My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Democratic Pathologies, part IV 

Inability--Or Unwillingness--To Recognize Evil

From Hillary's Press Release regarding the visit of President Ahmedinijad to Columbia University:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . .

That's right: nothing.

So here's what she had to say yesterday during her media blitz:

on FNS: Do you think that Columbia should rescind that invitation?" SEN. CLINTON: "Well, I'm going to leave that up to Columbia, but I was outraged that he wanted to go to Ground Zero and did speak out very forcefully and thankfully he will not go to Ground Zero.

On CNN: "Well, if I were a president of the university, I would not have invited him. He's a Holocaust denier. He's a supporter of terrorism. But I also respect the right in our country to make different decisions."

Barack Obama on Ahmedinijad:

"I would not have extended an invitation to give President Ahmadinejad another platform for his hateful rhetoric. Adolph Hitler was the worst mass murderer in the history of the world, and Ahmadinejad's denial of his crimes is offensive to Jews, to Americans, and to all people of goodwill. But this is America, and we should never be afraid to confront the ranting lies of dictators like Ahmadinejad with the power of truth and the strength of our own values. What Ahmadinejad will learn while he's here is that America is united in rejection of his hateful views, and in opposition to the Iranian government's support of terrorism and pursuit of nuclear weapons."

John Edwards on Ahmedinijad:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . nothing

Harry Reid on Ahmedinijad:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . nothing

Nancy Pelosi on Ahmedinijad:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . nothing

Of those who said anything, none of the Democratic leadership even bothered to mention the Iranian regime's killing of Americans in Iraq, its role in the Hezbollah proxy war with Israel last year, nor its role in Hezbollah's murder of the Marines in Beirut in 1983.

A simple statement of outrage at Columbia would suffice; followed with a strong condemnation of Ahmedinijad in all his roles; followed by an affirmation of American will to win--that's how you confront a genocidal maniac.

like this:

"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an enemy of America, Israel, and the entire free world. We should never remain silent when evil makes an appearance.

"We will not allow a nuclear Iran. Period. We will work with our allies and use every tool at our disposal to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power. That is not a threat. It’s a promise. Iran is the leading state-sponsor of terrorism, the host of Bin Laden’s son and other top al-Qaeda leaders, and the supplier of weapons being used to kill American soldiers in Iraq. His promises to destroy America and Israel should not, can not, and will not be ignored.

"It is a sad reflection on the United Nations that the General Assembly and Human Rights Council have ignored these actions and instead focused attention on demonizing the State of Israel.

You must speak plainly when dealing with evil--it speaks plainly about you. So Rudy's statement hits all the right notes, and does not equivocate even one tiny bit about Ahmedinijad's "right" to be here, our obligations to the U.N., or our "unity" of purpose.

What is astonishing is just how far the Left has fallen on this count. The same party that drew a line in Korea, and then in Vietnam, is now weak about even talking about drawing a line in New York City. And while Lee Bollinger's speech before Ahmedinijad's was "full of insults," he still bothered to ask him to speak.

Just imagine what would raise the ire of the Left enough to prevent a speaker on campus. Oh, wait, we don't have to imagine--we already know that they'll go to extraordinary lengths to keep Ann Coulter from speaking, and if you dare to mention that men and women might just be different, that will get you run off campus.

This is why this party can not be trusted with power. Harry Reid will forever pontificate about how Senate Democrats will "never give in, never give in, never, never, never" in declaring defeat, but he--and his fellows--will never find the real courage of confronting those who would kill us and ending them.

It is a pathology: to assume that not speaking of evil, and not confronting evil, makes evil go away, or miraculously turns evil to something else is to deny all of human history and experience. Regardless of the political expediency of diplomatic language, real evil such as Ahmedinijad and the Iranian regime must be called out and confronted.

And ended.

Does anybody seriously think any Democrat would take the necessary steps to end this regime.

Though, for that matter, I'm not holding my breath that the current administration is willing to do much, either.



UPDATE: EIGHT IN A ROW!! with a dominating 7-3 win over the Padres today, the Rockies sweep the Padres to pull within 1-1/2 games of the Wild Card; coupled with the Nationals victory over Philly, that puts three teams within 1-1/2 games of the playoffs, with the Rockies being the hottest one in the mix. On top of that, they got so under the skin of the Padres in this sweep that Milton Bradley got tossed, got injured . . .by his own manager . . ., and then the manager got tossed in the eighth.

This last week of the season will be a great deal of fun to watch. Six games to go--gotta figure they need to win five to have a chance.

In case you haven't noticed, the Colorado Rockies are on an incredible run.

Yesterday, they won their seventh straight game to pull within two and a half games in the Wild Card race. It was their second straight win over the San Diego Padres, who lead the wild card at the moment, both games in San Diego, including Friday night's 14-inning 2-1 thriller. The previous four wins were over the Los Angeles Dodgers, knocking them all the way out of the playoff chase.

I don't know how this will all play out in the next week or so--it seems like this may be a little too late. But it is a lot of fun to watch a team play meaningful games in the last half of September, and if an athlete ever deserved a good run like this, it woul certainly be Todd Helton.

And, mark my words: at the rate the two teams are going right now, it is entirely possible that either today or next Sunday the Rockies will out-score the Denver Broncos.

Somebody Else Noticed This 

A few days ago I asked, somewhat flippantly,

By the way, if the Ritter Care proposal and the Hillary Care proposal go into effect at the same time, will we get hit twice for "universal" health care?

Well, on Saturday the Rocky Mountain News also noticed the likelihood of the two policies colliding:

And since every one of the proposals the commission would offer is likely to require voters to approve a tax increase - four do now - it's quite possible that Coloradans could be stuck paying higher taxes for a medical system that's outdated soon after it takes effect.

Everybody is in such a hurry to get their "signature" health care proposals up and working that they're likely to just create huge overlapping bureaucracies, which will will require even more bureaucracies to resolve conflicts.

Yes, four of the proposals require a tax increase; if I remember right, the commission only did a detailed study on four proposals. That means we'll start with a tax increase for a system that may or may not deliver as promised and which will almost certainly require more spending to square with the federal program . . .which will also require more taxes, on top of the more taxes the feds will need to take our to implement their proposal.

And soon, instead of health care sector being one-seventh of the economy, it will be one-fifth, or one-fourth, for a system that sounds good and looks good, but (if history is any teacher) will begin to fail to perform as promised within a few years of its inception.

This is craziness. Somebody other than Jon Caldera had better start making the public argument against this as loudly and as logically as they can, before the inertia of the issue becomes overwhelming. It may, for that matter, already be too late.

But somebody had better start making the argument, anyway.


Democratic Pathologies, part III 

Paranoid Delusions.

According to Web M.D. ,

Delusional disorder, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a "psychosis" in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. The main feature of this disorder is the presence of delusions, which are unshakable beliefs in something untrue. People with delusional disorder experience non-bizarre delusions, which involve situations that could occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve the misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. In reality, however, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated.

Now, a few stories from the recent headlines.

:Dan Rather, on Larry King:

. . .although I do think the most important reason is somebody sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive, with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news.

:from the WaPost

In 2004, MoveOn spent millions from wealthy donors such as financier George Soros, but it has grown into a force that has raised millions in donations from members and pumped more than $6 million into ads in this election cycle alone. . . .

Between the two measures, nearly every member of the Senate had repudiated MoveOn, including Democratic presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Obama, who both voted for the Democratic version that did not include MoveOn's name but said there had been an "unwarranted personal attack" on Petraeus.

However, Clinton did vote against the actual measure that blasted MoveOn.org, and Obama--in an act of amazing leadership and political courage--walked off the floor during the vote so he wouldn't have to go on record.

:Hillary Clinton referred to Vice President Dick Cheney as Darth Vader

:Federal prosecutors have charged Democratic fund-raiser Norman Hsu with breaking campaign finance laws and cheating investors out of millions of dollars in a $60 million Ponzi scheme. . . .

Hsu has raised money for several Democratic candidates, but most substantially for Sen. Hillary Clinton's, D-New York, presidential bid. Clinton's campaign has said it will return the $850,000 Hsu raised to the individual contributors.

So, to draw all of these links together . . .

Dan Rather complains of the power of corporate interests in news and in politics, while not being particularly troubled by MoveOn's apparent control of the Democratic Party in Congress, and, in particular, its top two candidates for President.

Rather complains of corporate interests ruining his career, but is oddly sanguine about the foreign big money that tried to buy this election by deeply funding Hillary Clinton, nor does he lose sleep over the vast influence of George Soros (also, not an American) and the far-left influence peddlers at MoveOn.org

Clinton . . . seriously. Darth Vader? You want to talk "highly exaggerated"?

This is all part and parcel of the Left's core that fuels their passion for the upcoming election. The belief--contrary to all rational evidence--that Dick Cheney is capable of superhuman manipulation of others, particularly the President; the purchasing of policy by "neocons", in spite of much greater evidence of corruption on their own side; the influence of government on the delivery of the news, despite overwhelming evidence of leftward bias in the media.

These are all right out of the definition of paranoid/delusional disorder, and have presented themselves over and over in the modern Democratic party. There are a few bastions of rationality--Joe Leiberman leaps to mind--but the vast majority of the party dances to the tune of bands that NOBODY else can hear.

To their (small) credit, at least most Democrats can be credited with the mere misinterpretation of events and experiences; but some--like Harry Reid and his "million Iraqis" or John Murtha and his "Haditha Six"--are clearly both imagining things and then attempting to shape American policy based on their delusions. This is, of course, both dangerous and suicidal . . .

but it also represents a huge block of the Democratic Party.

And that is, quite simply, very bad for America.

Still Screamin' 

This comes to me courtesy of Guy.

Some Oregon high schools are adopting Mexico's public school curriculum to help educate Spanish-speaking students with textbooks, an online Web site, DVDs and CDs provided free by Mexico to teach math, science and even U.S. history.

I don't even know where to begin with this one. But how about these for a sample of the obvious questions:

Is the Mexican curriculum for math, science, and U.S. History superior to the one these Oregon schools are currently using? And, if so, why isn't this school district using the Mexican materials across the board?

Could somebody please--PUH-LEEEEZE--do some sort of a comparative study of the typical U.S. textbook version of the Mexican-American War to the one offered in this curriculum?

I wonder if the resources of the Mexican Education Institute would be more effective if it devoted more of their resources to educating the students IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY?

"We wanted people to be aware that they have to study," said Patricia Ramos, the director of national affairs for Mexico's Institute for Adult Education and National Advisory of Education for Life and Work.

"You have to dare to study and make use of technology because that way, it will be easier to adapt to where you now live."

. . .because we want you to stay where you now live and not return to Mexico.

But please send money.

Geez, we're stupid.


Perlmutter, The Empty Suit (Seat?) 

I missed this last week.

Congressman Perlmutter released this statement about Gen. Petraeus' report to Congress. It's not worth posting the whole thing--the English teachers out there might go into convulsions. But I will post the section of the statement that actually deals with the report:

I have the utmost respect for Gen. Petraeus and our troops. I agree with him that once again our troops have performed with bravery and distinction.

There you go. That's it. In other words, "I respect the General, but I'm going to completely ignore his actual testimony, anyway."

The problem I have here is that I didn't see this until I went looking for it today. In fact, I saw precious little coverage of the statements of Congressmen in close districts in the media, at all. For that matter, I saw very little coverage of the actual testimony at all.

There are those in the conservative New Media who think the Petraeus testimony was a ground-changing event--I disagree. It's like the old adage: if a tree falls in the forest . . . If a General testifies before Congress and shuts down his critics, but nobody hears it, does it matter. I don't think so.

You know if one of our illustrious Democrat Senators or Reps would have caught the General in a "gotcha" moment, it would have led the coverage on every outlet and been a full-page, front-page story in the newpaper. But they didn't, so it wasn't.

I'm not sure the General's testimony actually matters for purposes of the political debate. And that's how the media controls stories.

And why conservatives MUST get control of a mass-messenging system, and fast.

Addendum: even this inane statement is more than Mark Udall--member of the House Armed Services Committee and man-who-would-be-Senator--had to say . . .

. . .which is nothing.


Sometimes, We're So Stupid I Could Just Scream 

From this week's Time Magazine:

To help increase opportunities for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, Miami- Dade County public schools last year began testing all 23,000 first-graders using a culture-neutral, language-free assessment that requires no reading, writing or speaking.

Umm . . . . WHAT? How, exactly, then, do we assess these kids? Is it based on patterns of eye blinks? Perhaps we base our judgments on whether their clothes match?

And, I mean, really . . .isn't it culturally insensitive to the Irish and the Italians that the assessment doesn't include speaking?

But, seriously, this may be both the stupidest and funniest thing I've read in several months. It's only improved on by the next line:

The result? The number of first-graders screened for gifted placement shot up from some 100 the previous year to nearly 3,000.

MON DIEU!! Really? You had to admit more students to the program when you got done non-testing them? Imagine my surprise.

Giftedness is a wonderful thing, but it is not--and SHOULD not--be the be-all, end-all of educational success. By watering down (and by any objective assessment, to say that 12.5% of your population is "gifted" qualifies as watering down) the requirements to enter those educational classes, we are both diminishing the value of those classes and setting many, many students up for delusions and disappointments. As was said so accurately in The Incredibles, "when everybody is special, NOBODY is special."

Says deputy superintendent Antoinette Dunbar of the decision to start testing every first-grader for giftedness: "Sometimes we overlook the very obvious."




Democratic Pathologies, part II 

Refusal to Learn The Lessons of the Past and of Others

Apparently, being "progressive" means not just freedom from history--it requires ignorance of it.

Tommorow, Hillary will roll out her health care proposal. It will include an individual mandate for health insurance, and an option for a pool of resources for a public program. This, in spite of her own abject failures of 14 years ago. This, in spite of the abject failures of the Canadian centralized health care program. This, in spite of the abject failures of British centralized health care, which are so bad as to require the country to open itself up to potential terrorists to keep the system afloat.

Oh, and by the way, it's not just Hillary. Colorado will soon be getting its own proposal from the "blue-ribbon commission," which will also include some elements of single-payer. Note, with some incredulity, that the Lewin analysis says the Colorado Health Services Single Payer Program will be the only one to cut on costs AND provide universal health care. But, of course, that analysis is based on some of the same assumptions that gave us Referendum C costing only $3 billion (that number is now $5.7 billion), and Ritter Property Tax Grab only being worth $48 million (that number has climbed now to $114 million).

By the way, if the Ritter Care proposal and the Hillary Care proposal go into effect at the same time, will we get hit twice for "universal" health care?

But, of course, its not just in socializing American society that the Democrats show their wilful ignorance of precedent.

Just look at the treatment Gen Petraeus received last week: MoveOn.org effectively called him a traitor, and Hillary Clinton effectively called him a liar. But I thought we all "supported the troops." We don't want to revisit the treatment our soldiers got on returning from Vietnam. Nah, we'll just save that treatment for the generals who have earned their stars from years and years of service and sacrifice. We'll let them stand in as proxies for the whole military, because they're easier targets--they have to come to The Hill.

And now word comes that Senator Salazar is considering cutting off the funding for our troops in the middle of the war.

No, we don't want to repeat Vietnam--WE WANT TO RELIVE IT AGAIN IN OUR OWN TIME! Consequences? What consequences? After Vietnam, a million or more died in the Killing Fields, and hundreds of thousands of made "boat people" a household term; the Soviets were emboldened to continue their expansions into central Europe, Africa and South America, while America crawled forward to the Carter Era, which brought us universal scorn for our weakness.

BUT that won't happen this time. No, really.

Which all squares pretty nicely with the label "Progressive." It is now their assumption that by labeling themselves that, the liberals will be able to pied-piper-like lead the masses towards a new, better day that has no resemblance to the past.

Or, unfortunately, to reality.

And I don't even need to get started on the Liberal refusal to tether their policy ideas to the framework of the Constitution--that would be "reactionary" and "neanderthal."

The point is, the Progressive mind MUST uncouple itself from history to be able to imagine the utopia awaiting those who simply believe. Unfortunately, that willingness to disengage from those more violent aspects of the world who do not subscribe to their ideology leaves the rest of us extremely vulnerable. And that's dangerous.

Naivete is charming in a child; it is suicidal in a government.



Stray Thoughts and Musings On A Sunday 

Been pretty overwhelmed for the last several days with work and other parts of life, so I've been pretty quiet. As a result, I have a lot of pent-up verbage to spew. Indulge me.

Or don't. Whatever. I'm gonna write it, anyway, so . . .

Why Does This Deserve The Front Page?

Republican talking point No. 1: "Avoid saying, 'Gov. Ritter' or 'Bill Ritter.' He needs no help from us with name recognition, so try to stick with 'the governor' or 'our new governor.' "

And there it was, plastered over the entirety of Saturday's Rocky Mountain News, as if this was the giant strategy meme for the Republicans leading into the 2008 election cycle.

Problem shows up in the next paragraph:

That was the "general suggestion" for media interviews that GOP representatives got from their House Minority Office during Ritter's first State of the State speech on Jan. 11.

Oh. So . . . this strategy is NINE MONTHS old! Heck, my first reaction was "I hope there's more to the strategy than that!" But . . . THIS WAS NINE MONTHS OLD.

Again, I ask: why does THIS deserve the front page? Two reasons: slow news day, and, again, the media has managed to find a story it could twist into making Republicans look like buffoons.

I just wish we didn't make it so easy.

There Are Days I Wish John McCain Were More Viable

Today was one of those.

If you didn't see McCain on Meet the Press, go watch it here. Senator McCain went toe-to-toe with both John Kerry and Tim Russert on Iraq, and came out the stronger for it.

If only . . .

And Speaking of Russert . . .

When was the last time you ever heard him try to talk over a Democrat like he did with John McCain today? When was the last time a Republican waved an op-ed in his face like John Kerry did today, and he didn't have the counter-argument ready to go in one of his endless graphics?

THAT, my friends, is how the media tilts the conversation.

Frankly, it's sort of a wonder that Republicans have won anything in the last twenty-five years.

In The Bash Hillary/Move On.org Sweepstakes . . .

I would have to say that the winner was Rudy Giuliani.

Sure, Mitt's response was on the money.

And Fred seems to have missed the boat on this one.

But Rudy came out swinging on Hugh Hewitt AND he took out a full-page ad in the NYTimes blasting Hillary for her failure to denounce MoveOn.org and for her rhetoric in the Senate hearings.

Rudy seems willing to take the fight to both the Democrats AND to the terrorists. That raises him to the top of the field at this point in the BestDestiny primary.

Broncos Unimpressive, But Undefeated

Well, I guess that's one way to keep the crowd with the game right up until the very end. Two weeks in a row. Against weak teams.

Elsewhere in sports . . .

The Buffaloes barely manage to avoid their first shutout in twenty years. But the defense was pretty impressive, and if Cody Hawkins ever got receivers who could catch the ball--and a center who knew the snap count--he could be pretty special.

And the Rockies manage to hang on to their life vest in the wildcard race today. But only by a little bit. Which is fine--all I really require from the Rockies is that the keep me interested between Avalanche/Nuggets season and Broncos season. Mission Accomplished.

Teachers Will Never Be Paid As Professionals . . .

because they do not choose to BE professionals.

Teachers often lament their lack of professional respect in the world, and the commensurate professional-style pay that would come with it. But, in a moment of odd clarity this weekend, I realized that's because teachers have chosen to accept the role of Labor--a role forced on them by their own union.

Which, by the way, is only the first, most obvious artifact of a labor mentality--a union.

More on this another day.


What I Hope To Hear From The President 

My Fellow Americans--

Nine months ago, in consultation with military commanders and the civilian Iraqi leadership, we crafted a new strategy for Iraq. This strategy was based heavily on the principles of counter-insurgency, and included increasing American combat strength by some 30,000 troops to help hold strategic ground, and take away from the enemy--which includes sectarian factions, Al-Qaida in Iraq, and foreign combatants from Iran and Syria--breathing room.

For the purpose of accomplishing this new strategy, the military command tapped the services of Gen. David Petraeus, a four-star general who wrote the book on counter-insurgency tactics, and who had experience successfully holding ground in Iraq earlier in the war. The United States Senate confirmed Gen. Petraeus by a unanimous vote. In other words, every single Senator voted in favor of this man who explicitly advocated the new approach to Iraq.

Just this week, General Petraeus delivered to Congress his assessment of where we stand in Iraq at this time. His assessment was measured, sober, and, above all, professional.

His behavior in front of the Congress stands in stark contrast to the behavior of groups who attempted to disrupt his testimony to Congress, or of one group who slandered this good and honorable and noble man of service on the pages of the New York Times. These unwarranted, and, frankly, cowardly, attacks on a man who has dedicated his life to defending this country have gone unrebuked by Democrats in Congress; in fact, when given the opportunity to vote on condemning the actions of MoveOn.org, Democrats in Congress have blocked the vote, leaving the slander, officially, unchallenged

Today, some in Congress have concluded that the General is wrong--that his assessment of the situation on the ground is too optimistic, that his command of the facts is faulty, that his strategy moving forward is flawed. One Representative even went so far as to insinuate that the General deliberately altered the numbers he used in his testimony before them.

I respectfully disagree with my friends on the other side of the aisle. When a man of General Petraeus' long record of honorable service, startling intellect, and sober demeanor tells me that what we are doing is working, and that we need to keep the pressure on, I listen. I accept that his command of the situation is betterthan the understanding one gets from the white marble halls of Washington, and I intend to do everything in my power to help him carry out his strategy.

More importantly, I am encouraged that General Petraeus has concluded that the situation is improving enough that it may be possible to bring home about 20% of American forces by next Spring. Regardless of what the politicians in Washington say, this is a clear indicator that the situation in Iraq is improving.

I would encourage all Americans to continue supporting and praying for our troops in harm's way in Iraq. Now that it is possible to see a way forward to victory in Iraq--as opposed to the "measured defeat" some in Congress are advocating--we need to support their efforts all the more, and pray for a hedge of protection around them, as the enemy is bound to become more desperate in the weeks to come.

At the same time, it should become clear to all Americans that the enemy in the larger War is paying attention to the debate here in Washington. Terrorist cells in the Netherlands, Germany, and Turkey have been broken in the last few weeks, all of them with instructions from Al-Qaida to carry out their attacks to coincide not with the anniversary of 9/11, but with the debate here in Washington to continue this War or not. Fortunately, and with the help of some of the tools American intelligence has at its disposal, all three of these attacks were thwarted. These events highlight not only the fact that Al Qaida works to influence American political debates, but also that the most important weapon America and the civilized world has at its disposal in this fight is the ability to find out what the enemy is doing and planning.

Americans should feel proud of the work our intelligence community is doing to protect them from the enemy, and they should be glad that our citizen soldiers are methodically striking at the enemy where it is right now. So I call on Congress to continue giving our intelligence community everything at its disposal to shed light on the enemy, and to give our military the support it needs to end the enemy wherever we find them.

Thank you.

But, of course, I'm not going to hold my breath.


Those Lessons We Fail To Learn, We Are Doomed To Repeat 

Those Lessons We Choose Not To Teach, We Are Destined To Not Learn

Because of the nature of my job, I was in four public schools today; when you add in the school my children go to, my family was a part in five public, elementary schools today.

Formal observances to commemorate 9/11: one. A moment of silence.

Complete willingness to ignore the significance of this day: four.

If that ratio holds true across Colorado, then in a few more short years the vast majority of Colorado students will not understand why we mark this day.

I don't even know what to say about this. Is it just me?


Never Forget. Never Falter. Never Fail. Never--NEVER--Surrender. 

Media Lies--Here's What Really Gets Me 

A lot of very smart people have already written about the execrable MoveOn.org ad, so I won't add anything to those except to link them here, here, here, and here.

What I find most interesting is that this ad was run at all. When you consider that many of the NBC networks refused to run the ad produced by Freedom Watch, you have to wonder what the hell the media is thinking. Why does this ad not get put to the same scrutiny as the Freedom Watch ad? Sure, they're two different news organizations, but, c'mon. This is no longer an issue of mere un- or sub-conscious bias; this is blatant advocacy.

And, for that matter, have you seen the headline of the AP story regarding Gen. Petraeus' testimony before Congress today? Here it is:

Petraeus Outlines Troop Withdrawal Plans

That's the headline? Somehow, they missed this as a possible headline:

As a bottom line up front, the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met.

Or this:

One reason for the decline in incidents is that Coalition and Iraqi forces have dealt significant blows to Al Qaeda-Iraq.

Or this:

We have also disrupted Shia militia extremists, capturing the head and numerous other leaders of the Iranian-supported Special Groups, along with a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative supporting Iran’s activities in Iraq.

The downright malfeasance of the media with regard to this story is breathtaking.

And, for that matter, how much of the actual testimony did you see this evening on your local news program? I would be staggered if anybody were able to report that they saw and heard more than 30 seconds of actual footage from the actual Petraeus/Crocker testimony from today. Contrast that with the minutes of footage devoted on what seems to be a weekly basis to the efforts of Harry Reid to convince America that we are "failures," or of Jack Murtha to convince us our military is "murderous," or of Nancy Pelosi to portray all of our efforts as pointless and futile. And that time doubles when its a Republican who waves the white flag.

And, yet, it feels like all complaining about the media is little more than howling at the moon. The media filter is so complete that even complaints don't get through.

Conservatives left the battlefield in the 60's, and we've never been able to get back on it. And, don't tell me talk radio or new media--they can only preach to the choir. They never reach the so-called "middle" of the political spectrum. Not like the "Today Show" can.

The GOP needs to begin strategizing--and implementing--a strategic, structural, long-term approach to massive messenging, or we'll never see an even-handed political debate ever again.



Remarkably, 9News Includes One Of My Questions 

[courtesy Slapstick Politics]

The clip of my question is in Part I, about three minutes into the clip. Notice how much Adam Schrager truncates the question, so as to frame it as "throwing my hands in the air," rather than a direct challenge to the Senator. Also notice it was the only question asked of the Senator related to Iraq that even slightly questioned the Democratic party line.

By the way, the Senator's answer to my question was this:

Schrager: . . . or is it significant?
Salazar: It's significant, because for the first time, since the beginning of this war, there would be a national policy articulated in our federal law, uh, mmm, that, uh, the key parts of that legislation which I wrote are, first of all, a mission change: we need to move from a combat role in Iraq over to one of support and equipping and training. We can't be policing a civil war, and that's basically what's happened for the last several years--we've been in the midst of policing a civil war. So we need to have a mission change in Iraq, and that's what my legislation does.

Uh . . . . what?

So, you want a mission change from one of combat/police action to one of training and equipping? Does this make any sense to anybody?

Who, exactly, are we going to count on to take out al-Qaida? And, for that matter, are the 12,000 or so terrorists killed in the last nine months all, strictly, the result of policing a civil war?

Shouldn't you be concerned about police brutality, Senator?

Or, do you simply not want to come to grips with the possibility that there's more going on in Iraq than "policing", and that the use of the Leviathan U.S. military is the only logical and effective way to deal with the other things going on?

I want our troops to come home, too. But I want them to come home wrapped in the laurels of victory, not with their tails between their legs, being yanked off the field by the chains of their legislative masters.

Senator, is it really so hard to tell the men and women in uniform to do what it takes to WIN, and return home with all due haste? After that, then you can lobby President Clinton to make you SecState, and you can design the "Everything Else" in Iraq.

But let's win first, okay?

On The Economy 

Friday's job number was, to say the least, a disappointment. When analysts are predicting the creation of 120,000 or so jobs, and it turns out that the economy lost about 4,000 in the month of August, well . . . .that's disappointing.

When you couple that with the spectacular volatility on Wall Street lately, and the "crisis" in the credit industry, you start to think that maybe the "softness" in the housing sector (from the last twelve months" may just have a little bigger effect on the overall economy than anybody really hopes.

And, of course, I think the reason is consumer uncertainty in an economy that is, more or less, predicated on the idea of living through credit. Let me illustrate the point.

For about the last three years my sister-in-law has complained bitterly about the sorry state of the economy. And no matter how much data I had available to counter her belief, she would not let go of the "fact" that the economy was very weak. It turns out, she had financed her house on an ARM, and every time the Federal Reserve Bankers met and raised the prime lending rate, her mortgage payment would go up. So, over the course of more than two years, the increase in her main expense was far outstripping her ability to keep up, or to find an alternative. To her, the economy looked very weak, indeed.

Well, now with all the recent foreclosures and the collapse of CityWide and everything else, the news is getting to the mainstream consumer that there's a problem with the credit markets, which could effect every payment you make on the first of the month. And that's not good.

How much would it help my sister's state of mind to see her mortgage payment go down a little bit? Enormously. And I believe that huge numbers of consumers and investors feel te same way.

So what's the solution? I echo Larry Kudlow:

If central bankers would come to their analytical senses, they would appreciate that today’s financial panic is itself sufficient reason to slash the Fed funds target rate by at least a full percentage point from today’s 5.25 percent to something around 4 percent. New cash needs to be poured into the liquidity parched banking system. Such a move would be a much-needed injection of confidence into a rattled marketplace.

I'm no economist, but I've been watching these things very closely for the last several years, and Larry Kudlow is CERTAINLY an economist. And everything I've seen points to the need for the Fed to cut rates, and cut rates fast.

Now, it just remains to be seen if these problems in the economy are enough to spur the Fed to act.

P.S. The unemployment rate is still only 4.6%, incomes are up, inflation is down, and the Dow is still up almost 20% from where it was one year ago. There is still great evidence that the economy is strong. I'd just like to keep it that way.

P.P.S. By the way, the correct political spin to all of this is: For four years, in the wake of the destruction of billions of dollars in this economy on 9/11, not to mention all the people busy creating wealth who perished on that day, this economy--thanks to the tax cuts that the President put in place--this economy was remarkably strong. America has generated record federal treasury receipts and created 8.2 million new jobs during that amazing run.

Now, a mere nine months after the Democrats take power in the Congress, the threat of tax increases has lessended American confidence, and the promise of spending increases from the Democrats has increased anxiety in a credit-driven economy, and the engine of American commerce has, effectively, taken a severe body blow.

If THIS is the record of change the Democrats want to build their laurels on, then America should hope for, work for, and create, the anti-Change.


Reconciling the "Two Americas," part I 

No, not those two Americas--the most self-aggrandizing, hypocritical populist schpiel in the last 40 years, delivered by a guy who gets $400 haircuts, lives in a 28 THOUSAND square-foot home, and runs around the country in private jet.

I'm talking about the two Americas that Michael Barone has so intelligently identified, and which are being highlit in no uncertain terms by the ongoing debate over the War In Iraq.

Democrats identify remarkably well with "soft America"--the part of our society where there is little competition and accountability. . . Soft America seeks to instill self-esteem. In the current debate over Iraq, the Democrats have tried to claim that the soldiers and Marines who are called on to fight are "victims" and dupes; that they somehow found their way into a uniform without any reasonable expectation that they would have to honor it by fighting. Since the Democats have had control of the school systems for the 45 years, they assume that they have successfully inculcated the "soft America" mindset into 18 year olds; thus, for any of them to actually want to fight for their country they must have been decieved. It is beyond the ability of liberal Democrats to understand that there are still warriors among us.

Beyond that, the liberal Democrats are going to try to convince America that the mission is unachieveable--that, no matter how effective our American military is and no matter how wise and skilled the leadership of the [unanimously confirmed] Commander and his subordinates, that there is no way for America to see this through to the other side successfully. Why? Because it's too hard, and we're not up to it. In the words of the Senate Democratic Leader, we are a "miserable failure;" in the words of the Chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign, our men and women are "incapable."

The liberal Democrats are at the mall while the Marines are at War.

Instead, liberal Democrats are calling for an increase in the diplomatic pressures brought to bear, believing (in their softness) that negotiation is the only way to achieve the objective; and they are calling for "symbolic" troop drawdowns (as, sadly, are some Republicans), believing (in their softness) that symbolic measures count as much as real actions.

The overarching reality of the liberal Democratic position is that they do NOT believe in America's ability to achieve great things, because to do so is too hard. Unfortunately, what they will attempt to do with this reality this week is enforce "softness" on the rest of the country by trying to discredit one of our greatest warriors, and then trying to pull the rest of the team off the field while the game is still in the balance.

The elements of "hard America" which got us into this position had better get ready to articulate what makes them think America still has "Hard" tendencies. I will do so tomorrow.



Another Question For Senator Salazar 

Senator Salazar: contrary to the reporting of Joe Leiberman, Michael O'Hanlon, John Burns, Michael Yon, and Katie Couric, the chairman of the your party's Senatorial Campaign Commitee this week described the U.S. Military in Anbar Province as "incapable." Do you agree with the Senator from New York, or are you willing to listen to both journalists who have been on the scene and the military experts who will testify this week? And, if you do not agree with Senator Schumer, what would you say to the Colorado men and women in the military who might be feeling as if your party is looking for reasons and excuses to declare defeat and surrender while they are giving their blood, sweat and tears to see a better future in Iraq?



Ramanoff Announces Gubernatorial Candidacy; Merrifield Back In As Chair Of Education Committee 

Sure, those aren't the actual headlines of the Rocky Mountain News article, but if there were real jounalism going on, they would be.

This one is so rich, I'm going to have to post much of the article and provide running commentary.

Call it the education of Andrew Romanoff - or call it the construction of his rural constituent base.

Colorado's speaker of the house is traveling the state in daylong jaunts - driving on unpaved roads to meet with kids, eating lunch in restaurants decorated with rusted farm tools, singing America the Beautiful with the Lions Club - to learn more about rural schools.

But, what about "God Shed His Grace On Thee"? Isn't that an establishment of religion? The ACLU might have to pull its donataions. Ah, the things Democrats do when they're campaigning.

And, by the way, even Nancy Mitchell, the author of this article, noticed that it's a fairly obvious campaign stop. Now, THAT's obvious--when even a journalist notices.

In repairs alone, K-12 schools statewide need $6 billion to $10 billion. Which is why Romanoff may propose, for the first time in Colorado history, a statewide ballot measure to build and repair schools.

And you thought Referendum C was expensive. But if C was supposed to solve a $1 billion problem with $3 billion, which ended up being $5.9 billion, how much do you suppose Romanoff's $6-10 billion is actually going to cost you?

The 41-year-old Democrat may be known better for his work resolving the state's budget crisis - he crafted what would become Referendum C - than for his involvement in school issues.

His gutsy, hard-won success with Referendum C, passed largely with the help of rural lawmakers, taught him the value of votes outside the metro area.

It also solidified his standing as future gubernatorial material.

His position in the House and his reputation as a policy wonk capable of pragmatic solutions make it likely any education bills he backs in the coming legislative session will be taken seriously.

Okay, this is way too much to work with. "Resolving the state's budget crisis?" But they keep raising taxes and fees, so I don't get it: If the budget is resolved, then why keep raising taxes?

And, let's get something clear: Ref C passed because of a huge advertising campaign by the Big Three and the fact that a popular Republican governor also supported the bill.

And, where, exactly, were those pragmatic solutions in the last legislative session? Was that the one that mandated standards for Sex Ed but then killed increased standards for Math and Science? Or the one that effectively killed the Charter School Institute? Those solutions?

"We've had a fairly polarizing, paralyzing debate in the legislature in the last few years," he said. "We've been pitting one group of folks who believe schools need more resources against another group of folks who believe schools need more reform. I think the truth is," he said, "we need both."

Actually, that makes sense. As long as the resources have accountability, and the reforms are based on achievement, not affect, then I actually would have to agree with him.

Accompanying him on most trips are state Sen. Sue Windels, D-Arvada, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, and Rep. Michael Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, chairman of the House Education Committee.

But, I thought Merrifield resigned in disgrace after the whole "special place in hell" thing. Was that just a ruse, a misdirection to get the conservative blogoshphere off his back? I'm shocked!

Romanoff's goal is for lawmakers to find a funding source for K-12 building.

"If we can do that inside (the Statehouse), we should. If not, we'll take it to the ballot."
A bond issue to fund school capital needs statewide could stand on its own or be part of a larger package, along with roads and bridges, he said.

But, wait a second . . . roads, bridges, schools . . .I seem to remember this. Oh, yes, that's it. THIS WAS ALL WHAT REF C WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. And, yet, here they come again, looking to confiscate more of our money.


• New Mexico formerly dedicated 60 percent of lottery revenue to school capital projects but switched to regular bond issues off revenue from oil and gas severance tax. The result is $1.1 billion generated since 1999.
• Wyoming lawmakers annually appropriate funding, relying largely on revenue from federal mine lease royalties such as coal. The state has seen $1.9 billion for school capital needs for fiscal years 2002-08.

Oh, if only Colorado had some kind of natural resource to bargain with the government for. Gosh, it would be neat if we could get in on this billion-dollar windfall like these other states.

OH, WAIT! WE DO! There's all that oil in the Roan Plateau. . . which a Democratic governor and two Democratic lawmakes have decided is "off-limits."

Oh, well. Guess they'll just have to go to their fallback position--and keep raising your taxes.


Opportunity to Question Senator Salazar 

Senator Ken Salazar will be the guest on 9News' odd news program "Your Show" this weekend. One of the unique features of this show is the opportunity to submit questions to the guest--I suggest everybody go to the site and submit questions for the Senator.

And let me be the first to propose one:

Senator Salazar, given that the Iraq Study Group cautioned against a precipitous withdrawl from Iraq, and given that the Iraq Study Group cited the need for security before wholesale political change could happen (which security is now being achieved), and given that the Iraq Study Group laid out economic preconditions for peace and then an eventual American withdrawl--many of which are already happening on the local and tribal levels--what, exactly, does your resolution before the Senate actually accomplish? Or is your resolution nothing more than posturing, inserting the Legislature into Executive issues, and giving political cover to members of your caucus worried that the anti-war Left will overrun them in the next election cycle?



Domestic Applications for Thomas Barnett 

Thomas P.M. Barnett is a really great mind, as anybody who listens to Hugh Hewitt knows. That does not mean he is always correct, but the fact that the men with a lot of stars and bars invite this man to the Pentagon to tell them how to view the world says a WHOLE lot about the quality of this man's mind.

One of Dr. Barnett's primary theses is "Disconnectedness Defines Danger." In other words, those who are not a part of the community are the ones who are most likely to cause mischief within the community, or to, at least, be the sources of mischief. The easiest example of this phenomenon is Afghanistan, circa 1998: a country completely disconnected from the world community, with little in the way of trade or economic activity. Because of this lack of interplay with the rest of the world community, Afghanistan had little to gain from playing by the rules of the rest of the world community. Thus, it was easy and natural for Afghanistan to become a haven for those who would destroy the world community.

This is not new ground, though I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read Dr. Barnett's books, if you haven't already.

But what got me thinking about this was the events in Blacksburgh, Virginia on Saturday. For those who may have forgotten, Virginia Tech University (in Blacksburgh) was the scene of the worst school shooting in history last April--32 victims killed, the shooter taking his own life.

By all accounts, Seung-Hui Cho was about as disconnected from Virginia Tech as he could possibly be. Diagnosed early in life with anxiety disorder, an angry loner in college, a man declared mentally ill by a Virginia judge, Cho was not only disconnected from the student body around him, but, very likely, from reality itself. And that disconnectedness became very dangerous for the VaTech student body.

As I watched the events on Saturday morning, at the first large-scale event on the campus since the massacre, I was struck by how much the community had brought itself back together to heal and to become whole--though with horrible scars. I was struck watching a 65,000-person stadium becoming totally silent in respect; I was struck by extension of the community to the East Carolina team and band, who played the Anthem together and then who came out of the tunnels at the same time to avoid "booing;" and I was struck by the sight of 20-year old men and women weeping openly and comforting each other in the stands at an athletic event.

And it occurred to me that there is an interconnectedness in the whole thing: Barnett, Blacksburgh, and politics.

I wrote a couple months ago about the conservative movement abandoning the high moral ground in domestic affairs to the liberals because we don't talk about government-run, forced charity. I talked about New Orleans, I talked about childhood poverty, and I talked about mental health issues--and all of these things are really about disconnectedness.

The persistent poverty that condemned many citizens of New Orleans to their fate in the slums of NOLA is a result of an inability to plug in to the economic engine that makes America work. Hear that right: it's not a lack of access--they have the same access. They just lack the ability to plug in. It's like trying to log on to a computer network with the wrong network protocol or technological language.

Childhood poverty is the same sort of problem--single parents without skills or resources to plug in to America condemn their children to the same fate.

And mental health disconnection leads to . . . Blacksburgh.

There is a lot more material to plum here, and I will undertake, over the next days and weeks, to do just that.

But, suffice to say, my conclusion for tonight is that the first "compassionate" priority of every Republican candidate should be to increase access to the economic engine of America. Increasing connectedness will increase safety and security for all Americans.

And the argument could be framed in these terms, too, to cut through the media fog.

On Your Day Off . . . 

How about dropping a note of thanks and encouragement to the men and women in uniform? Jim has a great email-writing campaign going, but he's noticed its dropped off quite a bit in the last couple weeks.

So take a couple minutes to help Jim get some good feedback to our troops.

Democratic Pathologies, part I 

The Scarcity Mentality

I am, for a variety of reasons, on a number of mailing lists. Occassionally, I get invited to take part in internet surveys. Most of the time I turn these down; but today, I decided to take part in one, and it was very revealing to me.

First of all, the source of this particular poll was Peter D. Hart Research Associates, who are described by SourceWatch as:

Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, the political division of Peter D. Hart Research Associates, is "one of the most respected and successful political polling firms in the country for Democratic candidates. . . Garin-Hart-Yang also has been the lead pollster on the influential Women's Monitor national polling projects for EMILY's List over the past four election cycles,"

So that was my first tip-off. I figured it would only get more interesting from there.

After dispensing with the preliminaries (are you following the election closely? do you consider yourself a a. progressive b. conservative , etc. . .) the poll got into some of the meat and bones. And here is where I had the revelation that led to this post.

(For proprietary/copyright reasons, I am paraphrasing the following question--I am making my best effort to be faithful to the spirit of the questions)

One of the early questions was this:

When you consider the legislative priorities for the 2008 Congressional candidates, which of the following positions would make you more inclined to support a candidate:

a. maintain all of the Bush tax cuts
b. maintain the Bush tax cuts that helped the middle class, but eliminate the ones that gave needless and expensive tax breaks to the very rich
c. eliminate all of the Bush tax cuts in favor of paying for other priorities and reducing the budget deficit

Now, my first response was "what a piece of &^@!! question!" There is almost no chance that a balanced reflection of where America really is at this point would ever emerge from that question. And that wasn't the only one like that--in quick succession, there were about six questions with exactly the same mindset. And, after laughing at the folly of it all, I was about to just log out and go do something else.

But then, a deeper thought hit me. I have recently been reading "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People," and Steven Covey dealt with this attitude very directly in this book. Here is what he wrote:

Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life.

People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit--even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people--even, and sometimes especially, members of the their own family or close friends and associates [and fellow citizens].

Does that sound like the Democrat's approach to tax policy--TO A "T" (tee? tea?)? Could there be any better way to describe Democrats' approach to taxes than to say that those who have money deserve to sacrifice more of it to the government, regardless of how they got it? The best neurosurgeon in the world should pay vastly more in taxes--regardless of how much he (or she) donates to charity in money and time and expertise--than the most "noble" garbage collector, because he (or she can).

The sin, which Democrats will always want to punish through taxation, is success. Regardless of how much "penance" the rich do, they will always be guilty of taking a bigger piece of the pie.

Which is why the most telling statistic from the 2004 election was this: those who have never obtained even a high school diploma voted about 12-1 for John Kerry.

Who, by the way, is filthy STINKIN' rich because he married a rich widow.

Hear that clearly: Those who, through their own actions, have very little access to the economic engine of the country will almost always vote for the Democrats.

The pathology is the scarcity mentality: regardless of how much evidence there is that a strong economy fueled by leaving earned money in the pockets of those who earn it, the Democrats are absolutely married to the idea that the government has a right to take money out of the deep pockets--nay, they think the government has a DUTY to take from the rich to give to their constituents. . . er, the poor.

The problem Republicans have is that, as Covey wrote, "MOST people are deeply scripted with the scarcity mentality," so most people think there is something all right with this Democratic pathology.

Republicans had better be able to counter this with a strong and forceful argument that "rising tides raise ships," or something like that. Because I'll tell you what: with the complicity of the media in hiding the strength of the economy, this message will be one of the dominant themes in 2008. John Edwards is only the most egregious practitioner at the moment: expect Hillary and all the down-ticket candidates to buy into this approach, as well.

A Republican candidate had better be able to appeal to the better angels of our nature, and reject the petty, small-minded mentality of the Democrats on this. I don't know what, exactly, that message should look like, but I take comfort in this: in 2000 George Bush was able to change the argument from "tax cuts or not" to "exactly which tax cuts" by nothing more than staying on message.

Learn the lesson, candidates.

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