Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Even John Lennon Grew Up

I'm sure this is a paraphrase, but I've heard it said that

  • If you're 20 and not a liberal, you have no heart.
  • If you're 40 and not a conservative, you have no brain.
Today we learn, from his last personal assistant, that even John Lennon grew up. And once he grew up, many of the thoughtless positions of his younger days embarrassed him.

It's clear it took a lot of folks a lot longer to grow up in the 1950s and 1960s than was once the case, and that seems to be the case even more in today's society. But if even someone with as much invested in the liberal mindset as John Lennon can eventually grow up, maybe there's at least a little hope for some of our liberal politicians.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Transparency, Obama Style

This story is revealing in SO MANY WAYS.

When President Barack Obama and his Administration don't like a court ruling, they ignore it. When they don't like a law, they ignore it, too. When they want a law to do something other than what Congress defined, they change it — unilaterally, and without even bothering to try to get Congress to give them what they want. That sounds a lot more like a dictator than like a traditional U.S. president.

In the present case, the Obama Administration's Labor Secretary is about to change the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act by executive fiat, substantially expanding what a company has to report in relation to any attempted unionization of its workforce. Not coincidentally, this will provide a lot more opportunities for intrusive investigations of any charges, real or imagined, against those companies.

They say they're doing this as a transparency measure, but that is a transparent lie. To see why, just look at another time the Obama Administration changed that same law.

Soon after taking the oath of office, Obama undid union financial disclosure requirements mandated by the very same 1959 law. Before the Obama transparency rollback, unions had to fill out LM-2 forms reporting the total value of all benefits received by union officers, the names of parties involved in union asset transaction, and all union receipts. Now, thanks to Obama, unions do not have to disclose any of these financial transactions to their members.

In 2008 the president of the largest Service Employees International Union in the country, Tyrone Freeman, resigned after it was revealed he stole $1 million from the $9-an-hour home health workers he supposedly represented. Freeman's embezzlement only came to light after the Los Angeles Times delved into the SEIU's LM-2 forms.

It would appear that, by the time the investigation was maturing enough to result in criminal charges, Barack Obama was president and the same thing happened to this case as happened to the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia. (That would be dropped, for — apparently — no legitimate reason.)

Congress passed the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act to protect workers. The Obama Administration twisted it to protect its union leader friends, and is now moving to twist it again to help its union friends even more.

Protection for Obama's friends and supporters, and harassment for those who have to deal with them. These are the actions of a dictator, not a leader.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Tax Hikes or Spending Cuts

Bloomberg Businessweek has an interesting article on the debt limit debate. It says

Trying to convince slash-the-government Republicans on Capitol Hill that tax increases will be necessary to bring down the nation’s federal debt is a thankless job. So is convincing them it’s in their political interest to help President Barack Obama and the Democrats raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
It also says
Republican leaders, maneuvering for advantage in the debt debate, say they’ll allow the nation to default unless the deal includes steep spending cuts and no tax increases.
And that's just in the first paragraph.

There's a lot wrong with this. Starting with the latter part first, the article's author (Julie Hirschfeld Davis) accepts without question the Obama-Geithner talking point that not being allowed to borrow massive further amounts of money automatically means a U.S. default. That is not true! Any U.S. default will be a direct and deliberate choice by the Obama Administration. If they want to claim that would be the appropriate choice to make, they should explain why. But with or without that explanation, it really offends me to have them pushing as doctrine something that is so completely not true.

So how do we get out of this mess? Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wants the debt ceiling raised by $2.5 trillion right now. That would allow the Obama Administration to keep spending at or above the current obscene rate until after Barack Obama's re-election campaign is over. I can appreciate that Obama would like to avoid having this issue discussed during the campaign, but that seems like the wrong approach to me since it says that nothing would be done about actual deficit reduction during that time. It seems to me the most important thing to work on is actual deficit reduction, not on another band-aid to allow us to kick the can down the road and avoid dealing with the problem for a while longer.

How do we go at actual deficit reduction? A good start would be to get rid of the extra trillion dollars a year in government spending added on by Barack Obama and his friends in Congress. That, by itself, would bring the deficits down to only about 50% over George Bush's biggest deficit. Even if that's not the approach taken, however, it is clear that most of the deficit reduction must be by spending reduction.

What about the tax increases the Bloomberg Businessweek article says are necessary? Certainly the Democrats are insisting on tax increases as part of the package. In fact, the Democrats' insistence on tax hikes was the reason the Republicans left the negotiations. Even Nancy Pelosi says so, quite directly.

There's a problem with the Democrats' demand, however, and that's that they have used that same scam so often before. Time and again, the Democrats have promised spending cuts in return for tax hikes. And time and again, somehow the tax hikes happen and the spending cuts never materialize. I think the Republicans have finally realized the only way to get the spending cuts is to insist on them alone. If, as the Bloomberg Businessweek article says, tax hikes are really necessary to bring down the debt, there will be plenty of time to consider them after large-scale spending cuts are locked in.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Islam, Slavery, & Conquest

The headline says Ahmadinejad launches attack on 'slavers and colonizers' of the West. My first thought was "That little turd has a lot of brass." Later, when I was feeling exceptionally kind, I thought it might be ascribed to Ahmadinejad's extreme capacity for projection.

Islam accepts, promotes, and preaches slavery — and has from its beginning. Mohammed kept slaves, and Islam promotes Mohammed and everything he did as the perfect example for all to follow. As a result, fewer centuries ago, Muslim slavers captured the Africans that were sold to Western slavers for transport and sale outside Africa. Even now, slavery continues in a number of Muslim countries and Middle Eastern authorities advocate jihad to capture victimes to be sold as slaves to help those countries reduce their debt levels.

Slavery provides other insights into Islam, through that same link to Mohammed and his actions. From my observation, there is nothing more racist and xenophobic than an Arab Muslim — and it would appear a Persian Muslim is not far behind. And it all comes from the Arabic language and the Islamic doctrine. It's not bad enough that Arabic commonly uses the same word for slave and for black African. These are people who are arrogant enough to believe their god speaks seventh century Arabic, incorporated in the Quran and since that time translated into modern Arabic so that modern Arabs and others can (perhaps) understand the words.

By contrast, what do we find in the West? The Catholic church prevented Muslim-style chattel slavery from existing in its areas of influence, ruling that one could own a man's work but not his soul. And then Western Protestants, English and American, ended slavery altogether in areas they controlled.

Westerners ended slavery where they could. Muslims continue it.
Colonizers? It seems to me that the West has now progressed to the point that it doesn't take over the places it feels it has to send its troops. Only the Muslims still do that, and insist of reconquering areas they once held. In fact, a look at history shows conquest is the only reliable way Islam has ever been spread.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Islamism, A Modern Phenomenon

It's always worth waiting for David Warren's columns in the Ottawa Citizen to be posted online. That's especially the case with one recent column. In that column, he goes after the "conventional wisdom" that he says the multiculturists and our rulers are prisoners of.

The issue is Islamism, the ideology responsible for 9/11, al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the terrorist "culture of death". Warren notes, quite correctly in my view, that

  • "Islamism is not a medieval recrudescence." This despite the fact that some related elements have surfaced in the past.
  • "It is instead an ultramodern phenomenon, of the age of fascism and communism ..."
  • It "is the product not of rekindled religious faith, but of the exact opposite."
Note Mohammed Atta spending his last night before 9/11 getting lap dances at a strip club, an Osama bin Laden's library of pornography. These are not the actions of people commited to religious beliefs.

Warren notes that religious people "do not make suicide bombers; never did and never will. Suicide bombers are recruited from among the young, mostly male, bored, frustrated, and indulged products of a debilitating consumerism (as our terrorist profiles show again and again)." These are wolves in sheep's clothing, using religion as camouflage to protect themselves and their fascist jihad ideology. (They protect themselves while sending others to die for them.)

We need to properly identify the enemy so we can identify the right strategy to use against it.

SecDef Gates on Afghanistan

Michael Dunn, President of the Air Force Association, sent an e-mail to the Association's members following up on the statements by Defense Secretary Robert Gates about support for the NATO action in Afghanistan. As President Dunn observed (with data for backup)

  • NATO's (without the US) GDP is about $2T more than the US.
  • Their population (without the US) is almost double the US.
  • They have about one million more troops than the US.
  • But they provide only about 1/3 as many troops for Afghanistan as the US.
He noted that "You can draw your own conclusions, but … it seems Sec Gates' points were supported by the data."

Meanwhile, the military forces our European NATO allies keep losing support and morale. The British military, for example, has been shrinking for years, and is losing many of its best officers, who are asking to leave the service as "voluntary redundancies".

Looks to me like there's more than one thing wrong with this picture.

Arizona Fires, New Mexico Smoke

The Wallow Fire, in eastern Arizona south of Springerville, is now the largest fire in Arizona history — now having burned well over 780 square miles. It ahd the Horseshoe 2 fire further south have sent a lot of smoke over New Mexico and other areas, making visibility (and breatheability) very bad in places like Albuquerque and Denver.

As often happens, Albuquerque Journal cartoonist Trever captures the issue perfectly.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Every Home A Toxic Waste Dump

By order of Congress, the light bulb we have all knows will be history. It won't be able to be sold any more, anywhere in the country. In its place, Congress wants us all to buy the "curly fries bulb", A.K.A. compact fluorescent bulb. These things are expensive, don't last anywhere near as long as they like to pretend, and contain mercury. That means that, when one breaks (as always happens to bulbe in homes), you have toxic waste that comes under Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

My reaction: Let There Be (100 Watt Incandescent) Light!

Where did Congress get the authority to require that every home and workplace in America become a toxic waste site? That doesn't sound very Green to me!

The Green Thing

This came in my e-mail, and I thought it was worth giving wider distribution. I just wish I knew who wrote it so I could credit it properly.

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300 horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV (if that), or one radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

— Author Unknown

And all these things bring back lots of memories. Guess that says I'm getting old.

I'm glad for the modern conveniences we have today. But I have a lot of good memories, too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

New NM Vote Fraud Investigation

It is frequently claimed that concern over vote fraud is unwarranted, that there are few or no false or fraudulent voter registrations, and that little or no vote fraud actually takes place.

If that's the case, then

  • Why were more than 201,700 voter ID cards (over 18%) sent out by the New Mexico Secretary of State in 2006 returned as undeliverable by the Post Office?
  • Why did New Mexico's then-U.S. Attorney, David Iglesias, fail to take any action on vote fraud cases even when he reportedly had an iron-clad case and a confession (a failure to act that was apparently at least partly responsible for his termination).
  • Why did the New Mexico Secretary of State, in the earliest phase of investigation, find dozens of voter registrations by individuals holding non-citizen drivers licenses? (New Mexico is one of only two states to issue drivers licenses to non-citizens.)
Now a new voter fraud inquiry by the State Police is beginning, with more than 64,000 cases (more than 5% of all registered New Mexico voters) being referred for investigation.

The evidence is piling up. How much more must we find before we finally take some appropriate action? It seems to me appropriate steps would include implementation of a strong voter ID requirement, followed by a full culling of the voter lists to get rid of the moved, dead, and nonexistent voters.

And this is just in New Mexico, without saying anything about the voter registration fraud and vote fraud that have been found in other states.

Islam Influenced U.S. Founding Fathers

That's what one of President Barack Obama's recent appointees says. A summary of the YouTube video series by Dr Azizah al-Hibri says

Were the freedoms outlined in the U.S. Constitution influenced by the Quran? Professor Azizah Y. al-Hibri, President of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, Islamic scholar and law professor at the University of Richmond, discusses the influences of the Quran and early Muslim history on Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers. Listen as Dr. al-Hibri explains the implications of the Quran on U.S. Constitutional principles from freedom of religion to the separation of church and state.
She's right, in a way, but not in the way she seems to think. Islam did influence Thomas Jefferson, the fledgeling United States, and the Founding Fathers. Much of that influence was occasioned by the Barbary Coast caliphates attacks on shipping, taking U.S. seamen and civilians to be sold into slavery. These pirates promised safe passage for shipping in return for payment of tribute (protection money). The ambassador from Tripoli explained to Jefferson and John Adams that they did this because
"That's what we do. We are commanded to do so by Allah." Jefferson later wrote that the Tripoli ambassador told him, "It was written in their Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman (Muslim) who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to Paradise."
Thomas Jefferson was shocked. He bought and read the Koran. He learned what Islam was about. As a result, "Jefferson’s resolve to fight had its genesis in his reading the Koran as the best source of all things Muslim. Jefferson knew that 18th century Americans were in danger from what we call today conservative, Wahhabi-type, radical Islam." This was the early 19th century jihad. Jefferson sent the Navy and the Marines against Tripoli and the Barbary Coast. (Remember "... to the shores of Tripoli"?) This was the first foreign war for the U.S., and the beginning of the end for the Islamic caliphates. And it spared most of the world that kind of barbarism for nearly 200 years. That is the kind of influence Islam had on the Founding Fathers and the early history of the United States.

I also seriously doubt that bit about the influence of "early Muslim history" on Jefferson since that early history was separated from Jefferson and early U.S. history by more than 1100 years.

The Censorship of Huckleberry Finn

Last night, on 60 Minutes, they re-ran a piece on the new efforts to ban or censor Mark Twain's masterpiece novel Huckleberry Finn. Some — including some book publishers — have tried to hit what they think is a "middle ground" by simply replacing the word "nigger" everywhere Twain used it with the word "slave". That seems a reasonable "compromise", right?

Except for a couple of key things:

  1. That kind of change bastardizes Twain's greatest novel. Twain chose his words very carefully and specifically.
  2. The replacement is entirely innacurate. Jim describes himself as a nigger, and Jim is a free black man, not a slave.
These people should just leave well enough alone. Attempts like this never work out well.

Monday, June 6, 2011

D-Day, 67 Years Ago Today

67 years ago today, 160,000 troops stormed the beaches of Normandy. Along with 24,000 paratroopers dropped into the area a few hours earlier, they began the final invasion of the European continent.

Omaha Beach was the most restricted and most heavily defended of the invasion beaches. One of the units landing on that beach that day was the 29th Infantry Division — the Blue and Gray Division. The division included National Guardsmen from the Virginia and Maryland area, and men who were not yet in the Army when the 29th shipped out to England.

Maybe today would be a good day for a movie that includes the Normandy invasion. A good one that provides a good sense what the landing felt like (according to one of the men who was there) is Saving Private Ryan. (When the movie ends, consider that all its action took place in just one week.)

Today would also be a good day to read the day's commemorations at Blackfive, specifically this and this and this, and to consider how terribly high the stakes were on D-Day in 1944.

Tian An Men Remembered

22 years ago, in China — June 4, 1989

We need to remember this bravery, these events.

And, the way history usually works, it won't be long till one of 1989's demonstrators from Tian An Men Square becomes part of the senior leadership of China.

[Reposted from 2010. I'm a couple of days late — again. But I still remember.]