“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpation” -James Madison

Friday, February 24, 2006

Dubai/English port business

It is of course required for anyone with any political leaning on their blog, to comment on the insanity over the port business.....

Well, I'm busy with my own stuff at the moment, and there are people out there saying exactly what I would, had I their gift for words, not to mention patience to wade through the billions of pixels devoted to the subject.

Enter Jeff Harrell, keeper of the Shape of Days blog -- one of my personal favorites for many reasons. The guy tells it like it is, pulling no punches, yet with heavy cerebral weight and great supporting research. Even on the issues where I disagree with him, he presents arguments that make me think and truly question my own ideas, occasionally winning me over.

Sadly, his blog is about to take a nap for awhile -- starting a new job that frowns on outside writing, especially of a controversial/political nature tends to do that.

He has nailed exactly my thoughts and feelings on this subject.

I only have a few things to add.....

1.) To begin with, it is a private transaction between a British company and a Dubai company. Only the arrogance and shortsightedness of the average US congresstwerp could lend any idea to "stopping" this deal.....are we as citizens prepared to allow Congress to intervene in private business transactions? A "yes" answer means that we are in favor of economic fascism: heavy governmental regulation of private enterprise.

2.) Yeah, yeah, Jimmah Carter is for it and normally one would run the other way. However, looking at people who are far more relevant trumps this. When Hilary Clinton opposes something, conservatives should support it. Easy, easy, easy. Ditto Schumer.

3.) GWB showed his butt on this one: by not prepping the field by getting support upfront from congressional and state legislators, and then by admitting he "heard about it in the news," he has killed the apparent credibility of the DoD, FBI, and HomeSec checks that would otherwise have been sufficient. Now all three of those agencies look just like the INS and state agencies that kept issuing ID's to the 9/11 hijackers. And Bush looks at best out of touch and behind on the issue. This is dividing Republicans in an election year, on their signature issue. AIEEEEE!

4.) Something good came out of this: the Dems now profess to believe that Arabs might contain bad apples amongst their population, and that we have to look at them closer. Also that there is in fact a reason to practice effective border control.

5.) To reinforce Jeff Harrell's piece, it is simply amazing to me that people on both sides of the aisle jumped up so quickly, with so little information, to take a stand against ARABS RUNNING A US PORT. Not only is this blatantly discriminatory, it undermines both the Bush doctrine of peaceful cohabitation with the non-Jihadis, but also of the classic liberal line that you can't discriminate against an entire race based on the actions of a few. Both sides look terrible here, and it makes the US look mean, bigoted, shortsighted, and hypocritical.

6.) If the point to the WoT is to bring the Mideast into the 21st century, it makes sense to start with the trading of dollars and dinars. Dubai is already a friendly US port, and they service our naval fleets in the Persian Gulf. It is a very westernized place that has been as good an ally in the WoT as we can expect from a heavily muslim state. Do we agree with everything they do? Nope. Is it annoying that the company is state-run? Yup. Hmmmmm, sounds like our dealings with Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and even England -- our strongest and closest friends.

So much shouting, by so many malinformed people, missing the entire point, and recklessly ignoring future implications of their is rare I am ashamed of my country, but this is one of those times.

Pretty much everybody has gotten this one wrong, and Congress has not only blundered, but is also about to exacerbate that blunder. GWB has lost a lot of credibility, and this nonissue has sucked so much oxygen out of the room that nothing else (other than tired Cheney shotgun jokes) is being discussed.

By the way, Iran is still building nukes. Just thought you might want to look into that.

Update: DJ at Polipundit also nails it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Real Life

has intruded; thus blogging has been nonexistent.

HMS Pinafore was a great success, both here in Atlanta and at the River center in Columbus. The last performance was Saturday, and by Monday night I was in rehearsal for Land of Smiles, while also doing some transcriptions, some transpositions, and juggling the insanely busy school-show schedule with the day job.

Besides, the news has been kind boring of late.....and there is nothing driving inspiration for one of my bizarre essays at the moment.

Iran has or is close to having nukes, and only the US and Israel seem concerned. Nothing new there.

Congress is holding hearings and browbeating people for various things. Yup.

Olympics. Bah.

Snow. In February. In the Northeast. Must be GLOBAL WARMING......

Cheney needs a Hunter Safety refresher. The White House press corps is offended that they weren't notified before the ambulance got there. Yawn.

Sorry, just not into it at the moment -- got stuff to do. The blog is taking a nap for the moment and the alarm is set for next week.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

State of the Union 2006

So here's the nutshell:

Bye Corretta. Congress, please play nice. 9/11, March of Freedom. Iran better learn from Iraq and Afghanistan -- don't f*** with us....we're your best friend or worst enemy. Dems better stop yammering about war and get behind us. Honor dead war hero. Iran again -- it's the government, not the people we hate -- we want to be pals, but your leaders suck. AIDS is bad; give me money. And the Patriot Act. And I *do* get to listen in on AQ calls to the US. Freedom is marching. Economy is good; could be better if you let me keep the illegals. Permanent tax cuts. Stop being corrupt; give me line-item veto. SocSec will bankrupt us soon, and Dems are laughing about it. Shut the borders but keep guest workers (huh?). Socialized healthcare. Addiction to oil -- need nuke plants and hydrogen cars like the Jetsons. Need to throw more money down the rathole of public education. Our kids are smart but appear dumb. Culture, gay marriage. Hey, I got 2 guys on the Court. Abortion bad (see how cleverly I hid that?). Congress needs to stop taking money from guys on the street. Don't do things half-assed.

Now to specifics.....

“Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.”

Sure, I cheered, but the odds of this happening are moderately poor. There simply is not the backbone or desire in the Republican membership to make this happen, and the Dems, in concert with their RINO allies, will kill any attempt to make a meaningful tax cut permanent.

WHEN did it become unpopular in America to lower taxes? Maybe we should hook up a generator to the graves of the Founders, as the spinning therein could supply all our energy needs for centuries.

“Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending – and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another 14 billion dollars next year – and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. I am pleased that Members of Congress are working on earmark reform – because the Federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.”

Nice start, but $14B is sadly just a drop in the bucket. It is hardly worth bragging about in a SotU speech. I applaud the concept, but surely with a Republican majority in both houses, we can be more small-government-minded than this.

Now about that line-item veto….Although I support the idea of giving a president line-item veto powers on non-emergency spending bills, we’ve been here before, with President Clinton.

In a 6-3 split, featuring unusual pairings, Stevens, Rehnquist, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, and Ginsburg voted to strike the line-item veto down as unconstitutional. Scalia, O’Connor, and Breyer dissented, with Scalia taking the position that the title of the act had nothing to do with the president’s action it authorizes.

In the end, the line-item veto was dead, in a liberal court, for a liberal president, and even the conservatives were split on the issue. It is unlikely that the Congress will give the president his line-item veto. The Court also has a precedent against it, so even the passage of this bill would likely end in a turnover.

Best use of giving an enemy the opportunity to gut himself with his own knife:
“Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, {insert Democrats’ standing ovation and generally making asses of themselves while the President patiently waits} and yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away {ooooo, that’s gonna leave a mark; if each Dem that stood did not feel about ½-inch tall at this point, they had no soul} – and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse.”

Most disappointing series of responses:
“Our Nation needs orderly and secure borders. {TEPID applause}
To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. {TEPID applause}
And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty …{Long and strong applause, from both sides}

My favorite slapdown:
“Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.”

Overall it was okay; the President is a lame duck and he knows it. Thus we got the constant reminders for setting partisanship aside and working together. The laundry list was pretty standard for a 6th-year speech, and there was a lot of wishful thinking in there that simply won’t happen. The hard anti-cloning bit bothered me at first until I realized it was his code for the abortion business. Scientific knowledge cannot be stopped by laws alone, and the cloning issue is something future generations will face, but to legislate on it at this time is equivalent to Theodore Roosevelt arguing for a ban against nuclear power.

Most telling was the absolutely UN-presidential demeanor of Senators Kerry and Clinton. In order to lead, one must recognize that sometimes the other guy gets his moment, and you have to at least pretend you think of him as a human. The elitism that literally drips from these two is truly frightening when juxtaposed with the idea of either of them attaining the presidency.