Archive for July, 2009

H for Hysteria

Posted in Big Government, Bulletproof Diction, Congress, Healthcare, Spending on July 23, 2009 by mb007bpd

After listening to all the healthcare hoopla in the media, and today’s announcement about the bill in Congress being postponed until after the August recess, I couldn’t help but think of something.  Notice how hysterical the coverage has been of swine flu in the past couple of weeks.  Is that a coincidence?  Or, is it “the illusion of coincidence”?

The postponing of the healthcare bill until after the recess may seem to put Congress at a disadvantage.  It’s clear they can’t pass it now, otherwise they already would have done so.  The support for universal healthcare has fallen to a stunning 19.6% among Facebook users, a generally young and Obama-friendly demographic.  Including likely blowback from cap-and-trade, congressmen are reticent to make another vote that could endanger their likelihood of reelection in 2010.

However, why would Reid and Pelosi put themselves at such a disadvantage?  There has to be another reason.  As we steadily approach flu season in the fall, the media panic over it will continue to increase.  By the time Congress plans to vote on this bill after the recess, the media will have demanded increased government response to the flu “epidemic”, undoubtedly drawing President Obama to extol the virtues of his plan when it comes to dealing with mass immunizations and other measures to deal with said “epidemic”.  The last time the government tried mass-immunizations for a swine flu “epidemic”, the death count was swine flu 1, vaccine 25.  They’ve already got the kids scared with the panic over Ron Weasley from Harry Potter being stricken with swine flu.

This whole kabuki theatre is reminiscent of V for Vendetta, where a government-and-pharmaceutical-supported media intimidated the populace with pandemics, epidemics, and every other “demic” you could think of.  And before you chide me for citing a movie when it comes to healthcare, ask President Morpheus.

Sotomayor and the American Identity

Posted in Barack Obama, Bulletproof Diction, The Supreme Court on July 14, 2009 by mb007bpd

Two thoughts after hearing Judge Sotomayor’s questioning today.

I had a wise Latina preschool teacher, one of the most memorable ones of my life.  And you know what?  She treated each of us equally, teaching us the same basics, and applying the rules the same way. Imagine a scenario where playground rules were divvied by race in our multi-ethnic class.  The parents would be outraged, and she would be immediately fired.

If we were to structure the Supreme Court in Sotomayor’s ideal fashion, we would have 4 men and 4 women from each race: White/Caucasian, Black/African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic/Latino.  And the ninth justice would be a hermaphroditic Native American.  And then one would have to be lesbian and one would have to be gay.  What about religions?  See how complicated this gets when we try to structure the Supreme Court based on social justice instead of blind justice?  And when you reference the Ricci case, and “Newyorkrican” Judge Sotomayor’s takeaway opinions from that, that is the type of justice system she envisions.  One where race, background, and ethnic origin are a determining factor before the law.  The law is supposed to be blind.  It is supposed to be equally applied to every man, woman, and child, whether that man is from Ghana, that woman is a lesbian, or that child is Buddhist.  Or if the family is a combination of all three.  Because that is what America is.  Equal justice before the law.  And when people are separated into neat little racial/religious/background boxes, and are expected to act as if they came from those boxes, then you undermine American values.  For once someone becomes an American, they shed those ethnic and racial prejudices which have plagued every other country and civilization since the genesis of man.  Once someone becomes an American, they gain a new identity, where they can stand side-by-side, hand-in-hand in brotherhood with different people of different backgrounds to share one common identity: the American identity.  It is with faith in the American identity that we must go forth into the 21st century, to remain the “shining city on a hill” in which all of God’s people can live together without prejudice as equals.

The Chinese Empire, circa 2012

Posted in Bulletproof Diction, China, India on July 13, 2009 by mb007bpd

Nothing is more tantalizing than a prediction.  Even though it may never come true (we know that most certainly never do) it’s always nice to either have known something in advance and taken the proper action or at least be confident in your ability to make the right choices ahead of the curve.

Enter 2012.  Despite the fact that China invading India (or at least one of its western neighbors) may just be a biased prediction, its plausibility becomes more and more evident when you compare it to history.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Russia was forced to crackdown on the Islamic Chechen minorities in some of their southern provinces, which appeared nearly autonomous. After facing heavy international pressure and accusations of brutality, they held back.

In 2004, Islamic Chechen rebels stormed a school in Beslan in the North Ossetia province of Russia, killing over 1,100 people, 777 which were children. The government cracked down again and consolidated power in their central government, and were once again roundly criticized.

In 2008, under multiple guises, Russia stormed into the sovereign nation of Georgia, blasting through the capital and establishing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as de facto Russian states. Our ally Georgia was left bloodied, its sovereignty stampeded, and, in the midst of a hard-fought presidential election, the US turned the other way.

Fast forward to 2012.

In the mid-to-late 2000s, China was forced to crackdown on the Islamic Uighur minorities in some of their western provinces, which appeared nearly autonomous. After facing heavy international pressure and accusations of brutality, they held back.

All that it takes is for the Islamic Uighur minority to carry out some form of terrorism against China in the western region. China will crack down some more and be criticized. Western sovereignty and autonomy will become an issue. If China is forced to lose some land in the west, it will possibly want to gain land to make up for it with a bulging population.

If China sees too many Western or American allies lined up on their western border, it is only a matter of time before they crack and decide to demonstrate a spectacular show of force. Make no mistake, China has been weakened by the economic crisis, but so has their neighbors. With Pakistan on the brink of collapse, its ability to threaten India being stymied by US/Coalition efforts in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region, Pakistan becomes of lesser importance and can no longer be in position to distract India’s military strength. With Islamic militants in the Kashmir region ready to attack either India or China, China could take bold action, under the guise of national security.

And then the question remains: What would the US do?

The more that China strengthens Pakistan and weakens India the more that they undermine US influence in the region. China still holds claims over parts of NE Kashmir, and instead of remaining a patient observer over the skirmishes in that region there’s always the possibility that they could become more active.

China’a alliance with Russia is cemented each and every day, and with both countries working together, the United States’s influence on the world stage could be diminished, especially in Central and South-Central Asia.

Remember: the Sino-Indian War was only a few decades ago.  If the situation with Pakistan deteriorates, there could be massive consequences. In light of our inaction in Iran and misappropriated action in Honduras, it is a scenario for which we must prepare.

Declaring Independence

Posted in Bulletproof Diction, Mainstream Media, Sarah Palin on July 3, 2009 by mb007bpd

Today, Governor Sarah Palin declared independence from the deeply-entrenched political system of our country, the system that has gotten us into the absolute mess that we’re in today.

Was it a gamble?  Of course.  However, I think that this move could help her in spades.

By putting Alaska first, Governor Palin has stayed true to her creed.  She has always exemplified Alaska’s interests and Alaska’s needs.  And when thousands of state dollars and hundreds of state hours were wasted on disproven ethics complaints against her, she made the right move by not remaining as the figurehead of Alaska.  She is a lightning rod, attracting both praise and scorn wherever she goes and whatever she does.

By ceding her personal ambition for that of the state, Governor Palin has fulfilled the role of the citizen politician: she has placed the office above herself, not simply stepping on the office in order to reach a new one.  She has fulfilled the ideals of 1776: of breaking free from the old, entrenched political order and becoming the anti-politician.  And by listening to her statement today, that couldn’t be more clear.

She forces all of us as Americans to take a good look in the mirror, and question our ability to just expect scandal.  In light of what has happened the past few weeks, Americans are deeply suspicious, jaded, and confused with the political process.  People are equally suspicious of this situation, as they await “the other shoe to drop”.

However, she asked us, as Americans, to do one thing today: trust her.

Instead of this being her big test, it is our big test. We have become suspicious of everyone, trusting of no one, to the point where good people avoid politics altogether.  Of course, we have been betrayed by perverts of our political system innumerable times.  We have been scarred by liars, cheats, and hucksters of every breed, in the most unimaginable ways possible.  The American people don’t know who to believe in anymore, with half of us clutching on to a man whose words and persona are simply a veneer for a politician like all others.

We need to get over the fact that the presidency is just a musical chair for politicos.  That once you “graduate” from the Senate or the Governor’s chair, that you’re entitled and expected to take a crack at the chair in the Oval Office while not fulfilling your responsibilities of the office which you currently hold.  We’ve seen what the Beltway has done; Democrats, Republicans, it doesn’t matter.

We have been had most egregiously.

Perhaps nothing exemplifies that better than the Waxman-Markey climate change bill which passed a few days ago.  Were we informed by our media that not a single person read the bill, which was longer than an unabridged copy of War and Peace?  Were enough people aware that a novel’s worth of amendments were added just hours before it was voted upon?  Of course not.  We ceded our skeptical abilities to an equally-corrupt media, who has perverted its mission to the point in which lobbyists can now buy access to some of the most powerful members of our government through the Washington Post.  Does that seem to affect people as much?

Of course not.  Our media has taught us to obsess more over a governor’s exotic crush or a dead man’s medicine cabinet.

However, after learning of today’s announcement, the media has failed to address one aspect of this situation: the Alaskan level of analysis.  What better way to ensure that Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell has a chance to win in 2010 than to endear him to the Alaskan public ahead of time and gain some experience at the same time?  It is no secret that the Murkowski clan as well as some enterprising conservative Democrats will be aiming hard for that governor’s chair, and she would be doing a disservice to Lt. Gov. Parnell and Alaskans by leaving them high and dry after not seeking another term.

By not seeking a second term, by not staying as Governor, Sarah Palin has exhibited a certain grace which is alien to us.  We expect politicians to run again.  We expect Obama to run for President in 2012.  We expect all of our politicians to max out their term limits and try to squeeze in more, a la Michael Bloomberg.  We expect our politicians to act like Chavez and Zelaya, and try any way possible to stay in office like the statists they are.  Not since LBJ have we seen a politician so gracious as to step aside when the time is right.  Now, to be fair, Gov. Palin maxed out her terms as Mayor of Wasilla.  However, that was at a point in time in which nobody outside of the state knew who she was, which is the way her life was up until a little over a year ago.  With the focus on her and not on the office, she would be unable to run Alaska as she did before she was chosen to be the VP nominee.

She has been able to bring Alaska to the national spotlight, and highlight the importance of our neighbor to the north like no person since William Seward in the 1860s.  She has overhauled the Alaskan political system from a corrupt, tightly-knit oligarchy of backroom wheelers-and-dealers to a transparent, ethical, responsible system that is the envy of the other 49 states of the Union.  She has enabled Alaska to contribute to fueling the United States on a scale never before imagined.  She has helped to reform the Alaskan education system, brought climate change to the forefront of the state government’s concerns, highlighted the importance of Alaska to America’s national security, simplified the tax code to be more responsible to Alaskans, and even made the state more attractive to tourism.  In a year and a half, she has done more to change and improve Alaska than all of its past governors did over their multiple terms, with an independent spirit and a servant’s heart.  And now, she passes the torch onto Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who will be able to ensure that the flame of the people in Alaska never dies out, no matter what opposition it faces from the corruptocrats who will be ready for round two in 2010.  She is a success story, in a way that makes citizens of disaster states like California simply envious of such progressive change.

Mission accomplished.

BREAKING: Palin Announcement

Posted in Bulletproof Diction, Mainstream Media, Sarah Palin on July 3, 2009 by mb007bpd

My take:  This very well could’ve been the smartest move she could’ve made.  Today we saw true Sarah, 100% honest and straightforward.  She is putting Alaska First, which has always been her creed…and she is not only saving the state money by making this move but potentially helping Lt. Gov. Parnell in 2010…besides…imagine the travel costs between AK and the lower 48.  As far as for personal reasons, they all bend in her favor…her family agreed with the decision, and what’s best for her and her family should always be first.

———————————

An announcement by Gov. Sarah Palin from her home in Wasilla, AK is expected in eight minutes.  I will liveblog this…stay tuned.

Oh and one thing: Run, Sarah, Run!

UPDATE:  CNN is saying that she has, indeed, confirmed that she won’t run for re-election in Alaska, however, this is according to “GOP sources”…

UPDATE: Fox is saying the same…

UPDATE: Politico is saying the same…

Why is everyone (Chris Wallace, Carl Cameron) complaining that she didn’t do this on a big news day?  I’m tired of this whining about how “this isn’t something you would do for a national campaign”…didn’t anyone think she might want to tie this to a 4th of July message?

UPDATE:  Drudge a little slow on the uptake…

Report: Sarah Palin won’t seek second term as Alaska Gov… Developing…

UPDATE:  MSNBC saying:

AK GOV TO STEP DOWN

This isn’t good…they’re saying it’s because of the “toll of the ethics code violations”…

UPDATE:  MSNBC saying she’s been through a “national meat grinder”…might be leaving politics entirely…made this decision after taking a family vote…results were unanimous (according to John Harwood, CNBC)

UPDATE:  Fox talking about a dead man’s drugs instead of this story…

UPDATE:  MSNBC saying she is a “smart businesswoman” for making this decision by “cutting her losses”…

UPDATE: Fox now saying “Palin transferring power to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell”…from AK affiliate…

UPDATE:  MSNBC speculating she might want to have a TV show…David Shuster saying “her political future is done”…

UPDATE:  Could there be something more serious afoot?  MSNBC seems unwilling to investigate, Fox is…

UPDATE:  Fox is now dumping on her experience…

UPDATE:  Fox News has spoken to Todd…she is stepping down…she wants to “do things for the country she couldn’t do as Governor”

UPDATE:  CNN carrying it live…she quotes Gen. MacArthur:

We are not retreating, we are advancing in another direction.

Could that mean what I think it means?  After all, she has “Alaska in her heart”, which means that they would be ill-served if she ran for President and was going back and forth from Alaska to the lower 48…

UPDATE:  Incredibly slow Drudge is now saying that she will be stepping down as of July 26…

She was just cleared of her FIFTEENTH ethics charge, which is incredibly difficult for any Governor to go through…

UPDATE:  She mentioned how the decision was solidified over her trip to Kosovo…

You have to commend her for putting Alaska First here…above her own ambitions…

UPDATE:  Furthering that, Fox has her brother on right now, who said, “she was spending 80% of her time defending herself and not being able to spend enough time on state issues”…

UPDATE:  NRO has the statement:

Bill Kristol calls her “crazy like a fox”…”I haven’t ruled out it’s a stroke of genius”…

UPDATE:  Now Fox has the video…she is listing off her administration’s successes (a smart move)…mind you, this statement has been delivered WITHOUT a teleprompter/TOTUS…

“We’re fishermen…we know that only dead fish ‘go with the flow'”…

AKGOVSARAHPALIN TWITTER UPDATE:

We’ll soon attach info on decision to not seek re-election… this is in Alaska’s best interest, my family’s happy… it is good, stay tuned

George W. Bush, Realist

Posted in Barack Obama, Bulletproof Diction, George W. Bush, Iran, Iraq, Nuclear Weapons on July 2, 2009 by mb007bpd

In a move that validates the opinion of some in International Relations circles, FBI FOIA requests were revealed today showing that Saddam Hussein claimed that his weapons programs were a bluff to keep from looking weak to Iran.  This theory has been floated before, quite frequently, in fact, so it comes as less of a surprise and more of an affirmation.  However, some questions remain.

What did Saddam know about Iran’s nuclear program back in 2003?

Ostensibly, this would explain what level he was willing to take his plans, and whether it was in-development or all a bluff.

Of course, the information today doesn’t explain something equally important, this time from the liberal perspective.

Why didn’t Saddam come quietly to the US, explain his situation, and either seek our help or ask us to give him cover?  We gave him solid ultimatums, so he can’t play the “poor me” role in the Middle East without appearing as if he exhausted all of his options.  This question is lent more credence by the quote at the end of the Washington Post article:

Hussein replied that the United States was not Iraq’s enemy, and that he simply opposed its policies.

Well then, if he felt so buddy-buddy with the US, then why didn’t he engage in some implicit or tacit coordination with us?  After all, he had everything to lose if he took the route that he did, which was to rebuff the US, UN and the world until it reached a breaking point.  And especially since one Bush came so close to having him eliminated, did he not think his son would attempt to take it to the next level?

However, Saddam’s explanation seems to fit too neatly in with the IR theories of academia.  If the argument can be made that Saddam was engaged in a problem of credible commitments, then let’s examine this from a perspective that academia would probably be uncomfortable with.

From the American perspective, you have Saddam Hussein, who is running roughshod over US treaties, bragging about weapons capabilities, and basically being the largest belligerent on the world stage.  For a second, let us indulge in a reality in which President Bush did not authorize the invasion of Iraq and left it as-is, just as AP at HotAir proposed.

Fast-forward, 2005.  Iran is developing nuclear weapons.  Iraq is either claiming it already has or is currently developing nuclear weapons.  Does anyone think that the rational actors at the head of either of these countries is going to behave rationally with nuclear weapons?  And what about beforehand?  Imagine the race to nuclear strength that would have ensued between Iran and Iraq.  Wouldn’t the neighbors be worried?  Already the UAE and Saudi Arabia are pining for nuclear weapons.  Could the world stand an even more unstable India-Pakistan-esque standoff, just 15 years after the Iran-Iraq War?  Mind you, with a cabinet, DoD, and DoS steeped in Sovietology, the prospect of a Middle Eastern Cold War was likely, with two almost-equally-unlovable characters.  So, what choice did President Bush have to make?

Take out the worst of the two.

And that’s the decision that was made.

So perhaps the whole conflict can be deduced to a lack of communication.  Of course, according to James Fearon, that’s the main way that wars begin.

And the institution that’s supposed to prevent these wars from beginning, that’s supposed to facilitate communication, utterly failed.  The UN was as guilty as Saddam in this situation, as well as the war’s main detractors: France, Germany, and Russia. Had these institutions not been so corrupt, perhaps they could have prevented what happened.

And now, one day after US soldiers have withdrawn from Iraqi cities, it’s clear that the right decision was made.  In alternate 2009, there would not be a free Iraq, there would not be democratic uprisings in Iran, there would just be one country left barely standing, the other in smithereens, and a Middle East scarred by nuclear war.  But in actual 2009, we are in the current situation, a situation much-derided but starkly better in comparison.

And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.