Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day--Remember

God Bless our troops and our Veterans of military service who have served our country for two-hundred and thirty years. The Duty and Sacrifice of over forty-million men and women who have served our country throughout our history should never be forgotten.
Please take the time to visit one or more of the following sites, honoring our service members who have put their lives on the line to defend our freedom.
Operation Home Front
The Great American Cookie Swap-- Say "thank-you" to our troops by sending them fresh, home-made cookies, just by logging on..
Say Thank-you--Send a post card of thanks to our troops, for free.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Realists will Negotiate

Even before they have a chance to take their position of power the "Realists" in Washington--Dick Durbin, James Baker, Joe Biden, and Robert Gates--Al Qaeda in Iraq has issued a challenge. In a 22 minute audiotape released today, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Aboud Abu al-Masri, claimed that he had 12,000 armed fighters in Iraq, and that Al Qaeda wouldn't stop until they have "blown up the dirty black White House."
The Realists have a track record of negotiating with such people as al-Masri, and there is no doubt that they are now scrambling to find negotiating points with an organization whose status they have already changed from "enemy combatants" to "insurgents."
We can imagine they will negotiate a small portion of Iraq for al Qaeda, so they can develop technology and resources that will allow them to blow up the White House without causing too much collateral damage.
The sarcasm is intended, we have no respect for the Realists, whose positions in the past have sacrificed long term security for immediate and temporary solutions--a track record that has resulted in increasing threats to our national security in the long run. It was Realist philosophy that prevented the removal of Saddam Hussein from power in 1991, which created resentment and hatred toward America and its allies among many in the Iraqi populace. That resentment would not have existed if the regime change had taken place at that time. Al Qaeda could be seen as a direct result of Realist policy, because tolerance of tyranny has given rise to such organizations, by creating hatred by the oppressed toward the country they see as facilitating that oppression.
We can only hope that the Realists don't negotiate away our future.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Reason to be Scared

What do Fidel Castro, Yassir Arafat, Nelson Pinochet, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, and Hosni Mubarak all have in common?
Yes, they are all tyrants who have oppressed the people of their respective countries. Yes, they have all imprisoned and/or murdered any who opposed their regimes. Yes, they have all incited anger against the United States. And, yes, they were all either emplaced or empowered by "realist" US foreign policy.
Politically speaking, the term "Realist" does not refer to one whose philosophy is based on reality. It often refers to one who cannot learn from past mistakes. "Realist" is often the term used for those who look for immediate results that aren't necessarily beneficial for the long-term security of the United States. Realists are most likely to believe in the myth of benevolent dictatorship, and that it is better to have a stable dictatorship than an unfriendly democracy. There is, in reality, no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship.
Realists initially saw Fidel Castro as a preferable alternative to the Batista regime of Cuba, and Castro was given military training in the United States and some technical and logistic support in his revolution to overthrow the blatantly criminal Batista. Arafat was seen by Realists as a partner for peace, even as he was imprisoning Palestinian dissidents, embezzling money meant for the aid of the Palestinian people, and enlisting suicide bombers to attack targets in Israel. The election to power of the militant terrorist group Hamas was a direct result of the backlash against Arafat and the US support of that criminal. American Realists overtly replaced the overthrown Chilean Socialist dictator Salvador Allende with the Nazi dictator Nelson Pinochet, who was a mass murderer and oppressive tyrant. This ultimately created backlash gave rise to such sworn enemies of the United States as Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. Manuel Noriega ruled Panama with an iron fist, terrorizing the population with midnight goon squad raids and imprisonment of those who opposed him, and using the Panama Canal as a blackmail issue against the rest of the world. Realists considered Noriega preferable to the threat of a Communist being elected into power, then overthrew his government, using the "war on drugs" as justification in doing so. This was yet another step in increasing anti-American sentiments in Central and South America. American Realists supported Saddam all the way up to his invasion of Kuwait in 1991, as a common enemy against the Islamist regime in Iran, and the previous government of Iraq, which was closely allied to the Soviet Union. Mubarak is still seen by Realists as a "moderate" ally of the US in the Middle and Near East, even as he suppresses freedom of speech among anti-Jihadis, refuses to hold a free election, relegates non-Muslims and secularists to Dhimmi status, and incites hatred toward Israel and the United States. In short, Realists ignore reality.
It is necessary to find a better way to win the war in Iraq, and some changes are preferable to what is happening now. However, political Realism is the practice of doing exactly what Ben Franklin was warning against, when he said, "Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for temporary security deserve neither."
James Baker, who is heading a bi-partisan study group that will present recommendations on the conduct of the war in Iraq is a Realist. Robert Gates, who will likely be confirmed as Secretary of Defense, is a member of the Baker group, and a Realist.
John Bolton, who has performed better than could be expected as US Ambassador to the United Nations, is not likely to be confirmed, in favor of placing an as yet unnamed Realist in that position. Condoleezza Rice, who believes--correctly, in my opinion--along with President Bush, that the spread of worldwide Democracy is in the best interest of the future of our national security, finds her job in jeopardy. Realists are now poised to dictate a foreign policy that has repeatedly failed in the past. That policy still creates a negative view of America by the rest of the world--it enhances the perception that we are arrogant and meddling.
Now I'm scared.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The "New Direction"

It is with some relief that we report that neither the abandon Iraq faction nor the impeach Bush faction showed up for the elections Tuesday. The Libertarian candidates who, to my dismay, were the only ones representing these factions didn't even get enough votes to get honorable mention, which means, hopefully, the Libertarian Party will return to its principles, and develop its strengths. If this is the case, by 2008 voters who are disenfranchised by Demopublican politics-as-usual will lend unprecedented strength to the largest "third party" in the nation.
Meanwhile, we should not be surprised that the "Republican" faction has lost control of Congress. As has happened with any majority in Congress, they lost sight of their principles and became supportive of Big Government spending and special interests, producing a very negative reaction among the electorate. It is only the law of Karma coming into effect. Even those "Republicans" who have dutifully served their constituents and avoided the shortcomings of the party in general, were caught up in the backlash and lost their seats. Such is the way of politics.
We will not see a unified majority in the House of Representative--many of the members-elect are moderate to conservative in their political beliefs, and some are even former "Republicans" who tested the wind and switched to the "Democrat Party," which goes to show that politicians will do anything to get the easy money. Still, respected political analysts, such as Hal Bruno, point out that the "blue dog" conservative freshmen will not make that much of a difference in policy as "back benchers," at least not for the first two years.
Still, among the senior "Democratic" there is still no clear direction in several issues. The consensus view among them on Iraq, for instance, seems to indicate only that a new view of the situation must come into play. Among the myriad views, this "consensus" ranges from surrender to sending more troops. Among the in-between views are redeployment of troops to Afghanistan, involvement of neighboring states, such as Saudi Arabia, in finding a solution to the crisis, and manipulating the sovereign government of Iraq. We could see, therefore, such results as a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with Iraq as the battlefield, or a reinstatement of the military draft in the United States. The Democrats have not, so far, advocated leaving behind a failed or rogue state in Iraq, much to their credit. In fact, most of the Democrats have stated a desire to win in Iraq. This will undoubtedly disappoint many of the radical left who thought they were going to get something different.
Other results of the Democratic control of Congress will most likely be higher gasoline prices, as politicians attack "Big Oil," windfall profits for medical research companies, as Congress allocates taxpayers' money in the name of stem cell research, and loss of jobs and middle class family owned businesses as Congress raises the minimum wage. We sill also see a lot of unnecessary hearings, as Democrats attempt to rediscover that no one in the administration has done anything that is illegal. Oh, and Rumsfield will resign.
Still, we should not fall into a doom and gloom attitude, because it is still politics as usual, and we have survived that so far.
If we are to believe Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, the new direction will be one of "integrity, civility, and bi-partisanship." We'll believe that when we see it, if we can actually figure out what it really means.

We're All Going to Die!

Well, perhaps some day. This kind of illustrates the general reaction to yesterday's electons.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Go Ahead and Screw It Up

I hope this election comes out in favor of the Democrats, but not for the reasons you may think. If the Democrats win control of Congress, there will be a change, all right, but it will not be a change in politics-as-usual. The voters will realize just how bad their representation truly is, as Big Government spending continues and Congress remains a do nothing entity. Time and taxpayers' money will be wasted on bills doomed to veto, and on the promised investigations. Spending bills will fail, and there will be problems distributing government checks. Debates and filibusters will continue to consume Congress will prove to the voter that the power grab is on the part of the legislative branch, not the executive branch.
The change that will come with a Democrat Party victory will be in the voter, not in the government. As the flow of money in the economy decreases, jobs will decrease. That decrease will be felt even more if the Democrats are successful in passing a minimum wage increase, and more home-owned businesses fail because they can’t afford wages or payroll taxes.
The poor performance of Congress over the years will leave its mark on the citizenry, and many will realize that the one-party Demopublican system can do nothing for the common man. This will mean that by 2008, we should see a drastic change in the way people think about Democrats and Republicans. The people will be so angry at politics-as-usual, we may see the first President elected running as an independent or third party candidate.
I hope that, if the Democrats win, they really screw it up. We should expect nothing less.
To my fellow Libertarians: Four words for 2008--Steve Forbes for President.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Uh, What? Oh, It's the SSPRC!

Let's take a trip to The Soviet Socialist People's Republic of California, and take a look at what's on the ballot there. Hmmmm. Proposition 87. Its proponents say that by charging energy companies to drill for oil in that state, the state gets money to give to alternative energy research. It will, they say, help Americans wean themselves from foreign oil. They claim that the issue, if passed by the proletariat and elected by legislature, would prevent Big Oil from passing the added costs of drilling in California to the consumer.
Let's ask some theoretical and rhetorical questions here. If, suddenly, there was absolutely no oil or petroleum fuel available, would we be prepared to have ways to transport goods and services, to get to the market, our jobs, and schools? The intent of the proposition 87 is sincere in that it would encourage the use of alternative energy, but is enough available to immediately replace the use of fossil fuels? Can we all afford to ride bicycles to work, drive solar powered, hybrid, or hydrogen cell automobiles, and are enough of these available to everybody? Are engine components that can withstand the high temperatures and non-lubricating characteristics of ethanol thoroughly tested and readily available to the general public?
My reason for posing these questions is simply that proposition 87 has the potential to stop oil production in California. It is a thinly veiled attack on the perceived enemy of the proletariat, Big Oil. Oil companies earn an average of nine cents to every consumer dollar, far less than the profit margin of dairy companies or coffee producers. There is no point in running a business unless a profit can be made. It is a fact of life.
Proposition 87 would make oil production unprofitable in California, and would result in loss of jobs, and diminish the cash flow in the economy. It is, in reality, a punitive tax, which would result in drastically higher fuel costs throughout the United States, bringing about drastically higher inflation rates. But, no matter, we can just blame all that on Bush and the Republicans, no matter what the cause, right?
To be sure, reduced reliance on foreign oil is a very worthy goal to work toward, as is speeding up research on alternative fuels and alternative energy sources. But, as those resources are not immediately available, proposition 87 would actually increase the demand for foreign oil. That means more money for Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. I suppose the proletariat would blame that on Bush, as well.
In truth, what Prop 89 proposes is that billions of dollars be taken out of the economy, used to hire bureaucrats--read those who contributed to certain legislative and administrative campaigns--to "administer" the taxpayers' contribution to alternative energy research, then return the twenty- or thirty-thousand dollars that is left over back to the economy, to be used for such research. That is the way Big Government works.
In consensus reality--as opposed to California reality--funds from the private sector and free trade commerce more efficiently provide energy research companies with more capital that can be used for actual research.
Why not, instead, offer tax incentives to the energy companies to spend more research money on alternative resources? That is where the money is going to be in what is, ideally, the near future. The oil companies will eventually have to switch to producing alternative energy, anyway, so why not give them incentive to begin research now? That is, after all, what the executives get the big bucks for anyway, isn't it?
Libertarian philosophy does not tolerate government meddling in the affairs of private enterprise, but, as long as Big Government is going to hold your hand while you cross the street, why not charge Starbucks a fee for opening drive up windows? Why not use revenues from public parking and toll roads for energy research, and development of alternative energy resources? Why can't we figure out ways to reduce the demand for gasoline and fossil fuels? This makes more sense than destroying the economy in the name of conservation.
Hopefully, common sense will prevail, and Proposition 87 will be defeated in the polls, but then, common sense and California aren't exactly best of friends, are they?

Correction--Note to Self: The name of the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon is Nasrallah, not Rasmallah. Writing from memory is not always the best way to check facts. Apologies to my readers.