Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Iraq, Bush sought a legacy as liberator

At long last President Bush has provided some significant insight into his costly commitment of fighting forces and treasure to the war in Iraq.

"I'd like to be a president {known} as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace," Bush told an interviewer in remarks released by the White House on Saturday. The recorded interview is to be stored in the Library of Congress and in a museum to be devoted to the Bush presidency.

A few questions are in order. When did the freeing of millions of people in foreign lands become an imperative for an American president? Was this the original intent of Bush's invasion of Iraq? Or did this become an expedient explanation after the Iraq war, a war of choice, became hugely unpopular with the American people?

Few have questioned Bush's overthrow of teh taliban regime in Afghanistan, which had given safe haven to al qaida leaders as they plotted the 9/11 attacks.

Bush's initial explanation of the follow-up invasion of Iraq was that dictator Saddam Hussaein possessed large stores of chemical weapons, and had shown a willingness to use them. Some chemical weapons were, indeed, found in Iraq, but not enough to persuade skeptics that they posed a serious threat to the United States or its interests.

As the years passed, and the Iraq war dragged on, popular disapproval of the war rose and approval ratings for Bush fell.

There is no precedemt for America to wage war simply to free foreign populations from unpopular regimes. Previously, that has happened as a consequence of American forces toppling regimes that had invaded American territory, as Japan did at Peael Harbor, or posed an existential threat to this country, as Germany did by waging war on commercial shipping during the runup to World War II.

As recently as a half-century ago, the limits on exercise of American power were clearly understood, having been at issue in one of the great individual confrontations of our time.

After leading American forces across Korea all the way to the Chinese border, Gen. Douglas MacArthur argued that he should push on into Communist China, and that the United States should even resort to the atomic bomb to subdue the regime.

President Harry Truman said no. Then MacArthur took his campaign public, and Truman removed him from command.

In recent decades, however, American politicians have become more and more brazen about using government hammers and enticements to pursue social engineering within our borders, seeking reults that the free market system had failed to provide. The current financial turmoil resulted directly from a 30-year campaign by Congress and outside groups such as ACORN to force banks to grant mortgages to borrowers who couldn't meet free market standards of credit-worthiness. The Bush administration contributed to the debacle through the Federal Reserve's long drive to lower interest rates.

Now, it appears that the Bush administration was pursuing social engineering even more ambitiously by toppling the government of Iraq, which had not directly attacked or threatened the United States.

There is no light at the end of the tunnel. Barack Obama was elected president notwithstanding indications that he would intrude government even more ambitiously than Bush into social and economic affairs that the framers thought should be guided by market forces.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Next EU president cool to global warming

As the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, an economist, anti-totalitarian and climate change sceptic, prepares to take up the rotating presidency of the European Union next year, climate alarmists are doing their best to traduce him.

The New York Times opened a profile of Klaus, 67, this week with a quote from a 1980s communist secret agent's report, claiming he behaves like a "rejected genius", and asserts there is "palpable fear" he will "embarrass" the EU.

But the real fear driving climate alarmists wild is that a more rational approach to the fundamentalist religion of global warming may be in the ascendancy - whether in the parliamentary offices of the world's largest trading bloc or in the living rooms of Blacktown.

As the global financial crisis takes hold, perhaps people are starting to wonder whether the so-called precautionary principle, which would have us accept enormous new taxes in the guise of an emissions trading scheme and curtail economic growth, is justified, based on what we actually know about climate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spanish speaking produce for Walmart

Wal-Mart truck used to smuggle immigrants

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - Four illegal immigrants were found in the back of a Wal-Mart truck, and the driver and two alleged accomplices were accused of trying to smuggle them through a Border Patrol checkpoint.
Authorities acting on a tip arrested driver Alejandro Hernandez and two other suspects Thursday just south of a checkpoint at Falfurrias, authorities said. The four Mexican nationals in the trailer were also taken into custody.

Documents filed in federal court Monday allege that Hernandez, 50, unloaded a delivery at a Wal-Mart in McAllen, then stopped at a truck stop in nearby Edinburg where he picked up the four immigrants.

Obama, the stealth candidate

Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential tickets during the campaign, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How an error revived the global warming hysteria

The world has never seen such freezing heat
By Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 16/11/2008

A surreal scientific blunder last week raised a huge question mark about the temperature records that underpin the worldwide alarm over global warming. On Monday, Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), which is run by Al Gore's chief scientific ally, Dr James Hansen, and is one of four bodies responsible for monitoring global temperatures, announced that last month was the hottest October on record.

A sudden cold snap brought snow to London in October This was startling. Across the world there were reports of unseasonal snow and plummeting temperatures last month, from the American Great Plains to China, and from the Alps to New Zealand. China's official news agency reported that Tibet had suffered its "worst snowstorm ever". In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration registered 63 local snowfall records and 115 lowest-ever temperatures for the month, and ranked it as only the 70th-warmest October in 114 years.

So what explained the anomaly? GISS's computerised temperature maps seemed to show readings across a large part of Russia had been up to 10 degrees higher than normal. But when expert readers of the two leading warming-sceptic blogs, Watts Up With That and Climate Audit, began detailed analysis of the GISS data they made an astonishing discovery. The reason for the freak figures was that scores of temperature records from Russia and elsewhere were not based on October readings at all. Figures from the previous month had simply been carried over and repeated two months running.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An opening salvo against McCain

GOP senator: McCain betrayed Republican principles
Posted: 10:46 AM ET

From CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

A Republican senator hammered John McCain on Friday.

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (CNN) – South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint on Friday became one of the first high-profile Republicans to publicly criticize John McCain following his electoral defeat, blaming the Arizona senator for betraying conservative principles in his quest for the White House.

The conservative senator, speaking to a group of GOP officials gathered in Myrtle Beach at a conference on the future of the Republican Party, described how the party had strayed from its own "brand," which, according to DeMint, should represent freedom, religious-based values and limited government.

"We have to be honest, and there's a lot of blame to go around, but I have to mention George Bush, and I have to mention Ted Stevens, and I'm afraid I even have to mention John McCain," he said.

DeMint offered a long list of complaints about McCain's record in the Senate and on the campaign trail.

"McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver's seat," DeMint said. "His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."

Did senators get favors, or bribes, from Countrywide?

Senator Chris Dodd guilty of 'mortgage fraud'?
Jim Brown - OneNewsNow - 11/14/2008 8:15:00 AM

A news-talk radio station in New Haven, Connecticut, is refusing to air a spirited interview between a conservative host and the powerful chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Chris Dodd.

NBC News reports that a federal criminal investigation into possible wrongdoing by mortgage giant Countrywide Home Loans now includes scrutiny of Countrywide's VIP program that gave special mortgage deals to government officials, including Senators Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) and Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Votes for Al Franken still pouring in

Sunday, November 09, 2008
Update on the MN Senate Race
Posted by: Amanda Carpenter at 9:11 AM

Nearly every development of the Minnesota Senate recount between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and comedian-turned-candidate Al Franken has favored Franken.

On Election Day, Coleman was 725 votes ahead of Franken. That margin was so slim it triggered a mandatory recount to be conducted by Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie (D.).

That edge winnowed to 477 on Wednesday, 338 on Thursday and then 221 on Friday.

100 of the votes that came in for Franken's favor from Mountain Iron and St. Louis counties were time stamped on November 2---two days before the election. Ccunty election officials says the voting machines just had the wrong date, but Coleman's staff doesn't think they are legit. Every single one of the votes from these two counties went for Coleman and Obama.

Addendum: Politics in Minnesota's far north have always been a bit peculiar. While I was covering the Statehouse in St. Paul, one legislator from up there introduced a bill to set up special hunting seasons for blind people, on grounds of fairness.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"Historic and frightening election victory..."

Iowahawk congratulates Barack Obama, as only he can, on his "historic and frightening election victory."

A fighter suggests a first-rate battle plan

From Instapundit:

ADVICE TO THE REPUBLICANS: Do what Rahm Emanuel would do in your position! "Put as many long-range torpedoes into the water aimed at Senator Obama's ship of state before Republicans lose control of the Executive Branch as possible." Some examples:

*Appoint U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Patrick Fitzpatrick as a special prosecutor so he can pursue his investigation of Tony Rezko and his corrupt dealings with Illinois's governor and other creatures and spoilsmen of the Daley Machine. This will make it politically difficult for a President Obama to pardon Mr. Rezko and impossible for him to terminate Mr. Fitzpatrick as a federal officer come January 21 as a way of de-railing this investigation.

* Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate ACORN's voter registration methods and
its dealings with the Obama campaign.

* Appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Obama campaign's on-line fundraising operation, including its disabling of the credit card security software on its on-line donations system. File a complaint with the Federal Election Commission regarding same.

* Appoint a bipartisan (love that word!) presidential commission to review the candidates' fundraising in this election cycle and to recommend changes in federal election laws.

File ethics complaints against Sen. Chris Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank for their relationship with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Countrywide Mortgage.

Be it noted that, in his day, this is probably what Newt Gingrich would have done, too. It was then-Congressman Gingrich's persistent filing of ethics complaints against then-House Speaker Jim Wright, D Texas, which eventually brought Speaker Wright down and made possible the Republicans' re-taking of Congress in 1994 on the platform of the Contract with America.

Who needs a honeymoon anyway? Not Rahm Emanuel.

This probably is what Emanuel would do if the positions were reversed. But are these suggestions realistic?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Shelby Steele sees no messiah in Obama

Obama's Post-Racial Promise
By Shelby Steele | Thursday, November 06, 2008

For the first time in human history, a largely white nation has elected a black man to be its paramount leader. And the cultural meaning of this unprecedented convergence of dark skin and ultimate power will likely become -- at least for a time -- a national obsession. In fact, the Obama presidency will always be read as an allegory. Already we are as curious about the cultural significance of his victory as we are about its political significance.

Does his victory mean that America is now officially beyond racism? Does it finally complete the work of the civil rights movement so that racism is at last dismissible as an explanation of black difficulty? Can the good Revs. Jackson and Sharpton now safely retire to the seashore? Will the Obama victory dispel the twin stigmas that have tormented black and white Americans for so long -- that blacks are inherently inferior and whites inherently racist? Doesn't a black in the Oval Office put the lie to both black inferiority and white racism? Doesn't it imply a "post-racial" America? And shouldn't those of us -- white and black -- who did not vote for Mr. Obama take pride in what his victory says about our culture even as we mourn our political loss?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The clingers sack a professor

This is hard to believe. A college professor has actually been ousted for behaving like a loony adolescent.
But it gets even more precious; it happened at my first college, St. Olaf in Northfield, MN.
Phil Busse was sacked by St. Olaf for making off with campaign lawn signs that apparently didn't please him. He has been charged with misdemeanor theft.
Since I don't recall that St. Olaf had any special claim to the moral high ground, I put this down to small town Minnesotans clinging to their values, their guns, and their religion despite the best efforts of the local faculty.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What (little) we know about Obama

What We Know About Obama
The illusion of pragmatism advances far-left goals, in baby steps.

By Stanley Kurtz

Reflecting on all that I’ve written about Barack Obama over these past six months, four inter-related points stand out: Obama’s radicalism, his stealthy incrementalism, his interest in funding and organization-building, and his willingness to use — or quietly support — Alinskyite intimidation tactics. Since we stand on the cusp of the election, I’ll lay out the bottom line. For those who want to know more, go back and read the detailed studies on which I base these conclusions.

Obama’s troubling associations are more than isolated friendships or instances of bad judgment. His ties to Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Rashid Khalidi, Michael Pfleger, James Meeks, ACORN, the New Party, and the Gamaliel Foundation all reflect Obama’s sympathy with radical-left ideas and causes — wealth redistribution prominent among them. At both the Woods Fund and the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, for example, Obama and Ayers channeled money into ACORN’s coffers. ACORN, a militant group pursuing economic redistribution, succeeded in undermining credit standards throughout the banking system, thereby modeling the New Party’s plans to tame capitalism itself. So the association with Ayers is not an outlier issue, but part and parcel of a network of radical ties through which Obama’s supported “major redistributive change.” Via ACORN, that project has already nearly wrecked our economy. What will happen when it’s generalized?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

IBD/TIPP has race a dead heat

November 2, 2008

Day 21: IBD/TIPP Tracking Poll

Obama 46.7%
McCain 44.6
Undecided 8.7

The race tightened again Sunday as independents who'd been leaning to Obama shifted to McCain to leave that key group a toss-up. McCain also pulled even in the Midwest, moved back into the lead with men, padded his gains among Protestants and Catholics, and is favored for the first time by high school graduates.

Czar will bankrupt the coal industry

Hidden Audio: Obama Tells SF Chronicle He Will Bankrupt Coal Industry
By P.J. Gladnick
November 2, 2008 - 07:26 ET

"Imagine if John McCain had whispered somewhere that he was willing to bankrupt a major industry? Would this declaration not immediately be front page news? Well, Barack Obama actually flat out told the San Francisco Chronicle (SF Gate) that he was willing to see the coal industry go bankrupt in a January 17, 2008 interview. The result? Nothing. This audio interview has been hidden from the public...until now. Here is the transcript of Obama's statement about bankrupting the coal industry (emphasis mine):

'Let me sort of describe my overall policy.

What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a (sic) ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It's just that it will bankrupt them."

Witty revelations for our time

On the lighter side

Political axioms

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul.
- George Bernard Shaw

A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which
debt he proposes to pay off with your money.
-G. Gordon Liddy

Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on
what to have for dinner.
-James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)

Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in
rich countries to rich people in poor countries.
-Douglas Casey,

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys
to teenage boys.
-P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian

Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to
live at the expense of everybody else.
-Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short
phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if
it stops moving, subsidize it.
-Ronald Reagan (1986)

I don't make jokes... I just watch the government and report the facts.
-Will Rogers

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it
costs when it's free!
- P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as
possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
-Voltaire (1764)

Just because you do not take an interest in politics
doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you!
-Pericles (430 B.C.)

Talk is cheap...except when Congress does it.

The government is like a baby's alimentary canal: a happy appetite at
one end and no responsibility at the other.
-Ronald Reagan

The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools.
-Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
-Edward Langley, Artist (1928 - 1995)


A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong
enough to take everything you have.
-Thomas Jefferson

Hat tip to my cousin Warren...