a different race solely for filling your own need is not progressive or thoughtful. It is blatantly racist in that you only seem to have sought him out as a friend because of his race.
Racism is traditionally thought of as putting someone down because of their ethnicity. But it is just as racist to raise them up based on nothing but their ethnicity.
Within the Politically Correct world, it sometimes rears its ugly head when it determines that all whites regardless of their class or status are racists. Now, I ask you, isn't that racist? Blaming an entire group based solely on their skin color would seem to be the very epitome of racism. But these accusations are coming from some of our centers of advanced learning. How smart are they really?
Most of the time, living in our lily white world here in Montana, we don't see many overt displays of racism. But every once in a while, you see something that you just can't believe that someone said.
Down in the comments, we have this exchange:
# Mark T Says:
October 31st, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Sorry Mike - haven’t really been paying attention to your alter-homeland lately. But I do know, as you do, as we all do, that anyone who criticizes Israel is either demented or self-hating. I don’t know where HRW fits on that continuum.

Other than that, your comment is laced with deep anger. Reminds me of me after a Forest Service meeting. Anyway, I do trust that Matt and the boys are appreciating their prize and attempting to overthrow capitalism and make everyone use fluorescent light bulbs. They’re tools.

# Mike Says:
October 31st, 2007 at 8:38 pm

My “alter-homeland?” Playing the dual-loyalty card or just referencing my ability to live somewhere outside the US for a few weeks a year? If my name were Jabeiri and I went to Mecca a few weeks every year would that be my “alter-homeland” also? Just askin’.

But I do know, as you do, as we all do, that anyone who criticizes Israel is either demented or self-hating.

Do we? There must be something in the water in Bozeman providing at least two of you with the divine ability to “know” what others are thinking. Kind of makes the blogging thing superfluous, no? Drink a bottle of Bozeman-Juice and just stay at home projecting your swine-fucking fetish onto others.
I believe that Mark is a reasonable person, and since the comments were originally started toward the question of whether or not Forward Montana should reveal their finances, I have to think that Mark was either very tired, or under the influence of something that wasn't making him think clearly. I mention this comment only because it had nothing to do with the original train of thought that started the post.
But Mark's comments are not that far out of the mainstream. Fifty years ago, it was the Blueblood Country Club Republicans who didn't want Jews to sully their existence. This seems to have been turned around today by the Progressive movement, who now believe like the Mullahs in Iran, that Israel is the "Little Satan." How many protests have we seen of Israel that have ANSWER wearing Palestinian badges and holding their flags aloft while they protest against "Israeli aggression?" If Al-Qaeda in Lebanon continuously shells civilian villages, or raids a home killing all but a mother and her baby, who the mother smothers, in order to keep it from crying and revealing their location to the terrorists, why no protests?
How about the 250,000 to 1 million dead Iraqis, (depending on who is counting) since we invaded Iraq? How do we square that with the fact that Saddam killed 3 million of his countrymen? Or why no protests when Al-Qaeda in Iraq murders whole families or blows up markets which have no military value at all? My theory is that in current progressive thinking, people of color are not to be held to the same standards of decency that we hold people of pallor.
And that kids, is racism.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A New Measuring Tool

I got to thinking about Charlie Rangel's proposed 50% tax rate on those earning above $500,000. Which led me to think that we are halfway to "From each according to their ability to each according to their needs."
The new scale would of course have to be called the Marx/Engels scale and can be used to evaluate our progress toward total wealth confiscation.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Coming Perfect Economic Disaster

I had posted before, why I thought the Democrats would be in trouble starting in 2010. But when you combine what Carol has to say about the problems with our local housing market with what I heard on Montana Public Radio on the same subject tonight, I think that we are in for bigger problems than anyone wants to acknowledge. People have been using the unjustified rise in sale value, as opposed to real value to take out home equity loans to buy all sorts of toys. One realtor that I knew told me of her client at a closing, having just purchased a house, inquiring when she could take out a home equity loan. How much equity in a home that you haven't even made a payment on yet?
As the expert on KFUM pointed out, we had been using our homes as a sort of ATM to draw cash out to buy things, which in turn spurred the economy. Now, there is no easy access to cash, and those who aren't being foreclosed on are sitting on their houses unwilling to sell until prices come back up to their expectations.
So, if you reduce the amount of money that was being injected into the economy (albeit false value, since the increase was driven more by speculation than actual improvements) will there not be a general slowing of the economy? After all, our spend, spend, spend habits are no longer sustainable.
Surely Congress is going to do something about this right? Unfortunately, yes they are. Dubbed the “Mother of All Tax Bills” by Rangel and embraced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who told reporters last Thursday that she “certainly” supports the tax increase, this monstrosity would raise taxes on everyone: from the very poor to the very rich and everyone in between. Well, there you go, Tax hikes for the wealthy, oh, and everyone else too.
Now as I understand it, Pelosi, et al., are shooting for a 50% marginal tax rate on those who earn $500,000 per year. Speaking selfishly, it seems as though the only impact that I am going to see is the increase in the rate that I pay now, and a return of the marriage penalty which will probably net a reduction in my disposable income of around 7%. And I don't make $500,000 a year. But 7% isn't so much is it? Except it's 7% that I won't be spending downtown.
Of course the kicker, is the proposal to increase the capital gains from 15% to 40%. It almost makes you wonder if it wouldn't be worthwhile to cash in your IRAs at the 25% penalty to avoid being hit with a jump in taxes by the time you retire. In addition, you can bet a whole lot of people are going to be bailing on the stock market with that kind of rate increase. Take that much money out of the market, and businesses have less money for improvements or hiring workers, resulting in even more of an economic slowdown. It will also result in a concomitant reduction in improving productivity, and as a result, further erosion in the value of the dollar. Thus making imported goods even more expensive, further reducing the amount of available money. Do you see where I am going here?
What about the people making $500,000 a year, they don't need all of that money do they? After all, there are people getting by on a lot less. But what happens to the money of the higher earning family? Right now, when you combine their federal with state and local taxes, they are probably netting around $250,000 per year, or roughly $20,000 per month. Well, that's quite a lot of money isn't it? Yes, but what do they do with it? So long as they aren't stuffing it in a mattress, they are buying things, which keeps businesses going, allowing them to hire workers. Or maybe they are investing, which allows businesses to invest in new technology and become more efficient, thus reducing the costs for everyone, not just the rich. But hey, this is about greed, not efficiency right? If Chairman Rangel's tax plan goes into effect, there will be even less money available to them.
So what you say? Well consider a plasma television set. Prices have plummeted dramatically in the last few years. Why? Could it be that the infusion of capital into research and development has led manufacturers to design, build and sell a better product at a lowered cost while still making a profit? Reduce that amount of capital, and the prices don't drop as much because it is harder to develop the research to improve the products.
So, the moral of the story is that the Republicans need to say that Democrats don't want you to have a 52" plasma TV. Of course, under Rangel's plan, even if you wanted one, you couldn't afford because you would be unemployed because your employer went out of business.
But at least you will have your unemployment check.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Now this is disgusting

Take a look at this story alleging that Mexican separatists set the fires in California. The page layout and markings not to mention links look suitably authentic.

But as Jonah Goldberg from NRO pointed out:
The problem: It's a fake. The URL says "cnnheadliennews."

It looks to me like the creators of this site weren't trying to make a joke. It's not a parody, it's just simply disgusting.
It's bad enough that groups like Reuters and the National Review will fabricate stories. But some SOB wants to put the blame on Mexicans, and does a pretty clever job of it. If you didn't look at the URL, you could easily believe it is true.

Never believe everything. Always question even if you agree with it.


Matt Singer, taking a break from laundering money for George Soros, put up this piece about Paul Wellstone. Now, the line that I really liked was:
The second was Paul Wellstone's death and the subsequent hijacking of his death by the right-wing.

Excuse me? Doesn't he remember the "Memorial Service" which was so over the top that it turned off all of the independent voters? If the Right Wing actually did hijack that service, I have to stand in admiration of their ability to manipulate people.

Of course, another theory is that the Democrats did it to themselves.

Good Point

Jack at Western Word has a good piece on the failure of the Democrats to really accomplish anything except for investigating Bush.
But the line that caught my eye, that Tester was supposed to go to Washington to make it look "more like Montana," doesn't seem to have worked, since Jon has bought fully into the earmarks business.
But I suppose it's really not his fault. It would take someone with real strength of character to keep from being sucked into the ego massaging machine called Washington.

Jon just doesn't have that strength.

Great Job Carol!

Carol at Missoulaopolis has a great piece about the funding of Progressive States Network and Forward Montana. Mike adds to it at The Last Best Place as well.
Now, as a general rule, I am not that big on conspiracy theories, but where there is enough smoke, you start checking to see if the room is getting warmer. George Soros' influence on politics of the Left is starting to raise some concerns for me.
Remember Soros? He was the guy who broke the Bank of England, and absolutely destroyed the Indonesian currency, thereby resulting in widespread starvation in that country.
It may be that Soros is entirely altruistic, and has adopted much of the lines of thought of the Left. But one should also ask the question what else could it be? Is it possible that Soros has a financial stake in destroying the American economy?
I wondered about that back in 2006 when oil prices for no known reason started shooting through the roof. That was part of the Democratic platform to reduce the price of oil (and they have done such a great job) but they were going to go after the greedy oil companies. What if someone was purposely buying up oil contracts and sitting on them to artificially stimulate the price of oil? I know that it must be possible to track sales of contracts back in 2006, and I would be curious to learn if Soros had some sort of a hand in it, especially given his antipathy towards Bush, et. al.
Not that I am saying that it's true, but when you combine Soros' history with the amount of money he has thrown at his "foundations," well, you just gotta wonder.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Look Right

Mike, at the Last Best Place has done it again. I am amazed at his ability to compile all of these different authors and thoughts, and still have a real life.
My sympathies to his mother.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why the Left should be Afraid

Andy Hammond has a podcast about his journey from Left to becoming conservative. It kind of reminded me of my own journey from Yellow Dog Democrat to a small "l" libertarian. I know that there are more of us who spent our early years parroting that which we were told to believe. Then, little by little, we began to question some of the underlying assumptions as we moved through life until we started blogging as either conservative or libertarian.
Now for the reason of the title of this post: With the aging of the Baby Boomers, are we going to see more and more conservative/libertarians and less of the Left die hard zealots? Is the Left in danger of disappearing as we grow up? Is the Left primarily the vehicle for the young? Not to discount that there are older Lefties, Ted Kennedy comes to mind, but they were a product or at least a carryover of the Roosevelt years.
The one thing in their favor is going to be Social Security. Since so many of my generation has failed to put anything toward retirement, they are going to have to rely on the Social Security "Lock Box" which doesn't exist. Of course, the younger workers who are going to see a hike in their taxes may be less inclined to support their parents when they see what they will have to pay.
The disappearance of the Left would actually be bad in my mind. We need the Left to keep probing and testing to try and help people. Just like we need conservatives to rein in their excesses. Consider that the views of many conservatives are not that different from the then Left of the 60's.
Both sides are needed. Now if we can just get them to quit attacking, and start reasonable discussions, we might actually get somewhere.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Blog Added Redux

I usually use Dave Budge's links to naviguess around the Intertubes. He told me at the last MisConBlog meetup that he had pared it down by about 100 links. I told him that I hadn't noticed. But Dave's site is like a library catalog. You go there because it has everything, even if you don't need or want it. But it's a handy way to find things. Which finally leads me to my point: I have added Moorcat's Pragmatic Revolt to my blogroll.
Since the whole l'affair Moorcat blew up, I have found him to be intelligent and interesting, and unfairly being screwed over. He is interesting to me, in that he is almost quixotic in taking on the Dillon political cabal.
But quixotic is not the same as futile. When wrong is wrong, good citizens need to come forward to right it. Good luck Moorcat.

Hammond Report's New Look

Andy Hammond's The Hammond Report is sporting a new look, and I really like it. The newspaper format works better on a blog than a real newspaper. When I am reading the advertising supplement called the Missoulian, I always hate leaving the front page to go chasing after a story somewhere back in the paper. With Andy's site, you can just click on the link and back arrow to where you left off.
In the words of the Guiness spokesmen: Brilliant!

A clear view of Global Warming

Daniel Botkin writes in the Wall Street Journal that global warming hype is being overdone apparently for political purposes. As he mentions in his article, one of his colleagues said
"Wolves deceive their prey, don't they?" one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.

So, the global warming alarmists consider us to be prey? So much for the scientific consensus having any application to the debate (I know, there is no debate, but I am talking about the steps that are being taken to deal with global warming).
Botkin also talks about the use of computer modeling to justify the alarmism of the Gores or the world. In my last job in the military, I worked at a theater level wargaming facility. In conjunction with some smart programmers, we were able to set "dials" on the program that could change the expected result in order to test the staffs that were being trained. As a result, I really don't accept the use of computer modeling as definitive of prediction. Modeling requires trying to isolate as many variables as possible, assign to them the correct value or weight, and then run it to see what the result would be. Sometimes, we got wholly unexpected results and had to go back to figure out why.
Using computer models for climate change is curious to me because of the large number of variables, we can't predict accurately the weather two weeks out, but somehow we think that we can predict climate 100 years out. I know that climate is different than weather, but climate is the cumulative effect of weather. If the underlying premise of your proposition is wrong, it is highly unlikely that your proposition would be correct. But still, we are all in a panic about global warming.
What happens if the world does warm? There are going to be changes in which areas are arable, and which not. Some species may go extinct and others could thrive. But for humans, warming is preferable to cooling.
Scoop Montana had a posting on global warming that included in the comments a question by Colby Natale where he asks what happens if the global warming alarmists are wrong versus those who disagree with them. As Colby said:
We don't know for sure either way, but what are the stakes in both sides being wrong? If Rebecca is wrong, all that happens is that we throw some money away and waste some effort on saving energy and changing our habits; no blood no foul.

On the other hand, if you are Scoop - the repercussions could be much more dire. If global warming is real and we don't work to rectify it, we will be faced with any number of dangerous changes in the world. Floods that claim human habitat, loss of crops when we loss growing weather, animal extinction due to habitat loss, loss of water in third world nations, etc.

I am not stating those things WILL happen, but I am saying they might. Why take the chance that we are wrong with such possibly high stakes? That is what I never get. Why isn't it worth it to change our habits, drive more efficient cars, carpool etc if it MIGHT save us from such ends?

Why is resisting the possibility that the science of global warming is right so appealing to you when, if you are wrong, we are so screwed?

First off, are we screwed? Things will change, but they are always changing. The increase in desertification of the Sahara can be traced directly to the 1-2 inch increase in the height of the Himalayas every year blocking out the monsoons from the Indian Ocean. The increase in the desert is not as directly due to warming as other factors. But if we assign the growing desertification to Global Warming are we solving the real problem? And what about changes in growing seasons? One thousand years ago, the Vikings were cultivating crops on Greenland. It was the mini Ice age that happened from the 12th to the 15th centuries that changed it to the ice covered block that we know it as now. So maybe, global warming is returning to the norm that the earth should be at and trying to stop it is like King Cnute who demonstrated his lack of authority over nature in a most dramatic fashion.
But let's take Colby's example. "all that happens is that we throw some money away and waste some effort on saving energy and changing our habits; no blood no foul." Except that it will have a tremendous effect on those in the Third and Fourth World economies that are going to be affected the most. If you are happy with keeping them poor, then you want to reorient the world's economies. That is not a small price for being wrong.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Look Right and Be Amazed

Mike at the Last Best Place has another roundup of all of the Dextra blogs once again. I am always amazed that he has the time and the energy to provide all of the links and commentary to help people find what they are interested in. I can barely get inspired to put out a posting, and this guy is not just posting, but compending. Thanks Mike, you do a great job.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Montana's War Against the Poor

Okay, that's not quite true. This post is based on Wulfgar who is in high dudgeon over the fact that his brother has been arrested for Driving While Suspended. Every state has similar laws, but this one in particular, the fact that if you are in arrears for your child support can lead the state to suspend your driver's license, seems to have him really going. He is blaming Bush (of course) and the post 9-11 Big Brother world that we live in. Trouble is, this law and its applications predate Bush. It was brought about by civic minded concerned citizens who wanted to make sure that dead beat dads were held to their court ordered child support. Another good example of well meaning intentions being used to screw over people.
I don't know Moorcat, nor all of the particulars of his situation, but I see it often enough. After spending $5-6,000 on a lawyer for a divorce, he is ordered to pay child support based on his income using a formula designed by the Child Support Enforcement Division. Everything is going along reasonably well, even though going through a divorce is devastating to both parties financially. But then - Whammo, your hours just got cut, or you are laid off, or whatever happens, your earnings are not what the court ordered child support payments are and you fall further and further behind.
Now, the law does provide that you can go to the court and argue a change in circumstances which requires that your child support be reduced. Providing of course that you can come up with the $1500 to $2,000 to pay a lawyer to do that. But you are broke, and the only free legal services are for the woman. As a man, you are basically screwed at this point.
Oh well, you work it out with the ex-wife, and she agrees to a reduced amount (if you are lucky), but then she goes to get AFDC. The fact that you are not paying all of the court ordered child support will be reported to the Child Support Enforcement Division who will then send you a letter and let you know that your license is going to be suspended. Sure enough, about a month later, you get a letter in the mail from the Montana Department of Motor Vehicles that says your license is suspended. and that after you make up the arrears in child support and pay the $100 license reinstatement fee, you can again legally drive.
In the mean time, you found another lower paying job, but you are at least making ends meet but you are not getting caught up with your arrears, but you are planning to do so.
One night after work, you stop off with your buddies and have a few beers. When you pull out of the parking lot, Officer Johnny Law is right behind you. The fact that you just pulled out of a bar is enough to pull you over, but this guy is good and he starts to follow you. While driving, you decide to call your new girlfriend and take your eyes off the road causing you to drift across the center line. You quickly correct, but it's too late, the lights from Johnny are on, and you're are pulled over. Johnny of course requests your Driver's License, proof of insurance and registration. You pull them all out and give them to the officer. He retreats to his patrol car where he runs your information, which comes back showing you suspended. He returns to your window, and asks if you have been drinking, and you admit to having two beers. The officer makes you get out and perform the field sobriety tests, which you have never done before, and you flunk. The officer is then going to offer the Preliminary Breath Test, and because of a storm coming through, you blow over .08. You are now under arrest, charged with DUI, and Driving While Suspended. Bail is set at $2000, which will cost you $300, which you will never see again, but at least you are out.
The next working day, you take time off from work (with no pay) and sit in court for three hours until you can enter Not Guilty pleas. Because you are poor, you will be assigned a public defender, who will read your police report, and think "Christ, the only thing missing is the Driving without Insurance to make the unholy trinity." After examining the facts, your Public Defender tells you that the fact that you drifted across the center line is enough for the stop, and all of the rest of the questions were legally valid. In other words, you are screwed.
You will later go to court, where if you have an experienced lawyer, he or she will argue to the judge that your suspension is a civil suspension, and so the mandatory two days in jail don't apply. The judge, however, is running for re-election, and she doesn't want to be seen as soft on crime, so she orders two days in jail anyways, a $1,000 fine for the DUI with $250 suspended, and another $1,000 with $500 suspended for the driving while suspended causing you to lose your job. She also orders you to attend the ACT classes, which will cost you another $500, and because your license was suspended, you are not to drive for another year. In addition, since you just took a conviction for DUI, your insurance company cancels your policy.
You complain to your defender, that her sentence makes it impossible to go to work and pay fines, child support or the ACT fees. To which your defender points out the obvious: They don't care.

Do you see a pattern here? If you are Bill Gates, the fines are no problem, and you can have your driver pick you up at home and take you to work. Of course in Montana, you could rely on the fantastic public transportation system that we have in order to get to work. Instead, we have a system that is designed to keep you poor. This is not just morally unjustified, it is impractical. In order to get to work to pay all of your obligations, you drive while suspended and without insurance. Further law breaking that if you are caught, will put you even further into the hole.
All of these laws have a valid societal interest, and are promoted by earnest, well meaning people. The trouble is, that in their application, they serve to create a permanent underclass, solve none of the problems, and cost a tremendous amount of money.

But at least we can feel good about ourselves that we are doing something about dead beat dads and drunk driving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is the Reality Based Community?

So, Randi Rhodes falls down and is hurt. Somehow, the Left wing of this country believes that it is all part of some conspiracy.

My step father used to believe in the Tri-Lateral Commission, the Illuminati and other conspiracy theories. Like those at the above link, he sought meaning to his life by believing that others exercised some form of occult control which is the reason that he wasn't as successful as he thought he should have been.

The reality is, that organizing and keeping a conspiracy is beyond the ability of anyyone. Wishful paranoia, where you hope that there are enemies keeping you down is not a very useful life philosophy.

But it may be a useful political philosophy to keep the uninformed masses angry.

More Krugman idiocy.

Below, I made mention of the mendacity that is the former Enron advisor Paul Krugman. Then I came across this.
American Thinker is one of those hard to find spots on the Intertubes that is well worth the time to seek them out. And while I normally only link to cites, this is too rich to risk you not taking a look.
Paul Krugman, a man so wise that he alerted us to the looming economic disaster inherent in the very Bush Administration policies that have produced high growth, low unemployment, and a falling deficit, now explains why conservatives like me laugh at Al Gore's global warming theory campaign.

"...the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore [was], I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration."

So scientific skepticism is ruled out. That's very convenient for Krugman because global warming theory isn't holding up very well under examination. No mention of the British Court requiring a corrective message appear before Gore's film when it is force-fed to British school children. This enables Krugman to blithely write:

"The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right."

Krugman is good at suggesting those who disagree with him are villainous or obsessional. Check out this sneer at the work of AT contributor (and my friend) Monica Showalter, who exposed in the pages of Investors Business Daily the inconvenient truth that Soros entities have been funding James Hansen, a NASA official whose recent actions we have questioned.

Investor's Business Daily recently declared that the prominence of James Hansen, the NASA researcher who first made climate change a national issue two decades ago, is actually due to the nefarious schemes of - who else? - George Soros.

Krugman's attempts to marginalize those who follow the tradition of scientific skepticism will no doubt be lapped up by those readers who know about conservatives from what they read in the New York Times. But for anyone familiar with the actual arguments against global warming, they are laughably self-serving delusions.

I have come to believe that anyone who references Media Matters or Paul Krugman is either a fool or an idiot. To those who do reference them, I would welcome a contra argument.

If it could be done.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Krugman, Dionne and other idiots.

Jay Stevens clips some "interesting observations" from two liberal icons of the Misguided Senile Media. Krugman, the former Enron advisor, who then went on to a career with the New York Times, where he had been blissfully hidden for quite some time (but not long enough) and Dionne, who always give me the impression that he is going to start shrieking hysterically, are two people that I just cannot take seriously. I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and try to consider their view as coming from a rational and thoughtful person. It just can't be done with these two "gentlemen."
And yet, Jay seems to think that their thinking is important.
All in all, the Graeme Frost case is a perfect illustration of the modern right-wing political machine at work, and in particular its routine reliance on character assassination in place of honest debate.

Well, there you go, those Republicans are doing character assassination. Hmm, I wonder why the Democrats never did this? Judge Bork, would you care to give an answer if you could, or any one of thousands of others since.
Then we get this:
Politics aside, the Graeme Frost case demonstrates the true depth of the health care crisis: every other advanced country has universal health insurance, but in America , insurance is now out of reach for many hard-working families, even if they have incomes some might call middle-class.

Excuse me? If some have found health insurance quotes of less than $400 per month for the family, why is that considered "out of reach for many hard-working families?" Now, it could be argued that with pre-existing conditions that the costs would be so much higher, and I would agree with them.
But WHY THE HELL DIDN'T THEY BUY IT BEFORE THE ACCIDENT? Oh, that's right, because the taxpayers can be counted on to pay for their greed (for putting the money in other places instead of health care insurance). What? How dare I call someone only making $45,000 greedy! It's easy, there are limited resources for everything. You make your choices.
In the Montana of my youth, if you needed help you could always count on your neighbors. But you didn't demand their help, and if you were really stupid, after awhile they would quit helping. Relying on natural selection to solve your problems. But somehow, we have created this mentality that someone else owes us, just because they may have something more than us. How this came about is still amazing to me.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Have they no shame?

Dave Budge takes on the silliness of Jay Stevens for being outraged at the Free Republic for pointing out that the spokesman that the Democrats relied on, a twelve year old boy, to reply to Bush's veto of the excessive SCHIP bill, is part of at least a middle class family.

Some of the amusement, is when Jay says:
First, this particular family has nothing to do with whether CHIP is a good program. We don't know 'nuthin' about the family. Anecdotal evidence proves f*ck-all.

So, the Democrats have this twelve year old kid who asks to rebut Bush, and they just say, "Sure!" "We don't know 'nuthin' about this family?" Oh yes we do. We know that they are being cynically manipulated by the Democrats. We know that the Democrats are reverting to the old school, "It's for the children" argument, because so few people are willing to think or ask questions. And using children has worked so well for them. Remember all the kids that would start crying because they knew that they were going to be killed in a nuclear war started by Raygun? Those kids knew nothing about the real situation, but they were being scared unmercifully by the Democrats for political advantage.
But Jay's comments that:
You can pull this rhetorical bullsh*t, slime the folks getting CHIP as undeserving n'eer-do-wells sucking off the teat of government,
triggered something when I read this comment below Mark Steyn's quoted piece which pointed out the
faux outraged leftists accusing conservative bloggers of waging a “smear campaign:”

and further down:
Harry Reid spokesman Jim Manley complains: “This is a perverse distraction from the issue at hand” and accuses questioners of attacking children.

Are you seeing a pattern here? Obviously the marching orders went out, and Jay and his ilk must realize how dangerous for their silly argument it is to be taking advantage of children in this way.

Child abuse I tell you!!

Have they no shame? In the final analysis, have they no sense of decency left?


The Rich Need to Pay Their Fair Share!!!

If the top 1% of the tax payers pay 90% of all taxes, as the TaxProf Blog says, then don't they deserve a tax cut? And if the top 25% of earners pay out 86%, kind of makes you wonder what the other 75% are doing.

Update: Montana Headlines does an excellent analysis about this question. I am sure that Wulfgar would appreciate it, when he gets his reading comprehensions scores up.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Patriotism is the Highest Form of Dissent

When Hillary screamed that "Dissent is the highest form of Patriotism" it gave me pause in that way when you know something is seriously wrong with what was said, but you don't want to take the time to parse it out. And like a low grade infection, it gnaws annoyingly at you, but you just don't take the time to deal with it.
Then, along comes the doctor who pours some iodine on it, and makes it go away. The good doctor wrote:
The great, truly patriotic reformers of American history have the country for what it is despite its flaws, which they dedicated themselves to amending. It's only of late, under the influence of Marxism and the tumult of the '60s (perhaps the Kennedy assassination, if you believe that guy's new book) in which you see large numbers of people expressing the loopy theoretical proposition that you can despise your country out of love for it, which seems to be the bottom line for a lot of petty university-educated intellectuals these days.

Another great mind that I hadn't considered said this:
The people who came to the United States to bomb the World Trade Center were wrong. . . . How dare you suggest that we in the freest nation on Earth live in tyranny. How dare you call yourselves patriots and heroes.

I say to you, all of you, . . . there is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you can love your country but despise your government. There is nothing heroic about turning your back on America, or ignoring your own responsibilities.
(Hat Tip to Instapundit.)

This problem often manifests itself in strange ways. Some are openly hostile to our soldiers, while others wallow in a form of manipulated self loathing even though they get it so completely wrong that they seem to be furthering enemy propaganda.

Others, come to the defense of soldiers only when it suits their cause. Yet they do not come to the side of any soldier who would offer support for what the soldiers are doing. In fact, they are more than willing to believe a fabulist, who has since recanted. Amusingly, in their efforts to avoid jingoism, some are becoming jingoistic in their anti-jingoism.

When nearly 20% of a major political party think that it would be a good idea for the US to lose the war, and the major leadership of that party remain mute, I have to wonder. Couple that silence with the news media, those "arbiters of information" who will jump on anything that looks bad, but ignore any good news has me concerned about their reliability.

I am willing to make a deal: I won't question anyone's patriotism, so long as they don't give me a reason to.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Death in the Family

I have always enjoyed Christopher Hitchens' writings. He wields the English language as a rapier in slashing apart weak thoughts and arguments. But this piece brought tears to my eyes.
Each of us may think that we are creatures of our own making as we stumble through life. Never realizing that what we might consider to be just a glancing blow at the most, leaves instead, an imprint of more magnitude than we had thought. The young man in the above link was just such a case. What he may not have appreciated, is that he has more than returned the favor to Hitchens.
The line that is quoted from his letters:

Anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me).… Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics.
(emphasis added.) touched me deeply, because, even after all these years, I know these men and women. Not these individuals, but their type. These people are the strength of our nation. They embody what is best in America. Which is probably why I get so ticked off when they are used and abused for political gain.

How many of us could say that at nineteen we were actually doing something for democracy and individual rights? And I mean this especially for those who seem to think promotion of a certain political agenda is the same thing. Don't insult these fine soldiers by equating that service with theirs.

Look at your own life, and see if you are worthy of those who serve. As I have said before, they serve without being servile.

God Bless each and every one of them.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Spiralling Downward?

Earlier, I had posted why I thought the Democrats may be in trouble in 2010. Because of certain structural problems, I think that the Republicans are going to lose even more seats in Congress in 2008, unless they can change the perception that they are fiscally irresponsible.
So, let's all get ready for a future of President Clinton with a Democratic Congress in charge at least for a little while. But I am willing to make a prediction: It ain't going to be that easy for Hillary, and most of the problems are going to be coming from her Left. However you might feel about her, and I definitely do not want to listen to her cackle every day, she is shrewd enough to figure out the difference between campaigning and governing. She has recently appointed Michael O'Hanlon as her foreign policy adviser. You might have forgotten who he is, but he is one of two men from the Brookings Institute who said that the the surge is working. O'Hanlon was widely attacked for such heresy, mostly because it could have been perceived as verifying Bush, which is of course a total no-no.
So, Hillary is confident enough to disregard the Kos and MoveOn crowds. Why, you might ask? Because she has more than enough money she doesn't need their Dean dimes to get elected. And she needs to reassure the majority of Americans that she is not one of the Loony Left in order to get elected.
Of course, that doesn't apply in every election, and like here in Montana, in a close election, MoveOn can certainly have enough of an impact to get their candidate elected. But any candidate who wins, is going to have a MoveOn member whispering sic transit gloria, or as translated: We own you Baby!
Reinforced with their increased majority, the Democratic Party is going to be doing a sharp veer to the Left, and with it, the ruining of the right to private property, the economy, and just possibly, Western Civilization as we know it.

Nothing exceeds like excess.

More funnies

Scoop has a great piece that you just have to chuckle at.

Humor requires a certain element of truth. This clip is only too true.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oh, How Quickly They Forget

Left in the West has Baucus's newest campaign ad which ostensibly castigates Bush. I remember in 2002 when Max was busy trying to get every photo op with Bush that he could.

You don't need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.

Update: I try to stay on top so that I am not duplicating other ideas that I want to post. But Mike at The Last Best Place beat me by about 20 Minutes.

To Mike, great minds and all that, even if I am 20 minutes behind you.

More Funnies

Fred Thompson has it right!

If brevity is the essence of wit, Fred has it.

The idea that equating a MoveOn ad attacking a serving General who is apolitical and what a political commentator says is ridiculous. As someone else I know is famous for writing:Stop writing stupid sh*t.

The desire to make them the same shows the shallowness of their argument.

The Source of Montana's Future Riches

In their never ending search for ways to create revenue for the government, Sen. Inouye is allowing the moratorium on the sales taxes for the Internet to expire. Since Montana does not have a sales tax, all we need is a new law guaranteeing the right to privacy, especially in commercial transactions, and a way to make Montana the point of sale, and Montana could get rich.

Too easy. It will never happen.

But you can bet that the Internet tax will prevail. Too much money to pass by.

I'm doing it for the Children.

Carol at Missoulaopolis links to an article that says that the SCHIP program will require 22 million new smokers by 2017.

Thank God. I am tired of the health Nazis who want to tell me that "Smoking kills."

So, if I don't smoke, I'll live forever?

Nah, I think that it is my personal responsibility to take care of the poor urchins whose parents are making up to $80,000 per year.

So, the next time that someone gives me grief for smoking, I will just have to ask them: "Why do you hate kids?"

I'm Baacck

After a hiatus, in which the aphorism "the only thing that justice has to do with the justice system, is the abuse of the name," is proved once again, I have returned to comment on some of the things that have passed since I have been tied up.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Communication Silence Imposed

Got a trial on Monday, will not be posting until after, unless something really good comes up and I am taking a break from prep.
Rabid Out!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Economics of being a MoveOn Member

Scoop had a piece that reflected my thoughts about MoveOn running a "real" anti-war candidate against Max in the Democratic primary. It kind of mirrored a post by Missoulaopolis where she was rather amazed that MoveOn would do such a thing.

This got me to thinking. There is a cap of $2,300 per person per election that can be contributed in a federal election. So, let's take a typical MoveOn couple in Montana and see what happens to them. Using a rough estimate of $40,000 for the household income, (based on the idea that MoveOn members tend to be better educated and wealthier than the average blue collar Democrat), the two adults of the presumed household could each contribute the $2,300 to the challenger of Max, for a total of $4,600. Then, after the challenger loses, they could repeat the $4,600 contribution in the general election to Max, for a total contribution in the Montana Senate race of $9,200, or nearly 25% of their gross income for one election.

The reason that this is interesting to me, is not that someone would be so committed to the idea of supporting their cause that they would spend one fourth of their gross income on a candidate, rather, there is a limit in the amount that they could practically donate, and without a challenger against Max, they would concentrate their giving to Max.

However, since Max is an incumbent, and according to some on the Left, he is soliciting bribes, er I mean donations from lobbyists, it seems highly unlikely that the MoveOn couple will have any real effect in the primary, and Max will be able to move solidly to the center, like he usually does. The net result is that the MoveOn couple will be out their contributions, Max will survive the primary and again run as a Demopublican like he always has.

I tell you, Dave is looking better and better every day. (In a figurative sense anyway)

Dave in 08!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And so it begins

At the above link, are some of the recommendations that Cong. Dingell is going to be proposing. Some of them are:
_A 50-cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline and jet fuel, phased in over five years, on top of existing taxes.

_A tax on carbon, at $50 a ton, released from burning coal, petroleum or natural gas.

_Phaseout of the interest tax deduction on home mortgages for homes over 3,000 square feet. Owners would keep most of the deduction for homes at the lower end of the scale, but it would be eliminated entirely for homes of 4,200 feet or more.

I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who values the truth?

I have been thinking about writing a post about some of the lies that have been so recklessly flung around in the political debate. Unfortunately, the time and the effort haven't been available.
Well, lo and Behold! Someone else has written it for me. Some of my favorite graphs:
[H]ow much truth is valued may be different for the right and the left.

In the hierarchy of leftist (as opposed to traditional liberal) values, truth is below other values, such as equality, opposition to war, the promotion of secularism and a number of other highly regarded values on the left.

This does not mean that the number of truth-tellers among individuals on the left is necessarily smaller than the number of individual truth-tellers on the right. It means that truth-telling is not high on the left's list of values.

Few liberal activist groups tell the truth. Not because their members are liars — in private life they may well be as honest as anyone else — but because whatever the left advocates it deems more important than truth.

This does not mean the right is always honest. For example, conservatives who say that "pornography causes rape" are doing what the left does — putting their agenda, in this case a loathing of pornography, above truth-telling. I have seen no credible statistics linking the proliferation of pornography with increased rape.

Read the whole thing, it will be worth your while. It does raise an interesting issue though. If one side values the truth, and the other feels that the means justify the ends, can there ever be a fair debate?

Monday, September 24, 2007

M___O_ has a thin skin

Above, is a story about how MoveOn is now going legally after someone for making a T-shirt that pokes fun at them. You have to give credit to CafePress for refusing to buckle.

It also cause me to look around their site (good marketing strategy by the way) and there are a whole lot of amusing libertarian t-shirts.

Give em a look see.

Meet the New Boss, yada, yada, yada

Found this at Roll Call. Seems to verify that nothing changed after 2006.

The hard part: I don't know if that is good or bad.

On the Failure of Campaign Finance Reform

Although I like Sen. McCain for a lot of reasons, I absolutely despise his part in the so-called "campaign finance reform" of McCain-Feingold. In an attempt to remove money from influencing campaigns, they instead allowed money to have an even greater impact in campaigns through the use of "bundlers" like Norman Hsu, the Pioneers and Hillraisers just to name a few. And that's not counting every darn 527 organization that wants to poke its head into the fray.

Trying to get money's influence out of a campaign is like trying to stop the Mississippi. There is just too much pressure, and it will always find a way around any obstacle that you put in front of it. Does anyone think that capping the amount that you can give is really effective when you have people like Hsu and Feiger who hand the individual donations over as a lump sum. Those bundlers have much more influence than their individual donations, and yet we know almost nothing about them.

My proposal is to take all caps off of contributions, but make known each and every donor. In this way, it becomes obvious who is trying to buy access to a candidate. But I would also recommend a change to the law like I saw in Germany: No campaigning more than 60 days before an election.

This is not really an infringement on 1st Amendment rights, since the SCOTUS has already held that restrictions can be permitted. But what it would do, is to limit the amount of money that could be spent just based on time.

Plus, it would only annoy me for 60 days, instead of the perpetual campaign that we now have to suffer under.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Deconstructing Wulfgar

I have been amused by Wulfgar's sense of self importance, in that he has taken a break from playing Doom and taken me to task for my postings. While I really don't care what Wulfgar thinks of me, he did ask that I clarify for him what I consider to be his errors in his tendentious reviews of my postings. And in that regard, I will undertake to show him where he has gone so horribly wrong. He can take it or leave it, but I am sure that he will react in an utterly predictable way. So, this review is probably pointless, but since it is raining out, I can't go play golf and might as well give him a shot.

First, in order to understand someone, you need to gather all of the information you can about them. Wulfgar is a minor character in Beowulf, but he is a major character apparently in some video game, where synthetic violence substitutes for reality. According to Wikipedia the character Wulfgar is
roughly seven feet tall, blond-haired and blue-eyed (common for the barbarian tribes he hails from), and developed his awesomely muscled physique when he was in servitude to the dwarf Bruenor Battlehammer for five years--working alongside dwarves, who are renowned for being tireless. Wulfgar is broad-shouldered and thick-chested with a wiry waist, and his arms have been described as thicker than a fat dwarf's thighs.

I can't find the photo that the Missoula Independent ran of him online, but as I remember it, the real Rob Kailey bears nothing resembling the physical attributes of his alter ego. The article also included this "Though an amiable fellow in person, as Wulfgar! Kailey’s anger gets the best of him online and it comes through in his rants, which are usually directed at conservative bloggers and commentators." Apparently, Wulfgar is Rob's personna allowed to run wild. Too bad, because I am sure that the real Rob Kailey is an interesting person, and I wouldn't mind meeting him.

Examining his front page, we find a snarling wolf with glowing eyes, Ooh, scary. Just under his title is some link that includes the overuse of exclamation points. Psychologists say that all of our choices reveal a part of ourselves. Rob's use (or overuse) of the exclamation point is probably his way of dealing with his own awareness of his inability to be in! your! face! in real life.

It would be easy at this point to fall into the same trap that Wulfgar lives in, and simply use insulting and taunting language in place of any logic or facts. I do not want to do this, and I hope that Rob realizes this is not personal, since Wulfgar is an imaginary creature.

So, let's take Wulfgar's most recent tirade and examine it, shall we?

First, what was it that I said about Congressman Murtha? My point, when viewed in context of the video, is that Congressman Murtha accused the Marines of murder without knowing all of the facts. Then when the facts became clear, he has refused to apologize for the slander, or even to say that he might have been wrong. Admittedly, the subtext is that Murtha is remaining adamant, because it conforms with his political agenda. But still, the reckless accusation of such charges are dangerous for the accused. In the military, commanding generals are the ones who order the convening of a court martial. They are prohibited from entering any opinion of the accused's guilt or innocence in order to prevent "undue command influence" from tainting a fair trial. The purpose being that you don't want the court martial panel to be swayed one way or the other because of perceptions of what their commander wants to have happen. As a senior member of government, and a former Marine, Murtha has to recognize that fact. Because he refuses to retreat on his accusations, says more about Murtha than who he accuses.

So, how does Wulfgar address this point? Mostly by making some nonsensical accusation totally alien from the original post. Here is his opening paragraph:
The foot-stamping defenders of appropriate speech are at it again, demanding that the leftlibdemocomfascists do what the children want, when they want it done. It's always fun to point out that what they are demanding is the same as always, that the lldcfs (read 'Democrats') aren't sacrificing one of our own to appease the god of rightful thinking (which would be the whiny little children's view of themselves.) Here's a tip, kids: if you want Murtha sacrificed to sate your outrage and hate ... do it yourselves, if you have the balls.

Notice the use of scurrilous names. Why is this necessary, and why does he do it so often? One can only assume that Rob is attempting to demean his opponents as a substitute for logic or reason. And it does have a certain level of effect, especially at the junior high playground level. But within the body of the paragraph, is the idea that I have called on anyone to sacrifice Murtha. Apparently, this is a figment of Wulfgar's fervid imagination. My entire post was directed at Murtha. Sure, I did ask why Democrats are given a free pass. But then Wulfgar reinforces my point. As below, there is a significant difference between a political operative who relies on his past military service for attaining a certain level of credibility, and that of a serving military officer who is doing the job that Congress gave him.

In the next paragraph (omitting the usual trite attempts at insult) Wulfgar says:
He missed completely the story that CREW (you know, that left wing organization that so viciously slandered Conrad Burns) has placed Murtha on their Most Corrupt Congress-person's list. I guess CREW didn't get the memo from, did they Steve?

Now where did I mention CREW in the original post? Is the real Rob starting to come through in recognizing that Murtha is corrupt, even though I didn't mention that at all? But this is typical of a Wulfgar argument. I am sure that there can be no room to move about in Rob's apartment, what with all of the straw that he has amassed for his strawmen arguments.

In his final paragraph:
Of course Steve didn't notice it. That would have meant he would be honor bound to acknowledge the 18 Republican congressmen on that list of 22. Or perhaps, Steve would have had to acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of people who grant mythological power to military service are Republicants, such as himself. Murtha isn't immune to attack from the left because of his military service. He's only immune to cheap shots from lying chicken-hawks because of his military service. And Steve, that's a problem for your side ... not mine. Whine all you want for the cookie. The only kids who will whine with you are those who want one to. It shouldn't be at all surprising that we adults just don't want to give you one anymore.

This is amusing on so many levels. Where do I defend anyone in the original post? No, again, in his own mendacious way, Wulfgar creates arguments that don't exist. And this is not the only example. If you read any of his posts, he almost invariably will fall into the same pattern. But the best line, is the one where he refers to himself as an adult. The adults that I know don't write, think or speak like Wulfgar. Maybe he should get some new adults to hang around with.

In short, Wulfgar is an imaginary creation of Rob's in order to vent his spleen. As Wulfgar has said himself in the past, "Sometimes I just write to piss people off." I suspect that is true of all of his writing. Why on earth anyone needs a cartoon caricature from a video game to piss people off is a mystery to me.

Rob, put the silly costume away and come out as yourself. I am sure that you are far more interesting than Wulfgar.