Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The "Torture" Debate

Here's Michael Scheuer in the Washington Post, quoted in a posting by Mark Hemingway:

Americans should be clear on what Obama has done. In a breathtaking display of self-righteousness and intellectual arrogance, the president told Americans that his personal beliefs are more important than protecting their country, their homes and their families. The interrogation techniques in question, the president asserted, are a sign that Americans have lost their "moral compass," a compliment similar to Attorney General Eric Holder's identifying them as "moral cowards." Mulling Obama's claim, one can wonder what could be more moral for a president than doing all that is needed to defend America and its citizens? Or, asked another way, is it moral for the president of the United States to abandon intelligence tools that have saved the lives and property of Americans and their allies in favor of his own ideological beliefs?
That makes me think of this:

The shirt is right. The rest is a good example of a "moral inversion".

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


One short question:
Do we torture our own soldiers?
It seems self-evident the answer to that question is NO.

Given that answer, it is also clear we did not torture the terrorists held at Guantanamo, since everything in the "enhanced interrogation techniques" is also also included in the training of our best military men.

And that ends the discussion — except for those, like one liberal co-worker, who believe our soldiers are taught in boot camp how to commit war crimes. (I wonder what color the sky is in their world.)

Insurance & Medical Care

President Obama has a plan to make sure everyone in the United States has medical insurance. I have a couple of reactions:
  1. Why? In this area (at least), there is a primary medical practice already funded by a government grant designed to provide medical care to people who lack medical insurance and/or the income to pay for medical care from other organizations.
  2. So? As Mrs Critter commented, health insurance doesn't necessarily need to health care. If there aren't enough doctors, people won't be able to see one no matter how much money or insurance they have.

Earth Hour Reflection

Hat tip: Jay Nordlinger

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

It's said you should be careful what you wish for — because you might get it.

The Left is foaming at the mouth over the "torture" memos. They're demanding show trials and the imprisonment of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and others from their Administration.

They should be careful what they wish for. If they're successful in criminalizing policy disagreements, they are almost certain to be the next targets of their own precedent.

The whirligig of time brings in his revenges.

A Thought to Consider

Kathryn Jean Lopez got an e-mail with a thought to consider, especially in view of the Miss California vs. Perez Hilton controversy:

What seems to be most overlooked in the gay marriage debate, is that a person’s private sexual preferences and practices are not a bar to marriage. Gay people are not preventing from marrying. Straight people are not allowed to marry people of the same sex. The law is evenly applied. The argument isn’t over legal fairness, it’s over the definition of marriage.

If there is nothing special about the union a man and a woman, then what is the argument for the “specialness” of limiting marriage to just two people? Why not 3? Or 33?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's So Bad About Socialism?

From Director Blue, a simple analogy that answers the question, "What's so bad about socialism?"

An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said ok, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism. All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A.

After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. But, as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too; so they studied little.. The second test average was a D! No one was happy.

When the 3rd test rolled around the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame, name calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great; but when government takes all the reward away; no one will try or want to succeed.

Could not be any simpler than that.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tax Day Tea Parties

People gathered together in at least 800 - 1000 locations across the country last Wednesday. They raised their voices to a government that has not been listening — just as was the case with the original Boston Tea Party. Some directly referenced that event

and some more generally referenced the American Revolution.

Either way, the fact that hundreds of thousands of ordinary people (at least) made their own signs and turned out to demonstrate speaks volumes about the rising level of frustration all across the country. These were not hired demonstrators, paid by ANSWER and the like. These are mostly folks who have never taken part in a demonstration before, in demonstrations organized by volunteers. Many came out despite orders not to participate coming from government agency managers who were telling people these were "anti-government demonstrations." (And isn't that a chilling phrase to hear from government functionaries?!)

What a change! Only last year we were hearing, from many of these same people, that "dissent is the highest form of patriotism." I guess that's only true of your viewpoint is approved — by the "right people."

Individuals' specific reasons for participation varied, but there was one broad underlying reason.

Within that, the primary thing that put people over the edge was out of control spending. And that concern is made worse by frustration over what much of the money is being spent on.

There is also a lot of concern over how much of that spending is being financed by borrowing — passing the cost on to future generations. That's why the stimulus bill was called the Generational Theft Act by many. And that's why one of the best signs I heard about (but didn't see) said

It's not just the level of spending and borrowing. It's the directions both are going — and by how much.

People who were already disturbed by the record deficits in the past couple of years, are aghast at the prospect of seeing those deficits quadrupled (or more) with no prospect of ever returning down to those record high levels.

People understand implicitly these kinds of deficits cannot long continue. That means higher taxes are coming. And that leads to what may be my favorite of the signs I saw (though I couldn't find a picture of it):


SO WHY ARE WE SEEING TEA PARTIES NOW, rather than back in the Bush Administration? It’s important to note that we did see pushback on spending in the Bush years — e.g., the PorkBusters movement that Trent Lott became “damn tired” of — but this graphic may explain why people are more upset now. In terms of both trend and magnitude, things are really different now.

Some protestors, instead of focusing on any single issue, chose to show a generalized frustration

while others are beginning to get angry. Getting angry, voters in several cities (at least) are beginning to think about traditional, historical remedies.

Whether these protests end up being considered successful will depend on whether the politicians and elected officials see themselves as our public servants or as our overlords — whether they see their role as representing the people of the United States or as determining what is best for us and forcing it on us regardless of our beliefs and views. If they are representatives, they will listen. If they won't listen, they are not representatives — we do not have representation — and they need to be reminded of some very important words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


... and what to do about them.

(Hat tip to American Digest

Nothing else works.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


David Warren recently wrote about shamanism, expanding on a previous thought.

I said, alike of the post-Christian, self-styled "middle class" in the West, and of the post-Islamic "middle class" in such a country as Pakistan, that they are animated by "a touching faith, at its roots shamanistic."

Both, alike, confuse words with things, and imagine by manipulating words they can manipulate reality. They believe things like public order and safety just happen without human intervention -- that they grow on trees, like money. And that the source of all evil is the unfair distribution, of money in particular. They are given to magical invocations when things go wrong, and to other behaviour that would be more clearly identified as shamanistic, were it not instead identified as "liberal" and "progressive."

This attitude has become pervasive. We have had politicians up to the highest levels who clearly believe words are the same as actions. They want to be given credit for doing something, when all they have done is talked — they haven't even taken steps toward introducing legislation, much less actually taken any action.

Yes, as noted, this "naive faith" is a malady of the Left, liberals and socialists alike. And it seems to be impervious to the lessons of experience and of human nature.

I was talking this over with my friend the cave bear, and he said something really interesting:

I never cease to be amazed at the number of liberals who believe that,
"If we just give them a little more territory, they will become friendly neighbors", and

"If we let them have Sharia law in village X, they won't threaten to behead the judges in village Y", and

"If we just talk quietly to them, they'll all come around to our advanced, progressive views", and

"If we just understand them better, they won't march in the streets by the tens of thousands demanding our obliteration", and

"If we just censor our speech a little bit, they won't feel the need to behead cartoonists".

And on it goes.
In some instances, this naive faith — and ignorance — is rather more extreme. Just how extreme it can get is suggested by this clipping: