Monday, May 30, 2011

On Memorial Day

This Memorial Day, I am a little more pessimistic about my country than I have been in the past. Let's face it, Memorial Day is no longer a day to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and more for the start of summer and mattress saleathons.
But it is also time to remember that the people that this day is supposed to honor actually represents and honors all Americans, for there is no true "warrior class" in America. Sure, the demographics show that those who serve nowadays are more likely to come from the South and the West, from rural rather than urban, middle class more than the rich. But from all over the country, they come to serve. There is an entire subculture who do not serve, and know of no one who has served. And I pity them because they don't know what they have missed.
But of those who do volunteer and serve our country, they have a very wide base of similarity: They are ordinary. Not blood thirsty mercenaries, or the common uneducated criminal class. Instead, they are both ordinary, and at the same time an example of the best that our country has to offer.
They serve their country by joining. They serve their comrades by going out of the wire with them. No matter how many times, no matter how dangerous, they honor their fellow Americans by being there with them.
It is hard to describe fear accurately. Not the fear that is artificially induced such as in a scary movie, or doing something risky like rock climbing or skydiving. No, I am talking about the fear that comes from being absolutely dead certain that your luck has run out and it's your turn. Whether to die or be maimed, it doesn't matter. You just know that you won't survive to see the next day as you are today. And yet, still they go. That my friends is what courage is. They don't teach that at basic training, or any advanced schools. It is present in every American soldier who serves.
That is what should be honored today. But don't just say "Thanks for your service." While it may be appreciated, the best way to honor this day is to remember that they didn't serve or die for your freedom as many say. No, they died or served so that you can make the country better, freer, more courageous.

Don't let them down.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Goes Around . . .

The Republican minority in the Senate has allowed nine nominees to the Appeal Courts to go through, but just put a monkey wrench in the planned promotion of one judge for the 9th Circuit. Democrats are of course, appalled that the minority would restrict the nomination of a President. After all, elections have consequences don't they?
Why yes they do, and as I noted six years ago, it was a good thing that the Republicans didn't implement the so called "nuclear option." Now that the shoe is on the other foot, you have to wonder if Reid wants the nuclear option. Of course, intellectual consistency is not one of his high points. Heck, intellectual anything cannot be used to describe Harry. I am just waiting for the moment to return and bite him in the butt for this comment from the Examiner:
There was a revealing moment in 2005, as the filibuster fight was nearing its climax, when mild-mannered Republican Sen. Robert Bennett asked Sen. Harry Reid, who was then the minority leader, "if any number of hours of debate would be sufficient" to move the Owen nomination forward. Reid's answer was quick and sharp. "There is not a number in the universe that would be sufficient," he said.
How is it that we can elect such stupid people?
Nevada - You got a lot of explaining to do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Raising (Herman) Cain

Great piece by Byron York in the Washington Examiner about Herman Cain. While watching the news shows over the weekend, I noticed that none of them mentioned Herman Cain, and I think that is just another example of the myopia of the media. Herman Cain is the real deal, a non-politician who has actually solved problems. More than political experience, what we need right now is problem solving capability. The present occupier of the White House is outstanding when it comes to politics, but is absolutely ineffectual in solving problems. It would be a stark contrast to pit the two of them together.
Some of the solutions he has proposed from the article:
Lower corporate tax rates, lower personal income tax rates -- they work. Take the capital gains tax rate to zero. Suspend taxes on foreign repatriated profits. Provide a real payroll tax holiday -- 6.2 percent for the employee, 6.2 percent for the employer. That's the Social Security piece. Do it for a year. Then put a bow around it and make those rates permanent. You do that and you remove the veil of uncertainty -- businessmen will go crazy. They will start investing again.
I would add to that, that he would also have to have a moratorium on discretionary spending to the maximum extent possible. But that is how you prime a pump for getting the economy started again. Not throwing almost a Trillion dollars at "shovel ready jobs" that are mere political hackery disguised as job creation.
Herman is set to announce on the 21st of May in Atlanta. While I would love to be there, instead, I am going to break one of my personal rules and contribute to his campaign. While giving money to a candidate only seems to encourage them, I think this is the guy to encourage.

UPDATE: C. Edmund Wright at the American Thinker has a top ten list of why Cain should be President. Check it out.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do They Even Know Any Republicans?

Ann Althouse at her blog posts the question "Have you ever had a thought on the topic of race that isn't set generations in the past?" The question was posed by a commenter about Matthew Yglesias on Newt Gingrich. And the question has triggered something that has boiling in the back room of the brain for awhile: Do members of the Left actually know any Republicans?
If you look both near and far, you will find Democrats who say that Republicans who oppose Obama are racists. Others go further and say that Republicans want a return to the plantation economy.
Others feel that racism doesn't go far enough and refer to them as Nazis. Invoking the term Nazis is usually a sign of the failure of the argument, but some take the position proudly. It's not just the rest of the Left in this country that act so ridiculously, even here in Montana, the appellation Republican utomatically means that you are a racist/Nazi.
Part of it is amusing to me. As I have said before, the perjorative "racist" has lost its panache as a tool to shut people up thanks to its unjustified overuse. And when that fails, especially in any argument involving fiscal spending, the next accusation is almost always that Republicans want to kill old people, women and minorities. Sort of reminds me of James Taranto's Best of the Web in which he regularly inserts the fake New York Times headline "World to End! Women and Minorities hit hardest." For my humor impaired Leftist (is there any other kind?) friends, the implication is that the end of the world would be an equal opportunity disaster. I am just not certain that that many of the Left would appreciate this.
But here is the problem with these outlandish accusations: How do you negotiate with someone that you equate with "evil"? Suppose you could go back to Germany in 1934. Would you be willing to tell Hitler that his killing ten million people in concentration camps, of whom six million were Jews is unacceptable, but that you would be willing to accept five million dead, so long as Jews don't die at a disproportionate rate? You save five million people, a good thing no? Except you are still condoning evil. Same with slavery. If at the secession of the Confederacy you had the opportunity to be Jefferson Davis and negotiate with Abraham Lincoln, saying that you would be willing to release half the slaves from bondage if the South would be left alone. In the long run, you could possibly prevent the costliest war in American history. If you were Lincoln, could you accept such a proposal? Of course not!
I know that there are the Leftist fanatics, the equivalent of jihadi suicide bombers who really don't care what they say, so long as it has a negative effect on their Republican opponents. They are immune from logic and facts and have no purpose but to destroy. From their appearance in the media, they do seem to be the most vocal.
But do any on the Left really know Republicans? Do they honestly believe their trope about Republicans not just wishing ill, but actually being evil? If there are those who know Republicans, isn't it hard to say that the nice family that lives up the block and contribute regularly to charitable causes like the homeless shelter, or who are willing to take in foster children from abusive homes really are Nazis? What about the Republicans who are hiring inexperienced youngsters in their businesses in the hope that they can make them into a productive worker and citizen? Are they really so evil that they deserve such hatred?
My biggest complaint about Republicans, is that they really don't know much about the poor. They have mistaken beliefs that one can get Social Security Disability payments for being a drug user or alcoholic. This hasn't been true for years. Republicans also don't recognize the damage done through the social network programs that are ostensibly to help the poor. The dehumanizing treatment to receive aid has a tremendous effect on people with personal pride.
On the other hand, my Democrat friends ignore the abuse by people who live off of the system without any intention of getting off of it. Consider the twentysomething who is so desperately trying to get the $610 a month plus Medicaid and has no intentions of doing anything but playing video games (if that was ever an occupation, we would cut the SSI rolls in half) and dabble in criminal activity to supplement their income, and is completely satisfied with the arrangement. Those of us who work on the frontlines of poverty see everyone of the above. Add in the lazy, deliberately stupid, and con artists who have figured out how to milk the system, and you have created a system for parasites, not for the downtrodden.
Our problems are too complex for most people to comprehend, and from that the demagogs arise with full throated fury to decry the other. But if we are to discuss our issues, the Left needs to realize how unproductive their attacks are. I would never bother to discuss political and economic theory with someone who thinks I am a Nazi or racist. Why would they want to do the same thing if they believe I am one of their enemies? But they need to remember that the Left is a minority in this country. Even among poor people, there is a desire to achieve economically. Very few of them believe that they are condemned to poverty. But the system of social services helps to keep them that way.
Until the Left leaves their comfortable enclaves where everyone thinks the same, it is easy for them to believe that Republicans in general, and Tea Party in particular are singularly evil. As long as they think that way, they are cut off from a wealth of experiences that would improve their lives.
Too bad for them.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Herman Cain for President

I along with almost two other people, just watched the Republican debate, and in the words of VodkaPundit, I have a heterorsexual mancrush on Herman Cain. He may not be the smoothest, but he sure as hell strikes me as the best candidate for the country.

Check him out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Smile for the Camera!

The President is to be commended for ordering the takedown of Osama bin Laden, (although there is the problem that he had to interrupt his deliberations on it in order to attend the White House Correspondent's Dinner). However, if you thought the "birther" issue was a pain, wait now for the "deathers" to start rearing their ugly heads.
Apparently though, the President has decided not to release photos of the body because he fears the impact that it may have on the Islamic world, and indirectly, on US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. But there is one point in his comments that I find rather awkward:
Imagine how the American people would react if Al Qaida killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the internet," he continued. "Osama bin Laden is not a trophy - he is dead and let's now focus on continuing the fight until Al Qaida has been eliminated.
True, Osama is not a trophy to be exhibited, but his reference to the sensibilities of Americans about a photo of a dead guy being the same sensibilities of the Arab street are disingenuous. The bazaars of Baghdad are filled with DVDs of the snuff videos of Al Qaeda sawing some poor innocent's head off. This is just the equivalent of porn over there.
Contrast his reticence to release the photos with the release of the photos of Abu Ghraib, or the demand to take pictures of returning caskets. In both of these latter cases, there was a demand that the "world should know." Cloaking themselves in the rightness of informing the public, their silence now reveals them for what they actually are: People bent on the destruction of George Bush, whose hatred of him is so great that they were willing to sacrifice American troops to greater danger on behalf of their agenda.

May they, along with Osama bin Laden enjoy their prolonged stay in Hell.