Monday, November 23, 2009

Political Digest November 23, 2009

I post article because I believe they will be of interest, not because I agree with every—or even any—opinion in them.

Traveling, but grabbed some borrowed computer time, so will post a few things.

Regular readers know that I’m a fan of the economist, Thomas Sowell, PhD. Dr. Sowell is about 80 and has been described as a national treasure. He’s been at the Hoover Institute at Stanford for years, has published a lot of books on economics, culture and race, from the scholarly to . He was born into a poor black family in NC, was supporting himself in NYC at 17, worked his way through Harvard in the days before affirmative action and eventually earned a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago. It started as a Marxist, but unlike most leftists, he looked not at intentions, but for results for real people. He is, in my opinion, the leading free market economist in the world. If you want to learn more, a list of his books, archived columns, favorite quotes, tips on writing and more are to be found at

Palinophobes hate first, ask questions later,0,184334.column
Excerpt: Slate magazine is just one of the countless media outlets convulsing with St. Vitus' Dance over that demonic succubus Sarah Palin. In its reader forum, The Fray, one supposed Palinophobe took dead aim at the former Alaska governor's writing chops, excerpting this sentence from her book: "The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn't work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle." Other readers pounced like wolf-size Dobermans on an intruder. One guffawed, "That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest. It could have a chance at winning a (sic) honorable mention, at any rate." But soon, the original contributor confessed: "I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It's taken from the first paragraph of 'Dreams From My Father,' written by Barack Obama." The ruse should have been allowed to fester longer, but the point was made nonetheless: Some people hate Palin first and ask questions later.

Palin’s overzealous fact checkers and a Mea Culpa (apologies to Oprah and Palin)
Excerpt: Much has been made by conservatives about The Associated Press assigning 11 fact checkers to parse Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue.” The typical rhetorical question, “Where was the venerable AP when Barack Obama wrote his books?”, came with the implied or stated assertion that the press is staffed mostly by Obama-loving liberals who hate everything about Palin. Here’s an interesting counterpoint to that assertion. Greg Marx, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review, which is highly respected by journalists, faults the AP for its work on the Palin book. And he does so in no uncertain terms. (This is a few days late, I admit, but I came across it late.) Asking whether the fact check delivered, Marx writes: “Not so much – at least not if the phrase ‘fact check’ is to have any meaning.” (Wonder if AP fact-checked any of the Clinton books, or for that matter, the Health Care bills?)

Everything I Need to Know About Khalid’s Ground Zero Trial, I Read in “Going Rogue”
Excerpt: When I wrote my first article, “Everything I Need to Know About ACORN, I Learned From Sophie Scholl,” my brilliant husband raised an eyebrow. When I followed with, “Everything I Need to Know About Sarah Palin, I Learned From Sir Ernest Shackleton,” he raised both and said, “Is this a new way to analyze news, find two things that have absolutely nothing to do with each other and twist them together?” I understood that this sort of Cirque de Soleil-journalism might get old quickly, but after staying up most of the night reading Going Rogue, I am going to indulge in one last juxtaposition. (Extra credit if you know who Sophie School was. Hint, she lost her head over a White Rose.)

Burris and the truth,0,1728363.story
Excerpt: "(T)his is not about Mr. Burris; it is about the integrity of a governor accused of attempting to sell this United States Senate seat. Anyone appointed by Gov. Blagojevich cannot be an effective representative of the people of Illinois and, as we have said, will not be seated by the Democratic Caucus." -- U.S. Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Dec. 30, 2008. The illicit taking of a U.S. Senate seat that supposedly belongs to the people of Illinois is formally complete. On Friday the Senate Ethics Committee gave Roland Burris its mildest possible rebuke, a "Public Letter of Qualified Admonition." The letter's essential meaning: Mr. Burris, you repeatedly lied to become one of us. Do this one more time and we'll have to -- gee, we don't know -- maybe issue a Public Letter of Unqualified Admonition. But you get to keep the seat, so sit down and enjoy. The Ethics Committee didn't use those words in gently patting Burris' wrist, of course. It critiqued him "for actions and statements reflecting unfavorably upon the Senate" and scolded: "Your shifting explanations about your sworn statements appear less than candid." Appear less than candid? Burris has spouted five different versions -- three of them sworn -- about his lobbying of Team Blagojevich for the Senate seat. But if the other Democratic pols had kept their own word, Burris' lies wouldn't matter one whit. (Hard to blame Reid for whiffing on his pledge. The Black Caucus demanded that Burris be seated because, while he might be a liar, he was black, which trumps ethics in Barack Obama’s post-racial America. That such cynicism feeds racism matters not at all. What matters is power to get goods for supportive interest groups. If racism went away tomorrow, they would work day and night to re-create it, because it supports their power base. The end of racism would be a disaster for the Democrats and they will never let it happen.)

Vietnam veteran robbed, killed on his way to deposit VFW money
William Burtner had helped raise money for WWII vets' trip to Washington,0,391111.story
Welcome to Chicagoland. Doubtless the killers will be punished as severely as Sen. Burris was for lying about trying to buy a Senate seat. A country that dsoes not execute the murders of heroes does not deserve heroes.

Misplaced Viet lessons
Excerpt: Current opinion affecting decisions on Afghanistan could well be, at least subconsciously, influenced by a "Vietnam syndrome" based on two persistent and widespread myths - that the war could not be won and, in any case, was not worth fighting. It is, therefore, past high time to set the record straight. The following expose of these myths is based on more than 10 continuous years' experience with that war from the rice paddies to the White House as well as extensive research. When the end came in 1975, I was probably the most senior U.S. official who dealt exclusively with Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The conclusion that the war was "unwinnable" clearly can be traced to the 1968 Tet Offensive. Mainly Viet Cong forces penetrated or captured most of South Vietnam's cities and towns, including Saigon, even reaching our embassy's grounds. Resulting sensationally vivid TV and other reporting created a profound and lasting defeatist outlook in and out of government. Scarcely reported and still widely unappreciated, however, was that this offensive ended in a catastrophic defeat of the Viet Cong from which it never recovered. Not reported at all were the resulting impressive gains in countryside pacification that led to one of the most successful land reforms in history. By 1972, the (well overdue) Vietnamization process had withdrawn all U.S. ground forces in Vietnam except advisers. However, we still provided air, naval and logistics support. In 1972, about 200 Americans were killed in action as opposed to an average of about 7,000 in previous years. With its Viet Cong forces defeated, Hanoi decided in 1972 to test Vietnamization by launching its largest conventional offensive of the war. This Easter Offensive employed the equivalent of 23 divisions equipped with hundreds of Soviet-supplied tanks, long-range artillery and rockets, surface-to-air missiles and other modern weapons. South Vietnamese ground forces, ARVN (army) and marines, with U.S. air, naval and logistics support, stopped the offensive and launched counteroffensives, inter alia recapturing the enemy's strongest position, Quang Tri near North Vietnam. If they couldn't hold Quang Tri, what could they have held? This offensive cost North Vietnam nearly 100,000 killed in action, twice the number U.S. troops suffered in the entire war. After Hanoi's 1975 victory, a former top commander in the South, Gen. Tran Van Tra, revealed in the party organ Nhan Dan that, in effect, his troops were on the ropes and close to defeat by 1972's end. As former CIA Director William Colby wrote in his 1983 book "Lost Victory," "On the ground in South Vietnam the war had been won" by the fall of 1972. We then proceeded to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by prematurely concluding the Paris "Peace Accords," which left North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam. As North Vietnamese Chief of Staff Gen. Van Tien Dung later wrote, "The [Paris] agreement represented a big victory for our people and a big defeat for the U.S. imperialists and their lackeys." (Anyone not hooked on Kool-Aid, who would be interested in hearing a side not presented by the media types who supported the Communists, should read “A Better War” about the war after Tet, which few histories examine in depth, and “Triumph Forsaken,” a new history of the early years with access to North Vietnamese sources.)

Detroit and Multiculturalism
Excerpt: Food for thought: For 15 years, from the mid 1970's to 1990, I worked in Detroit , Michigan . I watched it descend into the abyss of crime, debauchery, gun play, drugs, school truancy, car-jacking, gangs and human depravity. I watched entire city blocks burned out. I watched graffiti explode on buildings, cars, trucks, buses and school yards. Trash everywhere! Detroiters walked through it, tossed more into it and ignored it. Tens of thousands and then, hundreds of thousands today exist on federal welfare, free housing and food stamps! With Aid to Dependent Children, minority women birthed eight to 10 and in once case, one woman birthed 24 kids as reported by the Detroit Free Press—all on American taxpayer dollars. A new child meant a new car payment, new TV and whatever mom wanted. I saw Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society” flourish in Detroit . If you give money for doing nothing, you will get thousand over thousand more hands out taking money for doing nothing. Mayor Coleman Young, perhaps the most corrupt mayor in America , outside of Richard Daley in Chicago, rode Detroit down to its knees. He set the benchmark for cronyism, incompetence and arrogance. As a black man, he said, “I am the MFIC.” The IC meant ‘in charge’. You can figure out the rest. Detroit became a majority black city with 67 percent African-Americans. As a United Van Lines truck driver for my summer job from teaching math and science, I loaded hundreds of American families into my van for a new life in another city or state. Detroit plummeted from 1.8 million citizens to 912,000 today. At the same time, legal and illegal immigrants converged on the city, so much so, that Muslims number over 300,000. Mexicans number 400,000 throughout Michigan, but most work in Detroit. As the Muslims moved in, the whites moved out. As the crimes became more violent, the whites fled. Finally, unlawful Mexicans moved in at a torrid pace. You could cut the racial tension in the air with a knife! Detroit may be one our best examples of multiculturalism: pure dislike and total separation from America.

A Conscientious Objector in the Culture War …
On Saturday, I was at a conservative luncheon. A woman at the table was attacking RINOs (moderate or liberal Republicans, those who weren’t as “pure” as her in their conservatism) and calling for the defeat of all of them. I attempted to explain why a liberal or moderate Republican, who will vote for Republicans to control the Senate, is better than defeating him and electing a liberal Democrat who would vote for liberal control of the Senate. She announced she wasn’t interested in hearing what I had to say about RINOS, as I was doubtless one myself. I was highly offended and angry that she came to spout her opinions, but refused to listen to a response. This link speaks to a need for some diversity and tolerance in conservative circles. Or we’ll finely get down to a few hundred “pure” conservatives, and liberals will run everything (until the collapse, of course.) Excerpt: I used to be a liberal, along with all my friends, but then I evolved. I was liberal on civil rights. I didn’t even object to affirmative action in the beginning. But then it started bothering me that a black kid whose father or mother was a lawyer or a doctor would get better treatment than a white kid whose dad was a coal miner in West Virginia. How was that fair? That white kid wasn’t privileged? Simply being for women’s rights when the modern feminist movement began in the 1960s wasn’t good enough either, not as far as a lot of elite liberals were concerned. You had to buy into the whole feminist package. So you were expected to support women who wanted to be firefighters even if they weren’t strong enough to carry some big guy out of a burning building – in the name of women’s rights and equality. Sorry, no can do. Abortion? Even being pro-choice wasn’t enough for a lot of liberal feminists. You had to also support late term or partial birth abortion. A woman’s right to choose apparently has no bounds in such matters. And you had to accept the idea that a 14-year old girl should be allowed to get an abortion – without her parents knowledge or consent. So over the years I edged in the right direction, and now I’m as conservative as Rush Limbaugh on anti terrorism and national defense issues, for example, and on small government and lower tax issues as well. But not on social issues. Frankly, I don’t care if Adam marries Eve or if he marries Steve. I just don’t care! I don’t think civilization as we know it will crumble if we allow gay marriage. But unlike many liberals, I don’t think you’re necessarily a bigot if you’re against it. If you simply hate gays, then yes, you are a bigot. If you’re against gay marriage, say, for religious reasons, I get it. Reasonable people, as they say, may disagree. I don’t think a zygote, the size of a dot at the end of a sentence, is a human being just like you and me. So if there’s even a whiff of a chance that embryonic stem cell research will cure some horrible disease, I’m all for it. If conservativism is a three-legged stool – defense, small government, social issues – I’m on board for two out of the three. In most circles that would be enough. But I’ve been “accused” of not being a “real conservative” because I can see the other guy’s point of view – a cardinal sin among the true believers. And of late the culture wars have me wishing I were a conscientious objector.

Hacked E-Mails Heat Up Climate Dispute
Interesting if true. Excerpt: LONDON (Nov. 21) -- Computer hackers have broken into a server at a well-respected climate change research center in Britain and posted hundreds of private e-mails and documents online — stoking debate over whether some scientists have overstated the case for man-made climate change. The University of East Anglia, in eastern England, said in a statement Saturday that the hackers had entered the server and stolen data at its Climatic Research Unit, a leading global research center on climate change. The university said police are investigating the theft of the information, but could not confirm if all the materials posted online are genuine. More than a decade of correspondence between leading British and U.S. scientists is included in about 1,000 e-mails and 3,000 documents posted on Web sites following the security breach last week. Some climate change skeptics and bloggers claim the information shows scientists have overstated the case for global warming, and allege the documents contain proof that some researchers conspired to manipulate data. The furor over the leaked data comes weeks before the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen, when 192 nations will seek to reach a binding treaty to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases worldwide. Many officials — including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — regard the prospects of a pact being sealed at the meeting as bleak. In one leaked e-mail, the research center's director, Phil Jones, writes to colleagues about graphs showing climate statistics over the last millennium. He alludes to a technique used by a fellow scientist to "hide the decline" in recent global temperatures. Some evidence appears to show a halt in a rise of global temperatures from about 1960, but is contradicted by other evidence which appears to show a rise in temperatures is continuing. Jones wrote that, in compiling new data, he had "just completed Mike's Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e., from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline," according to a leaked e-mail, which the author confirmed was genuine.

Russian Orthodox priest who preached among Muslims shot to death in church
As President Wobbly would say, “Let’s not jump to conclusions.”

Israelis Baffled by News of Defenseless US Soldiers
Excerpt: Many Israelis want to know: why didn't the soldiers attacked by a U.S. Army major-turned-terrorist return fire? When a Muslim goes, well, Muslim in Israel he is typically shot to death by someone--say, a reserve soldier--within seconds of screaming "Allah Akbar." In contrast with the Israeli experience, it took 10 minutes before a civilian police officer at Fort Hood was able to shoot and stop Muslim fanatic Nidal Malik Hasan. How could that happen? How could so many people trained in the strategies and tactics of modern warfare be so defenseless? (we will learn, but it’s going to take a few thousand more dead Americans. Israel has lost a much higher % of citizens to terrorism. And of course, we will have to change the PC-is-more-important-than-lives politicians.)

The Day Global Warming Stood Still
Excerpt: Now we have the German publication Der Spiegel, which is rapidly becoming the house organ for climate hysteria, weighing in again with the sad news that the earth does not have a fever so we really don't have to throw out the baby with the rising bath water. In an article titled, "Climatologists Baffled By Global Warming Time-Out," author Gerald Traufetter leads off with the observation: "Climatologists are baffled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years." They better figure it out, Der Spiegel warns, because "billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations." We are told in sad tones that "not much is happening with global warming at the moment" and that "it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year." But how can it be that the earth isn't following all those computer models? Is the earth goddess Gaia herself a climate change "denier"?

Big night with Gore in Portland, OR
Excerpt: Ever wonder if your grassroots efforts are making a difference — well the state’s largest newspaper, The Oregonian which is one of the most liberal in the nation, editorialized the next day that the pro cap-and-trade side sees its “momentum slip sliding away…” The Oregonian went on to detail how public opinion is turning against the cap-and-trade forces as well which is a stunning confession from such a liberal newspaper.

From “This is True”
NO HONOR AMONG THIEVES: A student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee was walking home from work when four men pulled him into an alley and forced him to lie face-down with a gun to his neck. They took everything from his pockets, but when the gang leader looked in the victim's wallet and saw an Army Reserve ID card, he told his accomplices to give him his stuff back. "The guy continued to say throughout the situation that he respects what I do and at one point he actually thanked me and he actually apologized," the unidentified 21- year-old victim said. "The leader of the group actually walked back [and] gave me a quick fist bump." Police note that 10 minutes later, the gang robbed another man, who had a Department of Corrections inmate ID in his wallet. They didn't give him his wallet back. (AP) ...Fair enough.

SNL spoofs Obama in China
Though I don’t think he breathed a word about “Human Rights” there anymore than he supported them in Iran. He only tells countries like Honduras how to behave.

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