Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Dick Gephardt's Swan Song
As the Iowa Caucus began, Dick Gephardt looked like a good bet, as one of the four Democrats tied for top place (along with Howard Dean, John Kerry and John Edwards). As the man most in touch with the labor unions, he seemed certain to get a large block of votes, as well as having the organisation to get his supporters to the right places at the right time.
So why did end up in fourth place (instead of second, as I'd predicted)? What caused his support to dwindle to about half of what it had been, while many of those those union households went with Kerry or Edwards instead?
If Iowa is supposed to be an indicator of the political pulse of middle America, then most of the people voting were "just folks" -- hard-working, everyday people, more interested in the impact of policy on their everyday lives than in high-sounding ideals that sound fine in Ivy League classrooms, but don't work in the real world, nor put food on the table. Just folks, representative of a huge portion of this country's people in what they want in a President, among other things. Mainstream America. And Gephardt won Iowa in 1988 with 31% of the vote.
Enter Chrissy Gephardt.
There's nothing wrong with being openly gay (my personal feelings on the matter aside). There's nothing wrong with championing gay issues (free speech being for everyone). There is, however, a great deal wrong with championing gay issues while stumping for your father, in a state like Iowa, in which he must do well in order to continue his campaign. Free speech has free consequences.
Didn't even one of his advisors take her aside and say, "Hey, this is his campaign... not yours"? Didn't even one person tell her, "If you want to campaign for your father, you should talk about his big issues... not yours"?
I feel badly for Dick Gephardt, I really do. His wish to include his daughter and her gay activist lifestyle in his life and campaign cost him his last possible shot at the Presidency, in my opinion. Many of the union households that Gephardt depended on apparently voted for Kerry or Edwards instead. Gephardt only received the support of one-third of union households.
Perhaps Iowa really does reflect mainstream American values. Even among Democrats.
Posted at Wednesday, January 21, 2004 by CavalierX
Monday, January 19, 2004
Which Is the True Party of Inclusion?
Who will the Republicans run for President in 2008? This question came up during a recent argument with a Liberal (a waste of time, more or less, but sometimes useful for sharpening one's mental claws). My answer seemed to shock him. Personally, I'd like to see either Paul Bremer or Colin Powell in the Oval Office, but I don't think the latter will run. Condoleeza Rice would also make a good President, in my opinion, but she needs more public exposure, perhaps as Vice President first. The liberal was stunned by this. He said that it seemed incredibly "progressive" for a Conservative, and that no Republican would ever elect a female or black President. I therefore took the opportunity to enlighten him.
The Liberals like to portray their pet political party, the Democrats, as "the party of inclusion" or "the big-tent party," while denouncing Republicans as anti-minority and anti-women. Historically, nothing could be further from the truth. It's just another Liberal lie.
The first woman in Congress was Jeanette Rankin, a Republican from Montana elected in 1916. Her platform included universal suffrage, Prohibition, child welfare reform, an end to child labor, and staying out of World War I. Does that sound like the anti-woman, warmongering Republican Party the Liberals like to describe? Not to me.
The first black Congressman was Joseph Hayne Rainey, a Republican from South Carolina and a former slave. Rainey's father purchased the family's freedom and became a barber. Rainey was one of the more conservative black leaders during Reconstruction; he favored a poll tax as a requirement for voting, with the revenues devoted to public education (the measure didn't pass). Elected to Congress in 1870, he supported an amnesty bill to remove remaining liabilities on former Confederates while simultaneously promoting a civil rights bill. Does that fit the Liberal profile of Republicans? No.
The first black Senator to serve a full term was also a Republican, Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi. (Technically, the first black Senator was Republican Hiram Rhoades Revels. He was elected to serve the remainder of Jefferson Davis' term, but did not run for re-election.) Born a slave, he escaped at the beginning of the Civil War and tried to enlist in the Union Army. He was elected to the Senate in 1874, encouraging the government to be more generous in issuing western land grants to blacks and favoring distribution of duty-free clothing from England to needy blacks. Senator Bruce also worked for the desegregation of United States Army units. Again . . . does this fit in with the view of Republicans the liberals force-feed their adherents? Hardly.
The first woman to run for President on a major party ticket, as well as serve in both houses of Congress, was Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican from Maine. Elected in 1940, she supported appropriation for childcare and helped women in military service by establishing WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) and the Army-Navy Permanent Nurses Corps. She worked for retirement benefits, equal pay, and equal rank for women. She then ran for the Senate in 1948 and won, serving for 24 years. During that time, in 1964, Senator Smith ran for President on the Republican Party ticket and received 27 nominating votes at the Republican Convention. Is that the anti-women Republican party the Democrats like to portray? Nope.
After the Democrats blocked the passage of the Republican-backed civil rights bills of 1957 and 1960, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was finally passed despite a Democratic filibuster led by Senator Robert Byrd (D-WVa), a former Klansman and still a US Senator. It was the Democrats who fought against civil rights, not Republicans. In the House, 79% of Republicans and 63% of Democrats voted in favor of the bill, while in the Senate, 21 Democrats and only 6 Republicans voted against it.
Which political party is really the party of inclusion, and which pigeonholes people based on race, creed, or sex? Which party promotes people based on their individual merits, and which sees people only as representatives of a group? When you look fairly at the facts, the "big tent" the Democrats claim to be under is just a circus tent.
Posted at Monday, January 19, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Is Instant Democracy Really A Good Idea?
The most powerful Shi'ite cleric in Iraq, the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Husaini Sistani, has abandoned his formerly apolitical stance to call for direct elections in Iraq. Naturally, the anti-war/anti-Bush crowd has jumped right on his coattails, demanding immediate Iraqi elections. They like to hold this up as "evidence" that a democratic Iraqi government was never President Bush's intent, since it wasn't instantly forthcoming. (They prefer to forget that they were telling us that the Iraqis didn't want a democracy and were even so satisfied with life under Uncle Saddam that he legitimately got 100% of the vote in the last "election". Funny how an entire nation of 25 million people can change their minds in nine short months, isn't it?) But there's no magic wand with which to create a democratic government. People like al-Sistani have to know that Iraq is nowhere near ready for a fair, all-inclusive election to take place. It's likely that he believes a simple majority vote would sweep someone he could control into power. It might even be true. The Liberals, Bush-bashers and anti-Americans, of course, are attacking President Bush over this because... well, it's what they do. The problem is that there are a huge number of practical questions that need to be addressed before a vote can be taken. There is simply no rational way for a legitimate full-scale election to take place by the end of June 2004. There's a lot of problems that have to be resolved before that can happen.
The current plan (as far as I know) is still for each of the 18 governates in Iraq to elect officials to join a transitional government with the power to write a Constitution. Doesn't that makes a lot more sense for ultimate legitimacy of the Iraqi government than having the Coalition-picked Governing Council write it? Once the Constitution is written and ratified by the governates (who will also have to have elected officials by that time), then and only then can a legitimate general election be held.
Before any elections can take place, a census of Iraq needs to be taken. All Iraqi citizens need to register to vote. All the voter registrations need to be verified. Caucuses need to be held in all the governates (by 31 May 2004, according to the 15 November plan) to decide who will stand for election, then the elections need to be held to choose the members of the transitional government. Questions need to be raised and decided such as "what will the requirements be for voter registation?" and "how will the votes be counted?"
The most important question is, "what can be realistically accomplished by the end of June?" With the cooperation of people like al-Sistani, the November plan could be fulfilled, even with the terrorist attacks. Without Iraqi cooperation, the process may never result in a real Iraqi government.
We helped the Iraqis by removing the tyranny of Saddam when they were unable to do so alone, but we can't hand them a replacement government and expect them to consider it legal. In order for their new government to be legitimate (in their own eyes as well as those of the world), a certain process needs to be followed. Shouldn't they have a say in the rules before they can be expected to live under them? And the Iraqis must follow it because they understand it, not because they're told to.
The most important thing that needs to be done in Iraq is not rebuilding schools and roads and power plants, it's building a democracy from the ground up. That's the real infrastructure. It's also the biggest challenge. Town hall meetings like the ones happening in Mosul and Baghdad are the first step in the right direction. Education in democracy and democratic processes is already happening in Iraq.
The only thing that can keep the Iraqis from having a democratic government now would be handing it to them too soon.
Posted at Sunday, January 18, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, January 16, 2004
Healthy Marriage vs. the Victim Cult
Is anyone surprised that NOW, the National Organization for Women, came out (to coin a phrase) against President Bush's healthy marriage initiative? I know I'm not.
Since its inception, NOW has shifted from an organisation that once protected women and promoted equality to one that pushes its own harmful Liberal social-engineering agenda, more involved in gay and minority issues than those of women. These organisations encourage women, minorities and homosexuals to think of themselves as the helpless victims of Evil Rich Straight White Men instead of the thinking human beings they are. That creates a need for groups like NOW, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) or the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) to "protect" them, in a self-perpetuating cult of victimhood. Anything that reduces the amount of self-described "victims" in the world reduces the power of the cult, and so the groups have to oppose anything that actually addresses social problems, like Bush's healthy marriage initiative. NOW's objection to promoting healthy marriages and two-parent families is that somehow it "forces" the victims of domestic violence to "hook up" with abusers, according to Lisalyn Jacobs, vice president for government relations for the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund. Huh?
Where do they get that? Is there a secret alternate version that only NOW members get to see? Or is it that they're so wrapped up in their own hatred of men and their own percieved victimhood that the phrase "healthy marriage" looks like so much cuneiform to them?
For me, as for many people, NOW lost much of their credibility as a legitimate women's rights organisation when they sided with Bill Clinton instead of the victims of his sexual predation. One chapter of NOW even threatened to break away from the national group over this. When they openly attacked Dr. Laura Schlessinger, then a radio talk show host, for advocating raising children in traditional families (gasp!), they lost whatever legitimacy they had left. Aren't mothers women, too? Mine certainly was.
I haven't read every detail of President Bush's plan to promote healthy marriages, nor do I need to in order to understand that helping couples who intend to marry form a stable, loving, healthy relationship is a good idea. Why is the divorce rate so high? Is it because movies and television denigrate family values, glorify infidelity and paint an unrealistic, or worse, downright nihilistic portrait of marriage? Is it simply because with the rising divorce rate over the last half century, fewer and fewer people have an example of a real, working, stable marriage to emulate? According to Joel Cohen's article, "Human Population: The Next Half Century" (from the 14 November 2003 issue of Science), "...the rise in divorce and cohabitation is weakening the ties between fathers and children. Nonmarital births increased as a percentage of all births in the United States from 5.3% in 1960 to 33.0% in 1999." How many social ills stem from broken homes, single parents struggling to raise children, and abusive marriages? I wouldn't be far off the mark if I said "most of them".
Once again, President Bush seems to be trying to do something about the root cause of a problem instead of merely patching over the symptoms. Helping couples work out their problems before they even arise -- a "preemptive strike", I suppose you could call it -- will reduce the number of single-parent families in the future. President Bush plans to make sure couples interested in marriage have access to counseling to teach them how to get along with each other, how to resolve differences and conflicts, how to manage money and chores, and how to deal with the strain of raising children. Who could possibly be against that?
Groups like NOW and GLAAD that subsist on the "victim cult", that's who.
Posted at Friday, January 16, 2004 by CavalierX
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Let me play among the stars... Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars...
Hold on a minute... that's not Frank Sinatra singing! It's President Bush!
Tomorrow, the President will unveil his plan to return to the Moon and build a permanent Lunar research station and settlement. His plan also includes sending astronauts to Mars as the next natural step in the exploration and expansion of humans into space.
Once again, President Bush proves he's a man after my own heart. Not only will his push for space exploration redeem NASA, create jobs, spur scientific research and give America a vision for the future, but it's sure to anger many Liberals while, at the same time, keeping the USA ahead of the ambitious Chinese. A winning situation, six different ways.
Since the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded in its final minutes of re-entry a year ago, killing all aboard, America's space exploration has been in a holding pattern. There's been widespread doubt that the agency could even survive. Challenging NASA to meet a definite goal will revitalise not only the organisation itself, but all the dependent firms with aerospace ties. Handing NASA a mandate for this kind of effort will create a trickle-down positive effect in the tech sector as well.
Few people could disagree with the fact that space exploration has brought huge research and development advances in every field of human endeavor. From health care to sports to communication and other technologies, nearly every industry has benefitted in some way from the development of space. Research into such problems as the bone loss all long-term astronauts experience, for instance, could be a huge boon to America's aging population. And more than that, we Americans need a common goal that could lift us out of the media quagmire muddying our achievements in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries (fifty million people freed from oppression and counting...), as well as the constant petty political attacks on the President by the Democrats. Returning to space could give all Americans a sense of common pride and accomplishment. We belong at the forefront of science. We belong at the forefront of technology. We belong at the forefront of exploration. We belong in space. In every possible way, space exploration is worth the cost.
Naturally, some people will disagree, and in the most vitriolic ways.
Mark my words, the coming weeks and months will hear fevered objections to President Bush's determination to return to space. We'll hear over and over about how the government's money (your money, my money) should be spent on more social programs, which (as we all know) might alleviate the problems of a few, for the short term only. One of the main problems with these people, mostly Liberals, is their inablility to see anything but the short term -- witness their impatience with the slowly-but-steadily improving Iraq situation. The kind of people who could whine that nine months has already been too long to rebuild an entire country and acclimate its people to a democratic form of government will be unable to understand the kind of sustained national effort space exploration takes. The people who had the same opinion in the 1960's wasted no time taking advantage of the benefits it brought, nor will today's objectors.
I can just hear the cries of objection now, from people who want to sacrifice the advance of science and technology to their own ideological agendas. Perhaps they'll say, "No blood for science!" or "It's all about the helium-3!" What kind of people protest the advance of science and the general betterment of the human condition? A few more years of Liberal cultural domination will see us all living in caves, instead of reaching for the stars.
Where we belong.
Posted at Tuesday, January 13, 2004 by CavalierX
Sunday, January 11, 2004
The latest sensation in the online world is the letter recently published on the Iraqi blog Healing Iraq, about a missing young man named Zaydun Ma'mun Fadhil Hassun Al-Samarrai. The letter, purportedly written by Zaydun's mother, describes his murder by drowning at the hands of US soldiers, as related by a cousin who was with him and "survived miraculously".
If it hadn't been for a single phrase of Zeyad's, it would be easy to dismiss this letter instantly as something fabricated by anti-Coalition forces due to the many details that don't make sense, even if you're able to assume (an easy task for anti-Americans, of course) that somehow, an entire patrol consisted solely of "bad apples" who would commit deliberate murder. Stop drooling, Oliver Stone, we haven't gone over the details yet.
But Zeyad said, "Zaydun is a relative of mine". Therefore, since Zeyad has always proved a credible source in the past, I believe that Zaydun exists.
Something official must be done to determine the veracity of this account. More than likely, the account of Zaydun's cousin as to the fate of Zaydun is false. It's as full of holes as Swiss cheese. I'm not even certain the letter was written by Zaydun's mother. Zeyad himself says, "I never implied that I was 100% convinced about the details. They were really really troubled when I talked to them and they just handed me the letter and the picture and asked me to do whatever I can do about it."
The writer of the letter takes great pains to induce pathos as well as anger at the US, describing Iraq as "a country torn by wars and sanctions", and saying of herself, "I was a victim, and there are and will be many more". If that seems a little overdone, the writer continues to speak of the "suffering of Iraqi mothers, we are reaping misery every day from actions of American soldiers with no regard to our human life, our dignity, and our culture and values".
So, is this a letter about a missing young man, or a general diatribe against the US and the Coalition? "The devil is in the details", they say.
The story told by the unnamed cousin was that the soldiers caught him and Zaydun returning to Samarra after the curfew, when their cargo truck broke down. After searching the truck, they tied both men up. They abandoned their post to lead the men to a dam three kilometers (a little less than 2 miles) away, where they made them jump into the water. The cousin's account tells that he got lucky, and was caught by a tree branch and escaped. The cousin says he tried to save Zaydun, but the water was too strong. He hid when he saw the soldiers searching for them with flashlights.
Now, the questions.
Zaydun and his cousin took their work truck and went somewhere, returning at night -- the letter specifies midnight -- with something in it that made soldiers at the checkpoint place them under arrest when they searched it. What was in the truck? Did Zaydun and the cousin actually escape? Did they run to the river to hide, chased by a few of the soldiers with flashlights? Did Zaydun, perhaps while removing his jacket to change his appearance, fall into the fast-moving water beneath the dam? Did the cousin indeed try to save him, only to be defeated by the fast-moving water?
The letter goes on to say, "After days of search we found my sons jacket floating with the stream". If the current was so strong that two young men couldn't fight it, how far did the jacket travel over the course of days? And how did Zaydun remove it, if he was tied up? In an update, Zeyad tells us the cousin later stated that the handcuffs were removed before the men were told to jump into the water. However, anyone that has seen a television in the last year has seen Coalition troops arresting people with the use of plastic zip-strips, not handcuffs. Perhaps it's another translation error or omission, which is all the more reason to have the matter investigated.
It's the last part of the story about the jacket in which the hard play for sympathy combined with hatred for America rings most false... "it shall remain with me as a memory and a symbol of the injustice brought against him by soldiers of the United States of America's army, who came to our country under the banners of human rights and democracy only to send my son to his demise on his wedding days." (Emphasis mine) "Ahh, those bastards!" we are supposed to say at this point. The reference to it being his actual wedding day was later explained as a translation error on Zeyad's part, but the reference is still obvious: the beginning of the letter tells us that Zaydun was "engaged to marry a relative of his very recently".
Zeyad's comments on the letter state that "Zaydun's cousin said that the soldiers were drunk and looked tired, and that during their ride they even chatted and joked with one of the soldiers who spoke a little Arabic." Drunk on duty in the Sunni triangle, while manning a checkpoint outside of Samarra? That would be nothing less than suicidal, considering all the attacks on US soldiers that have occurred in that area. Chatting and joking with men they cold-bloodedly planned to murder? And in this later version, they rode to the scene of the crime, instead of the men being led. Was the cousin trying to distance himself from any suspicion that the men might have been chased to the dam, after the letter was written?
I do not doubt that Zeyad was given this letter, as he explains, and asked to publish it so the world could see it. I do not doubt that his relative Zaydun is missing, and may have drowned. What I doubt is the cousin's story about the events of that night. It needs to be investigated, and the truth made known. Whatever it is. Whether true or false, this story is beginning to poison the relationship between the Iraqis and the Coalition... especially, as Zeyad tells us, "The letter has already been sent to various Iraqi papers and to offices of Arab media in Baghdad." The claim is that when the incident was reported, the official the family spoke to "yelled at them and started to lecture them about the discipline of American GI's". The official was not named, however.
Wouldn't poisoning our relationship with the Iraqi people be exactly what the so-called "insurgents" based in the Sunni triangle want to do, even if they have to use the death of a young man and the grief of his mother to do it? Certainly the type of people who fought to keep Saddam Hussein in power, and fight now against a democratic Iraq, would do so without qualm.
Until an investigation takes place, the only hard fact is that Zeyad's relative is missing, presumed drowned, and his family has my sympathy for that.
Posted at Sunday, January 11, 2004 by CavalierX
Friday, January 09, 2004
Now that President Bush has put forward his proposal to give legal status to tens of millions of illegal immigrants -- sorry, "undocumented alien workers" -- who have broken America's immigration laws (an amnesty by any other name...), many other large groups of people who have performed "illegal" acts have lobbied Washington to have their crimes officially ignored. Next up on the list of such programs is America's vast numbers of car thieves, and legal status -- don't call it amnesty -- will be granted to them for the exact same reasons.
1. Millions of people have already done it, so why not just make car "theft" legal?
2. It would be a drain on our resources to track down and prosecute the millions of "unregistered car owners" already in America.
3. Car "theft" is actually an important part of the economy because it creates a market for new cars, and that means jobs.
4. Car "thieves" who come forward and register will be given a temporary three-year registration for their vehicles, reducing the number of illegally owned vehicles overnight.
5. Once all the car "thieves" who just want to be legal, law-abiding owners of their cars come forward and register, law enforcement can concentrate on the few remaining diehard illegals with greater efficiency.
Of course, this does seem to send a message to people who have never stolen a car before that it's okay to steal cars, but the Administration doesn't seem overly concerned about that. Republican detractors of the "guest car registration" program, outraged on behalf of people who purchased their cars, claim that millions of new cars will be stolen because this bill removes any penalty for car theft. Democrats are against the program because it doesn't go far enough towards giving unregistered vehicle owners full and permanent legal registration for their vehicles.
Future decriminalisation bills may include murderers and arsonists, both of whom can also claim to number in the millions and whose "crimes" can be considered important parts of the economy.
Posted at Friday, January 09, 2004 by CavalierX
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Why Immigration Overhaul?
Once again, President Bush is attacking the source of a problem instead of the symptoms. This time, however, I'm not as certain it's going to work as well.
Take terrorism. When we were attacked by al-Qaeda terrorists who tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, the Clinton administration treated it as a simple criminal investigation. Find the perpetrators, arrest them, end of story... right? As we all know now, that wasn't the end. Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked us again by exploding a truck bomb at Khobar Towers in 1996. Two years later, al-Qaeda operatives detonated almost simultaneous truck bombs at Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In 2000, al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the USS Cole, docked in Yemen. All of these and other incidents were treated as individual criminal cases. To explain their activities as separate cases, the Clinton administration invented the myth of a whole new kind of terrorism: small loose networks, operating independently of State sponsorship.
The Bush Administration, faced with multiple terror attacks on 9/11, didn't waste time trying to prosecute the individual groups of terrorists who carried out the attacks in law courts. For one thing, most of the actual perpetrators were already dead. As I said, instead of treating the symptoms of the disease, the Bush administration went after the cause: the countries sponsoring the terrorists. Instead of curing the symptoms, President Bush started work on eradicating the disease. Without State sponsorship, huge, precisely-coordinated terrorist attacks are far less likely to occur.
Now, faced with the problem of corporations moving overseas due to increased globalisation, it looks like he's trying to do something about the root cause of it: overpriced labor.
One of the main reasons manufacturing jobs have been flowing overseas for the last thirty years, and at an accelerated rate since the 1990's, is that it's just too expensive to pay Americans to do those jobs anymore. Everyone knows this, yet it's like the elephant in the room -- if no one mentions it, it's not really there. Everyone complains about jobs going overseas, but no one mentions the fact that for what a company has to pay an American worker for a year, it can hire a thousand workers in almost any other country.
With an influx of foreign labor desperate for jobs, and willing to work cheaper than union labor, I believe we're going to see a loosening of the death-grip unions have had on American-based companies for over fifty years. Unions were a great idea when they started, but -- like a lot of good ideas -- became the thing they hated. Today, unions are even more oppressive to the American worker than the corporate barons that inspired their formation. So, in an attempt to keep corporations from moving their manufacturing facilities overseas to take advantage of cheap labor, the President proposes to bring that labor to them.
It's also sure to increase Bush's votes among Hispanics dramatically in the upcoming election. It might even put a few states that seem to be solidly Democratic back into play as possible Republican states. California, for instance, has 55 electoral votes (270 are needed to win). Over 80% of their population increase since 1990, according to the 2000 census, was due to Hispanic immigration. That's a powerful voting block, for a huge number of electoral votes. Florida, with a heavy Hispanic population, has 27 electoral votes. The state of Washington, though it only carries 11 electoral votes, increased its Hispanic population by 106% during the 1990s. New Jersey's 15 electoral votes, may vote Republican as well due to this proposal, due to a staggering 258% increase in the Hispanic population since 1990.
The questions is, are those benefits worth the cost?
It's bad enough that those who have already broken our laws to enter this country will get a free pass. That's an amnesty, whatever the President wants to call it. The real down side to this proposal is that it would send the message around the world that if you can just get here, legally or not, you'll be treated as a legal immigrant. That's the wrong message. Also, the proposal make absolutely no provision for tightening our borders, even putting the National Guard there to, well, guard the nation. Without tighter border control, we might just as well do away with the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) and border patrols altogether.
I have a feeling, though, a hope that the President is playing "good cop, bad cop" with the issue. I believe that he's making all the "up side" proposals, and leaving it up to Congress to insert all the "down side" items. In other words, President Bush is holding out the carrot, while Congress's job is to wield the stick. Have you had enough metaphors in a single paragraph yet?
Before this immigration overhaul goes to the President's desk, Congress will likely have inserted provisions for better border control and (if we're lucky) criminal prosecution and deportation of those who break our immigration laws in the future. If this isn't done, then this proposal is a HUGE mistake. The good side of this proposal I haven't yet mentioned is that the immigrants who want to be legal will come out of the woodwork and register, freeing law enforcement from wasting time tracking them down. They'll be able to devote their time and energy to tracking down the true illegals and criminals... and terrorists. That's only possible with tighter border controls.
But we have to make sure that our Representatives and Senators do their job and secure the country's borders. Make sure you contact them to let them know that you want them to add a provision for border protection to the President's immigration reform proposal.
Either that, or sign up for a course in Spanish today, amigo.
Posted at Thursday, January 08, 2004 by CavalierX
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
One-Sided Conversation With A Liberal
After trying to get many Liberals to calmly enumerate their reasons for opposition to the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein for well over a year without the conversation devolving into a Bush-bashing flame war, I was surprised to see a post on the Iraqi blog Iraq the Model from a Liberal poster doing exactly that! He was using the usual Liberal tactic of throwing a blizzard of attacks all at once, believing that no one would be able to take them all in at once, much less refute them. Since I refuse to let the following list and rebuttal take over the comments section of that blog (which wouldn't be fair to the people trying to have actual conversations there), I decided to post my answers here.
The war was opposed for these reasons.
Bush lied about the reason for it.
Wrong. All the reasons given for removing Saddam Hussein from power in the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq, dated 16 October 2002, were correct and true. See this line-by-line analysis of that document and whether each reason was, in fact, justified: Justification: A Post-War Review
He claimed Iraq was a threat to America because of WMDs and connections to terrorists.
Correct, and proven.
1997 UNSCOM final report on Iraq's unresolved disarmament issues
Iraq's Unresolved Disarmament Issues -- 6 March 2003
Evidence of cooperation between Saddam and Osama
Saddam and Osama part II
Ansar al-Islam, Iraqi intelligence, and al-Qaeda
Iraqi Intelligence Chief met with bin Laden in Khartoum
Saddam Killed Abu Nidal over al-Qaeda Training
Sabah Khodada: Iraqi Intelligence trained al-Qaeda
Iraq and al-Qaeda: Connecting the Dots in 1998
Second 9/11 hijacker tied to Abu Nidal, Iraq
9/11 Plaintiffs Win Case Against Iraq
It was only after these reasons failed to sway global opinion to support his war that the reason shifted to liberating the people of Iraq.
Wrong. See again the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq, in which all the reasons for the liberation of Iraq were listed, at the same time, and voted into law by the Congress of the United States. Also, see President Bush's speech to the United Nations, given on 12 September 2002.
Maybe if Bush really did want to liberate Iraq and had said so from the start instead of lying, there would have been less opposition to the war.
Wrong. France, Germany, Russia and China still had lucrative economic ties to Iraq, supplying them with military equipment in return for oil contracts. France and Russia also had deals to work towards getting the sanctions lifted, in return for exploitation rights in Iraq's vast untapped oil fields.
The world is not comfortable with the US being the arbiter of what is right and wrong in the world.
The world seems pretty comfortable castigating us for NOT being the global policeman, when they want us to be. Two words: North Korea.
Forcing democracy on a nation has been proven by history to be an uneffective way of democratizing the world
US to Iraqis: You can now decide your own future!
Iraqis in Liberalworld: But we don't WANT to!!
Reminder: Japan was not a democracy until 1945. They seem to be doing quite well today.
The US did not explore any alternatives to war.
Twelve years of sanctions which only hurt the Iraqi people. Twelve years of practically begging Saddam on our hands and knees to please keep his promises so we didn't have to keep ours. Giving him one last chance after one last chance after one last chance to do so.
Bush is just plain ignorant.
HAHAHAHA!!! I just knew you couldn't maintain that false tone of rationality without resorting to an ad hominem attack on President Bush!
He is so unskilled at diplomacy that he can't even get support for an idea like removing a brutal, murderous dictator from power.
United Nations Security Council resolution number 1441, passed 15 to 0. A Coalition of Nations was formed to free Iraq, with over 48 countries openly supporting it as of March 2003.
Japan forgives Iraqi debt
France and Germany work to forgive Iraqi debt
Russia forgives Iraqi debt
North Korea agrees to nuclear inspections
Master-strokes of international diplomacy, actually.
All nations are free to chose what they will or will not support in the world.
Except, apparently, America... which must have the blessing and support of the UN in Liberalworld.
Posted at Wednesday, January 07, 2004 by CavalierX
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths: Nigerian Uranium
Liberals have a way of trying to rewrite history, like the totalitarian government in George Orwell's classic 1984. They figure that if they repeat a lie often enough, it will become the truth. They did so with the memory of the hated (by Liberals) J. Edgar Hoover, repeating the story about his dressing in drag so often and in such a smirking stage-whisper that they made it seem like a fact. (It's especially odd in light of the fact that they support any other cross-dresser with equal fervor.) Most people today don't even know it was started by just one person with a personal grudge against him who made up a vicious story about seeing Hoover arrive at a big Washington party in a dress. No one ever corroborated it (especially not the others at that party), yet it's been referred to so many times in newspapers, magazines, and television that it's now almost indistinguishable from the truth.
With the advent of cable news, talk radio and especially the Internet, the "Hoover effect" isn't going to work anymore. Luckily, the Liberals haven't yet figured that out.
One of the dozens of lies created by the Left for the purpose of discrediting President Bush was the Nigerian uranium tale. The Liberal version goes something like this:
"Bush and Blair concocted a story about Saddam trying to buy uranium (in a form called called yellowcake) from Niger. The CIA told Bush it wasn't true even after he sent an ambassador to investigate. Determined to publish this lie anyway, Bush and Blair forged documents to substantiate it, which the CIA told him were forged. Neverthless, Bush inserted the deliberate lie into the State of the Union Address of 2002 to support his rush to war a year later. When the ambassador published the truth about the false uranium story, Karl Rove punished him by having his wife, an undercover CIA agent, exposed by calling a half-dozen journalists and telling them to publish her name. Only one -- Robert Novak -- was low enough to do so."
The only parts of that paragraph that are true were the statements that uranium oxide is called yellowcake, and that Robert Novak was the first person to publish Wilson's wife's connection to the CIA.
(With apologies to Monty Python) And now, for something completely different: the truth.
British intelligence was given proof that a trade delegation Iraq sent to Niger in 1999 was seeking to purchase uranium. This required no stretch of the imagination -- Niger's main exports are uranium, cowpeas and onions, and I don't see Saddam making a secret of his taste for French Onion Soup a la Niger. The problem was, the British were given this information by a third country. By the rules of the international intelligence community, a country may only share source documents with the permission of the original country. As our allies, the Brits shared the information with us, but not the source, and President Bush decided to inform the American public about it. Since the British couldn't turn over the source documents, the CIA was told to find its own proof.
Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife had once been an operative for the CIA, though she'd been retired from field work for years. In spite of (or perhaps due to) the fact that she and her husband were among Bush's detractors, she maneuvered to get her husband named as the CIA's choice to investigate this critical information. Unfortunately, Wilson's method of investigation was to sip mint tea with the Nigerian ambassador and ask, "So... did you sign a trade agreement with Iraq?" "Why, no, Mr. Wilson, no agreement was signed." "Well, that settles that, then. Excellent tea." Not exactly Hercule Poirot, is it?
Meanwhile, faced with the inexplicable failure of Wilson to conduct an actual investigation, British and American intelligence questioned other sources to see whether a fourth country -- one that wouldn't refuse to let America have the source -- might have found evidence of the uranium buy. An Italian journalist gave the American embassy documents corroborating the story. Still cautious, perhaps torn between the CIA's and Britain's differing conclusions, President Bush would not definitively state that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger. The statement in the State of the Union address became, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." This was an absolutely true statement, and passed the scrutiny of CIA director George Tenet for inclusion in the speech. A month later, the CIA finally recieved the actual Italian documents, which they immediately recognised as forgeries, and the media witch hunt began. In July 2002, Wilson wrote a vehemently anti-Bush article identifying himself as the investigator into the uranium question, stating with certainty that Saddam had never tried to buy any uranium, and admitting that he never filed a report. It really must have been those onions Saddam wanted, since Wilson did corroborate the trade delegation's visit. British intelligence, by the way, still stands by the story to this day.
Columnist Robert Novak was curious about why Wilson -- now a flamboyant Bush-basher who worked as an unpaid advisor to John Kerry as well as contributing $2,000 to his campaign -- had been sent on such a sensitive mission in the first place. One of his sources (yet unknown) told him off-handedly that Wilson's wife, who worked for the CIA, was instrumental in his choice. According to Novak,
During a long conversation with a senior administration official, I asked why Wilson was assigned the mission to Niger. He said Wilson had been sent by the CIA's counterproliferation section at the suggestion of one of its employees, his wife. It was an offhand revelation from this official, who is no partisan gunslinger. When I called another official for confirmation, he said: "Oh, you know about it." The published report that somebody in the White House failed to plant this story with six reporters and finally found me as a willing pawn is simply untrue.
When Novak's column came out naming Valerie Plame in July 2003, Wilson was livid. Using the same sort of acute investigative techniques that served him so well in Niger (in other words, "gut instinct"), he determined that not just the Administration, not just the White House, but President Bush's chief strategist Karl Rove must have been Novak's source. He went on record saying, "At the end of the day it's of keen interest to me to see whether or not we can get Karl Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." Unable to offer any actual proof that Rove was the source of the leak, he later changed his assertion to say that Rove condoned it. The CIA, as it always does in the case of such leaks, began an investigation (not yet concluded), but Rove was tried, convicted and sentenced by Wilson and most Liberals within minutes of Novak's column hitting the press.
The reason this story is back in the media is that John Ashcroft recused (removed) himself from the investigation. Why? He obviously decided that an independent investigation would avoid any appearance of impropriety, as well as the fact that he has far more important cases to work on personally (we ARE in the middle of a war with terrorism). Unless Novak gives up his source, or the source decides to come forward him- or herself, no one will ever know who told him Wilson's wife worked for the CIA.
And yet... if you listen carefully, you can hear the grating wails of those who've already made up their minds without needing all that messy "proof" getting in the way.
Exploding Liberal Myths 11: Home Spying Hogwash
Exploding Liberal Myths 10: The Plame Name Game
Exploding Liberal Myths 9: The Separation of Church and State
Exploding Liberal Myths 8: The Nazi Meme
Exploding Liberal Myths 7: Fidel Castro, Demigod?
Exploding Liberal Myths 6: A Less Safe Post-Iraq
Exploding Liberal Myths 5: The Moral United Nations
Exploding Liberal Myths 4: Runaway Global Warming
Exploding Liberal Myths 3: Outsourcing Woes
Exploding Liberal Myths 2: The Eeevil PATRIOT Act
* 3 May 04 UPDATE: In his new book, Joe Wilson states that "It was Saddam Hussein's information minister, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, often referred to in the Western press as 'Baghdad Bob,' who approached an official of the African nation of Niger in 1999 to discuss trade -- an overture the official saw as a possible effort to buy uranium." So the uranium buy attempt did happen, and he knew about it, and he lied about it to try and prevent the liberation of Iraq. How about that?
Posted at Tuesday, January 06, 2004 by CavalierX