Friday, June 30, 2006

Very light blogging...

There will be (probably) very light blogging through July 5. Have a safe holiday.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

An appalling decision...

A round-up of reports on the Supreme Court's Hamdan ruling.

Austin Bay says, "no means no", and we have to adjust. I respectfully disagree. In December, 2005, as part of the Detainee Treatment Act, the courts were told, "hands off" with regards to this subject. Congress got there first, and according to Article III of the Constitution, they have the right to strip jurisdiction from the courts. "Hands off" means "hands off", so the court should have butted out. They didn't, and now we're going to have a constitutional crisis in time of war.

AJ-Strata says, "can't try them, so fry them", which will last until the New York Times reports on the first al-Qaeda cell wiped out to the last thug. Then politicians like Murtha, Durbin, and Boxer will raise their own versions of hell.

Congress needs to pass a joint (or concurrent) resolution that states this ruling is invalid due to the passage of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, and that the President may proceed with military commissions as originally envisioned. In normal circumstances, the Supreme Court is the final word. But this is not a normal circumstance - the Supreme Court crossed the line first, and needs to be reminded that it, too, is subject to checks and balances.

What Cannon's plan gets right...

The plan from Congressman Chris Cannon's Advisory Committee runs 31 pages. Much of what it advocates makes sense.

This is how elected officials should be solving the problems we face. Demagouging an issue for political advantage is wrong, and it does not matter if the demagougery comes from Bill Clinton or Tom Tancredo, not does it matter if the issue involved is Medicare spending or immigration.

It gets everything right, particularly the need for a comprehensive approach. You see, not only will only giving one group what they want scuttle chances to get the rest of the needed reforms done, but it also will ensure that the new law is going to fail miserably. Because not only do we need to improve security, but we need laws that make sense. The only way that it will happen is if everyone gets something they can take to their various groups. It also means that people need to be told that if they want to take their marbles and go home, the resulting bill will not reflect what their concerns.

Another big thing it gets right is in making sure that people who deal with this plan are trated with respect and dignity. I don't care whether immigrants are here legally or not, they are still human beings and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity - that is non-negotiable.

Finally, it is correct to emphasize simplicity. As Dafydd at Big Lizards has outlined, the current system is a mess of complexity that not only has broken down, it has defied common sense. When an immigrant can't make his naturalization ceremony due to wounds suffered in combat, then re-scheduling should be a no-brainer. Take the guesswork out. Make it easy to understand. Because if there is a confusing, complex, and arbitrary system, it becomes easy for the average American to understand defying it. Take a good look at the numbers I ran, and you can quickly realize that it won't take that big of a percentage of the American people defying a law to render it unenforcable.

Take a good look at the plan. Then ask yourself, "Does this really sound like amnesty?"

OPLAN Anaconda

The title is not a reference to Operation Anaconda, but instead to the Anaconda Plan developed by General Winfield Scott as the strategy for fighting the Civil War. This strategy called for blockading Confederate ports to strangle trade, and a drive down the Mississippi River to divide the Confederacy in two.

OPLAN Anaconda approaches significant elements of the United States press corps--most notably the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times--as enemies to be destroyed. They have shown their hand by willfully exposing intelligence-gathering efforts to the public at large--which includes the terrorists.

These elements of the press are the enemy, just as surely as al-Qaeda and Islamist extremism are also our enemies. One is either with us, or with the terrorists.

Unfortunately, the more . . . ahem . . . direct approaches, such as Tomahawk strikes and Special Forces raids, are not available. Therefore, we must make do with what can be done.

So, let us look at the desired end state. With respect to these elements of the press, we should:

1. Crush our enemies
2. See them driven before us
3. Hear the lamentations of their women

The press lives and dies on one element: access. Deny that access, and victory is inevitable.

So, a modest proposal ensues, outlined as applicable to the New York Times:

1. All federal government press credentials currently issued to papers, radio stations, and television stations owned and operated by The New York Times Company will be revoked immediately. This includes the White House press corps, embedded reporters in military operations, State Department, Treasury Department, et cetera.

2. All federal government internet firewalls will be set to block traffic to and from domains owned and operated by The New York Times Company. This includes web and email traffic alike.

3. Block all telephonic access from federal government offices to New York Times Company-owned assets.

4. Pools, such as AP and UPI, will be given the choice of embargoing the New York Times, or forfeiting all access as outlined in steps 1-3 above.

5. Commence surveillance--visible, heavy-handed surveillance--of eateries and meeting spots preferred by those with access to classified information.

6. Commence a program of disinformation to those employees suspected or known to have passed classified information to reporters. Said disinformation should be of the sort that would be swallowed whole by left-wing extremists, starting with the plausible and gradually moving into Grade-A tinfoil-and-black-helicopter territory.

In a matter of weeks, the entire New York Times propaganda apparatus will be rendered a laughingstock; without access on a day-to-day basis, they will be reduced to second-hand reporting transcripts of White House press conferences from the White House website and whatever rumors they might cadge while trying to avoid (a) getting hammered by disinformation and (b) blowing their few remaining sources.

So, we will have accomplished crushing our enemies and seeing them driven before us. Ah, but how do we hear the lamentations of their women?

Simple: read a Maureen Dowd or Ellen Goodman column.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cannon's Plan...

There is a plan Congressman Cannon is promoting. This Word Document from an advisory committee that he put together has a number of interesting ideas that should govern a solution to the problem.

I don't agree with all of it, but I think this is a very good starting point for discussions.

The failure of a purge...

With John Jacob conceding, Chris Cannon has survived Tom Tancredo's attempted purge. This hopefully gives a comprehensive bill some new life. The conference has to go to work, though, and that depends on the House.

Tom Tancredo's influence among House Republicans will hopefully decrease in the wake of his attacks on both Cannon and Mike Pence. Because really, at this point, Tom Tancredo has proven that his threats to campaign against Republicans are empty - that at best, he can attack a colleague and find himself outgunned by those who back up that colleague.

Tancredo is now short of options. Having attacked two fellow Republican House members, not to mention the President of the United States over immigration, he's lost big time when he went toe-to-toe in a primary race where the only real difference was immigration. And he lost 56-44, a margin just a little smaller than Cannon's 2004 primary victory (by a 58-42 margin), despite this challenger spending six times what Cannon's 2004 challenger spent. If he wants to take out Cannon, he has to go with a Constitution Party challenger in that district - and that will result in him getting a primary challenger of his own.

The President has just sent a message - he will back those who favor comprehensive reform. That backing in a primary has been proven, as the wreckage of Tancredo's attempted purge washes onto the shore. We may yet see a comprehensive plan. Hopefully, the House will realize the threats of the hard-liners are empty (as the UT-3 primary has proven).

If not... well, let's just say that there are always other primaries.

Utah County done...

And Chris Cannon has a 55-45 lead.


15752 55.17%

12801 44.83%

This was where Mason-Dixon claimed that Jacob was leading.

With 58 percent in...

Cannon is holding a 57-43 lead over Jacob (a rough percentage breakdown) with the majority of the precincts reporting. The purge appears to be failing - and doing so very badly (the 2004 primary challenger got 42%).

Tom Tancredo has lost a lot of influence in the House Republican conference. He needed to take down Cannon - and he has failed to do so twice (his first attempt was at the state convention). In the process of trying to take out Cannon, he has crossed lines (as has been noted at Redstate here and here). Short version, he went toe-to-toe with the White House (which did various calls in support of Chris Cannon), and he lost.

The chances of a comprehensive immigration bill like the one the White House wants have improved. It might not make it - Tancredo can still probably muster enough votes to defeat the rule on any bill from a conference committee that he opposes, but the chances are better.

The two big counties in UT-3...

Salt Lake is where Cannon currently holds a 52-48 lead.

In Utah County, where Jacob was supposedly stronger, Cannon is up almost 56-44.

More returns... and looking good...

Well, at least it looks good to me. As of 12:12 AM EDT, Chris Cannon is up with a solid 57% of the vote. The lead seems to be holding, although fluctuating all night between 55-60%.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More on Cannon's primary...

Beaver County has come in decisively for Cannon (nearly 3-1).

The current breakdown at 11:35 PM EDT is Cannon 58.39%, Jacob 41.61%.

Early returns...

Cannon seems to have a 55-44 lead in very early returns. Hopefully, this will hold.

EDIT: His lead is holding at roughly 56-44 breakdown.

EDIT 2: Interestingly enough, the Salt Lake Tribune had a poll from Mason-Dixon showing that Jacob had a 5-point lead in Utah County. Yet as of 11:27 PM EDT, Cannon is up 929 to 710 - 56.68% to 43.32%. He might survive Tancredo's attempted purge...

Will the purge happen?

That's what the question for tonight is.

If Tom Tancredo and his PAC manage to beat Cannon, their biggest accomplice will be the silent acquiescence of many conservatives who let Cannon hang out to dry. Look at the ACU ratings. Cannon is no Lincoln Chafee. Yet he is the target of a purge. In essence, Tancredo is making an example of someone who outlined the shady connections to groups that favor some very shady stuff, and who favored a comprehensive approach to immigration as opposed to "enforcement only", an approach which is doomed to failure, as Ken has explained.

Do we really want the conservative movement to be associated with groups that embrace the pseudo-science of eugenics, the same pseudo-science embraced by Margaret Sanger - one of the founders of Planned Parenthood? Was Cannon's real sin in exposing this connection, one that may be too politically incorrect for conservatives to acknowledge? Are we supposed to be quiet in the face of something that is evil?

Apparently, that is the case. Tom Tancredo now feels he has the right to dictate how Republicans view immigration - with Bay Buchanan and the Team America PAC as the commissars who will purge dissenters from his positions from the House. If he gets Cannon today, he will have his "example" - and in 2008, it will be Mike Pence who fends off "amnesty supporter" charges that are little more than lies (as anyone who can use a dictionary can see for themselves). There was punishment in the Senate bill - it was just not the punishment Tancredo and other hard-liners wanted.

Twelve hours from now, the Republican Main Street Partnership could have a new donor. If Cannon is purged, then I'm really not inclined to stay among a movement that does not see fit to defend its own from self-appointed commissars like Tancredo. If anything, they don't have the guts to hold elective office. I might not agree with everything the Republican Main Street Partnership is doing, but they may well be the only game in town.

Why the Senate exists...

The immigration debate is a classic case in point of why the Senate was instituted by the Founders. The House passed a lousy and unworkable bill that was focused far more on exacting punishment than in solving the problem. In short, it pandered to a very vocal minority.

The Senate was created to make sure that there was not a rush to enact legislation. Not only are the rules of the Senate designed to allow a minority of Senators to slow things down, the re-election of the members of the Senate is staggered, so as to allow the passions engendered by a vote on a hot-button issue to not only cool, but it also insulates Senators - allowing them to take the long view of an issue.

In essence, Senators like Sam Brownback are not as vulnerable to being targeted for a purge as someone in the House of Representatives, like Chris Cannon. On immigration, the Senate has played a vital role. In essence, no bill that is enforcement-only (this includes the "enforcement first" bait-and-switch) will get through. To get any sort of immigration bill, the House will have to accept the needed large-scale plea-bargain/pre-trial diversion that Senators capable of insulating themselves from the talk-radio/internet-fuelled hysteria over the issue.

Sadly, as AJ-Strata notes, the Senate's role has been the subject of vicious comments and worse, and the House Republicans have chosen to sabotage any hopes for a bill. Some of the comments on the post are disgusting.

Pyrrhic victory coming?

The more I think of indicting the New York Times, the dumber the idea sounds. Calls to go after the New York Times, as satisfying as they are, should not be heeded.

It's not that I support the illegal disclosure of classified information - I don't. I think the leakers need to be prosecuted - and given cells in the SuperMax facility for at least 25 years.

But I'm afraid too many conservatives are, to paraphrase Ian Malcolm in the movie Jurassic Park, so preoccupied about whether or not they can have a big fight with the liberal media/liberal establishment/liberals that they do not stop to think whether or not they should fight a particular battle at a particular time.

As if that would not be bad enough, these conservatives often castigate those who do ask questions about the wisdom of such a course of action for lacking "principles" or being "squishes". I'm sorry, but that is untrue. I'm opposed to pyrrhic victories and banzai charges on principle. And prosecuting the New York Times sounds tailor-made for a pyrrhic victory at best, and a banzai charge at worst.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Is a trap play coming?

With the New York Times almost begging for a criminal prosecution, I have to wonder if there isn't something up the sleeves of Bill Keller and Arthur Otis Sulzberger, Jr. This makes twice in about six months that they have gone and blown classified programs that involve the intelligence community - in both cases, leading to arguments in favor of prosecuting some reporters and editors under the Espionage Act. But that may be just what Keller and Sulzberger want.

It could very well be a political/legal version of the "trap" play. For those who are not football fans, here is a quick run-down. A "trap" play is one in which an offensive lineman retreats - and entices the defensive lineman to come charging through what seems to be a clear lane into the backfield. At that point, another offensive lineman pulls, and blocks the defensive lineman, leaving the kind of hole that a running back (like Walter Payton) could go through and turn into six points.

The "trap" here is the fact that a prosecution could shift a lot of the dynamics on the battlefield of public opinion. The New York Times has come out on the bad end of more than one tangle recently. Circulation is declining, and so are stock values are declining due to the present dynamics, which are hard to spin in favor of this news outlet.

However, start prosecuting, and then the battlefield shifts - because it is no longer just an abstract question of leakers being prosecuted. This time, it would be reporters in the dock facing life terms. The mainstream media will close ranks around one of its most distinguished members - and the resulting fight could be extremely ugly when the dust settles.

Keller and Sulzberger are not stupid people - despite what seems like stupid decisions to run stories. They have to have noticed over the past nine months that a portion of the President's political base is more interested having a major battle with the Left - and being able to thump their chest about a stand on principle - than whether a given fight is a good idea. They have seen the base succeed in the Miers nomination and DPW's acquisition of P&O's operations at ports in the United States, as well as their obstinance over immigration.

In other words, they want to force the Administration into a battle that will rapidly be spun into an assault on freedom of the press. That is a battle that will rapidly be lost - because the media will be at it with everything they have. The ink wouldn't be bought by the barrel, it would be purchased by the truckload.

The leaks need to be stopped - but the real task is to stop them without falling for the "trap" play.


Looks like that is the case at the Strata-Sphere.

Why is Cannon a target?

Could it be because of what he's willing to say?

If there is anything that has pushed me from the "conservative" position on immigration, it's been a combination of not just the slimy underside of this, but the way that those who question it have been targeted by the restrictionists.

Remember how Michael Crichton discussed eugenics in the appendix to State of Fear? It seems that this slimy aganda may have found a home on the right in the form of the anti-immigration movement. Is that why Tancredo has gone after him, to shoot a conservative willing to expose this slimy movement?

In some places, the reservoir was shallow...

Austin Bay makes a comment here that is worth a response. He says:
As I've written time and again the Bush Administration's greatest failure was to tap the American public's post-9/11 reservoir of willingness; however, just enough of the American public stepped forward.
The problem is, in some areas of the populace, the "reservoir of willingness" always was extremely shallow for solving the real problems that led to the unprovoked sneak attack on 9/11/01. The problem went way beyond just al-Qaeda and the Taliban. There were other countries who saw sponsoring terrorism as a very viable policy (like Saddam Hussein's regime). Some of them were/are developing weapons of mass destruction - and could have viewed groups like al-Qaeda as a very viable delivery system.

There is a vocal portion of the American populace that does not trust America's emergence as a hyperpower. This portion largely pushed itself away from the military by 1975. As I have discussed earlier, the military adapted, and emerged much stronger (it is amazing what happens when the personnel are not drafted, but instead are serving this country because it is something they believe in, and wish to excel at) as a result. The military is much more capable for its task of defending this country at this time - and does so despite the opposition of a small but vocal minority.

In essence, President Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, and everyone else involved in making the grand strategic decisions in 2001 knew that in some quarters, the reservoir of willingness to fight the war that needed to be fought was shallow, and only extended to doing part of the job that had to be done. The war on terror had to go beyond al-Qaeda and Afghanistan, but there was going to be resistance - some of it from inside this country. Look at the resistance to taking on Saddam Hussein's regime, despite the wholesale defiance of UN resolutions concerning Iraq's WMD programs and support of murder-suicide bombings by terrorism. Even the discovery of memos indicating that the regime had a relationship with al-Qaeda has not silenced people who claim the Administration misled the American people into liberating Iraq.

It is not as if they did not try to explain to the American people that this would be a long war that went beyond al-Qaeda. It is not as if they have not explained why they were viewing threats in a new light. A portion of the country (whose view is shared by major media outlets) has said, "We're not willing to take it that far." That's not President Bush's fault - that is the fault of those who have decided this country is not worth protecting, and a war for its survival is not worth winning.

Something to read and think about...

Not on immigration, but on the media's coverage of the war on terror.

Strategypage discussed how some people are getting away with treason. This is part of what has been a 35-year war on the intelligence community - and the Department of Defense (at least when run by Republicans).

Thankfully, the MSM is not as powerful as it was in 1968, and as a result, our troops have so far been able to avoid being stabbed in the back.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The "guilt by association" charge...

The Pink Flamingo has come under fire by folks claiming that the only theme is "guilt by association" - and thus try to dismiss the concerns by claiming it is a logical fallacy. I reject that defense.

The company a person keeps says a lot about them - and a lot about their arguments. If the only folks willing to back a piece of legislation were the Mafia, would you really want that legislation to become law? I wouldn't.

I think that checking up on people or entities you associate with (particularly when promoting an issue or any sort of business/employment association) is just something a responsible person does. I'd want to know who I was getting involved with on that level - particularly to avoid being embarrassed by what would come out. In the Age of Google, this is very easy - in a matter of seconds, you can get the information. It's not that hard. There is really no excuse for not doing so, particularly when you are discussing a controversial issue.

Yet, for some reason, people like Tom Tancredo and Michelle Malkin are getting a pass for associations with shady people - people whose shady backgrounds are easily discovered with a little searching, as the Pink Flamingo blog has done. This is not right, and the fact that people do not try to explain this, but instead attack those of us who raise questions about what is an apparent lack of judgment, speaks volumes. Shooting the messenger is the last resort of a person who wishes to avoid dealing with inconvenient facts.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

One more addition today... and some thoughts.

Subway Canaries is another blog by SJ Reidhead, largely focusing on some of the warts on the right.

This is not intended as a secession from the right. I am not at that point yet. But one thing that I am not willing to concede is that conservatism is infalliable, either in doctrine, implementation, or anywhere else. Nor will I remain silent when I think something is wrong or when people do not speak for me.

The fact that there has been a lot of condemnation directed at folks like myself, AJ-Strata, Hedgehog, SJ Reidhead, and The Anchoress - whose only real crime is to have thought through an issue and come to a different conclusion on how to solve an issue or who have decided that certain conduct is not acceptable.

I'm not going to accept that notion. Thoughtcrime is something that needs to remain in George Orwell's 1984, and shouldn't spread to the conservative movement. For that, we're going to always need people to ask, "What is going on here?" Even I, when I call things as I see them, might get something wrong big-time.

So let's keep debate open, but honest. Let's be civil, but truthful. Let's call it as we see it, and let things sort themselves out.

The located WMDs...

Well, it seems that the "no WMDs" folks have just had a bad day. The summary is at (in a PDF).

Austin Bay has a lengthy discussion on this. What he doesn't note, though is some memos acquired by in October, 2004, one of which points to efforts to acquire mustard gas. We also have comments from Lieutenant General Mike DeLong, stating Iraq had WMDs (he believes they got moved to Syria), and General Tommy Franks, who explains how Saddam had the infrastructure.

Why was it kept quiet? Well, folks, telling everyone what we found, and where we found it is a good way to give al-Qaeda pointers on where to look. Also, revealing what is known can help terrorists figure out who is cooperating - dead informants tell no tales, and when people are killed for passing on information sources dry up.

At this point, though, revealing some of the finds is good - not just because it shows the intelligence wasn't that far off, but also because it will deflate the anti-war movement to a degree. The vast majority of our intelligence professionals know what they are doing and are dedicated to protecting this country - let's trust them to do their jobs.

Two more on the blogroll:

The Pondering American, someone who, like me, is willing to call it as they see it. This needs to be encouraged among conservatives.

The Pink Flamingo is also added, for similar reasons. Both are going to be very interesting reading.

Just what is going on here?

Pink Flamingo has done some excellent research on some... interesting and disturbing links involving some of the hard-line opponents of the President's proposals on immigration (which are largely reflected in the Senate bill).

Take a good look. I'd like to know why Tom Tancredo and Michelle Malkin, among others, have let this association occur. This is the Age of Google - and it is not too hard for someone to type in the name of an entity that invites them to speak. In Tancredo's case - he has a staff to do this. Malkin's had a background as a journalist.

Checking up should have been instinctive in both cases. This stuff should be easy for someone to find out. There seem to be only two conclusions that I can reach:

1. They failed to check up on these people. If this is the case, then we are dealing with what can only be described as gross negligence. In which case, we can't really trust what they say if they do not seem capable of carrying out due diligence.

2. They checked up on these people, and didn't see anything wrong. If this is the case, then we are dealing with something that is much worse. They have chosen to associate with people who are advocating an evil agenda, and as such, they need to be defeated.

I could sure use a cold Mountain Dew right about now...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A sign of the hysteria...

Take a look at this from Redstate:

On principle, moreover, it seems wise to let the people of a republic have some say in a bill that, if I may be blunt, contemplates its replacement by another. With this, for the moment at least, we can pronounce that the dispossession of America compassed by the Senate, in its perfidy, has been delivered a blow; that self-government has been given succor; that America’s liberty may yet endure; that her patriots may cheer and her despisers gnash their teeth.
Just look at this. What proof is there that the Senate bill even comes close to doing what it is claimed to do in this post? The Heritage Foundation study often cited as proof of this has been fisked very nicely by Dafydd at Big Lizards. Do we even know how many illegal immigrants there are? The estimates range from 11 million to 20 million. We can't even know for sure what the effect that the increases in legal immigration will be - much less whether or not it will be the disaster that the hard-liners portray it as. Human beings are not exactly predictable.

Does this sound familiar? I think it does. Remember Al Gore's pronouncements in Earth in the Balance, which included an invocation of Kristallnacht? Or other pronouncements about global warming - and the potential disaster that would come - from environmentalists? God help anyone who dares to question the existence of global warming or the efficacy of the Kyoto Treaty, which they treat as holy writ. Ask Bjorn Lomborg, whose book The Skeptical Environmentalist was met with a firestorm of criticism. Indeed, the suppression of dissent is much like that seen in the early 20th Century, with eugenics, as author Michael Crichton noted in the appendix to State of Fear.

It is also so like the 2006 immigration debate. We have seen Tom Tancredo openly attack fellow Republican congressmen who offer plans to resolve this issue that he disagrees with for whatever reason. It has reached the point that he is being described as a hatchet man - by those who otherwise might support his position on this bill. It is seen when those who do not support an "enforcement first/enforcement only" approach, and instead favor a comprehensive bill are labeled as "quislings" and "agents of Mexico", who support "the emasculation and gradual overthrow of the America we know" and "subversion of law".

How is a person to react to such labels and claims, which are little more than scurrilous accusations whose prima facie evidence is nothing more than disagreement with the agenda of the person who uses them? How can debate and discussion of a vital issue be possible in such an environment? The short answer is that debate and discussion are shut off. In essence, those who have used these labels have declared that they see only one solution - and the only allowable discussion is on how best to accomplish it. Any other debate and discussion is deemed unacceptable. It is a form of political correctness that is no less suppressive of the exchange of ideas than the speech codes on college campuses. Don't take my word for it - just ask Mike Pence or Chris Cannon.

The suppression of debate and dissent has met with opprobrium on the right when it is carried out by environmentalists. Yet the right often does the same thing it has accused environmentalists of doing when immigration is the issue on the table. Conservatives cannot have this both ways. If a tactic is wrong for one side to use on an issue, then it is equally wrong for another side to use it on an issue.

But the rationale against the suppression of debate and discussion goes beyond right and wrong. When certain options are closed off due to "impure" ideological foundations by the actions of a strident faction acting out of an arrogance fueled by zeal, it often will shut out viable solutions. Open debate and discussion does not only lead to new ideas, it leads to a much better implementation of those new ideas. This strident faction has decided that a poorly implemented and unworkeable, ableit ideologically pure solution is better than a workable compromise that is implemented well.

That will be a sad day for the country.

Big Lizards Blog nails it again...

This post here is probably the most eloquent posts on the current immigration system. One sentence makes my blood boil:
Immigrants, legal immigrants, are not people... not as far as Immigration is concerned.

This is unacceptable. Absolutely, totally, and completely unacceptable. As President Bush said in his speech on the immigration issue (which I think is almost as good as his speech before Congress on September 20, 2001):
We must always remember that real lives will be affected by our debates and decisions, and that every human being has dignity and value no matter what their citizenship papers say.

As I discussed over two months earlier, laws can go wrong. Some of them are wrong from the beginning. When they cross the line into injustice - either intentionally (as in the case of racial segregation) or unintentionally (as was the case with the Volstead Act) - people eventually figure it out. Soon the number of victims becomes harder and harder to ignore. At some point, people start to defy the laws the perceive as unjust, and when that reaches a critical mass - then the problem begins.

When the scale of the lawbreaking reaches at least five times the size of America's present prison population (I ran the numbers here), the critical mass has probably been exceeded by a wide margin. There is no way to round up and deport them all. Getting them to self-deport will not happen, either - we'd have to make America more miserable for them than their home country. That would not only take some doing, there is just no way that an Administration or Congress that did so would survive politically - because there is just no way to limit it to illegal immigrants.

Too many people are trying to pretend this is simple. As I have explained earlier, it is not. Not only that, it is obvious that conservatives have been quick to see the flaws in agencies like the IRS, and various environmental bureaucracies (Army Corps of Engineers, Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA). Yet when it comes to immigration... silence. Not only that, they demand the current system of laws be enforced to the letter.

Sorry, but I'm not buying that. When a system becomes this arbitrary, and does not treat people with dignity or respect, it will eventually be defied. When the defiance is widespread, the law will eventually collapse as people realize that there is no way that the government can get all of them.

Sadly, too many conservatives have mistaken mindlessly enforcing the letter of a law that has gone haywire for supporting the rule of law. They will probably ensure no immigration bill get s passed this year, meaning the problem will fester for at least another three years (because at least one conservative Senator is planning to run for President, and he will pander to the hard-line vote). They have decided the status quo is better than an ideologically impure solution, and some of these hard-liners have decided that misrepresentation and demonization of their opponents is acceptable conduct.

The tipping point is coming - and a lot sooner that some want to admit. If Republicans don't solve this problem now - it might be solved by people who come up with something that makes the Hagel-Martinez compromise or McCain-Kennedy look like strict enforcement. Those who came here illegally do not deserve a free pass to becoming citizens, but at the same time, it is neither possible nor just to deport every last one of them. Giving them a chance to come forward and pay a reduced penalty in exchange for their "guilty plea" is the only viable option left.

If this large-scale plea-bargain (not an amnesty) is combined with additional border patrol and ICE agents, as well as additional border surveillance assets, increased legal immigration quotas, and a rational system that has objective requirements that people will know they must meet in order to get a visa, green card, or to become a citizen, this country will have a very good chance at solving the issue over the long haul. But that will mean politicians - creatures not known for having spines - will have to stand up to the hard-liners. That's not happened very often.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The attempted purge hits a new low...

It seems that the lines get crossed more easily each day. The picture on the right is taken from the server of Tom Tancredo's Team America PAC.

(NOTE 6/21/06): This graphic was on the site according to the Deseret News article I linked to below.

The Team America political action committee removed from its Web site a picture of Cannon with a target over his face.
Message to Tancredo: Trying to hide your graphic doesn't change the fact it got put up in the first place.)

This is just unacceptable. I'm sorry, but in this day and age, this is beyond the line, particularly when some have already fired off incendiary rhetoric (like "Quislings" or "agents of Mexico").

This, of course, gets ignored. So does this gem from Cannon's primary challenger (and Tancredo endorsee):

"Chris can't have it both ways," Jacob told KSL-TV. "He can be on the president's side, or he can be on the side that's against illegal immigration."

In an early morning debate on KCPW 1010 AM, Jacob said to Cannon, "You've been on the side with the president. You've rubber-stamped his ideas, he's coming out to support you, so if you win, you'll stay on that side."
Where to begin? First, John Jacob has just accused President George W. Bush of supporting illegal immigration.

Shall we look at what the President actually said in his speech on immigration? Here:
First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.
Does this sound like support of illegal immigration to you? It does not seem like that to me. If anything, he is opposed to illegal immigration... the problem is that his solutions are not the solutions of hard-liners.

In other words,
John Jacob has misrepresented the position of the President of the United States on this issue in order to win the primary for the Republican nomination for the seat representing that district in the House of Representatives. That's called lying - and by doing so, he has shown the ultimate disrespect for those he seeks to represent.

Yet, this goes on from opponents of the President's plan - one largely reflected in the Senate bill. They have claimed it is an amnesty that rewards lawbreakers. But a look at the facts shows otherwise. There is a fine levied and a requirement to pay back taxes (at least $3,250 according to MSNBC), not to mention the fact that if they do misbehave (get convicted of one felony or three misdemeanors), they are gone. In essence, the Senate bill involves an admission of being here illegally (a guilty plea) - and in return for coming forward willingly, they are given a lesser sentence (fines/restitution and probation).

That's not amnesty, that is a plea-bargain. But the opponents of the Senate bill seem to think they cannot win the debate if that is how it is perceived. So they claim it is an amnesty. One look at the dictionary, shows that the term does not apply to the Senate bill. These opponents are misrepresenting the Senate bill in order to defeat it. Merely because the punishment is not severe enough in their minds.

It brings to mind the time when Bill Clinton and the Democrats found themselves facing off with Republicans over Medicare reform. In an effort to keep Medicare from going bankrupt, Republicans wanted to hold the rate of increase to twice the rate of inflation as opposed to three times the rate of inflation. But the Democrats couldn't say, "The Republicans aren't increasing spending enough" - it just wouldn't sell. So they claimed the Republicans were
cutting Medicare spending. It was a lie - and it worked well enough. Bill Clinton got re-elected.

Are conservatives willing to sink to Clintonian tactics for short-term political gain? If so, then it speaks very poorly for their worthiness to run this country.

Why the death penalty is needed...

Anna Quindlen pontificates on why the death penalty has, in her opinion failed. But she ignores the 800-pound gorilla in the room: We have people who are extremely dangerous to others and to society in general, and they need to be decisively dealt with.

Repeat child rapists, serial killers, murderers, terrorists like Zacarias Moussaoui - I'm sorry, but giving them three hots and a cot for the rest of their natural lives is just too much for me. You give them a fair trial, and if they are convicted, you give them the appropriate sentence. A number of states have decided the death penalty is appropiate - and so has the federal government. I agree with having it - because it is the only way to be completely sure that the convicted criminal will never re-offend again.

That makes us safer.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Football season is coming...

But this is not to rant about anything, even though Kyle Orton probably got the biggest raw deal from his team, when, despite being tossed into a sink-or-swim situation, he manged to tread water at worst. So, how does his 10-5 record in 15 starts get rewarded? The Bears sign Brian Griese to be the new backup to Rex Grossman, who has not played in 27 out of the past 32 games.

No, this post is not about that injustice. Instead, this is post to expose something even more absurd. With the preseason publications coming out, it is always a little fun to take the listed height and weight of NFL players, and run them through the BMI calculator at the Center for Consumer Freedom's web page.

For instance, Brian Urlacher (6'4", 258 pounds) has a BMI of 31.40, making him obese according to the Federal government's BMI standard. Brian Urlacher - the terror of NFL running backs and quarterbacks. Obese by declaration of the federal government.

And my tax dollars went for this nonsense?

Political correctness on the right...

The Hedgehog has discussed what seems to be an emerging political correctness on the right on his blog, and in a comment here.

I have to admit that this is what has really been bothering me over the last nine months or so - much more than the actual disagreements. The world would be pretty dull if everyone agreed with me. Not only that, one can look here, and note that Ken and I disagree on a defense-related issue.

My problem comes when the disagreement is used as a springboard to attack one personally - particularly when something questionable (like Ann Coulter's recent comments) gets questioned. This is not the only time I've seen people pretty much demand that a blind eye be turned to stuff that I find unacceptable. There is a very slimy side to some of the President's hard-line opponents on immigration - sites like seem to think that it is OK to run stuff from a person who has the webmaster of Stormfront to his place over for a beer, and who runs conferences featuring all sorts of slimy characters.

I don't like being told that I have to turn a blind eye to things I find unacceptable, or who seem to imply that I have a lack of principle because I refuse to allow perfect to be the enemy of good enough - or if I come to a different conclusion on how to solve a problem than they do. I also intend to call out stuff I think is questionable or unacceptable - be it from Larry Johnson or Ann Coulter. If conservatism cannot handle such a thing, then it is going to lose a lot of support as stridency and zeal replaces civil discourse and a common-sense approach to solving the problems facing this country.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The quote everyone missed...

What frosted me the most about the latest from the Dixie Chicks wasn't the comments from Natalie Maines. It was this from Emily Robison:
"It was the bullying and the scare factor," shudders banjo and guitar player Robison. "It was like the McCarthy days, and it was almost like the country was unrecognisable."
Bullying? Scare factor? Uh, Mrs. Robison, I'm going to explain something to you in very simple terms. You see, when Natalie Maines first made her comments about President Bush during that concert in London, exercising her free speech rights, a lot of folks heard about it.

And a lot of them are exercising their free speech rights when they say what they think. This does not excuse death threats... but one of the things that comes with freedom of speech is the consequences for exercising it. If you say something that royally offends others, they are going to say what they think. This includes your fellow country artists, or the guy who sent you an angry letter explaining why he's not buying your CDs, and why he thinks your bandmate's comment was BS is not a reminder of the days of McCarthy.

It's just free speech, Mrs. Robison. I'm sorry if you don't care for it.

A wonderful weekend in Milwaukee...

It is a very wonderful weekend in Milwaukee. Quite wonderful...

Friday Night: Brewers 6, Cleveland 4
Saturday: Brewers 3, Cleveland 2
Sunday: Brewers 6, Cleveland 3

Oh, it was a wonderful weekend... YES.

I wonder... how did Hugh Hewitt enjoy this weekend?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Is this National Cheap Shot week?

Just when it seems like Ann Coulter was going to set the new low, here comes Larry Johnson from the left (specifically, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) with his own cheap shot.
Karl is a shameless bastard. This could explain why his mother killed herself. Once she discovered what a despicable soul she had spawned she apparently saw no other way out.
I have had a relative commit suicide. It's a pretty painful thing to deal with. And what Johnson has done is despicable, and not just because it reminded me a little of that relative killing himself.
You see, Johnson has gone to the cheap shot because, in a very real sense, Karl Rove spoke the truth about Democratic demands for a withdrawal - it is cut-and-run. And that withdrawal will have consequences. Don't take my word for it, see this recovered al-Qaeda document, and judge for yourself what a cut-and-run policy would be seen as.

Ann Coulter's cheap shots were wrong. They were vicious, nasty, and simply not something any person who supports civil discourse should tolerate. Larry Johnson's cheap shot is also wrong. It was vicious, nasty, not something a person who supports civil discourse should tolerate, and it was a transparent attempt to avoid discussing the consequences of the course of action he is advocating.

Not that I can really blame Johnson for his position. We have a historical frame of reference that shows how a similar course of action in Somalia was viewed by this country's enemies, and it is legitimate to ask them why they are supporting a plan that would give our enemies some encouragement.

But then again, for some people, judging by results is unfair. They have good intentions. That, and seventy-five cents will get me today's issue of USA Today.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ann Coulter's Intemperate Mouth

Ann Coulter demonstrates that life is hard--and even harder if you're stupid . . .
John Hawkins: How about dashing off a quick sentence or even just a word or two about the following individuals...

John Murtha: The reason soldiers invented "fragging."

Ann, I racked and stacked one of my Marines back in the day for making a joke about fragging an officer, and I personally marched him to the brig. You do not joke about stuff like this, particularly about an elected official, no matter how much you dislike him.

Of course, you also "joked" about poisoning Justice Stevens a while back.

That's something else you don't joke about, Ann.

Remember how we reacted to the "Snipers Wanted" graphic? Huh? Remember how everyone went righteously batshit?

That kind of stuff just isn't acceptable. It isn't acceptable from the left, and it sure as hell isn't acceptable from conservatives.

Just shut the fuck up, Ann. Take your royalty checks and get lost.

Talking numbers...

Estimates of the total number of illegal immigrants are anywhere from 11 million to 20 million, depending on who you talk to about the issue.

Now, let's discuss some other numbers: 1,421,911 + 15,757 + 713,990 + 9,788 + 2,177 + 1,826 + 102,338 = 2,226,787

The math problem above is the total prison population in the United States, at least according to the latest DOJ estimates available.

In other words, the number of illegal immigrants is at least five times the size of our total prison population, and that is using the low-end figures. If you want to use the high-end of 20 million, it's nine times the size of our total prison population. And that is before we discuss one person who either gave an illegal immigrant a job, smuggled them across the border, or assisted them in any way (including not informing law enforcement they were here illegally).

The numbers don't lie. We have non-compliance with the law that is way beyond our prison capacity. There is no way to get them all, and what is worse, it's pretty clear to everyone who knows the numbers, and who can rationally look at them.

As BaseballCrank points out, there are reasons to provide an amnesty. The second reason he provides is as follows:
A second reason why amnesties are sometimes granted has nothing to do with justice, and everything to do with peace: sometimes, a society simply finds it easier to look the other way at certain past crimes than bring everyone guilty to justice. Countries like Chile and South Africa (and, less formally, East Germany) have taken this route at least to some extent after a change away from a repressive government, concluding that too many people were complicit to prosecute them all without expending massive resources on a backward-looking process and undergoing the wrenching process of tossing huge numbers of people in prison.

Certainly, fear of social disruption is why nearly all of even the most aggressive opponents of illegal immigration blanch at the notion of mass deportations of millions of people (including whole families and long-term residents), despite the fact that we have the perfect legal right to do just that. (The preferred solution is generally an 'attrition' strategy of gradually drying up the opportunities for illegal employment)

When the lawbreaking exceeds the prison population by a factor of at least five, things have passed the critical mass for social disruption by a very wide margin, particularly when it involves taking people into custody and detaining them. We are told by some that passing stricter laws and a greater deal of interior enforcement will lead illegal immigrants to deport themselves. It is a false promise - the underground economy and the informal economy are both out there, and neither of those things are going away outside outlawing cash transactions, barter, or other approaches (Who said payment had to be in dollars? It could be as simple as someone agreeing to clean bathrooms once a week in exchange for taking a family to eat dinner at McDonald's that day).

And when they don't self-deport, what then? That is the question they have to answer. If they're not going to do anything, then we're worse off than before, throwing good laws after bad, looking bad while doing so, and generating even more disrespect for the law than had we just let the status quo continue. Further measures to clamp down would be needed, but things would not stay static. More people would start to resist. People would come up with new means of faking documents. The inevitable result is more and more government intrusion into our lives - and that is not a good thing. This is what the "enforcement first" approach will lead to. A bifurcated process will never see the promised second part - the guest worker program/normalization - enacted, any more than the Simpson-Mazzoli approach delivered on enforcement. "Enforcement first" really means "enforcement only" when you look at it. If one side gets what it wants, they will have no incentive to cooperate on the second half of any process.

At this point, we need to set up some way of solving this problem. Mass deportation (including self-deportation) is a non-starter. What is needed is a large scale plea-bargain/pre-trial diversion that will collect some recompense for the violation of the law. This is NOT amnesty by the generally accepted definition (see the dictionary). There is punishment for violating the law - it will just not be the punishment demanded by the hard-liners and purists on this issue.

That is the reality of the situation. It needs to be dealt with on that basis, and not subjected to fear-mongering that has no more basis in truth than the claims that Republicans were cutting Medicare did in 1995. Conservatives have embraced tactics equivalent to Bill Clinton's Mediscare campaign in order to avoid facing a difficult problem facing this country and solving it. That is not good for the country - because it means the problem not only remains, but it festers that much longer, until reality becomes impossible to ignore. Then, solving the problem becomes that much harder.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What they wished for...

This comment at DailyKos is worthy of a response.
Correction. We are not a country at war, we are a country whose military is at war. We have never been asked to make any sacrifices, nor have we ever been engaged on the details of this supposed war, who specifically it is targeting, and what the parameters are for defining victory.

Well, my response to the commenter is simple: During the Vietnam War, the left opted out of defending this country. They spat on the troops who came home, called them "baby-killers", and made it clear through their words and actions that they wanted no part of the military - particularly via the draft. And so, our political leaders and the military proceeded to oblige them in 1975, by making our armed forces all-volunteer.

Fast forward to 2006, and after three decades, the all-volunteer military has proven it is more than equal to the task of defending this country, even with a sizable chunk of it opting out. In fact, we have seen the military thrive as it has become a professional organization of people who believe in its mission. As a result of that change, since the unprovoked sneak attack on our country on 9/11, the United States has been able to liberate two countries from regimes that supported terrorism as a matter of national policy, has done so in the midst of an economic expansion, and without the use of a draft. All in all, I think it has been a good thing for the country's security - even if I do not care for the conduct of those who vociferously opted out during the Vietnam War, and thus have a major role in the creation of the all-volunteer military.

The left has gotten what it wants - they are no longer forced to serve in the military or sacrifice anything other than their taxes. So why are so many of them unhappy now that they have it?

Micromanaging pet owners...

I'm sorry, but there had to be far more pressing concerns than micromanaging cat ownership in Rhode Island or any other state.
Cat owners must spay or neuter pets older than six months unless they pay $100 for a breeder's license. Violators can be fined $75 per month.

I do not like mandatory spay/neuter laws at all. If you are going to make people responsible for something, they need to be the ones to make the calls - not some bureaucrat. Why did this law even have urgency in the first place? Did Rhode Island's politicians solve every other problem the state faced?

Inquiring minds would like to know...

Monday, June 12, 2006

McCain looks better...

Ruben Navarette discusses McCain's handling of the CA-50 race.

I have to admit, McCain strikes me as having a lot of the stuff a good President should have. I do have some fundamental disagreements with him on free speech issues, but I do not think a McCain administration would be a disaster. I would still prefer to see Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush as the nominee, but McCain is proving to me that he is willing to buck the base.

Leading by polls is bad, but so is letting a "base" decide your principles for you. In both cases, you are not leading, you are following - and that is something that cannot be afforded in the Oval Office.

Friday, June 09, 2006

This is too much...

Okay, it's important to get folks who run red lights. But I think we can all agree that this just goes too far (see the picture of the grossly misnamed "Officer Delicious" on the right, downloaded from the website). Even if it resulted in the city of West Palm Beach, Florida, netting $13,579 in its coffers for one 90-minute span, this is just way too much. I think I am going to have some very serious nightmares for a while.

I mean, this makes Helen Thomas look attractive by comparison. If the cops are clearing in excess of thirteen grand in a ninety-minute span, they can at least show some semblance of style... or something, rather than making me scramble for a picture of Jennifer Love Hewitt to get this kind of image out of my mind.

Pete Stark's mouth...

Congressman Pete Stark has a mouth.

He's lately been quoted as saying the following:
“This is just to cover Bush’s [rear] so he doesn’t have to answer” for Iraqi civilians being killed by the U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers, said Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat.

I'd like to hear the full quote, but one thing is for sure: Stark's past history is replete with these comments. Including the implication that a Congresswoman who disagreed with him got her knowledge via "pillow talk". Had I been that Congresswoman's husband, my fist would be making contact with Mr. Stark's exceedingly nekulturny mouth, with a follow-up to his nose, followed by telling him, "Yob tvoyu maht, Mr. Stark."

Perhaps he might learn to watch his mouth.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi is now a good terrorist.

He became a good terrorist as the result of an air raid. See Google News for a ton of stories. Yob tvoyu maht, Zarqawi. I hope you like that very hot neighborhood you're now gonna be in...

As for the pilot who got him... nice work. If you're ever in this area, a drink is on me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Hillary Clinton against Ann Coulter

In this fight, it is a shame one of them has to win.

Hillary Clinton has her own nasty streak. Just ask Billy Dale. Ann Coulter has one, too. At least Ann Coulter is semi-attractive - but she is no Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Can't both of them just shut up?

Why illegal immigration is not simple...

The case of Dan-el Padilla Peralta is a classic reason why. However, the Media Research Center, while highlighting the transcripts in claiming bias on this issue - instead has shown that this is not a simple issue. You see, the NBC Nightly News report brings up a fact that provides a lot of relevance to this debate: Peralta was brought over here from the Dominican Republic when he was four years old.

Peralta's attorney is seeking a waiver - but it is being opposed in the name of the "rule of law", because some fear it will "set a precedent", like the Federation for American Immigration Reform's Ira Mehlman:

We can't make exceptions for people who break the law simply because they happen to be geniuses.

Good grief, Mr. Mehlman, he was four years old when his parents brought him over! There is no way he could really control things at that age. And what would you have him do at this point?

If there is a case to grant a waiver, to cut someone some slack, this sort of thing is it. In fact, why else would the authority to grant waivers (as in this case involving Burmese refugees) be out there unless those who created the authority recognized from day one that following the letter of the law was not appropriate in certain cases?

In fact, such mindless enforcement of environmental laws is regularly condemned by conservative groups (see here for one listing of victims of environmental laws and regulations). In one case, there was a clear lack of intent:

Taung Ming-Lin, a Taiwanese immigrant, bought land in Kern County, California on which he planned to grow Chinese vegetables for sale to southern California's Asian community. Lin says the county told him the land was already zoned for farming and that no permit was needed.

When Lin began farming, his tractor allegedly disturbed the habitat of the endangered Tipton Kangaroo Rat. It is also alleged that Lin's tractor ran over some of the rats. As a result, Lin was charged with federal civil and criminal violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Or, take the case of Bobby Unser, from that report's introduction:

My story began in December 1996 when I went snowmobiling with a friend in the New Mexico countryside. We were recreating in the Rio Grande National Forest which thousands of other snowmobilers have done and continue to do so today. There is no law prohibiting snowmobiling in the national forest. But then without warning, in the middle of our trip, a fierce ground blizzard occurred. Winds of 60-70 miles per hour stirred up so much snow you could barely see in front of you. My friend, inexperienced in the operation of a snowmobile, soon got stuck in the snow and got on the back of mine. But, in attempting to escape I too got lost in the whirling storm or "whiteout" as it is commonly called. Our situation got even more desperate when my snowmobile broke down. With night falling and the temperature dropping, I knew we would have to find shelter if we were to survive. That night, we stayed in a snow cave we dug ourselves. The next day we began walking in search of help and after 18 hours of trudging through the wilderness we located a barn where we called for help.

My friend and I had to be hospitalized for exposure and I still suffer from the effects of spending the night in the brutal cold. However, we were both grateful to be alive and thankful that our ordeal was over. But as it turned out, it wasn't over. Soon after I left the hospital, the United States Forest Service charged me with illegally taking my snowmobile into a federally-designated wilderness area where such machinery is prohibited. They threatened me with a $5,000 fine and/or a six-month jail sentence. I was stunned. My friend and I were literally driving in circles desperately trying to save our lives. The last thing on our minds was whether we were illegally entering a wilderness area. Worse, the Forest Service didn't even know if I had in fact entered a wilderness area.

Is Dan-el Padilla Peralta any less of a person - a human being - than Bobby Unser or Taung Ming-Lin? Ultimately, that is the kind of question that needs to be answered by conservatives. If conservatives really believe the answer is yes, then it speaks very poorly for conservatism. If they believe the answer is no, then why are they unwilling to deal with the victims of immigration law in a fair and just manner?

This is why I'm finding the conservative position on immigration so hard to comprehend - and extremely hypocritical. It is also why I cannot find the words that can describe my resentment at being labeled a "Quisling" for wanting a comprehensive solution instead of an approach that only promotes the mindless enforcement of the letter of a law that may be broken beyond repair.

Conservatives are facing a moment of truth. So far, they seem determined to flunk the test.

The Right's Michael Moore

Ann Coulter is rapidly showing a lot of the same behavior that really turns me off about some leftists. AJ-Strata goes into the details here.

This is part and parcel of similar crap that I've discussed elsewhere. There's not just the blatant claims of treason from people like Polipundit, it's also the sneer that seems ever-present when folks like me or the Hedgehog get asked about whether we have principles.

Ann Coulter is probably the most visible sign of this. Remember her use of a racial epithet at CPAC? And here she is, still feted by conservatives despite her inexcusable behavior - the way Michael Moore is by the left.

Well, at least she's better-looking than Michael Moore, but that's not a very difficult thing for a person to accomplish.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Some Conservatives don't get it...

Look over at the "third party" discussion from TKS, Peggy Noonan, and Mark Tapscott. All three of them really do not seem to get it, if you ask me. A third party, as Ms. Noonan discusses, is a non-starter.

Only one of two parties is likely to control Congress in 2006: The Republicans or the Democrats. Nobody else (Libertarians, Constitution, Green, etc.) has a snowball's chance in hell.

But what is really getting to me is the fact that the theme seems to be that the base has been wronged by some sort of perfidy of the part of the Republican officeholders in Washington, DC, in general, and President Bush in particular - with his stance on immigration as the big reason. It's really a myth, and sounds like more of an excuse.

For one thing, pretty much while he was running, President Bush was quite open about what he was going to push for. It included a guest-worker program, and he was not really inclined to try to go after people who had already been here for years. He was also quite open about adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare. They knew this was what he was supporting pretty much since he ran. There has been no repeat of "Read my lips: No new taxes."

This is why I find complaints like the one from Tapscott to be disingenuous:
I argue that since the GOP has demonstrated that it cannot be relied upon as a vehicle for achieving conservative reform, the significant question then is how do we get to that new consistently conservative party and make it a winner? In my humble opinion, that is a discussion of far greater importance than whether we should let ourselves be suckered yet again.
Mr. Tapscott, Bush told you from day one what he favored. I defy you to go back and find one thing that comes even close to "suckering" conservatives. He was up front about what he was supporting.

TKS takes a somewhat similar tack:
The party's leaders have to re-learn a pretty important principle - if you fight with your base, you're probably going to lose. Perhaps once in a great while, it's necessary and worth it. But if you act like your base voters' concerns are insignificant - like immigration, or the FBI's ability to pursue corruption, even into the halls of Congress - they will despise you.
Again - the presumption seems to be that President Bush is in the wrong. This is pretty arrogant if you ask me. As I have discussed earlier, it is just as easy to see how President Bush might view the situation. And to be honest, he probably has more of a valid complaint with the than theanthe base has with him.

Peggy Noonan, though, did get one thing right:
I have a feeling we're at some new beginning, that a big breakup's coming, and that though it isn't and will not be immediately apparent, we'll someday look back on this era as the time when a shift began.
Here, she is on to something. Over the last eight months, a clear split has developed. On immigration it is most apparent. There are hard-liners who insist their methods be followed, or else. There is a quieter group that is also speaking out. Some of them are on my blogroll, others I probably haven't come across yet. They want our leaders to solve the problems facing this country - and trust that they will use their judgement, not rely on polls or the loud screams of a vocal and angry minority. It's something called leadership, which is very rarely appreciated at times.

At this time, the stakes are much higher than they were in 1976 or 1991/1992. The Democratic Party at this time has shown it is not interested in dealing with the war on terror with the seriousness needed to win this war for our country's survival. This is THE issue of our time, not earmarks, immigration, the size of the federal budget, or even congressmen on the take. Are conservatives really going to place the small issues (in the scheme of things) over the survival of this country? If this is truly their decision, then they are no more worthy of support than the DailyKos/MoveOn crowd that had been marching the Democrats over the edge.

In the last eight months or so, I have come to a grudging admiration of John McCain. He's been willing to make calls and take the lead - even when it ticks off Republicans and/or conservatives. The Gang of 14 has worked very well. Good judges have gotten confirmed - including two to the Supreme Court. Some haven't made it, but it's a lot better than seeing many of them constantly filibustered. While he is far from my first choice for President (Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are better selections, in my opinion), I wouldn't be too upset to have McCain in the Oval Office.

One thing for sure: Conservatives no longer get my automatic support, because I'm no longer sure they get it.

UPDATE: The Anchoress also discusses this as well as some baseball.

South Carolina passes a good bill

Repeat child rapists could face the death penalty. In South Carolina, this means they get a choice of lethal injection or the electric chair.

Governor Sanford intends to sign this bill.

Nice to see politicians actually getting around to passing a good law.

It's not perfect (I'd have preferred that South Carolina try to acquire the GRU's blast furnace for carrying out the sentence), but it's good enough.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Hans Blix demands an American surrender...

Hans Blix is demanding that America give up the war on terror.
The US foreign policy of pre-emptive strikes against any perceived weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat, its development of new types of nuclear weapons and the "Star Wars" missile defence shield risked fuelling a new global arms race, said Dr Blix.

Dr Blix's warning came in a report, released yesterday, proposing ways to bring about global nuclear, biological and chemical disarmament.

By this logic, we need to sign pieces of paper - much as Great Britain did with Adolf Hitler in 1938 and 1935. Not to mention naval arms-control agreements. Germany went on to violate the treaties, and Japan did the same on a widespread scale that was breathtakingly blatant. Of course, when you pull off things like Auschwitz, Dachau, and the Rape of Nanking, not to mention invading peaceful neighbors and carrying out unprovoked sneak attacks, non-compliance with treaties is something you aren't even gonna think twice about. The same can be said of states that sponsor terrorists who blow themselves up in pizza parlors or on busses, or who fly airplanes into buildings. Is a piece of paper with fancy seals affixed next to a bunch of signatures going to change their behavior? Somehow, I doubt it.

What part of "it doesn't work" does Blix not understand? A good start to an official response to Blix's nonsense from the State Department would be, "Yob tvoyu maht."

Haditha... a tangled web

There is only one thing we know for certain about Haditha: Something bad happened in the wake of an IED attack on U.S. Marines, resulting in the deaths of some civilians.

The rest is a confused tangle, as MacRanger describes.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating this incident. Their job is to untangle this web and get to the facts of the matter. If crimes were committed, they will arrest the suspects, and the military justice system will handle it.

UPDATE: More from Sweetness & Light on this. Again, it is important to let NCIS sort all of this out.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The broken system's latest outrage...

Go to Big Lizards and read about Walt Gaya.

This is a soldier who has been wounded in action twice defending this country in the war on terror. The second time he was wounded led to a travail with the bureaucracy at USCIS that only ended because his battalion commander got involved.

This was a soldier defending my country. Quite frankly, he was doing - never mind risking - a hell of a lot more for it than certain pundits and politicians who have been fighting the President tooth and nail over immigration. These pundits and politicians turn a blind eye to this bureaucracy. Heck, I wonder if Lieutenant Colonel Erik Kurilla would be committing a felony under the immigration bill that passed the House by sorting out this mess Gaya was in, since Gaya's green card had expired, making him an illegal immigrant.

Conservatives routinely stand against IRS abuses. They've stood with people facing off against bureaucrats who have effectively destroyed their property's value over "wetlands" or endangered bugs. They even stand up for people against bureaucrats who sought jurisdiction over ergonomics and home offices. But when the problem is with bureaucrats at USCIS or BP/ICE who give immigrants a hard time, the silence is amazing. It's hypocritical, too. Immigrants are people as well, and they deserve the same consideration as others get - particularly when they are trying to play by the rules. This is particularly true for those who are risking their lives to defend this country.

And it's another reason why those who are resisting President Bush's efforts are, quite frankly, getting it wrong.

The growing backlash...

It may be too late to avoid the backlash if Ruben Navarette is correct.

Sadly, I think that he is.

Whether it was the nasty slime from Vox Day, or the constant harping of an "invasion" from numerous people, the right's rhetoric on immigration, particularly vis-a-vis Mexico, has been disgusting. Take a look at some of the stuff Navarette reported:
As one of the few Hispanic syndicated columnists, I'm treated like a piata. There was the reader who accused me of supporting "the Mexican invasion because you're Mexican" and the gentleman who suggested that by supporting comprehensive reform, I was probably "protecting some relatives."

There was even a woman who called to complain about a column I had written and ended up screaming into the phone about how "you people never understand" the immigration issue.

We just need to look at the unhinged rhetoric of Polipundit or to see the ugliness. Those who supported the Senate's bill were received labels like "Quisling" or "agent of Mexico". It also comes in the form of silence from people like Michelle Malkin - studiously avoiding the evidence of the slimy people that are on her side of the debate (like Jared Taylor, Lawrence Auster, and Steve Sailer) while at the same time complaining about mischaracterization when people raise questions about them - as I found out when I called out Vox Day.

That is the dirty little secret the right has on the immigration debate. They can raise all sorts of insinuations, and fire off hyperbole, but we are not allowed to ask questions about the foul odor that is detectable - even when our eyes can plainly see the source of that odor. Why? Would the answers be that disagreeable to them? Would it force them to have to stand up to people who they really don't want to have to stand up to?

The real tragedy is that in many ways, Gary Bauer is right when he discusses the issue in a column trying to promote Congressman Pence's legislation (although he forgot to note that Tom Tancredo labeled it "amnesty", too). Hispanics - and recent immigrants - are natural fits for the Republican party. But the ugliness of a few - and the tolerance of that ugliness by many others - drives them away. When conservatives do not speak out against vile comments, or do not distance themselves from the trash that Navarette detailed in his column, then it will deservedly lose a lot of support as people will rightly perceive it to have fallen into slimy swamps of feverish fanaticism. It is a different sort than what is seen from the DailyKos/MoveOn/DU types, but it is a slimy swamp nonetheless, and it is where I get off.

I suppose at some point, some conservatives are going to ask me why I am being so touchy about this. It is an understandable question, but one that I have a ready answer for. Just look at the rhetoric. Why should I even give the time of day to people who view me as a Quisling or agent of Mexico? Should I say to a person who views me as supporting "the emasculation and gradual overthrow of the America we know", that all is forgiven, and then act as if nothing has changed?

I can only speak for myself on this, but I cannot see how anyone can work with people who doubt their support for this country just because they do not toe a certain line on an issue that is small potatoes when compared with the war on terror, replacing the tax code with a flat tax, protecting the institution of marriage, reforming the entitlement programs that could bankrupt this country, and getting good federal judges confirmed. I certainly do not view conservatism the way I viewed it as little as eight months ago.

Perhaps Ruben Navarette has underestimated the coming backlash against the right. I only hope that the country doesn't pay the price for it.