Saturday, August 29, 2009

Setting a High Standard

Party versus principle is the continuing topic I've addressed in the last several posts. I've become more than disillusioned with the our infamous two party system in the United States. Actually I've become disillusioned with the party leaders and members who abandon every cherished principle at the drop of a vote or turn of a poll.

One man simply never ever abandoned his principles. He stood firm always. He fought his own party tooth and nail when they parted ways with his principles. That man was Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

To be certain, Ted Kennedy was a consummate politician. He knew how to get things done. He was quick to cross party lines to accomplish his goals. He was willing to compromise for the greater good. But he never sold out. He never took his eye off the goal.

There are perhaps another half dozen Senators who attempt each day to rise to the Kennedy standard. I wish there were 93 more.

Today Democrats are hoping to capitalize on Ted Kennedy's memory to pass a health care reform bill. It is a noble goal and one that would please the Senator. But they all lack Kennedy's good sense to cross party lines and enlist a Hatch, McCain or Graham to achieve the real goal. Invoking Kennedy's name isn't enough. They need to invoke his spirit.

Today, as we all watch the memorials to Senator Kennedy, we need to challenge ourselves to be more like him.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

This is a moment we, as a nation, will long regret. My prayers are with Leon Panetta, who was thrust into this leadership position unprepared for the weight of the mission that has fallen upon him. And my prayers are with the agents and employees of the CIA who have served this country faithfully, with courage and loyalty, often in the most dangerous of assignments.

Eric Holder, our nations Attorney General did not reach the decision to prosecute agents of the CIA for their allegedly torturous activities in the pursuit of al Qaeda terrorists, lightly. I know he agonized long and hard. Still, the decision reeks of political decision making.

Most importantly the decision puts our country at great risk. Holder and President Obama will deal a death blow to our intelligence gathering efforts. It is a poor decision and one that should have been handled differently.

This does not mean I advocate torture. This does not mean we should accept torture. This simply needed to be handled within the agency, by Mr. Panetta, in an appropriate manner consistent with the mission of the agency.

As qualified and talented HONORABLE agents flee the agency, as agents hold back in the performance of their duties in fear of political retribution, the nation will be vulnerable. Agents cannot be put into the position of having to second guess their orders, let alone disobey them.

Would Barack Obama want agents to second guess his decisions? They will. And we will all pay the price.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Destroying America $1 at a Time

I really, really, really hate political parties. Every one of them! They all have a requirement that you check your brain at the door and absolutely prohibit the use of common sense.

Republican. Democrat. Libertarian. Green Party. Just support the party. Follow the party line. Shut up. Don't think. And don't care. Just help the home team "win," whatever-the-hell that means.

The White House
today admitted what everyone on earth with the exception of the entire Democrat Party already knew: the deficit will reach a staggering and totally unsustainable $9,000,000,000,000.00 (Nine Trillion Dollars) over the course of what President imagines will be his Presidency.

The sad truth is that he will never serve two terms as President. The even sadder truth is that the United States as we know it will not exist in 8 years. And the mindless Democrats are cheerfully spending the country into bankruptcy and beyond. They don't give a single thing they are doing a second thought. Mindless Republicans certainly started the spending, but today oppose it without having the slightest idea why. They just oppose the Democrats.

The Chinese and nervous, but relatively gleeful. They control our fate. They hadn't really planned on owning the best real estate in the Western Hemisphere, but with prices this low, they just can't pass up the deal. It's a world wide versions of "cash for clunkers," and we Americans are the clunkers.

So, with the bankruptcy of Medicare and Social Security just a few years away and default on the National Debt to follow quickly, the Zombies in the House and Senate debate a Health Care Program they cannot possibly pay for.

Sarah Palin was right! There is a Death Panel! It's the US Congress and they're planning the Death of a Country.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Principle above Party

I've been meaning to write a few lines about the rapidly expanding war in Afghanistan and the strong presence the United States is still maintaining in Iraq, but President Obama's (supposed) Health Insurance Reform has captivated our attention as a society and my attention personally.

The other day, during my two hour morning monitoring of Morning Edition on National Public Radio, I was astounded to hear that President Obama expected US Troops to be involved in Afghanistan for at least ten more years. Troop strength has already doubled from President Bush's inadequate allocation and may increase again this fall.

What struck me most was the complete lack of protest or concern on the part of most Americans to our continued adventures in Nation Building.

I paused for a moment to consider what would have happened if a newly elected President McCain had maintained over 100,000 troops in Iraq for the next five years and then announced that as many as 100,000 troops might be needed for as long as ten years in Afghanistan.

Had my imaginary President McCain merely echoed Obama's exact strategy, there would literally be rioting in the streets.

And this is why I so strongly hate the current climate of loyalty to political parties (Republican or Democrat) instead of principle. If 150,000 plus American troops adventuring over in the middle east was wrong a short seven (7) months ago, shouldn't it still be wrong today?

I'm confident that, had we elected John McCain, our involvement in the middle east would be rapidly winding down. Not because McCain wanted smaller involvement, but because he would be battling Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid tooth and nail for every dollar. McCain would be forced by Congress and the American people to speed up his exit and cut his forces and costs. Hell, we might actually be talking about deficit spending!

But the Democrats in Congress support their President, right or wrong. The very few of them with an ounce of integrity are holding their noses and focusing on the Health Care battle and pretending Iraq doesn't exist.

What caused me to remember this issue from a week or so ago was Cindy Sheehan, a woman with immense principle. A woman that should be representing Nancy Pelosi's district in the House instead of the opportunistic and totally unprincipled Pelosi.

Cindy is a woman who puts principle way above party labels. This week she is taking her August vigil from President Bush's summer home in Crawford, Texas to President Obama's summer vacation spot at Martha's Vineyard.

"We as a movement need to continue calling for an immediate end to the occupations [in Iraq and Afghanistan] even when there is a Democrat in the Oval Office," Sheehan said in a statement. "There is still no Noble Cause no matter how we examine the policies."

She will fight the battle alone. She will have only a handful of followers. There will be no television interviews. And no one, not even Chris Matthews, will wonder why the President doesn't have the courage to walk down the road and meet with her, even though he strongly urged then President Bush to hold such a meeting.

And this is exactly why I put PRINCIPLE above PARTY. President Obama and most of the Democrats have betrayed most of the most cherished liberal principles. Calling protesters a "mob." Dismissing the genuine concerns of American Citizens. Harry Reid and many Democrats refuse to even hold town meetings, calling American Citizens who actually care "evil doers." Hell, Reid even sounds like President Bush. "Evil Doers" indeed.

Democrats do not somehow magically deserve my support because they have a "D" behind their title. They have to earn my respect through honor, honesty and integrity.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nancy Pelosi - Then and Now

Nancy Pelosi was, of course, very correct in 2006. How quickly whe has forgotten.

Dissent is the very heart of democracy and freedom.

As Camille Paglia so wisely stated in her column yesterday, "And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Byzantine Beyond Belief

The brilliant Camille Paglia, whose rambling columns over at are often incendiary, has written the finest overall analysis of President Obama's health care initiative and the subsequent political battles that I've read by any author, anywhere. In writing Obama's Healthcare Horror, Paglia is witty, biting and, most of all, insightful in her look at the strange progress of what she calls, "one of the most vital issues facing the nation."

Paglia is an Obama supporter. She voted for him in the election and has high praise for his handling of foreign affairs and other issues. But, in this article, she dissects his political team and his handling of the healthcare debate alternatively with a razor sharp knife and a sledge hammer! She leaves no bodies unbloodied.

I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama's chief of staff, and hope it's a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

Case in point: the administration's grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

Where Paglia is especially sharp is in her analysis of the various competing healthcare bills floating around Congress this summer. These bills do not do the very things the President promised. Worse yet, it is increasingly clear President Obama doesn't even know the content of the bills he is championing.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups

Camille Paglia echoes my exact sentiments in her review of the current, keenly orchestrated, Democrat effort to brand any concerned citizen as a member of an AstroTurf "mob." It simply isn't possible for a political party to so stunningly betray the American People.

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

Be certain to read Camille Paglia's complete article: Obama's Healthcare Horror

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The Casualties of The Health Care War

I was up in the middle of last night Twittering. Twittering at 2:00 am. But I couldn't sleep for some unknown reason. Lots of other folks are up Twittering at 2:00 am, too. Many are from Europe, where it's actually morning. And a few are my very favorite late night friends from Malaysia, China and Cambodia.

But the tone and tenor of last night's conversations were vastly different. Far to much of the communication was angry or bitter or sarcastic. Health care debate has entered the Twitterverse full force.

Most distressing to me, in both the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere, is the tendency to demonize opponents with nasty, often sexual, racial or ethnic slurs in place of any real discussion of issues and ideas. As a liberal and a Democrat I am most distressed because most of these slurs come from the left. As I witnessed a barrage of hate aimed at one particular conservative woman, I was deeply saddened. I kept thinking, "we liberals are supposed to be better than that."

The woman was attempting to engage in real discussion, raising genuine concerns. I never saw a single genuine factual response. I did see her vilified as "trailer trash" with other comments I'll chose not to repeat. It's sad.

Since I was up anyway, I watched cable news, switching between Glenn Beck and Rachel Maddow. That was a trip! How could two smart people look at exactly the same facts and arrive at such vastly different conclusions? Both, in effect, yelling "FIRE" at the top of their lungs.

I really like Rachel Maddow and I really dislike Glenn Beck. He is tough to watch and tougher to listen to. But I was appalled at Rachel's total inability and total unwillingness to even consider that someone else's concern was genuine. She decided, without benefit of any facts, that the "Brooks Brothers" protesters were bought and paid for by some corporate giant, secretly scripting every comment and busing in every protester. Then she actually REFUSED on air to meet with any of the protesters or to actually talk to them! Damn Rachel, You're Better Than That!!!

I have coffee with these "Brooks Brothers" protesters every morning of the week. You know, they just don't look like the picture on the left.

I've got terrible news for Rachel. They don't even know what "Brooks Brothers" is. They are (around here) mostly Democrats, mostly senior citizens, blacks as well as whites, mostly laborers, and just good folks.

They all like their current health care situation. They all like their current insurance options. They don't want that to change. At all.

They DO WANT the uninsured covered (universal health care), but they sure as hell don't want the government involved. They all want tort reform. They all want insurance to be transportable. Debt scares them. And the government scares them.

And now they are all really pissed off that they are being dissed, lectured, talked down to, and ignored by Barack Obama. Barack Obama yesterday told them, in effect, "to shut the hell up." Barack Obama has really made them angry.

Televisions endless replay of
President Obama's speech isn't helping. Obama actually said, "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess."

Barack Obama works for us, one man told me. How dare he think he is just too good to listen to us now?

I'll admit I was appalled at Obama's comments yesterday. I thought they were terribly unwise. I think the President is getting really bad advice. He came off as the arugula eating San Franciscan that accused Ohio residents of clinging to their guns and their bibles.

President Obama needs to listen to all Americans, not insult and ignore them. Or demonize them. Or, worst of all, scold them as foolish children, whose opinions don't matter.

My mother used to say, "You catch more flies with Honey than with Vinegar." If President Obama wants to win the Health Care Debate, he needs to remember that old adage.

What we've lost by waging a Health Care War, is an open exchange of ideas. My long post today SHOULD have been about the simple, elegant and logical approach to Health Care Reform offered yesterday from an unexpected source,
Charles Krauthammer. Yep, Charles Krauthammer. It's worth reading. But in today's warfare environment, it will never be discussed, let alone considered.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

"hung for a sheep as well as a lamb"

"I might as well be hanged for a sheep as well as a lamb."

It is simply amazing what you can learn (or re-learn if you are an older student) as you research something on the Internet. Let's take the very famous and often used quote above. A quick search of
quotations attributed the quote to Edward Koch (1901-1995) the award winning American Screenwriter. However, Koch only borrowed the phrase.

The Oxford English Dictionary has a quotation from Richardson, "Clarissa" (1748): "In for the lamb, as the saying is, in for the sheep." But, in fact, this quote is probably much older than that.

The origination of the quote stems from old English common law that demanded that thieves of livestock be either executed or deported from England. The law did not differentiate in the age, size or condition of the animal. This law remained in effect until 1800. Therefore, if you were going to be executed anyway, you might as well steal a meaty sheep, with ample wool, as a newborn lamb with little value.

Further and deeper investigation also corrected the grammar from the title phrase I've used today. It turns out it shouldn't by hung, but hanged. I need to thank the website
Grammar Girl for this information. For those of us who prefer simple grammar rules to remember, curtains and hung, people are hanged. The link above will explain why this usage is more correct.

Hold on.... we're getting closer to the actual point of this essay.

Yesterday I was forcefully rebuked in the comments section of another blog. Neither the blog name nor the attacker's name matter, especially since I greatly respect them both. The point is that a reply I thought was a humorous jest offended someone who thought I was being a sanctimonious *%!+*/!^#. He was probably right. But I'm no stranger to being attacked or insulted in the blogosphere. I don't get angry and I certainly don't get upset.

Here's where it gets interesting. The fine gentleman who fired the hostile replies at me undoubtedly wanted to hurl the greatest possible insult he could muster. He did use the usual suspects of language and deviate sexual innuendo, but with an unexpected twist. His accusation was that I was unusually devoted to Michelle Malkin.

His insult was, in effect, that I like and respect and quote and recommend
Michelle Malkin regularly. Now he didn't actually use any words so polite or kind as "like" or 'respect" or "quote" or "recommend" but you get the drift of his attack.

So, finally, we get to the point of this essay AND the title of this post! While I will object to his deviate sexual undertones, I freely admit that I am absolutely guilty of respecting Michelle Malkin! There, you have it! I'm out of the closet.

I do like and respect and recommend Michelle Malkin. I read her blog daily and have corresponded with her on a few rare occasions. She has always been helpful, honest, respectful and courteous. This, in spite of the fact we often disagree greatly on the most important issues of the day.

So, like the livestock thieves in old England, I'd rather be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. I congratulate Michelle on an absolutely amazing feat. Her brand new book,
Culture of Corruption, is NUMBER ONE on the New York Times Bestseller List in its first week of publication. Considering that her book has not been reviewed (favorably of unfavorably) by a single national newspaper, this is simply an amazing grass roots success! Here is Michelle's own blog post about her success: Culture of Corruption hits #1: Thank you!

While I'm not quoting Michelle today, I will pick up a quote she reprinted on her blog. The quote is from
Human Events:

Michelle Malkin’s brand new book, Culture of Corruption, will debut at #1 on the NYT Bestseller List on Sunday, August 16. Sources at Regnery Publishing (sister company of Human Events) confirm the book’s #1 ranking, and further confirm that the book, which just launched on July 29, is now in its 4th printing, with more than 300,000 copies.

"I might as well be hanged for a sheep as well as a lamb."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

In Praise of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

As we enter the final few hours of Senate debate on the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court Justice, I want to reiterate my strong support for her confirmation.

It appears now she will be confirmed with around seventy votes, including the votes of several Republicans. I could not be more pleased.

As I watched the replay of the debate and "speechifying" by the various Senators I find I support Sotomayor for the very same reasons several Republicans oppose her: she WILL bring her experience and her background and her sense of fairness into the courtroom!

Senator McCain and others decry that she might rule from her heart instead of the law. While there is no real world evidence she has ever failed to follow the law, the FACT is that every Supreme Court Justice brings his or her life experience and sense of fairness, honor and reason to the bench.

I was and remain a strong supporter of Judges Roberts, Alito and Thomas for that very reason. Especially Justice Clarence Thomas, who brings incredible balance to the court.

It is for that exact same reason I support the future Justice Sotomayor. We need her life experience, her wisdom, her intellect and her judgement on the court.

Our founding fathers had the wisdom to create a nine member Supreme Court for that very reason. A single judge would quickly become a despot, a supreme leader, able to overturn laws on a whim. Instead we are fortunate to have a deliberative body of nine judges. For our system to work, we need the balance of experience, learning, wisdom and legal opinions of those nine people.

The Senators ALL know this. If judges only provided the clear robotic implementation of the law, all verdicts would be nine to zero.

So the very key to a great Supreme Court is the mix of the justices. We would be hard pressed to find a better addition to broaden the perspective of our court than Sotomayor.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Town Hall Meetings of No

I've been researching the House versions of the proposed Health Care Reform and I can only say I'm appalled. In fact, I'm sickened. I need health care.

It is clear that compromise is dead. It is clear that bipartisanship is dead. It is clear that honesty, honor, and candor are on their respective death beds.

I had hoped for Universal Health Care this year. We need it and we deserve it and we can afford to do it. Alas, it's my own party, the Democrats, that has killed it. Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama have performed an abortion that was unnecessary.

When you set out to lie to the American people, to pull the wool over their eyes, you can only succeed for so long. President Obama wanted quick approval of a bill he hoped would be hidden from the light of day. Thank the gods he has failed.

The American people are not stupid. We are trusting and we are slow to learn. We want to believe. But the bill in the House of Representatives is a Trojan horse, convoluted, complex and duplicitous. It doesn't do any of the things Democrats and President Obama promised. It will destroy the current American Health Care System. It's sad.

You can only lie to the American People so many times before you get caught. And now the Dems have been caught red handed. And they are paying the price. Below are just two of dozens of examples, with more to come.

The tragedy is that this horrific lie will likely kill all chances of Universal Health Care.

I lay 100% of the blame at President Obama's feet. If he had told the truth, if he had genuinely allowed a bipartisan bill to emerge, Universal Health Care could have become a reality.

Now we can only hope the bipartisan efforts in the Senate can save the bill. It's a slim chance. If you don't believe me, replay the above video and the dozens like it from all across America.