Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving is a particularly American holiday and in so many ways, it defines and encourages us to remember who we are as well our purpose and place in history.

We all have personal reasons to be thankful (as do I) regardless as to how many tribulations we have endured during the preceding 12 months and we can contemplate those with our families and loved ones.

I think it better, here, to focus on our collective fortunes and blessings as Americans. Please feel free to add your own.

On this Thanksgiving Day, 2008:

I give thanks to our founders, who envisioned this country more than two centuries ago and for those who gave their lives to establish it.

I give thanks to the men and women who today, and since our nation’s founding, have given their all for the preservation of our liberty and to bestow liberty upon, and to preserve the liberty of, people around the world.

I give thanks to live in a nation of plenty, where obesity is a problem and starvation is not; this is truly an exception in the history of mankind.

I give thanks for forums such as this, where I can freely express my opinions without fear of retribution.

I give thanks that I live in a nation where immigration is a problem and emigration is not.

I give thanks that we have just elected a new president in an election unmarred by violence and, though nearly half of the people voted against him, he will take power on January 20 and that transition will take place with the full cooperation of the outgoing president.

We are all truly blessed to live in a country such as this; so long as we continue to recognize and recognize its virtues, it will continue to be the “last, best hope of mankind”.

Happy Thanksgiving, to all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Premature Elevation?



What, exactly, is the "Office of the President Elect"? Well, it appears that there is no such thing.

After being widely criticized for use of a "faux Presidential Seal" earlier in the campaign it would seem that he would have curbed his appetite for affectation.

Alas, that would not seem to be the case.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dire Predictions for USA from Russian Analyst

From Drudge comes this interesting theory:
A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.
While we do have some serious problems here, I think he fails to factor in that we are united by choice, not by coercion, invasion and tyranny, as was the case with the USSR (the model he's obviously using). While we have regionalism, our Americanism comes first. The Great Depression probably strengthened our unity, so his use of economic upheaval as an impetus for dividing the country shows some basic ignorance as to what we are about.

Russia is dialing up the Cold War rhetoric, complete with sabre-rattling and war-game playing with the usual suspects. There are some serious challenges ahead as everything old becomes new again; Russia, China and Venezuela - the new Cuba. These are perilous times, with a young, inexperienced incoming president.

On Inauguration Day, Obama needs to convince the world that he knows how to use the big stick and that he's willing to do so, we already know he can speak softly.

Then there's this little tidbit from the same piece on Drudge:
He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.
Whoa there buddy, you might want to read the facts on Sarah Palin before you even think about messin' with Alaska!

Also, I hope someone at NSA has read those books on "information warfare"........

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Terrorists vs. Pirates: Who are the Good Guys?




MOGADISHU — Islamist fighters threatened to attack Somali pirates Sunday in an effort to rescue a Saudi oil supertanker carrying $100 million worth of crude oil that was hijacked last week, the Agence France-Presse reported.

This creates quite a dilemma; who am I supposed to be for in this battle? On one hand you have Islamist terrorists, who kill innocents in the name of their religion. On the other hand, you have pirates who are simply in it for the money.

Of course, in the eyes of the terrorists, it's a clear-cut case:
Piracy, which is a capital offense under Islam, has reportedly angered the Shehab, a militant Islamist group that controls much of southern and central Somalia and rejects an internationally-backed peace process.
Ah, I see. Piracy is a capital offense under Islam (like being a Jew, or a Christian, or just about anything but a Muslim), but the continued senseless slaughter and maiming of innocents in the name of Islam is actually a virtue!

I think in this particular fight, I'll have to go with the pirates; their motivation, no matter how vile and criminal, is at least something that I can understand.

Let justice be delivered to the pirates by someone who actually has a grasp on the concept.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day, November 22, 2008

Today, November 22, 2008, has been acclaimed "Victory in Iraq Day" by a number of bloggers and I hereby add my voice to this acclamation.

(A banner (to the right) will remain to commemorate this day and it will also take you to the website explaining this acclamation.)

On a personal note, I must add that this is also my mother's birthday. Though she departed more than 25 years ago, she was a World War II veteran, I am sure that she would be proud that her birthday would coincide with such a symbolic milestone in the history of our country. In her own time, she also made a significant contribution toward the liberation of the world from tyranny. Happy birthday, Mom and thanks for everything.

Coincidentally, this is also the 45th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy; a day that I remember well, even though I was but a child at the time. President Kennedy has been shown, by history, to have been many things, but first he was a patriot who believed the role of the United States was to ensure liberty throughout the world. I offer his own stirring words as testament:

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.


We have paid the price, borne the burden and now, let us take a moment to enjoy our success in assuring the survival and success of liberty in Iraq - and to thank those who made it possible.

May God bless all who have paid the ultimate price for this success and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mitch McConnell: A Shameful Republican Senator

Democrats certainly don't have a monopoly on pompous asses. This particular ass is a Senator from my state - a Senator that (alas) I just voted for. That's a mistake I'll not make again.

Had I wanted a Senator that would use President Bush as a "whipping boy" I would have voted for a Democrat.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A top Republican said on Friday that Democratic U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is "off to a good start" and indicated he was pleased to see President George W. Bush get ready to leave.


"Our members, in one way, are kind of relieved by the departure of an administration that became unpopular and made it very difficult for us to compete," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Capitol Hill.


So what's the point of this, Mitch? Trying to suck up to the new administration in the hope that they'll like you and make life easier for you up there in the Country Club we call the U.S. Senate? Since a lot of your old buddies got thrown out, are you trying to make some new friends, or are you just welcoming your new overlords?

Whatever your reasons, your statement was shameful, cheap and wholly undeserved. Showing some initial magnanimity toward the incoming administration is laudable, throwing your President under the bus in the process is unacceptable.

Hey Mitch, have you noticed that the approval rating for Congress is 18%? The fact is that YOU and the rest of the Congressional Republicans screwed up so badly that YOU lost BOTH houses of Congress in 2006, but it seems you have conveniently forgotten that. President Bush didn't make it difficult for you to compete; YOU made it difficult for YOU to compete.

It's YOU and your colleagues who have saddled us with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and now Barack Obama.

President Bush is a good man and a good President who put his country's good above his own - it's called character and leadership, qualities that YOU seemingly lack. The sad truth is that he led and YOU and the Republicans in Congress failed to follow. Maybe if YOU and the rest of the Congressional Republicans had shown some backbone and stood up for your President, we may not be in the situation in which we currently find ourselves.

You and your ilk are not even men enough to take responsibility for your obvious failure, so you've chosen to hang that failure around your President's neck like an albatross and give him the toe of your boot as thanks for his service.

I'm sure you and Harry Reid will get along just fine, you have different letters behind your names but you're both weasels.

Obama's not The Messiah? NOW you tell me!

For those of you who don't have the time, the stomach or any interest in reading Time Magazine (me, on all counts), this is the actual cover from the recent issue. There simply is no objectivity left in the traditional media. None. It's simply an American version of Pravda.

Anyway, to the subject at hand. Jonah Goldberg, in his own inimitable fashion, explains that expectations are being reduced:

In an attempt to dial down expectations for his administration, President-elect Barack Obama’s supporters have dropped much of the “messiah” talk.

No more talk of him being The One (Oprah), or a Jedi Knight (George Lucas), or a “Lightworker” (the San Francisco Chronicle), or a “quantum leap in American consciousness” (Deepak Chopra). Instead we have more humble and circumspect conversation about the man. Now he’s merely Abraham Lincoln and FDR and Martin Luther King, combined.

It’s a step down from divine redeemer, but you have to start somewhere.


Is he Abraham Lincoln?


According to the various Obama-as-Lincoln narratives, including those from the president-elect himself, Obama is a new Lincoln because he is a “uniter.” In several of his most famous speeches, Obama insinuates that he wants to bring the country together the way Honest Abe did. Newsweek and others tout his fondness for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, in which Goodwin argues that Lincoln displayed his political genius by inviting adversaries into his Cabinet.


There are real problems with this model; it didn’t work too well for Lincoln. Moreover, who looks at how Lincoln staffed his Cabinet as the defining feature of his presidency? Saying Obama is the next Lincoln because the two men share staffing styles is like saying George Bush is Thomas Jefferson because they both liked chicken soup. If I wear a pointy hat, can I call myself John Paul II?


Lincoln was Lincoln because he fought and won the Civil War and freed the slaves. News flash: That ain’t what America is like today — and thank God for it.


I think Lincoln was just about the greatest president in American history, but I sure don’t want to need another Lincoln. Six hundred thousand Americans died at the hands of other Americans during Lincoln’s presidency. Lincoln unified the country at gunpoint and curtailed civil liberties in a way that makes President Bush look like an ACLU zealot. The partisan success of the GOP in the aftermath of the war Obama thinks so highly of was forged in blood.

OK, how about (God forbid) FDR?


Likewise with FDR. Listening to liberals gush over a “new New Deal” and Obama’s call for us to emulate the “Greatest Generation,” you’d think they want another Great Depression and World War.


Indeed, liberals have long idolized the 1930s as a decade of great unity. It wasn’t. The 1930s was a miserable decade of poverty, domestic unrest, labor strife, violations of civil liberties and widespread fear. If liberals really loved peace, prosperity and national cohesion, they’d remember the 1920s or 1950s more fondly. And yet they don’t. Why? Because liberals didn’t get to impose their schemes and dreams on the country in those decades. Behind all the talk of unity and bipartisanship and shared sacrifice lies an uglier ambition: power. The audacity of hope behind all this Lincoln-FDR-Obama blather is the dream of riding roughshod over the opposition, of having their way, of total victory.


The Chinese curse and cliche “may you live in interesting times” is on point. Liberals (and a few conservatives as well, alas) seem desperate to live in interesting times. Not me.


You know what I hope? I hope Obama is another Coolidge or Eisenhower. But I’m not holding my breath.


There's simply not much more to be said is there? Actually there is. The one bright spot in these "interesting" times is that there are great blogging opportunities in store for the future.

I, for one intend to seize those opprotunities.

Maybe it could be one of those annoying, hard plastic "Clamshell" packs that are really hard to open........

Obama Team Said to Explore 'Prepack' Auto Bankruptcy


Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) -- President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team is exploring a swift, prepackaged bankruptcy for automakers as a possible solution to the industry's financial crisis, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A representative of Obama's team has already contacted at least one bankruptcy-law firm to say that Daniel Tarullo, a professor at Georgetown University's law school who heads Obama's economic policy working group, would call to discuss the workings of a so-called prepack, according to this person.

U.S. lawmakers yesterday delayed until December a vote on whether to give General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC a $25 billion bailout. GM today said it would idle production at four plants an extra week and return some corporate jets to conserve cash.

Automakers could use a judge-supervised bankruptcy to reduce debt and reject expensive contracts. "It creates the environment to deal with GM's problems but limits government financial commitment,'' said bankruptcy lawyer Mark Bane of Ropes & Gray in New York.

Bankruptcy is just one option being examined. Obama told CBS News's "60 Minutes'' on Nov. 16 that government aid to automakers might come in the form of a "bridge loan,'' advanced if the industry could draw up plan to make itself "sustainable.'' The president-elect earlier urged Congress to approve as much as $50 billion to save automakers, using the model of Chrysler's bailout in 1979.


Oh my! They're going to have to "return some corporate jets to conserve cash"! What unabashed arrogance, particularly given that they actually had the temerity to fly to Washington in those very jets to fly to Washington to beg for financial help .

Actually, a provisional "bridge loan" based upon an actual plan provided by the industry is more palatable than bailing them out; the Chrysler loan in 1979 actually did work - for a while.

I'm still adopting a "wait and see"attitude because even though the Chrysler plan worked nearly 30 years ago, Chrysler is trouble again and again they are looking to the government for help; this time, they're joined by GM and Ford.

Propping up a corpse doesn't make it any less dead and this this whole thing has a very peculiar smell. It seems that everyone feels we should "do something" when maybe "doing nothing" may be the best long-term solution - for everyone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chrysler, GM and Ford: Should They Be Saved?

They should have saved themselves long ago and, since they didn't, they certainly don't deserve to be bailed out at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer. There are two villains in this sad tale and they are equally responsible: the UAW and the companies in question.

The Magic Pinata. For decades, the UAW has treated their employers like a "magic pinata" that they whack during every contract negotiation for the purpose of extracting goodies. The pinata, in hopes of not breaking entirely, releases some goodies in exchange for the UAW's cessation of the whacking. The "goodies" have been increased wages and benefits and, over time, more job security. The periodic whacking has been enormously successful as employees at all of these companies have become the highest paid and most secure automobile manufacturing employees in the world, far out stripping the Japanese and the Germans (whose companies, incidentally are actually making money). Now, we find that those whackings have, over time, left the collective pinata empty. The unions, just as any other Socialist entity, had no foresight and no conception of the source of their largess and now they have to face the fact that there never was a "magic pinata" after all. Pardon me if I cannot muster any empathy for them or their plight.

The Profit Motive. The companies in question seemingly have lost touch with THE basic premise of business; the profit motive. They continued to sell cars at a loss, thinking, apparently, that they could "make it up on volume". This is insanity, squared. The graph below, from a "Corner" post by Jim Manzi, sums up very clearly the automakers' current situation (click on graph to enlarge).







The sad truth is that even if these automakers were intending to invest the profits from the millions of SUVs they have been foisting upon the American public for the past few years into into research and development, there never were any profits to invest!

Both the UAW and The Automakers have lived in a fantasy world for far too long. Each has forgotten the basic rules of the game and each has operated under the notion that they are "too big to fail". They are not.

It's time for both of these dinosaurs to either develop into viable and productive inhabitants of the 21st Century, or sink into the tar pit of history. They have the option of taking Chapter 11 bankruptcy which will force both the UAW and The Automakers to either embrace a workable business model and cooperate in the interest of their common survival, or die.

If they reorganize into a viable and profitable enterprise, they will be a shining example of what can be accomplished with common sense, common purpose and the true miracle of capitalism. If they choose death, let them be a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of excess. Either way we, as Americans, win.

UPDATE: While not in the same words, it appears that Mitt Romney has a similar stance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New STAR TREK Movie Trailer

Enough with the politics for the time being - there's more to life than Barack Obama.

Actually, it looks like it could be pretty good. Here's an article from the UK on the movie that will be opening in May.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Did "The Surge" Work?

From everything that I'm seeing these days, it did. In fact, Iraq is looking more like a complete success than "the quagmire" that we have been led to believe.

Will Obama seize defeat from the jaws of victory in order to keep his promise to The Left to immediately end the war, or will he put his country's interests ahead of his own? If he stays to see this thing won, will he give credit to Gerge W. Bush for his fortitude? I think we will be learning much about the character of Barack Obama very early.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA

The 44th President of the United States

In the interest of fair play, I will begin this new chapter in our collective history with a healthy dose of magnanimity; a quality that has been in short supply among the Left, particularly the media, during the nearly 8 years of the Bush Administration. I would also add that the degree of hatred toward President Bush was tawdry, shameful and wholly undeserved. This was a good man who put his country's best interests ahead of his personal popularity and paid a terrible price. He has kept us safe for 7 years and changed the face if the Middle East for the better - a feat that even the most optimistic among us doubted was even possible. I believe that history will judge him well, providing that history is not written by the small -minded and short sighted verbal snipers that have come to define "journalism" in contemporary America.

First, I want to say that I think that it's a positive development that Americans have elected a black man, African-American (or whatever is the currently acceptable description) as President of the United States. I think that it proves that America as "an inherently racist society" is a not only a myth, but a destructive slur against our great country.

Speaking of slurs, the title of this post is Mr. Obama's full name. If you consider it a slur, you should get over it - it's his legal name. From the beginning, Obama has overtly used his ethnicity and somewhat exotic Kenyan roots as a selling point. He has been surrounded by a mystique and, in my opinion, that mystique has been central to his appeal in the eyes of his supporters. Had he been "Jerome Wilson" from Cleveland, would he be where he is today? My guess would be no. In short, if you want the mystique, it's all or nothing.

On the subject of mystique, I also have to say that the weird imagery and messianic overtones that have been a large part of the Obama campaign, still creep me out, even more so now that he's been elected. I believe the site that I just linked to is satire, and it's a good source for all things "ObamaMessiah". Explore it, it will scare the crap out of you.

At any rate, Americans have buried an ugly chapter in our history and that fact, alone, should be a source of pride for all of us - the weirdness not withstanding.

That said, I wish that the subject of this historic milestone had been someone other that an crypto-socialist product of the famously corrupt Chicago Political Machine. I wish our selection had not not been someone who believes that dialogue with monsters will curb their monstrous deeds - that's dangerous naivete'. I wish our selection had been someone who had a passion for capitalism as a centerpiece of American exceptionalism, rather than a just a necessary means to finance The State. I wish that we had elected someone who sees Iraq as a worthy mission to be completed rather than a mistake to be corrected. I wish that it had been someone that projected strength and continuity, rather than weakness and seemingly yet-to-be-defined "change". I wish that our new President would have been elected based upon "the content of his character rather than the color of his skin". I wish that the new Leader of the Free World would have been someone who sees "hope" as the very definition of America, rather than a vague (and may I add, vacuous) political slogan.

Alas, in judging Barack Obama by his own words, we have not done any of the above. I believe that we have elected the wrong man and, in the interest of my country, my fondest wish is that I will be proven wrong. Heretofore, I have judged Barack Obama on his words. Henceforth, I will judge him on his deeds. I'll not indulge in the naked hatred that the left has heaped upon George W. Bush for the past 8 years; we, as conservatives, are better than that. I'll not utter the words "he's not MY President" as I have so often heard of George W. Bush. Barack Obama, for better or worse, was elected by the American people and therefore he IS my President. He is NOT my messiah.

The Office of President of the United States, and history, have a way of bestowing greatness upon seemingly mediocre men. I hope that will be the case with Mr. Obama. In a dangerous world, his fate is inexorably tied to all of our fates, so I, as should we all, wish him well.

Make no mistake though, I consider myself a member of the "loyal opposition", though my opposition will not be reflexive as has been the case for the past 8 years - "Obama Derangement Syndrome" should not be a response to "Bush Derangement Syndrome". If I believe his decisions are sound, I will note them. If I believe him to be in error, I will shout it from the rooftops because the margin for error in this job is slim. This is the Big Leagues; it's not "community organizing" or being 1% of the Senate.

As for what the future holds, we shall see. Let the games begin. I might also admonish Mr. Obama that God is jealous and I think He may not take kindly to Messianic pretenders.