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Buy this book (not just because it contains two of my op-eds):
Americans on Politics, Policy, and Pop Culture:
The 101 Best Opinion Editorials From OpEds.com


An Interview With the G-Man:
My first (hopefully not last) experience in live radio, being interviewed by G. Gordon Liddy!



Perspective
Joe Mariani

Number of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships by precision use of American military force under George W. Bush:
50 million in just two years

Number of people freed from totalitarian dictatorships by anti-American Bush-bashing terrorist-appeasing whining elitists:
Zero. Ever.
...

The problem seems to me to be the definition of "free speech". Liberals define it as anything they want to say or do that opposes America. I say "speech" ends where "action" begins. Once you pick up a gun for the enemy, throw a rock at a cop during a "peace" march, send money to a terrorist organisation, or travel to Baghdad to block an American JDAM with your ass, you have crossed the line from free speech to costly action.
...

Saying the War on Terror is all about al-Qaeda is like saying we should have fought the Japanese Naval Air Force after Pearl Harbor. Not the Japanese Navy, not the Japanese Army, not the Empire of Japan -- just the Naval Air Force.
...

Complaining about the "waste" when human embryos are destroyed instead of being used in medical experiments is a lot like going to a funeral and complaining about the waste of perfectly good meat.
...

Blaming CO2 for climate change is like blaming smoke for the fire. CO2 is largely a following, not a leading, indicator of a rise in temperature.
...

Cavalier's First Theorem:
Every time, Liberals will fight to protect the guilty and kill the innocent, while Conservatives will fight to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.

Cavalier's Second Theorem:
Liberals are just Socialists who want to be loved... then again, Socialists are just Communists who lack the courage of their convictions.

Cavalier's Third Theorem:
Any strongly moral, hawkish or pro-American statement by a Liberal will inevitably be followed by a "but."


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Infamous Monsters of Filmland

Day by Day: Chris Muir's witty comic strip with a political bent

The Ultimate War Simulation: Why does this scenario seem so familiar?

What Kind of Liberal Are You?
Save me the trouble of figuring out what kind of idiot you are

Blame Bush
Because Bush is to blame... for everything

Sacred Cow Burgers
Web Archive

Satirical Political Beliefs Test

Communists for Kerry

Cooper's Protester Guide

Fellowship 9/11: Sauron never attacked Rohan, Saruman did! Yet a small group of elitists convinced Middle-earth to divert resources from the real war to attack Mordor for personal gain.


Analysis

When Democrats Attack
Did prominent Democrats switch positions on Iraq just to attack President Bush for political gain? (See the updated list.)

Was Iraqi Freedom Justified?
An honest, step-by-step analysis of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq that Congress voted into law shows that it was.

Saddam's Philanthropy of Terror
Details of solid ties to organised international terrorism

How The Left Betrayed Iraq
by Naseer Flayih Hasan

Did We Botch The Occupation?
No, not of Iraq: of Germany. Read the media's take on how we "lost the peace" in 1946 and compare.

Debunking 8 Anti-War Myths About the Conflict in Iraq

Pictures from Hate Bush/Hate America/Hate Capitalism/Hate Israel/general wacko rallies
- by Zombie

Jihad Watch


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a project of Frontiers of Freedom

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SF Chronicle watchdog and conservative news

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CommonConservative.com
Practical conservatism for the common man

USASentinel
Analysis, Commentary and Opinion on the Real World

PhillyFuture.org
Philly news and blogs


Now Reading

The Fatal Conceit:
The Errors of Socialism
by F. A. Hayek



Articles Previously Published at
Useless-Knowledge.com

- When Good Liberals Go Bad - 05/29/03
- How Stupid Do Democrats Think You Are? - 05/31/03
- Who Are These 'Rich' Getting Tax Cuts, Anyway? - 06/02/03
- How Can We Miss The Clintons If They Won't Go Away? - 06/04/03
- Whining of Mass Distraction: How To Discredit A President - 06/05/03
- Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 06/10/03
- Liberalism: Curable or Terminal? - 06/14/03
- Filibustering Judges: Hijacking Presidential Powers? - 06/17/03
- Is Hamas Exempt from the War on Terror? - 06/22/03
- How Malleable Is The Constitution? - 06/26/03
- Rejecting Our Biological and Cultural Heritage - 06/30/03
- I Need Liberal Assistance, Now! - 07/02/03
- Bring Them On - 07/03/03
- We Need You Arrogant Warmongering Americans...Again - 07/09/03
- Much Ado About Nothing, Again - 07/13/03
- Double Standard: Blindly Blame Bush - 07/18/03
- Was WWII Also Unjustified? - 07/20/03
- Clinton Backing Bush? Don't Bet On It! - 07/24/03
- How To Be A Hypocritical Liberal - 07/28/03
- The Clinton Legacy: In Answer to Mr. Stensrud - 07/30/03
-What Is 'Good News' To Liberals? - 08/02/03
- Bush's Big Blunder - 08/06/03
- The Meaning of Right - Why I Supported the Iraq War - 08/10/03
- More Liberal "Rules" for Arguing - 08/14/03
- You Can Have Cary Grant; I'll Take John Wayne! - 08/19/03
- Where Is The ACLU When It's Actually Needed? - 08/25/03
- Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Ten Commandments? - 08/28/03
- From The Weasels: Thanks For Nothing - 08/30/03
- The Liberal Superfriends - 09/02/03
- Liberal Superfriends 2: The Sequel - 09/05/03
- Saddam and 9/11: Connect the Dots - 09/08/03
- Throwing Away the Southern Vote - 11/02/03
- Libya: The First Domino Falls - 12/20/03
- Is the UN Playing Games with American Politics? - 03/04/04


Blogs to Browse

Across the Pond
AlphaPatriot
Arts for Democracy
Betsy's Page
Bill Karl
Blonde Sagacity
Bull Moose Strikes Back
Common Sense & Wonder
Conservative Pleasure
Dangerous Logic
DowneastBlog
ElectionProjection
Everything I Know Is Wrong
Freedom of Thought
Sally Girl
Korla Pundit
LogiPundit.com
MarkLevinFan
Mark Nicodemo
Michelle Malkin
Moonbattery
My Arse From My Elbow
QandO Blog
RadioBS.net
Rebel Rouser
RightThinkingGirl
Sally Girl
Samantha Burns
Semi-Intelligent Thoughts
Sighed Effects
Sister Toldjah
Stark Truth
Take A Stand Against Liberals
The Resplendent Mango
The Right Society
The YNC
Tom's Common Sense
Tom DeLay
Tomfoolery of the Highest Order
Trying to Grok
TS Right Dominion
Violent Daydreams
Watcher of Weasels
Word Around the Net
WuzzaDem.com



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Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Shifting Alliances: China, Russia and North Korea

Since the end of the Cold War, political entities have been readjusting, seeking a new balance. We have been witnessing a global power realignment with the loss of the Soviet Union's heavy weight. Many newly-independent nations that were once part of or subject to that totalitarian state have gravitated towards the West, or specifically towards the US. Some nations, aligned with America mostly through fear of Soviet domination, have sought new alliances and new power for themselves. While this is all perfectly normal and natural (as normal as geopolitics can be), whenever a Cold War era ally disagrees with America, Liberals seek to blame America for not appeasing them enough. That's not only short-sighted and unreasonable, but injurious to the power and sovereignty of the United States. Do Liberals really think that the USA -- the greatest force for good and guarantor of human rights and liberty in the world -- should surrender its place as first among equals? Those who think so aren't looking at the global picture, and ignoring the future for ideology's sake. We still have enemies, unfortunately... and they show no signs of peacefully laying down their arms. Quite the opposite.

It was hoped that Russia -- the core of what was once the Soviet Union -- would continue the policies of openness and freedom that splintered the USSR. Economic reform is probably the surest path to freedom -- with higher surplus cash comes the desire to spend it as the individual wishes. Democracy and capitalism often go hand in hand. Unfortunately, Russia seems to be sliding back into its totalitarian ways. President Vladimir Putin has restricted personal liberties as well as economic freedoms. Freedom House, a non-governmental organisation, has placed Russia into the "not free" category for the first time since 1991:

Freedom House noted increased Kremlin control over national television and other media, limitations on local government, and parliamentary and presidential elections it said were neither free nor fair. "Russia's step backward into the 'Not Free' category is the culmination of a growing trend under President Vladimir Putin to concentrate political authority, harass and intimidate the media, and politicize the country's law-enforcement system," executive director Jennifer Windsor said in a statement. "These moves mark a dangerous and disturbing drift toward authoritarianism in Russia, made more worrisome by President Putin's recent heavy-handed meddling in political developments in neighboring countries, such as Ukraine."

Putin's government has increased the power of the FSB (Federal Security Service) to include monitoring communications and gathering intelligence. "An initial analysis of this would lead you to believe that the FSB has virtually taken on the form of what used to be the KGB," Russian MP Boris Nadezhdin stated in 2003. All Russian television stations are now under Federal control. Putin's government installed the new board of directors of the All-Russia Center for Public Opinion (Russia's most respected opinion pollster). The Russian parliament recently voted to allow news organisations that provide "biased" campaign coverage to be shut down. Who decides what's biased? The government, of course. Sergei V. Bolshakov explained, "It doesn't restrict freedom of speech. It restricts freedom of dissemination of information, but only during the election campaign." Bolshakov is a member of Russia's Central Electoral Commission.

As former Soviet satellite nations break away from its control through free elections, Russia has been seeking a way to regain that lost power. Russia has increasingly turned to China, a Communist nation having much in common with the former Soviet Union. Since the US and EU banned weapons sales to China in 1989 after the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, Russia has become China's top arms supplier. (The EU ban holds despite intense French pressure to drop it.) The "Good Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation" Putin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin signed in 2001 was the beginning of a new global alliance in opposition to the West. By 2003, Chinese-Russian cooperation had expanded to include energy, space engineering, arms supplies, and regional security. "Relations with China constitute the most important factor in Russian foreign policy strategy today," said Gennady Chuffrin, deputy director of Moscow's Institute for World Economy and International Relations. "In some ways, our relations with China are even more important than those with the US."

Attempts to subvert the 2004 election in Ukraine (including poisoning popular pro-Western candidate Viktor Yushchenko with dioxin) didn't work; election fraud committed by the pro-Russian party was so blatant that even the UN couldn't finesse it. Instead of struggling to hold the fraying fabric of the Soviet Union together, Putin appears to be strengthening his alliance with China. The two nations finally moved to settle their last remaining border disputes in October 2004. In 2005, Russia and China will hold joint military exercises. As Russia and China snuggle closer, the Chinese government is on the verge of issuing an ultimatum to the breakaway province of Taiwan. This will also likely occur in 2005, when China proposes a reunification law the government has been working on. The law will mandate that Taiwan consider itself part of and under the control of the Chinese government, and call for military intervention if Taiwan moves to declare independence. (Taiwan has been effectively independent since 1949.)

North Korea, one of the worst threats to world peace, has also been solidifying relations with China. Representatives of the two nations, already allies, took place in 2003. "The friendly relations between the two armies are developing on good terms," said China's Colonel General Xu Caihou. With Russian and North Korean military backing, China could find itself in a strong position to carry out its threat. The US would almost be forced to respond to such a move, as a strong military alliance between Beijing, Moscow and Pyongyang would threaten Japan, our strongest ally in the Far East.

The only way to avoid a military showdown is to wean the increasingly-desperate Russia away from China with diplomacy. No, that definitely doesn't mean "peace at any price." It's no accident that President Bush has appointed Condoleezza Rice to be his new Secretary of State -- her area of expertise just happens to be Russia. Rice is known as an expert on the Soviet Union and arms control; she even spent two years as director and then senior director of Soviet and East European Affairs at the NSC. The next four years will see her -- and America -- in the center of a diplomatic storm, as we try to prevent the emergence of a threat to world peace and democracy every bit the equal of the Soviet Union, perhaps even less restrained in its use of military force.


Posted at Wednesday, December 29, 2004 by CavalierX
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Monday, December 27, 2004
Indonesian Tsunami Reports and Relief

The death toll for the 26 December earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia stands at 22,000 in up to 10 countries already (as of 27 December), and is likely to double before this disaster, one of the worst in recent history, runs its course. Floods struck as far away as Somalia, on Africa's eastern coast. America has dispatched relief teams, and is preparing a $15 million aid package to start with; Australia has offered $10 million and the European Union has pledged $4 million. For the latest information on the current situation or information on how to help if you can, check the following sites:

Donate to the American Red Cross at Amazon.com!

ReliefWeb situation reports

USAID fact sheet
USAID: How to Help

CIDI situation reports
CIDI: How to Help

American Red Cross: How to Help

Mercy Corps report
Mercy Corps: How to Help

Operation USA: How To Help

AmeriCares: How to Help

Save the Children: How to Help

Reuters' AlertNet: South Asia Quake and Tsunamis

For more, see the Christian Science Monitor's list of relief agencies working in the disaster area.

And of course (you must have known this was coming):

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
News and information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts

UPDATE (28 Dec 04): The death toll now stands at 40,000, bypassing the tsunami caused by the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. An estimated 36,000 people were killed in that disaster.

UPDATE (29 Dec 04): The toll now stands at 77,000 human deaths. Athough this isn't the worst natural disaster in my lifetime -- I believe that "honor" goes to a 1976 earthquake in Tangshan, China in which 242,000 people died -- it's certainly the worst I want to see.


Posted at Monday, December 27, 2004 by CavalierX
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Saturday, December 25, 2004
Yes, I Said 'Merry Christmas!'

Merry Christmas!!

That's right: Merry Christmas! I'd better say it while I'm still allowed, before the mere mention of Christmas by a private citizen on a private web site in an opinion piece is misconstrued to mean that Congress has passed a law establishing a National Church. If you're one of the 96% of Americans who celebrate Christmas, don't be cowed into pretending you don't by the Political Correctness Thought Police. Unless someone drastically changed the language while I wasn't looking, wishing someone a "Merry Christmas" doesn't mean, "you must convert to Christianity or die, heathen!" I certainly don't get upset when someone says, "Happy Hannukah" or "Eid Mubarak." I reply, "thank you" (or "Allah yubarak feek," if I remember the phrase).

If you happen to be one of those rabidly anti-Christmas people who can't stomach anyone hoping you have a happy holiday, there are some things you can do to make yourself feel better about Christmas:

  • Get to work. Christmas falls on a Saturday this year, but that only means you can get more done, and make everyone at home celebrating Christmas look like a slacker.
  • Return any Christmas presents you might receive. They're just meant to indoctrinate you, especially if wrapped in festive paper. Make the giver feel guilty by exclaiming, "What a waste of a tree!"
  • Refuse to accept Christmas bonuses from work, even if they're cleverly disguised as "end of year" bonuses.
  • Mark any Christmas cards you get in the mail, "Return to Sender" and throw them right back in the mailbox!
  • Don't go to any "holiday" parties. We all know what "holiday" they're talking about, don't we? If it's called a "Winter Party," wonder aloud how come they never have Spring, Summer and Fall parties.
  • Tell anyone wearing red and green that they're a fashion nightmare. Complain loudly anytime you see red and green together, for that matter -- even if it's red and green napkins at a "Winter Break" party.
  • Call the police to complain about the loud singing at churches in your neighborhood. If you hear anyone singing Christmas carols -- blatant attempts to force religion down your throat -- threaten to sue.
  • Insist on paying full price during those Christmas sales, even if they use the "holiday" euphemism. You know that's just shorthand for "holy day," don't you? Who are they to force religion on you?
  • Lodge a complaint with your cable company every time they ram the words "Christmas," "holiday," "God," or "Jesus" down your throat in commercials or shows, even the news. Start a boycott of any shows that mention Christmas, exhibit Christmas trees, or have the characters exchanging gifts.
  • If anyone has the insensitivity to wish you a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday, gently let them know they've offended you. Something like, "You'll never get your filthy claws into me, you proselytising militant tool of the Church!" ought to get your message across.

One last thing, for all our troops who have been or are currently deployed overseas, especially those in Afghanistan and Iraq: thank you, and Merry Christmas. Sometimes it must seem as though we're so busy being frivolous that we don't pay attention. From time to time, however, some of us look up and see you standing your watch on that wall, silhouetted against the night sky, and we're grateful.

AP: U.S. Marines are led in prayer by a Marine chaplain in celebration of Christmas
Midnight Christmas celebration in a mess hall at Hurricaine Point Marine Base, Ramadi, Iraq
 Image from AP found at Yahoo! News. Hat tip to Beth.

Posted at Saturday, December 25, 2004 by CavalierX
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Thursday, December 23, 2004
Intelligent Design: Good Religion, Bad Science

Intelligent design is the latest euphemism for Creationism -- the religious view of the origin of life -- with a veneer of science. It's being touted as an "alternative view" to evolution. No matter what you call it, however, it's the same sort of bad science as "runaway global warming caused by human industry." Neither is based on solid evidence. In both cases, at some point, you stop doing science and start preaching faith.

Science is all about proof and testing. Scientific method entails coming up with a hypothesis to explain an event or process, then testing that hypothesis to see whether it works. If it does, it becomes a theory -- a working explanation with the weight of evidence to support it. If you cannot disprove a theory, you may have discovered a fact. If the hypothesis can be disproved, it must be discarded and a new explanation postulated, and so on. Faith, by definition, is a belief in something that cannot be proved. If you CAN prove it, then you destroy it -- it becomes fact. There's no longer any merit or moral benefit to belief in it, any more than there's a moral benefit to belief in gravity, or spiritual merit to the belief that airplanes can fly.

This is the main difference between evolution and intelligent design. One can be tested by scientific method, while the other relies upon a premise that's impossible to prove as an essential component of its structure. Intelligent design is not science. It's religion; it's philosophy. One is asked to assume the existence of God -- something that cannot be proven -- as a given, in order to accept the hypothesis. If anything, intelligent design is an improvement on religious teachings, bringing them more in line with modern science. 

Science, properly done, is like millions of people putting together a massive, massive jigsaw puzzle when no one's quite sure what the end product should look like. Some pieces, like the corners, are fairly obvious. From those you can work along the edges and make intelligent guesses towards the middle. Sometimes you get several pieces that seem to fit together, but you're not sure where in the overall puzzle they should go. Sometimes you put pieces down where you think they belong, only to move them as you work closer to them and find that they don't fit quite where you first thought. Sometimes the work of others forces your pieces to move or break apart, or vice-versa. Naturally, there are people who want to interpret the pattern the pieces are forming to push their own view of the overall design. The pieces themselves, though, are unchanged by all this -- they are exactly what they are.

Proponents of intelligent design demand that it be given equal time in the classroom with evolution, which is solidly based on good science. The Dover school district in Pennsylvania, for instance, has mandated that it be so taught. Should children learn that sensationalist non-science is the same as real science? Teachers with a left-wing agenda cause children enough harm when they "teach" that American industry is causing global warming, even going so far as to bring second graders to New York City to march in a protest against oil drilling and logging. (It's rather ironic that they traveled in buses and made paper signs to do this.) We should be striving to teach children how to do proper science in search of the truth (whatever it is), not pushing any kind of faith-based bad science on them in schools. At best, it should be mentioned, but not taught. "Some people believe that human industry causes more warming of the Earth than the system can handle, but that cannot be proven," would be perfectly accurate. So would, "Some people believe that the complexity of Nature requires a Creator to have designed it, but that cannot be proven." Should astronomy students be taught astrology, on the basis that "Some people think everything we do is controlled by the movements of the stars and planets?"

Creationists like to point out the astronomer Fred Hoyle's calculation that the odds of a cell spontaneously assembling by chance are 10 to the 40,000th power to one, but that's exceptionally misleading. DNA never assembled spontaneously or by chance alone, but by the laws of physics, chemistry and biology operating over billions of years under intense competition. Nevertheless, this is often the primary "reason" given to discount evolution and scientific method in favor of teaching "science" based on faith.

Evolution is something we can see by its everyday results. Put simply, evolution means, "that which works, prospers." Proof of artificial selection is everywhere, from dogs to horses to flowers -- all of which are bred to our specifications, and breed true. It's human evolution by natural selection that some people object to, as they feel it objectifies and denigrates human beings. Quite the contrary -- the idea that our intelligence and self-awareness have caused us to become among the most successful (certainly the most powerful) forms of life on Earth is awe-inspiring and uplifting. The concept that we arose from the smallest and simplest forms of life, over a mind-numbing span of time and against all the odds, is humbling. Was it chance, was it designed, or is intelligence the ultimate survival tool, inevitable given the competition for resources? We can't know the answer for certain until we have the chance to study other worlds, and any life we may find on them.

Any person who wishes to can choose to believe that the hand of God guided the evolution of mankind. The fact that it can neither be proved nor disproved is what makes it good religion, bad science, and something that should be taught in philosophy, not science classes.


Posted at Thursday, December 23, 2004 by CavalierX
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Sunday, December 19, 2004
Are Your Kids Watching The Dystopia Channel?

For decades, television has been our main portal to the world, though that's slowly beginning to change. We're primarily visual creatures, and an image we can see has far more weight and impact than words on a page -- or a computer screen. (A picture is worth a thousand words...) As kids have spent more time passively watching the tube in place of interacting with real, live people, they've come to rely more and more on what they see there to provide a baseline for their views of reality.

Like it or not, American children generally spend more time sitting in front of the TV than doing nearly anything else. The Media Education Society states, "Children spend more time viewing television than engaging in any other single activity besides school." Television is America's biggest babysitter. As anyone who's ever even met a child knows, they're like little sponges, soaking up everything they see, hear and feel. As adults, we process what we see on TV differently. We filter it through the view of the world we've acquired through years of living in it. We already have an idea of how the real world works, what's true and what's false, and how things are supposed to be. When we see something radically different from what we know to be real, we can either laugh at it or ignore it. We formed those views as we grew up -- from books, teachers, and yes, television -- and modified them according to our own experiences. But what's on television right now is affecting how kids are forming their views of how the real world works that they will have as adults. They don't have the experience necessary to challenge the views presented to them. Jane Brown, a University of North Carolina researcher who studied the effect of sexual content in the media on teenagers, said, "[T]he more you see the same thing over and over again, the more likely you are to believe that this is how the world works."

Television during the fifties, sixties and seventies had a huge impact on our present view of the world. Television helped us, as children, form an impression of How Things Should Be that reflected the values of mainstream society in general. What we would call "dysfunctional" elements today were usually meant to induce humor or pathos, precisely because they weren't normal; people could recognise a bit of themselves in them and laugh or cry about it. Nobody is perfect, but at least we knew what "perfect" was. Television helped set a standard to work towards.

Most of today's television shows are a bit different. They no longer portray "mainstream" as "normal." They reflect the values not of the average American, but of the average Liberal. They are cynically meant to embarrass those who cling to "old-fashioned" values, even when being humorous about it. The last popular TV show to reflect the values of the average American was probably The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 to 1992. Bill Cosby told JET in April 2000, "The problem with television programming today is that we are now in the age of stooping as in to bend down to make yourself lower. That bar is not being raised at all. There is too much focus on orifices and the size of organs and body parts. Many of the writers write like they never had a course in Western Literature. They seem to be taking their language off the street corners." Television has become a wasteland of pessimism, permissiveness and dystopian viewpoints -- in short, Liberalism run amuck. What are children learning from today's prime time television? What image of reality are they forming to get them through the rest of their lives?

In Prime Time Television land, fathers are generally bumbling fools trying to avoid responsibility. Mothers often express regret at having gotten married, as they're stressed out by the strain of raising a family. Kids are far smarter and cooler than any adult, except the occasional maverick teacher or other outsider type. Parents hold their kids back from all the fun they could be having. Everyone needs a gay friend -- they are invariably smarter, funnier, wiser and more caring than your other friends. (In the real world, friendship qualities are not tied to one's sexuality.) People who jump from relationship to relationship, or carry on multiple relationships at the same time, are often envied. Sure, people get hurt -- but they get over it by the end of the show. People are greedy -- they'll do anything for a buck. They're willing to lie, cheat and backstab their friends to gain a prize. No one can be trusted, especially those in authority over you. Even the news celebrates and promotes this cynical, Hollywood-centric perspective of society. Is that the image of the world you want your kids to carry with them, the baseline view they form of reality?

So what's the answer? More involved parenting will help. Don't let television be the primary place your kids get their understanding of How Things Should Be. Restrict their viewing, talk to them about what they see, and tell them -- SHOW them -- that real life isn't like that. Give them something better to aim for than being ruthless enough to stay on the island or get hired by Donald Trump.


Posted at Sunday, December 19, 2004 by CavalierX
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Monday, December 13, 2004
Media vs. the Military 2: The Armor Flap

Once again, members of the so-called "mainstream" media leave no stone unturned in their quest to embarrass the Bush administration and undermine support for the war America is already committed to win. This time their target is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their issue is armored HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, or "hummvees"). Their tool is the very military that will be hurt the worst if they're successful.

While Rumsfeld was in Kuwait last week, he visited a group of National Guard soldiers that were about to be deployed to Iraq. He took questions from them, but not from the press. The briefing and questions were not in the least adversarial until one soldier demanded to know why "we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal" to armor the HMMWVs. Naturally, the media went wild with glee over this "evidence" that the US military is ill-equipped to fight a war.

The first problem is that the media planted the question and arranged for it to be asked. Edward Lee Pitts, a Chattanooga Times Free Press reporter embedded with the 278th Regimental Combat Team, wrote in an email: "I was told yesterday that only soldiers could ask questions, so I brought two of them along with me as my escorts. ... Beforehand we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appalling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have."

Now, some might say that the question was entirely legitimate, asked by a soldier with very real concerns over the vehicle he would be asked to drive into Baghdad. Fortunately (for our military; unfortunately for our media), HMMWVs that haven't yet been up-armored are not driven, but carted on flatbed trucks to a safe area. Any concerns the soldiers might have had came not from their own experience -- since they hadn't been in Iraq yet -- but from the media misrepresentation. The fearmongering media created the worries they then reported as "legitimate concerns." Reporters like Pitts (and there are far too many like him) have long ago forgotten anything they knew about journalistic integrity. Instead of reporting facts fairly and accurately, they create the news to further their agenda, engaging in a "gotcha" game designed to attack those with whom they disagree.

The fact is that HMMWVs are normally unarmored except for military police use. They're simply not designed to carry heavy armor -- the suspension and transmission aren't built to handle the extra weight. In late 2003, the terrorists in Iraq began using more IEDs (improvised explosive devices) on roadways to attack our troops, so the military realised they had to ramp up production of armored HMMWVs, and come up with a lightweight armor that could be added to the 30,000 wheeled vehicles (including HMMWVs) already in Iraq and Afghanistan. At this point, there are only about 8,000 vehicles without some armor on them, and a large number of those are "tool trucks, communication vans or vehicles that don't leave the base camp," according to Lieutenant General Steven Whitcomb, the CFLCC commander in Kuwait. Reports of soldiers digging through trash heaps to find scrap metal were likely based on soldiers recycling steel plates from vehicles that had been hit and couldn't be repaired, Whitcomb said. This makes sense, as scrap metal wouldn't do much to armor a vehicle (old A-Team reruns notwithstanding), and would unbalance the load on its suspension. For extra protection, some soldiers have used "hillbilly armor," as it's called, and that also may be the basis for media reports of widespread shortages.

HMMWVs can be given three levels of armor. Level one includes complete armor and bulletproof glass. Those have to be built from the ground up, and production has increased in just a year from 30 a month to 400 a month. Approximately 6,000 vehicles have level one protection. Level two protection is provided with an add-on kit, which covers the sides of the vehicle but not the top and bottom. Approximately 10,000 vehicles have level two armor. Level three armor is used more for trucks than HMMWVs; it consists of steel plates bolted onto the vehicles' sides. About 4,500 vehicles currently have level three protection.

Because of this manufactured armor flap, the enemy knows exactly how many and what types of vehicles are armored, and how to tell one from another. Good job, members of the mainstream media. Doesn't our military have enough to do without your invented scandals and information leaks? As for the military, I suggest that when speaking to the press, you restrict any conversation to the following topics: names of cities fought in, amount of ground taken, and number of enemies killed. Anything you say can and will be used against you by the enemy.


Posted at Monday, December 13, 2004 by CavalierX
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Thursday, December 09, 2004
Licenses and Security: Sensenbrenner Made Sense

Politicians can always be counted on to increase the Washington bureaucracy whenever they can. The counter-terrorism bill just passed by both House and Senate does just that, although it does do some good in the process. Among other provisions, the bill calls for more cooperation between the CIA and the military and increases the number of border patrol agents, but adds a new layer of bureaucracy to our intelligence services. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 creates a Director of National Intelligence with all the attendant rules and regulations that position will entail -- not to mention the horde of bureaucrats to enforce them. While several problems that reduce our security are fixed, the bill cannot be said to fix them all by any stretch of the imagination.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) was worried that the bill would move control over spy satellites -- and the time-critical information they often provide for troops on the battlefield -- away from the Pentagon. Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) wanted the bill to address the ease with which illegal aliens can obtain legal driver's licenses. Instead of being lauded for trying to protect Americans from harm, they were the subjects of "mainstream" media scorn and hand-wringing, using some relatives of some 9/11 victims -- always referred to as "the 9/11 families" -- as cover. The media, as always, was quick to create images of pathos. "Four women walked the halls of Congress almost every day for months, pictures of their loved ones in one hand and copies of the Sept. 11 commission report in the other," stated one AP "news" report which credited them with forcing Congress to pass the intelligence bill. Apparently, it had nothing to do with President Bush, who (according to a different AP report) "telephoned House and Senate lawmakers and used his weekly radio address Saturday to press Congress to pass the bill." The increasing politicisation of 9/11 victims by activist Liberals is amazing... but no more amazing than the fact that Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.VA) finally said something with which I agree. "No legislation alone can forestall a terrorist attack on our nation," Byrd said. He was one of only two Senators to vote against the bill, wanting to work on it further in next year's session; the other was James Inhofe (R-OK). Most Democrats, however, insisted on passing this bill as quickly as possible. "Every day we delay, our country is less safe," House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said. Certainly, we need increased bureaucracy right away. But is ignoring legitimate concerns to rush an incomplete bill through Congress the best way to make us more safe? 

Rep. Hunter's objection to the bill was resolved, but Rep. Sensenbrenner's was more or less ignored -- and it's a critical issue. Sensenbrenner understood that one of the holes in our national security is the laxity of the driver's license system. In order to board an airplane in post-9/11 America, if you haven't done it recently, you have to show some form of picture ID -- most commonly a driver's license or state ID. You can also use your driver's license to rent a car, buy a gun, open a bank account, obtain a passport, drink, purchase cigarettes and vote. Thanks in part to Article IV, section 1 of the US Constitution (the "full faith and credit" clause), a driver's license is pretty much a national membership card, giving anybody who has one the freedom of the country. The problem is that anyone can get one, whether they're in the "club" or not. The 9/11 hijackers had 63 valid driver's licenses between them. Section 7212(b)(2) of the bill states that within 18 months, the Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security must establish national standards for these licenses. It specifies that the new standards must include proof of identity when obtaining a license, and that the licenses must contain a digital photograph and machine-readable information. That's not a bad start, but that's all it is -- a start. Illegal immigrants can still get driver's licenses, and with a valid license, their immigrant status is never questioned. Cops who ask people about their resident status without probable cause (or even with it, in most cases) would be pilloried for violating their civil rights, and probably be sentenced to "sensitivity training." Terrorists know this, and take advantage of it to blend in and escape detection.

Illegal immigration is tied to terrorism, and reform is necessary for our safety. When Dr. Philip Zelikow testified before the 9/11 commission, he said: "Considered collectively, the 9/11 hijackers included among them known al Qaeda operatives who could have been watchlisted, presented passports manipulated in a fraudulent manner, presented passports with suspicious indicators of extremism, made detectable false statements on their visa applications, were pulled out of the travel stream and given greater scrutiny by border officials, made false statements to border officials to gain entry into the United States and violated immigration laws while inside the United States." Yet they still moved about freely, using their driver's licenses and state IDs... flying on planes, renting cars, opening bank accounts to accept wire transfers, and attending fight schools. I'm somewhat less concerned about the civil rights of illegal aliens and terrorists than the lives of countless innocent US citizens and other legal residents of this country.

Temporary residents and guests of America -- those who are here on student or travel visas -- should have the expiration dates on their licenses or state ID cards tied to their visa expiration dates. That's a small change, but one that can help make us safer. Anyone overstaying his visa would find it far more difficult to rent a car, buy a gun or board an airplane with an expired license. No one who's in this country illegally should be issued a driver's license -- they should be arrested.

Why bother to try and stop terrorists from entering this country, if we're just going to give them the key to everything once they get in?


Posted at Thursday, December 09, 2004 by CavalierX
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Monday, December 06, 2004
Oil for Food: Kofi's Quagmire

Just before Bill Clinton left office in January 2001, he exercised his privilege of granting Presidential pardons... which is somewhat of an understatement. With 176 criminals given pardons and commuted sentences in a single day, one might envision an "exercise" as frenetic as Richard Simmons on crack cocaine and Jolt Cola.

Among the criminals Clinton pardoned was his own brother Roger, who had been convicted of drug trafficking. Susan McDougal, who was linked to the Clintons through the Whitewater scandal, also received a pardon. So did another Whitewater aide, Stephen Smith, though he said he didn't want one. Many of the pardoned criminals had personal connections to Clinton or had donated money to his or Hillary's campaigns. Clinton pardoned Jack Williams, for instance, who had been convicted of making false statements to Federal agents. Williams was a lobbyist for Tyson Foods, the company in which Hillary Clinton invested $1,000 and miraculously made $100,000 in a single year. Another last-minute pardon recipient was Tansukhlal Bhatka, who had been convicted of tax evasion. Bhatka not only gave $5,000 to Hillary's Senate campaign, he hired her brother Hugh to lobby for his pardon. Hugh Rodham worked as a "consultant" to help other criminals gain pardons as well. For instance, Rodham received $245,000 in "consultant fees" from Allen and Vonna Jo Gregory, who had been convicted of bank fraud, but they had trouble describing his duties to Federal prosecutors when asked. The "Pardongate" irregularities were no sudden, short-lived phenomenon, either. Glenn Braswell and Carlos Vignali also hired Rodham to present their applications and were pardoned for bank fraud in March 2000. Rodham gave back most of the money, but the pardons were not reversed. It was always good, it seems, to be a friend of the Clintons... or at least a contributor.

Somewhere in the horde of Clinton pardon recipients was financier Marc Rich. In 1983, Rich was indicted on evading more than $48 million in taxes. He was also charged with 51 counts of tax fraud, tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering and making illegal oil deals with Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Rich suffered terribly for his crimes... if you call living well on one's ill-gotten gains in Switzerland while fighting extradition proceedings "suffering." Denise Rich, now his ex-wife, donated an estimated $1 million to Democrat causes, including $70,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and $450,000 to the Clinton Presidential Library fund. Denise Rich was called to testify before Congress as to whether her donations and contributions were in fact payment for her husband's pardon. She pleaded the Fifth Amendment, under which "No person... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." Rich's pardon was so obviously undeserved that former President Carter criticised Clinton for it. "I don't think there's any doubt that some of the factors in his pardon was attributable to large gifts, some of which he gave to Israel, other benefactors and the influence of his former wife, so I think that was, in my opinion, disgraceful," Carter said, adding that Clinton had "brought discredit to the White House because of it."

Aside from the need to remember the truth lest we miss history's lessons, why is the improper and irregular pardon of Marc Rich worth recalling right now? Once again, Rich is in the news, involved in a scandal of monumental proportions. His name has come to light in the investigation of the Iraqi Oil for Food scam, the greatest shell game swindle ever perpetrated. Saddam Hussein pocketed some $21.3 billion dollars during the years of OFF, which was meant to relieve the effects the UN sanctions against Iraq's government were having on the Iraqi people. Instead of alleviating hunger, improving living conditions and providing medical care, that money went to buy palaces, weapons stockpiles, influence around the world, and even UN Security Council votes in favor of their oppressor. Saddam gave $300,000 to al-Qaeda in 1998, which may have helped finance the 9/11 attack, and aided the terror group Ansar al-Islam with money and material. Saddam could not have done it without the help of Marc Rich and the disregard of Kofi Annan.

Shipping records show that just a month after receiving Clinton's pardon, Rich was acting as a middleman for some of Saddam Hussein's illegal oil deals. In their zeal to shift the blame for the scandal from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and his son as well as influential figures in France, Germany, Russia and China, the "mainstream" media seems to be insinuating that Americans were somehow really culpable. ABC news, for instance, presented the Marc Rich connection in a story entitled, "Americans' Role Eyed in U.N. Oil Scandal." LA Times columnist James Traub characterises those investigating the OFF fraud as "a right-wing mob" of "vigilantes," while Annan is "the gentle and generally accommodating leader of the United Nations." Traub's real culprit is, of course, the US government, which "had dozens of people monitoring the contracts." The Liberal media performed no such service for Enron chief Ken Lay when the Enron scandal was uncovered, as far as I can recall. If Lay's son had worked for a company hired by Enron to ensure that energy prices weren't being rigged, the media would have treated it as the biggest nail in Lay's coffin. Kofi Annan's son Kojo worked for Cotecna, a Swiss firm hired to monitor the OFF program. Despite claims that he quit before Cotecna was awarded that responsibility, Kojo was still receiving pay from the company until February 2004. Members of the media will go to incredible lengths to exonerate and protect Kofi Annan from the corruption and failures over which he has presided without accountability for too long.

At a recent awards dinner, Annan made a joke about calls for his resignation, saying, "I have resigned myself... to having a good time." Everyone was delighted. What a jolly fellow! What a bon mot! In 1997, UNICEF reported that one in every four Iraq children was malnourished. In 2000, UNICEF and other organisations estimated that between 4,000 and 5,000 Iraqi children were dying every month. They blamed the deaths on what they believed were harsh sanctions. In fact, those children died of the corruption and complicity of men like Saddam Hussein, Kofi Annan and Marc Rich. We may never know the true number of Iraqis killed by Saddam's evil regime, but I'm glad someone's able to laugh about it.


Posted at Monday, December 06, 2004 by CavalierX
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Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Exploding Liberal Myths 9: The Separation of Church and State

Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black first enshrined the phrase "separation of Church and State" into law in Everson v. the Board of Education, 1947. Black, who had been an anti-Catholic KKK member and a Democrat Senator, was worried that the Catholic Church might attempt a coup in America through Catholic school indoctrination. In Everson v. BoE, the plaintiff claimed that it was unconstitutional for New Jersey residents "to pay taxes to help support and maintain schools which are dedicated to, and which regularly teach, the Catholic Faith." In the "opinion" section of the decision, Justice Black wrote, "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church." This was partially correct -- the First Amendment refers only to the federal government. However, he went on to claim that it meant that neither state nor federal government was allowed to have anything whatsoever to do with any religion. In this, he was wrong. Justice Black did not consider the historical framework of the Bill of Rights; he took a phrase out of context and twisted its meaning to suit his decision.

The majority of men and women who first settled this country were escaping a religious and secular tyranny in one. Europe had been racked by centuries of wars with roots in both politics and religion. Since King Henry VIII founded the Church of England, the native country of most Colonial settlers had been poisoned by religious and political infighting. The Anglican Church was England's official, State-sanctioned religion; the King was head of the Church as well as head of State. Those who didn't attend the State church were taxed, and suffered under various restrictions in business and politics (when not persecuted and executed) as the influence of various religions and factions waxed and waned. With this history firmly in mind, our Founders were determined that the central government should not be allowed to trample on the rights of individuals to worship as they pleased. In fact, many states had official religions at the time, such as Virginia and Massachusetts. The former colonists saw central government as a necessary evil, and generally restricted its power to regulating commerce between the states and dealing with foreign powers. The Bill of Rights is a list of limitations on the powers of the central government over the states and individuals, not limitations on individual rights. It assumes that all people have rights independent of the existence and sanction of the State.

Why was it so important to establish that belief? Why was it considered necessary to state in the Declaration of Independence that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights?" The answer is simple: to further limit the power of government. Rights granted by the State can be removed by the State, but rights that exist independently of the State cannot be taken away. More important, that was what the Founding Fathers truly believed. They weren't being humorous, and they weren't pandering to their constituencies. Their frequent references to God and a Creator in the seminal documents of our nation's birth is evidence of their honest belief in them. They avoided any references to specific religions so that no one faith could claim any legal precedence. Most of them were probably Deists, a philosophical, free-thought form of religion not bound by doctrine and dogma, but generally in line with Christian moral principles. The idea of a government that placed restrictions on the public worship of its citizens would have been equally abhorrent to them as a government that forced its citizens to worship a specific faith. Yet today's Liberals do wish to place such restrictions.

The First Amendment begins: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Liberals would like to drop the latter part of that injunction and interpret the first part as, "the government may show no respect towards any religion whatsoever." That sort of twisting is rarely seen outside of pretzel shops. In fact, our forefathers had a deep respect for and tolerance of various religions. It's no accident that they chose Philadelphia as the first Capital of the United States. William Penn conceived of the city as a place where all people of all faiths could live in peace, including Catholics, Protestants, Mennonites and Huguenots. (Penn, a Quaker, even respected the personal and religious rights of the local Indians.) Anyone with a basic knowledge of history and the English language can clearly see that the First Amendment was meant to prevent Congress from making a law to establish a State religion for America, or interfering with any citizen's right to worship -- or not -- as he pleased.

Liberals have been using this mythical "wall of separation" to attack mainstream religion -- specifically in its various Christian incarnations -- for over fifty years. In one school in California (where else?) it is now considered "unconstitutional" to teach students about the Declaration of Independence, George Washington's journal, John Adams' diary, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists" and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania." Why? Because they mention God. The Boy Scouts of America were barred from having anything to do with the US military, because their oath says, "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country." What specific religion is God, I wonder? How does the mere mention of a generic deity -- which no one is forced to worship -- establish a religion?

In recent years, Liberals have claimed it's "unconstitutional" to mention God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Art with positive religious themes has been banned from a public library, while "art" that denigrates Christianity and befouls its symbols is celebrated. They've told us it's "unconstitutional" to celebrate Christmas in public by singing carols (including playing a purely instrumental version of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"), putting a Nativity set in a public square or in a public school (although menorahs are welcome), or even wishing others a "Merry Christmas" (while a hearty "Happy Kwanzaa" is appreciated). Liberals don't seem to care that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas and 87% agree that Nativity scenes should be allowed on public property -- they'll still claim it violates the "separation of Church and State." In which of these instances, however, did Congress make a law establishing a national religion?

The standard Liberal response to anyone who dares question the existence of the Great Wall of Separation is to ask whether public worship of extreme religions should be allowed, including those which include public displays of drunkenness, nudity, sex, loud late-night ceremonies, and possibly animal or even human sacrifice. The difference is that those celebrations, as fun as they might be, break civil laws. As such, that sort of thing is strictly limited to post-game riots by sports fans.

Kicking Christ out of Christmas seems like banning American flags from the Fourth of July or green beer from St. Patrick's Day, doesn't it? There's no federal law saying you MUST celebrate it, and there should be no federal law saying you CAN'T celebrate it. That's the intent of the First Amendment.

Exploding Liberal Myths 11: Home Spying Hogwash 
Exploding Liberal Myths 10: The Plame Name Game
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
Exploding Liberal Myths 1: Nigerian Uranium  


Posted at Wednesday, December 01, 2004 by CavalierX
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Saturday, November 27, 2004
Sooeee! Calling the Hogs in DC

Do you ever wonder where your federal taxes go, and why small-government Conservatives believe they should be reduced? Well, how about the Center for Grape Genetics at Cornell, in Geneva, NY? I'm all in favor of better American grapes, since I don't drink French wines as much as I used to, but shouldn't that sort of research be market-driven? Instead, $3 million of our tax dollars are paying for research into better hybrids and more disease-resistant grapes in NY, and another $3 million is going to fund the same sort of research at the Grape Genomics Research Center in Davis, CA. How about B.B. King? He's a talented musician, and he's probably a nice guy. But why are $1 million of our federal taxes going to the B.B. King Museum Foundation in Indianola, MS? Do all taxpayers at least get one free ticket to a show?

There's no reason the taxes of someone from Pennsylvania should be used for "sidewalks, street furniture and facade improvements" in Bakersfield, California. Frankly, I don't care what your town looks like. If I'm paying for anyone's new furniture, it'll be my own. If you live in Bakersfield, and you think the place needs fixing up, then it should be paid for with local or state taxes, if not private donations. Why is the US government spending $280,000 to take care of a local matter? This is precisely why we need to cut federal taxes even further. There's obviously no shortage of federal (meaning taxpayer) funds, as the Left would have us believe. The problem is how they're being spent, and the fact that Congress decided to raise the federal debt ceiling in order to spend more. A non-partisan group called Citizens Against Government Waste has identified $22.9 billion in pork barrel spending crammed into the $388 billion omnibus spending package recently passed by Congress. A partial state-by-state list of pork in the bill includes:

Alabama: $4 million for the International Fertiliser Development Center in Muscle Shoals.
Alaska: $443,000 to develop salmon-fortified baby food.
Arizona: $2.5 million for Lone Pine Dam Road.
California: $150,000 for the Girl Scouts Golden Valley Council bridge project.
Florida: $1 million for the Palm Coast Trail System in Flagler County.
Kentucky: $2.3 million for an animal waste management research laboratory in Bowling Green.
Hawaii: $4 million for mitigation of congestion in Kapolei City.
Illinois: $1.4 million for an Interstate-55 sound barrier in Darien.
Massachusetts: $1.2 million for Cape Cod Seashore Eastham/Dennis Bike Trail Repair.
Mississippi: $750,000 for the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.
Montana: $1.5 million for a "fuels-in-schools" biomass project.
North Carolina: $1 million for Garden Parkway in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.
Ohio: $750,000 for the city of Circleville's sewer construction project; $350,000 for music education programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.
Oregon: $6.28 million to Oregon State University for wood utilisation research and $688,000 for a barley gene-mapping project.
Pennsylvania: $250,000 to promote tourism in the Allegheny National Forest area.
Tennessee: $2 million for the Fiery Gizzard Trail.
Vermont: $500,000 for a wood products program.
Virginia: $500,000 for the Amherst County River Walk Trail; $200,000 for a Vermont Civil War Monument in Virginia.
Washington: $1 million for the Enumclaw welcome center; $1 million for the Norwegian American Foundation.
Wisconsin: $3.2 million for the Chequamego-Nicolet National Forest "Wisconsin Wild Waterways."

Every politician from every state has a snout in the trough. Although Senator John McCain (R-AZ) derided the $1 million Wild American Shrimp Initiative as "this 'no shrimp left behind' act," Arizona still received a share of the slop (though usually smaller than most, thanks to McCain and fellow AZ Senator John Kyl). Even Guam is getting $515,000 for brown tree snake management. Politicians try to rationalise pork-barrel waste by saying that the tax dollars taken by the federal government are returned to the states for use, but they forget one thing: no one old enough to pay taxes was born yesterday. The US government is one big money-laundering scheme for special interest groups. Taxes flow in... and then they flow back out. Everyone along the route takes a bite. No party or politician is immune... not if they want to get campaign contributions come next election cycle.

There are a few ways to reduce both the wasteful spending and the influence of special interest groups. The simplest is to reduce the amount of money politicians can hand them... which means reducing the amount of spare money Congress has to waste in the first place. The loopholes and all that "wiggle room" politicians and special interests use to their advantage have to be removed from the Byzantine tax code. The sort of simplification President Bush is proposing would rob the lobbyists and special interests of their free ride, and would keep politicians from getting in bed with them to the extent they do now. Also, simpler tax codes would encourage economic growth and increase tax revenues, which would reduce that debt -- but only if spending is kept down. A lot of power is wielded by Congress, which can grant tax exemptions to certain groups as well as direct where our tax money is spent. Politicians use those powers to gain favorable press and publicity, which translate to votes. A way to curb the misuse of those powers would be to institute term limits for Representatives and Senators. Politicians who aren't constantly working on their next campaign might be able to spare some time to do the work they were put in office to do. Lobbyists can't make deals with politicians who won't be in office next year. The best way of all, of course, would be to keep an eye on how your Representative and Senators vote to spend your money, and vote them out when they waste it. Politicians count on our not paying attention, though... and they're usually right. 

In any case, you should be the best person to decide how your money is spent. What benefits do the average taxpayers derive from all this pork? There's $150,000 going for Fishing Rationalisation Research in Alaska. Does every taxpayer in America get a coupon for salmon at their local supermarket for funding that? (Besides, isn't "the need to eat" rationalisation enough for fishing?) Do we each at least get one free pony ride at the Horse Springs Ranch in NM, which got $2.5 million? $3.5 million of our money went for "bus acquisition" in Atlanta, GA. Every American taxpayer gets to ride for free in Atlanta, right? I'd like to know more about how my money is spent -- perhaps there are good reasons for some of it, but we never get the benefit of an explanation. I'm very curious, for instance, about the $1.5 million that we're paying to "transport naturally chilled water from Lake Ontario to Lake Onondaga." I'd also like to know more about the $150,000 apiece the federal government is giving to the Grammy Foundation, the "Check 'Em Out Program," the Coca-Cola Space Science Center in Columbus, GA and the "Obscenity Crimes Project." All this pork barrel spending is causing obscenity crimes right at this moment, as I discovered by taking a poll of People Writing This Article.

Now, give ME that $150,000 for the research I've done. And don't forget my new furniture.


Posted at Saturday, November 27, 2004 by CavalierX
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