Thursday, May 31, 2007
To put it bluntly, this is one of the most vicious lies I have ever had the distinct displeasure to read. But worse than the lies, the labeling of myself and others as traitors, the posting of pictures covered with a bulls-eye, is the silence. Part of me knows that there are those who oppose the present bill but who also know that the proponents - particularly President Bush, Senator Jon Kyl, and even John McCain - are honorable people doing what they feel is best for America.
Yet when a Michelle Malkin or Tom Tancredo accuses them of selling out America, or promoting amnesty, they are silent. They do not offer the slightest reproof to those who call these people traitors, Quislings, or agents of Mexico. They go along with claims of amnesty that have as much truth to them as Bill Clinton's claims of Republican Medicare cuts had in 1995.
Say what you will about George W. Bush and Karl Rove - they managed to pull off three election wins against the odds. In 2000, when there was peace and prosperity, they beat back Bill Clinton's vice president by a very slim margin due to a dirty trick on the part of a Democratic operative. In 2002, when one would think that cries of a stolen election would lead to Democratic gains, they re-took the Senate after the treachery of Jim Jeffords, and also gained in the House. In 2004, despite millions from George Soros, a media that discarded many pretenses of objectivity, and a massive in-kind campaign donation from Michael Moore, Bush and Rove won again.
Bush was straight with the base. He told them he was not an orthodox conservative. And when he won his elections, he tried to carry out what he promised. For being a man of his word, he has been attacked by conservatives. The same ones who were told where he stood on issues in 1999 and again in 2004. Now they act betrayed.
No, those who were betrayed were Republicans who thought that conservatives had at least been willing to give President Bush a free hand to accomplish his objectives. Boy, was I mistaken. A certain clique of conservatives with disproportionate influence among talk show hosts and other conservative media instead tried to hijack the GOP. When they failed to do so - and indeed, even found themselves losing primaries and unable to salvage a general election, they have now resorted to what can only be described as blackmail.
The Republican Party, if it is to be seen as capable of showing resolve in the face of threats from North Korea and Iran, cannot give in to a very loud and vocal minority. Repeated polls, including the one from Rasmussen, show wide support (60+%) in favor of the elements of the Senate compromise. Furthermore, it is the right thing to do.
If anything, people taking a stand for what believe in against all odds, including the venom and spite from their own base, is perhaps one of the most American things of all. It goes back to Thomas Jefferson writing the Declaration of Independence - and stating radical notions such as the self-evident truths that all men are created equal, and had undeniable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . It is George Washington crossing the Delaware to rally his country. It is Edmund G. Ross standing up to his supporters in voting to acquit Andrew Johnson of charges stemming from the unconstitutional Tenure in Office Act. It is Martin Luther King organizing the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It is Ronald Reagan and his push to win the Cold War. It is George W. Bush standing firm for what he believes in against attacks from all sides.
No, Mr. Cella, President Bush is not acting in an anti-American manner. Nor are any of us who support comprehensive immigration reform. We're just as American, just as patriotic, and just as principled as you. Furthermore, rather than give in to your bullying and hysteria, I intend to stand and fight for legislation that I think is good for the country. Furthermore, I demand that you not only state the nature of the "usurpation" that you allege is coming. I demand to know why you view supporters of this legislation as traitors. I demand that you state just what exactly you define at patriotism.
And if you cannot do so, then I demand you retract your scurrilous charges that those of us who back this immigration bill are traitors and acting in an anti-American manner. I did not wish for things to reach this level. But at this point, rhetoric like that employed by Polipundit, Paul J Cella, Michelle Malkin, and others leaves me the choice of either fighting this fight on the uncivil level that they have chosen to take it, with no rhetorical holds are barred, or acquiescence to tactics and notions that I believe to be immoral, unethical, and in direct opposition to the principles this nation was founded on (as found in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution).
Good men chose to fight and stand for what they believe in. I shall do so as well. Really, there is no choice. After all, I'm an American. If Paul J Cella wishes for civil war amongst conservatives, then he shall have his fill.
Spain has forgotten the very simple rule involved here: Finders Keepers.
Now, granted, the U.S. government is not much better. The U.S. Navy had a F3A-1 crash on someone's back 40 and left it there for over five decades. Someone then picks up the Navy's litter and starts restoring the plane. The Navy sued, until they were backed down through the intervention of Congressman Walter B. Jones, who quite rightly could tell that this was best described by the title of Penn Jilette's reality show on Showtime.
The rule is simple, you drop something in the ocean, particularly in international waters, pick the damn thing up. Otherwise, someone else will pick up your litter, and you will have a hard time getting it back.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I probably disagree with Mr. Carroll on a lot of things (although his "Fourteen Misuses of Good Music to Promote a Product" is dead on target). That said . . . he put this whole mess into far better perspective than I could, which is probably why he's published five novels (including the iconic novel of 1990s naval aviation, Punk's War), while I'm still a complete (expletive deleted) wannabe.
The first two paragraphs:
Some people just don't like Mexicans -- or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English. They think Latinos have too many babies, and that Latino kids will dumb down our schools. They think Latinos are dirty, diseased, indolent and more prone to criminal behavior. They think Latinos are just too different from us ever to become real Americans.
No amount of hard, empirical evidence to the contrary, and no amount of reasoned argument or appeals to decency and fairness, will convince this small group of Americans -- fewer than 10 percent of the general population, at most -- otherwise. Unfortunately, among this group is a fair number of Republican members of Congress, almost all influential conservative talk radio hosts, some cable news anchors -- most prominently, Lou Dobbs -- and a handful of public policy "experts" at organizations such as the Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, in addition to fringe groups like the Minuteman Project.
It's dead on target. Which is why there is a lot of howling going on. But the return fire is long, long overdue. I can go back over the past few years, and I can find where people who supported comprehensive immigration reform have been called quislings, traitors, and sellouts. I can find claims that they don't have principles as well.
Well, push someone often enough, and they will start swinging back. It's a lesson that every schoolyard bully learns at some point. Well, people like Michelle Malkin have been dishing it out for a while - and getting away with it. Now, that they have pushed people like President Bush and Linda Chavez hard enough and often enough, they are receiving some of their venom back.
I have no sympathy for them. Regrettably, there will be some broad-brush strokes dished out in this. I'm a little guilty of that, personally. But there comes a point where you just have to make it clear that you will not be pushed around any more. The return fire from Linda Chavez and George W. Bush is, if you ask me, overdue.
I have long thought that calling his proposal on illegal immigration "amnesty" had about as much truth as Bill Clinton's claims in 1995 that Republicans wanted Medicare spending cuts.
Let's take a closer look at this. Big Lizards has a good, dispassionate take on the bill. The definition of an amnesty is a "general pardon", as dictionary.com states. As Dafydd demonstrates, there is no pardon here. To be more accurate, what we have here strikes me as something that Arthur Branch would have Jack McCoy do: A plea-bargain. Or immunity in exchange for testimony - like what was given to Monica Goodling.
So what is the beef with some of these people complaining about the bill? My suspicion is that it's because the bill is providing for punishment short of deportation. For some of these people, anything short of rounding up anyone who looks like they might be an illegal immigrant and shipping them over the Mexican border in cattle cars is amnesty.
Harsh? Well, maybe some of these anti-immigration types deserve this. Certainly, as I have outlined elsewhere on this blog, they have fired off some really nasty comments towards those who favor comprehensive immigration reform. And while Mary Katherine Ham is correct in pointing out that not all of the opponents of the comprehensive approach are bigots, she does seem to have missed that my side of this debate has taken its attacks, too. And being labeled a "Quisling" or a "traitor" tends to not only shorten my fuse, but it makes me more determined to stand my ground and fight. In my case, it led me to be somewhat unfair to Ms. Ham.
Furthermore, there are some bigots out there. I'll even name names: Jared Taylor, Lawrence Auster, and Steve Sailer. For the record, the latter two links ought to dispel any notions that the concern about these folks is just a matter of being PC. The first is from the personal blog of one of the founders of RedState.com. The second quotes extensively from another founder of that forum (the original link is down).
It comes down to two competing principles: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mena re created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" on the one side, and "The plain fact is that [African-Americans] tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society" on the other. That is an either/or proposition if I ever saw one. One or the other must stand - the other must go to the ash heap of history. Note - the person who made the second quote is on one major conservative pundit's blogroll.
In essence, President Bush now has no choice but to fight. He cannot back down. This is a fight he must carry through to either victory - or to the bitter end. He's been standing firmly against the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and against the anti-war movement. I don't think he is the type who will just roll over and play dead on this issue - not after the attacks he has been taking. To do so would be to acquiesce to bullying and false claims of amnesty. He cannot afford to show weakness at this point in time.
I for one, have no desire to back down. I want to see the comprehensive plan the Senate is now debating pass. I wish to see my side of this debate win - and to achieve vindication, particularly after what I feel to have been the misleading label of "amnesty" and the fact that some opponents have labeled me a traitor. If those sorts of political attacks fail, it can only be a good thing for the country.
We may actually be able to solve problems, not merely engage in political posturing.
Was the Death Star Attack an Inside Job?
This meticulously researched article asks many disturbing questions about the destruction of the Death Star . . .
We’ve all heard the “official conspiracy theory” of the Death Star attack. We all know about Luke Skywalker and his ragtag bunch of rebels, how they mounted a foolhardy attack on the most powerful, well-defended battle station ever built. And we’ve all seen the video over, and over, and over, of the one-in-a-million shot that resulted in a massive chain reaction that not just damaged, but completely obliterated that massive technological wonder.
Using logic, reason, and common sense, it addresses the key issues of the Battle of Yavin, the worst disaster of Imperial Arms since the Clone Wars . . .
Presented here are some of the results of my soul-searching regarding this painful event. Like many citizens, I have many questions that I would like answered: was the mighty Imperial government really too incompetent to prevent a handful of untrained nerf-herders from destroying one of their most prized assets? Or are they hiding something from us? Who was really behind the attack? Why did they want the Death Star destroyed? No matter what the answers, we have a problem.
Emperor Palpatine must address these burning questions.
Nerf-Herders defy the laws of physics? How could any pilot shoot a missile into a 2 meter-wide exhaust port, let alone a pilot with no formal training, whose only claim to fame was his ability to “bullseye womprats” on Tatooine? This shot, according to one pilot, would be “impossible, even for a computer.” Yet, according to additional evidence, the pilot who allegedly fired the missile turned off his targeting computer when he was supposedly firing the shot that destroyed the Death Star. How did the missile make a right angle turn after entering the exhaust port? How could a missile shot in the vacuum of space–that would tend to keep going in the same direction as it was released, according to the laws of physics–be *sucked* into an *exhaust* pipe? "Exhaust" means to exhale or blow out... Wouldn’t the missiles have been blown awry of their target rather than sucked in? If it had been an intake pipe, then the “bending” path of the missiles could be plausible. Why have these discrepancies never been investigated, let alone explained?
These disturbing questions call the integrity of our Imperial institutions into question . . .
How could a single missile destroy a battle station the size of a moon? No records, anywhere, show that any battle station or capital ship has ever been destroyed by a single missile. Furthermore, analysis of the tape of the last moments of the Death Star show numerous small explosions along its surface, prior to it exploding completely! Why does all evidence indicate that strategically placed explosives, not a single missile, is what destroyed the Death Star?
Join me in demanding Death Star Truth!
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Iraqi campaign of the Global War is one of those places where it is a contest of wills. If America stands fast, it will win. If it folds, then the global war on terror will be longer and bloodier, with an end that could be very rough.
America would win, but we'd have to deal with the fallout.
And when his popularity falls, what might happen? My suspicion is that he'll go the route that Argentina's military dictatorship went: Start a fight to get a brief advantage in domestic opinion.
I'm also going to put in a plug for Strategy & Tactics magazine--Joe Miranda is the editor, and has designed many of the S&T games published over the past 15 years. There is a non-game edition available at newsstands and bookstores, and it's well worth the read if you're interested in military history.
Friday, May 25, 2007
The writing is on the wall. It has wide support from a silent majority - almost a silent supermajority, one could say. So who is really out of step, the politicians, or the bloggers, columnists, and talk show hosts who are fighting this bill? If so, then it could be yet another good sign for Rudy Giuliani.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Feel free to also join in the boycott of ABC for its reprehensible actions that have endangered our national security.
Go get her, NRCC!
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
That said, there's something that deserves comment. To quote the original Hotline report:
"I promised the President today that I wouldn't say anything bad about ... this piece of shit bill," he said, according to two attendees.I don't know about anyone else, but I thought that promises were meant to be kept. Now, I know John Boehner is a politician, but shouldn't a promise to the President of the United States be worth more than what he called the bill?
I'm waiting for Al Sharpton to insist that it be renamed to "a covert operation of color."
Of course, now that ABC has reported on this covert operation, it isn't covert any more.
Thus, the Republican party is on the cusp of a civil war, and as Orson Scott Card wrote in the afterword to his novel Empire:
Rarely do people set out to start a civil war. Invariably, when such wars break out both sides consider themselves to be the aggrieved ones.
That is the absolute truth when the GOP's fissure on immigration is discussed. Well, discussed is the wrong word. There has not been any real discussion at all. The two sides of the GOP are not talking to each other, they are screaming at each other. Worse yet, when someone like Jon Kyl does try to sit down and talk to the other side to work out something that everyone can live with, he gets called a sellout.
For every cry of "bigot" that has come from my side of the debate, there are corresponding screams of "sellout" from the other side. It gets worse as it goes on - and we find ourselves, in the heat of the moment, saying and posting things that we will later regret. We are all too aware of the attacks we have received and we forget that the other side has taken its cheap shots.
What is needed is what President Bush has called for: A serious, civil, and conclusive debate on this issue. The problem will not get any better with age. I'm going to do what I can to achieve that on my end. But I have to wonder if such a thing is even possible at this point.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Parents just need to keep an eye on this, and be willing to step in. A little common sense is needed here, not overreaction.
So why are they to be believed now? They want to discuss culture, but what exactly is American culture? How is it at risk? Lots of dire predictions - but no specifics. Sounds a lot like Al Gore talking climate change, doesn't it?
Monday, May 21, 2007
That isn't the only people who will be driven out of the GOP. Moderates, the business community, and farmers will also take their political support elsewhere. And thus, the hard-liners will have their pure party - and will also be a minority. If anyone needed any proof that the base of the Republican party is as blind on immigration as the base of the Democratic Party is about the global war on terror, one just has to look at how they are acting.
* Carter gave us the theocratic regime in Iran.
* Said regime took over our embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.
* Said regime has sponsored numerous terrorist attacks over the years.
* Said regime now seeks nuclear weapons, and the current President of that country has openly declared his intention to destroy Israel and the United States.
* Certain elements of the armed forces under that regime are currently providing insurgents weapons, including explosively formed penetrators.
And he thinks Bush has been the worst foreign-policy President in history? Maybe he ought to look in the mirror.
Friday, May 18, 2007
“…Immigrants will not be able to assimilate:
Italians wanted to be part of our family, millions of Mexicans are determined to retain their language and loyalty to Mexico. They prefer to remain outsiders. They do not wish to assimilate and the nation no longer demands that they do so. [Buchanan, p. 28, 2006]
Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and
will never adopt our Languages or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion. [Benjamin Franklin, 1751]
Immigrants are responsible for crime:
Many Hispanics, as a matter of fact, you know what culture they are assimilating to? — the rap culture, the crime culture, anti-cops, all the rest of it. [Buchanan, 8/22/06]
“The Irish fill our prisons, our poor houses. … Scratch a convict or a pauper, and
the chances are that you tickle the skin of an Irish Catholic. Putting them on a boat and sending them home would end crime in this country.” [Chicago Post, 1868]
Immigrants plan to commit treason against America:
Mexican-Americans can now become citizens of Mexico again. The whole idea is to create this giant fifth column in the United States which can leverage the American government in elections and pressure them to do what is in the interest of the nation of Mexico. [Buchanan, 8/22/06]
[A] set of citizens, German and Irish, wanted to get the Constitution of the U. S.
into their own hands and sell it to a foreign power. [Theme of an American Nativist Party rally, 1844]
Immigrants come from inferior cultures:
[A]lmost all immigrants today, legal and illegal, come from countries and cultures whose peoples have never before been assimilated into a First World nation. [Buchanan, p. 221, 2006]
Today, instead of a nation descended from generations of freemen bred to a knowledge of principles and practice of self government, of liberty under the law, we have a heterogeneous population, no small proportion of which is sprung from races that throughout the centuries have known no liberty at all… In other words our capacity to maintain our cherished institutions stands diluted by a stream of alien blood, with all of its misconceptions respecting the relationships of the governing power to the governed. [Rep. Albert Johnson, 1927, justifying the 1924 National Origins Act]
Immigrants will dilute the white race:
If we do not get control of our borders, by 2050 Americans of European descent will be a minority in the nation their ancestors created and built. No nation has ever
undergone so radical a demographic transformation and survived. [Buchanan, p. 11, 2006]
The number of purely white People in the World is proportionally very small…in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion; as are Germans also, the Saxons only accepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. [Benjamin Franklin, 1751]”
I see a 256-year track record of nativism getting it wrong. If they have been so far off for so long, why should they be believed now?
Thursday, May 17, 2007
We were never going to deport 12-20 million illegal immigrants. We can, however, fine them, make sure they pay their taxes, and find out who has been employing them and if not punish them, we will know who to keep an eye on.
A hard line on the border is a loser electorally. Not only is it impractical, but it also cost the GOP among moderates, Hispanics, the business community and farmers far more than it gained from the far right in the last mid-terms. The best they can do is to get this issue off the table so that there is no more GOP civil war - and they also need to make sure that the hard-liners understand that failure has a price.
Nowhere can the lackof perspective and inability to prioritize be reflected more clearly. When House Democrats are starting to try to squelch debate, both with Pelosi's attempt to kill the motion to recommit and their push for the Fairness Doctrine, when they are slow-walking funds for our troops in harm's way, and when 61% of Democrats seem open to the possibility that President Bush had advance warning on 9/11, these conservatives are more interested in asserting philosophical purity, or throwing a fit over a committee assignment. Rather than try to form a coalition with the 39% of Democrats who reject the conspiacy theory - a task that would be very doable with either Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney, who have won elections in very Democratic areas, these conservatives reject those out of hand.
We are in the midst of a global war against people determined to establish a global caliphate that reflects a somewhat twisted form of Islam. These are people willing to fly airliners into buildings, or blow themselves up in pizza parlors and bus stations. These are people who have vowed to carry out further attacks on us and to wipe Israel off the map. Defeating them is the primary task that the government of this country has.
And yet, two major players at Redstate seem to be stuck in a September 10th mindset. On September 11, 2001, we had the type of event that required a reassessment of priorities. President Bush did just that. His only failure in that regard was to not communicate the need for a reassessment to conservatives. Then again, I can blame him. Back then, I was under the impression that perhaps conservatives could figure the need for a shift in priorities out for themselves.
Sixty-six months later, though, it seems patently obvious that it was a mistaken assumption. We cannot afford to be diverted by bush-league issues, especially when they pose the reisk of empowering a party whose "base" is willing to seriously consider the stuff that belongs in a conspiracy theory.
If conservatives are unwilling to make sacrifices in order to ensure our country's victory in the global war on terror, then they'd better get used to warming the bench, because at this point, I cannot trust them to be out there on the field.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
It is something I am very much at peace with. Giuliani has been focusing on the Dems, and rightly so. It is a party where 61% are willing to consider the notion that Bush had foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Yet at least two major conservative forums who I will not mention have been trying to nitpick the front-runners on abortion. It has been part of an increasing absolutism on social issues since the 2004 election that has, quite frankly, turned me off to social conservatives.
If you disagree with some of them on immigration, they insinuate treason. If you objected to the stridency of others, you were a party hack. That's from the tamer of the two sites. The other site allowed users to label those who backed a comprehensive immigration plan Quislings constantly, even an otherwise conservative candidate got the label.
If the powers that be at those sites expect people to sit down with them after they were called traitors and soul-sellers, they must be smoking some very interestingly flavored tobacco. It seems that a fair chunk of the GOP are as well. The conservatives didn't just try to push people out of the big tent, they were crapping in it. We saw the results in November, 2006. Lately, they have demonstrated to me that they seem to lack the perspective (see the recent trashing of Mitt Romney over a 13-year-old donation to Planned Parenthood by his wife - while ignoring the fact that Barbara Bush and Laura Bush both appear to be pro-choice themselves). Their focus on social issues and inside baseball also show a glaring inability to prioritize.
Are they seriously arguing that an appointment to the Appropriations Committee is somehow a bigger deal than Nancy Pelosi's efforts to hamstring our troops in Iraq? Or turning back Pat Leahy's attempts to give al-Qaeda's worst access to our courts? Or defeating Democratic attempts to re-impose the Fairness Doctrine via a "Hush Rush" Act?
If that is their sense of priorities, then they have a problem. It's not about principles - I tend to agree with most of their end goals. I just have no confidence in their judgement. If this means a divorce from conservatism, so be it. The only place conservative should come before country is in the dictionary.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
If Fred Thompson is smart, he'll remember Hyman G. Rickover's adage about teaching a pig to sing. As tempting as it would be to ask Moore if he is among the 35% of Democrats that believe Bush had advance warning of 9/11, Michael Moore's not worth the trouble - and all a debate will do is give Moore more publicity for his upcoming in-kind donation to the Democratic National Committee.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Of course, the ultimate objective is not the shock jocks. It's talk radio as a genre. If they can establish precedents to fire people for causing a firestorm, then it's a simple matter to go from Opie and Anthony to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
We're facing an enemy who cannot defeat us on the battlefield. That said, an enemy doesn't need to. All he needs is to get something that will generate headlines - and if he can get some good video that will run on CNN or al-Jazeera, it's even better. Because at that point, the mainstream media will take over - and they will push the politicians into quitting.
Surprised? We shouldn't be. After all, we publicly humilated a close ally who had provided immense support. I discussed it at Strategypage last year, although it seems that it is Ahmadinejad who is capitalizing, and not al-Qaeda.
That could make the consequences worse than I thought.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Time for the Brewers to show some arrogant New Yorkers who the best team in the majors is.
EDIT: For the benefit of the New York journalists - keep in mind that Rickie Weeks, corey Hart, and Bill Hall aren't quite firing on all cylinders. Also note that the Brewers are relying on a Counsell/Graffanino platoon at third, which is hitting .207 with six extra-base hits. If Ryan Braun were at third, there would be NO black holes in the Brewers' lineup. Dave Bush is the only starter who really has struggled - and the bullpen has one or two spots that are occasionally shaky.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Offer a bonus. For instance, if they pass the oil-revenue sharing provision, we pick up the tab for five years. If they pass the $10 billion in reconstruction, we provide twice that figure. Performance bonuses - especially for exceeding goals - are normal practice in the business world. So, let's try it in war.
Seems Hollywood could use a spinal supplement. I can speak a little to this myself - I have a couple of scripts that could easily be affected by this new shift in the rating system.
To paraphrase a creator of South Park: I don't like cigarette smoke, but I f---ing hate health nazis.
Seriously, though, this was good work by our counter-intelligence community. Hopefully, we will be able to deter the next spy.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
That said, people need to keep in mind two things: First, he wasn't the one who made the donation, it was his wife. Second, we have had pro-life Presidents whose wives had a different view of the situation (Barbara Bush comes to mind).
That said, the usual commissars on the right are going to pounce on this. These commissars are going to destroy the Republican party's electoral viability - and in the process put the country in the hands of a party that has shown fecklessness at best when it comes to foreign policy and national security.
In a time when we are facing a global war on terror, abortion, immigration, and even fiscal discipline are secondary issues - to be addressed only when they do not interfere with achieving victory. If necessary, compromises on secondary issues need to be made. There is no room to demand ideological purity on pet issues. There is a much bigger fish to fry.
In this case, the fecklessness is obvious. The Democrats have never supported a national missile defense, and now, they are in a position to back up that dislike. Never mind that the world has seen plenty of reasons to question just how responsible North Korea and Iran are.
The ABL is an earlier technology than the new solid-state lasers. Indeed, we may be seeing an AL-2 come down the pike using those on a 767 airframe rather than the COIL of the AL-1's 747 airframe.
But this is a technology worth having. It needs to be deployed, not killed as we near the first tests. There have been numerous weapon systems that have had their lengthy and troubled development periods. They proved to be worth the effort. This is likely to be another... if it isn't aborted.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture's reponse? STOP NOW. They even went so far as to threaten to sue him. I hope my dear mother will pardon my language, but the conduct of the state of Wisconsin in this matter has but one two-word phrase to describe it: Pure BULLSHIT.
OK, let me get this straight: In addition to being perfectly willing to hand al-Qaeda a victory just so she can stick it to Bush, she is also a crybaby. If she wants to hand al-Qaeda a victory, she has an option to do just that: She can defund the war. But she doesn't seem to want to deal with those consequences.
So why the fancy footwork?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
The first is that we face a serious issue. One just has to look at an article on the front page of today's USA TODAY and see it. Our war planes - and the support planes that help our troops fight - are getting old, we took about a decade off for a "peace dividend" and we are now seeing the price in airplanes with cracked wings and a reduced defense industry. This has to be fixed, and it isn't going to be cheap. Mitt Romney's plan to spend 4% of GDP on defense may not be enough. It may have to be closer to 5%. That's how bad it is. We have seen nearly 100 C-130Es that were flying combat support missions in Vietnam grounded due to cracks in their wings. The KC-135Es have been around for 42 years. The CSAR birds are also getting kind of old, and they have their own shortcomings. In the case of an aging USAF fleet, I'm reminded of the old saying, "Pick Two: Fast, Right, or Cheap." In this case, we need the solutions fast and right, so the cheap part is gonna have to be overlooked. I'm even willing to overlook corners being cut - largely because I think the much bigger fish that needs to be fried has to be dealt with first. Obviously, my co-blogger disagrees, which brings me to the second point.
This second point is bigger, and worth keeping in mind on other issues besides this one. There are multiple sides to every issue, and more often than not, each side has a point. All too often, issues like immigration have led to fights among Republicans, neither of which is willing to see the other side's points at all. There is guilt on both sides, but one in particular has taken the attitudes of Soviet-era commissars to anything that doesn't fit with their world view.
My co-blogger and I have disagreed on defense matters before (I was not a fan of the cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche and I also believe that we should be reactivating the Iowa-class battleships - he disagrees). But we're both looking to get the same thing done - we both want the problem solved.
The same goes for those who disagree on other issues, like immigration. The fact that I favor an approach to the issue similar to President Bush's does not make me a squish on immigration. The fact that I would prefer to see us avoid embryonic stem-cell research doesn't make me opposed to science - or finding cures to diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and other ailments.
It's easy to solve problems when you recognize there are many ways to look at them.
The HH-47 is a heavy-lift airframe, and is considered for a number of reasons to be utterly unsuited for the SAR mission, mostly due to rotor downwash (which, under less-than-ideal circumstances, could kill a survivor being picked up--and less-than-ideal conditions are the norm in SAR, combat or otherwise). The USMC briefly considered the H-47 and H-53 airframes for the SAR mission in the 1980s, but decided to wait for the Osprey because of these problems--a decision that ultimately led to the demise of the USMC SAR mission, because the HH-46 airframes simply wore out before the Osprey arrived. The Air Force claimed to have a "matrix document" that stated the HH-47 was a medium-lift airframe. Problem is, Defense Daily reported that neither the Office of the Secretary of Defense or the US Air Force has produced any such document. Here are the money quotes from Defense Daily:
“It seems like there may not be a formal written document,” service spokesman Don Manuszewski said. “It may be an understood concept or construct.”
There “may or may not have been a matrix” that defined the classes for the CSAR-X selection panel, one Air Force official said. “There may have been charts depicting concepts for current [and/or] future presentation of each.”
Now, when you have confident assertions that a document exists, followed by those sorts of verbal gymnastics to explain why no one can produce a copy of it, there's something really wrong here.
The procurement process on this one is badly tainted. In procurement, the RFP is everything--it defines the intended product. The USAF ignored the RFP for evaluating operations & support costs--and that is usually the heart of the entire RFP. When this sort of thing happens, it's generally because someone in the procurement office issued the RFP with a winner already in mind, and the RFP itself was window-dressing to (a) cover the fact that there wasn't going to be real competition and (b) get around sole-source acquisition requirements. These things stink when it's a few million dollars for some Congresscritter's campaign donor (thank you, Mr. Cunningham), and they really stink when it's billions of dollars for a major combat system.
Whenever you have a really questionable procurement decision, it needs to be questioned in detail.
As for the question of "butting in" on the KC-767, that proposal was clearly a ripoff for the taxpayer, as the US government would essentially would have bought the aircraft twice over and not received clear title. The deal simply begged to be investigated. It turned out that there was a lot TO be investigated, and there are a bunch of contracts still be audited because Ms. Darlene Druyun handled them. She got nine months in Club Fed and seven months in a halfway house--she should've gotten ten years in a PMITA prison.
The legislative branch is the one that appropriates money and authorizes its expenditure. McCain--or anyone else in Congress--is not "butting in" when he demands an explanation for some really questionable procurement decisions.
No, the tankers and CSAR birds aren't getting any younger. Maybe the USAF should've thought about that before they decided to engage in really shady procurement efforts that just scream for investigation.
It's worth noting that both of these questionable procurements involve the Boeing Corporation. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three or more times is a pattern. Perhaps it's time for the Department of Defense Inspector General, the Defense Contract Audit Service, the Defense Industrial Security Command, and every other regulatory agency within the DoD to take a very close look at Boeing.
For instance, its coverage neglects to mention that we are discussing an Air Force helicopter that going to operate from land bases. Why in the world is the CSAR-X's ability to operate from Navy vessels being discussed? And what shortcomings did the US101 and S-92 have that have not been mentioned in McCain's campaign?
The last time John McCain butted in, we had a deal for modern tankers kiboshed. This time, a new combat search-and-rescue chopper could be on the block. Does he really think that our tankers and CSAR helicopters are going to get any younger?
Monday, May 07, 2007
That said, Minnesota is a place where you generally get a lot of left-of-center voters in the Minneapolis area, and one can't blame the Star-Tribune for wanting to go with the overwhelming demographics in their city.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
My favorite moment? In a long conference filled with great panels, with a lot of great people, and great events (including a recorded address from the President), it just seems so unfair to just pick one or two moments as the best of the entire day. That said, Robert Stokley's speech about his son Michael, who was killed in action over in Iraq, probably was one that will stick with me for a long time. (Hat tip to Mary Katharine Ham - a new addition to my blogroll).
On a side note, I can now say I had lunch with Ana Marie Cox - a pretty nice person who is in need of the DVDs of the classic Battlestar Galactica series. And I mean the classic - with Dirk Benedict as Starbuck. The new one is not one I rush to see, although it has had its moments.
I missed Austin Bay - who was great when he was at the 2006 conference. All in all, I am looking forward to next year's conference.
Great sites. Pay `em a visit. And be nice to them, please.
Friday, May 04, 2007
Note - the Brewers have 18 wins, Mr. Hewitt. And I'm sure that if they meet up with the Indians in the World Series, it will not be too much different from what happened when the Indians and Brewers played that interleague series last year.
The Brewers SWEPT Cleveland, if you really need a refresher course in recent baseball history.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Read the whole statement, as well as what he said at CENTCOM.
Then compare it to the nonsense coming from Rosie O'Donnell and others. Decide for yourself who is more serious about the global war on terror.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Speeding - to the tune of 70 in a 55.
Well, at least he probably wore his seat belt.
Nice to see that this terrorist threat is being dealt with seriously.