Monday, October 17, 2011

Lessons from a Mother's Sacrifice

This morning I woke up to see an article about a mother who made a deliberate decision to sacrifice herself in order to have her baby.  The story is tragic, but there's also something very beautiful about the way it expresses motherhood: A mother giving her life to ensure that the child within her would simply have a chance at life.  When you think about it, its almost strange that this article would be newsworthy; Isn't it a given that a mother, or indeed any parent, would sacrifice themselves to save their children?  Deep down, I think most people know this is how it should be:

When Stacie Crimm found out that she had finally gotten pregnant at 41, she was overjoyed. So overjoyed that she knew exactly what to do when faced with the decision of whether to save her life or her unborn baby's, reports.
After she was diagnosed with neck cancer, Crimm decided to refuse chemotherapy. The heroic mom survived long enough to deliver her 2-pound, 1 ounce daughter, Dottie Mae, and hold the baby in her arms, just once.

“This baby was everything she had in this world," Crimson's brother, Ray Phillips told the news outlet.

Unfortunately, this isn't just a tragic-yet-inspirational story.  Every time I'm directed to a HuffPo story I can't help but scroll down and view the comments.  Most of the comments are what you would hope to see, but there's a noticeable number that aren't.  Here are some:

That's not a selfless decision. Now she has left a motherless child, her own parents have lost a child and her husband has lost a wife. I would say that that was a selfish decision. I bet the people would have rather had her get treatment and keep her around then give birth to an undersized baby that will probably have health issues itself.
this was an incredibly selfish this child will be motherless with a considerably lesser chance of a fair shake in society...­a terminatio­n in this case would have been appropriat­e.
That woman is an idiot. She could have lived longer and had another child or adopted a child. Instead she was selfish, kept the baby knowing she needed treatment and now the baby will grow up without a mother.
 That's just ridiculous. Why don't you get better then try to conceive again.

There are many more posts that are like these, but most can't be taken out of the context of the thread they're in.  By no means is this how a majority of people are choosing to express themselves, but (as stated above) its significant enough to make one uncomfortable.  One comment from a particularly terrible serial poster caught my eye:

But when I bring up how the anti-choice crowd uses these stories as propaganda­, suddenly I'm the one bringing in politics..­...sheeeee­eeeeeeeees­h.........­..

It's simply impossible to get away from politics on this issue.  Why?  Because in an age where women are encouraged to kill their unborn children when they are considered an inconvenience, Stacie Crimm's story is incredible.  The woman who posted that comment missed the glaring flaw in her argument:  Pro-Choicers believe that the Unborn are fetuses, not human beings.  When you approach the situation from that perspective then the only logical conclusion is that Stacie Crimm didn't make a heroic decision, but chose to commit suicide.  It's natural for elements of the Pro-Choice crowd to be mystified by this decision since Stacie chose to give up a human life (her own) for a bundle of cells.  That's the logical thought process if you use their perspective, and it also reveals them to be Pro-Abortion, not Pro-Choice. 

Stacie's decision emphasizes the value of the Unborn's life, and calls into question the notion that the Unborn are not people worthy of protection.  The question isn't "Does a mother have a right to abort her child if her life is at risk?",  its something far more fundamental to the entire debate: "Is this unborn child a human being?".  Stacie obviously decided her daughter was a person who deserved a mother's love and protection and a chance at life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

They Claim to Represent YOU

Congratulations!  Whether you knew it, or even approved of it, you are now a part of the revolution/occupation.  One, small segment of the population saw fit to declare that they represent the 99% of Americans who are...making less money than the 1%.  Yeah its pretty much that generic and arbitrary, and if you want to understand anything deeper about why they're doing the things they're doing, you're gonna be out of luck; almost no one seems capable of articulating a coherent argument for why they're there.  But having reasons for doing things is elitist and academic, and clearly I'm just a tool of the corporations.  Rather than reading what I have to say, lets look at how these brave patriots how have stood up to corporations, and who supposedly represent the vast majority of Americans.

Right, well, you can see where this is going.  Here we go:

Because no "American" protest is complete with the anti-Israel argument
Is this how you would dress if you went to a protest?  Would you rely on statements like "End War Now?"  Fun Fact: The world outlawed war in the 1920's.
Apparently 99% of Americans enjoy defecating on symbols of authority, whether that be a cop car or the American flag.
This upstanding citizen is teaching his fellow occupiers how to break out of hand restraints.
Jesus was a Marxist.  If only Karl Marx had given us some indication on how the revolution should feel toward religion.
It doesn't count as violence if they jump on their own, does it?
I'm assuming that they're trying to equate people who work for corporations and banks to Nazi's.  Because helping people make deposits is the moral equivalent to putting people in ovens.
99% of Americans are Socialists, Communists, or otherwise friendly toward that ideology.
Not only was he forced to go to school, but he had know idea beforehand that he'd have to take loans, didn't know that tuition was going to be so expensive at the school he was attending, and probably didn't know his gender studies degree was worthless.  Actually that last point probably is true.
Its common for Americans to body paint topless women.
And certainly common for Americans to walk around topless with a sign that only makes sense if you don't think about it too much.
Being dirty and leaving piles of trash everywhere is also very American.

It should become abundantly clear that these people don't represent 99% of Americans, and I'd be shocked to discover if they even represented the 21% of Americans that identify themselves as liberals (as opposed to the 40% that identify themselves as conservatives).  In fact looking at these images highlighted just how arrogant and offensive it is for the people to walk around claiming to be part of a figure that includes myself when, as someone put it, "The only thing we have in common is nationality."  To make matters worse, pictures don't even tell the entire story:

Lured by cheap drugs and free food, creepy thugs have infiltrated the crowd of protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park for Occupy Wall Street, The Post has learned.

“I got warrants. I’m running from the law,” boasted Dave, 24, a scrawny, unshaven miscreant in filthy clothes from Stamford, Conn. “I’m not even supposed to be here, but it’s as good a spot as any to hide.”

Wanted for burglary, the drug-addled fugitive said some of his hard-partying pals clued him in that the protest was a good place to be fed, get wasted and crash.

But as the protest ground on for a 23rd day, it was evident that there were challenges.

Zuccotti Park smelled like an open sewer -- with people urinating and defecating in public.

And some couples have taken advantage of the free condoms distributed by organizers to do the nasty in full view of other protesters.

“It kinda makes me think of what Woodstock must have been like,” said one protester, Sarah, 19 from the Upper West Side.

“I haven’t hooked up with any guys ... but one of my friends did have sex in a tarp with a guy last night.”

The free chow offered to protesters was boosting the crowd.

“People say they are here for the cause, but the real reason is the free food,” quipped Cameron, 26, of Jersey City.

“On my third day, they had smoked salmon with cream cheese. You know how much smoked salmon is a pound? Sixteen dollars. I eat better here than I do with my parents!”

Still not convinced that you should be skeptical about the Wall Street Protesters?  Ok, lets look at some of their demands:

Demand two: Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to wall st. investors.

Demand three: Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.

Demand four: Free college education.

Demand five: Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.

Demand six: One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.

Demand seven: One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.

Demand nine: Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
A list of completely unreasonable and undo-able demands?  Hmm...

Its been painfully evident to me that this "occupation" is nothing more than a bunch of ignorant, entitled, liberal kids protesting for the sake of protesting.  Not only can they not correctly identify what the problem is, but they can't offer any decent solutions.  And yet they insist upon protesting anyways, because, apparently, having something to protest about isn't necessary when you're young and liberal.  That doesn't mean there isn't something valid buried deep under ten layers of nonsense and human waste, but it does mean that they're acting more on feelings and brainwashing (corporations = bad!) than they are on actual reasoning.  The Tea Party could at least make arguments about the national debt, the socialization of the auto industry, and the attempt to socialize healthcare, but what do these people have?  The same people who complain about CEOs getting a bailout end up backing the man who furthered the bailouts.  That's how intellectually honest they are.  Even the Tea Party targeted Republicans and proved willing to lose races if it meant that the wrong Republican wouldn't get elected.

In fact  the comparison between the Tea Party and OWS is both obvious and painful.  The Tea Party was accused of racism, and a handful of people were found out of thousands of events that included millions of people over years to prove it.  The OWS "movement" has been operating for less than a month in only a few dozen places and already there are multiple instances of anti-semitism documented.  The Tea Party was accused of being dangerous, violent, and hateful, but the protests were largely peaceful.  Meanwhile the Wall Street protesters have had hundreds arrested and clashed with police today.  Palin was held responsible for the Giffords shooting by an incredibly biased media, but that same media says nothing about the "Eat the Rich" signs these protesters are holding up.  The fact that the media is portraying this so positively while they treated the Tea Party so negatively is a huge injustice, but what else should conservatives expect?

The Occupy Wall Street protests are a national embarrassment.  These are people who understand that crony capitalism is bad and that there is a growing aristocracy in our country, but lash out without thinking and end up misplacing their rage.  Just in case you're still not convinced, watch these two videos.  Both are short (2 and 3 minutes, respectively) and both tell a lot about this movement.  Enjoy!

Occupy Wall Street Protester Wants College Paid For Because That's What He Wants

Occupy Wall Street is a Freak Show

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When Satire Becomes Reality

One of my favorite websites is The Onion.  Its funny, intelligent, and apparently so well written that I've seen more than a few people take them seriously.  A year or two ago they made a fantastic video in which a Truther and an Al-Qaeda representative duke it out in an interview.  During the interview the AQ representative becomes clearly frustrated with the Truther's insistence that the United States government was behind 9-11, despite all the facts and logic the representative offers to the contrary.  It's so well done that I couldn't help but feel a bit of a connection with him.  Afterall, I've been there, I've dealt with these people before. They're not sane and...well as the AQ representative put it:  Talking to them is like talking to a goat.

Take a couple minutes to watch the video here.  I promise its worth it:

Unfortunately we'll never get to see an Al-Qaeda representative confront an American Truther live on our TV.  Fortunately we DO get to see them confront someone else: The President of Iran.

The terror group al Qaeda has found itself curiously in agreement with the "Great Satan" -- which it calls the U.S. -- in issuing a stern message to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: stop spreading 9/11 conspiracy theories

In the latest issue of the al Qaeda English-language magazine "Inspire", an author appears to take offense to the "ridiculous" theory repeatedly spread by Ahmadinejad that the 9/11 terror attacks were actually carried out by the U.S. government in order to provide a pretext to invade the Middle East.

"The Iranian government has professed on the tongue of its president Ahmadinejad that it does not believe that al Qaeda was behind 9/11 but rather, the U.S. government," an article reads. "So we may ask the question: why would Iran ascribe to such a ridiculous belief that stands in the face of all logic and evidence?"
"For them, al Qaeda was a competitor for the hearts and minds of the disenfranchised Muslims around the world," the article says. "Al Qaeda... succeeded in what Iran couldn't. Therefore it was necessary for the Iranians to discredit 9/11 and what better way to do so? Conspiracy theories."

"How would you like it if you spent two months in a mountain cave, sleeping on rocks, planning something really special; only to have someone take the credit away from you?  Say 'Oh no, you don't deserve the credit'."

That's the line I've had in my head all day, and it makes me smile whenever I think of this story.  Unfortunately, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's insanity isn't so funny for the people of Iran who are forced to live under his and Ali Khamenei's rule, and it really shouldn't be funny for Americans either.  It's possible that Ahmadinejad doesn't actually believe that America was involved in 9-11 and is just trying to rile up Islamist support for Iran and give him an excuse to take action in the future if he's so inclined, but he isn't just a Truther, he's also a holocaust denier, and believes that Israel should be "wiped off the face of the earth."  It can be funny or frustrating when you meet someone so insane online or in person, but when that person has power its a problem.  The really nutty ones may even worry you a bit, but whatever damage they can inflict is very limited.  Ahmadinejad doesn't have those same limitations.  Oh, and let's not forget that this maniac is seeking nuclear weapons.

Its funny when satire becomes reality until you realize that the man the joke's on is trying could build nuclear weapons, give them to a terrorist group, and enable the destruction of a nation as well as an act of genocide.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CBC Chairman Shows His True Colors a racist.
Nearing 17 percent, joblessness among blacks is at a three-decade high and almost twice the size of the overall unemployment rate. The black caucus wants the president to do more.
But the group's efforts are freighted with political sensitivities, given Obama's unique role as the first African-American occupant of the White House and the sometimes untethered animosity that his election has triggered.
"If (former President) Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House," Cleaver said. "There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president."

Cleaver's argument highlights just how insane the "Racist Tea Party" narrative is.  His criticism mirrors the charges that conservatives and the Tea Party have leveled against Obama for years now; that he is a poor leader with terrible policies and a dangerous ideology.  Yet despite having virtually the same complaints against Obama's policies, Cleaver insists that conservatives simply hate the President because of who he is and not because of his policies.  God forbid liberals be forced to stray from their rabid belief in conservative racism.  In fact, wouldn't this make Cleaver or Obama the Uncle Tom rather than black conservatives?  Obama's policies have done great harm to blacks through persistently high unemployment and foreclosure rates, all while Cleaver and other black leaders refuses to stand against him.  Meanwhile black conservatives have taken a stand against his destructive policies.  Who is actually the race traitor here?

But this is all ignoring the most obvious point here:  Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), is a racist.  By refusing to treat men equally and instead basing his judgement on skin color, Cleaver most clearly displays the hypocrisy that liberal, black leaders often get away with:  Engaging in racism while you condemn it.  Imagine if a white man refused to protest against a white president, but said that he would protest against a black president if that were the current occupant of the White House.  Such a person would, rightfully, be dismissed as a racist, but if you're black it's treated as walking "a careful but candid line".  What happened to judging people based on the content of their character and not the color of their skin?

Racism is irrational, and so too is Cleaver and the rest of the CBC who enjoy playing the race card for political gain.  It's irrational to accuse your opposition of being racists even as you concede that there are major problems that aren't based on race, and it's irrational to say that the only reason you won't protest the economic policies of a president is because of their skin color.  This irrationality has been on display time and time again, but contrary to what liberals and the mainstream media would have you believe, it hasn't been conservatives who have been putting it on display.  But, hey, you know what else is irrational?  Giving Obama an 84% approval rating while suffering under a 17% unemployment rate.  I doubt a white president would experience such a...forgiving approval rating from blacks.  There's the racism liberals have been looking for.

Monday, August 15, 2011

2011 Iowa Republican Primary Debate

I wanted to post this on the night of the debate or the next day, but finals got in the way.  Even though the debate is well behind us and certain events have occurred which make writing about it now seem silly, I still wanna post.  Besides, I took notes and they should be put to good use.

The Winners
Mitt Romney
Let me be upfront: I don't like Mitt Romney.  To me, Romney associates far too closely with the political, who don't seem to fully grasp what's going on, let alone how to fix it.  I don't trust him to make principled stands when the going gets tough.

That said, Romney put up a good performance in the debate, and even though I don't like him, I had to admit that he came out of it looking pretty good.  RomneyCare once again proved to be his weak point, and he took a bit of damage when it came up, but in the end it wasn't enough to really turn the debate against him.  Indeed, while his competition fought and bickered amongst themselves or with the moderators, Romney stayed above the fray and kept his sights set on Obama.  Performance aside, Romney did better than was required.  As the "frontrunner", Romney doesn't need to win people over, he just needs to keep people from jumping over to another candidate.  I believe that Romney not only accomplished that, but may have persuaded some votes his way, or at the very least eased some conservative concerns over his candidacy.

Rick Santorum
Santorum isn't the candidate who gets a lot of attention (and he reminded us of this several times in the debate), but he capitalized on the debate and gave a strong performance.  He came across as a leader and a strong conservative who knew exactly what he was talking about.  His strong performance stands out all the more when compared to his previous, forgettable debate performances.  Just about every question he got asked got a good answer and his performance against Ron Paul was particularly satisfying.  It was refreshing to see a candidate getting just as riled up as I was when Paul blathered on about how Iran has every right to a nuclear weapon, and his reasoning for rejecting abortion in the case of rape was particularly good.  
Unfortunately, this probably won't change too much for Santorum.  He's not a particularly well known candidate, and at the end of the day the media won't give him much attention.  However, Santorum may not win the primary, but he certainly won this debate in my opinion.

Herman Cain
One of the complaints against Cain after the last debate was that he was offering a lot of what he had already said in the previous debate, and wasn't being specific enough on his policy.  He certainly had no problem with that this time around.  Of all the candidates on stage, Cain seemed to be the one most comfortable with the economy.  He spoke about the economy plainly and with ease, but out of all the candidates he seemed to be the one with the best understanding of it.  Being an incredibly gifted rhetorician only made him seem that much more competent and trustworthy.  Unfortunately, the ease with which Cain handled the economy was absent when the questions turned to other areas.  He struggled a bit in other areas, but it wasn't so bad that it truly dragged him down.  In the end, he was still an impressive candidate.
The Losers
Tim Pawlenty
Pawlenty came into this debating knowing that it was his last shot to make something happen, and he was clearly trying to make that something happen.  From the start, Pawlenty went after Bachmann hard, but instead of effectively dismantling Bachmann with intelligent and well thought out arguments, Pawlenty put on a show that was both pathetic and disgusting.  His attacks against Bachmann felt personal, desperate, and rude.  Worse, most weren't even good, and Bachmann took full advantage of that by countering and often times putting Pawlenty on the defensive.  Despite his horrific show, Pawlenty did manage to land a few punches, but wasn't enough to redeem this disgrace.  Pawlenty is done.

As a note:  This was my opinion well before Pawlenty announced this.

Ron Paul 
 I don't like Ron Paul.  I really don't like Ron Paul.  But in the last two debates, Ron Paul wasn't so bad.  There wasn't anything there to like if you came into the debates disliking him, but he did well enough that you could believe some people were impressed with him.  This time, however, Ron Paul put his crazy on full display.  To be sure, you'll probably be impressed with how he can seemingly fit withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan into so many answers.  In fact, Paul seemed more interested in going on his rants than he did in finding actual solutions to problems.  The below video shows it best, watch his reaction after the moderators repeats the question:

Paul's all time low came when he argued that Iran should be allowed to get a nuke, and suggested that we shouldn't worry about Iran making a few nukes since the Soviet Union had 30,000 of them.  The Paulbots ate this nonsense up, but if Paul is serious about winning this nomination then he needs to win new people over.  Rather than tone down the crazy, Paul let his loony rants drive people off.  Thank God.

Everyone Else
Michelle Bachmann
Bachmann came into the debate in a strong position. Before Perry entered the race, she was Romney's chief competitor, and was the frontrunner in Iowa.  Much like Romney, the status quo would be a sufficient enough victory for this debate, but she needed a win much more than Romney; especially with Perry's entrance.  Although Bachmann did well in her scrap against Pawlenty, she didn't walk away unscathed.  Most of Pawlenty's attacks were nonsense, but he did manage to point out that Bachmann doesn't have the most impressive record.  Indeed, one could argue that she's similar to Obama in 2008.  Bachmann didn't lose this one, but with Perry now in the race she will find herself in a precarious position.  At some point not-losing is no longer acceptable.
Jon Huntsman
Huntsman is odd.  I'm not quite sure why he's in the race to be honest; it seems like a waste of time for himself and for his supporters.  However, I will say that Huntsman put up a pretty decent show in the debate.  He wasn't the most memorable person stage, but then again he's not a "serious" candidate.  I came away thinking that Huntsman wasn't so bad, and I was especially fond of his stance on Civil Unions and Gay Marriage since it utilizes the same logic as my own.  It was nice having him there, but it'd be better if he wasn't there so other candidates could get more time.
Newt Gingrich 
Gingrich went into this debate as a man with nothing to lose, and acted like it.  When Gingrich didn't like a question, he went after the moderator, and he invoked the image of Reagan whenever he could.  He was angry and passionate, and it played pretty well.  A lot of people came out of this debate with him as a winner, but I couldn't put him in that column.  For one, I found his arguing with the moderator to be off putting.  I think the moderator has a valid question in asking Gingrich about his staff leaving him; after all, if you can't organize and run your campaign, how will you run the nation?  Gingrich could of scored some points if he handled it gracefully, but instead he decided to make it clear that he wasn't happy with the question.  He was later asked another question he didn't like, and went after the moderator again.  This time he seemed a bit more justified, but the act wore thin the second time around.

All of that aside, I really like angry Newt.  I don't think Newt stands any chance at all of winning the nomination, but I do enjoy his contribution to the debates.  
Romney is thinking about Cain for VP
One of the reasons I felt that Cain deserved to be listed as a winner was because of the rather odd boost he got from Romney.  At the start of the debate, Romney twice used Cain's name, and both times he was speaking positively and trying to make a distinction between them and the rest of the field by playing up their business experience.  I had previously wondered if Romney would select Cain as his VP since Cain is a favorite amongst conservatives (while Romney is not), Cain is popular in the South (while Romney is not), and Cain is an incredible speaker who would be an effective weapon in a campaign against Obama.  It seemed like that much more of a natural fit when you consider how attractive a businessman/businessman ticket would be in an election all about the economy.  This is just speculation, and Romney saying his name twice isn't a lot to go on, but it did reinforce my belief that Romney is strongly considering Cain for his VP choice should he win the nomination.

Pawlenty backing Romney?
During the debate Pawlenty was given another chance to attack Romney over ObmneyCare.  When he was last given this chance, he declined with catastrophic results.  This time around, he took it, but his attack was so soft that he seemed like he was a small child caught up in Romney's glory.  His behavior was all that much more noticeable when put beside his vicious attacks on Bachmann.  It seems pretty clear to me that Pawlenty really likes Romney.  With Pawlenty now out of the race you have to wonder if he'll endorse Romney. Of course, he could end up backing Perry for the same reasons. Regardless, there's no solid reason to think he will, but it's an interesting thought.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Quick Post on the Downgrade

Yesterday S&P downgraded America's credit rating from AAA to AA+.  We had held the AAA rating for 94 years, and losing it is yet another depressing sign of American decline. There are some pretty negative consequences for losing our rating, but I don't want to get into that.  If you're interested in the possible negative effects Hot Air has a pretty good write up here.

Instead, I want to just go over some things real quick.  First, lets look at S&P's reasoning for downgrading the US.  This little bit in particular.  Emphasis mine:

We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process. We also believe that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration agreed to this week falls short of the amount that we believe is necessary to stabilize the general government debt burden by the middle of the decade.

So basically, we lost our credit rating because we couldn't balance our budget or make considerable gains in doing so.  Since Democrats seem to only favor tax increases on the wealthiest 10%, and its mathematically impossible to balance the budget even if you tax the top 10% by 100%; it follows that Democrats don't want a balanced budget like those extreme and stupid Tea Partiers (Or that they're actually in favor of raising taxes on everyone, but using their rhetoric against them is so much more fun).  In other words its their fault, and I don't think its unfair to outright say that.  One side recognized that the budget needed to be balanced, entitlements represented a problem, and proposed realistic solutions.  The other stuck to unrealistic demands for a mixture of ideological and political reasons.  Oh and refused a deal that cut much more and may of saved our credit rating. 

There's a status I saw making its way around facebook that sums it up pretty well:

The United States of America has had a AAA credit rating since 1917. That rating survived WWI, the Great Depression, World War II, The Korean War, Vietnam, Jimmy Carter, 9-11, and those "unfunded" wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It couldn't survive less than one term of the current White House occupant's misguided policies." -- Michael J. Fell

Its beautiful in its simplicity, and try as hard as some liberals will, this -will- be blamed on Obama.  Democrats may find a way to escape blame, and Republicans may inevitably get some blame, but Obama will be the one who gets the worst of this.  One of the arguments I've used on people who voted for Obama is that they elected him to make things better, and regardless of what mess Bush left him, he failed.  Philip Klein makes that same argument for why the downgrade is going to hurt Obama:

But there’s another reason why Obama won’t escape blame for this. Obama was elected president at a time when Americans felt the nation was in decline, and his central job was restore their faith that our best days were ahead of us, as President Reagan did after the Carter era. Whether you think he was dealt a poor hand or not, the bottom line is that the sense of decline has only deepened during the Obama presidency, and the first-ever downgrade of U.S. credit, whatever its ultimate financial implications, is yet another symbol of that decline.

The rest of his article (linked above) makes other good arguments for why this will fall on Obama, so give it a quick read if you're interested.  Hopefully America sees it the same way and this adds to the momentum conservatives are building as we head toward 2012.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Poor Omens for Taiwan

Earlier I wrote about the unnerving growth of Chinese military might, and how it was foolish to call for major cuts in defense spending.  In that post I went over the Chinese development of anti-carrier missiles and how China had, in ten years, gone from badly losing an air war in the Pacific to defeating America.  Now Taiwan has more bad news:

The edge the PLA has over the Taiwanese armed forces is becoming increasingly overwhelming, the Taiwanese military says, and within a decade, the PLA won't have a hard time forcing Taipei into accepting unification by military means if necessary. 
PLA stands for People's Liberation Army, the armed forces of China.

The article is worth a skim, particularly the beginning and near the end.  It also talks a bit about how Taiwan didn't protest over two Chinese fighter jets that may or may not have crossed the "centerline", but I'd ignore that part as it seems unimportant next to the other bits. 

Basically, the Taiwanese don't have much going for them.  In fact, it seems the only thing that they have working in their favor is America's support, but the article can't even leave us with that.  Near the end of the article we're given this rosy scene:

On numerous occasions and to little avail, Ma Ying-jeou has requested the US to authorize weapon sales. The platform Taiwan seeks the most urgently - F-16C/Ds to replace its fleet of aging aircraft - is unlikely to be sold to Taipei as Washington fears the deal would lead to a significant deterioration of US-China relations.
What's so important about Taiwan anyways?  Who cares if China invades Taiwan, and why should America be willing to confront China over a tiny island republic?  Well for one, I don't think America should be particularly comfortable with the idea of a democratic, industrialized nation being forcibly absorbed into a repressive, communist one, especially when those people look to America to defend them, and America has long done so.  Moral arguments tend to not be terribly popular in cases of foreign policy though, so the other reason is that the fall of Taiwan would signal a huge decline in American power, both regionally and worldwide.  China would only make a move on Taiwan if it felt that America couldn't, or wouldn't, protect the island, and an American retreat on Taiwan would signal to the rest of Asia that, despite any rhetoric we may be spewing after the fact, a power shift just occurred in the region.  Governments that once relied upon America for protection or support will have to either reconcile their difference with China or find new allies.  The former seems far more likely than the latter, and in the end, America will find its ability to influence events in the region severely limited.

Talking about "interests" and "power" in places thousands of miles away probably seems vague to most people.  In the end would Americans be willing to send boys to die for the free people of Taiwan against the repressive, communist Chinese mainland?  No.  Americans aren't even willing to send boys to die for things that are obviously American interests, let alone for something that seems to be more of a "Taiwanese interest".

Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Excellent Entitlement Chart

A lot of people think that America can solve it's deficit problems without making major cuts to entitlements. A lot:

A majority of Americans believe the federal budget can be balanced without touching either Social Security or Medicare, a new poll found.
Close to six in 10 in the AP-GfK poll thought Social Security did not need to be cut as the government looked to get its books in order, while 54 percent said Medicare could be left alone.
Other polls have found similar sentiments.  These findings aren't depressing because they stand in the way of some evil conservative plot to kill grandma, they're depressing because entitlement cuts are genuinely necessary in order to balance the budget.  Worse yet, its depressing because it seems Americans hold contradictory views.  A 2010 Gallup poll captured the confusing problem well:

More than three in four Americans believe the cost of the government's major entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare, will create major economic problems for the U.S. in the next 25 years if no changes are made to them. At the same time, Americans do not provide a mandate for raising taxes or cutting benefits to address the situation.
One of the things I've noticed just by looking through comments on news stories is that a lot of people think we can solve the majority of budget woes by cutting foreign aid, the salaries of elected officials, and cutting out the ever vague "wasteful spending" (indeed, one could argue that all government spending is wasteful).  What people don't seem to understand is that while these are all decent ideas to certain varying degrees, they won't even begin to put a dent in the deficit.  In 2011 we had a 1.5 trillion deficit.  To put that in context, the government only brought in 2.17 trillion in revenue to begin with.  In other words, we borrowed almost as much as we "earned".  That should be a good indicator that there is a major problem with our budget currently, and that major steps need to be taken to fix it.  Conservatives argue that entitlement programs represent that major problem, and that the entitlement problem is only going to get worse as time goes on.

That brings me to the chart that I mentioned in the title.  The folks over at the Heritage Foundation put this together, and it really emphasizes how badly we need to deal with entitlement programs.

Spending varies year from year, so don't expect this to be a mirror image of how we've spent every year, but it does put things in perspective.  Entitlements are a major part of our budget, while cutting out foreign aid would do virtually nothing. Pretending that we can maintain entitlements without drastically raising taxes on all classes of Americans, or that the problem can be solved by cutting foreign aid; is ridiculous and counter productive.  Everyone should be fully aware of the mess we're in, otherwise we can't really deal with it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Political fallout from the Gifford's attack

Four days ago US Representative Gabrielle Giffords and nineteen other people were shot.  Six of them, including a nine year old girl and a federal judge, died.  In four days a moment of tragedy turned into a witch hunt, and yet another lecture about how the importance of civility in politics.  Four days is all it took for the same people who warned us to not "jump to conclusions" when an Army sergeant screamed "Allahu Akbar!" and opened fire on US military personnel to lay the blame for the attempt assassination of Giffords solely on the feet of Palin and the Tea Party.

And just four days is how long we had to wait to find out that Jared Loughner had no political motivations in his attempted assassination of Representative Giffords.

To suggest that the liberal opportunists who have attempted to use this tragedy to their own ends actually care about the truth - if it came in four minutes, hours, days, or years - is a comforting falsehood.  This was never about the truth, and it was never anything more than an attempt by a group of people who were either desperate or so separated from reality that, to them, there was no difference between the insanity Loughner spewed, and the rhetoric of their opposition.  The former have the capacity to recognize that what they are doing is disingenuous, while the latter are truly lost in their own delusion.  Discerning between the two is unnecessary as both are nothing more than the lowest form of scum.

Had anyone within the mainstream media cared for the truth it would of only taken a little patience to find evidence that Loughner wasn't completely there.  Within a few hours of the shooting his youtube channel was discovered.  By avoiding the videos for a moment and focusing on his list of favorite books you can discover that his favorite books include We The Living (by Ayn Rand), The Communist Manifesto, and Mein Kompf.  His videos provide no more clarity than his contradictory choice in books:

All of his videos that I saw stick to this same nonsensical, pseudo-philosophical, rambling, which is apparently the norm for this kid:

A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was "obviously very disturbed."

"He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts," said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College's Northwest campus.

Sorenson doesn't recall if he ever made any threats or uttered political statements but he was very disruptive, she said. He was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class, said Sorenson, a Tucson resident.

Another Pima classmate, Lydian Ali, said Loughner would frequently laugh aloud to himself during the advanced-poetry class they attended. Only about 16 people were in the class, so Loughner's behavior stood out, Ali said.

I recommend reading the rest short article here as it provides some further insight into how insane this guy was.

It'd be too much to quote all the instances that either prove his insanity, or disprove his non-interest in politics, so here's a quick summary:

Jared Loughner was not driven to violence over politics.  He did not listen to Palin, Beck, Limbaugh and decide to go on a shooting rampage.  He was not an angry Tea Partier taking out his rage on a Democrat.  Jared Loughner is a nutcase, someone who obviously needed help and yet, for some reason, never received it.

Despite all the evidence that Loughner had nothing to do with the Tea Party, or anything conservative for that matter, the attacks have not stopped, and the liberal opportunists remain unapologetic (Read this for the clearest demonstration of this).  But how surprised can we be?  There was never any reason to think that the right had anything to do with this attack other then the woman who was attacked happened to have a D next to her name.  These are people who are blaming Palin because she posted this:

Gifford's name is fourth on the list.  How anyone seriously thinks that this posting lead to a deranged man attacking the Congresswoman is beyond me.

Meanwhile Newsweek is saying that the DHS warned us about right wing extremists, Slate is discussing how the hateful rhetoric of the Tea Party lead to this act of violence, Hillary Clinton is blaming the attack on extremists and the "crazy voices that sometimes get on tv", Bob Kerry is blaming the attack on the health-care bill, and Clyburn is claiming that the birther outburst during the reading of the constitution was the cause.  If you have a moment I suggest glancing through some of these links so you can truly experience just how surreal all of this is.

Palin supporters - and conservatives in general - are used to this kind of attack from the left, and it is no less insulting and enraging every time it happens.  To think that this thought is contained within the realm of the elite, political class, liberals would be foolish.  I've seen at least one person on facebook attack Palin over this posting, directly blaming her, and the note in question was filled with support.  If you head over to Yahoo you can see comments of people chastising Palin for defending herself (seemingly unaware that she was accused of anything), and others blaming her for the attack itself.

My friend posted a quote that sums up all of this pretty well.  I invite you to read her outrage over all this as well:

“Those who purport to care about the health of our political community demonstrate precious little actual concern for America’s political well-being when they seize on any pretext, however flimsy, to call their political opponents accomplices to murder.”