Friday, November 24, 2006

Can George Bush be the "Father of democracy" in Iraq?

A question arose on Free Republic today about George Bush and how he would be viewed in the future. It was suggested that he would be viewed not just as a liberator but as the father of democracy in Iraq.

I don't think you can have a foreign father of democracy. Lafyette was critical to the American revolution and Marshal was critical to democracy in Germany but in the end it is the people in the country who decide whether what unites them is greater than what divides and the "father of democracy" or the new dictator arises from the people.

I hope for the best and totally oppose cut and run but it does not look good for Iraq.

The Shiite/ Sunni split is enormous - imagine if the Christian Church had an eternal battle between the decedents of Jesus and the followers of Jesus' chosen apostle. Could an outsider "fix" that problem?"

The other problem is George Washington's are so damn rare.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Conservative priorities following midterm elections

We need:

1. To get the budget deficit greatly reduced.
2. Comprehensive border security with non-amnesty illegal alien planning.
3. To convince the military and the people that we have a better Iraq strategy that cannot include cut/run.
4. To head off the Democratic impulse for new spending.
5. Except we need to restore science funding - these innovations drive the economy more than any other funding.
6. No additional intrusions into personal privacy.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Peace Keeping Force in Lebanon

Even though the United States, Europe and Israel (reluctantly) have agreed to an international peace keeping force in Lebanon, no one is rushing to contribute troops. Perhaps they are remembering the last time U.S. Marines were put there as peace keepers.

I'll go on record right now and say I absolutely do not want our men and women sitting in the middle as peace keepers when there isn't a peace to keep.

Terrorists are lobbing rockets into cities trying to hit civilians while hiding behind civilians and counting on the better character of the Israelis.

The proper question isn't "do we contribute troops to a peace keeping force?" The right question is "Mr. Prime Minister, do you need the assistance of the American military in any capacity to assist in the battle to eliminate the missile threat to your cities?" Its what we would do for any other ally. Imagine if Canada were under attack and a third of the country was living in bomb shelters - what would we do to help?

A mushroom cloud rises from the rubble of a U.S. barracks at Beirut International Airport after a suicide bomber drove a truck into its lobby and detonated it, collapsing the structure and killing 241 American servicemen. - 1983 - (Photo and caption from Wikipedia)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Council on Foreign Relations - Whose Side Are They On?

I was asked today to expand on recent on recent comments the the Concil on froeign Realtions gets unfair criticism on the issues of borders, national security and American svoereignty.

Oddly enough, the CFR has been pushing plan to greatly increase border security and Homeland Security and yet the urban legend is that they favor open borders and combining The United States with Canada and Mexico - they get a bad rap sometimes when they don't deserve it.

Sure. I have some disagreements with the Council on Foreign Relations on immigration - specifically I don't think they take the problem of the existing illegal population seriously enough - their position on existing illegals is similar to the President's whereas I favor a harder line.

But, if you read message boards and blogs you could get the impression that the CFR is for abandoning U.S. sovereignty and supports open borders when that is completely false.

The CFR has long been on record as wanting increased border protection - they have a position paper calling for a high tech security screen all around the united State with no-one going in or out with a government issued electronic I.D.

This will require cooperation with the Mexican and Canadian governments which allows some pundits to mischaracterize the CFR position. The CFR also uses the word "community" to describe the three nation cooperation and that terms is often claimed to somehow mean they want open borders.

This is document in question. Trinational Call for a North American Economic and Security Community by 2010

The title sounds scary but people who criticize this document seldom quote from it because a through read makes it clear that the CFR endorses strong border security and and is completely respectful of U.S. sovereignty.

Here are the key points

>>Develop a border pass for North Americans. The chairs propose a border pass, with biometric indicators, which would allow expedited passage through customs, immigration, and airport security throughout North America. "The governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States should commit themselves to the long-term goal of dramatically reducing the need for physical scrutiny of traffic, travel, and trade within North America."<<

>>Adopt a unified Border Action Plan. The three governments should "strive toward a situation in which a terrorist trying to penetrate our borders will have an equally hard time doing so no matter which country he elects to enter first. "First steps should include: harmonized visa and asylum regulations; joint inspection of container traffic entering North American ports; and synchronized screening and tracking of people, goods, and vessels, including integrated "watch" lists. Security cooperation should extend to counterterrorism and law enforcement, and could include the establishment of a trinational threat intelligence center and joint training for law enforcement officials.<<

The Homeland Security Department has now adopted a very similar proposal

>>National Border Patrol Strategy

Published March 28, 2005

Created by the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Border Protection, this Strategy seeks "operational control of (the US') border, and particularly...borders with Mexico and Canada" by means of personnel, technology, increased checkpoints,enforcement, and intelligence, and changes in command structure.<<

Homeland Security Depatment National Border Patrol Strategy

It's totally fair to criticize the CFR (or anybody else) if they suggest something foolish or short sighted but it is troubling to see them criticized on borders when they are a strong voice for secure borders and protecting sovereignty.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

My Islamic Plumber

We have a home warranty and today they assigned a plumber to fix a couple of toilets. There were some complications so we had a long while to talk - it was very eye opening.

The plumber is a polite guy, born and raised in Atlanta as a Baptist about 5 miles from where I grew up. He is a convert to Islam and says he attends the largest mosque in Atlanta.

Some of the things he said just blew me away and I wanted to share. This isn't somebody from a foreign country - he is a native Georgian.

He said (and he was very matter of fact about all this as if none of it would possibly be disputed)

1. There was no way 9/11 was done by Muslims. Bin Laudin always claims responsibility when he does something and he said right away he didn't do it. Everybody at the mosque knows the tapes where he supposedly said he did it were unintelligible and the translation was fake. Nobody at the mosque thinks Muslims could do 9/11. You have to look at who benefitted - we didn't benefit. The people who want war and wire tapping benefitted.

2. The suicide bombers aren't Muslims. Muslims can't kill women. You can kill a child before you can kill a woman. Jihad has to be fought with your chest - out front, not with your side or your back. I don't know who is doing the bombings but everybody at the mosque is sure it isn't Muslims.

3. The President of Iran is saying those things about Israel and the bomb to get President Bush to attack Iran. He (the Iranian president) doesn't care about his life or the lives of Iranians - he cares about the after-life. A world war is coming and the war with Iran will be part of what sets it up - Syria and Pakistan will join the war on Iran's side.

4.There are millions of people ready to die for Islam. They are all peaceful. Islam means peace. But when it clicks that the final war has started they will die for Islam.

5. Ayatollah Khomeni captured the Shah of Iran and castrated him and paraded his head through the streets. (Historical note - the Shah died in Egypt after President Carter's decision to allow him into the United States for treatment triggering the embassy takeover, hostage crisis and the most screwed up rescue operation in U.S. history.)

6. Muslims are peaceful people who just want to live a simple life. But when people stop them from living that life, when people won't leave them alone, they have to fight. They have to jihad.

7. "I just wish we could have one generation of peace for my children to live for a while before it starts."

It boggles my mind how two guys who grew up so close together could wind up so far apart. I didn't even try to change his mind about anything - that train has left the station.

Well, actually I did tell him that I was certain that Al Quaida was behind 9/11 and that we had identified all the hijackers but it had no effect.

This experience left me feeling quite pessimistic. I just don't understand how this set of beliefs are possible.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

25 Years ago today President Reagan was shot

There are many sad things about that day, but one hopeful memory stands out for me.

I was in American history class when we found out. The history teacher was extremely liberal. When we heard President Reagan had been shot some of the students began to cheer.

The teacher became furiously angry with them demanding that they shut up and show respect for our President and our country. When she calmed down she explained that when we face hostility it is key that all Americans band together if we want our country to survive.

It was an important lesson.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Pub has to pay a fine for murder from 1664 - and how it relates to smoking

The Times Online reports A PUB must pay a fine for a murder on its premises more than 300 years ago.

Auditors discovered the long-forgotten penalty for The Swan in Ipswich, Suffolk, while balancing the books for the town’s St Mary Le Tower Church Charities.

The annual bill of 40 shillings, equivalent to £2, seems to be a punishment for a killing in 1664 when Charles II was king.
It was a huge amount of money in 1664 — a labourer would have to work for six months to earn 40 shillings.
Whenever we discuss smoker's rights the topic of bans on smoking in restaurants always comes up.

One side argues that private property rights should permit the restaurant owner to allow smoking if he chooses.

The other side usually focuses on the risk posed by second hand smoke.

I thought the case above was interesting because it showed a tavern owner being legally responsible for the safety of the patrons of a pub open to the public -what we would call today a place of public accommodation. That's basically like modern laws - They made the pub responsible for the safety of their customers.

Although as a person who favors small government, I can't say I'm happy about looking for old claims through history and making descendants pay up - we already have too many lawsuits.

Double helix found in space - Intelligent design?

Double Helix Nebula">Is there any significance to a nebula in the shape of DNA?

Rules for security clearances for gays modified

The Backcountry Conservative blog has an article about the rules for security clearances for homosexuals being modified. The new changes mean clearances cannot be denied "solely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the individual.

On the surface, the Bush administration seems to be compromising when they say that homosexual relationships "strictly private, consensual and discreet" could "mitigate security concerns." This seems in line with Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

But there is an additional factor with regard to security clearances vulnerability to blackmail. It is often a condition of a security clearance that anything (like homosexuality or cross dressing or prior drug use) be disclosed to those around the applicant so he will not be vulnerable to blackmail.

It appears that the Bush administration has recipe to keep homosexuals out of all military positions that require security a clearance. If the "tell" they are out of the military. If they "don't tell" they are vulnerable to blackmail and not eligible to get the security clearance needed for key assignments.

Latino suffering from Katrina

An article in the Santa Maria Times begins: "We didn't need another report to tell us that there was negligence and mismanagement in the federal government's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but we got it anyway.

We didn't need a video showing us that the Federal Emergency Management Agency and President Bush had been briefed ahead of time about the eminent threat Katrina posed to New Orleans - it was obvious from the start.

What we had not seen until now is to what extent Latinos were unfairly treated before and after the devastating hurricane hit the Gulf Coast."

I am very sorry that our Latino citizens and legal residents suffered from the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. As a Christian, I am also sorry that the illegals got hurt.

And I sympathize with concerns about the efficiency of aid delivery. Even in those areas where there was competent local government we are still talking about a gigantic Federal bureaucracy and we all know those have inefficiencies.

But I reject claims that we are not spending enough, we are spending billions upon billions.

And I reject efforts to use the disaster as an excuse to attach liberal social policy whether it's seizing legal guns in New Orleans or demanding affirmative action for the boards of charities. I reject the premise that illegal aliens should be guarenteed extra labor rights - they are in the country illegally and they need to leave.

But I'm really sorry that any part of the American family got hurt and I hope they recover as much as possible. The Latino community shares the traditional American work ethic so there is every reason to be hopeful.