“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

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bored and cranky at work on a Wednesday

The political party that is so utterly convinced that BushCo stole his presidential elections along with a conspiracy involving Halliburton and Diebold voting machines, is dead-set against requiring voter picture identification to prevent fraudulent voting.

Chimpy McHalliburton is retarded and barely keeps from peeing himself at any given moment, but he is also a brilliant mastermind that is able to control world oil and gasoline prices to pinpoint a price drop 60 days before an election. And steer hurricanes.

This same evil genius/retard has also obviously been keeping prices artificially high in order to somehow enrich his "oil buddies" while making himself terribly unpopular. Wouldn't it be easier and more effective to keep the prices low all the time, be popular, and revel in the profits from increased amount of gasoline sold due to lower prices? Oh, that's right, because this principle never works with tax cuts either.

Also on tax cuts, I have to say that on a personal note that they have hurt me TERRIBLY -- in fact, my portfolio of broad-indexed mutual funds is only up about 20% thanks to the horrible soupline economy we currently are subjected to in the wake of being forced to give my money to a rich person in dimes. The bastard even twirled his mustache mockingly when I asked for my bread crumbs in the Cockney accent.

Tax cuts also make me feel very bad; although my tax bracket is surprisingly not the highest, I still was only able to directly support 6 illegal alien families this year as compared to 8 last year.

Drilling in ANWR has become a dead issue once again. I have decided to do my part and ask my Brothers Who Hunt (Og, Grog, and Zog) to please travel to Alaska this year and shoot a caribou in my name. If we can't drill and kill the darn things, we're gonna have to go do it one at a time and eat of their sweet, sweet death.

Global warming has led directly to the historically active hurricane season in which we are currently embattled. After Katrina "proved" the global warming model, all subsequent models pointed to the terrible danger we would all face in 2006, with even more hurricanes popping up and more major storm events. The awful circumstances that our coasts have had to face this summer and early fall are testament to the power and accuracy of the Global Warming theory.

And was Katrina the result of global warming or Chimpy/Rove's Hurricane Steering Machine? Oh, that's right -- global warming set it up and made it big, and then the EvilCons steered it into a black's so absurdly simple, yet I never remember that!

Bill Clinton needs some vitamins -- I mean, it's *BAD* when Tom Cruise calls you up and says, "Dude, that was a little over the top." Perhaps Xenu was involved.

Regarding 2008, I am rooting for a Republican primary showdown between Mitt Romney and George Allen. Neither of them is necessarily my choice as a conservative; I just relish the thought of a Mormon and a Jew slugging it out for president on the GOP ticket. Maybe whoever wins will choose the other as his running mate, thoroughly upending all religious votes.

At any rate, Romney (the Mormon, remember) has been married exactly once, while fellow GOP hopefuls McCain, Giuliani, Allen cannot say the same. "They're more mormon than me. It's not 'extended' family values....."

2008 and the Dems? Who cares? They will undoubtedly nominate some posturing northeast liberal who will serve only as a speedbump while spouting incoherent nonsense about a mythical feelgood "plan" that would most assuredly fail even if it came to fruition. It won't be Hillary -- Iowa showed her that door this week. Look for Gore to finish the rush off the cliff for the dems.

Dems have also been up in arms recently about how statistics have shown that women with children tend to be conservative and Republican, leading to the obvious conclusion that the dems are being outbred. The Party of Abortion is screaming that this is unfair.

End of Line.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gathering information

The United States Senate is embroiled once again in a battle that involves by necessity ties to various concepts including national defense, information-gathering, preservation of historical treaties, validity of those same treaties, philosophy, self-image, external image, civilian/military relationships, and congressional power. This battle is of course the debate regarding "torture" and acceptable treatment of detainees captured in WoT battles, plucked from the fields of Afghanistan and the suburbs of Baghdad.

Most people paying attention are familiar with the basics of the conversation -- the detainees are held indefinitely in military prisons external to the US, are questioned through a variety of means to determine their knowledge of operations and to extract that knowledge, and then are processed and returned home for further imprisonment or freedom (such as it is in their native lands). The means of questioning range from good cop - bad cop to "aggressive questioning" methods, many of which are experienced on a daily basis in your average frat house or latch-key household where at least 4 teenaged boys gather. Sleep deprivation, waterboarding, attention-slapping, temperature control, and various forms of humiliation are all examples of these more aggressive methods. Sadly, some rogue soldiers, in the tradition of bad cops and bad teachers, chose to abuse that authority and perform acts of humiliation on the prisoners not for information-extraction purposes, but for their own amusement.

The infamous Guantanamo Bay photos were the end of a situation that never should have happened, and they triggered another situation that should not be happening now. The investigation by the military was well-established and was in the process of resolution and punishment of those soldiers by the time the photos were leaked to the press. The public outrage since led to the WoT being taken to the courtrooms instead of the battlefield. Zacarias Moussaoui was allowed to rant and rave for weeks in an open public platform with full media attention during his trial. The Supreme Court followed up by granting the detainees FULL POW STATUS (effectively putting the ball back in Congress' hands) in accordance with the Geneva Convention, despite the fact that they have not met the conditions laid down therein:

From Wikipedia:
  • Article 4 defines prisoners of war to include:
    • 4.1.1 Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict and members of militias of such armed forces
    • 4.1.2 Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, provided that they fulfill all of the following conditions:
      • that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;
      • that of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance (there are limited exceptions to this among countries who observe the 1977 Protocol I);
      • that of carrying arms openly;
      • that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
    • 4.1.3 Members of regular armed forces who profess allegiance to a government or an authority not recognized by the Detaining Power.
    • 4.1.4 Civilians who have non-combat support roles with the military and who carry a valid identity card issued by the military they support.
    • 4.1.5 Merchant marine and the crews of civil aircraft of the Parties to the conflict, who do not benefit by more favourable treatment under any other provisions of international law.
    • 4.1.6 Inhabitants of a non-occupied territory, who on the approach of the enemy spontaneously take up arms to resist the invading forces, without having had time to form themselves into regular armed units, provided they carry arms openly and respect the laws and customs of war.
    • 4.3 makes explicit that Article 33 takes precedence for the treatment of medical personnel of the enemy and chaplains of the enemy.
  • Article 5 specifies that prisoners of war (as defined in article 4) are protected from the time of their capture until their final repatriation. It also specifies that when there is any doubt as to whether a combatant belongs to the categories in article 4, they should be treated as such until their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.
The people at Gitmo are not innocent. They were taken prisoner either following a battle in which they attempted to kill American soldiers or in raids designed to break up and capture individuals planning on killing American soldiers or innocent civilians in the future. These are not passers-by, nor are they examples of the good parts of their society. They are not eligible for the same constitutional guarantees enjoyed by American citizens. They are military prisoners.

They are killers, and they wish to do to us what their brethren did on 9/11, and worse. They are cowards who hide behind civilians, who fire rockets and RPGs from civilian apartment buildings, who bury IEDs in public roads, who open fire on any group of people whether it be at a marketplace, schoolyard, or police station where others gather to join in the fight for civilization.

They swear allegiance to no nation save the Nation of Allah, carry no flag, are not a part of any national force bound by the legal definitions of war-making powers, and can in no way be classified "soldiers".

They have no respect for the Geneva Convention -- the unfortunates captured by the terrorists are in for true torture, starvation, beatings, rape, coerced conversion, forced confessions, death by shooting or beheading, and desecration of their corpse.

This is not to say that we should descend to the level of the barbarian. We *ARE* better than them, our civilization *IS* superior, and we owe it more to ourselves than to them that we treat them humanely. Torture is not, and should not be, an option.


To begin, most people misunderstand "torture," which is defined primarily as "the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty" and secondarily as "extreme anguish of body or mind; agony."

It does NOT mean "making someone uncomfortable." The word "excruciating" is key in the first definition, and "extreme" is key in the second. Perhaps I am jaded, but I do not view putting panties on someone's head "excruciating" or "extreme" (even if they need washing), as I am sure most Americans agree.

People love the cop shows like "Law and Order" and "CSI" where the Angry Cop throws the Really Bad Guy around the interrogation room until RBG tells AC where the body of his latest 5-year-old victim can be found. We cheer for Angry Cop and take great delight when Really Bad Guy gives in.

But let a Marine play Kid Rock loud and turn the air conditioning way down to 60 in order to make Mohammed Turban too uncomfortable to sleep, and the media (along with the sheeple) go nuts.

For pete's sake, we give these people prayer mats, specially-designed food so their "faith" remains intact, and even re-orient the toilets so they're not facing Mecca when they go Number Two!

And now we are told by our own Supreme Court and the court of world opinion that we are too harsh, that our methods are too severe and inhumane, and that we must simply ask the prisoners nicely to give us what they know.

So our Senate is embroiled in the debate mentioned above. We are attempting to codify the vaguely-worded sections of the Geneva Convention to be more precise so as to let our soldiers know exactly what the US considers appropriate and what it does not. Recently the President signed a bill that codified the military-tribunal requirement portion of the larger debate. Detractors (mostly the Dems but also a surprisingly large number of Repubs) claim that we are wrong to try to define the Geneva Convention for ourselves because that will allow other nations to do so as well, and that they might not be equal.

Well, yippee skip -- look who just discovered the inherent weakness of the Geneva Convention. It was a feel-good reactionary document that was largely ignored from its inception and has best been used as a club by Really Bad People against the collective national conscience of those who would abide by it. Like the United Nations, it was a nice idea that could not work in reality that has been around far too long and has attained far too much stature relative to its true worth. I would welcome withdrawing from both, as if that were a realistic possibility.

This post is not meant as a plea to perform torture. I do not wish to resort to beheadings, maimings, or other true forms of torture, even on the Really Bad Guys. But we need to leave our military guys alone -- the methods they have been using have worked far more often than they have not, and it is only when the media and Congress get involved that things go to hell.

Let them sleep-deprive the detainees, or waterboard (which is *NOT* torture), or slap 'em around a little. Take away the prayer mats, re-orient the toilets, and cut the food to simple water and basic nutritional requirements. Leave it in the realm of the military and get rid of the lawyers.

Most of all, make them aware that they are not going anywhere until either they talk or we are satisfied that they don't know anything. Make it indefinite, unpleasant, and therefore more worthwhile to submit. That is, after all, the literal translation of the name of their religion.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Growing Up is Hard

The first presidential election I was able to participate in occurred in 1988. Being a freshman in college (a music major living in the 'arts' dorm) and convinced that The Man sucked, regardless of the color of his tie, I proudly voted Libertarian, confident in my callow youth that Revolution and Change were on my side. Not surprisingly, Andre Meroux garnered nary a tenth of a percent and no electoral college votes. But I was encouraged -- I had voted! So what if my guy lost to The Man? I'd had my say, and the Machine was forced to listen!

Off-year elections in which I bothered to vote I went either with firing the incumbent or voting Libertarian where I could. I don't believe I voted in a primary until 2000.

I followed the same patterns in 1992 and 1996, decreasingly about youthful idealism and increasingly about "making a statement" -- too bad I got the statement backwards; my "statement" said more about my own political ignorance than it did to the larger bipolar spectrum of Republicrats and Demicans.

Ultimately my votes in all 3 of these elections mattered not at all, since I lived in Kansas at the time and in all cases the Republican candidate took the state. If I were not voting Libertarian at the time, I most likely would have voted Republican -- in fact when there was no Libertarian candidate I frequently went with the elephant.

Throughout this time I was more or less conservative -- despite the artistic background and my brief flirtation with liberalism in college, I was foursquare for the 1991 action in Kuwait/Iraq, and in political discussions with friends I was always the one pushing for personal responsibility, welfare reform, military support, border control, and lower taxes.

By 2000 I was 30 years old, and my youthful indignation at the Machine as well as the peculiar freedom that is given solely to young adults were beginning to fade. My older brother had been diligent about giving me books on finance and money control throughout my 20s, and I was beginning to see the world more clearly. My conservatism was beginning to form a more consistent and coherent point of view.

In 2000 I decided that Libertarianism was a nice idea in theory, but in fact was a disaster. Regardless of whether it "should" be this way or not, our political system is well-managed by having the 2-party system firmly in place. It forces everyone into one of two camps, and sometimes that means mingling with people that you might not otherwise have anything to do with.

This is the ONLY way to keep the control of political decisions even remotely easy. One need only look at the disasters that are parliamentary elections in Europe to see the results of multiparty elections. Coalitions of different parties have to come together to get elected, but once the governing begins those coalitions quickly fall apart and government is paralyzed or so hopelessly beset by constant compromise WITH FACTIONS THAT DID NOT WIN, that nothing gets done. Or worse, the wrong thing gets done.

2000 saw my coming of age politically -- I was a conservative, and the Republican party is more or less the choice of conservatives in the 2-party system.

I have to share my tent with Republicans who want government to provide healthcare, or make illegals into citizens, or even want to curtail 1st amendment political speech. But it's a big tent, and the only other viable option has nothing to do with my views, and there are simply no other options for getting candidates with my views into positions of power.

For better or worse, I became a Republican in 2000. It was obvious to me that although I thought this Bush character wasn't really what I would want, Al Gore was absolutely not an option, and my 3rd-party voting days were done. I reluctantly cast my ballot for Bush, hoping for the best. In that election, I also participated in the primaries, casting votes for conservative candidates.

Since then the sky has cracked open and we see our world in a completely different light. George Bush became a real president on that horrible September day, and my conservatism was emboldened by seeing the antics of the Democrats from that point forward.

Fast forward to 2006 and the current primary season. As always, it is "crucial" and "the most important election ever" and so on and so forth. In many ways the Conventional Wisdom is correct -- at this time, with the arrogance and blatantly anti-US-interest views that the dems hold, combined with the fragility of support for the war, mixed with some concerns over SupCourt judges that WILL retire in the next 5-6 years, and a dash of "what the hell are we going to do about SocSec" and holding back socialized medical care, THE REPUBLICANS MUST HOLD BOTH HOUSES, PARTICULARLY THE SENATE.

I don't believe the national parties ought to be involved in primaries. They should be out of the picture until the nominee is chosen, then be all-out for their candidate in the general.

I have been mortified at the party's treatment of Steve Laffey in his attempt to take out Lincoln Chaffee in Rhode Island. The national party has been actively working against Laffey (who is far more conservative than Chaffee), pouring money into the race and running anti-Laffey ads worse than anything the dems would do.

Predictably, Chaffee has prevailed, and now he will attempt to hold his seat in November. This "republican", a man who voted against his party's candidate in 2004, who wants us out of Iraq, and votes against every tax cut and for every tax increase, is the national party's choice.

Laffey was a dead man walking. If he had won the primary, he would have gotten shellacked against the Dem candidate thanks to the socialist voters of Rhode Island. Laffey even stated in a debate, "I am NOT conservative" because he knows that true conservatives don't get seats in Rhode Island. The seat most certainly would have gone blue, and even thought Chaffee is a terrible Republican, he is still technically in our tent and he counts toward the Majority status.

So in order to preserve the seat, and the power, the national party did exactly the right thing. They involved themselves in a primary campaign and worked as hard as possible to keep the status quo, a faithless RINO who has more in common with the opposition party than his own, in a position to retain his seat. He still faces a tough campaign and may yet lose the seat, but he at least has a fighting chance. Laffey was done before the first primary ballot was cast.

Parallel this with the Connecticut race, where the Dems threw Joe Lieberman under the bus in favor of a candidate that is more in line with what their base is demanding. Now that seat is likely to stay with Lieberman, now running as an independent, and while it won't count necessarily for the Republican majority, it damn sure also won't count for the Dem majority either.

I don't like what the national party had to do, and every conservative cell in my body is writhing in agony at the thought of having to support Chaffee. But in a fragile political age where division is deep and majorities hinge on a very small number of votes, we do not have the luxury of being idealistic and demanding that our guy gets put in power and damn the consequences.

Growing up is hard, and this is why.