Friday, December 24, 2010

What was it like on the outskirts of Bethlehem?

Modern living provides numerous luxuries and activities. An endless parade of entertainment, distraction and diversion is at our beck and call. Shopping centers and malls abound, a cadre of restaurants surrounding each. There’s a club meeting one night, the kid’s practice the next and the church’s covered-dish supper the night after that.

Satellite television beams hundreds of crystal clear channels into our living rooms. A few are even worth watching. Movies, music, and information stream from high-speed Internet. A universe of information and entertainment is a mouse click away. Ours is a different world. The changes in the last forty years alone are staggering.

During my childhood, dining out meant a trip to the local café or fish camp. There were few, if any, family steakhouses. And there certainly wasn’t a restaurant in every corner of the mall parking lot. In fact, there wasn’t even a mall.

In the late 1960s the Internet was a military secret. Television stations were few and color sets were uncommon. I watched Neill Armstrong take “one giant leap for mankind” . . . and I watched it in black and white. Our set could tune two VHF channels.

Just as today’s world has surpassed my childhood, so had that time advanced over the previous generations, when television itself was rare or nonexistent. People received their entertainment from the radio voices of Amos and Andy and the Jack Benny Show. Their information came from newspapers, books and magazines. The 20th Century was change, with less than 100 years separating the heyday of the buckboard from the reusable spacecraft.

Now, you may wonder what this walk down nostalgia lane has to do with Bethlehem. Very little, in a direct sense. But it does serve to compare the rapid advancement in our lifestyles with the primitive shepherds’ experience, recorded in Luke’s Gospel, that first Christmas night. The thought came to me as I read the story for the umpteenth time, not that you can read it too often.

Some Bible translations place the shepherds “in the same country”; others say they were “in the fields nearby.” Either way it is evident that they were on the outskirts of Bethlehem, which had nothing in common with modern suburbia. There was no reflection of Bethlehem’s lights against the night sky. There was only a darkness that today’s suburbanite can’t comprehend.

The shepherds may have kindled a small campfire and lit a torch or two. But they wouldn’t have stayed very close to that light. It would have compromised their night vision, making it difficult to spot thieves and predators, which was their purpose for being there. The only prevailing light came from the stars and the moon.

No distant train whistle pierced the silence. No car horns honked and no jets passed overhead. There were no blaring boom boxes, blinding televisions, or ringing cell phones. The only sound was the shepherds’ conversation and the soft bleats from the flocks. They are alone on a dark and silent night.

Without warning a celestial being illuminated the night sky. The angel Gabriel declared the long-awaited Messiah’s arrival to the accompaniment of an angelic chorus. How would those shepherds, unaccustomed to such brilliant displays, have reacted? Luke tells us they were “sore afraid.”

Considering the societal transformations and technological advancements we’ve experienced it is difficult, if not impossible, for us to relate to the lives of those shepherds. We think black and white television is archaic and cell phones are indispensable. It’s unlikely we can appreciate the scene that long ago night on Bethlehem’s hillside pastures.

Feast, my friends, this Christmas Day! Gather by the fire. Unwrap the gifts. Amidst the celebration save a minute to ponder the shepherd’s experience. Our lives are so accustomed to sound, light, and distraction, perhaps we can’t comprehend the powerful, majestic display that long ago night. But we can try.

A Merry Christmas to all . . . no offense intended.

‘Tis the season for common sense, culture, heritage and tradition to take its annual backseat to politically correct nonsense. Each Christmas the PC police are bolder than ever. Nativity scenes can’t be displayed here and angels can’t be heard on high over there. Phrases and icons that reference the central reason for the “holiday season” are squelched so not to offend the perpetually offended.

A few years ago, the Seattle, WA airport authority displayed the gutlessness of Decembers present. Twenty-five years of displaying Christmas trees at the airport’s entrances came to a halt with one complaint. According to airport spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt the trees were removed “because we didn’t want to be exclusive.” Next were the big retailers, whose zeal for a “non-threatening” shopping experience prompted employees to wish shoppers “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” in lieu of “Merry Christmas.” Christmas trees became “holiday” trees.

The idea of these faith-neutral terms and phrases is to avoid the seeming preference of Christianity over other religions. But Christmas trees? How does calling a Christmas tree what it is sanctify one belief over another? Thoughts on the origin of Christmas trees are as diverse as the kinds of trees used. In fact, the religious meaning of Christmas trees is debated even within Christianity.

The Christmas tree’s root, if you’ll pardon the pun, could rise from the Ancient Romans, who decorated trees with strips of metal during a festival honoring Saturnus, their god of agriculture. Perhaps modern Christmas trees date to 16th Century Germany, where small fir trees were decorated with apples and nuts. On December 25th the ornamental treats were given to the children. The Feast of Adam and Eve, where the “original sin” was reenacted on December 24th, may be the source for our tree. An evergreen, hung with apples, was used as a prop for the play.

Christmas trees are but one example of how the ever-offended are attempting to transform a season of joy and happiness into one of anxiety and misery. Flaps over “holiday trees,” corporate policies governing the greetings retail cashiers can offer and idiocy like that at Seattle’s airport prove that political correctness and “sensitivity” have run amok.

Do Christmas greetings and traditions truly offend people? Or, are offended people simply seeking reasons for offense? Our world is filled with verified misery: war, famine, pestilence and violent crime. Why would expressions of hope and happiness offend any rational person? Frankly, it's because the offended aren’t rational at all. They’re so consumed with their manic despair that they cannot suffer cheerfulness. The joyous message of Merry Christmas reminds them of their empty, bitter souls.

Let's put this in perspective. If a Jewish man were to greet me with “Happy Hanukkah,” I would accept his wishes in the spirit they were offered. I would not become mortally offended, allowing the good wishes to be overshadowed because the greeting reflected a holiday not of my own faith. The proper response is to thank the Jewish gentleman for his gesture and respond with a cheerful “Merry Christmas.” If his expression to me is sincere he will accept my greeting without reservation.

Ironically, our society condones crass vulgarities in the name of diversity, yet is vulnerable to traditional courtesy, and that vulnerability is magnified at Christmas. The very reason there is a season to greet is sacrificed so as not to offend the most intolerant of people. It’s shameful that the phrase “Merry Christmas” is yielding to a tide of politically correct multiculturalism.

Christmas commemorates Christ’s birth, make no mistake about it. So what? America has a Christian heritage whether the PC police believe it or not. As such we are entirely within the realm of good taste and etiquette to wish “Merry Christmas” to anyone, even if that person is of another faith or of no faith at all.

The nonsense must stop sometime. Let it end today, now, this minute. I sincerely wish peace, safety and a Merry Christmas to you. This greeting is extended without apology to the Christian, the Jew, the Muslim, the Hindu, the Sikh, the Buddhist, the Wiccan, the Scientologist, the Taoist, the agnostic, the atheist, the environmentalist, the Jehovah’s Witness, the Mormon, the Branch Davidian and whoever else happens to be out there. If you are a rational person you will accept these good wishes in the spirit they are offered.

However, if you are offended, please feel free to have a Miserable Christmas. I’m confident your New Year will be just as dismal as your outlook on life.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The two faces of Julian Assange

Julian Assange, Wikileaker extraordinaire, is somewhat the enigma. His appearance is, at best, unimpressive. In fact, his visage screams “metrosexual” with the subtlety of a train horn on a still summer’s eve. His sexual preference is in question even while he’s accused of raping two women. Assange is both a heroic freedom-fighter and a treasonous lout, depending on who you ask and when. Perhaps he is equally both and yet neither, all the while turning American politics on its ear.

cheered when Assange’s Wikileaks exposed information that endangered key allies and operations in Afghanistan. Kudos for open government, they crowed. To hear Regressives tell it, protecting domestic constitutional liberties meant knowing everything our military was planning on the other side of the world. Of course, contemporary Regressives would’ve considered leaking the U.S. military’s big secret on June 5, 1944 as an act of patriotism, too. Conservatives (and some Regressives) liken Assange to the second coming of the Rosenbergs, even encouraging the CIA to punch his ticket.

Assange next dumped information that embarrassed the State Department. The leaked communications revealed how U.S. emissaries spied upon both friend and foe and exercised strong-arm diplomacy with our allies. However, to spill the beans on champagne-sipping envoys doesn’t seem as evil as unveiling military secrets. Besides, anyone who doesn’t realize that we spy on our allies, and they on us, and that international negotiations aren’t invariably conducted according to Robert’s Rules is rather naïve.

Assange’s leak of Afghanistan War records harmed the military. This infuriated conservatives and caused Regressives to squeal like school girls on prom night. He then exposed the State Department’s diplomatic affairs--and diplomacy is the true love of the Left--that embarrassed the Obama administration. In a pure political sense he has offended and satisfied both the Right and the Left. Thus Julian Assange is 100-percent evil and 100-percent good, depending on what was compromised, who was embarrassed, and when. Regressives and Conservatives have political common ground; they can both love and hate the dual faces of Julian Assange.

But, not all matters should be seen through red or blue colored glasses. Sometimes there is no right, left or middle. Sometimes moral and ethical aspects transcend political advantage. That time is now, when Julian Assange’s two faces have become one. His publication of military documents potentially compromised the safety and mission of American troops fighting on foreign soil. That’s a Julian Assange that no American should excuse, regardless how thoroughly Wikileaks may have tweaked their political opponents.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nancy Pelosi: A ruler of fools

Nancy Pelosi isn’t long as Speaker of the House. But if there’s one constant in our ever-changing world it’s that Pelosi will prove unconscionable until the gavel is wrested from her hand. During a recent speech on the House floor she expressed opinions about unemployment insurance and tax policy that seem irrational even for her.

Pelosi supports extending unemployment insurance beyond the current 99 week limit. To substantiate her position she touted unemployment benefits as a burgeoning economic catalyst. All we need do is and tap into their power. Pelosi
informed Congress, “Unemployment insurance . . . returns $2 for every $1 that is put out there.”

A two dollar return for every one invested is a lofty promise. No financial advisor would make such a guarantee, especially in these days of stagnant stocks, miniscule interest rates and sunken real estate values. Not even a gold-plated, platinum diamond could augur a 100-percent return on investment.

Is Pelosi a pecuniary Nostradamus? If so, it’s imprudent to squander her financial perception. To realize the full economic impact unemployment insurance portends, every American from restaurant bus boys to Fortune 500 CEOs should cease work immediately. According to Pelosi’s two-for-one estimations, living on unemployment alone would boost our gross domestic product from
2009’s $14.1 trillion to $28.2 trillion. In an instant the U.S. economy would exceed that of the European Union, China and Japan combined. And this can be accomplished while we sit home watching reruns of Hogan’s Heroes.

Does Pelosi sound crazy? As the old saying goes, “Brother, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” If Pelosi’s take on unemployment benefits has your blood boiling, you’ll erupt over her thoughts on taxation.

“Giving $700 billion to the wealthiest people in America does add $700 billion to the deficit,” Pelosi
claims. Of course, extending the current tax rates gives nothing to anyone. Furthermore, Congress doesn’t have to “pay” for tax cuts even when reductions are on the table. But remember, in Pelosi’s world a static tax rate equals a cut because all wealth is first and foremost government property.

Even the casual observer knows that when tax rates are static, or reduced, Congress doesn’t send the taxpayer a check. Tax rates simply determine the percentage of wealth that remains with its rightful producer instead of going to Washington. Money that never arrives in Washington cannot add to the deficit. The $700 billion budget hole that Pelosi laments--superficially, I might add--didn’t result from insufficient taxation but from Washington’s lust to
spend like drunken sailors in foreign ports.

At this point it’s natural to conclude that Nancy Pelosi is the stupidest woman on earth. If not stupid, she must certainly be ignorant. Would that either case were true, for both stupidity and ignorance are correctable.

If Pelosi is stupid, teaching her will be yeoman’s work, for she knows very little and resists learning. Yet she can learn if her teacher is patient and persistent. It will be difficult, but not impossible. Correcting an ignorant Pelosi is much easier. Ignorance is the absence of knowledge or understanding, nothing more. Expose an ignorant Pelosi to facts and the ignorance dissipates like vapor.

Nancy Pelosi will benefit from neither approach because she isn’t stupid or ignorant. She is a spin master, an epic fraud, an insufferable boor and a pathological liar. But she isn’t dumb. No one could attain her position while drinking the sociopolitical Kool-Aid she serves up. No, Pelosi isn’t stupid or ignorant. She does, however, credit those characteristics to her constituents. Sadly enough, she’s correct. Otherwise, her seat in Congress wouldn’t be so secure.

A people’s representative respects the intelligence of the people he or she represents. That may sound outdated, but it’s nonetheless true. A ruler expresses utter contempt for their subject’s intellect. Therefore rulers, unlike representatives, treat people like stooges and serfs. Rulers quickly become proficient in the artistry of condescension and falsehood, confident that the masses are too dense to discern the truth.

Is Nancy Pelosi a representative or a ruler? Anyone who can’t answer that simple question needn’t worry about representation. They should prepare to be ruled.

This column first appeared at
American Thinker.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elena Kagan’s first vote was both baffling and predictable

Once Elena Kagan was confirmed to the Supreme Court it was certain that she would, at some point, cast a vote or render an opinion. It sort of goes with the territory. Of near equal certainty was that her initial ruling would embody everything objectionable and inexplicable about the Supreme Court, judges, lawyers and the legal system in general. Well, Justice Kagan has cast that first vote, to little fanfare I might add. In so doing she proved that my confidence in her ability to baffle was justified.

Granted, Kagan’s first decision wasn’t a thorough legal dissertation. It was simply a recorded vote in support of a losing opinion. However, she did confirm what conservatives expected from Elena Kagan. She voted to stay the execution of a convicted murderer, uphold a Ninth Circuit Court decision and support a lower judge’s ruling that questioned the safety of a lethal injection drug.

For a known Regressive jurist to coddle convicted murderers and side with the Ninth “Circus” is completely predictable. Understandable no, but completely predictable. But to question the safety of a lethal drug? Maybe I’m unclear on the concept. It just seems logical that a drug administered to fulfill a condemned prisoner’s death sentence would be, by necessity, unsafe. If the drug were safe, it would have difficulty achieving its stated purpose, now wouldn’t it? God help us, what has happened to our brains! Educated jurists speculating on whether or not lethal drugs are safe for their intended use is a sure sign our system has abandoned all sanity and common sense.

What’s next? Warning labels on sodium thiopental? We have labels on other drugs, most of which cause remedies to sound worse that the diseases they treat. I can almost hear the disclaimer now.

Are you suffering from violent anti-social outbursts that culminate in shooting, stabbing, strangling, or dismembering? One drug, Executus, has been proven to alleviate recurrences of these behavioral abnormalities. Executus is suitable only for patients professionally diagnosed with Chronic Criminalitis, especially Premeditated Murderosis. Diminished breathing and pulse rate accompanied by low or non-existent blood pressure are common among users of Executus. Some users may experience undesirable side affects, including partial paralysis, anxiety, depression and signs of panic. These symptoms are always temporary. If signs of life persist, stop taking Executus at once and contact your nearest ACLU chapter.

Give me a break! How many times must capital punishment be dissected before people like Elena Kagan are no longer trusted with judicial authority?

The Eighth Amendment prohibits government from dispensing “cruel and unusual punishments.” Not only is that proper, it’s wholly compatible with our cultural values. No one wants to brutally torture convicted murderers to achieve vengeance, satisfy bloodlust, or simply for hoots, regardless of how heinous the condemned treated their victims. There’s no burgeoning movement--not even among the most ardent death penalty supporters--to reintroduce crucifixion, iron maidens, burning at the stake, or drawing and quartering as practicable forms of capital punishment. But death sentences aren’t the antithesis of our Eighth Amendment protections, as evidenced by the fact that capital punishment was routinely used when the Constitution was debated and ratified.

Speculating on the safety of sodium thiopental may sound nuanced, reasoned and deeply thoughtful in circles where common sense is considered an archaic relic of our ignorant heritage. Such reasoning may gain its advocate a favored seat among the intelligentsia, for whom dismissing traditionally proven solutions is a sign of superior knowledge. But it smacks of short-sighted foolishness to me, a thorough waste of time, effort and discourse.

Elena Kagan carried a warning label that foretold her voting tendency. However, like the warning labels on prescription drugs, we tend to ignore a prospective jurist’s precedents, positions and opinions. Thus we make perplexing and painful mistakes like Kagan, mistakes that last a lifetime.

This column first appeared on the American Thinker.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The five myths of Regressive politics #3: Conservatives are sexists.

Women should stay home, sweep floors, prepare meals and bear their master’s children. Changing diapers and baking brownies; that’s a women’s role. Women should be seen in public only when posing for the Victoria’s Secret catalog. Isn’t that how Regressives would have you believe Conservatives view women?

This theory sounds insane, but it has a solid foundation. Conservatives recognize and accept reality. Men and women are genetically, physically and emotionally dissimilar. Sorry! That’s just how it is, has been and—genetic engineering aside—will remain. When Conservatives mention these facts Regressives play the sex card. However, the sex card is flawed beyond repair.

Conservatives really aren’t concerned with gender. It’s a person’s ideas that garner support or criticism. And conservatives certainly don’t demand that women remain barefoot, pregnant and chained to the kitchen stove. That is, if you’ll pardon my sexism, an old wives’ tale. Fortunately, a growing number of women are recognizing the reality in conservatism and the respect it has for women. According to a 2009 Gallup
survey, women are more conservative than liberal even though their party affiliation remains more Democrat than Republican.

Sexism was once defined as mistreating women. Not today. Sexism is whatever the Regressive feminist declares it to be. Is it sexist to buy a woman’s lunch? Is it condescending to hold the door for a lady, or to escort her to the porch following a date? Is it harassment to ask a woman for a date to begin with? Women must consider such traditional courtesies as blatant condescension to be a good feminist. Furthermore, feminist dogma must be accepted to avoid sexism charges. Such acceptance by affinity—a Regressive standard—is the worst form of denigration.

Conservatives don’t consider women inferior beings at all. They are equals worthy of respect and protection. They aren’t tools for social engineering. It is the left that manipulates women for that purpose. Thus it is the left that practices sexism.

The left’s “defense” of women is about feminism and abortion on demand. It’s not about women and is, actually, insulting to them. Forget the rhetoric about choice; choice is the last thing on the Regressive agenda. The only legitimate “choice” a woman can make is the one the Regressives demand. Remember the reaction to Tim Tebow’s mother?

Mrs. Tebow made the “wrong” choice when doctors advised her to abort the future national champion quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner. Regressives
roasted her. Women are thinking independently only when walking lockstep with feminist dogma. Thus being pro-choice is the choice to abort and pro-freedom is the freedom to pursue the morals of an alley cat. It’s a tidy denunciation of personal responsibility. It is the Regressive in a nutshell.

Regressives rank ideology above a woman’s emotional and reproductive health. They rank their agenda above a woman’s ability to make individual choices. In truth, Regressives are women’s worst enemies.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Pedophile’s Guide is another sign of our moral decline

A novice sailor will notice when a large vessel veers drastically from its charted course. But even experienced seamen may not realize the change when course deviations are slight. Societies react to cultural variations in similar fashion. People will balk when the moral code is abruptly altered. But when the transition is slow, over several generations, the original course is lost before the change is perceived.

Philip R. Greaves’ book, the Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-lover’s Code of Conduct, indicates another subtle change in America’s moral bearing. It should shout “Warning!” at the top of its lungs, for it illustrates how a society can adapt to moral degeneration. The first step is to rationalize the irrational and defend the indefensible until deviant behavior is mainstreamed. Greaves is willing to give it a whirl. He
claims his book doesn’t endorse pedophilia, but establishes guidelines for pedophile relationships. Injurious acts are off limits and certain principles must be adopted to ensure safety for the child. Greaves explained, “I hope to achieve this by appealing to the better nature of pedosexuals.”

Apparently, since pedophilia undeniably occurs, it should be woven into our cultural fabric. Notice the change? Child molesters are no longer twisted pedophiles but “pedosexuals.” The word lends legitimacy to the act, similar to how homosexual, bisexual and transsexual have legitimized behaviors once considered immoral.

Even if Greaves’ were correct in assuming that physical injuries common to pedophilia can be eradicated, the psychological traumas linger for years. Furthermore, adults who seek sexual fulfillment from children are exhibiting not only a complete disregard for long-established cultural boundaries but also for plain good sense. If pedophiles were governed by the “better nature” Greaves’ references, they wouldn’t molest kids to begin with.

Granted, the Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure hasn’t exactly mainstreamed the pedophile. The book was removed from amid a flood of customer complaints and, shall we say, “slow” sales. Still, it should prompt a thorough cultural examination. How did we arrive at the point where a child molester’s guidebook is available via a respected retail outlet? Similar to how ships change course unbeknownst to their crews. The Pedophile’s Guide is but another moral degree that our culture has strayed from its original course.

For instance, marriage was once the sacred domain of a man and a woman, with sexual relations reserved for matrimony. That cultural norm has changed. Four in ten Americans now consider marriage
obsolete and “shacking up” is nearly as common as matrimony. The thought of reserving intercourse for marriage is summarily dismissed, as evidenced by the increase[1] in unwed[2] pregnancies over the last 40 years. Such pregnancies are now standard fare where once they were cause for shame.

Homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality--previously shunned as the domain of deviates--are alternative lifestyles. Homosexuality is even considered the superior attraction in some circles. In Hollywood, for example, it’s “in” to be “out.” The thought of same-sex marriage never crossed the mind a generation ago. But it’s rapidly gaining
popularity across the societal spectrum, reaching majority status among Americans under age thirty. Anyone who questions the purity in such activities is labeled homophobic, which is almost like being identified as a Klansman.

Moral bearings aren’t lost overnight. It’s the result of incremental course deviations. Bit by bit the unthinkable becomes commonplace. Considering the slight alterations in cultural morality that produced our present state, is it beyond belief that future generations will consider “pedosexuality” an “alternative lifestyle?” We’d be foolish to dismiss the possibility.

Few people believe that mankind has ever practiced perfect virtue, in public or in private. But it’s blatantly naïve to think the deviancies we tolerate today wouldn’t have caused our grandparents to wash our minds out with soap. Humanity’s moral ship is adrift. The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure is the latest deviation toward a wayward destination.

This column first appeared at American Thinker.

[1] National Center for Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2006, With Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans, Hyattsville, MD: 2006, p. 145, Table 10 (pdf file, p. 162)
[2] Hamilton BE, Martin JA, Ventura SJ. Births: Preliminary data for 2007. National vital statistics reports, Web release; vol 57 no 12. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Released March 18, 2009, p.6, Table 1.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

America is becoming a nation of “Boxers”

In the George Orwell classic Animal Farm, there lived a horse named Boxer. He was strong, willing and dependable. In fact, Boxer was so dedicated to his assignments and his leader that he often said, “Napoleon is always right,” followed by his personal pledge to “work harder” toward accomplishing the state’s goals.

Boxer was a good, faithful horse. But his fault was his blind devotion to his leader and his willingness to sacrifice himself to Napoleon’s grand goals. Boxer never benefited from his loyalty or from Napoleon’s phony promise of an easy future. When he was no longer useful he was shipped to the glue factory, ironically under the guise of receiving state provided medical treatment. Let that sink in, Obamacare advocates.

On Animal Farm, appeals to necessity, subtle changes to established rules and revisionist history were the tools used to control Boxer and his comrades. Boxer willingly accepted his marching orders until his fate was sealed. The tactics that led to his demise, and the enslavement of his friends, are now deployed at airport security checkpoints across America. I can’t help but wonder if we’ve become a nation of “Boxers.”

Even before John Tyner’s videoed confrontation with body image scanners and full-body groping sessions there was Joe Sharkey, who
wrote of his own experience with the TSA. Sharkey also refused to be scanned, which prompted security screeners to repeat a vocal alarm that might have been necessary had Osama bin Laden himself tried to board a plane. But there was no reason to suspect Sharkey. There was nothing conspicuous or suspicious about him. His sin was balking at being treated like the terrorist he isn’t.

Sharkey’s article mentioned another flier, Bruce Delahorne, who faced a similar situation. When Bruce questioned the need for the unfamiliar tactics to which he was exposed he was informed that nothing had changed in airport security screenings. “We have always done this,” the TSA agent explained. After passing through the checkpoint Delahorne asked the same question of another agent. He received a similar answer, “the process has always been the same.”

Well, airport screenings haven’t always been this way. Sure, we live in a post-9/11 environment and caution is prudent. But body imaging every air traveler isn’t the same as intercepting specific phone conversations between Abdullah the Butcher and a cave in Waziristan. We’re dealing with de facto strip searches of everyday Americans, pat downs of nuns and confiscation of shampoo and nail clippers. All of this nonsense is done so as not to offend Islam, whose virulent adherents fostered this “necessity.”

The rules are changed and history is rewritten so that everything appears constant. Napoleon is always right. And we, like Boxer,
adapt and comply.

The TSA has released
images from both the millimeter wave and backscatter imagers currently in use. The fact is that the TSA images aren’t exactly fodder for next month’s Playboy centerfold. Other images are circulating that depict an inverted scan that reveals both nudity and identity. But such photos are easily faked and there appears to be no proof that they are authentic. That’s little comfort to air travelers who are exposed to humiliating body scans and invasive pat down searches. Even the stance assumed for the scans--feet apart and hands held above the head--portrays a submissiveness that belies a free people. Fellow Americans, our government has declared us guilty until we prove our innocence.

There remains the argument that body scanners are necessary to prevent terrorists from smuggling bombs aboard aircraft. That may be true, but realistically the scanners do nothing to combat terrorism as a tactic. A terrorist attack isn’t like an advancing army; it doesn’t acquire territory and it need not commandeer or destroy an airplane to accomplish its goal. Terrorism need only sow doubt and fear to be effective.

When innocent Americans are essentially strip searched in airport concourses the terrorists have achieved their goal. In fact, terrorists are equally served without boarding an aircraft at all. Suicide bombers need only detonate their payload at a crowded TSA checkpoint. Scores of unsuspecting travelers would be killed or injured. Such an attack would do more to shatter our illusion of security than blowing up an airliner.

We’re being sold a false sense of safety from a Department of Homeland Security that can’t muster the courage to
identify our real enemies, much less target them. But Napoleon is always right. Thus we’ll be scanned and probed so not to offend the very people who hate us, our liberties and our culture simply because we’ve refused, thus far, to adopt their ways.

The day will come when we won’t be able to enter a sports arena, a shopping mall, or a public parking deck without passing a body imaging checkpoint. Maybe then we’ll realize we’ve become like Boxer, dutiful and obedient until securely locked in the knacker’s wagon.

This column originally appeared at American Thinker: Americans Learning to Submit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finally! A politician with nothing to hide

If there were a Spin Doctorate program at Political University the requisite course would be Obfuscation 101. No one survives in contemporary American politics without a thorough mastery of the subject. Obfuscation 101 instructs the neophyte politician on how to tell voters what they want to hear while having no intention of fulfilling the obligation when elected. The politician becomes adept at issuing promises and making pledges that are as foreign to their character as Sharia Law is to the Southern Baptist Convention.

That’s how the world turns in American politics and there seems to be little anyone can do about it. Aren’t there times when you long for a politician who has nothing to hide? Rest easy, I have found just the candidate for you.

Meet Sara May, a candidate for a district council seat in Warsaw, Poland. Sara is self-described as honest, sincere, independent, consistent, ambitious and hardworking. In short, Sara May appears everything you could want in a politician, everything most politicians aren’t. She’s also willing to prove that she has nothing to hide, as her campaign poster (shown below) attests.

That’s our babe, uh, I mean, candidate. As you can see, Sara isn’t exposing all of her secrets. But she has revealed more about her self than will most political candidates. And the few personal “issues” she’s kept hidden are much more appealing that what most politicians conceal. At any rate, Sara is quite a change from the stereotypical leader in the once-communist Poland, huh?

Sara’s campaign poster will get her noticed, that much is certain. Whether the notoriety translates into votes is another story. But for us, here in America, Sara May’s poster should cause us to reassess our desire for more openness from our own politicians. Imagine Nancy Pelosi, Diane Feinstein, or Barbara Mikulski adopting Sara May’s nothing to hide campaign philosophy. Now there’s a standard for mean-spiritedness that would make even Rahm Emanuel cringe.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A five-step program for the Republican majority

The mid-term elections are over. Republicans celebrate their victory while Democrats chase their tails, apparently in a state of denial. The GOP won 239 House seats and control 46 Senate seats with the Alaska race still undecided. Even if Lisa Murkowski prevails she is a Republican who will be at least as dependable as Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe.

Republicans also hold
29 governorships and a majority of statehouses, which means they will redraw the congressional districts following this census year. If Republicans have the fortitude they can align congressional districts to favor conservative candidates for the next decade.

Even seat counts don’t tell the whole story of the Republican’s November 2nd dominance. No Republican incumbent lost their Senate seat while Democrats struggled to hold serve in Regressive heavy Washington and Colorado. House Democrats lost one seat in which their candidate was a prohibitive favorite and five where they were expected to win with ease. Republicans lost nary a House race they were favored to win. Republicans won 30 tossup races, unseating Democrat incumbents in 29 of them. Democrats won only 12 such elections. Democrats unseated just three sitting Republican representatives, and one of those was in Hawaii where a Democrat victory is about as rare as spotting a corn stalk in Illinois.

What happens now? Winning elections is one thing; wielding power is quite another. How should the GOP proceed? Where should they flex their newfound muscle? What must Republicans do to prove they are a genuine conservative alternative to the defeated Democrats? Follow the five-step program.

First, Republicans must realize that America voted for conservatism, not liberalism. When a confident football team intercepts a pass or recovers a fumble they try to capitalize immediately on the momentum shift. The GOP’s strategy should be similar. Why allow the losers to define the debate? Introduce legislation to repeal Obamacare. It’s won’t pass the Senate, although some Senate Democrats--like
Joe Manchin (WV)--may buck their party and the administration. If repeal does survive the Senate the President will certainly veto it, which Republicans can’t override. So what? Introduce the bill again and again and again. Force the Democrats to defend their collectivist programs.

Second, avoid appeasement; it offers nothing for Republicans. Losing doesn’t equal defeat in the Regressive’s dictionary. In fact, Democrats are likely to be
aggressive in defeat. What do they have to lose? Meet the lame duck Democrats with a hefty dose of obstructionism and gridlock. Republicans hold enough Senate seats right now to stonewall Democrats until the 112th Congress is seated. Just do it!

Third, ignore the Democrat’s character assassinations and obtuse rhetoric. Any conservative knows, or should know, that these tactics are the first options for Regressives and their media allies. Deal with it; it’s as common to politics as sand to the Mohave Desert. Conservatives have few friends in the media and none in the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Cabal. Why try to impress them? Cater to the people who’ve granted the GOP a second chance at governing, not the Washington elitists. Their agenda is the one you were elected to stop.

Fourth, forget about bipartisanship for bipartisanship’s sake. There’s no compromise with Regressive Democrats. If the electorate wanted the snake oil Democrats have been peddling they wouldn’t have swept them from power. Obama himself has said that elections have consequences and that victors set the tone. Go for their jugular; don’t give them a hand up. Let the Regressives “reach across the aisle” for a change.

Fifth, the Republican Party must remember where their new lease on life came from. Conservatives are wary and watching for signs of betrayal. If Republicans promote big government, as past Republican Congresses have done, voters have no reason to trust them in 2012.

Republicans aren’t as devoted to statism as are Democrats. But the slow boat to socialism eventually docks in the same harbor. The GOP has a chance to prove that they aren’t a watered-down version of the Regressive Movement. They better make a good showing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The five myths of Regressive politics #2: Conservatives benefit from poverty.

Sometimes you have to hand it to your enemies. Regressives are masterful at portraying themselves as the administrators of “economic fairness.” No Regressive oration would be complete without a splash of class envy. Be it “tax cuts for the greedy rich” or “the rich getting wealthy on the backs of the poor,” the message is the same. Conservatives benefit from keeping poor Americans impoverished. But the Left’s advantage is nullified when conservatives meet their charge head-on.

Conservatism finds no joy in anyone’s economic suffering. Rather, conservatism promotes attitudes that loose people from poverty’s chain. Optimism, resilience, self-reliance and ethics are the qualities that build successful and enduring futures. While setbacks are common they aren’t cause for surrender. The individual remains superior to politicians, bureaucrats and busybody activists who display their so-called generosity in the redistribution of their neighbor’s earnings. These qualities are fundamental to conservative thought.

The notion that honor resides in effort and ingenuity is neither foolish nor outdated. And poverty isn’t a cause for shame but for resolve. Conservatives embrace this concept because the benefits are demonstrable, having lifted some of America’s highest achievers to unimagined accomplishments. That’s why conservatives resist expanding the so-called social safety net. There’s no enmity toward the poor, just toward the entitlements that encourage their economic stagnation.

The old fishing adage fit’s the conservative outlook perfectly. Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime. Conservatives enjoy teaching people to fish.

Regressive policies ensure that the poor remain poor. According to the Cato Institute, 32-percent of America’s population was impoverished in 1947. The poverty level fell to 13.9-percent by 1965. That’s when Regressives launched Lyndon Johnson’s infamous War on Poverty. Since 1965 the poverty rate has remained relatively constant, hovering between 10 and 15-percent.

If discussing poverty with a few quick statistics sounds cold and impersonal, it shouldn’t. Each number represents millions of Americans whose faith has been diminished and whose futures have been damaged by Regressive policies.

The grandiose promises of the left’s anti-poverty crusade remain predictably unfulfilled, a vapid collection of shell games, pipe dreams and collectivist utopianism. Instead of eradicating poverty, as advertised, Regressives have stifled initiative, fostered dependency and encouraged stagnation. The role of father has been swallowed in statist bureaucracy, the family unit is fractured and inner cities--ostensibly the target of the War on Poverty--are economic disasters.

Regressives toss fish to the poor, much like a marine biologist feeds a seal, thereby ensuring that destitute people, like seals, look to Regressives each time they have a need. There’s nothing compassionate about it. In fact, it’s a heinous immorality.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Climate change debate promises confusion for Pontius Pilate

Of the questions posed throughout human history few are more pertinent to contemporary culture than one from Pontius Pilate. Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea who presided over Jesus Christ’s trial, uttered the far-ranging query: “What is truth?”

Varied opinions are the norm concerning Jesus Christ. Some people see him as a good man, a wise teacher, or an extraordinary prophet. He is Savior to others. Despite such divergent opinions few people argue against Jesus being a keen judge of humanity. If Pilate failed to recognize this truth, face to face, how could he distinguish truth in today’s climate debate?

Governments, scientists and journalists have declared the global warming debate settled. It’s happening; man is the culprit and regulation is the cure. But journalists are generally sympathetic to an expansive government. The global warming scientific community receives funding from government organizations. And government itself stands to strengthen in scope and influence with each environmental regulation.

The climate debate is an example of supplying half the story while silencing opposition. And half of a story is misleading at best. At worst, it’s a lie. Could Pilate grasp truth in the media/science/government climate triumvirate?

Not even the title, global warming, has survived the spin machine. Global warming evolved into climate change until the current White House dismissed both terms in favor of
global climate disruption. Each title sounds menacing. But do any of the three carry a substantive meaning? Or, would they leave Pilate asking, “What is truth?”

Following the climate debate in the traditional media, print or broadcast, leads the non-scientific observer to accept global climate disruption as settled fact. Every expert in climate-related scientific fields, reports claim, accepts the idea of climate change. Science is of one accord, human activity is driving this world toward an apocryphal environmental calamity. That is the truth, settled and sure. Yet Pilate would do well to retain his skepticism.

Earth’s temperature and climate hasn’t remained
static through the eons, having ranged from ice ages to tropical periods. And who’s to say if Earth has deviated from its optimum temperature, or what that prime temperature should be? Furthermore, there are credible scientists questioning the “consensus” regarding climate change. In fact, there are many who shun the theory that modern living is the instigating factor in what climate and temperature fluctuations may have occurred previously, are happening now, or will in the future.

The late physicist Frederick Seitz initiated a
petition that netted over 30,000 signatures from scientists skeptical of manmade global warming. The signers represent diverse scientific disciplines, from climatologists to medical doctors. But with few exceptions the signers are credible professionals representing scientific fields. Yet such climate change skeptics are assailed or ridiculed. Their professionalism is impugned and their opinions are dismissed with rolling eyes and deep sighs.

“What is truth?”

Skeptics are labeled shills for “Big Energy” and “Big Oil.” Their views are declared biased, since energy and oil interests stand to profit from debunking climate change theories. However, climate change proponents receive funding from government interests. And governmental organizations, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, expand their influence with each anti-global climate disruption initiative.

So scientists are in total agreement. Mankind is the global warming culprit, except that a large number of scientists don’t accept the manmade climate change theories. And skeptics are ridiculed as stooges if they receive one dime from energy interests while green church apostles are considered unbiased even though governments funds their research.

What would the Judean governor make of “truth” now?

Climate change centers on the carbon dioxide generated in fossil fuel combustion, ranging from coal-fired power plants to grandpa’s
wood stove. Carbon dioxide is treated as the most noxious gas since methyl isocyanate (of Union Carbide fame). The Environmental Protection Agency has even declared CO2 a dangerous pollutant.

Carbon dioxide is portrayed as the most dangerous element known to man, a veritable death sentence for anyone exposed. Yet no one can escape its presence, for humans produce CO2 with each exhale. Are we then healthier when we aren’t breathing?

Let’s examine the scorecard. All scientists agree that manmade global warming is settled fact, except for the scientists who disagree. Climate change science is prejudiced when the research funds come from energy interests, but are pristine and unbiased when funded through governmental entities. Finally, carbon dioxide is the hazard of our era, a lethal pollutant that must be controlled. Only CO2 can’t be controlled because life doesn’t exist without its production.

Pontius Pilate could rightly ask, “What is truth?”

Monday, November 1, 2010

Why do we go to the polls?

Tea Partiers have waited nearly two years for this Election Day. We’ve dreamed about it, worked toward it and suffered unsubstantiated slanders for our efforts. Our opponents, who live for the Washington establishment, call us racists, xenophobes, homophobes, Islamophobes and the sexually derisive “tea-baggers.” We’re Limbaugh’s, Beck’s and Hannity’s puppets, intellectually vapid and thoroughly Neanderthal.

Such derision is unwarranted but not surprising. When an ideology is under assault its adherents will fight. Therefore the Washington establishment--well represented in both dominant parties--is retaliating against the Tea Party, for we threaten to tear the playhouse down.

We’ve traveled a long road to this day and many a long road lies ahead. With polls showing large conservative gains across the electoral spectrum complacency becomes a danger. We must send a loud message on November 2nd. And our motivation lies in the reasons the Tea Party was born, why it grew, and why it’s redefining the two party system.

Our national balance sheet is corrupt. The debt is $13 trillion, give or take a few hundred billion. That’s roughly an entire year’s worth of national production. Obama, who campaigned on reducing deficits, has proposed a $9.7 trillion increase in debt over the next ten years. Yet our federal “representatives” claim the answer lies in more government, higher taxes and an expansive cradle-to-grave welfare state. Therefore we go to the polls.

Social Security and Medicare are runaway trains hurtling toward a washed-out bridge. There is no Social Security trust fund and the touted “surplus” is but an accounting gimmick backed by worthless IOUs. Medicare is just as bad, if not worse. The Part D prescription drug plan and Obamacare only expand the problem.

Productive Americans--rich, poor and in between--are taxed to fund programs for the dependent. Politicians tantalize ignorant voters with promises to soak “evil” corporations and institute mythical visions of regulatory “fairness.” Yet the costs of such measures are paid by people, not legal entities. Each tax, each burdensome regulation is absorbed by the people, for the cost is passed to the consumer. Economists call this phenomenon the “unseen consequence.” It’s time we, the unseen consequences, were both seen and heard. Therefore we go to the polls.

We must repeal the onerous healthcare bill that promises high costs, poor service and shoddy results while granting enormous power--and the probability of abuse--to the central government. A majority of Americans, even if those who aren’t Tea Party activists, want this law repealed. Furthermore, it is another unconstitutional program sold to us “for our own good.” Therefore we go to the polls.

We are tired of arrogant “public servants” like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who invents Bible passages to promote her global warming agenda. She holds our freedom, the U.S. Constitution and her duty to both in utter contempt. Truth and honesty aren’t character traits for Nancy Pelosi; they are obstacles to overcome. This woman is unfit to hold public office, much less the Speaker’s gavel. Therefore we go to the polls.

Sen. Harry Reid thinks you and I stink. We, the great unwashed, are just too gamey for his aristocratic olfactory. When the Capitol Visitors Center opened Reid expressed his joy. A sensible, reasonable person would’ve been happy for the Americans who would no longer wait in the broiling sun to tour Congress. Not Reid! The air conditioned center meant no more smelly peasants near his office. Frankly, a herd of filthy goats couldn’t stink up the Capitol like Sen. Harry Reid and his ilk have done.

Reid ramrodded the healthcare overall into law despite deep objections from a sizeable number of Americans. Oppose amnesty and you’re racist in Harry Reid’s world. He is arrogant, unresponsive, sanctimonious and insulting. Even Reid’s own son views him as damaged goods, shunning the family name while running for the Nevada governorship. Therefore we go to the polls.

On Tuesday we strip power from the tyrants who kept the healthcare bill hidden, changed it indiscriminately, lied about its content and their pledge for an open review, and then passed it via a secretive, backroom vote. The bill itself was unreadable; a labyrinth of legalese, vagaries and cross references intended to prevent public understanding. Supporters of Obamacare blithely told us how wonderful the legislation would be for all Americans, yet said that the bill must pass before we can know what’s in it. Not even Sen. Max Baucus, the bill’s alleged author, bothered to read this nonsense before it became law. It’s naïve to think Congressmen and Senators read these large bills. But their contempt for our intelligence can’t go unchallenged. Therefore we go to the polls.

We go to the polls to prevent cap and trade from sacrificing our economy to an unproven theory. We go to the polls so card check won’t transform employer-employee relationships into one-sided AFL-CIO/SEIU playgrounds, which will ultimately fund our further demise. We go to the polls to correct our fiscal future and secure our national sovereignty.

Government is too large. It is unmanageable and unrestrained. Our representatives have stretched government far beyond its constitutional limits while scoffing at the Tenth Amendment, state sovereignty, property rights and individual liberty. We go to the polls to save the greatest hope for human liberty from a destructive Marxist agenda.

Ultimately, the reason we go to the polls is to fire the first salvos in a long and arduous revolution--fought each election cycle, as our Founders intended--to restore constitutional principles, fiscal sanity and common sense to American government at all levels. And we do this not only for ourselves. We go to the polls for our posterity, that future Americans may live as government’s masters, not its servants. We go to the polls because we are liberty’s last line of defense.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The five myths of Regressive politics #1: Conservatives are racist.

Whenever conservatives comment on racial issues they’re immediately compared to the Grand Dragons of the Ku Klux Klan. Such an accusation would be laughable if it weren’t so egregious. In reality conservatives are the colorblind idealists. Since all that’s rightly promised to free people is an opportunity to use their talents for their own benefit, conservatives recognize that preferential treatment based on race or ethnicity are themselves discriminatory. Quotas aren’t necessary for success, nor are head starts required.

In reality, applying quota and preference programs to people of color is condescending. Racial quota systems promote the idea that minorities are inferior and needful of preferential treatment. Conservatives recognize the duplicitous fallacy in this argument. Therefore, under conservatism, people are evaluated on their merits, with financial compensation and cultural status reflecting each individual’s contribution to society.

In conservative thought equality means a known starting point, no more. No one is elevated or relegated based on race and no preference is given beyond that which is due to the skills and attitudes a person presents.

The left is correct in one thing; racism does endure in America. However, its home is on the political left. Liberals have no faith in minorities regardless of the preening and crowing they do on behalf of the disenfranchised. Minorities cannot succeed without the left-wing do-gooder’s social justice activism and government assistance. Success can result from welfare and entitlement programs, hiring quotas, college admission preferences, or some other means. But success must be attributable to government.

The true crime of political racism is perpetrated daily on the left. Liberal politicians work diligently to convince minorities that life is worthless and unlivable without expansive government programs, thereby maintaining their grip on power. The fact that these programs are a proven snare, trapping recipients in an endless stream of dependence is immaterial. All that matters is the electoral power that can be attained and the governmental control that can be expanded.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

TV ads are annoying, but Senators are worse

If there’s an area in which U.S. Senators excel more than tossing tax dollars down rat holes it must be in blowing hot air. List grandstanding and pandering among their attributes, too. The recently passed Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM, S. 2847) displayed these Senatorial “skills” for all to see.

If you watch television you’ve noticed the difference in volume between programming and commercials, with commercials being much louder. Condemn those blaring commercials as annoying and I’m right there with you; they’re like raking your fingernails across a chalkboard. But does an annoyance warrant congressional action? Let’s think about that one for a moment.

Congress may claim authority to regulate a television commercial’s volume through their typical mischaracterization of the Constitution. Perhaps they’ll cite the commerce clause, which Congress routinely abuses to legitimize its unwarranted meddling. However, if we look at the Senate’s action in light of how the Founding Fathers viewed proper government we must conclude that Senators missed the mark on the CALM Act.

Governments exist to protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But CALM achieves none of those goals beyond what we can do for ourselves. It doesn’t defend our lives, as no one has died from an obnoxiously loud used car commercial. Our liberty isn’t protected since we can mute offending commercials, turn down their volume, or change channels. CALM doesn’t secure our pursuit of happiness, either. We can pursue happiness with or without television and its advertisements.

The CALM Act isn’t about protecting consumers at all. It’s about providing a populist stage whereupon grandstanding politicians can crow to voters about how they stuck it to the Madison Avenue man, as the bill’s sponsoring Senators inadvertently

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) claims CALM reduces the stress Americans face. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) says this “common sense” bill “prevents airing ads at unbearable volume levels.” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) explained that viewers shouldn’t fear “
losing their hearing” during commercials.

My! Aren’t they the champions of the public interest? Maybe not. Genuine common sense (not the kind Rockefeller touts) shows this bill for the pandering twaddle that it is.

No one has fallen deaf due to an overzealous word from the sponsor. Furthermore, there’s quite a distinction between an annoying noise and an unbearable one. Whining jet engines are unbearable. So are blaring train horns. Include any form of rap music in the mix, too. Television commercials are actually quite tame by comparison.

The most indefensible position comes from Sen. Whitehouse, the bill’s primary sponsor. So, loud commercials add “unnecessary stress” to people’s lives? Talk about an oxymoron. Sen. Whitehouse and his colleagues should look inward if they seek the source of America’s stress.

Congress--your Congress, Sen. Whitehouse--has spent this nation into a black hole. No tax rate can satisfy Washington’s insatiable spending lust. Each American’s share of the gross federal debt is
$45,000. Focus solely on children under 18 and each is saddled with $119,000 in unsecured debt. Americans fight radical Islam overseas while politicians seem content to tolerate it here. Healthcare “reform” is a pig in a poke that will increase the aforementioned debt while promising performance similar to Medicare, Social Security and Walter Reed.

Are Americans uneasy, unnerved, and perhaps stressed? Yes Sen. Whitehouse, and justifiably so. But of the problems we face loud TV commercials aren’t high on the stress-o-meter. In fact, they’re almost a respite from the harsh gale emanating from blowhard politicians.

Don’t fall for the Senate’s feint. CALM isn’t about TV viewers. It’s about creating a populist position for politicians seeking public approval. It’s an overblown reaction to a miniscule problem, one that Congress should have no authority to address. That S. 2847 passed unanimously is all the more discouraging. Considering the problems our country faces the Senate should find better things to do with its time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A leftist confuses exceptionalism with superiority

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) summarized his Deficit Reduction and Budget Reform Act on the Hill website. His purpose was to outline his ideas for restoring fiscal discipline to the federal government. Not once did Sen. Thune mention “American exceptionalism,” the laws of science, religion, or race. But that didn’t stop an obvious Regressive from taking the Senator to task on each subject.

In the comments section “PGBACH” wrote:

Dear Johnny, The Founders did not embraced [sic] a "spirit of American Exceptionalism." Unlike you, they were not arrogant. There is nothing in their writings to suggest they believed they were better than anyone else. In fact, to the contrary. The Founders were rational people. They rejected delusional psychosis. At no time did they claim America was above the laws of science. I do understand, Johnny, you belong to a party that rejects rationalism and science, while embracing religious delusions. That your proposal would double the poverty rate in the USA in 24 months demonstrates the GOP's agenda for rich white folks. You nearly make me ashamed to be white.

Unsubstantiated claims accompanied by race-baiting and ignorance of the Founding Fathers. “PGBACH” is a vapid talking point, a Regressive through and through. But it’s the total misconstruction of “American exceptionalism” that warrants response.

The respondent’s hostility toward "American exceptionalism" reveals a colossal ignorance of how conservatives utilize the term. “Exceptionalism" rises not from American citizens being better than citizens of other nations, but from our society and culture being based on a more solid foundation, namely personal and economic liberty and property rights. These inalienable rights have created a greater opportunity for success in America than in nations where such ideals are uncommon or suppressed.

“PGBACH” has equated exceptionalism with attitudes of superiority, the latter being more common on the American Left than on the American Right. The Left claims the understanding necessary to dictate everyone’s affairs. It is the Left that encourages Americans to surrender their rights and decisions to government. Healthcare? Retirement? Defense of self and property? How we build our homes? The kind of car we drive and the fuel economy we receive? Energy production? All are mandated, to some extent, through legislation and bureaucracy. Some such rules are warranted, but not all.

Before taking conservatives like Sen. Thune to task the respondent should’ve gotten the facts in order. Understanding Sen. Thune’s arguments and presenting a sound opposition would’ve been a start. Knowing the difference between exceptionalism and superiority would’ve helped, too. It’s likely “PGBACH” would’ve remained wrong. But there’s no excuse, aside from stupidity and laziness, to have looked so foolish in the process.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christopher Columbus: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

On Columbus Day it is appropriate to discuss Christopher Columbus’s legacy. Critics seem emboldened on the day we recognize the famous mariner’s arrival in the New World. Was Columbus the barbaric sadist his detractors claim? Or was he a great explorer and discoverer?

Columbus lived an impoverished, unspectacular childhood. He spent his youth studying geography and developing his love for sailing. In manhood Columbus was relentless in peddling his belief in a spherical earth and westward sailing route to reach India. His audiences with the Spanish royalty are legendary.

However, the concept of a round world didn’t originate with Columbus. Neither was a westward trade route to India his idea. His desires to prove these theories weren’t rooted in scientific advancement. Columbus sought personal fame and fortune, expressing an entrepreneurial, capitalist attitude, which could partially explain why the modern Left hates him so.

Ultimately, Christopher Columbus never amassed the fortune he sought and died in poverty just 15 years after a discovery he never realized. He secured fame, but not in his time. Columbus never sailed west to India. Actually, he believed the New World was India. According to modern standards he would be an ignorant failure. But Columbus didn’t live by modern standards.

Columbus was an excellent navigator, a courageous explorer and an able captain. He discovered a land unknown in his world and returned home across a trackless ocean. He commanded sailors who believed the Atlantic Ocean was full of sea serpents intent on devouring the wayward seaman. They thought the Atlantic an infinite sea that boiled at the equator. Christopher Columbus’ accomplishments were remarkable considering the obstacles he faced.

Then there’s the other portrayal of Columbus, that of the murderous, slave-trading ogre that detractors use to besmirch his memory. Not content with his true faults, Columbus haters accuse the Genoa mariner of
destroying the peaceful paradise that was the Caribbean.

Columbus, his antagonists allege, sparked a genocidal avalanche of misery and mayhem that decimated the Arawak Indians. In fact, the entire European exploration and settlement era exploded into an imperialistic inferno with Christopher Columbus holding the match. Yet the idea that the Western Hemisphere was the Garden of Eden prior to 1492 is fairly naïve. Some European explorers were brutal, and the Taino Arawak tribe suffered at Spanish hands. But to lay all violence at the feet of Columbus ignores the New World
brutality that existed before his arrival.

The Taino were rather passive. But the
Caribs were a fierce people who abused the Tainos and took their lands before Columbus arrived. The Caribs made wives of captured Taino women (slavery, anyone?), fashioned necklaces from their vanquished enemy’s teeth and may have practiced cannibalism.

The Caribs may have decimated the Ciboneys who once inhabited the Caribbean. The Ciboneys descended from a prior culture that was all but exterminated by yet another people. And if the Caribs themselves weren’t cannibals, the
Tupinamba Indians were. Finally, these tribes were indigenous Caribbean Indians; they migrated from the mainland. Thus the peaceful natives Columbus assaulted were neither peaceful nor native, but warrior explorers and conquerors.

Each person must render an individual judgment on history. Make what you will of Columbus and his successors. But remember that many civilizations originated in other places and expanded their holdings and influence through force. Mankind has explored, fought, conquered, settled and lost throughout world history. That reality isn’t going to change just to suit the unrealistic notions of Utopian fantasists.

Christopher Columbus is neither as pure nor as despicable as he is portrayed. He was human, a walking paradox whose life was filled with flaw and virtue, success and failure. He accomplished more than he knew while never quite realizing his dreams. Why not celebrate Christopher Columbus’ courage and contributions while learning from his faults and failures?

Originally published on American Thinker.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Silence is Jimmy Carter’s remedy

A viral infection can be dangerous to an 86-year old man, even if that man is a former United States President. Best wishes to Jimmy Carter for a full recovery. However, that sympathy doesn’t exclude a hope that he will keep his mouth shut.

Carter was making headlines even before falling ill. During an
interview to support his new book, White House Diary, Carter belied the humility for which he is credited. “I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents,” he meekly declared. He also blamed the late Ted Kennedy for preventing his administration from imposing socialized medicine in 30 BO (Before Obama).

Such ranting does nothing for Carter’s thoroughly tarnished image. He whines because his administration didn’t implement health reforms that have endangered the Obama presidency if not the entire Democrat Party? And his one alleged quality—humility—he tosses aside like an oily rag. That’s not a great day at the office, Mr. Carter.

Carter apologists and history revisionists tout his presidency as one of international accomplishment and domestic reform. But there’s precious little evidence to support those claims. Carter’s presidency was fraught with poor decisions, so much so that political jokesters labeled his administration the “Carter Error.”

In fairness, Carter brought Israel and Egypt to the peace table at the Camp David Accords. But the Iranian Revolution and hostage crisis generated his greatest international fame. Under Carter our military preparedness degenerated until we couldn’t get our helicopters off the ground. He also surrendered control over the strategic Panama Canal at a time when the Soviet Union’s influence was surging in Central America.

His direct dealings the Soviets left much to be desired, too. Carter apologists point to his administration’s negotiation of SALT II as instrumental to world peace. Instrumental it was, but to Soviet superiority, not peace. Basically, this Carter “victory” banned nuclear weapons systems in which we held an advantage--such as depressed trajectory missiles--while allowing the Soviets to develop and deploy their advanced technologies. Some deal.

Domestically, Carter is better remembered for 20-percent interest rates, double-digit inflation, a stagnant economy and the misery index than educational and environmental reform. His “superior” post-presidency includes the Oslo Accords, a one-sided Israel-Palestine peace agreement that the PLO and Hamas violated before the signatures dried. And his nuclear negotiations with the North Koreans during the mid-90s lulled the world into a false sense of security. We soon learned that the communist regime had developed the very nuclear technology Carter was credited with preventing.

Neither Carter’s health nor his age requires us to ignore his self-aggrandizement or his attempts to reform his abysmal presidential legacy. I don’t wish him poor health. But if he must fall ill, why not a case of laryngitis? His silence would make his supporters’ chronic amnesia slightly more tolerable.

Ballplayers aren’t Cincinnati’s only “Reds”

Is nothing sacred? Is there no limit to the lengths busybodies will go to rule every aspect of our lives? Apparently there isn’t. Not even baseball, America’s pastime, nor a victory celebration can escape the bureaucrat’s oversight or the anonymous meddler’s nosiness.

The Cincinnati Reds are the National League’s Central Division champions, heading to the playoffs for the time since 1995. It’s a monumental accomplishment, the culmination of a dream shared by innumerable ballplayers since Little League. A celebratory moment is warranted following their successful march through the tough slog of the Major League season. So Reds owner Bob Castellini distributed
cigars in the Reds locker room after the team clinched and players puffed a smoky salute to their triumph. That’s where the fun ended.

The Reds’ cigar party occurred inside the team clubhouse and was broadcast on television. Five “whistleblowers” saw these outlaws and phoned Ohio’s smoking ban hotline to report their dangerous assault on public safety. While it’s possible that jealous Cubs or Cardinals fans are behind the complaints, that doesn’t mitigate the nature of the anti-smoking “whistleblowers.” They are meddlesome tattletales in desperate need of a mission other than snooping in their neighbor’s business.

The Reds’ cigar party violated Cincinnati’s indoor smoking ban. City inspectors will now investigate--including possible undercover trips to Cincinnati’s playoff games--to determine if the scofflaw Reds will continue sneaking illicit smokes. Just how many murderers, rapists, burglars and assorted
thugs will wander Cincinnati’s streets while taxpayer’s money is used to ensure public safety inside the Cincinnati Reds clubhouse?

How long should we stand for such lunacy? How long should the blatant waste of resources remain acceptable? Is there no end to the gullibility that allows government to transform erstwhile private citizens into bureaucratic stooges, anonymously spying on our neighbors? Above all, how long will we tolerate the incessant assault on private property and personal decisions that pass for “public safety” initiatives?

Obviously the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park isn’t the only place to find “Reds” in Cincinnati. It isn’t the only place to find “Reds” in America. Tyranny is expected from the Nancy Pelosi sect. But it’s unnerving when “everyday” Americans consider it good citizenship to snitch on their countrymen’s private affairs. Isn’t it time to root out these useful idiots among us, these petty tyrants, and expose their treachery?

Anonymous tip lines that encourage people to tattle on their neighbor have become all too common. If the Reds’ cigars are such a serious offence, let the offended come forward, like adults, and openly air their grievance. Since they obviously lack the courage to take a public stand, let these mice return to their holes.

Move aside cowards and let the bold dogs can bark. Let the barking commence at the Reds’ first home playoff game. I’d like to see the entire Cincinnati starting nine take the field with stogies in their mouths, just for a show of solidarity.

Although I’m a non-smoker and a Yankees fan, I’ll put my head on the block alongside the Reds. I will smoke a cigar--indoors, of course--if Cincinnati wins the World Series. What’s more, I will video my tribute and send a copy to the Cincinnati Health Department. Consider it the “puff heard around the world.”

Originally published at American Thinker.

Monday, September 27, 2010

With Republicans like Powell, who needs Democrats?

Why Colin Powell remains a favored interview on Republican electoral strategy is inexplicable. Powell’s personal achievements are indeed exemplary. But his conservative credentials expired long ago. He continually proves that he--like too many Republicans--is a small “d” Democrat with an “R” beside his name.

Powell’s inside Washington philosophies were apparent during a recent
appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. He criticized conservative ideas, projecting instead the mindset that has transformed the GOP into Democrats Light.

Powell instructed Republicans to support immigration. “We’ve got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status,” the General declared. His comment raises two points of contention.

First, Powell is assuming that conservative Republicans oppose immigration lock, stock and barrel. Not so. According to a Rasmussen
poll Republicans favor a welcoming immigration policy more than do Democrats. Legal immigration is not a problem for conservatives.

Gen. Powell, the people you say need “some kind of status” have a status now. It’s called “illegal alien.” Those are the so-called “immigrants” conservative Republicans oppose. Illegal aliens and legal immigrants are synonymous and no one need pretend that they are. Such a comparison disparages legal migrants in favor of aliens who’ve shown contempt for our laws, borders, sovereignty and culture. That’s no winning strategy.

The Tea Party is a question mark for Gen. Powell, too. He thinks the movement will dissipate, having become too entrenched in ideological discourse. The Tea Party will lose its momentum because it offers nothing voters can see, touch, or believe in. Too much time is spent promoting ideas like fiscal sanity and constitutional government. Such a thought wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if it came from Rahm Emmanuel, but it’s appalling coming from a Republican.

Where, Gen. Powell, would you have Americans place their faith if not in fiscal responsibility and constitutional principles? Federal spending is a case study in how not to manage a budget. Washington’s “success” stories, Social Security and Medicare, are train wrecks hurtling toward derailment. Budget deficits are ballooning under Obama’s “change.” The national debt consumes nearly a year’s worth of GDP and unfunded entitlements stretch from here to Alpha Centauri.

Budgetary sanity and fiscal discipline better be winning issues, Gen. Powell. That is, if America’s future is to exceed its past.

Let’s also remember that adherence to the Constitution is a federal representative’s prime duty. Elected officials swear no oath to provide cradle-to-grave public assistance. They have neither duty nor authority to subsidize individual retirement or medical needs. However, representatives do swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitution restrains the central government and safeguards our liberty and sovereignty. When it’s ignored, as the ruling class routinely does, Americans lose. Adhering to the Constitution is an idea that everyone should believe in. If not, let us fold our tents; this experiment in self-government has failed.

If disciplined, constitutionally responsible government and national sovereignty aren’t priorities for Gen. Powell, what direction does he prefer? Should we support amnesty for illegal aliens and oppose lower taxation? Would Powell’s ideal Republican, one Americans “can believe in,” sacrifice conservative ideals to attain bipartisan cooperation? Republicans fielded such a candidate in the 2008 presidential race. Powell promptly shunned that candidate, John McCain, and endorsed the Democrat opposition.

Republicans were once the voice for fiscal restraint, personal responsibility, liberty and Constitutional principles. But the blind guides within the Beltway hierarchy have too long driven the party platform. Thus the GOP has adopted big government philosophies, only to a slighter degree than do Democrats. Healing the GOP means rejecting the advice of pundits, like Powell, who see legislation and bureaucracy as a cure-all.

Colin Powell rose from humble beginnings to craft a
successful life. Let’s admire his tenacity and work ethic. Let’s certainly respect his extensive military service. But he places far too much faith in government to suit the cause of liberty. From that standpoint he has outlived his usefulness as a Republican strategist.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The First Amendment takes a hit

The Richter scale measures the magnitude of subterranean movements. But any recent seismic activity is more attributable to our Founding Fathers rolling in their graves than to tectonic shifts. Free speech has been sacrificed and it’s doubtful the Founders would be pleased.

Molly Norris is a former cartoonist for the Seattle Weekly newspaper. I say “former” because Molly no longer exists, at least not in her original form. At the FBI’s encouragement she has become something of a non-person.

No, Molly didn’t witness a mob hit nor will she provide key evidence against a drug lord. Molly Norris merely expressed an opinion, offended the “religion of peace” and became the target of an Islamic assassination order. What on earth could she have done to earn such ire? Nothing, really.

Norris satirically declared an “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” in response to the censoring of the Muslim overseer’s depiction on Comedy Central’s South Park. She never declared an actual event. She wasn’t trying to spark a “Draw Muhammad Day” movement and she apologized for any offense. Too late. Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki declared her a “prime target” fit only for hell’s fire.

Actually, it’s al-Awlaki who should be pricing asbestos underwear. But that’s a topic for another time.

What this episode says about our society, our courage and our dedication to our founding principles is deafening. An American citizen is worse than exiled--at the behest of our government--because some Muslims don’t like her views. The federal government has thus admitted that it can’t, or won’t, protect our Constitution or our people against militant Islamic threats. The politically correct atmosphere in Washington is more inclined to appease radical nutcases than to defend our culture and liberty. It is disgraceful!

Can Americans truly be as spineless and weak as this situation indicates? If so, we should admit defeat for we’re doomed where we stand. But it’s doubtful the public knows about this egregious assault on the First Amendment, from both Islam and Washington. Except for Fox News, Molly Norris’ demise has received scant attention at best. Frankly, it’s being ignored. She and the First Amendment have been sacrificed to Islamic radicalism.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” We have less liberty and safety whenever we, and our government, surrender to animals like al-Awlaki and his cutthroat followers. Molly Norris certainly has no liberty or safety. She’s not even allowed to exist.

Our Founder Fathers would hold us in utter contempt. The depth of their repudiation echoes across two centuries. In fact, I can almost feel the ground trembling from their restlessness.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Behind the mind of an American apologist

Foster Kamer has an interesting blog post on the topic at the Village Voice. It’s an enlightening journey into the mindset that thinks building a mosque within spitting distance of Ground Zero signifies tolerance and outreach. Kamer also proves that Regressives can’t present an argument without an expletive-laced tirade intended to cow their opponents into silence.

Kamer argues that you’re a fool if you oppose the Ground Zero Mosque because the mosque isn’t sitting on the World Trade Center site. He concludes with this intellectual masterpiece: "But now you have a map to see how wrong you are, okay? Now: F**k you. F**k you and shut up, you a**holes. Shut up and leave New Yor(k) alone."

Admittedly, Kamer’s article raised some interesting points. Americans have squabbled childishly over what should be done at the World Trade Center site to properly memorialize the dead. And there are adult establishments, fast food restaurants and other businesses that add nothing to the solemnity of the location. However, three key truths waylay Kamer’s claims.

First, such businesses existed in and around the WTC before 9/11. Second, let it be remembered that topless dancers, wholesale jewelers, street vendors and Burger King cooks didn’t fly aircraft into the Twin Towers. Third, the people who died at Ground Zero weren't defending religious freedom, as Kamer alleges. They weren’t defending anything; they simply went to work and died at the hands of assassins who considered them infidels.

Kamer says that Muslims, also, were killed on 9/11. Has anyone claimed otherwise? There were at least 18 Muslims killed, as I recall. What’s more, among those who died in those skyscrapers, the Pentagon and Flight 92 were likely Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Wiccans, agnostics, atheists and a Satanist or two. What’s the point? Adherents to these beliefs weren’t represented on “the Muslim street” following 9/11—firing celebratory bursts from their AK-47s—now were they?

Sorry Village Voice, your writer’s argument is empty. No one has claimed that the mosque in question sits on the actual site of the Twin Towers. But the Park 51 area is a part of the site, a place where
debris from the WTC reigned on innocent people. Therefore, if Imam Rauf were actually interested in "healing" and “building bridges” he would've planned his project in another NY location, which he has admitted. Yet, he says he can't change plans now or Islam will be offended, which raises more questions.

Hasn’t Imam Rauf now confessed to the radical hatred within the religion he teaches? Hasn’t he said that his Islamic brethren can’t be trusted to behave civilly? Yes, he has admitted just that, and with clarity that can’t be misinterpreted.

Funny, too, how the Village Voice writer claims to defend religious freedom and yet tells everyone with a different view to "shut the f**k up,” as the previous quote indicates. Where is his appreciation and respect for free speech? Where is his tolerance? I will defend religious freedom until it’s used to attack our nation, culture and civilization, or to kill our people. At that point the tolerance ends. There is no more.

I will also defend Foster Kamer’s ability to speak freely and convey the opinions he wishes. But I’ll admit that my reasons are selfish. Foster must speak because the best thing to do with fools is let them have the stage. They will invariably prove their lack of worth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ines Sainz is no innocent victim

Our politically correct media culture demands immediate confession. Any offense, real or perceived, sends damage control teams rushing for microphones, issuing apologies in all directions. Seldom will common sense prevail, especially if it contradicts a good story. Bring in Ines Sainz.

Inez is the female sports reporter who became the
target of “locker room” commentary when she entered the New York Jets’ locker room. The PC media culture immediately circled the wagons around Inez, condemning the crude and boorish behavior the Jets players and coaches exhibited.

Yet the question remained, was Sainz harassed or not? At first glance she appeared to be offended by the various hoots and whistles that hailed her arrival in the world of the New York Jets. But, within a few days, Sainz
refuted the harassment claims. She told the New York Daily News, “I want to make clear that in no moment did I even feel offended, much less at risk or in danger while there.”

It turned out that a colleague and the Association for Women in Sports Media contributed to turning a rather minor incident into a world-wide frenzy.

Now let’s be frank. Ines Sainz is a woman of rare features. She’s exceptionally pretty with a gorgeous figure. But none of those qualities is an excuse for grown men to behave like horny high-school kids. Jets personnel are responsible for their actions regardless of the situation.

In a perfect world Ines Sainz could strip naked and wiggle her caboose through the darkest subway station without fear of rape, assault, abuse, or accost. Also in a perfect world I could don a Confederate Army uniform and carry the Rebel Flag through South Central L.A. while singing Massa’s in de Cold, Cold Ground. But our world isn’t perfect and neither act represents a prudent choice.

Ines Sainz wasn’t assaulted in any substantive way. No one groped her or offered her an evening to remember. Her person wasn’t insulted; her professionalism was. On this point Ines cannot claim innocence. While a provocatively dressed woman doesn’t excuse a man’s loutish behavior, such behavior is no surprise. And it’s equally true that professionalism begins with the person. Has Ines cultivated a professional image?

Sainz looked rather comfortable in her body-hugging denim Capri’s and low-cut blouse while
cavorting with two Indianapolis Colts linemen at last year’s Super Bowl. When she visited the Jets her jeans were again seductively snug. This is her rule, not her exception. Sainz routinely packages her assets in jeans tighter that those worn by the lead singers of 1980s hair metal bands. Her bikini photos aren’t unspectacular either.

Not being someone who’s offended by a pretty woman in sexy clothes, let me be the one to go out on the limb. Yes, Ines Sainz looks great in her Frederick’s of Hollywood wardrobe. Her bikinis are fit for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and her jeans superb for trolling the club scene. But, if she wants professional treatment she should dress professionally while on the job.

When someone presents a serious, professional image their chances of being treated seriously and professionally escalate. Yes, woman can dress attractively and still present a professional appearance. Fox News’ Megan Kelly and Gretchen Carlson prove it everyday. But when a woman dresses provocatively on the job it should surprise no one when she’s ogled.

Researching Ines Sainz’s wardrobe choices and pontificating on who is at fault and why is easy. Solutions that prevent similar episodes are more difficult. Fortunately, I have an answer. Since locker rooms and clubhouses are filled with athletes in various stages of undress no reporter, male or female, belongs there.

Locker rooms and clubhouses are the athlete’s refuge, their haven to concentrate on the game ahead, reflect on one completed, or simply unwind. Locker room reporters are a distraction whether they come in the form of sexy women in skin-tight jeans or bald men in sport coats. Reporters have ample opportunity to interview athletes outside the locker room.

Ines shouldn’t have received a stripper’s reception at the Jets’ facility. However, her choice of attire was imprudent. She didn’t present the image of someone who wants to be taken seriously. In fact, the Redskins’ Clinton Portis was quite correct. Ines looked more like a teenager seeking a date for the prom that a reporter conducting an interview.