Monday, January 29, 2007

Matt: Where are you?

Last November, voters ousted the corrupt Republicans like Conrad Burns because he had received campaign contributions from Abramof in a purported quid pro quo. Now we learn that Senate Majority Leader Harry Ried got a personal increase in his personal wealth for an obvious quid pro quo.
Make me wonder if Matt at Left in the West would be condemning this obvious corruption. I haven't heard from Matt on this issue, but I am sure that he is working on it behind the scenes.
Go Matt, don't let partisanship excuse corruption.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Wulfgar Reads Me!!!

Wulfgar has included me in his rant abour how we have already lost the war. Darn, you work hard and you miss all of the news. I really didn't know that we had already lost. Nobody tells me anything anymore.
But he expresses an interesting view. One that is shared by my wife (the good Democrat) that we have lost the war for the Middle East, so let's just get out now.
I still don't see how we have lost yet. I can agree that we have not won, but not winning is not necessarily the same as losing. Think of it this way, suppose two heavy hitters are slugging it out, with one absorbing untold punishment, and the other growing weary from inflicting blows. Which one should quit first?
As Black5 notes maybe we are winning, and we just don't know it. This kind of reminds me of the call for sacrifice that has been bantered about for so long. Maybe we should have scrap metal drives, and collect old tires and ration gasoline, just so we can all feel a part of the war effort. On the other hand, Sally Fields is on the TV telling me of the plight of her good friend who has to remember to set aside time each week to take her calcium pill instead of once a month like Sally does. I think that we have hit the limit of how much sacrifice most Americans are willing to make.
Hmm, makes you think that we are such a powerful country, that only we can defeat ourselves.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Greater Love Hath No Man . . .

One of my problems with the discussion of the War in Iraq, is that it has taken on such a political tone that it is impossible not to see opposition to the war as purely cynical. As I noted below, the Democrats were for the surge when Bush was against it, and when he agrees with them, they immediately flip flop. But my greatest concern is with the effect of the cynicism on the troops.
Approximately 1000 soldiers signed a petition for redress about the war and that was trumpeted all over the news as showing even the troops were against the war. Okay, 1000 out of 140,000 serving. What if 2000 troops signed a petition that said they were for staying and finishing the mission? Would that receive the same level of coverage? I don't think so. But the fact is, in spite of rapid return of units to Iraq, the soldiers keep re-enlisting. When you check out the Milblogs you find that the military as a whole still supports our endeavor.
But the reason for this post is the title. Quoting Jesus from the Bible, "Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his life for another." 3,000 of our best and brightest (despite what Rangel "vicitms of the economy" or Kerry "study hard or you will end up in Iraq," think) have demonstrated that love.
Understanding why men and women fight is not that difficult, it's just not what you think. Soldiers, being human beings, are complicated creatures with many and varying motives for doing anything. But in this context, soldiers fight for their brothers and sisters in arms. They may start out with some lofty ideal or political goal, but as S. L. A. Marshall found, it is the soldier to your left or right in the fight that matters. So, first and foremost, they fight for each other.
Beyond that, the milblogs show that the soldiers still have hope. They see progress that isn't being reported. They would like to see the Iraqis take more action for their own defense, but they have not given up. They know that the terrorist attacks are aimed at the American public through the willing cooperation of the media, and know that these terrorists attacks, while having no military value, are working on us here at home.
But their real love is for America, the ideals, and hopes that we all have for the world. A world that is peaceful and respectful to each of us that live here. A world where parents don't have to watch their daughters raped in order to coerce a confession. Or see their sons thrown into a vat of acid for the same purpose. Or to see anyone killed simply for having the wrong religion. They believe in America. Unfortunately, it appears that America is not keeping faith with them, nor honoring their loving sacrifice of their friends and brothers and sisters. For them, to quit now is the same as America spurning their loving sacrifice.
I wish we could communicate to them, that the introduction of politics into the debate is done for purely partisan purposes, not because of what they have done.
On the other hand, maybe we shouldn't communicate that idea. Just reading it again chills me to the bone.

John McCain for Pres.?

I don't usually care for John McCain because of his campaign finance reform which is an abridgment of the 1st Amendment, but as I am watching his performance on Meet the Press, I may have to consider him nonetheless. Some of his hits on opponents of the troop surge were quite impressive. One was that the idea of the Senate voting a resolution against the surge is essentially a slap in the face of the troops. Basically "We sent you there to do a job, but you are'nt doing it right, but we support the troops." He also slapped at Harry Ried who had said that he is only a senator, and therefore has no responsibility for proposing a different plan except retreat. How wonderfully droll.
Politicians talking about war reminded me that our own golden child politician, Gov. Schweitzer delivered the rebuttal to the President's address yesterday. Although rebuttal is ridiculous because his comments had nothing to do with what Bush was talking about. But Brian was saying that we need a political solution not a military solution. Well hello? War is politics by other means. Yes we need a political solution, but it goes hand in glove with the military solution. They don't exist in a vacuum.
It amazes me how stupid politicians must think we are. They keep saying that we don't have a strategy in Iraq. Well here is one: Train the military and the police to standards that are similar to our own; defense of the country, not a party; and help to establish a free and democratically elected government that is able to sustain itself and protect itself. Oh wait, that is what Bush wants. Hmmm, makes me wonder why they are complaining.
I'm still not sure that I could ever vote for McCain, but he sure does have the ability to put stupidity in its place.
This could be interesting.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Interesting Developments

Omar at Iraq the Model is reporting that both the Sunni terrorists and al Qaida are leaving for another province since Baghdad and Anbar are going to be shutting down. The interesting thing about this is, that apparently, Moqtada Sadr's Mahdi Army is also planning to relocate to the same province.
Now both of these groups actually hate each other more than they do the Americans. Could be interesting if the troop surge actually forced the rats into one place where they can kill each other.

A Law I Can Support

At the above link is a proposed law that I really could support. It says that if a lawyer gives a contribution to the campaign of a judge, the judges have to recuse themselves from any case with that lawyer. In a way, it makes sense. After all, if lobbyists are going to sway legislators with their contribution, then surely judges are no less vulnerable.
I normally don't give money to politicians, since it only serves to encourage them. But in this case, I am more than willing to give to the campaigns of certain judges that I would rather never have to practice in front of. A $10 contribution seems a small price to pay just to never have to deal with them again.
You gotta love small minded legislators.

New Look

I was getting tired of the old template, and frustrated trying to straighten out the margins. So, I have tried this new style. Any comments?

Democrats for Democrats' Sake

Now that Bush has announced his plan to increase the numbers of troops in selected areas, the Democrats are howling. But it was not always so. See here, here, here, here, and, well, you know. But, now that Bush has stated his intention to increase the forces, the Democrats are all over saying that this will never happen. They also seem to be saying that they want an immediate withdrawl from Iraq, but not an immediate withdrawl (insofar as they can be caught up in it).
The ability of the Democrats to flip on this issue is just further proof that whatever Bush is for, they are against. I don't understand how anyone can be so shortsighted about the Middle East to believe that our failure to succeed will result in anything but a disaster for us and the entire Middle East. You almost get the impression that prior to March of '03 they believe that Iraq was a bastion of peace and stability. They now say that if they had known that the intel was wrong that they would have never voted to allow the war. Fair enough, but the subtext (although openly addressed by less responsible people) is that Bush lied about the intel. Hmm, as the Hammond Report makes clear, they were for the intel before they were against it.
Now the Democrats are saying that their opposition has been widely vindicated by the recent elections. Elections in which they won a majority (1 seat in the Senate), and the the President needs to heed opinion polls that show the American public dissatisified with the way the war is going. Of course, the flip side is that if you only follow the whims of public opinion polls, Bush was correct in '03 when we went into Iraq (More than 70% supported the war then). Ah, but perhaps we were manipulated back then. Maybe, and maybe we are being manipulated now.
It seems to me that the Democrats offer no alternative, except that they are not Bush. This is extremely shortsighted now that they are the majority party in the legislative branch. They have a responsibility to act in the nation's best interests now that they no longer are the minority party. Unfortunately, they seem to see the nation's interests as keeping the Democrats in control.
It's not that they are unpatriotic, just that their definition of patriotism is anything that the Republicans are for they are against. Unthinking opposition often results in unthinking in all actions.
Should the Democrats prevail in their petty opposition, I fear for the country. But I live in Montana, I know that my and my family's personal safety is not threatened by their childish antics. I just feel bad for the rest of the world.
Good Luck to you all.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Triteness in Political Discourse

In case you missed it, Sen. Boxer of California made a complete ass of herself in her personal attacks on Sec. of State Condoleeza Rice. Rather than apologize for a remark that was over the top, she now defends herself by saying that "she was speaking truth to power." What a load of crap.
Can we please just use some plain old English? Speak truth to power? This is as trite and meaningless phrase as there ever was. Okay, maybe "make the rich pay their fair share," is in the running, since that would mean that they are in line for a tax cut.
I am not big on the language police, but people need to be called when they use trite phrases with no real meaning as a subsitute for intelligent thought.
On the other hand, maybe that is as intelligent as Sen. Boxer can get.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Kudos to Matt at LITW

Matt at Left in the West has stated that he is more interested in accountability than he is just in having a Democratic majority. Good for him!
I have often disagreed with Matt on philosophical reasons, but I admire the way that he thinks. Because I am old, I am willing to make a prediction: Matt will soon find out the syllogism that all politicians are human, and all humans are fallible, ergo all politicians are fallible is true. When he does, he will be faced with a choice, surrender to his ideals, and go along to get what he thinks is important, or decry those who failed him.
The true measure of charachter is the ability to remain true to yourself. I hope that Matt does. Who knows, maybe someday he will run for office himself, and I will be forced to seriously consider voting for him.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

c'est plus change

The Democrats managed to win the national level of government by decrying the ethical problems of the Republicans. Madame Speaker Pelosi et al. have promised to restore ethics and accountability to government. So, she has examples like Rep. Conyers to look to as an example of her profound concern about responsible and ethical government.
Or, how about cold cash William Jefferson? This is really only too funny. But it is nice to know that the problems of corruption are not unique to the Republicans. They just seem to be unique to anyone seeking elected office.
But hey, with the ability to fully investigate any perceptions of wrongdoing, people like Rep. Mollohan will be able to root out corruption immediately.
I feel so much better already.

Good Intentions, and the road to . . . .

It's wonderful to know that within the grand scheme of things, there are immutable factors which never change. At the above link, a Montana Legislator is actually trying to pass a law to make sure that there are paper towels in every restroom in the state of Montana. I first heard about this on MT Public Radio, in which even Sally Mock seemed to be mocking the idea.
This sort of proposed legislation makes me think that one of two things are happening. Either there are no serious problems for our legislature to consider, or there are no serious legislators. Hmm, methinks it's the latter.
What we probably need aren't sunset laws, but sunrise laws. Let the legislature pass laws like this, but make them unenforceable for five years. If there is not complete destruction of our civilization during that period, the laws will be rescinded before they come into effect. That way, silly legislators can pass silly laws, but with no real effect on the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Dummy Scientists

In the link above are several celebrities (most of whom I have no idea who they are) and the dumb things that they are saying. It is almost predictable that some group feeling intensely that they are correct about an issue, will find some muddle headed celebrity to agree with them, and that celebrity will become their unofficial spokesman.

Just remember, that all of the great lines uttered by movie actors (Do you feel lucky punk, Go ahead, make my day, or life is hard, it's harder when you are stupid) were written by someone else than the person we associate them with.

Which reiterates my point (now that I am old) - will everyone who doesn't know what they are talking about, please just shut up!

Fair Taxes? Not in our lifetime

I was checking out Will to Exist, and he had linked to Publius Rendevous about a change to the tax code which would be inherently fair, and was wondering why the Congress isn't doing anything about it. What he fails to understand is that the tax code serves two purposes: Generation of revenue, and implementation of social policies.
The ability to manage people's behavior is what is really liked by the Democrats. Make a flat tax, where everyone pays a pro rated share, and the rich will not pay more. Horrors!!

Check out Publius. Maybe he is right, with a grass roots effort we just might be able to get Congress to do the right things. Get rid of lobbyists and you could eliminate the prime source of corruption. But again, it's just too good to be true.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New blog

I link to those blogs that I reguarly read. This is not to exclude anyone, but as I go through my blogs, I use my links to read those that I would look for because they are interesting to me. Sometimes, I check out my favorite blogs links, and I found the The Montana Misanthrope.
I now have to get up even earlier to check the opinions of people whose opinions interest me.

On Religion and Politics

My wife (the good Democrat) used to be frustrated with me whenever we discussed the war in Iraq, because as she put it "There you go, using facts again" whenever I pointed out the logical inconsistencies of her arguments. (Sidenote: this is a perpetual problem for anyone married to a lawyer.) So I encouraged her to get facts by watching news shows. Lo and behold, she has discovered Keith Olberman, who says what she believes and he does it so almost intellectually.
I listened to his tirade this evening, and while marvelling at a delivery that would have made Goebbels green with envy, I became upset with his use of "facts" that were anything but. For instance, the good Dr. Olbermann stated that we have "lost the war in Iraq." How can that be I wondered? Which American units have been forced to surrender. What divisions devastated, or brigades obliterated? Where can we not go whenever we want to?
This is not to say that we are winning. The reality is that we are winning militarily, in that the enemy is not able to exert his will on our forces, but we are losing politically. The enemy has found our week spot: Our susceptibility to propaganda.
Which was ironic when I found this article about delusions. This explains so very well why we have lost politically. Because we want to. With a constant barrage of hatred against the war which is really just a subset of the hatred toward Bush, we have come to believe that which we hear so often.

The article also got me to thinking about Islamic/Oriental fatalism. If nothing can happen except by Allah's will, then why was Israel allowed by Allah to exist? And if it is Allah's will to allow Israel to exist, then what good Muslim could seek its destruction?

I know, I know, religion and logic are automatically antithetical.