Friday, April 29, 2005

The Left Has Removed Itself From Intelligent Political Discourse

John Hinderaker adds to my list another example of how the left continues to separate itself from legitimate political discourse and into the realms of the certifiable screaming maniacs who offer very little other than curses and swears and personal attacks, absent any real facts.

The link above to Powerline exhibits the pure ignorance of today's left by detailing the reaction of various students and faculty towards Ann Coulter who made a recent appearance at the University.

Some of the more revealing facts are the defacing of signs advertising her talk, and one student's proclamation that he hated her based upon what others had told him, knowing only that she was "blonde", which I suppose makes sense in a mind of the caliber. Then came the F-bombs and middle fingers during the talk. And then there was the report in the school newspaper that characterized Coulter's talk as "concentrated on widening the divide that exists within our student body as well as within our community." Maybe she did do that, but we have no idea what things she did that would create such an increase in the divide other than come to speak at a place where some fairly small-minded people disagreed with her.

I have no doubt that the comments and behavior from the irate folk in the audience indicate some disagreement with Ann. The only problem is that these people had neither the guts nor the intellectual capacity to defend their point of view. They screamed and cursed, made an intellectually ignorant statement and walked out. Giving them the very generous courtesy of presuming that they could actually express their point of view in terms other than disagreement or hate towards conservatives and their beliefs but rather in terms of actually having a set of positives values, they would still be unable to explain why they think as they do.

They just know that they are mad, which makes sense. When was the last time you saw a joyful leftist?

Pie Are Round - And Maybe a Little Funny

Jay Homnick, a decent fellow and visitor to the site, penned this article in Jewish World Review which was linked in a comment to an earlier post.

I missed the Horowitz pieing in the earlier post where I mentioned that this spate of splats indicates a willingness on the part of the left not just to breach social ettiquette, but to break the social contract by committing a crime against another person.

But Kristol's response to his uninvited dessert reflects a particular degree of class. Horowitz was justifiably upset and wanted to press charges. But Kristol refused to get ruffled. He even made a joke about it.

I think the greater point, though is that responses like Kristol's enhance the message he brings, while at the same time, diminish the appeal of the left. There is nothing like someone who has serious ideas, but doesn't take himself too seriously. Conversely, it looks good when his opposition can only counter with an angry emotional attack, and in this case, a physical assault. It is simply a symptom of their failure to offer any intellectual alternative to conservatives whose policies have always proved true.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

If I Was an Astronaut...

...I'd probably get space sick too.

Jonathan Last punished me with this tag. The goal is to pick 5 jobs from the list and what you would do with them, so here goes:

If I could be a...

scientist, I would be the third Mythbuster, and would likely up that show's insurance premium bigtime.

missionary, I would teach Americans of the love and saving power of Jesus Christ. Ok, so I decided to be serious on this one.

linguist, I would translate a tedious negotiation at the U.N. into Klingon, leaving the ambassadors to discuss the finer points of Shakespeare in that alien tongue.

architect, I would design a home for my wife, housekeeper, and 6 kids that had more than two bedrooms between the children and more than a single bathroom shared by all 6 of them. I would also take better care of the dog such that he could return for season 2.

proctologist, (couldn't resist) I'd purchase latex gloves by the pallet, candles and deodorizers, and I'd be washing my hands lots and lots. And I would certainly NOT make any reference to my job with a vanity license plate. And somehow potty humor would become shop talk.

Here's the complete list to choose from:
If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a backup dancer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be a midget stripper...
If I could be a proctologist...

My victims are The Soxblogger and return the favor (sort of) to Vic Matus.

Threats on the Lives of the President and Other Funny Things

Matt Drudge caught this story about an Air America threat on the president's life. Forgetting the fact that a threat on the life of the president is illegal, it raises significant questions about the hypocrisy of the left.

They vociferously oppose the rest of us availing ourselves of 2nd Amendment rights (which ensures that their most reliable constituents, criminals, are the only ones with the guns) for reasons that have no basis in social science or psychology, and yet they are only too eager to "joke" about assassinating a president with a firearm.

Despite the claim that they were joking, I somehow am less than convinced. Air America has spent the past four and a half years spewing red-hot hateful lava at George W. Bush. They engage in crackpot conspiracy talk, and accuse him of all manner of evil. They throw pies, pies and shoes at people who agree with him, and the media really doesn't decry much of it at all because of the persons who are the targets. I seriously think that within the not-so-deep recesses of the left they may actually believe that they would be in the right to do as they have suggested in this sick little commercial.

These people are coming unglued and Bush's success in the election may have sent many of them over the edge. When they are inventing psychological terms to explain the fact that they can't get over Bush's victory, it bespeaks a very troubled group of psyches.

And I wonder whether anyone named Kennedy will speak against this, given that two of their brightest family members were killed by assassins.

Or is it different when the target is a Republican?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Word to Senators

Hugh Hewitt has some words of wisdom in the Weekly Standard that some unnamed Republican Senator could deliver to his jelly-spined colleagues. But knowing the Senate, I doubt that anyone would have the wontons to say something so appropriate.

Which is why 2006 could be a very dangerous year for Republicans. Granted, it would be a rematch of the very close elections of 2000, almost all of which broke against the Republicans that year, but nonetheless, you lose your mandate for holding power when you allow yourself to be needlessly slapped about by Democrats in the minority.

I don't want them to lose power, but then again, I really don't want these particular guys running the show anyway.

The Borking of Bolton and DeLay

John Bolton and Tom DeLay have one thing in common which incenses Democrats and which forms the basis for their attempts to politically bury both men. They both exist to advance the fortunes and policies of Republicans in very significant ways.

Bolton's purpose is pretty obvious. He represents a shift away from deference to the U.N. towards a more confrontational position where the U.S. advances the interests of its own people before those of a glorified conclave of 3rd world dictators. Bush threatens to move beyond the U.N. and into an era when popularly elected governments run the national scene. The most defining act of his presidency was born out of a defiance of the U.N. Given the price he didn't pay for it, as well as the disdain he has for the organization, Bush certainly intends to use his second term to put the U.S. in a leadership role that is increasingly competitive to that of the useless U.N. Bolton promises to make that message abundantly clear in New York. The left has never been comfortable with a strong U.S. foreign policy because they really do not believe in much of what constitutes American values. And Bolton threatens to expand that uncomfortably bourgeois notion of American global leadership to the exclusion of Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac.

But rather than questioning him about his positions on key foreign policy issues which would be probative of his qualifications for the job, Sen. Joe Biden, plagiarist and professional camera-preener, instead brought witnesses to deliver second hand accounts that Bolton was not nice to a few persons who worked under him. Then Sen. Mensa, Barbara Boxer, took a break from her coloring book to recommend anger management classes and call him a bully. The hearing, if it proved anything, revealed that Bolton was ill-suited to teach a kindergarten class, took national security assessments very seriously, and expected more from analysts than easy answers.

DeLay is a bit more complicated. He was the right hand man to Newt Gingrich for years. Both men were vilified by the Democrats and the media for their refusal to stick with the Democrats' status quo after the power shift in 1995. After numerous spurious ethics inquiries all of which came to nothing, Gingrich resigned his seat after the 1998 elections when he felt that he had failed to properly lead his party. But DeLay did something worse in the eyes of the left. He collected money for Republicans and lots of it. He diverted funds away from the Democrats and into the campaign chests of Republicans which has kept them in control of the Congress for over a decade. The problem that his presence creates for the Dems is obvious. He keeps Republicans in office and gets new ones reliably elected. He keeps the Dems in the minority. Newt Gingrich was a master at the art of de-funding the opponent, and DeLay made it possible. Now the Democrats want to return the favor. And why shouldn't they? Because turnabout is indeed fair play in politics.

But rather than trying to get him knocked out in an election they are trying to smear him personally. From a phony indictment by a politically motivated prosecutor in Texas to charges that he employed family members on his campaign (all true, and ethics committee-approved) as many other Republicans and Democrats also do, the Dems are trying to bring the man down under the pressure of the "seriousness of the charges" or rather the appearance of seriousness, as even a paper cut can seem hideous if you scream enough about it.

Per the title of this post, it harkens back to the days of Robert Bork whose unsuccessful confirmation hearings are the thing of legend. The left scoured his library and video rental records for any evidence of any impropriety; they uncovered a penchance for Disney movies. And while negative politics has its place, because we do need to discuss the bad with the good to have a legitimate debate, it has no place when the charges are trumped up and one's reputation is at stake. Bork was just the opening shot in the Democrats' efforts to prevent conservatives from holding power by personally destroying them rather than disqualifying them on the merits. The reward for their efforts was Anthony Kennedy's appointment to the Supreme Court.

The Democrats simply don't like these men, and there is nothing wrong with their holding such opinions. But there is everything wrong with their fabrication of spurious charges and name-calling all in the interest of scoring a political rather than moral or ethical win. But then again, nobody ever accused these Democrats of caring about pesky concepts such as morality or ethics.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Unqualified

John Bolton is in a world of hurt. With Democrats firing at him and Republicans stepping back, too scared to say anything for fear of incurring the wrath of the minority party, he finds himself with very few powerful friends. And again, the Senate Republicans should hang their heads in shame for their failure to support a guy with strong convictions. Like Neville Chamberlain, they have failed to recognize that the opposition has declared war and is gaining ground.

So what is it that disqualifies Mr. Bolton? The Democrats are most offended by the support he receives from the White House. They are somehow troubled by the fact that Bush would be appointing someone for a foreign policy related office who actually agrees with him. Notwithstanding the fact that it is the prerogative of the President of the United States to set U.S. foreign policy, the Dems on the far left are more eager to see the likes of another Madeline Albright (Kim Jong Il's favorite carpet) or Sandy Berger (the man Al Qaida most wants on the National Security Council) kowtowing to Kofi Annan's corrupt Secretariat. The Leftist Dems hate Bush, hate his leadership, and hate the fact that he continued to humiliate them at the ballot box, and Bolton is just their punching bag.

Be that as it may, the excuses that are being used to justify derailing the appointment are the fact that he vociferously disagreed with people who did not take terror threats seriously. He may have even been socially unpleasant towards them. He wasn't kind to underlings. He hurt feelings. So let's apply the very same standard to some other folks who held or want to hold positions of trust.

Let's look first to Bill Clinton. Anyone recall how he treated Al Gore after he lost the election? They had it out in the Oval Office. Bill accused Al of blowing the lead that Clinton had built for him. Of course, Bill plucked the heartstrings of Monica Lewinsky who, even after the affair was exposed and over, still appeared to believe when she spoke to Barbara Walters that she and Bill had a future. And then there was the military. One of his first directives was to keep people in uniform out of the West Wing. It went up as a trial balloon coming from a staffer, but few things happened without the approval of Bill or Hillary. Then we have patently illegal behavior towards Paula Jones and Juanita Broderick. Mistreatment of subordinates. Antisocial behavior. But he's not the only Clinton.

The Junior Senator from New York is a prize. Anyone recall the Whitewater deal where an S&L fell so that she and her firm, the Rose Law Firm, could profit? Or how about lamps flying across the White House Residence (confirmed by a Secret Service agent I knew)? Or the White House Travel Office firings and the character assassinations of those employees? Or the trail of roadkill that followed she and her husband (the McDougals, Vince Foster, Web Hubbell, and now Sandy Berger)? Or the time that she and Bill (yes, she & Bill) lost a Congressional race in 1974 after which she lashed out at the campaign strategist, casting aspersions about his Jewish heritage with a smattering of four letter words? Hillary is a maniac. Secret Service Agents considered it torture to protect her.

And speaking of that, a former Secret Service neighbor of mine was on the Al Gore detail in 1999 and 2000. He constantly remarked that Gore was about as bad as Hillary. He was a whiner, mistreated his detail, and was anything but a pleasant boss. Given his behavior over the past four years, that should surprise nobody.

And as far as mistreating the Secret Service goes, John Kerry's blaming a fall on a ski slope on his Secret Service detail, and then cursing the man was a delight. His completely grotesque mistreatment of Vice President Cheney's daughter during the debates confirmed the perception that he regarded people as tools, not equals deserving of respect.

Now let's talk about a few success stories. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, our U.N. Ambassador under Ronald Reagan took nothing from the U.N. And what happened? The United States became the chief international power broker, not the U.N. Secretary General. The Soviets were forced to deal with the United States directly, and while Reagan was personally quite affable towards Chernenko and Gorbachev, he was only too eager to leave the Reykjavik summit without a deal because such a thing didn't help the U.S.

And it seems the Dems forget their own poster boy, John F. Kennedy, who today would no longer recognize the party he once led. Kennedy put Adali Stevenson as the U.N. ambassador. Stevenson was no carrot. He was all stick and he represented Kennedy's interests to the hilt. And as for Kennedy, his very un-diplomatic treatment of Castro and Khruschev during the Cuban Missile Crisis proved to be a defining moment in the cold war--he dealt at aggression, not with it.

Bolton's critical attitude towards the U.N. is also grounds for his opposition. But no Democrat ever objected to Daniel Patrick Moynihan who returned from New York with observations similar to Bolton's. Of course, liberals disagree with the comparison, noting like in this article that Kirkpatrick and Moynihan's hard styles "suited the times", but that these times which call for U.S. leadership (presuming that Moynihan's and Kirkpatrick's didn't) require someone who will overlook the glaring faults in what is being daily exposed as an institution corrupt from the top down which has been manipulated by 3rd world dictators.

The opposition to Bolton's nomination says much more about the Senate Democrats than it does Bolton. They prefer subordinating U.S. interests in order to have comity with tinpot dictators than upholding the oath they took to look out for the best interests of the United States people.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Political Depression

Tom Bevan's remarks about a book which argues that we've gotten into a psychobabble driven culture are perfect.

There is certainly a place for psychological and psychiatric help in our society. Marriages need help, tragedies happen, and there are people who live with objective clinical problems that are properly treated with appropriate medication and therapy. But the problem becomes when the daily challenges of life are elevated to crises and justification for failure, and the realities of life are ignored in favor of an irrational over-emotionalized persecution complex.

And the fact that many Democrats are depressed as a result of the election is quite expected because the personal is indeed the political with them. They have no coping mechanism to deal with the radioactive reservoir of hate and despair in which they live. The outlet that the election provided is now gone, with all of their primal rage spent to no good end. W remains in the Oval Office. And, as liberals will do, they create the name of a condition (Post Election Selection Trauma), the acronym for which seems more politically motivated than treatment directed.

Republicans were none too pleased after Bush 41 lost in November 1992. But we dealt with it, complained and moaned, but then at the next opportunity, we did something extraordinary. We didn't just score a win in the off year election of 1994, we worked what amounted to an electoral tsunami. The people expelled Democratic governors from state houses across the nation in favor of Republicans with the same old self-empowering ideas they had always had, Republicans took back the Senate after losing it in 1986, and for the first time in over forty years, retook the House of Representatives. Then several conservative Democratic Senators and House members flipped to the Republican side. And but for a brief switch because of a decision made by a bitter Jim Jeffords, neither house of Congress has returned to the control of the Democrats.

But the national Democrats, far from being a party with the face of Humphrey or Scoop Jackson, is now represented by the immature Baby Boomer who never got over Vietnam, Timothy Leary, or Watergate. And it says quite a lot about the party when I have to hearken back to the 1960s before I can recall a respectable and electable face. But I digress.

Nonetheless, the emotional and intellectual infant that is the Baby Boomer leftist cannot deal with disappointment. They do not rise to the occasion, but rather seek to have their entirely predictable electoral misfortune--a fact of life in politics--cast as an illness. If they can't get a win in the marketplace of ideas, they can at least file for disability.

Disappointment breeds wisdom in a mature mind, but as I stated before, the left never got over losing at Candyland. They surely won't bounce back from an electoral embarrassment, let alone a series of them by a guy they publicly declare to be a moron. Be that as it may, I don't want to end up paying for that entitlement generation's inability to cope with a rainy day by having it declared a disability. Because as absolutely pitiful as they are, they are pretty darned clever at getting other people to pay for their problems.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

More on the Judges Stakes

David Brooks, courtesy of RealClearPolitics has an almost excellent article in the NYT today about the Senate standoff.

I'm with him until about halfway through when he begins to take a nearly McCainian point of view about the rights of minorities and reprisals. His thesis is that Roe v. Wade was a hijacking of state' rights to determine through their legislatures how, if at all, abortion would be permitted, and that the battle to reverse that particular ruling has consumed the political process. I think he is partially right, but that is not even close to being the only reason why Republicans are not letting the matter go.

As I mentioned earlier this week, the stakes in this battle are very high. While many Republicans would like nothing better than to see Roe overturned, that's not the reason judges get appointed. There are many more issues in law than abortion. But decisions like Roe are the very thing that Republicans want to prevent. Judges have no place telling us what the law is because they believe that it ought to be that way. Similarly, those who are seeking a change in the law need to seek the counsel of the legislature, not the courts. The courts are there to affirm the law, not reform it. To do anything different is to permit a tyranny of the minority. Because these judges are inflicting their own political viewpoints on us without debate or opportunity for citizen comment.

The Democrats have never defended any "right" more than that of abortion. The degree to which they have rabidly defended it makes one think that abortion is the only thing the party exists to perpetuate. And with that in mind, they put a litmus test on each judge. Rather than concerning themselves with whether the judge will remain faithful to the law, they ensure that the judge will ignore the case and the law before them and deliver a politically reliable result on any abortion or reproductive rights issue. So yes, abortion is an issue for some.

We were not meant to be governed by robed masters, but rather by men and women just like us, from our home towns, who have to answer to us if they get it wrong. But the left won't be happy until they get their 1960s manifesto enacted into law. They know that they don't have the votes to do it in any state or at the federal level because the American people would forbid it. So they want to enact it in secret, little by little through overreaching judicial opinions. Roe was a start. It isn't the end.

The battle for judges matters. And while a minority party may be upset by pulling the "Byrd Option", we are governed by a majority. The Dems have, quite legally, done away with the filibuster in the past to fulfill their objectives. The Republicans should do the same. Because what the Democrats are pulling is patently wrong. They have no respect for a Constitution that doesn't allow for their vision of unlimited government. They want to do away with it, and they way they are doing it is by stretching the meaning of its terms to the point that they are unrecognizable from the text.

And it says much about us when we fear their ire and screaming more than we fear the shredding of the foundational document designed to protect us from the variety of Huxleyan despotism they seek to impose on us.

The Cost of Frist-ism

Tom Bevan over at the superblog, RealClearPolitics.com, once again spreads wisdom in a post about the Republicans' utter failure to properly manage the judicial filibuster. I agree with his point that if Frist has only laid down political cover over the past few months, the Byrd Option would have been an easy sale, because the Democrats' behavior is truly inexcusable.

I don't think that it is possible to belabor hammering Bill Frist or his predecessor, Trent Lott, enough on what amounts to an obvious and sustained failure to lead. Rather than standing up for what they believe, they have spent the past four years catering to the Democrats, giving them kindness for evil without fail. It is one thing to turn the other cheek and to respond with a gentle answer. It is quite another to allow one's self to be treated as the willing victim of another. And Frist has done just that. He has squandered a working majority, which the voters gave the president in 2002 and even more so last year, into an motley impotent crew whose only unifying factor is a single-letter party designation after their names.

I think that the talk of Frist's presidential hopes and this controversy's relationship to it is so much wasted oxygen and ink. Frist was chosen because the Senate Republicans believed that he would be a good leader. Instead, he followed in the footsteps of Lott. He pandered to the Democrats who remember no kindnesses and are only too quick to stick a knife into the side of the Republicans. The problem is that Dr. Frist has the collegiality to show them the ribs between which the knives should go to do the most damage. Those are not the qualities I want in a president. I think he is beyond rehabilitation.

This is a battle for the integrity of our government and the limitation of power of renegade government officials. It is a shame that Frist has not bothered to take it seriously. And it would be appropriate to replace him with a vertebrate leader at this point. Doing any less risks the Republicans' Senate majority, presuming of course that it is not already at risk.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

What the Cardinals Meant to Say

Long live Pope Benedict the XVI. I found the selection of Cardinal Ratzinger from Germany to be a very telling one. And I think his selection reflects the attitude of the Cardinals to the world.

The biggest message they are sending is that they continue to endorse the policies of John Paul II. Ratzinger was the Pope's right hand man, and helped him hold the line on doctrine, so there is no reason to believe that we will see anything different than we have from the Vatican. And the endorsement should come as no surprise, as John Paul II appointed them all.

But by the endorsement of John Paul II's papacy, the College of Cardinals may have sent a corollary message to many of the louder voices we heard after John Paul II passed a few weeks ago.

Many from the media and the left predictably dragged out the tired 1960s rhetoric which many of us could recite in our sleep--women priests, marriage/acceptance of gays and the lifestyle, approval of abortion, premarital sex and a litany of other "ugly stepchild" philosophies. The cardinals surely were not oblivious to such talk. And they could have very easily elected a more liberal Pope than Ratzinger/Benedict XVI. That is not to say that they would have elected a "liberal Pope" but certainly one who was not as vocal about the moral standards or the doctrinal teachings which John Paul II and Benedict XVI advocate. But they avoided whatever temptation may have been there.

The message is that the Church does not change to suit the world, but rather the Church seeks to change the world. And the choice of this Pope indicates that the Cardinals want to make it known that it is not man's prerogative to change the church, but rather to uphold what God has given.

And no matter how old John Paul II got, no matter how many times I heard creepy and ignorant people mock him for the waning health of his body, that someone so frail could be a representative of God, his spirit and attitude remained young, strong, and joyful. And the choice of Benedict XVI shows that John Paul II wasn't the only person who thought that a high moral and spiritual standard needed to be upheld.

But I wonder why the left bothers. Many of them don't bother attending the Catholic Church or holding to its teachings. Why bother trying to fix something that they dislike in the first place?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Why the Battle for Judges Matters

My post yesterday about the need for the Republicans in the Senate to break the filibuster of Bush's judges set forth the immediate appearance of things in the Senate. Bill Frist is in a very bad position. He allowed the Dems to define the terms of the argument (Republicans changing rules in the middle of the game, calling it the "Nuclear Option", etc.) all the while hoping that the Dems would be kind and come around to his viewpoint. it's time the Frist get serious with the Democrats and break the culture of appeasement which we had hoped would end with the removal of Trent Lott.

Today, John Hinderaker in the Daily Standard gives us the stakes of the judicial battle (thanks to RCP).

The left is out to change the Constitution. They don't want to amend it, but rather change it through judges writing opinions that reflect a change in the law because of a change in mores or philosophies which the left feels that everyone would accept or should adopt. But take a look at what they want to do.

The Founders granted us "freedoms from", meaning freedoms from interference by government, so that we were free to do pursue the lives which we felt were best. Granted, our consequences were our own, but that only encouraged people to behave wisely. And it worked. We are the most prosperous society in the world and have been for a century. But these leftist scholars want us to shoulder the burden of everyone else's poor decisions, and thus spread wealth across the board. So rather than a government of "freedoms from", we get "rights to" government largesse.

It's really the same old song they have sung since Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto over 150 years ago. They are socialists. They want to do away with the incentives that each of us have in this economy to do better, work harder, and be smarter. They want us dependent upon them because they believe that they know better than we do how to live our lives. They want to ration our access to goods and services. Read Hinderaker's article again if you don't believe me.

The left wants to change your life through the courts (i.e. have judges abuse their power) because they know that they cannot affect a change in the law through the means provided in our Constitution and those of the various states. In other words, they want to break the law to make the law. And their strategy presumes that the majority of Americans would want nothing to do with the form of government they are trying to cram down our throats. They are knowingly advocating a tyranny of the minority. It means that they don't care what you think.

And you thought the battle for judges didn't matter.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Busting the Filibuster

Much has been discussed over the weekend about the risks and benefits facing both parties as the Republicans weigh the wisdom of breaking the filibuster over judicial nominations in the Senate. The Republicans, led by a fairly tentative Bill Frist are increasingly wobbly when it comes to challenging the Democrats who have used this same tactic in the past. And much of the problem is their own fault.

To be technical, what we are witnessing is not a filibuster. It is a group of Democrats blocking a majority vote on judicial appointments. For it to be a true filibuster, the Dems would have to actually hold the floor for debate and do things like read books aloud or just spout off until they fell to the floor from exhaustion. And the Republicans should have held them to that. If a real filibuster were enforced, I somehow doubt that all 44 Senate Democrats would participate in a 24/7 physical presence on the floor of reading or making speeches.

Nonetheless, the Republicans have done what they have done. But what irks me is that they forgot the results of 2 1/2 years ago and 5 months ago. In 2002, the President made the case for Senators who would not obstruct national business for partisan advantage. America bought it (especially after the memorial service for the late Senator Paul Wellstone which was a putrid display of partisan rancor, showing the national Democrats for what they really are), and increased the Republicans' representation in the Senate. People didn't like pointless petty partisanship and rejected it in the voting booth.

And they did the same in 2004. The President had a war on his hands, the resolution of which was very uncertain. He also was not running on a terrific economy. The indicators spelled doom for him. Nonetheless he was re-elected and increased his party's representation in the Senate. But someone was not so fortunate.

Tom Daschle's political career was ended. Bush took the battle to South Dakota and make abundantly clear to the residents that their senior senator was an unprincipled obstructionist who talked the good talk at home, but led the ranks of the left in Washington. The message? Bush is not someone to cross lightly, and people don't like excuses for obstruction.

By way of history, recall the Republicans' obstruction of Hillary Clinton's health care nationalization legislation in 1994. They paid no price for their obstruction despite cries of foul by the Dems and their allies in the media. On the contrary. In an overwhelming victory, they broke the Democrats' control on the House, Senate, and Governor's Mansions across the country that fall. People don't mind obstruction if it is a bad thing being blocked.

But the Dems have made no such showing about Bush's Federal bench appointees. Granted, they have accused them of being extremists, racists (despite in one case, a nominee working for an expansion of civil rights in the south), and any other outlandish label they felt they could apply. To a very significant extent, the Senate Democrats are taking their hate for the President out on the people whom he advances for judicial office.

So to prevent further obstruction, the Republican leadership proposes to end the use of filibusters for judicial nominees only. But a few liberal Republican Senators, namely Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), John Sununu (R-NH), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) are giving indications that they respect the Democrats' ire more than the people's business. Then, of course, there is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who needs to be loved by Democrats more than his own party and offered spurious rationale for supporting the Dems. His political twin brother and perpetual crank, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) whose only purpose seems to be to publicly make life difficult for the President may go along with the Republicans in such a vote, but not before he airs his misgivings in a transparent attempt to get more camera and air time.

But when a vote comes (and I did say when), all bets are off. If Frist balks and never calls a vote, he will lose the confidence of the Republican conference and will end his presidential hopes. If he calls it without demanding loyalty among Senate Republicans and without, perhaps threatening sanctions for those who defect in terms of reduced assistance from the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee funds, (needed by the likes of Chafee and Snowe next year), he will potentially have an embarrassment on his hands.

Frist should whip his conference properly. He needs to inform the more liberal members that the party has stuck by them during their tough moments and that it will do so again if they remain faithful, but that there is no room for those who participate with the Dems in a partisan blocking of national business. He should then call a vote. Those refusing to stop the Dems would be on record. He would be on record for having done all he could. And Bush would get another issue to take to the people in 2006 to win another off-year election.

Because people won't mind if obstruction is broken and a few judges get to their posts. But they will mind one party stopping their business for no good reason. And a result like that of November 2002 is not completely unforseeable.

Friday, April 15, 2005

McCain - Ending His Presidential Hopes - Exposing His Ignorance

Sen. John McCain yesterday, in an interview with Chris Matthews has stated that he would not support his party in their efforts to stop the filibuster of judicial nominees. And the reasons he offers reflect a singular myopia:
MATTHEWS: So you will vote with the Democrats?

MCCAIN: Yes, because I think we have got to sit down and work this thing out. Look, we won't always be on the majority. I say to my conservative friends, some day there will be a liberal Democrat president and a liberal Democrat Congress. Why? Because history shows it goes back and forth. I don't know if it's a hundred years from now, but it will happen. And do we want a bunch of liberal judges approved by the Senate of the United States with 51 votes if the Democrats are in the majority?

Second of all, we ought to be able to work it out. Third of all I don't want to shut down the Senate. We're in a war. We're in a war. Shouldn't we be doing the people's business?

I don't know where to begin with this. This answer presumes that the Democrats can hear reason when it comes to judges. They won't. They showed it with Tom Daschle and they are doing it again with Harry Reid. They insist on blocking nominees based upon their political philosophies, and smear the reputations of these decent people, calling them racists, among other things. That's not the rhetoric of rational people.

And the Democrats are losing off-year elections. They should have gained in 2002, but failed to do so. Instead, Republicans regained the Senate and expanded their control of the House. Similarly, Republicans made substantial gains in 2004, when the President appeared to be in peril. If anyone presumes that President Bush is not going to pull in 2006 the same act he pulled in 2002, they are fools. And McCain realizes that by saying that the return of their control may be a century away. That may be a bit far, but I somehow doubt that Democrats of today are still holding ill will towards Republicans for Teddy Roosevelt's hold on power in the early 1900s.

But let's presume for a second that doing nothing would foster good will with the Dems. Does anyone recall the courtesies granted to the Republicans by the Democrats after Jim Jeffords bolted the party in 2001? At the beginning of that Congress, the Democrats demanded power-sharing because the Republicans retained control of the Senate only because of Dick Cheney's vote as President of the Senate. Their ceaseless cries, harmonized with those from the mainstream media, that they get equal committee representation, etc. resulted in Trent Lott's predictable caving-in, and granting them those undeserved concessions. But they never granted Republicans those same courtesies after Jeffords left. In fact, they only turned up the heat. Any courtesy a Republican does to these Democrats is a slight to himself. The Democrats do not remember kindness and have no respect for social courtesies. They are about expanding their hold on power and destroying those who impede their access to it. Courtesies only slow that down.

If McCain presumes that the Dems will somehow be more cordial if the filibuster is not stopped, then he truly is clueless about his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

Then, acknowledging that we are in a time of war, he says that he does not want to be responsible for shutting down the Senate. But he would not be. That would be an act of the Democrats. And if they shut down the Senate because the President was not required to nominate judges who agree with their world view, thus hampering business that impinged upon the war and its successful outcome, they would face an unholy wrath in 2006. The midwest states would purge their blue senators.

And, of course, when McCain asks the question "Shouldn't we be doing the people's business", it makes one wonder if he believes that the appointment of competent judges to the federal bench and the debate as to whether politics should even play a role in the process is "the people's business."

We always knew that John McCain likes to be difficult, mainly towards his own party, and that he likes to be loved by the Democrats. And he may have succeeded at both. But in going for that cheap plastic trophy, he trashed the biggie; Senator McCain has effectively placed himself outside the realm of those who can be nominated for the presidency--at least on the Republican ticket.



Thursday, April 14, 2005

Debate, Leftist Style

I caught this via Drudge. At a talk at NYU, Antonin Scalia was asked about his dissent in a case where the Supreme Court managed to find some text in the 1st Amendment that permitted a right to sodomy, thus striking a Texas anti-sodomy law. The words "Free Exercise" must have been their hook, despite the fact that it is in the context of religion, whose free exercise they have no problem abridging, but I digress.

The man, who identified himself as being gay, asked a question about the government's right to prohibit consentual sodomy. After getting a well-reasoned answer from Scalia which he did not like, he then questioned whether that was a practice that the Justice engaged in with his wife (who was present in the audience). The Justice very politely stated that a question reflecting such poor taste did not merit an answer.

But this is how the left argues, and this attack by an ill-mannered individual reflects some of their favorite tactics, revealing much about their bankrupt philosophies.

If they can't beat you on the merits of an argument, they go after you personally. Given that many of their arguments are based on emotion and not reason, it is perfectly natural for leftists to resort to their old favorite, the ad hominem attack. But Scalia finds himself on the losing side of an argument, he often writes scathing and lengthy dissents to demonstrate the objective viability of the legal position he believes is correct. The opinions make for compelling reading, as he is a very good writer who carefully researches the law and copiously cites his authorities. His positions are well reasoned; he wouldn't take them otherwise. But the attack on himself and his wife, notwithstanding the singularly putrid display of disrespect that it represented, has nothing to do with whether the government can proscribe sodomy. It was an attempt to personally embarrass Scalia, but even if it had succeeded, it would not have advanced the leftist's position.

Another fallacious angle of leftist thought which the question reflects is the one of mores v. morals. Whether one commits sodomy has no bearing on whether it is permissible. To recall the old saying, "Wrong is wrong no matter how many people are doing it. Right is right no matter how few people believe it." What we do does not affect what is permissible. The left likes to believe otherwise, but such a belief is mistaken.

The left cannot support what they believe by citing authority for their position. They can only argue how the law should be different because they "feel" that it should be that way. And if you disagree, the problem becomes you, not what you believe. If you don't believe me, ask Clarence Thomas, George W. Bush, Charles Pickering, John Ashcroft, Condoleeza Rice, Tom DeLay, Henry Gonzalez, and most recently, John Bolton and Arthur Finklestein.

The problem is that the left has very little with which to shoot. They offer a very loud and emotional, but generally unintellectual and ungrounded viewpoint. They hate being wrong because politics is everything to them. So to try to keep competitive, they seek to cow those who disagree with them into submission for fear that their families will be embarrassed or a less than glowing past will be revealed.

But their emotionalism is their downfall. They lack self control, and they eventually expose themselves as the intellectual infants they are. Because the byproduct of their political emotionalism is irrational orthodoxy, which gives rise to a disturbingly primal hate for those who have different viewpoints. It is much the same thing one expects to see in a preschool classroom or among wild animals. But that's the left.

Dayton the Fool

Powerline has a post which quotes Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) who describes the death of a soldier from Minnesota being the result of too little sand and bags for it in Iraq.

Read the account thoroughlly.

Mark Dayton was the only Senator (or legislator for that matter) who evacuated his office before the election because he felt that there was a credible threat against the Capitol/his office.

After drivel like this, Dayton needs to get the medication checked, but he can also be pretty well assured that the enemy is probably very comfortable with him in the Senate.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Unreal Sports Hooliganism

We've all had our laughs about fan violence at European soccer games. It's a time for fans to sit back, relax, and violate the social contract by engaging some well intentioned rioting and pummelling of others.

But this (courtesy of Drudge) takes the cake. After an unpopular call, fans began throwing various things onto the field that are often found in the stands, like plastic drink bottles, and of course, numerous road flares. After an understandable panic, the players returned to the field only to be greeted by, yes, more road flares. Apparently the disappointed fans had not exhausted their supply.

What gets me is that these flares were all over the place, meaning that quite a few people had them and were throwing them onto the field. It makes you wonder if dangerous pyrotechnics are normal equipment in fans' bags, given that plenty of them were confiscated prior to the match.

As a result, Italy is cracking down on sports violence. But I think they should wait until fans are launching mortar rounds onto the field.

Mocking Byrd

Rich Bond has a great article (courtesy RealClearPolitics) which sets forth the history of the so-called "nuclear option" in the Senate. If the Republicans succeed in changing the Senate rules to prohibit filibusters on judicial nominees, it will not be the first time that a proverbial mushroom cloud hovered on the north side of the Capitol.

Robert Byrd, former majority leader and accomplished demagogue, is decrying the use of this option, but Grand Senator Kleegle used that same option four times according to Bond, when it suited his needs. The problem now is that it doesn't suit his needs.

I agree with Bond that calling it the "Byrd Precedent" is much wiser than the stupidity of the Republicans allowing it to be called the "nuclear option" which got its name from Democrats who said they would "go nuclear" on Republicans by stopping all Senate business if they dared to allow the Senate to be governed by majority rule. As Byrd himself said "the Senate was never intended to be a majoritarian body." Of course not. At least when Republicans are in the majority, that is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

NAACP - "Playing the Race Card is OUR Job!"

I read this and almost fainted. Read the article if you like, but the whole point is that Julian Bond and his ilk, the same folks who formulated the James Byrd commercial for the 2000 election accusing Bush of being complicit in the dragging murder of that man, have the breathtaking brass to accuse President Bush of playing the race card by highlighting certain benefits of his social security plan to blacks.

Bush is trying to make clear that private accounts would be passed along as inheritance. That would likely be appealing to many in the black community, given their statistically shorter lifespan, and given that families of people who die before retirement age often do not receive social security benefits.

And that somehow qualifies as playing the race card.

But this comment by acting NAACP president, Dennis Courtland Hayes somehow does not:
Unfortunately for African-Americans, our experiences here in America are
color-coded," Hayes said. "We have to be concerned about mutations, of changes
that occur that we sometimes didn't foresee when we thought we were doing
something good."

As examples, he said constitutional amendments on behalf of blacks
after the Civil War led to Jim Crow laws curbing black voting rights, and court
decisions outlawing segregated schools triggered white flight from cities and
racial profiling in suburbs.

I suppose the NAACP meant to say that it is their job to play the race card. Just so we're clear.

Bob Ehrlich Is Turning Off The People Who Voted For Him

Bob Ehrlich, the Governor-For-Now of Maryland has done a remarkably good job of alienating the very dopes who voted for him back in 2002.

My wife and I sat down to do our taxes and discovered that we did very well on the federal side, but ended up paying way, way more to the State of Maryland. I posted earlier about the financial health of the State of Maryland here. So those of us families in Maryland ask, what about us?

Ehrlich has few things of which he can boast in 2006. Promised tax cuts did not materialize. Instead, fees have gone up. The tax increases passed by former Governor Parris Glendenning remained intact with nary a word from the Governor's mansion. The InterCounty Connector remains unbuilt, forcing those of us who live in the Annapolis area to slog across the notoriously clogged Capital Beltway, adding in an extra 2 hours for the 15-20 miles it takes to traverse that road.

The way a Republican gets elected is promising to get the government off the backs of families, and to stand up for their values. Ehrlich is pro-choice, which helps little on the morality front, but being soft on taxes may cause many Republican families in Maryland to "undervote" in 2006. Especially those of us who are reminded every April of just how much the State takes from our pockets.

He's Gay, So What He Says Doesn't Matter

Bill Clinton may have committed a serious faux pas when it comes to sensitivity to the homosexual community. Arthur Finkelstein, a Republican strategist who is working to hamper Hillary Clinton's re-election efforts and presidential aspirations caught an interesting diagnosis from Bill Clinton.

Rather than focusing on the man's activities, Clinton brings up the fact that Finkelstein is gay, and that his anti-Hillary activities are some manifestation of his gay self-loathing. So his acting out as a function of his "gayness", rather than a true intellectual opposition to the Lady Macbeth of New York explains why he is opposing her.

Taking this along with John Kerry's and John Edwards' exploitation of Mary Cheney's private life, it seems to me that the Democrats' love of gays extends only so far as they toe the line. And it seems that they treat gays about the same as they do minorities: if you side with the Republicans, there must be something deeply wrong with you.

Biden Overplayed the Dems' Hand

I've never accused Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) of being particularly savvy. He is a camera opportunist who likes to hear & see himself on TV. And the hatchet job he is attempting on John Bolton is yet another example of this man's ego going before his brain.

I discussed this yesterday here, citing as further evidence (in addition to prior and current behavior regarding judicial appointments and cabinet posts) that the Senate Democrats care about bitter, politically-motivated obstruction, not the business of the Congress. And it seems that in the act of opposing Bolton, the Senate Democrats conveyed an impression of themselves which exceeded the wildest dreams of Republicans.

The first chuckle comes courtesy of John Hinderaker at Powerline who posted this beauty. Yes, protesters. Code Pink, as they call themselves, came out to express a pro-U.N. view, which is much like offering a pro-Division of Motor Vehicles position. The bottom line is that critters like this are not the kind of people with whom the Dems want to be associated if they wish to retain any measure of credibility. And today, things got much worse after this testimony. As predicted, it was a staffer who got up and sobbed that Bolton wasn't nice. He characterized Bolton as a "serial abuser". The only problem was that his testimony was pure hearsay. Notwithstanding that detail, the Democrats then intellectually collapsed.

Joe Biden said that it is inappropriate to dress down a junior employee. But he neglects to mention what happened to the employees in question. They were neither fired nor reassigned. And oddly enough, the grievous mistreatment was not enough to make them quit.

But the best remarks go to the airhead Wal-Mart cashier turned U.S. Senator, Barbara Boxer, who adds that Bolton needs anger management and that he's a bully. And then the quote that will make a Saturday Night Live skit this weekend: when referring to Bolton's alleged disdain for the U.N., she said "You can dance around it. You can run away from it. You can put perfume on it..." The Democrats really do themselves no favors by letting Senator Mensa do anything other than sit on the floor and color.

This is an unqualified disaster for the Democrats. They set up a show trial, and instead made themselves look like fools for spewing unconvincing righteous indignation over irrelevant matters and by putting up a whiney little witness who told an uncompelling story.

Folks, you are watching the implosion of one of America's great political parties. They're doing it to themselves.

Monday, April 11, 2005

John Kerry - There Was Voter Intimidation

Drudge linked to this fairly rich article where he claims there was voter fraud in last November's election. And for once, he and I agree. I've discussed this before here, here and here, among other places.

But to Kerry, long lines, etc. in Democratic districs are among the "irregularities" that caused problems for his voters. Maybe. But that's up the Democrats who control those districts. They have nobody to blame but themselves.

And they have no room to accuse Republicans of anything. Election mischief is their specialty.

Why The Schiavo Memo Matters to the Media

John Hinderaker has a pretty decent chronology and postmortem of the Schiavo Memo which came out of the Senate in the Daily Standard. It came from a Republican staffer to Sen. Mel Martinez.

And given the fairly rough condition of the draft, as well as Martinez's stupidity in not watching what he was handing Tom Harkin of all people, the thing gets out. And rather than discussing it with Martinez, and collegially returning it to him, Harkin called the Washington Post and ABC. Note to Republican Senators: you're idiots if you grant Tom Harkin any further courtesies.

So what does this document prove?

More than anything, it stands for the proposition that Republicans actually do evaluate political considerations when making decisions. Which, last I checked was not a breathtaking revelation in Washington. So like John Hinderaker, I still haven't figured out what makes this document of political analysis a headline.

If the media want to prove that the Republicans they so abhor think about political implications of their choices, then they've done it. And I'm certain it came as a big surprise to their readers. But more than anything, this was a fairly embarrassing media effort to fan some form of public outrage over a non-issue.

And it reflects a certain level of desperation. They are so eager to point the finger at Republicans for something, anything that they are also willing to make fools of themselves as they do it. Recall Dan Rather and Mary Mapes? And again, it removes all doubt that the mainstream media are left-biased.

This "memo" from a staffer to a Senator was authentic. But it confirms what we knew all along. Politicians think politically. Stop the presses!

Note to Dems: Picking Nits Can Be Costly

Per Delaware's shining star, Sen. Joseph Biden (D), John Bolton is not fit to be our ambassador to the U.N. because he has criticized it. Which means that Bill Clinton was and John Kerry would have been unfit to be the Commander in Chief of the U.S. military, because both were vocally critical of it. But Joe Biden must have forgotten to oppose their candidacies.

Biden, the camera-hungry senior senator from the almost forgotten first state of Delaware is once again getting too much media attention for reveling in the details.

It seems that Biden feels that the U.N. should never be criticized. So presumably the Annan leadership, such as it is, has no issues of concern like the Oil-for-Food scandal, allowing states like Libya to sit on the Human Rights Commission, and ignoring its own resolutions when rogue nations decide that they are not in the mood to cooperate, fearing confrontation more than "international will".

One would imagine that someone with a clear understanding of the challenges of working with the U.N. would be properly suited, but the Democrats, led by Biden in this case (an allegory of just how bad things have gotten for them), think that one should see all roses at what is a fundamentally troubled and historically misled institution.

But, not wanting to focus too much attention on Bolton's credentials, Biden wants to ensure that a thorough vetting is conducted by offering even the outlandishly irrelevant for consideration. Specifically, Biden is claiming that Bolton, as a State Department official, pressured intelligence analysts to overstate the likelihood that Cuba (not Iraq, mind you) would be able to develop weapons of mass destruction. If our invasion and occupation of Cuba were predicated on such reports, Biden might actually have a point. Now, I consider myself a pretty well-informed person, and an invasion of (or any action taken at all towards) Cuba would have been something I most likely would have caught. But so far, my Google search has gone nowhere--much like this moronic inquest into this pointless detail.

All kidding aside, raising this non-issue reflects a truly bad-faith approach to the confirmation process on the part of the Senate Democrats. They hope that they can pull away liberal Republican senators like the invertebrate Lincoln Chafee (R-RI), and the Republican only too happy to hamstring the President, Chuck Hagel (R-NE). But what they will succeed in doing is highlighting to the nation that they are not serious about anything other than political one-upsmanship. Because this is an ambassador, not a Supreme Court Justice, or a first-tier cabinet member like the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasury or Defense. And this is not someone of questionable morals or strange political thought. He's just a guy with whom the Democrats disagree, which is apparently disqualifier enough.

I hope that John Bolton and the reasons for the obstruction of his appointment become household talk. Because Americans really don't like this kind of pettiness when there is serious work to be done.

And picking every nit they can find may end up costing them in 2006 and 2008. It is yet one more indicator that the party and its members in the Senate are no longer serious about securing America or having our benches staffed with people who seriously consider the law. They want to have the emotional satisfaction of thumbing their nose at the President.

It may go well with them to remember the demise of Tom Daschle. Because I think he was just the first of a few Senate heads to hang on a wall in Crawford.

The State of Electoral Affairs

I caught this on Powerline, which is something every Democrat should read, and which is in keeping with my thoughts below on former Sen. John Edwards.

It quotes the great Michael Barone, whose political analysis is often perfect. Barone divides up the presidential vote by congressional district, and notes that there are quite a number of congressional districts where Bush had a strong showing, but where a Democrat Member of Congress got elected.

Barone further points out, as noted regarding John Edwards, obstructionism doesn't help, especially when you offer no alternative.

So Democrats may want to be watchful of things like this that could tend bolster the growing image that they are solely out to block Republicans out of bitterness and disappointment.

In the Footsteps of Al Gore

John Edwards chimes in (courtesy Drudge) about various things, but mainly how he would obstruct everything the Administration is doing. He also states that Hillary Clinton is not the frontrunner for the Democrats' nomination in 2008.

Presumably because Edwards wants to be.

But didn't Edwards learn anything from 2004? A moderate to conservative message is attractive nowadays. An obstructionist liberal message is viewed as old and cranky. But the funny thing is that Edwards actually fancies himself a winner when his own home state (and his own town) voted for Bush.

You can build a rocket as perfect as you like, but when you can't put fuel in it, it's just an insanely expensive statue.

John Edwards is a bitter soul. Trying to break into the candidate ranks with that kind of attitude won't get him far.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

A Black Pope?

Interesting comment at the bottom of a previous post. I think the notion that race would play into the choice of a new pope reflects neolithic thought. Nonetheless, my sentiments won't stop it. It doubt that an African pope will be selected, mainly because I see a much more conservative element from the Latin American group having a disproportionate voice and an unusually strong appeal given the development in the church in those regions.

But we'll all know in a week or two.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Pope Was Great Because He Held The Line

John Paul II, love him or otherwise, has earned a place in history, if not a place as a saint by the Catholic Church's canons.

But there is one thing that made him great. He knew what was right, he believed in it, and he held the line on it.

The left judged John Paul II for failing to see their twisted vision of the world. He did not liberalize sexual practices. He did not endorse the gay lifestyle. He did not favor abortion or stem cell research that came from aborted embryos. He did not favor women priests. He didn't do these things not just because he disagreed with them (which he did), but because he believed that it would be an abuse of his office before God to do so.

It was not up to John Paul II to liberalize certain practices. The teachings of the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole forbade much of what the liberal culture value, and so, to a very significant degree, his hands were tied. And John Paul knew that if he let go of the moral and ethical standard even just a little, he would be allowing humanist secularism to triumph over the Law of God. he would be bowing to the pressure of a bitter and noisy few over the proven standards of God.

John Paul did not waiver. He did not leave his post. And while that may make the Catholic Church seem stiff and arcane to the cutting edge left, it provided confirmation and support for the beliefs and standards held by many in the world. But it is not the place of the left, who generally avoid the Church (and by that I mean the greater community of Christians, which includes the Catholic Church), to stick their nose in to re/deform it. It is a place of transformation for and of the individuals who wish to step inside the door with open hearts.

And John Paul's refusal to bow to worldly pressure maintained the separation between secularism and the Church. The two are incompatible. The secular left seeks to abolish the Church by gradually doing away with its institutions, both biblically essential and simply traditional. John Paul realized that the Church is not about welcoming in strange ideas, but about worshiping the God who created it and the individuals whom the Church exists to serve.

And holding the line was the bravest thing he could do in this age. Well done.

Bad blogspot server

The Blogspot server is worthless. I've had several posts lost over the past few days. Please be patient & bear with me, as I have good stuff coming on the Pope, and even one on the new issue of gays in the military.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Literate Judges Only, Please

Duncan Currie's article in the Weekly Standard about the showdown in the Senate over the Federal bench is a must-read. While it correctly addresses the problem of "imperial judges" as he calls them, as it appropriately chides conservatives for buying into the mindset of the left.

I never again want to hear another conservative advocate for "conservative judges" on the bench. As emotionally satisfying as it would be to play turnabout with the left, it's a violation of our separation of powers and an invitation to tyranny. Let the conservatives, moderates and liberals all come, be clothed in robes and seated at a nicely varnished bench. I just want the ones who can read.

And by read, I mean the ones who actually read the statutes that are involved in the cases before them, and without philosophizing, apply such law to the cases before them by the plain terms of the statute, and write opinions that stay true to the statute, not true to what a judge believes the statute ought to say.

Because the "ought" does not exist in the law unless we put it there in so many words. That's why we have a legislature of so darned many people. Our founders did not want us living under laws formulated by a very few, but by many different minds who could debate, revise, pass or even derail proposals if appropriate. To permit judges a "veto" or even a hand in drafting law is to revive government by the Star Chamber.

All a judge needs to be able to do is read and think. But if they want their viewpoint to be found in the law, it might be better for them to run for office.

Conservatives would be wise to favor simple strict construction of laws. To do anything else is to lower ourselves to the level of the left who are seeking to have us ruled by robed overlords.

Correcting Wrongs--Repeating Them

Dick Morris had an excellent article deconstructing Sandy Berger's ridiculous explanation for acts which would have gotten anyone else charged with espionage. My prior post hit on the same major points, but yet another and potentially scary new angle has occurred to me.

Sandy Berger absconded with classified material because he knew that there was evidence in those documents, (likely in the marginalia since he knew there were other copies of the original document available) that he and/or his bosses had behaved stupidly in the face of a growing terror threat. They were known doves when it came to dealing with terrorists and their state sponsors, and their only response was to downplay the threat or offer bribes.

Removing and destroying the documents indicates that he knew that the policies he advocated were disasters. But Berger has failed to indicate any deviation from them. His regular appearances on various news shows criticizing the Bush Administration's terror policies eliminate any doubt about that.

Had John Kerry won the presidency, he would have been Secretary of State, absent this failure. So it stands to reason that the lousy policies he advocated during the 1990s, and which he certainly later discovered to be lacking, hence the document theft and destruction which caused him to plead guilty to a crime, were not so lousy that he wouldn't use them again on us.

Berger's arrogance is not only inexcusable, it is dangerous, further showing that he and his kind belong teaching worthless courses at universities, not formulating our nation's response to enemies.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

"Gimmie" Carter

To NBC, this was the story they found most compelling today, to the point that Matt Lauer felt compelled to deeply explore the matter this morning on the Today Show.

The flap is this: President Bush did not permit Jimmy Carter to attend the Pope's funeral with the U.S. delegation. The delegation has five spots, occupied by the President and First Lady, President Bush 41, President Clinton, and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The President explained that there were 5 slots allotted, and that there was no more room for Mr. Carter.

And so the analysis began. Was this a snub? Was it that there was one person too many? Is Bush being his usual mean-spirited self? And then most interestingly, the discussion came to the point of wondering whether Condoleeza Rice should have turned over her place to the former President who, by the by, is head of the Carter Center which monitors free elections, and is a Nobel Laureate? Put a different way, should the sitting Secretary of State abandon a diplomatic event to indulge the personal desires of a former president to attend who has relegated himself to irrelevancy as a result of a failed presidency, used his moral authority to endorse a stolen election in Venezuela which left a pro-Castro dictator in power, and spewed irresponsible pacifist rhetoric since September 11 which caused a few Swedes to swoon?

I certainly think that Carter's singularly obnoxious behavior over the past four years, trying to undercut the Administration's foreign policy at every turn did not warm the President to him. And while the president probably could have asked the Vatican for an extra spot, why would he want to be so publicly gracious to someone who refuses to offer him the same public graces, and in fact profits from such behavior?

But the really crude suggestion, that Secretary Rice step aside in deference to Carter, is revealing of the lack of respect the media and the left have for her. Carter has sought to undercut the foreign policy which she has crafted. He has been a public thorn in her side. To grant him anything is to somehow truncate her role as Secretary of State. And I doubt that the same request would have been made of Colin Powell. Lastly, the story had to come from somewhere, meaning that the media is advocating on its own for Carter, which isn't too likely, or Carter picked up the phone to a reporter for the purpose of creating a media controversy because he did not get his way.

And while I realize that this is not his specific intention, the suggestion that Secretary Rice give up her seat for former President Carter gives off the tiniest scent of an arrogant southern white man telling a southern black woman to go to the back of the bus.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A Little Fun At Media Expense

Between the passing of Terri Schiavo and the Pope, various comments in the media seem to confirm my belief that they harbor a willing ignorance on matters of religion and faith to the point that their coverage of such events can be downright embarassing.

So I encourage you to post as comments here, the most ignorant and ridiculous comments you catch in the coverage of these matters over the next few weeks. Please post any links so that everyone else can enjoy the chuckles. And if I find a favorite, I'll make it known.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Blog Busting

Jonathan Last at Galley Slaves posts this curious bit if information about San Francisco trying to regulate blogs. A City Supervisor wrote legislation that would regulate blogs, require registration with a a government office (on ethics, no less), and which would charge a fee to those blogs which have more than 500 hits, and subject them to traffic "audits".

Follow the link and send a kind (and please keep it kind!!) e-mail to the City Supervisor named there to thank her for her efforts to ensure that political speech meets her viewpoint-based analysis of "ethical". While it may not be as "free" anymore, and while it is typical leftist political censorship, and while it is a flagrant violation of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, at the very least, it probably will not offend the Supervisor's political sensibilities. And isn't that what matters?

I sent my own e-mail asking the supervisor if she would have proposed such novel legislation had bloggers brought down the Bush Administration last year instead of CBS. Just wondering. And I'm certain her official answer will be "no".

The Papal Stakes - Look to Latin America - Aim the Staff at Beijing

Here is a very interesting post, via Drudge which discusses the likelihood that the next Pope will be from Latin America.

It makes sense to believe that the Cardinals will elect someone from that region. The election of John Paul II, Karol Wojtyla from Krakow, Poland was revolutionary in itself, given that the Papacy has usually been held by an Italian. And given the shoes that need filling, a dynamic personality is required.

The Latin American church has faced much adversity over the past 20 years given its combating of the drug trade, totalitarian governments and leftist guerilla movements that developed in the 80s. Further, it is one of the most morally conservative regions of the Church. Normal conventions of western society, such as elective abortion, homosexuality and even divorce are socially taboo and often illegal. And John Paul II left room for nothing but a moral conservative. The numbers also potentially favor a Latin American Pope. 19% of the cardinals (22 of 117) are from the region, the largest group outside of the Europeans. But more to the point, to fill John Paul II's shoes, it would make sense to appoint an "operator" rather than an administrator.

John Paul II came from communist Poland. He had spent his life opposing totalitarian regimes. He trained for the ministry in secret when Poland was held by the Nazis, and stared down the Soviets as the Cardinal of Krakow, and then again as the Pope. His resolve emboldened the Poles, and his direct support of Lech Walesa and the Solidarity movement created such a political burden for the communists that the Eastern Bloc finally cracked, creating the environment of freedom that exists in those nations to this day. And his work revived the nature of the Papacy. He transformed the Papacy from a bureaucratic post to one of global authority tempered with personal mercy.

Many of the Latin American Cardinals have experience in opposing very real evils, and many come from a pastoral background, which is why John Paul II, a man of such authority, was a man loved by the masses. At heart, he was the people's pastor. So one of these "steeled" cardinals may be an excellent selection.

And while some suggest that the next Pope make efforts to marginalize Islamism, it will be hard to avoid the characterization that it would be another "Crusade". The best solution is to establish missions in the region to do what the Catholic Church does better than anyone in the world--the work of mercy to the poor. Authority often comes from service, and as we have seen in Iraq, mercy to the poor is often the most devastating weapon evil ever met. But politically, the next Pope's best target will be communist China.

The Pope could very well aim his staff at Beijing as John Paul II did at Moscow, and regularly decry the inhumane policies of the regime, as well as the barbaric enforcement of them, especially the one-child policy. The Church does have a presence there, and the opportunity is to embolden the faithful. The 1989 Tiananmen Square protest and subsequent massacre of the people reflect a willingness of the Chinese people to stand up to a vile government that rejects the people's rights, and such bravery needs to be encouraged.

President Bush has an interest in fostering a strong relationship with this new Pope. Because a China busy keeping its internal house in order is a China that can be undermined internationally, as the time has come to check them given their open discussions about the invasion of Taiwan, and their efforts to undermine U.S. access to oil.

It's about time that the Chicoms begin to discover just how destructive the power of a prayerful people and a supportive Pope can be. John Paul II showed us that evil cannot withstand faithfulness, which may have been one of the greatest lessons he gave us.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Beautiful News of a Reward

My friends, I bring you wonderful news. Karol Wojtyla, a man who loved us, whom we knew as John Paul II has entered eternity, and now worships freely at the feet of our God.

He lived a life of sacrifice so that we may know the salvation that comes only from Jesus Christ. And now he knows Him perfectly.

He will never know anything but joy and beauty from this day forth.

Karol, we will miss you. And from a Catholic-turned-Prostestant, I offer you thanks. You showed us how to live a life of love with the joy of Christ in your heart. And you showed us how to die. Your final message was an exhortation to be joyful in your death, because you were joyful in it.

We are poorer in your absence. You are richer than we can imagine. And we look forward to meeting you as the faithful persevere with your example. Thank you for a life lived for God, and given to us.

Take joy. A hero has passed into reward.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Settling of the Dust

Terri Schiavo's passing ends the legal wrangling between the families. But I believe that it is the beginning of an entirely different set of battles which may very well determine the course of the culture, and of the culture war.

Living Wills
If you don't have one, get one. The state legislatures are going to get very busy in determining how to divine one's intentions about medical care after a catastrophic injury or illness, so folks would be wise to make their intentions known.

One other matter that they might be wise to take up are indicia of the unsuitability of a guardian. Spouses ought to have the first right to make these decisions, but that right needs to be balanced against the spouse's other interests or conflicts thereof. From Michael Schiavo's interest in a malpractice award, to his bigamous 2nd family, to his tardy recollection of a statement made by Terri while she watched a movie that she would not want to live on "life support", one could conclude that Michael Schiavo, whatever good intentions he claimed to have, had things beyond his wife's well-being on his mind.

Judicial Fitness
If anything proved that we have a serious problem with activist judges in this nation, it was this opinion filed by Judge Birch of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Birch came out swinging at the Congress and the President, and addressed the label of "activist judge" which he very correctly feared would be applied to him. The opinion is a screed whose main point is that Terri's Law is an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers. But Judge Birch is wrong on the law. And several other 11th Circuit judges think so too. I encourage everyone to read the dissent following his opinion, which is well researched and documented, as it directly attacks his argument of the constitutionality of Congress' act, making the judge look like the very activist fool which he claimed he was not.

The opinion is a symptom of a bigger problem though, which is judicial tyranny. When judges will not obey the law and usurp the power of other branches of government to make law fit their personal philosophical and political beliefs, we have a departure from an elected, accountable, and limited government.

When judges start reshaping law, rather than simply applying the plain terms of statutes, the parameters of our society break down. Judges do not exist to establish law, but to resolve disputes upon existing law.

The U.S. Congress may wish to begin an overhaul of the judicial system, by plucking activist, outlaw judges from their chambers, and forcing them to defend their office in impeachment proceedings. The mechanism exists. It is time that it be used. Because the unelected cannot carry more power than our entire Congress.

The Value of Life
Roe v. Wade has determined the course of the culture war for over 30 years. It permitted women to end those pregnancies which they regarded as socially or economically inconvenient. And the practice became so accepted and regular that we actually needed to have a debate in the 1990s as to whether a form of infanticide, euphamistically called "partial birth abortion" was the kind of thing that we would continue to allow in our society. While the procedure is condemned when used to enforce the Chinese state policy of population control, it is defended when a woman in the United States elects to have it. The distinction (being one without practical difference) between them, which seems to determine the morality of the procedure, is which person makes the decision to commit the abortion. Oddly, nobody thinks to consult the child being aborted.

We have become a culture that too easily evaluates life based upon its fragility and function. So perhaps it is time to decide whether we want to be a society that permits one's life to be ended once it becomes a burden on the rest of us. Will we further slide into the eugenic paradigm or a culture that nurtures, respects and loves life, regardless of its imperfections?

Terri Schiavo's life and death highlight some of the unfortunate things we have come to permit in our society. But legal disorder and moral relativism have very real and dangerous consequences. A time of decision is upon us. If we ignore it, we do so to our detriment.

Sandy Berger - Another Clinton Roadkill

Former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger is going to plead guilty to charges that he took classified documents from the National Archives while he was preparing for his 9/11 Commission testimony.

The problem here is that this was not as innocent as we were led to believe by Mr. Berger. One does not stuff documents in his jacket, down his pants and in his socks when one makes an "honest mistake" as he claims.

But I think that Mr. Berger's intent was to do something a little more innocent (and abysmally stupid) than the espionage to which some more excitable Republicans have alluded.

He was out to preserve the Clinton record on terrorism. Those documents likely contained comments that reflected a lack of concern on the part of the Clinton Administration towards terror in general and Al Qaida in particular. Because any revelation of that sort would be embarrassing and would rip the veneer off of Clinton's (and thereby his own) already weak foreign policy record.

So down Berger goes. My only concern is the terms of the plea. I would have required a lifetime revocation of his clearance rather than the three years which has been proposed. Because being a sneak like that with classified documents proves that he cannot be trusted with state secrets. Despite that, I'm certain CNN and MSNBC would be delighted to keep him on retainer as a consultant.