Thursday, August 28, 2008

All Those Columns, All Those Salutes

Apropos of nothing in particular...

Obama's recent use of the same sorts of symbolism is disturbing to us older folks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Truth About Government Regulation

John McCain has famously expressed his admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, especially when it comes to his trust busting and government regulation.

What McCain and many others don't seem to realize is that government regulation of business existed in Roosevelt's time and onward in order to protect big business from consumers, not the other way around.

Progressives have constructed an army of tall tails to protect us from this knowledge. According to their myths brave reporters uncovered wrongdoing by business that government then stepped in to reform with regulations.

But this is all untrue. What regulation actually designed, what big business tycoons worked hand in glove with politicians and bureaucrats to create, was a system of onerous and expensive requirements to force small competitors out of the market. This left only the large companies who had the pricing power to force consumers to pay for the whole thing. The result was that consumers paid more for products that were no better in quality, and small companies had no chance to get in and under price the big companies.

This scenario had been played out many times over the years -- in the meat packing industry, the steel industry, the coal industry, the airlines, and on and on. In 1909 it was Republicans who were calling for government regulation of the steel industry, for example. Said one industry man, “I believe we must come to enforced publicity [socialization] and government control . . . even as to prices.” It was the Democrats who objected to this plan as being "socialistic", and indeed it was a form of central command control of the economy to the benefit of corporations.

Jonah Goldberg writes:

John McCain perfectly symbolizes the Catch-22 of modern liberalism. McCain despises the corrupting effect of ‘big money’ in politics, but he is also a major advocate of increase government regulation of business. Apparently, he cannot see that the more government regulates business, the more business will take an interest in regulating government. Instead, he has concluded that he should try to regulate political speech, which is like decrying the size of the garbage dump and deciding the best thing to do is regulate the flies.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Global Warming Hype

Dr. James Hansen, testifying before Congress, said that global warming "deniers" ought to be tried for crimes against humanity.

What about Dr. Hansen himself? If it turns out that his endless tinkering and fudging of surface temperature data is leading us to believe there is warming when none exists then should he be tried for crimes against humanity? Steve McIntyre at has already found one big error in Hansen's GISS data series. How many errors make a felony?

Satellite temperature measurements, after holding steady since 1992, are now in decline:

This really looks like the beginning of a down cycle. What could explain that?

A German group came up with one possible explanation, which was that the cool Atlantic Ocean waters would keep temperatures down for about 10 years. Another possible explanation came from an Australian group, who related the orbits of Saturn and Jupiter to the Sun's position at the solar system, which shifts around a bit, causing the actual center to be outside of the Sun's surface at times. This has an effect on the sun's energy output. The Australian astrophysicists predict that the sun's current cycle will result in Earth cooling for 20 to 30 years, just as it had been responsible for much of the uptick in the previous 20 to 30 years.

It would seem that there is much work to be done in the realm of climate science before we can start burning people at the stake for questioning it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

"It's In, Thank God"

In a wild and woolly improvised space walk, Russian Cosmonauts struggled to remove a defective explosive bolt that they feared would throw their Soyuz craft off course during reentry, and event that plagued two previous Soyuz flights.

In stark contrast to space walks on Space Shuttle missions, in which every move is planned out well in advance and every tool specially built for the particular set of tasks required, this space walk was put together on the fly using whatever tools happened to be on hand.

The Cosmonauts, obviously deeply familiar with the Soyuz construction, kept up a constant stream of chatter between themselves and ground control as the worked their way through insulation and wiring toward the offending bolt. One false step could have set off the bolt, which would have ripped through their space suits. Finally the bolt was out and was put in a container strong enough to contain an accidental explosion. "It's in, thank God," the cosmonaut said.

These are the kinds of men necessary for pioneering work in space, with the guts, knowledge and skill needed to take on whatever comes. I know that we have many extraordinary people serving as astronauts, but, considering how they are trained and how they operate in hyper specialized little categories, I wonder how many of them are capable of such work.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Iran Launches Test Missiles

Iran launch several test missiles, including one that could reach Israel.

The White house decried the move.

Senator Obama said that this indicated the need for more direct diplomacy with Iran.

Senator McCain said that this indicated the need for better missile defense.

Iran shows no signs of slowing down its development of the ways and means to attack surrounding nations, including Israel, with weapons of mass destruction.

As the foremost sponsor of international terrorism in the world, it goes without saying that putting long range missiles and nuclear weapons in the hands of Iranians, even if they are only dirty weapons, also puts Western nations, including the US, at risk.

US politics are currently characterized by hostility toward any effective measures against Iran. Not because Afghanistan or Iraq are ending poorly, since they are objectively successes when it comes to curtailing international terrorism, but because the left has seen a political advantage in taking that stance.

So here we are again, hamstrung and weakened by the left, unable to move effectively against a dire foreign threat. Until that threat manifests itself in some obvious way, such as a major attack on the US or an ally, we will be unable to do anything that's likely to actually reduced the threat.

George Bush: Buffoon or Great Leader?

Sameh El-Shahat argues that George W Bush has been the most under-rated president... ever.

Yes, yes, all you bleeding heart liberals are cringing out there. I can just hear you. But the fact is, Mr Bush has had to take some very tough decisions and the world needs people who can not only talk but also act tough and admit mistakes.

Of course you think Mr Obama is going to make a difference, but as I write this, he’s already giving all the signs of somebody who will say anything to get into power only to act in exactly the same way as the Washington clique he aims to replace!

Hating George W. Bush is not only dull and unoriginal, but it shows a complete lack of understanding of the world in which we live.

You want liberty but you don’t want to defend it... right.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dixicrats and the Republicans

Many liberals hold it as a matter of established fact that Southern segregationists became Republicans because Republicans are the party of racism. But the historical facts don't bear this out.

Following the Civil War it was Republicans who repeatedly pushed legislation through Congress that improved the legal, civil and cultural status of former slaves, and it was the Democratic Party that fiercely opposed these measures. And not just Southern Democrats for most of this period but most Democrats from the North to the South. As the left took over the Democratic Party during the 1960's and 70's the fundamental character of the party changed to one that was openly hostile to all the things Southerners held dear. Not just a position on race, but on religion, culture, tradition, and economics.

Dixiecrat's became Republicans not because Republicans adopted segregation -- there wasn't a single instance of Republicans putting any of that in their party agenda. They became Republicans because the Democrats were repelling them in so many other ways culturally. Democrats famously had become the party of "acid, amnesty, and abortion", issues that were repellent to Southerners outside of any consideration of segregation. In fact, the Republicans offered the Dixiecrat's very little, but what they did offer -- a respect for most of their cultural and spiritual values -- was enough. Republicans were surely the lesser of the two evils at the time for Southerners.

The fact of the matter is that Dixiecrat's were forced to give up segregation as an issue. Wallace's failure to get more than 9% of the vote, with which Nixon became President anyway, demonstrated how moribund that issue was.

As Jonah Goldberg writes:

The bigotry aimed at the South never ceases to amaze me. Indeed, it is astounding to me how the left tells us we need to understand the nuance of, say, the Jihadi mind in all of its shades of gray, but when it comes to the voting habits of law-abiding white North Carolinians all you need to know is that if a white hand pulls a lever for a Republican politician, that hand must be attached to a racist, and that racism guided the hand to vote for a Republican. The South is a complicated place. Racism was certainly its central shortcoming, but it was hardly its only feature. That so many people can only see the racism, even as its half-life accelerates, says more about their myopia than it does about the region it casts its gaze on.

Giving White Guilt a Bad Name

Obama supporters have presistently and repeatedly played the race card. They are constantly accusing the Anointed One's critics of being racist, of saying racist things, of being about to say racist things, of of being motivated by racism.

The only ones talking about race are them.

They are not being honest. What they do is scream RACISM every time someone raises a legitimate criticism of the Anointed One. And they even do that one better by screaming that anyone who MIGHT criticise the Messiah is GOING to say something racist. Meanwhile, Obama's actual critics never say anything that might remotely be considered racist.

Are there some racists out there who don't like Obama? Sure there probably are, but I'd say that those are a small minority among Obama's critics.

Obama keeps saying that he wants a free and open discussion of the issues, but then he does everything in his power to prevent that discussion from happening. One of the things he has done to stymie any discussion of the real issues is to promote all the race baiting and race mongering we are seeing among his supporters. "They are going to remind you that I'm black," he said. No, but he certainly did that very thing. Our nation deserves better than to be turned over to a man who plays these tawdry sorts of games.

Iraqi's Lead Final Purge of Al Qaeda

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.

Disconfirmations Disconfirmed

Saddam did indeed have a nuclear program. The AP says so., on July 6, 2008, the Associated Press reports that

=Saddam Hussein had a nuclear program
=At the Tuwaitha nuclear complex just south of Baghdad
=Which included 550 metric tons (over 1.2 million pounds) of "yellowcake", or concentrated uranium
=And multiple devices that could be used in a nuclear weapon.

The AP does not say alleged nuclear program. It does not add "according to military experts." It simply says "Saddam Hussein's nuclear program."

Saddam had not moved forward with his program since the end of the First Gulf War. But he still had the materials and the scientists, and he intended to get going with it again, according to documents obtained after the invasion.

How many nuclear warheads can one make with 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium, the amount Saddam already had? The answer is 147.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Major Media Ignores Major Iraq Story

You may have thought it was big news Tuesday when the administration reported to Congress that Iraq has made satisfactory progress on 15 of 18 political benchmarks set by the U.S.

Just last year, there was progress on only eight of those benchmarks and war critics have repeatedly cited the lack of political progress in arguing against the troop surge.

But the Media Research Center says there was not a word about the report on the "CBS Evening News," "NBC Nightly News" or ABC's "World News Tonight." The New York Times also ignored the story. The Washington Post relegated its coverage to page eight.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Law Enforcement Approach to Terrorism Failed

Barak Obama once again reveals his abysmal ignorance of counterterrorism:

And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

Well, no, not actually. We were able to catch some of them because they were in New York, and the terrorists blundered terribly. But we didn't catch them all. The one who actually built the bomb used to attack the trade center in 1993 got away and found refuge in Iraq as Saddam's guest. His name is Abdul Rhaman Yasin, and he is still at large. Another who got away and was never captured was Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, who later came back and finished the job of destroying the World Trade Center by masterminding the attack on 9-11.

Nor were any of the perpetrators of the attack on the Cole ever caught. Or the attacks on US embassies.

The overall effect of this campaign of law enforcement was to convince Al Qaeda that the US would do nothing effective to opposed their terrorist activities. They assumed that with the attack on 9-11 that the US would give up and run, withdrawing from the Middle East, and that is why they decided to attack. Thanks to Clinton's counterterrorism policies, they didn't dream that they were in any danger from a meaningful US response.

But, following the attack on 9-11, the US did not retreat from the Middle East. Instead Afghanistan and Iraq were both invaded because they were international terrorist sponsoring nations, and as a result of those policies and others, including detentions of terrorists at GITMO, there have been no further attacks on the US mainland and Al Qaeda is generally thought to be in a moribund state.

The lesson of history ought to be clear. A return to Obama's law enforcement approach to terrorism, which is really Clinton's old policy, will put us all in greater danger and will embolden terrorists by convincing them that the days of inaction by the USA have returned.