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Remembering Lincoln

February 12, 2010

Thanks to Powerlineblog for a wonderful article on Abraham Lincoln, which includes this quote:

You will find that all the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always bestrode the necks of the people, not that they wanted to do it, but because the people were better off for being ridden.

Stephen Douglas, his opponent in the race for President, argued that slavery most be allowed, that it wasn’t the place of government to stamp out diversity. The quote above was part of Lincoln’s response. Lincoln went on to become the first Republican President.

These words ring true today, because truth is timeless. Democrats today are still seeking to maintain the bonds of servitude on the masses. The rules and regulations of our government still endeavor to help people who it says can’t help themselves.

 Obama says the people just don’t understand health care enough to appreciate it. Mandatory health care will be better for people, they just aren’t smart enough to realize it. In the same way, the King said the serf was better off, and the plantation owner said the slave’s lot was better than if he was freed. And the king and the plantation owner BELIEVED it; they believed in their heart of hearts that they were genuinely better than their subjects, and well-equipped for deciding the lives of lesser men.

What Brown and Obama have in common.

January 23, 2010

On Tuesday, Scott Brown won a U.S. Senate seat. He’s a Republican, and he won in Massachusetts. Talk about an upset. The next day, in an interview with ABC, Obama said that Brown got elected for the same reasons he got elected. In a sense, he’s right.

Barack Obama got elected because he promised Hope and Change. He promised transparency.  Obama said he would clean up politics. He promised an end to partisan bickering, and promised to work with Republicans. And he promised to work hard for Americans.

Scott Brown won because he promised to change the way politics is done in Washington. He promised to vote for smaller government, and promised to work hard for the taxpayers. He vowed to oppose the dirty health care bill, full of payoffs and deals with lobbyists.

Clearly, the two campaigns touched on a similar sentiment. Americans want Washington to work for America, and stop working for the Congressmen. Obama absolutly got elected because of the desire to shake things up in Washington.  But once he sat down in that Oval Office chair, Obama proved to be, at best, just another politician. Indeed, he brought enough of the Chicago-style hardball politics that he may be making things worse. Transparency, honesty, and bipartisanship are nowhere in sight. Obama’s rapidly-dropping poll numbers aren’t just because of a bad health care bill, or about the bad economy. Obama lost the respect of many centrist voters when he turned his back on the open government that he promised to bring.

Scott Brown was able to harness the anger at Obama to overcome an early 30-point deficit in Massachusetts. Will he squander his support as Obama did? It’s too early to say. It’s also too early to suggest Brown as a Presidential candidate. Americans probably won’t be voting for an inexperienced Senator for President in 2012. But Brown doesn’t need to be President to be successful. All he needs to be is honest.

The lesson of Harry Reid

January 12, 2010

This weekend, a quote from Harry Reid  about Obama let the cat out of the bag. According to the new book Game Change, Reid pointed to Obama’s skin color and lack of “Negro dialect” as indications of his electability. 

Of course, this wasn’t the first old white Democrat to make a comment about Obama’s suitability. In 2007, Joe Biden said

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said. “I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Biden was later picked as Obama’s Vice President. What does that tell us about Obama and about the Democrats? It tells us that Democrats use some blacks to harness the political power of other blacks. It reveals a deeply-hidden fear of some blacks. And it shows how race colors the thoughts and actions of Democrats.

 The Democrats use some blacks to keep them in power, just like slave owners used to. There’s a term for the African-Americans who defend their white masters over the interests of their brothers and sisters. Malcolm X would have called Obama a House Negro.

 Barack got the nomination because many whites in his party felt he was inexperienced enough to be controlled, and because Obama’s tendency to deliberate and seek advice make him susceptible to influence. Obama seldom makes a decision without long consultation from his advisors. He seldom speaks without pre-written speeches. And he always comes to the defense of Democrat policies, even when it means hurting African-Americans.

Take a look at his position on school vouchers. Washington, D.C. was a shining example of how vouchers could help inner-city kids get a better education. But instead of lifting up African-Americans, he towed the party line. In fact, so little has Barack done for “his people” in the African-American community, the Congressional Black Congress has complained about it.

  Harold Ford is getting stiffed by the Dems, because he has the audacity to think for himself. Obama is taking the party’s side against Ford.  Obama asked New York Gov. Paterson not to run for re-election. Obama may be color-blind, but if so then it’s an amazing coincidence that he always sides against the African-Americans.

 If the black community ever figures out how bad Democrats have screwed them for decades, there will be a major shift in the balance of power. The Dems have always sold out minorities in favor of unions. Check our urban education system for proof of that. Or walk down any street in Detroit, which is dying while union leaders count their money. Organizations like ACORN claim to help the urban poor, but their real role is to launder money to mostly-white Democrat lawmakers.

When will the African-American community stop allowing this mistreatment? When will they realize that the GOP is the colorblind party, and the Democrats use race as a political tool?

What do terrorists and capitalists have in common?

December 28, 2009

In response to the Christmas Day attack, Homeland Security has issued new regulations.

 From:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/26/AR2009122601773.html?hpid=topnews

–U.S.-bound passengers aboard international flights must undergo a “thorough pat-down” at boarding gates, focused on the upper legs and torso. All carry-on baggage must be inspected.

– Passengers must remain seated for the final hour before landing. During that time, they may not have access to their carry-on baggage or hold personal items on their laps.

– While over U.S. airspace, flight crews may not make any announcements to passengers concerning the flight path or the airplane’s position over cities or landmarks.

  As usual, government’s response to a problem is regulation. But people, including terrorists, don’t just blindly obey the spirit of rules. People act in their self-interest, even when that interest is martyrdom. Now that we have a rule forcing passengers to play the Quiet Game for 60 minutes, terrorists will simply act 90 minutes before landing. It is far easier to circumvent rules than it is to create a foolproof set of rules.

Terrorists and capitalists both look for ways to use existing rules to their advantage. They both take advantage of the reduced competition created as law-abiding people follow those rules.  Gun laws often work the same way. Robbers take advantage of the fact that guns are highly regulated, reducing the chance that they’ll have to face a loaded gun during their robbery.

The history of trouble on airlines paints a clear picture. The regulations in place before 9/11 were a response to the pattern of airline hostage-taking in preceding decades. Terrorists adjusted, and used the rules in place at the time to crash 3 airliners into buildings. The 4th attempt was thwarted by people who ignored the rules, overpowered the terrorists, and took Flight 93 into the ground before it could reach Washington.  After 9/11, we put in rules about boxcutters, and worked to make the cabins of jets more secure. In response, the terrorists put PETN in their shoe. Security response: take off your shoes and run them through the X-ray machine. On Christmas Day, the terrorists showed their response to our response- hide the explosive in your shorts.

This sort of measures and counter-measures is an everyday part of war. It’s also how capitalism works. Businesses are constantly looking for ways to reduce costs and increase revenue. Government fundamentally fails to recognize that rules are made to be broken. You cannot devise a set of regulations that will keep us safe from terrorists, any more than regulations can prevent greedy people from making money.

The life cycle of a democracy

December 15, 2009

I saw today a post normally attributed to Lord Woodhouselee, Alexander Tytler. While the attribution may be incorrect, the observation seems accurate:

‘The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years’ ‘During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

1. from bondage to spiritual faith;

2. from spiritual faith to great courage;

3. from courage to liberty;

4. from liberty to abundance;

5. from abundance to complacency;

6. from complacency to apathy;

7. from apathy to dependence;

8. from dependence back into bondage’

The product life cycle, common in business, seems to provide similar insights, as well.  Most products go through introduction, growth, maturity, and decline.  Where in the democracy or product life cycle would you say the United States is?

Reminder about the war on terror

December 7, 2009

I got this email in 2006. I ran across it today, and thought it was worth getting up on the site.

Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following multiple choice test. The events are actual cuts from past history. They actually happened!!!

Do you remember?

-1968 Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed by
a. Superman
b. Jay Leno
c. Harry Potter
d. Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by
a. Olga Corbett
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzenegger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

3.During the 1980’s a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. In 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6.In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a US Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7.In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombe d the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9.In 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill’ s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10.On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers.Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11.In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremist s mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

13. 2004 – Spain Railway bombings were done by:
Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

14. 2005 London Railway bombings were done by:
Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

15. 2006 plot to blowup airliners leaving London for US destinations. Who has been implicated:
Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

See a pattern here?

How long does winning take?

November 30, 2009

President Obama has responded to the request that General Stanley McChrystal submitted on August 30.  This Sunday, Nov. 29, Obama signed off on an order to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. Not quite to the 40,000 that his chosen General requested, but troops from other nations should make up the difference. It took 3 months for Obama to decide on this. McChrystal had said that the next 12 months in Afghanistan will be decisive. That leaves us with 9 months. Hopefully that will be long enough.

Part of Obama’s plan for Afghanistan, a key part of his speech coming up on Tuesday, is a definite timetable for ending hostilities. Which begs the question.  What happens if we haven’t won by then? Here’s what Gibbs had to say:

“The president will talk about, ‘This is not an open ended commitment,’ that the goal and the purpose of the strategy is to train Afghan national security force, comprised of an Afghan national army and a police, that can fight an unpopular insurgency in Afghanistan so that we can then transfer that security responsibility appropriately back to the Afghans,” Gibbs said.

So, the goal of our involvement in Afghanistan is to train Afghan soldiers? What happened to the goal of destroying Al Qaeda, killing bin Laden, and ending the threat of Islamic Extremism? Are those no longer on the radar?

What happens if Afghanistan’s troops aren’t ready to provide security? If Afghanistan doesn’t meet Obama’s “very strict benchmarks” will we just go ahead and leave? If that’s the case, then our commitment doesn’t seem very sincere. How do our allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan read this? They’ll likely assume that they need to hedge their bets, because America isn’t planning on sticking around. How will the Taliban react? They’ll hunker down and wait us out, or maybe even conduct a few major attacks in an effort to speed up our timetable.

It’s clear that Obama’s main concern isn’t winning. It’s leaving with some shred of dignity. He likely believes that it’s impossible to beat the Taliban. But winning wars is a matter of strength and will. America undoubtedly has the strength to destroy the Taliban and Al Qaeda. But right now, we do not have the will. Bush warned us that we were locked in a long struggle with fanatical Islam. Have we already forgotten that warning?

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