Sharon Shannon at the 2007 Cambridge Folk Festival.
Monday, March 31, 2008
As news spread about the unidentified object, others came forward on the Web to say they had also seen it. Videos and other images of what soon became known as the “California Drone” were published on the Internet.
Then came a call in January to private detective, T.K. Davis, a former Santa Clara County sheriff deputy. An unidentified woman from Open Minds Forum, a group specializing in “UFOology,” was willing to pay him $100 an hour to investigate the sighting.
Davis doesn’t believe in UFOs, but he took the woman seriously and has been on the case with a partner, Frankie Dixon, ever since. What does Davis think now? For one, he believes the object in the photo is too intricate to be the work of a Photoshop scam artist. He’s searched high and low to determine what it may be, and talked with many doubters, but has yet to find a logical answer.
Davis has even talked to the local power company to try to determine where the telephone pole in the photograph is located. Before vanishing, the person who claimed to take the photograph e-mailed the woman from the Open Minds Forum saying the image was shot outside his fiancee’s parents home. If Davis can find the telephone pole, he believes, he can find the person who took the photo.
An article published in the Los Angeles Times about the photographs last week has sparked more interest in the UFO sighting, but Davis says he still doesn’t have any solid evidence on whether or not the photographs are real. “The more research we’ve done, I’m leading towards believing,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’m not a skeptic anymore.”
Many bloggers on UFO sites have called the images a hoax, claiming they have been digitally altered. Others have contacted Davis saying they had seen a UFO in Capitola several years ago. One person, a man named Isaac that Davis found through the Mutual UFO Network, claims the strange object bears a similarity to crafts that were built as part of a U.S. government project he worked on in Palo Alto in the 1980s.
Davis has investigated this too, but can’t confirm the project ever existed. Speculation continues to run rampant, but until Davis speaks with Raji, the person who took the photos, he says it will remain a mystery.
Our friend Fits over at Shooting the Messengers ran this story with some comments that were less than supportive of the UFO buff's cause and has been getting some grief about it.
In the interests of taking some of the heat off Fits and in helping out those who may be in doubt about the authenticity of this picture let me make the following statement.
This is a photoshop. The person who produced this was inspired by the "space probe" in the video game Homeworld (PC Gamer's 1999 Game of the Year). The method of disseminating the photograph is the classic method of a hoaxer. Put the photo up from a throwaway account and then vanish, depending on the gullibility of the UFO believer community to take it viral.
There are real UFO's, that is objects which are in the air (flying) and whose identity cannot be positively determined. However this isn't one of them.
From ABC News:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not want the U.S. to boycott the Beijing Olympics, but she says that President George W. Bush should consider skipping the opening ceremony.
"I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table," Pelosi, D-Calif., told "Good Morning America" co-anchor Robin Roberts in an interview airing Tuesday. "I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will not attend the Olympic Games, set to begin on August 8, 2008. Pelosi, meanwhile, has been outspoken in support of Tibet, the site of recent crackdowns on human rights demonstrators by the Chinese government.
In a recent trip to Dharmasala, India, home of the Dalai Lama's displaced Tibetan government, Pelosi said, "If freedom-loving people don't speak out against China's oppression of people in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out against any oppressed people."
In her interview with GMA, the speaker continued to denounce China's rule over Tibet and expressed regret that the communist nation would play host to the summer games.
Ms. Pelosi's moral outrage at China would have more credibility if she had not opposed the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Hussein treated the people of Iraq worse than the Chinese are treating the people of Tibet.
However despite San Fran Nan's hypocrisy I am in partial agreement with her. However I believe that the US should completely boycott the Chinese Olympics. The decision to boycott the Moscow Olympics was almost the only thing I agreed with Jimmy Carter on during his entire presidency.
Much was said then, and will be said today, about how the games are not political and are in fact a chance to put aside politics and celebrate international sporting competition. It will be noted that in ancient Greece wars would be put on hold in order for the nations to send their athletes to compete in the games.
However it should also be noted that in ancient Greece the competitions in the games were all of a martial nature. Either the ability to engage in hand to hand combat, use weapons or run (a military skill - see Marathon, Battle of). Nations found it worthwhile to support the games in order to show off their warrior's skill and gage the ability of current or potential enemies.
In the modern era they do not serve that purpose but instead showcase international cooperation and goodwill. To serve that end only nations which earn the goodwill of the world community by embodying the principals of democracy, free market economics and adherence to individual rights should be allowed to participate.
In other words the Olympics should be reserved for the world's civilized peoples. Red China, North Korea, Cuba and Iran need not apply.
From The Washington Post:
BAGHDAD, March 30 -- Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers Sunday to lay down their arms and end six days of clashes against U.S. and Iraqi forces if the government agrees to release detainees and give amnesty to Sadr's fighters, among other demands. But after the statement, mortar attacks continued in Baghdad and Basra, and violence persisted in many pockets of the country.
Ali al-Dabbagh, a spokesman for the government, described Sadr's statement as a "positive step," but he said Iraqi security forces would continue to try to bring order to Basra, a southern oil center. A government offensive there against militias triggered clashes across southern Iraq and in Baghdad last week. Iraqi forces "will finish the job," Dabbagh said.
Sadr's nine-point statement instructed his Mahdi Army militia to cooperate with government efforts to achieve security, but stopped short of ordering them to turn in weapons to Iraqi security forces, as the government has demanded. Sadr also used the opening of the statement as a rallying cry against occupation forces, describing them as the "armies of darkness."
In exchange for an end to fighting, Sadr demanded that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki release hundreds of detained Sadr followers not proven guilty of crimes. Over the past few months, Iraqi security forces have raided the homes of hundreds of Sadr followers, arresting and detaining them. Thousands more have fled. Sadr demanded that they be returned to their homes.
Mahdi Army commanders and fighters in Baghdad and across southern Iraq appeared to have mixed reactions. Some laid down their arms while others kept fighting.
If Sadr had not felt himself to be losing he would not have even attempted to cut a deal. This is good news because the effort was Iraqi led. Of course it could have gone better but the important thing is that they are beginning to stand on their own. Al Qaeda in Iraq is essentially gone and the only obstacle to stability of any importance are the Shiite militias. If they have come to see the negotiating table rather than AK's and IED's as their best course of action then the end of the affair may be in sight. That is after all what happened in Northern Ireland.
Big Lizards has a good piece up about this comparing the New York Times coveage to that of Bill Roggio. Here is his conclusion:
So according to Roggio, a beaten Sadr is desperately seeking a face-saving way out of a war he is losing badly. But according to the Times (reporting by Erica Goode), a triumphant Sadr has trapped American forces and feeble, helpless Iraqi lickspittles and lapdogs in a quagmire; and now we are begging Sadr to give us (following our acquiescence to a series of "demands") a face-saving opportunity to run away with our tails between our legs.
I draw two conclusions: First, Bill Roggio, with his infantry background and current military connections (he has embedded with the Army, Marines, the Iraqi army, and the Iraqi National Police many times during the last four years), is far more likely to understand the situation on the ground in Iraq. Therefore, I trust his take on Sadr's surrender more than I trust the Times.
Second, based on the elite-media coverage of Operation Knights' Charge against the Mahdi Militia over the past week, I can only conclude that it must be an election year.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Jonathan Alter demonstrates why he is widely held to be an idiot:
We know why politicians lie when they get in trouble: they think the consequences of telling the truth are too severe to bear. That's why Richard Nixon lied about Watergate, and Bill Clinton about Monica Lewinsky. The more complicated question is why they fib—why politicians insist on stretching unimportant stories in ways that are easy to check and refute. Hillary Clinton's oft-told yarn about ducking sniper fire on the tarmac in Tuzla, Bosnia, in 1996 has gotten a lot of publicity, maybe too much. Her misrepresentation of her role in the Northern Ireland peace talks was more serious but less visual on YouTube. Even so, the Tuzla Tale tells us something about her insecurities and frustrations, which in turn helps explain why she's losing.
Hillary's lie about facing sniper fire in Tuzla and her lie about having played any significant part in the Northern Ireland peace talks are not mere "fibs". These kind of things are what Hillary is basing her candidacy upon and the fact that the incidents which she uses as credentials to prove her worthiness for high office seem to always turn out to be falsehoods is a matter of great importance and cannot be given "too much" publicity.
Of course it takes the following to establish Alter as both a true meathead and a soulless abomination:
The media mob was slow to pick up the story—Sinbad jokes had been circulating for weeks on Hillary's press plane without anyone following up. But Clinton finally fell victim to what might be called "pattern coverage." For years, Hillary has had occasional problems with the truth when attacked. (The firing of the staffers who ran the White House Travel Office in 1993 was ridiculously overcovered, but an independent probe later proved she was lying when she claimed she hadn't ordered it.) All it takes is a few such incidents for the press to identify a dreaded pattern, into which it then fits subsequent stories. No pattern, no frenzy.
For those of you who are either very young or spent the Clinton administration in a cave the Travel Office incident he refers to went this way. Hillary wanted to get rid of the low level government employees who ran the White House Travel Office. The Travel Office's job was to make travel arrangements for the press members who follow the president around when he leaves Washington.
Hillary wanted to place her own cronies in the office so instead of simply firing the current employees, which she had every right to do because they were "at will" employees who had no civil service protections, she accused them of embezzlement and had the FBI file charges against the head of the office, one Billy Dale (a thirty year government employee who would have retired a the end of the Clinton's term). It took the jury less than two hours to return a not guilty verdict.
Hillary was not content to simply remove the current people and install her friends. She had to attempt to destroy those who were occupying a place where she wanted someone else. She tried to send innocent people to federal prison in order to cover her decision to remove some low level government workers. This goes beyond simple thoughtlessness or arrogance and crosses the line will into the territory of the purely evil.
Let me say this again for the slow witted. Hillary Clinton attempted to frame a man whom she knew to be innocent for a federal crime and send him to prison so that she could give his job to one of her Arkansas buddies who had funneled money into Bill's campaign. This is not just politics as usual it is genuine evil.
Then when the whole affair blew up in the White House's face (the Dales were popular with the White House press corps so they didn't give the Clintons a pass like they usually did on this sort of thing) Hillary did what Clintons do in those circumstances and lied through her teeth.
That Alter thinks that this was "ridiculously overcovered" must mean that he thinks that what Clinton wanted to do to Mr. Dale was really not that big a deal.
This is understandable because as a member of the liberal elite Mr. Alter really does think that people like himself and the Clintons are better than the "little people" who may be destroyed at the convenience of their betters.
This is why I say that Jonathan Alter is a soulless abomination. Just like Hillary Clinton and her husband and John McCain for that matter because he persists in calling Mrs. Clinton "honorable". Anyone whose definition of the word "honorable" can stretch to fit a creature like Hillary Clinton has no more business in a position of responsibility than she does.
It is clear that the United States has spawned a class of amoral monsters who occupy the positions of leadership in the media, politics and the academy. The first step in purging our society of these loathsome and detestable moral lepers is to call them out without regard to position or party. Do not even recognize a common humanity with Hillary Clinton and with those who refuse to recognize her for what she is and tell the truth about it.
"We need to listen," John McCain was saying, "to the views … of our democratic allies." Then, though the words weren't in the script, the Arizona senator repeated himself, as if in self-admonishment: "We need to listen." A lot of meaning was packed into that twice-said line, which was a key theme of McCain's first major foreign-policy speech since becoming the GOP's nominee-apparent. McCain was telling America, and the whole world: if I'm elected there will be, at long last, a return to what Jefferson called "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." There will be no more ill-justified lurches into war, no more unilateralism, no more George W. Bush.
Of course there will be no more George W. Bush. Bush, for all his faults, is a Republican and McCain, despite his registration, is not.
As McCain looks at the continued internecine fighting in the Democrat party and sees that around 20% of Democrat voters claim that they will jump ship and vote for him if their chosen Democrat does not get the nomination McCain will feel less and less need to even pretend to be a conservative in the Reagan mold.
The question I have is how much more the conservative Republicans who are currently willing to hold their noses and vote for McCain will take. What kind of pretzel shapes will they contort themselves into in order to accommodate someone who has more in common with the enemy than he ever will with them?
This election is dividing the conservatives who regard the Republican party as being useful only as long as it advances the conservative cause from the Republicans who are fine with conservatism - as long as it can win.
This is a choice every Republican is going to have to make because the human soul is not a divisible commodity. You cannot sell just a piece of it. It must be either retained or disposed of in whole. On election day this November we will find out how many who will not "bow the knee to Baal" (to take a page from the Old Testament).
Saturday, March 29, 2008
From Deadline Hollywood:
I'm told #7 Stop-Loss opened to only $1.6 million Friday from just 1,291 plays and should eke out $4+M. Although the drama from MTV Films was the best-reviewed movie opening this weekend, Paramount wasn't expecting much because no Iraq war-themed movie has yet to perform at the box office. "It's not looking good," a studio source told me before the weekend. "No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It's a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that's unresolved yet. It's a shame because it's a good movie that's just ahead of its time."
It was reviewed well because it is anti-military. That is also why it is a failure at the box office. If you want to see an Iraq war movie do well make one about the heroism of our troops. Start the movie with Uday Hussein making his daily trip to the middle school to pick out the 12 or 13 year old girl he is going to rape and murder that night then follow a group of soldiers as they do battle not with a softened and "humanized" al Qaeda who we are led to believe has a valid point to make, but with the real al Qaeda. A pack of subhuman savages who strap explosives on retarded children and use them as human bomb delivery systems.
In other words make an Iraq war movie which tells the truth and people will go to see it.
This is a Barnacle Bill cartoon which features the character who will become Betty Boop. Notice that Betty is not fully human (dog ears) in the very early cartoons.
I'm old and rough and dirty and tough
I never can get drunk enough
I drink my whiskey when I can
Whiskey from an old tin can
For whiskey is the life of man
Children who grew up watching cartoons like this defeated the Axis and put men on the moon.
And as a bouns here is a cool commercial:
Well, whisky does mean "water of life".
Muslim countries warned Friday of strong reactions to an anti-Islam film posted on the Internet by far-right Dutch deputy Geert Wilders, though initial reactions in the Netherlands were calm.
Wilders posted his film "Fitna", featuring violent imagery of terror attacks in New York and Madrid intertwined with Koranic texts, on the Internet on Thursday.
A handful of Muslim countries had responded early Friday, with Iran saying the short movie showed some Westerners were waging a "vendetta" against Islam, and warning of unspecified repercussions.
Muslims must be Democrats. If you tell the truth about them they accuse you of attacking them. What, I wonder, will those "strong reactions" consist of. Perhaps angry Muslims will post a video on YouTube criticizing Dutch society? No, I rather think they have something a bit more physical in mind.
Bangladesh also said the film could have "grave consequences", while a coalition of Jordanian media said it would sue Wilders and launch a campaign to boycott Dutch products.
"GRAVE" consequences. That gets a little closer to Muslim's standard operating procedure.
The European Union's Slovenian presidency also attacked the film, saying it served "no other purpose than inflaming hatred."
But hijacking planes and flying them into office buildings and planting bombs on crowded trains, and let's not forget kidnapping innocent people and sawing their heads off while they are alive and screaming, couldn't possibly "inflame hatred".
But Muslim leaders in The Netherlands called at a joint press conference for their co-religionists in other countries not to over-react.
"We call on them to follow our strategy and not react with attacks on Dutch embassies or tourists," the head of the Dutch Moroccan community, Mohamed Rabbae, said.
"We feel offended by the link between violence and Islam but we know this guy (Wilders), the best response is a response in a responsible manner."
In response to a film which calls Islam a violent religion the Dutch Muslim leaders have to run to the nearest microphone to beg their fellow Muslims not to commit acts of violence. Because they know that is the first thing their fellow Muslims will think to do. It reminds me of the photograph of some Muslim taken at a protest in one of those shithole Muslim counties holding a sign that said "behead those who say that Islam beheads its enemies".
As part of damage control efforts by the government the Dutch ministers of justice and integration met Friday with organisations representing religious and minority groups to talk about the film ahead of weekly prayers in the country's mosques.
The right-wing Telegraaf paper said that "Friday prayers are crucial," and warned of possible violent reactions to come from abroad especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
We really need to stop and think about this. The reason that everyone is upset here is that the film told the truth! If the film had lied about Islam being a religion of violence and hatred there would be no problem because the non-violent and non-hateful Muslims would not be seen as potentially reacting to it with violence and hatred. Do Europeans not get the concept of irony?
Christian paper Trouw summed it up as "'Fitna' offends but does not surprise". . .
Well it shouldn't surprise anyone after 9/11 and Madrid and the London Tube Bombings and the Taliban and Salman Rushdie having to live in hiding and Theo van Gogh and Daniel Pearl and Monsignor Rahho and the death threats against Ayaan Hirsi Ali and on and on and on. No, I'm not a bit surprised. Are any of you?
On Thursday the Dutch government was quick to say it regretted that the film finally aired, despite calls on Wilders to reconsider.
"The film equates Islam with violence. We reject that interpretation," Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said in a solemn statement a few hours after the film appeared on the LiveLeak video sharing website.
Well gee Mr. Balkenende maybe YOU reject the equating of Islam with violence but it is pretty damn clear that MUSLIMS don't! And isn't how THEY see their religion really the fraking point!?! You fraking Euro-trash weenie!
The first minutes of the 17-minute movie show a Koran being opened and the text of a sura from Islam's holiest book, which translated from Arabic implores the faithful to "terrorise the enemies of Allah".
The opening scenes are followed by images of the attack by hijacked airliners on the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, with soundbites from telephone calls to the emergency services on that day.
The film continues with grisly images of bloodstained bodies in the aftermath of the Madrid train bombings in March 2004, video footage of beheadings and executions and other gruesome images Wilders links to Koranic texts.
Isn't it terrible how Wilders printed up a fake copy of the Koran with all those violent verses added to it and then hired actors to pretend to be Muslims and say all those awful things and then used special effects to make it look like the World Trade Center had been destroyed and a train in Madrid had been bombed?
What was that? You say that the Koran really does say stuff like "terrorise the enemies of Allah"? And that those weren't actors pretending to be Muslims? And that all those bombings and beheadings and stuff really happened?
Well damn. Perhaps the outrage is a bit misplaced. Perhaps Europeans should be pointing shocked fingers at ISLAM for doing all those evil things rather than at Geert Wilders for having the stones to tell the truth about them!
The government said the public prosecutor's office was investigating the film to see if it broke any laws, but the general feeling of legal experts in the Netherlands was that although it may be seen as offensive by some it was not illegal.
Give the European Union time and I'm sure that they will see to it that telling the truth about Islam will be a serious crime. It will certainly be a capital offence by 2050 when Europe will be majority Muslim.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Fitna, the expose of Islam produced by courageous Dutch politician Geert Wilders, has been removed from the British video site Livelink. They state that they have received credible and serious threats against employees if the video remains accessible on their site.
Fortunately the video has also been posted on YouTube. Here is part 1:
And part 2:
The Islamic world does not want you to watch this video and they will murder to keep people from seeing it.
From The New York Times:
At least 304,000 immigrant criminals eligible for deportation are behind bars nationwide, a top federal immigration official said Thursday.
That is the first official estimate of the total number of such convicts in federal, state and local prisons and jails.
The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Julie L. Myers, said the annual number of deportable immigrant inmates was expected to vary from 300,000 to 455,000, or 10 percent of the overall inmate population, for the next few years.
Ms. Myers estimated that it would cost at least $2 billion a year to find all those immigrants and deport them.
How much is it costing us to keep them in jail and how much do their crimes cost society at large? I once saw a study which proved that when you compare the dollar cost of a criminal behind bars to the dollar cost of the same criminal running around free committing crimes that jail was a bargain. If this is true then that two billion dollars is only a small percentage of what the illegal alien criminals who haven't been caught and convicted yet are costing us.
This week, Ms. Myers presented a plan to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security intended to speed the deportation of immigrants convicted of the most serious crimes by linking state prisons and county jails into federal databases that combine F.B.I. fingerprint files with immigration, border and antiterrorism records of the Homeland Security Department.
In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Myers said the plan would bring “a fundamental change” by streamlining deportations of foreign-born criminals.
Representative David E. Price, Democrat of North Carolina and chairman of the subcommittee, wrote a five-page letter on Thursday saying that the agency’s plan did “not meet the legal requirements” of the 2008 appropriation that gave the agency $200 million to deport criminals.
Mr. Price said the plan failed to focus mainly on illegal immigrants who committed crimes, did not provide for any coordination with immigration courts and justice officials and included huge unexplained cost increases.
Based on the schedule in the plan, Mr. Price said, he did not see evidence that the agency “shares my sense of urgency about removing criminals from our country before they victimize Americans again.”
Since the ICE plan focuses on "inmates" it is hard to see how it "failed to focus on illegal immigrants who committed crimes" since one becomes an "inmate" by being convicted of committing a crime and sent to jail. As for the price tag, I could certainly get along nicely for the rest of my life on 200 million dollars, but the government can't scratch its ass for less than a billion so who are we kidding.
[. . .]
Immigration lawyers warned that unless local law enforcement officers were trained in immigration law, the ICE plan could focus on many immigrants who committed minor violations that did not make them deportable.
“Immigration law is confusing and convoluted and not user friendly,” said David Leopold, a vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “To turn that over to local law enforcement without training is asking for trouble.”
How about this. If you are here illegally that alone is enough of a crime to merit deportation.
Illegal immigration is the single most important issue facing our nation today. It is more important than Iraq, or the war on terror in general. It is more important than extending the Bush tax cuts or the credit crisis or even what we do about the global warming hoax.
In 2000 the presidential election would have turned out differently if even one red state had gone for Gore and more than one red state would have turned blue with a shift of less than 100 thousand votes. In 2004 Bush won the popular vote by a margin of around 3 million votes. Even in 1980 Reagan's 49 state electoral landslide was won with a margin of only around 8 million votes.
The government says that there are 12 million illegal aliens in the US. Private groups which take an interest in the illegal immigration question say there are more likely 22 million and some estimates go as high as 30 million. Even if we take the median estimate of 20 million it is plain to see that any program which legalizes their status and creates a path to citizenship for them potentially adds up to 12 million voters to the Democrat party's rolls and only 8 million (at the most) to Republican rolls. That assumes that the Republican party is able to keep the unusually high percentage of Hispanic votes (40%) that is was able to get in the 2004 election. Historically that has not been the case.
The Democrat party offers nothing to this nation other than the loss of power and influence on the international stage. Economic stagnation and rising unemployment at home and the continued slide toward European-style socialism amid the unchecked deterioration of our moral values. Democrats would chain the US economy to useless global warming regulations which would cause massive increases in the price of energy, food, manufactured goods and nearly everything else (what product do you buy which doesn't require energy to make and transport?).
The Democrat party offers nothing but retreat and surrender in the global war against resurgent Islam and would do little or nothing to stop the proliferation of nuclear arms among the world's rogue states like North Korea and Iran.
In other words the policies and attitudes of the Democrat party are simply not conducive to the survival of the United States as a free and prosperous, much less powerful, nation.
There is nothing that terrorists can do to the United States which will force us to cripple our economy with Kyoto-style greenhouse gas controls. There is nothing terrorists can do to us to force us to turn our health care system over to government control. There is nothing terrorists can do to us to force us to raise taxes to the point where it is no longer profitable for large numbers of businesses to remain in the United States.
The list of things that terrorists cannot do to us but that our own elected leaders can do to us stretches on and on. It is clear that granting the Democrat party a windfall of millions of voters would literally doom the USA.
The question Republicans must ask themselves is how to best fight amnesty during the next four years. Is it better to have a Democrat in the White House who will support amnesty/open borders or a Republican doing the same thing?
George W Bush, as far as we know, did not play true hard-ball with Senate Republicans over the immigration issue. He did not have the RNC threaten holdout Republicans with loss of money for their election campaigns. Nor did he threaten to have the RNC recruit more "moderate" Republicans to run against them in the Republican primaries. He also did hot threaten to go to their states and campaign against them if they didn't toe his line.
What do we know about the character of John McCain and how he responds to opposition from within his own party? McCain gets up into fellow Republicans faces and screams the F-word at them while accusing them of being corrupt and dishonorable. He refuses to shake the hand of an FEC official with whom he has a disagreement over a point of campaign finance law, again calling the gentleman "corrupt and dishonorable".
Does anyone out there with an IQ in the double-digits believe that McCain will not use every weapon in his arsenal to get what he wants from congressional Republicans? Does anyone out there not think that "moderate" Republicans who can usually be persuaded to do the right thing on party-line votes will not take advantage of the cover being offered by the fact that the Republican president supports amnesty to jump ship. After all they will just be "supporting our own president".
It took a massive citizen revolt to stop amnesty when it was being pushed by a mild mannered Republican president. Will that be enough to stop it when it is being pushed by a Republican president who is willing to get down in the sewer and wage a knife fight, as long as his enemy is only other Republicans?
Will the citizenry be able to mount the same kind of campaign to stop amnesty again and again every year that McCain is in the White House because we know that he will not give up. If we elect "Mr. Amnesty" John McCain to the White House what message will that send to politicians of both parties?
Amnesty becomes law and America (at least as the Founders left it to us) dies. Osama bin Laden at his most powerful cannot kill the United States of America but amnesty can.
Peas in a pod.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - In a show of Republican unity, one-time bitter foes John McCain and Mitt Romney raised money and campaigned together Thursday for a single goal - getting McCain elected president.
"We are united. Now our job is to energize our party," the Arizona senator said in an airport hangar, flanked by Romney and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., an early McCain supporter. Both have been mentioned as potential vice presidential picks, and McCain praised each.
Romney lauded McCain and promised to do all he can to help, saying: "He is a man who is proven and tested" and without question the right man to be president.
[. . .]
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, dropped out of the race last month after it became apparent it would be near impossible to topple McCain in the convention delegate race. He endorsed the Arizona senator a week later and pledged to help him win the nomination.
Since then, McCain has praised Romney repeatedly as someone who is certain to continue playing a large role in the GOP. Romney, for his part, has suggested that he'd accept a vice presidential slot, though some Republicans privately speculate that he's looking ahead to a possible repeat run in 2012.
Neither man appeared especially fond of the other during the campaign. Romney cast McCain as outside of the GOP's conservative mainstream and a Washington insider who contributed to the problems there. McCain, in turn, argued that Romney's equivocations and reversals on issues indicated a willingness to change his positions to fit his political goals.
And if Romney takes McCain's number 2 spot he will prove that he was never anything but a political whore with no real core values.
I keep hearing that McCain needs to pick a "real" conservative as his running mate. Well that is flatly impossible because anyone who would aid McCain in his purge of conservatism from the Republican party is not a conservative.
Look, no vice president has any real power within an administration unless the president gives it to him. No vice president goes out and contradicts the president's positions on any issue. Look at George H.W. Bush who thought supply side economics were "voodoo economics" but championed them while he was Reagan's VP. The fact that he abandoned them when he became president proves that he never changed his mind about them. He was just lying in order to support Reagan because that is what the vice president does.
Any man, or woman for that matter, who runs with McCain will bury whatever positions he holds and parrot whatever McCain says. If McCain says we need to wreck the nation's economy through "green" legislation to curb non existent global warming then the VP will go out and argue for curbing greenhouse gas emissions - even if he knows that doing this would impoverish the American people.
If McCain says we need a John Kerry-style foreign policy then the VP will go on all the Sunday shows and conservative talk shows and explain why it is important to make the US subservient to the EU in deciding issues of war and peace.
If McCain says we need to have open borders and grant amnesty to the tens of millions of illegal aliens, putting them on a fast track to citizenship so that 70% of them can vote Democrat in every upcoming election then the VP will be out making the case for why the nation must do that very thing to ensure its survival in the complex world of the 21st century.
I repeat. No conservative would lend himself to this. Anyone who shares the ticket with McCain just proves that whatever he was it was not a conservative.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
From World Net Daily:
Defying the wishes of the government of the Netherlands, a Dutch MP has posted his 17-minute documentary on the Quran, juxtaposing images of Islam's holy book with terror attacks and bombings by Muslim extremists.
Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, released "Fitna," an Arabic word meaning strife, on the political party's website today, but it disappeared a short time later due to "technical difficulties," reported the London Times.
The film is currently viewable on the British video-sharing website, LiveLeak.com, in Dutch and English.
Here is the video:
It is good to know that there are still brave souls in Europe. I fear that it is too late and there are too few of them, however.
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler says he believes Republican presidential candidate John McCain blocked his immigration bill from getting a vote on the U.S. House floor. McCain's staff denies it.
The Waynesville Democrat spoke to the Rotary Club of Hendersonville on Tuesday. He said the Republican leadership tried to bring the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act to the House floor. They used a provision of House rules called a discharge petition, in which a simple majority can bring to the floor a bill that is stuck in committee.
The petition had 181 of the 217 signatures needed to force a vote on the bill.
"It was going great until McCain blocked it," Shuler said.
McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, called Republicans in Congress and asked them not to sign the petition, Shuler said. He said after McCain's intervention, Republicans in the House were less willing to sign onto the bill.
"We've really slowed down in the last week in Washington," Shuler said.
A spokesman for McCain denied any involvement, saying the senator has neither taken a position on the SAVE Act nor tried to block anyone from signing it.
The SAVE Act is in a strange position. Republicans want to force a vote on the bill, trying to show they are tough on immigration. The bill increases border security and requires employers to verify the residency status of new employees.
Shuler said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership were not pleased with his attempts to get the bill to the House floor.
"They said (the bill) was not the proper thing for our caucus," Shuler said.
But he said the SAVE Act is "not about Democrats. Not about Republicans. It's about what is best for America."
Shuler said he went to Washington to solve problems and was not willing to go along with the leadership in his party.
"You can't be scared in Washington," Shuler said. "You have to do what is right."
Shuler said he understands party leadership and that the party system has a role. But he said partisanship and the struggle for power get in the way of solving problems.
"We need to move forward as a country," Shuler said. "Not as Democrats, not as Republicans."
I was strongly opposed to Shuler when he was running against Charles Taylor in 2006, but I have to admit that he is one of the best Democrats in the House. He has taken a number of positions which have the Asheville area moonbats swearing that they will never vote for him again so you know there has to be something about him to like.
In this he said/she said between him and McCain I absolutely believe Shuler's version. Especially since McCain's entire record on illegal immigration says that the more of it there is the happier he is.
Here is another indication that the Republican party is in the process of clutching a deadly viper to its bosom in nominating John McCain.
John McCain gave a foreign policy speech before a group called the World Affairs Council yesterday [press accounts here and here]. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Our great power does not mean we can do whatever we want, whenever we want, nor should we assume we have all the wisdom and knowledge necessary to succeed. We need to listen, we need to listen to the views and respect the collective will of our Democratic allies. When we believe international action is necessary, whether military, economic, or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right. But we in return must be willing to be persuaded by them.
[. . .]
America must be a model citizen if we want others to look to us as a model. How we behave at home affects how we are perceived abroad. We must fight the terrorists and at the same time defend the rights that are at the foundation of our society. We can't torture or treat inhumanely suspected terrorists we have captured. I believe we should close Guantanamo and work with our allies to forge a new international understanding on the disposition of dangerous detainees under our control.
There goes McCain's one genuine advantage as the "national security" candidate. McCain intends to apply John Kerry's "international (read European) test" to any American military action in the future. I should stop here and remind my readers that president Bush tried to line up European support for the invasion of Iraq but failed because the governments of France and Germany were on Saddam Hussein's payroll!
What will president McCain [God forbid] do when our allies have been bought off by our enemies and refuse to put their stamp of approval on some action which he sees as necessary?
Couple McCain's determination to make the foreign policy of the United States subordinate to the wishes of the European Union with his support for open borders and his plans to close Guantanamo Bay and bring the terrorists into the United States where they will enjoy the full range of constitutional protections given to any American citizen accused of a crime, and where they will be free to recruit among the US prison population, and you might as well have Obama or Clinton in the White House. Well, except on the one issue of winning the ground war in Iraq. McCain does have the right idea on that. But that is just one battle in the overall war on Islam and not even the most important battle at that.
But the most terrifying part of McCain's speech was not about war or terrorism. It was about the environment:
We need to be good stewards of our planet and join with other nations to help preserve our common home. The risks of global warming, the risks of global warming have no borders. We and the other nations of the world must get serious about substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years, or we will hand off a much diminished world to our grandchildren. We need a successor to the Kyoto treaty, a cap-in-trade system that delivers the necessary environmental impact in an economically responsible manner. We Americans must lead by example and encourage the participation of the rest of the world.
It is now known that global temperatures have maxed out and are even heading downward. In fact he long term cycles of solar activity which are what actually drive global temperatures are probably taking the earth into a period of cooling like the earth experienced in the "Little Ice Age". And John McCain wants to subject the American economy to a ruinous policy which is predicated on the reality of the discredited global warming hoax.
You may be saying that the Democrats all buy into global warming as well so what's the difference.
The difference is this. When gasoline is approaching $5.75 per gallon and people are having to cancel their vacation in order to use the money to heat their homes in winter and the American public is seeing a serious diminishment of their standard of living all so that we can fight global warming but the summers are getting milder and the winters are getting colder they are going to be mad.
In fact mad doesn't even begin to cover it. They are going to be white hot with fury and looking to take it out on somebody. And the "somebody" will be the political party of the president who signed the global warming legislation.
All you Republicans who are willing to bend over and grab your ankles for McCain because you figure that at least he'll use K-Y Jelly and a rubber and the Dems won't need to stop and think very hard about this. Obama, McCain or Clinton. Any of them will be a disaster as president. Let me say it again. When McCain got the Republican nomination any hope of a positive outcome for the nation in November died. Having a good, or even not too bad, president for the next four years is off the table. It just isn't going to happen.
Our job now is to minimize the damage as much as possible. John McCain knows that he is going to need to convince a lot of conservatives to vote for him or else he can't win, yet he gives a speech in which he sounds like John Kerry on foreign policy and Al Gore on the environment!
If John McCain can't even pretend not to be a liberal now when he desperately needs conservative support what do you think he will be like after he has been sworn in as president [God forbid] and doesn't need conservatives any more?
Whoever the next president is it is going to be a disaster for the nation. Who do you want to get the blame for that disaster the Republican party or the Democrat party?
Which party do you want the public to turn to in 2012 to pick up the pieces the Republicans or the Democrats?
Remember the time between 2008 and 2012 is going to be a trainwreck and there is not one damn thing we can do about it because the Democrat party is what it is and the Republican party chose to nominate a Democrat this time around.
It is not defeatist to admit when you have lost a battle and it is not cowardly to retreat to a stronger defensive position from which to reorganize your forces to launch a counterattack when the time is right. There is no honor or intelligence in clinging to the delusion that just because John McCain has an "R" next to his name that he will be somehow better than a person with a "D" next to his or her name.
In fact clinging to a fantasy just because you find reality unpleasant is an act of the most profound cowardice.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Hillary is being "swiftboated"!
She claimed that she came under sniper fire when she visited in Bosnia in 1996, but was contradicted by videotape showing her sauntering off the plane and stopping on the tarmac to listen to a little girl read her a poem.
Similarly, John Kerry's claim to heroism in Vietnam was contradicted by 264 Swift Boat Veterans who served with him. His claim to having been on a secret mission to Cambodia for President Nixon on Christmas 1968 was contradicted not only by all of his commanders -- who said he would have been court-martialed if he had gone anywhere near Cambodia -- but also the simple fact that Nixon wasn't president on Christmas 1968.
In Hillary's defense, she probably deserves a Purple Heart about as much as Kerry did for his service in Vietnam.
Also, unlike Kerry, Hillary acknowledged her error, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "I was sleep-deprived, and I misspoke." (What if she's sleep-deprived when she gets that call on the red phone at 3 a.m., imagines a Russian nuclear attack and responds with mutual assured destruction? Oops. "It proves I'm human.")
The reason no one claims Hillary is being "swiftboated" is that the definition of "swiftboating" is: "producing irrefutable evidence that a Democrat is lying." And for purposes of her race against matinee idol B. Hussein Obama, Hillary has become the media's honorary Republican.
In liberal-speak, only a Democrat can be swiftboated. Democrats are "swiftboated"; Republicans are "guilty." So as an honorary Republican, Hillary isn't being swiftboated; she's just lying.
Indeed, instead of attacking the people who produced a video of Hillary's uneventful landing in Bosnia, the mainstream media are the people who discovered that video.
I've always wondered how a Democrat would fare being treated like a Republican by the media. Now we know.
It's such fun watching liberals turn on the Clintons! The bitter infighting among Democrats is especially enjoyable after having to listen to Democrats hyperventilate for months about how delighted they were to have so many wonderful choices for president.
Now liberals just want to be rid of the Clintons -- which is as close to actual mainstream thinking as they've been in years. So the media suddenly notice when Hillary "misspeaks," while rushing to make absurd excuses for much greater outrages by her opponent.
Liberals are even using the Slick Willy defense when Obama is caught fraternizing with a racist loon. When Bill Clinton was exposed as a philandering, adulterous, pathological liar, his defenders said that everybody is a philandering, adulterous, pathological liar.
And now, when B. Hussein Obama is caught in a 20-year relationship with a raving racist, his defenders scream that everybody is a racist wack-job.
In the Obama speech on race that Chris Matthews deemed "worthy of Abraham Lincoln," B. Hussein Obama defended Wright's anti-American statements, saying:
"For the men and women of Rev. Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table."
So in the speech the media are telling us is on a par with the Gettysburg Address, B. Hussein Obama casually informed us that even blacks who seem to like white people actually hate our guts.
First of all: Watch out the next time you get your hair cut by a black barber over the age of 50.
Second, Rev. Wright's world wasn't segregated.
And third, what about Wright's wanton anti-Semitism? All the liberals (including essence-besplattered Chris Matthews) have accepted Obama's defense of Wright and want us to understand Wright's "legitimate" rage over his painful youth in segregated America.
But the anti-Semitic tone of Wright's sermons is as clear as his rage against the United States. Rev. Wright calls Israel a "dirty word" and a "racist country." He denounces Zionism and calls for divestment from Israel.
In addition to videos of Rev. Wright's sermons, Obama's church also offers for sale sermons by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, whom Rev. Wright joined on a visit to Moammar Gadhafi in Libya in 1984. Just last year, Obama's church awarded Farrakhan the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award, saying Farrakhan "truly epitomized greatness."
What, pray tell, is the legitimate source of Wright's anti-Semitism? I believe Brother Obama passed over that issue entirely in his "conversation," even as he made the obligatory bow to Israel's status as one of our "stalwart allies." Why does crazy "uncle" Wright dislike Jews?
Will liberals contend that these remarks were "taken out of context"? Maybe Wright's church was trying to say that Farrakhan isn't great when it said he "epitomized greatness." Who knows? We weren't there.
Can liberals please educate us on the "legitimate" impulses behind Rev. Wright's Jew-baiting?
The Poison Preacher Scandal (or Pastorgate if you prefer) has so badly damaged B. Hussein Obama's standing with the voters, both in and out of the Democrat party, that he now stands virtually no chance of winning the general election against John McCain. Of course the election is months away and anything can happen. All it will take is for McCain to be caught on camera losing his temper and punching and kicking a cub scout while screaming the "F" word at the top of his lungs (something which could happen given McCain's insanity) to turn things around for the Democrats.
But as things stand now Obama is the Democrat party's weakest candidate.
So we must ask ourselves why Rush Limbaugh, who avows that he wants the Democrats to lose in November, is pushing his "Operation Chaos" whose stated goal is to get Hillary Clinton the nomination. Why, in other words, is Rush attempting to get the Democrat party's strongest candidate the nomination?
The better Hillary does in each of the upcoming primaries the greater her appeal to the Superdelegates will be. As Obama continues to sink in the polls even those Democrats who voted for him are starting to hope that the Superdelegates will step up and correct their mistake.
Every Republican vote Limbaugh generates for Hillary puts her one step closer to the White House. If she wins the general election I submit that we should call the withdrawal from Iraq (if that really happens, which I doubt) the Limbaugh Retreat. The lapsing of the Bush tax cuts should be called the Limbaugh Tax Increase. The socialized health care plan which Hillary will attempt to enact should be called LimbaughCare.
And so on down the line.
I do know that around 22% of the people who are currently supporting Obama say that they will not vote for Hillary, but how many of those people will actually carry through with that threat? I don't think too many of them will. As they see Obama's numbers shrink and see him consistently lose to McCain in the head to head polls I think most of them will be glad to slime her way into the nomination.
Just think about how many conservatives are willing to sacrifice their honor and integrity by supporting McCain just because they want to win. Do we really think that Democrats will have greater strength of character than Republicans?
From The Washington Post:
The Supreme Court yesterday issued a broad ruling limiting presidential power and the reach of international treaties, saying neither President Bush nor the World Court has the authority to order a Texas court to reopen a death penalty case involving a foreign national.
The justices held 6 to 3 that judgments of the International Court of Justice, as the court is formally known, are not binding on U.S. courts and that Bush's 2005 executive order that courts in Texas comply anyway does not change that.
The decision, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., was a rebuke to the government in a case that involved the powers of all three branches of government, the intricacies of treaties and the international debate over the death penalty.
It placed the president on the side of Ernesto Medell¿n, a brutal murderer, and the rulings of the World Court, and against the authority of his home state's courts.
Texas's high court had rejected the World Court's judgment that it "review and reconsider" Medell¿n's conviction because he is a Mexican national and was not advised after his arrest that he could meet with a consular from his country, as the Vienna Convention requires.
Even though the administration disagreed with the World Court's decision -- and has withdrawn from the international pact that gave it force -- Bush nonetheless issued a memorandum ordering the Texas courts to rehear Medell¿n's case.
But Roberts wrote that neither the Optional Protocol of the Vienna Convention nor the operative part of the United Nations Charter creates binding law in the absence of implementing legislation from Congress.
And he wrote that the government had not made the case that Bush had the power to issue a directive that "reaches deep into the heart of the state's police powers and compels state courts to reopen final criminal judgments and set aside neutrally applicable state laws."
Joining Roberts were the justices who are most consistently conservative: Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr.
President Bush has always been the willing bitch of whichever corrupt graftocrat happens to be the current president of Mexico. Unfortunately John McCain's entire record on US/Mexico relations indicates that if he is elected nothing will change.
Fortunately we have a conservative majority on the Supreme Court which will last even if two or three justices retire over the next four years.
From The New York Times:
SANTA ANA, Calif. — Drawing a sharp distinction between himself and the two Democratic presidential candidates, Senator John McCain of Arizona warned Tuesday against vigorous government action to solve the deepening mortgage crisis and the market turmoil it has caused, saying that “it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”
Mr. McCain’s comments came a day after Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York called for direct federal intervention to help affected homeowners, including a $30 billion fund for states and communities to assist those at risk of foreclosure. Mrs. Clinton’s Democratic opponent, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, has similarly called for greater federal involvement, including creation of a $10 billion relief package to prevent foreclosures.
As the foreclosure crisis has rippled across the economy, it has thrust itself to the forefront of the presidential race, with Democrats seizing on the issue in urging forceful government steps to alleviate the crisis. Mr. McCain’s remarks Tuesday, to a group of Hispanic businessmen here, signaled a sharpening divide between the two parties’ candidates, with the senator warning against quick, costly government fixes to a crises rooted in the private sector.
“Rampant speculation” on both sides is the root cause of the crisis, Mr. McCain said. He placed part of the responsibility for the mortgage mess on lenders, who he said had grown “complacent” in a rising market and as a result acquired a “false sense of security” that caused them to “lower their lending standards.”
But in a departure from Democrats, who have focused on the lending industry’s role in the crisis, Mr. McCain suggested that some homeowners had also engaged in dangerous practices, including borrowing too much in hopes that a rising market would cover their mortgages.
Mr. McCain has often addressed the mortgage crisis in general terms on the campaign trail, but in Tuesday’s remarks he offered a more comprehensive look at the challenge facing the nation — and the roots of the problem. He blamed a profusion of complicated and recently devised financial instruments “that weren’t particularly well understood by even the most sophisticated banks, lenders and hedge funds.”
Mr. McCain appeared to be trying to confront questions about his dexterity in dealing with the economy, a subject that he has admitted is not his strongest suit. But his remarks drew a quick, pointed rebuke from Mrs. Clinton, who criticized Mr. McCain’s hands-off, market-oriented approach, saying it would lead to “a downward spiral that would cause tremendous economic pain and loss” for Americans.
“It sounds remarkably like Herbert Hoover, and I don’t think that’s good economic policy,” Mrs. Clinton told reporters in Greensburg, Pa. “The government has a number of tools at its disposal. I think that inaction has contributed to the problems we face today, and I believe further inaction would exacerbate those problems.”
In addition to urging $30 billion in federal aid to states to help homeowners, Mrs. Clinton on Monday also endorsed federal legislation to expand the government’s ability to guarantee restructured mortgages, which she believes would lead more banks and other private entities to buy and resell mortgages.
Mr. Obama’s plan emphasizes making it easier to convert subprime loans to fixed-rate, 30-year loans, while requiring that borrowers have access to better data on loan costs and requiring greater scrutiny of lenders. On Tuesday, he said, “It’s deeply troubling that John McCain is suggesting that the best way to address the housing crisis is to sit back and watch it happen.”
In this case McCain is correct, although he failed to address the way in which government itself helped create the problem by leaning on lenders to develop ways in which minorities who were not qualified financially for mortgages could still get home loans. However McCain may have picked the wrong issue to be right on as the majority of the American public has been trained from birth to deal with any problem by bleating for a government handout.
As for the Democrat candidate's solutions Hillary shows that she has neither an understanding of history nor economics. Obama's plan is much less objectionable and seems to indicate that he has some economic advisers who actually can tell the difference between their ass and a hole in the ground.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
American Spectator looks at the Second Amendment case just argued before the Supreme Court:
Why would a citizen want to own a gun? These days, the most obvious reason is the one offered by Heller himself: self-defense. The District of Columbia is a particularly dangerous city, with a violent crime rate more than three times the national average.
D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who has tenaciously defended his city's gun laws all the way to the Supreme Court, said at a press conference on the Court steps after the hearings that D.C.'s gun laws helped make his city a safer place.
FENTY IS BLINDLY assuming that just because a law was meant to make the city safer, it must have worked according to plan. In some categories of crime, things have gotten better since 1976, when the D.C. gun ban went into effect. The rape rate per 100,000 residents has indeed fallen by more than half since then, as has the burglary rate. Of course, those results are in line with national trends in crime reduction, and cannot be meaningfully credited to D.C.'s gun laws.
When it comes to the more meaningful data of murders per capita, D.C.'s rate was still higher in 2005 than it was in 1976. It has been higher every year but one since the gun ban passed, and most years it's been enormously higher.
For 10 of the past 30 years, the District's per capita murder rate was more than twice as high as it was the year the ban passed. D.C. residents have no reason to think its gun laws have done anything to make them safer.
Beyond statistics, two of the original plaintiffs in the Heller case have specific stories that reveal exactly why law-abiding citizens would want the right to possess handguns. One was a woman who was threatened in her own D.C. home for daring to stand up to neighborhood drug dealers. Another was a man who once saved a friend's life and his own from a gay-bashing mob by brandishing -- not even firing -- his handgun.
The ugliest aspect of D.C.'s laws is that they inherently presume that your life is not worth protecting -- given that government cannot, and does not promise to, provide effective police protection in every life-threatening situation.
If the Supreme Court declares that the Second Amendment, like its sister amendments, protects an individual right, then many localities besides D.C., from New York City to Chicago, may have to rethink aspects of their gun control laws. The full meaning of the Court's decision will play out in the political arena.
Regardless, our right of self-defense is central to our right to life. For D.C. -- or any other city or state -- to completely deny us the most effective means of protecting our homes and our families is unacceptable. We shouldn't need the Supreme Court to tell us that.
"The ugliest aspect of D.C.'s laws is that they inherently presume that your life is not worth protecting. . ." that is the premise behind all gun control laws beyond those seeking to deny access to weapons to convicted violent felons and lunatics.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sirius Satellite Radio's (NasdaqGS:SIRI - News) $4.59 billion purchase of rival XM Satellite Radio (NasdaqGS:XMSR - News) was given antitrust clearance on Monday as the Justice Department concluded consumers have many alternatives, including mobile phones and personal audio players.
Investors sent shares of both companies sharply higher even though the Federal Communications Commission must still approve the combination of the only two U.S. providers of satellite radio, a deal first announced in February 2007.
In a victory for Sirius Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, who lobbied hard for the deal, the Justice Department agreed the satellite radio companies face stiff competition from traditional AM/FM radio, high-definition radio, MP3 players and programming delivered by mobile phones.
"Competition in the marketplace generally protects consumers and I have no reason to believe that this won't happen here," Justice Department antitrust chief, Thomas Barnett, told a conference call with reporters.
The traditional radio industry, consumer groups and some U.S. lawmakers had criticized the deal, which would bring entertainers such as talk show host Oprah Winfrey and shock-jock Howard Stern under one roof.
The National Association of Broadcasters, which fought against the deal, said the Justice Department had granted XM and Sirius a "monopoly" and called the decision "breathtaking."
Sirius and XM, which are losing money, each currently charge subscribers about $13 a month for more than 100 channels of news, music, talk and sports.
New York-based Sirius' programming includes lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and NFL Football while Washington, D.C.-based XM is home to Bob Dylan's radio show and Major League Baseball.
The Justice Department said the combination would lead to "substantial" cost saving steps such as consolidating the line of radios they offer. It said those savings would "most likely to be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices."
I bought a Sirius radio nearly two years ago and since then I have only listened to terrestrial radio for the Rush Limbaugh Show and the occasional weather broadcast. For music there is no comparison to broadcast radio. Every kind of music you could want to listen to has its own channel which plays 24/7 with no commercials. I could not imagine going back to antique radio.
This is an example of canntaireachd being sung, or chanted, by Rona Lightfoot.
Canntaireachd (Scottish Gaelic: literally, "chanting") is the ancient Scottish Highland method of noting classical pipe music or Ceòl Mòr by a combination of definite syllables, by which means the various tunes could be more easily recollected by the learner, and could be more easily transmitted orally. Nowadays, however, pipers tend to use standard musical staff notation to read and write various tunes, and anyone attempting to read this particular system needs some familiarity with Scottish Gaelic phonetics. It does still linger on in one or two places however. In general, the vowels represent the notes, and consonants the embellishments, but this is not always the case, and the system is actually extremely complex, and was not fully standardised.
Monday, March 24, 2008
From The Guardian:
Gordon Brown is preparing for a battle with the European Union over biofuels after one of the government's leading scientists warned they could exacerbate climate change rather than combat it.
In an outspoken attack on a policy which comes into force next week, Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said it would be wrong to introduce compulsory quotas for the use of biofuels in petrol and diesel before their effects had been properly assessed.
"If one started to use biofuels ... and in reality that policy led to an increase in greenhouse gases rather than a decrease, that would obviously be insane," Watson said. "It would certainly be a perverse outcome."
Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, all petrol and diesel must contain 2.5% of biofuels from April 1. This is designed to ensure that Britain complies with a 2003 EU directive that 5.75% of petrol and diesel come from renewable sources by 2010.
But scientists have increasingly questioned the sustainability of biofuels, warning that by increasing deforestation the energy source may be contributing to global warming.
Watson's warning was echoed last night by Professor Sir David King, who recently retired as the government's chief scientific adviser. He said biofuel quotas should be put on hold until the results were known of a review which has been commissioned by ministers.
"What is absolutely desperately needed within government are people of integrity who will state what the science advice is under whatever political pressure or circumstances," he said.
I agree completely. What we desperately need are scientists with the integrity to call a hoax a hoax and blow the whistle on human caused global warming!
We need to stop turning our food into motor fuel and then make preparations for the cooling which is probably coming upon the world.
From Front Page Magazine:
John McCain is one lucky fellow. Of course you can make your own luck, as the saying goes. That's what McCain did with great courage to survive five-and-a-half years at the Hanoi Hilton. And he made his own luck again by advocating a surge of troops in Iraq that later proved to be successful.
In winning the Republican presidential nomination, however, McCain has mostly been just plain lucky, no thanks to his own fortitude or foresight. Conservatives inadvertently aided him by failing to line up behind a single rival. Mike Huckabee ruined Mitt Romney's strategy by beating him in Iowa. And Rudy Giuliani helped by pulling out of New Hampshire and fading in Florida, allowing McCain to sneak ahead and win primaries in both states.
Now Democrats are boosting McCain's chances of winning the presidency by prolonging the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination. "They are eating their own," says Dick Morris, the onetime adviser to the Clintons. The result, for the moment anyway, is that McCain is inching ahead in polls matching him against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
So long as Clinton stays in the race, the bitter divide among Democrats will widen--to McCain's advantage. And since Clinton still has a chance of winning the nomination, she's bound to continue her campaign at least through the Pennsylvania primary on April 22 and the Indiana and North Carolina primaries on May 6--and probably until the verdict of Democratic super-delegates becomes clear sometime this summer.
No matter who ultimately wins the nomination, the prospects for electing a Democratic president this fall will have declined. And through no machinations of his own, McCain's chances of winning will have improved. There's a name for that happenstance: luck.
There is another word for what Mr. Barnes is talking about.
Providence \Prov"i*dence\, n. [L. providentia: cf. F. providence: (Theol.) A manifestation of the care and superintendence which God exercises over his creatures; an event ordained by divine direction.
In the excellent HBO miniseries John Adams, which is currently airing, Abigail Adams asks George Washington if he thinks it possible that the terrible losses America is suffering in its war of independence could be God's punishment for the sin of slavery.
Like Mel Gibson's character in The Patriot I fear that our sins have returned to visit us and that the price may be too terrible to bear. Like a chess player who sees that he will be checkmated in three moves and that there is absolutely nothing that he can do to prevent it the United States has been brought to a position where we have an upcoming presidential election with absolutely no possibility of a good outcome. At least at the presidential level.
What do we do about it? I have no idea other than to go to polls and elect as many conservatives as possible to the House, Senate and state and local offices.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Cheat Seeking Missiles posted some notes taken while watching an interview with Michael Barone. Here is a good quote:
The major policy issue of this election for the GOP is that probably half the voters don't know that free markets work and government intervention doesn't. They never have had to wait in gas lines, so they have a bedrock of false assumptions, leading them to accept the idea that the government really can run health care at a lower cost than the private sector.
Some lessons keep having t0 be relearned over and over again. Why oh why can't humanity be wise enough to learn from the mistakes of others?
From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Senator John McCain never fails to call himself a conservative Republican as he campaigns as his party’s presumptive presidential nominee. He often adds that he was a “foot soldier” in the Reagan revolution and that he believes in the bedrock conservative principles of small government, low taxes and the rights of the unborn.
What Mr. McCain almost never mentions are two extraordinary moments in his political past that are at odds with the candidate of the present: His discussions in 2001 with Democrats about leaving the Republican Party, and his conversations in 2004 with Senator John Kerry about becoming Mr. Kerry’s running mate on the Democratic presidential ticket.
There are wildly divergent versions of both episodes, depending on whether Democrats or Mr. McCain and his advisers are telling the story. The Democrats, including Mr. Kerry, say that not only did Mr. McCain express interest but that it was his camp that initially reached out to them. Mr. McCain and his aides counter that in both cases the Democrats were the suitors and Mr. McCain the unwilling bride.
Either way, the episodes shed light on a bitter period in Mr. McCain’s life after the 2000 presidential election, when he was, at least in policy terms, drifting away from his own party. They also offer a glimpse into his psychological makeup and the difficulties in putting a label on his political ideology over many years in the Senate.
“There were times when he rose to the occasion and showed himself to be a real pragmatist,” said Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who was one of those who met with Mr. McCain in 2001 about switching parties and who is now supporting Senator Barack Obama. “There were other times when he was motivated by political goals and agendas that led him to be much more of a political ideologue.”
Such swings are common in politics, but for Mr. McCain, Mr. Daschle said, “those swings have been far more pronounced and far more frequent.”
In the spring of 2001, Mr. McCain was by most accounts still angry about the smear campaign that had been run against him when he was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in the South Carolina primary the previous year. He had long blamed the Bush campaign for spreading rumors in the state that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock, which Bush aides denied. Mr. McCain was also upset that the new White House had shut the door on hiring so many of his aides.
“Very few, if any, of John’s people made it into the administration,” Mr. Daschle later wrote in his book “Like No Other Time.” “John didn’t think that was right, that his staff should be penalized like that.”
Mr. McCain had begun to ally himself with the Democrats on a number of issues, and had told Mr. Daschle that he planned to vote against the Bush tax cuts, a centerpiece of the new president’s domestic agenda. Mr. McCain often made “disparaging comments” about Mr. Bush on the floor of the Senate, Mr. Daschle recalled.
Still, Democrats were stunned one Saturday in late March when, by their account, John Weaver, Mr. McCain’s longtime political strategist, reached out to Thomas J. Downey, a former Democratic congressman from Long Island who had become a lobbyist with powerful connections on Capitol Hill. In Mr. Downey’s telling, Mr. Weaver posed a question to him over lunch that left him stunned.
“He says, ‘John McCain is wondering why nobody’s ever approached him about switching parties, or becoming an independent and allying himself with the Democrats,’ ” Mr. Downey said in a recent interview. “My reaction was, ‘When I leave this lunch, your boss will be called by anybody you want him to be called by in the United States Senate.’ ”
Mr. Weaver recalls the conversation differently. He said that Mr. Downey had told him that Democrats, eager to find a Republican who would switch sides and give them control of the evenly divided Senate, had approached some Republican senators about making the jump. “I stated they couldn’t be so desperate as they hadn’t reached out to McCain,” Mr. Weaver said in an e-mail message last week.
Whatever transpired, Mr. Downey raced home and immediately called Mr. Daschle. It was the first step in what became weeks of conversations that April between Mr. McCain and the leading Democrats, among them Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and John Edwards, then a senator from North Carolina, about the possibility of Mr. McCain’s leaving his party. One factor driving Mr. McCain, Mr. Downey said, was his bad relations with the Republican caucus.
“They had booed him once when he came in,” Mr. Downey said. “It was bad stuff in the caucus. He didn’t see his future with these guys.”
Mark Salter, one of Mr. McCain’s closest advisers, said that Mr. McCain, although flattered, never took the idea of leaving the party seriously. The topic was in any case overtaken in May when Senator James M. Jeffords of Vermont abandoned the Republicans and changed the balance of power. By June, when Mr. Daschle spent a long-planned weekend with Mr. McCain at Mr. McCain’s Arizona ranch, the question of changing parties was moot.
But less than three years later, Mr. McCain was once again in talks with the Democrats, this time over whether he would be Mr. Kerry’s running mate. In an interview with a blog last year, Mr. Kerry said that the initial idea had come from Mr. McCain’s side, as had happened in 2001.
Mr. Kerry, reacting to reports in The Hill newspaper last year about Mr. Weaver’s 2001 approach to Mr. Downey, said he saw a pattern. “It doesn’t surprise me completely because his people similarly approached me to engage in a discussion about his potentially being on the ticket as vice president,” Mr. Kerry told Jonathan Singer of MyDD.com, a prominent liberal blog, in remarks that are available in an audio version online and that Mr. Kerry’s staff said last week were accurate. “So his people were active — let’s put it that way.”
Two former Kerry strategists said last week that Mr. Weaver went to Mr. Kerry’s house in Georgetown a short time after Mr. Kerry won the Democratic nomination in March and asked that Mr. Kerry consider Mr. McCain as his running mate. (Mr. Weaver said in his e-mail message that the idea had come from Mr. Kerry.) Whatever the case, both sides say that Mr. Kerry was so enthusiastic about the notion that he relentlessly pursued Mr. McCain, even to the point of offering him a large part of the president’s national security responsibilities.
Mr. McCain, who has rarely spoken publicly of his talks with Mr. Kerry, said last month that he had dismissed the vice-presidential offer out of hand. “He is, as he describes himself, a liberal Democrat,” Mr. McCain said of Mr. Kerry when he was asked about the episode by a participant at a public forum in Atlanta. “I am a conservative Republican. So when I was approached, when we had that conversation back in 2004, that’s why I never even considered such a thing.”
Mr. Kerry declined last week to discuss his conversations with Mr. McCain, but three former Kerry strategists said that Mr. McCain had not immediately dismissed the notion of sharing the Democratic ticket. “McCain did not flat-out say no, regardless of what he’s saying now,” said one strategist who asked not to be named. “He was interested in this discussion.”
If McCain is such a "conservative Republican" why did it even occur to Kerry and his people to seek out McCain and offer him a spot on the ticket?
You people need to listen to me on this. John McCain hates conservatives and the conservative movement. He will use the power of the presidency, which will make him the head of the Republican party, to destroy the conservative movement.
What ever else he plans to do as president, like win the war in Iraq, he will as a deliberate policy, seek to eliminate organized movement conservatism as a factor in the Republican party's internal politics.
If John McCain is the next president he will be the last Republican president and Ronald Reagan will have been the last conservative president. At least the last on until after the Union of Soviet Socialist States of America that the Democrats will turn this nation into after they have 50 years of unbroken majority control of the Congress and the White House.
If being able to say "neener, neener, neener" to the Democrats in November is worth that then go ahead and vote McCain.
Paul Mirengoff posts this on Powerline:
Will the bitter contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton cause many Democratic supporters of the eventual loser to defect to John McCain in November? This poll suggests that it will, at least in the must-win (for Democrats) state of Pennsylvania. The poll, taken by Franklin & Marshall College, reports that 20 percent of registered Democrats in that state who support Obama say they will vote for McCain if Clinton obtains the nomination. Similarly, 19 percent of Clinton supporters claim they will defect if Obama is the nominee.
For what it's worth, I don't believe the defection rate will be anything close to 20 percent in any state regardless of who the Dems nominate. Passions are running high right now, but there's very little substantive difference between Clinton and Obama and, when things cool down, Democratic voters probably will realize this. I suspect that the Democratic defection rate if Obama is nominated (as now seems likely) will be quite low. If Clinton snares the nomination the defection rate will be a bit higher, but will consist mostly of Obama supporters who simply stay home.
The real concern for Democrats should be with independent voters. The problem here is not so much the bitter primary contests, but the fact that McCain is, well, far more independent than Clinton and Obama. Indeed, the real significance (if any) of all those Pennsylvania Dems who say they'll vote for McCain is not that they are actually likely to vote for him, but rather that they regard McCain highly enough to contemplate doing so. For similar reasons, Independents regard McCain highly enough to vote for him, in droves.
What Mr. Mirengoff says is undoubtedly correct. Many fewer Democrats will jump ship and vote for any Republican than currently are saying so. What with passions running so highly and all. Just as most of those Republicans who said that they would never vote for McCain will wind up holding their nose and pulling the lever for him.
But it is noteworthy that so many Democrats look at McCain and see someone that they really wouldn't mind becoming president all that much. All you conservatives think of this. How many Democrats are there out there who currently hold elective office and have anywhere near the prominence in that party which McCain has in the Republican party who you wouldn't mind seeing become president all that much?
And if any of you are thinking of Joe Lieberman remember that he isn't a Democrat any more. He was tossed out of that party after disagreeing with them on the war in Iraq. And even then would you really want him as president? He is hard left on just about everything other than terrorism, Iraq, Israel and the Patriot Act. He has a few tepidly conservative positions on some cultural/social issues, but he was willing to throw them overboard to be Al Gore's running mate so how serious about them is he really ?
No, the Democrat party will not tolerate anyone in a position of prominence within their ranks whom conservatives would find anywhere near acceptable.
Why can't Republicans exercise that kind of discipline within their own party? After all the Democrat party is a coalition of different groups which don't all get along that well with each other. Blacks don't like Jews or Gays and they hate the schools which their children are forced to attend, schools which are exactly the way that the teacher's union wants them to be. Hispanics don't like blacks and blacks return the favor. Feminists are now discovering that they don't care too much for racial minorities and a lot of white blue collar workers in unions don't really care too much for the peace movement types.
With all that division within their ranks why are Democrats so good at keeping their little fleet of ships all sailing in the same direction? It is precisely because the Democrat party is so fractured and fractious that it is so good at keeping order within its own ranks. It is a matter of survival. If they couldn't keep everyone more or less in line the party would fly apart and they would never win an election.
What unites Democrats is a desire for continued increase in the size, scope and power of government at the expense of the individual. Doubtless some left-liberal is now getting ready to tell me that Democrats support individual rights more than Republicans do. However if you look at the individual rights issues which Democrats champion most of them come down to protecting people's right to do things which are harmful to them or others and which degrade the culture and lead to an infantalized population which exists in a state of dependence upon the state. Individual rights issues like Second Amendment rights which encourage people to become responsible and self-reliant are opposed by the left.
My suggestion to my fellow Republicans is that we come together around a set of core beliefs. I would submit that those core beliefs should be those which Ronald Reagan brought into the party. Lower taxes as much as possible. Reduce the size and scope of the federal government. Confront our enemies and attempt to roll back the forces of totalitarianism wherever possible. Stand up for positive moral values and attempt to halt or reverse the tide of decay which is threatening to overwhelm our culture. Uphold the rule of law in every way from securing our borders to making the streets of our large cities as safe to walk as those of our small towns.
We need to realize that our "tent" needs to be big enough to hold everyone who can come together around those principles but not so large as to contain anyone who dissents in any significant way from any of those core principles.
The model for this would be the way the Democrats kicked Joe Lieberman out of their party for supporting the war in Iraq. The Dems made opposition to the war their signature issue and Lieberman left the reservation. But at the same time division on issues which do not directly impact a core value is allowed. For example blacks are not required to abandon their antisemitism to become Democrats in good standing and Jewish Democrats will not object because they know that black "leaders" will direct their people to vote the same was as the Jewish Democrats vote.
Now some Democrat politicians who depart from the party line are permitted in the party if they can win elections. But they are definitely second-class Democrats. For example no pro-life Democrat will be allowed to speak at the national convention and no dissident Democrat will continue to be tolerated if they attempt to lead a movement to change the overall party's stance on a core issue.
If the Republican party wishes to recapture the momentum which Ronald Reagan generated it must realize that its "tent" cannot be large enough to hold either a Ron Paul or a John McCain, unless they are willing to shut up and toe the party line. And even then they should never be trusted at the top of the ticket in a national race.
Posted by Lemuel Calhoon at 7:58 PM