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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gotta Make a Move to a Town That’s Right for Me…

…a town to keep me movin,’ keep me grovin’ with some energy! Well he talked about it, talked about it, talked about it, talked about it…talked about movin’! However, many skeptics like me were not convinced; as we’ve seen Gubernatorial candidates who identify themselves as “classical liberals,” “fiscal conservatives,” (whatever term floats your boat) sing this song before. Then, once elected, we are sobered to the tune of “Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again.”

In spite of all of the skepticism, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey has not disappointed. I doubted him (and rightfully so since taking on the New Jersey machine rivals the effort of taking on the Chicago machine), but I stand corrected. Governor Christie has taken on some of the most powerful unions in the nation and has made the most serious attempt at shrinking government…arguably more than any governor has made in recent years. Unless he does a 180, I see a very bright future for him. Hopefully, he’ll consider healthier eating habits since we’d like to have him around for years to come!

Governor Christie hosts several town hall meetings in his state in order to stay connected to his constituents. These meetings are NOT screened. Everyone is welcome, including and especially those who disagree. I am very impressed with his willingness to encourage those opposite his viewpoint to attend and by his very blunt, no nonsense responses.

Neil Cavuto had the good fortune of interviewing the Governor. It is not often that I find a politician I could stand behind or consider worthy of a “shout out;” but, this three part interview is well worth the watch.

Governor Christie on Your World with Neil Cavuto - Part 1

Governor Christie on Your World with Neil Cavuto - Part 2

Governor Christie on Your World with Neil Cavuto - Part 3

Governor Christie’s interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” was quite good in spite of an ill comparison to Scott Brown, who happens to be just another establishment politician as I rightly predicted. He talked more about New Jersey’s enormous budget deficit and his plans to tackle the problem. One knows he’s something special when union members pray for his death!

Governor Christie on The Morning Joe Show – Part 1

Governor Christie on The Morning Joe Show – Part 2

With All The Rumors, This Makes Sense...

Taken from CNN profile "What we've learned about Elena Kagan":

Apparently, aside from anti-military and pro-aborition stances, she also does a mean air piano. Her specialty? Rocketman!

Followed by We Didn't Start the Fire!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup Post: US vs. Ghana

Congrats to Ghana on their victory over our comeback kings. Great defense and good ball control. Though I'd like to say that after scoring the winner in extra time, Ghana's team suddenly got hit with a monumental amount of "injuries" and lethargy. While its all perfectly legal and its part of soccer, I think Ghana was deeply unsportsmanlike. It's one thing to get tripped and fake a hurt knee. It's another to slip, fall and then lie there as one Ghanian player did, taking up at least two minutes of play time. That's was just wrong and the ref should done something. Not saying we got robbed like we did against Slovenia AND against Algeria, but its another thing FIFA needs to work on.

Still, bitching aside, way to go Ghana.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Democracy Sucks!

I'm sloughing through a book called Welcome to the Homeland. A book riding the coattails of What's the Matter with Kansas?, but with a more sympathetic tone. While Thomas Frank beat you over the head with his pure hate of his former kin, the author of Homeland tries to get to the root of the rural conservative, even if he thinks they're backwards and ruining America.

In the introduction of the book where the author tries to plant his rural cred by birth and his work with NPR (heh), he goes on about how this white, rural conservative “minority” is stopping the rest of America from progressing and how that isn't democratic. Word to the wise, we aren't a democracy. It's an old conservative mantra, but its true upon true.

The US is a federal republic (or a democratic republic or a federal democratic republic... key words are federal and republic). A federal government with what should be limited powers, giving the member states the ability to control their futures as they see fit within the broad liberty-based box the Founders created. For instance, Nebraska has a single, nonpartisan legislative house, and is the only state in the Union to have it. California's laws are not Utah's laws which aren't Maine's laws. You see where I'm going.

Many people, even some conservatives, have this odd idea that we need to expand democracy. They think the Electoral College is anti-liberty, specifically “undemocratic” (gasp). Okay. Sure. Let's remove the Electoral College and go purely on the popular vote. Nine states have 50% of the population of America. Thirty states have 90% of the population [1]. So there nine states that can pretty much rule the rest of the country by popular vote. No president would have to visit every state or most states, they'd only have to visit California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Georgia to reach half the country. There are still forty-one states left. Each one with voices just as important as those of the top nine.

Expanded democracy, instead of expanding the people's voice, actually squashes it. The democracy folk don't realize (or do, which makes it all manners of bad) that minority voters (in ideology, religion, party, etc) will have no say at all. Their voices will be squashed under the weight of the mob. There would be no libertarian voice, no independents, no New Party or socialist vote. The weight of the majority will crush the minority, something the Founders were absolutely against. There was a reason Senators were voted in by state legislatures and not the people.

Voting is an integral part of freedom, but so is making sure your vote counts. Liberty expands when government contracts and/or when power is decentralized. The more our votes are shoved in to a giant pot, the less our vote counts. That's why the decentralization of power is so important to liberty. Giving states their constitutionally-given rights (there are plenty the Feds have usurped) allows peoples to chart their future for their state and their state alone. This is liberty.

In short, voting does not equal liberty and liberty isn't just voting. Its local, its tight-knit, it involves paying attention, it involves mayors and counties and state politicians. And its much more complex than the democracy folk (this includes the neo-conservative “democratic revolution” dreamers) think it is.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The BP Oil Spill: Beyond Populism

Environmental disasters certainly draw their share of populist drivel, and the media on both the left and the right did not disappoint regarding what could be the worst environmental disaster in history. Fortunately, we here at Generation Patriot are interested in the truths that those who possess the power to inform people are not interested in reporting. The focus will be to gloss some reality over the useless populist nonsense that is circulating all over the airwaves, newspapers and blogospheres.

Populist Rant No. 1: BP makes billions of dollars, therefore, this greedy oil giant must pay for all cleanup and then some!

This is the Bill O’Reilly special. Not a night goes by where he doesn’t inform his viewers on just how much money BP makes, and how glad he is that the company will have to pony up billions of dollars. Before we delve into the heart of this ill informed statement, let me begin by saying that I am not suggesting that BP should not be liable, nor am I an apologist for Tony Hayward or BP. BP, under the leadership of Tony Hayward, has been a horribly run company. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records, BP has one of the worst U.S. safety records of any oil company. Over the past five years, BP has admitted to breaking several U.S. environmental and safety laws and has paid $373 million in fines to avoid prosecution. Therefore, I have no sympathy for Mr. Hayward nor the incompetent managers and leadership below him. BP must compensate all who were victimized by the oil spill. In addition, I fully support a criminal investigation and individual prosecution if gross negligence can be proven.

The problem with this statement is the failure to realize who really pays for this disaster. Does Mr. O’Reilly really believe that someone will turn Tony Hayward and other BP execs upside down until all of the coins fall out of their pockets? Does he really think Tony Hayward will have to sell his yacht to compensate the victims? Is he concerned at all about the rule of law – an essential element to a free society? If one has a modicum of knowledge of who, or should I say what, really owns a corporation, the gross ignorance is glaring. Among BP’s top ten shareholders are the following institutions: Bank of America, State Farm Insurance, T. Rowe Price, Wells Fargo and Vanguard. (1) What do all of these institutions have in common? They play a role in YOUR retirement, and the performance of these companies heavily impacts the world economy. Therefore, YOU pay for the mess…you who had nothing to do with the decisions made…you, who were most likely just driving to work the day the well exploded, are going to pay. It is tragic enough to see the environmental impact of this spill; to see people lose their livelihood as well as seeing the economic impact the spill will have on states for years to come – some that just finally recovered from all of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. However, the innocent people who ultimately pay for this disaster are the tragedy that has gone unaddressed. While President Obama is looking for someone’s ass to kick, and people are urging the government to shakedown BP with no regard for rule of law; do keep in mind just who they are shaking down. Got that Mr. O’Reilly?

Populist Rant No. 2: Unfettered capitalism is to blame and self-policing simply does not work.

This one is my favorite. My friends at the Guardian and many other left-wing progressive publications out there have people coming out in droves railing against a system that has given them their living (notwithstanding the fact that unfettered capitalism does not exist anywhere in the world).

If “unfettered capitalism” or economic liberalism existed, there would not be hundreds of pages of government regulations that govern deepwater drilling alone. There would be no restrictions on drilling apart from safety hazards; and the government would not be involved or, at the very least, MINIMALLY involved in the facets of business.

The major mistake my progressive friends always make is that they confuse statism with capitalism. The BP oil spill was not self-policing gone bad. BP simply drilled where the government told them to drill…where the government gave them the most ECONOMIC INCENTIVE to drill. Unfettered capitalism? I think not. Much like every other economic disaster (the housing debacle being the most recent), the government is always at the root, and the oil spill is no exception.

Has anyone seen the mainstream media report on the Deep Water Royalty Relief Act (DWRRA) of 2005? This was a government program signed into law by President Clinton that actually INCENTIVIZED risky deep water (minimum depth of 200 meters) drilling by implementing a royalty-relief program that relieves eligible leases from paying royalties on defined amounts of deep-water petroleum production over Federal Outer Continental Shelf lands. In addition, a law was passed to cap liability at $75 million. (2) (What a blow to lefties who were hoping I would have mentioned George H.W. Bush’s name, but do not despair. I will get to him momentarily.) Although the DWRRA expired in 2000, it was merely expanded to promote further interest in deep water drilling. We have the government incentivizing risk on THEIR continental shelves and capping liability if damage occurs. If anyone is interested in just how much royalty incentive there was, page 14 of the Department of Energy Report has an outline.

President Obama’s moratorium on offshore drilling is not the first, unfortunately. Moratoriums have a long history of preventing drilling in far less risky areas where accidents can be quickly contained and keep damage to a minimum. Going back 20 years, President Bush (I said I would get to him), imposed a moratorium that banned offshore drilling in the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. President Clinton then extended this moratorium until, ironically, 2012. In retrospect, can we say that government involvement and regulation caused the oil spill? Sure we can!

If economic liberalism existed, laws such as the DWRRA would not exist. Oil companies would be free assess their own risk, assume ALL costs and be fully liable for any damage. It is absolutely comical to see members of Congress humiliating Tony Hayward and the media tearing into BP, when it was these very same lawmakers who had absolutely no problem taking money from oil lobbyists and enacting into law the very policies that caused this disaster. It never ceases to amaze me how government always gets a “get out of jail free card;” but hopefully, this has cleared up the difference between statism and capitalism. More regulation anyone?

Populist Rant No. 3: This is President Obama’s Katrina.

I would like to see Obama suck it up with a straw, but people on the right need to stop this absurdity because it contradicts their ideology – that is if they truly believe that the federal government’s powers should be limited in scope. It should be no surprise, whatsoever, that the federal government would demonstrate gross incompetence. The federal government shouldn’t have the power to act. The silly rants from the left after Hurricane Katrina were to be expected, as these people believe that the government is all knowing and can solve any problem better than the shoddy private sector.

There is plenty of criticism to go around. From the fact that Obama’s team of experts is comprised of lawyers (rather than experts who possess the expertise in dealing with a problem of this magnitude) to his delay in meeting with BP executives, to his failure to repeal the Jones Act (which would allow private firms and foreign nations to assist) to his overall poor leadership skills – all are legit criticisms, but let’s look at the bigger picture. Do we really want centralized planning to handle a disaster of this magnitude? Come on people – THINK! I would like to see him on the golf course and basketball court for the rest of his term.

The oil spill is no more President Obama’s problem than Hurricane Katrina was George Bush’s problem. Due to these types of inane political blame games, Americans have become more and more reliant on federal assistance. We have people standing around waiting for the government to act. Conversely, we have people who want to take action, but cannot due to the bureaucratic red tape that coincides with centralized planning. Worst of all, local officials such as New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, were completely let off the hook for their incompetence; and the same will be true for the current disaster.

The issue of the federal government trampling all over constitutional rights is the matter in which the right should be actively engaged. Nowhere in the constitution does it say that the federal government has the power to oversee an oil spill, and no one should be advocating for Obama to act apart from enabling private companies and LOCAL governments to do whatever is necessary to contain the damage. Instead, many are caught up in silly partisan politics.

Populist Rant No. 4: We need to stop our unquenchable thirst for oil and move to alternative energy now!

To all of my environmentally conscious friends whose love for Mother Earth is admirable, but horribly misguided, this one’s for you!

Let’s begin by addressing why it seems our thirst for oil is unquenchable. While I’m not going to list the hundreds of products that are made from crude oil (but you can look some of them up here), I will attempt to direct a little humor at our misguided friends. Oil consumption goes far beyond energy use. This is the most commonly overlooked fact by “green” conscious people. Calls for solar energy, wind turbines, natural gas (which still requires drilling) and hybrid cars not only have their own drawbacks, but do not provide a replacement for the hundreds of products that are made from crude oil. Let’s use a very staunch green advocate as an example – someone who really goes the distance. He lives in a house that draws on solar panels for heating. Little does he know that producing polysilicon, which is necessary for building solar panels, results in the dumping of a byproduct of polysilicon called silicon tetrachloride. Silicon tetrachloride is a highly toxic substance that poses many environmental hazards. He refuses to own a car, not even a hybrid, so he chooses to bike to work. If I told him he was sitting on and peddling crude oil, (from the tires, to the pedals, to the seat) and the oil he saves amounts to a mere couple of drops in a tank, he might just walk. The trouble there is the shoes he’s wearing are made from crude oil as well, and look out for any clothing with polyester including those nice little green bags he uses to carry his groceries (if made from polypropylene)! I hope he knows how to iron, but then again, that consumes electricity. We cannot discard that dirty coal, but then again, if the wind is not blowing in the right direction… So rather than walking to work barefoot in wrinkly cotton clothing, then coming home from the grocery store balancing the groceries on his head; let’s just acknowledge the reasons for crude oil consumption.

In all seriousness, do I believe there should be investment in alternative energy? Yes. Should we drive cars that maximize gas mileage and cut down on consumption? Yes, but market should ultimately dictate demand. All of the incentive in the world exists to find viable alternative solutions to crude oil since he or she will be our next billionaire. The government does not need to be involved, as the government has already proven that impending disaster looms when it does get involved. Legislation such as cap and trade will do absolutely nothing to speed along innovation, but it will do plenty to harm the economy and contribute to unemployment. One must understand the economic chain of events that high energy prices will trigger – higher costs of all goods being one of them.

To sum up a very lengthy article, I’m more than annoyed that so many people all over the political spectrum have missed the bigger picture on a very serious disaster. The focus needs to be on the consequences of knee-jerk, politically charged reactions and an educated awareness of the role crude oil plays in not only a vibrant economy, but the vast majority of people’s livelihoods. It is my hope that the spill will be cleaned up as soon as possible and our readers would consider donating to the many charities that help the victims, wildlife and cleanup efforts.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Ideas Matter

Late night, scatterbrained post. Engage!

I'm one that believes ideas (principles, core beliefs, etc) are the life's blood of the human soul. Even those who proclaim apathy to politics still have views and convictions. Ideas matter. They always matter. So when it comes to Israel, why do the left's support of tolerance, unity and pan-ethnic love take second fiddle to the goals of the Islamists?

If you question a liberal or a leftist on their support of Islamist groups, they'll deny it. They don't support Hamas, they support the people of Palestine. They don't support Iran, but they don't want anyone interfering with its drive for nukes either. Most of the people on the left that I'm friends with are not supporters of Islamism, which is the antithesis to most of their goals, they're just not supporters of Israel. Enemy of my enemy and all that.

Yet, the chorus on Israel isn't strategic, its moral. The Guardian, the socialists and the rest aren't saying they're supporting the Islamist-led attacks on Israel because Israel is a “racist” state and “oppressive”. I'll grant that from a far-left humanism/world love perspective, a nation solely dedicated to Judaism is pretty repulsive (aside from the fact Israel has a very open society and a healthy political culture that spans the entire spectrum). As would a nation solely dedicated to Islam... like Hama's Gaza, Hizbullah-occupied territories in Lebanon or Iran. Yet, we don't hear much about them and their homophobia, their anti-woman ideology or their extra-judicial violence.

It doesn't do the left any good to build it's high ground on sand.

Ideas matter. Your convictions matter. If you believe in secularism and unity and unicorns turning the world's religions into pillows, you goddamn well better have the stones to shoot in all directions at all times. You may fool the media. You may get the handshakes of terrorists and tyrant leaders. You may get your face ironically plastered all over merchandise sold at anti-capitalist fairs. But in the eyes of the the truly passionate and truth-seeking folk like we have here at Generation Patriot and across the anti-partisan blogosphere on all sides, you aren't heroes. Ganhdi was a hero. MLK was a hero. The wannabe shaeed on the flotilla were douches and their Western kin were douches with strings connected to their ideological polar opposites.

What Do Hollywood and Turkey Have in Common?

They're both awesome at creating publicity.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Should Cruise Ships Stop Docking in Haiti?

On January 12, 2010, Haiti was hit with a devastating earthquake of a 7.0 magnitude. An island already stricken with poverty and disease prior to the quake was about to get a whole lot worse. Desperate people, many of which are very poor, were just beginning to cope with tragic losses beyond anything imaginable. Citizens are being deprived of simple necessities you and I take for granted every single day. Imagine a world around you without adequate food, water, clothing and shelter. Such a world became a reality in Haiti earlier this year affecting many innocent people.

Meanwhile, less than 65 miles away from Haiti’s devastated capital city, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) were docking cruise ships at their private resort island in Labadee; located in the northern coast of Haiti. Picturing these immense sea vessels packed with passengers gorging themselves with luxuries and wonderful accommodations while so many others are suffering in the area doesn’t seem right on the surface. Some consider it sickening to think of food that is being served at buffets while many are starving and experiencing much pain not far away. Many have gone on to call Royal Caribbean cruel and many others demanded they stop docking at Haiti immediately. An article by the Guardian quoted many passengers who were uneasy about vacationing there during the crisis.(1) Critics all over the spectrum were quick to blast RCI for choosing to dock after such a horrific incident. How could a company bring themselves to do such a thing?

First, let’s consider the economic impact of ceasing all docks at Labadee. Each cruise ship deploys about 3,000 tourists who spend their money in the Haitian economy. RCI is also among Haiti’s largest foreign investors employing “200 locals at Labadee and allowing another 300 to sell their wares on the premises."(2) There is also a $6 “head tax” per tourist that is paid directly to the Haitian government; and with over 365,000 tourists every year, this adds up to over $2 million in revenue from this head tax alone.(2) This is revenue that goes to the Haitian government before anyone ever gets off the ship. Now take into consideration how much money is spent on souvenirs, bar tabs, tips, etc. If these ships stopped docking, what would these people do? Haiti is a country where two thirds of people are currently unemployed.(4) These people would all be left without a job during a time of a severe crisis. The likelihood of finding another job in Haiti is next to impossible. If some of these people were able to find a new job, it would most certainly be a job that pays considerably less and without benefits. A more sensible question would be, how much worse off would Haiti be without this company investing in their island? Frankly, Haiti cannot afford to strip away this sector of their economy - especially now.

Many others also do not know the amount of humanitarian aid RCI has given to their Haitian business partners. On January 15, RCI delivered nearly 40 pallets of food and water.(2) In the following days, RCI would deliver more supplies which quickly added up to over 400 pallets of much needed supplies and in the coming weeks sent more. This was only the beginning, as RCI promised to donate all money made at the Labadee resort to the Haitain relief effort until at least February.(2) This generous donation combined with passenger donations added up to over $2 million dollars in aid by the end of January.(2) It has also been reported that food left over on the island not consumed by passengers would be taken home by the Haitians who work at Labadee.(3) When word of this spread, many passengers were skipping their meals on the island so locals would have food to take home to needy families. The company also started an existing crew-welfare fund to provide up to $2,500 in grant money to any Haitian employee seeking to rebuild homes or find a loved one.(2) With an exchange rate of roughly 40 Gourdes to the dollar, this is an extremely generous offer. Prior to the earthquake, RCI spent $55 million upgrading the port at Labadee.(2) Does anyone really think the people of the Haitian islands would have seen this kind of investment if it weren’t for these cruise ships? It is impossible to measure the relief this one company alone has provided to the people of Haiti not only this year, but all the years prior.

In addition, the Haitian government strongly urged RCI to continue to visit the island. Yes, the Haitian government really pushed for RCI to continue to dock their ships, bring in tourists, and send in relief aid. RCI has been more than generous by bringing their business to the island. How bad could this be if the Haitian government itself has continued to ask RCI to continue docking their ships? If this were a bad thing, the Haitian government would not have asked for the business. After examining the evidence above, one can only conclude stopping these ships would be foolish for RCI as well as for the people of Haiti. It’s a good thing RCI did not back down to the pressure on the left, or else the Haitian victims would be suffering even more today than they already have.


You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling

I am in the midst of working on a far more serious column on the oil spill, but I could not help but quickly poke fun at the “Three Stooges” (Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews and Howard Fineman) regarding their reaction to President Obama’s speech last evening.

Watch Video Here

It is hilarious that these three men expected a speech full of substance and clarity from the President. Barack Obama ran a campaign that lacked substance and his Presidency thus far has lacked substance. People on the right were demonized by these men and others on the left for pointing out this minor detail. Now, all of a sudden, substance is an issue after 18 months in office? What did these people expect? Major legislation has been passed by elected officials who have not read the bills. The President could not offer anything of substance on topics as important as health care reform.

Keith Olbermann says in the clip that “it was a great speech if you’ve been on another planet for the past 57 days.” Apparently, Olbermann has been on another planet since Obama announced his candidacy. A speech from Obama that lacked specifics and substance should not surprise anyone at this stage of the game, as I’m still waiting to hear it for the first time. I’m very surprised that Chris Matthews didn’t get a tingle up his leg, as this speech was no different from the rest. Apparently, they have lost that lovin’ feeling! Matthews went on to say that he doesn’t “sense executive command” from the President. Mr. Matthews, Obama has NEVER shown any kind of leadership since he’s been in office; however, it’s quite refreshing to see he has finally seen the reality.

With all of that being said, I am going to come to the President’s defense on one specific thing, that being alternative energy. There is nothing of substance to offer on this topic simply because there is no replacement for crude oil. There is nothing the government can do to make this happen either. All the government can do is pass ridiculous legislation that will increase the costs of energy dramatically, will worsen an already weak economy and divert capital away from investment in the future of energy. Governments have poured billions of dollars into alternative energy sources and have heavily subsidized oil companies and other corporate conglomerates over the past four decades. Very little has been accomplished as a result. All the incentive in the world exists to find a replacement for crude oil, since the lucky souls who do come up with the solution will make Bill Gates’ net worth look like pocket change.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Defending the Indefensible – Bob Etheridge Assaults Student

Over the weekend, a group of students confronted North Carolina Congressman, Bob Etheridge (Democrat – Lillington), regarding the Obama agenda. He asked the group of students who they were, and before they could realistically respond, the Congressman assaulted one of the students.

Watch Video Here

It would be reasonable for one to think that an incident as serious as this would be above partisan politics, but sadly it is not. Although the Congressman did apologize for his absurd behavior, there are several Democrats who are defending his actions. Etheridge issued the following statement:

“I have seen the video posted on several blogs. I deeply and profoundly regret my reaction and I apologize to all involved. Throughout my many years of service to the people of North Carolina, I have always tried to treat people from all viewpoints with respect. No matter how intrusive and partisan our politics can become, this does not justify a poor response. I have and I will always work to promote a civil public discourse.”

It would have been smart for Democrats to leave it alone after the Congressman apologized, but instead DNC spokesman, Brad Woodhouse, said: “Motives matter, and I think you can see who was behind this." "This was a Republican party tracking operation. “If it wasn't a party tracker or intern, why is the face blurred and why is the source hidden?”

In addition, a national Democratic Party official e-mailed around a set of talking points, under the subject heading, "Etheridge Gotcha Video Background."

1. There is always the part of the story that you can’t see in these gotcha style videos — what were these folks doing, how did they approach him, how were the cameraman and/or others off camera acting?
2. Why would any legitimate student doing a project or a journalist shagging a story not identify themselves? Motives matter — what was the motivation here? To incite this very type of reaction?
3. This is clearly the work of the Republican Party and the “interviewer” is clearly a low level staffer or intern. That’s what explains blurring the face of the “interviewer” and refusing to identify the entity this was done for. The Republicans know if they were caught engaging in this type of gotcha tactic it would undermine their own credibility — yet if it was an individual acting on his own there is no reason that person would have blurred themselves out of the video — and if it was the work of a right wing blog they would have their logo on the video and be shouting their involvement from the roof top.
4. This was a purposefully partisan hit job designed to incite a reaction for political reasons — but it is a tactic so low — the parties involved are remaining anonymous.
5. The fact that no one wants to take credit for this should raise real questions in the minds of voters and the press.
6. Push hard w/ blogs the lack of credibility inherent to anything Breitbart does/posts, given its role in the debunked ACORN videos.

Are these people SERIOUS? There is so much wrong with this, one would have difficulty finding a starting point, but we’ll make an attempt. First, why would the student identify himself? If “Joe the Plumber’s” fifteen minutes of fame gone bad doesn’t give you a clue, then you’ve been too far removed from the political arena to continue reading. It’s safe to say that the folks running the Republican Party may not be the sharpest tools in the shed, but I’m certain they can devise a better “hatchet” job than this student popping the million dollar “gotcha” question “Do you fully support the Obama Agenda?” They must have spent weeks coming up with that one…

Second, it is completely irrelevant what these kids’ motives were, who they were, and if they were part of a group with a political agenda. So what if they were? It doesn’t matter if they devised this wicked little scheme up on Friday night; regardless, they have a right to QUESTION an ELECTED OFFICIAL. They did so in a manner that was not threatening to Etheridge. They approached him politely, and asked a very simple question. Etheridge assaulted the student when he posed absolutely no threat. To be clear, Etheridge did have the right to ask the students to identify themselves, and it was his right to decline an interview; however, he had no right whatsoever to break the law. Why is it that elected officials feel they are above the law? Any civilian could be arrested for this type of behavior.

Lastly, and most important, is the fact that any defense of Etheridge’s behavior is a move against free speech, and the FREEDOM to question the people who work for the citizens of this country. If people are not allowed to politely question their elected officials, then this is a country without freedom, and those in Congress are rulers instead of representatives elected to carry out the people’s business. Why can no one question not only the Obama Administration, but folks in Congress who staunchly approve of the Administration’s agenda? From the continual nonsensical bashing of FOX News to the attempts to denigrate any writer or organization that disagrees with this Administration smacks of the very ideology that they try so desperately to deny. Everyone who reads my columns on a regular basis knows I did not vote for George W. Bush for either of his terms, and while I spent eight years sharply criticizing his Administration – especially economic policies, I never saw these kinds of attempts to silence people regardless of how vile the attacks became. If this video of Etheridge doesn’t offend you, then you are part of the problem.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Questions, Questions... No Answers

So, yeah... they "needed" those supplies, eh?

When I yesterday morning drove through Gaza City, I was immediately surprised that there are almost as many traffic jams as there always has been. Is there not a shortage of fuel? Apparently not. Gasoline is not even rationed.

Many shops were closed yesterday, Hamas has declared a general strike in protest against Israel's brutal and deadly attack on the Turkish flotilla with pro-Palestinian activists on board. So it was difficult to estimate how many products were on the shelves. Therefore I went over to the Shati refugee camp, also known as Beach Camp. Here is one of Gaza's many vegetable markets that sell much more than just fruits and vegetables.

I will not say whether, in better times has been a larger product range than there was yesterday. But there was certainly no shortage of vegetables, fruits or any other ordinary, basic foods. Tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, watermelons, potatoes - mountains of these items in the many stalls.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Notes on Israel

Sorry for the longness between meatier posts, but here one is.

First, the Israeli operation was well within the Jewish State's rights. The fleet of “activists” was not actually bringing supplies to Gaza, as their very oily press releases say. The boats were to break the Israeli blockade on Hamas-run Gaza. This is a national security issue and Israel had every right to intercept them before they penetrated Israeli waters.

Second, the “activists” were not exactly peaceful or caring of human rights, as shown by the Al-Jazzera report from the boats. These folks were chanting war cries and glorifying the terror campaign of the last 10 years against Israeli civilians. Peace activists don't glorify death and wish for death. Hell, they don't attack soldiers with iron rods and grab at their weapons, instigating a firefight. Peace activists annoy mid-day traffic or petition Russia to give up nukes. Word is that the Turkish group that sponsored the fleet has connections to terrorism. Peace, indeed.

Third, the so-called “international community” has proven itself to be anything but. The Arab cartel has hijacked the UN, once again, to pursue its anti-Israel agenda. The West is not helping it self by sucking at the Arab tit, either. France, England, Germany; they are all appeasing their large Muslim populations, specifically the loud and radical Islamist factions. They either are too blind or too corrupt to realize that the more ground they give to the radicals, the more the radicals will ask for. This does not bode well for Israel.

Overall, the raid, while just, has become just another nail in the coffin for Israel. When it does good or bad, right or wrong, the Islamists and their leftist allies will jump upon the little nation and bash it until it cries uncle. Israel, like it or not, is the only base of Western power in the Middle East. We have American bases and American allies, but Israel is the only place where Western culture and ideals thrive. Against it, from the Palestinians, from the Syrians, Jordanians, Iranians and Muslim Lebanese, is the rejection of Western culture and ideals. One can say that its because Israel is on stolen land (I bet you there's an Assyrian Christian petitioning the UN for Syria's return of his land) or because of its tactics or because of whatever reason the big brains in leftist-Islamist land can come up with. But at the core, the reason that Israel was invaded no less than 4 times during its first 30 years, was that it was not Arab, it was not Islamic: it was Western and Jewish. Because there has not been a regional war between Israel and any of the other powers for more than two decades, three decades if you exclude the Gulf War, people have forgotten or purposely dismissed Israel's history and the history of the Arab states that now claim the moral high ground over it. It makes it easier to justify their support of terrorism if they don't remember the War of Independence, the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War and every other skirmish and incursion by Israel's larger and stronger neighbors. Not to mention the anti-Semetic rheotric that has ruled the diplomacy debate since the beginning.

Strategically, the most important issue of all of this, we are slowly losing to Iran. Israel has lost Turkey, its only real Muslim ally, mostly through no fault of its own. Turkey has been slowly turning Islamist for years now and the sponsoring of a terrorist connected flotilla of weapon-wielding, firearm snatching supporters pretty much crossed the line between ally and rival. The leaders of Turkey and Iran have been working together for a while, the Brazil-Turkey nuclear plan to aid Iranian nuclear ambitions a fine and recent example. With the Western power base in the Middle East slipping and the Iranian/Islamist power base expanding, we are on a course towards regional war no matter what happens. Israel could accommodate up to its eyeballs and there'd be no handshakes between it and its newfound enemies. The Islamists smell the blood in the water and they know that without political and material support from the West, Israel will be vulnerable to attack. I believe that within a decade, if not sooner due to Iranian completion of a nuclear weapon and long-range ICBM (est. 2015), there will be an attempt by Syria, backed by Iranian missiles, planes, as well as Hezbullah from Lebanon, to knock Israel off the regional pedestal. This will happen if the West, most of all the United States, does not increase moral and material support for the beleaguered nation. It will be the largest strategic and moral defeat for America since the Vietnam War.

The anti-Israel left, of course, will not admit to the reality of the situation. It will not admit that Arab nations have been attacking and terrorizing Israel since its birth. They will not admit that the “aparthited wall” (real effing creative, guys) was built to stop sucide bombers from the West Bank... and TADA it has! They won't admit to Iranian sponsorship of Hamas. They won't admit to the egregious violations of human rights by Hamas against women, religious minorities and political enemies. They won't admit the glorification of terrorism by the Palestinian Authority, or its vast corruption going back to its founding with Arafat. They won't admit to pretty much anything that diverts from the narrative that Israel is the new NaziSouthAfricaChinaImperialJapan. Even with video evidence, Israeli solders with bullet wounds, found weapons and military equipment and the chanting of Islamic war cries, there are still papers and government condemning Israel for its unprovoked assault on “peace activists”.

Give me a break.

Israel needs our help. It needs moral backing against the mob of Islamists willing to kill. It needs help in keeping its military strong, modern and able to fend off any Iranian backed assault. It needs help to survive. Lest we forget that while our wars can be debated in length about their moral purity, Israel rarely has such a chance. Since its birth, Israel has fought to stay alive on its own soil. Something America hasn't done in over a century. Does this mean we should ignore real crimes? Absolutely not. Israel's constant use of captured terrorists as human shields is something that bugs me, among other things. It is not a perfect nation by a long shot.

But, at the end of the day, Israel, our longtime ally, deserves our help. It deserves our friendship. It deserves a chance to survive as it sees fit, not survive as knuckle-dragging religious bigots and hypocrites think its should exist, if at all.

The Islamist Activist Flotilla As Portrayed by Steve the Monkey

The "helping!" part fits perfectly, in my opinion.

Soon, a serious post on the subject. It's been a busy week.

Skin So Thin I Can See His Ovaries

From NRO:
President Obama yesterday: "Before I was even inaugurated, the congressional leaders of the other party got together and made a calculation that if I failed, they’d win. So when I went to meet with them about the need for a Recovery Act, in the midst of crisis, they announced they were against it before I even arrived at the meeting."

The Weekly Standard demolished that idea a while ago.
What really happened is this: Obama spoke to the House Republican conference on the morning of January 27, 2009. The night before, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had already introduced the stimulus bill that she and David Obey drafted with no input from Republicans at all. It was a totally partisan bill. Boehner didn’t put out a statement, but what he told Republicans leaked. What he said was that Republicans would oppose this bill, and he said Obama should override it and work with Republicans on a bipartisan stimulus. Republicans weren’t opposing an Obama bill. They were opposing a partisan bill drafted by House Democrats (which Obama embraced soon afterwards).