Friday, February 29, 2008

Goodbye, Mr. Buckley, and Thank you.

I was 20 years old and in Vietnam when I first became acquainted with William F. Buckley. It was during a late night beer drinking session in the barracks, with a half dozen GI’s sitting around arguing politics when a fellow Airman asked me if I was familiar with National Review. I was not, and was only vaguely familiar with William F. Buckley. I had probably read his column, On The Right, which I seem to recall, was carried in our local Republican newspaper, but I did not know a lot about him. The next day, the fellow GI gave me my first copy of National Review. I did not know it at the time, but that was a momentous moment and impacted my life.

I grew up in a family that daily watched the evening TV news and read the daily newspaper. My parents always voted and took the responsibilities of citizenship seriously. The news of the day was discussed around the dinner table. My parents were intelligent and informed but neither were college graduates or what one would consider intellectuals. My parents were both Republicans and as I grew up, I essentially adopted their political outlook.

Most of my political education came from my father. His political opinions, other than from the daily newspaper, were formed by what we would now call the “Religious Right”. The Sword of the Lord, a publication of Bob Jones University that I am sure I would now see as narrow minded and perhaps even racist, was an early source of political information. When I was in about the 7th and 8th grade my Dad drove me to school each morning and we would listen on the radio to the Reverend Carl McIntire, a dissident Presbyterian ministry whose message was anti-National Council of Churches and anti-communist. As a little older teen, I discovered another member of the religious right, the Reverend Billy James Hargus and the Christian Crusade, whose “ministry” was also anti-communism and general promotion of the conservative agenda. My early political education came primarily from these religious-tinted conservative sources. Somewhere along the way, I also became acquainted with the John Birch Society.

About the time I was thirteen or fourteen, I discovered another political perspective when I read Atlas Shrugged, the famous novel by Ayn Rand. Rand was thought provoking and excited me and challenged some of the religious right opinion to which I was being exposed. So, I had influence from two extremes of the conservative spectrum, by the time I was fourteen or fifteen.

In the Presidential election of 1964, I became enthused by the Goldwater campaign and was disappointed when my conservative father decided Goldwater was too extreme and he had to vote for LBJ. Throughout that political campaign, I repeatedly tried to get my father to see what a mistake he was making and tried to get him to support Goldwater, to no avail. Those arguments with my father caused me to deepen my political knowledge as I sought support for my position.

So, when I was first handed that copy of National Review, I already had a large degree of political knowledge but with large gaps, and much of it coming from the fringe. In the pages of National Review I discovered the history of ideals and the foundations of western thought and was introduced to economic theory and political philosophy. I discovered critical thought and how to think in a logical manner. I came to discover how neither the extreme religious right nor the libertarians had a monopoly on the truth. I discovered that political ideas cannot always be expressed on a bumper sticker or what we now call “sound bytes.”

After reading my first issue of NR, I subscribed and for most of the next twenty-five years. I only discontinued reading, when my life got so busy, that I realized most of the issues were going unread. During those early years I read every issue cover to cover. National Review and Buckley kept me running to the dictionary looking up new words and Latin phrases. NR whetted my appetite to learn more and I read John Locke and Adam Smith and Edmund Burke and gained an acquaintance with the larger body of western thought. Just by the casual reverences to literary works and historical figures, I discovered there was so much I did not know, and I wanted to know more. Also, from the pages of National Review I read some of the greatest thinkers of the day such as Russell Kirk, Whitaker Chambers, Frank Meyer, and James Burnham.

In addition to NR, for many years I rarely missed an episode of Firing Line. There is very little television that can compare today. In the format of the current day, people do not have conversations about politics or ideas but they shout slogans at each other. Buckley believed passionately in his ideas, but on Firing Line, he and a guest, even one with whom he strongly disagreed, could quietly explain and discuss their positions without denigrating into name-calling. Unfortunately I have failed to be as dispassionate and polite in some of my political discourse, but I admired it in Buckley. On firing line, I leaned a lot from Buckley, but also from his many guest with opposing views.

I also loved Buckley’s stammering pattern of speech, and lifted eyebrow, and his wit and charm. I, or course, did not agree with Buckley on every issue. Buckley was a stanch Catholic and had a deep religious faith. Most of my adult life, I have had a difficult time reconciling faith and reason. On most issues however, I found that Buckley guided the development of my position or we had views that coincided.

Buckley gave me a thirst for knowledge. Coming from a humble working class background, a poor rural school district, and having parents neither of whom had an education beyond a high school GED, and having no roll models of professional and educated people, there was no expectation that I would go to college. Going to college was something other people did; it was never considered or encouraged. After having completing my military service and then working a few years, I started thinking that perhaps, I should take advantage of the GI bill and go to school. So, at the age of 25 or 26 I entered college. To my surprise, I leaned that my fear of college was unfounded, and I was a good student.

If I had had a teacher or parents or someone who instilled in me an expectation to go on to school, I am sure I would have done so much earlier. I think the thing that made me finally decide to take the plunge was reading National Review. At some point I realized that with every issue I was reading the writing of smart, knowledgeable, educated people, and I wanted to be educated. I owe Buckley not only for my political education but also for my desire to become educated.

With the passing of Buckley, I feel that an era has come to an end. Buckley resigned as editor of National Review some years ago, and was only seldom heard from in recent years. But, his death leaves me grieving for our country and for the conservative movement. The Cold war may very well have been the glue that held the conservative movement together and times do change. With the passing of Buckley, it seems like the last link between what was the conservative movement and the politics of today has been severed.

I loved Ronald Reagan, and highly respected and admired Milton Friedman, but their passing did not seem like the end of an era. Their passing did not seem so personal. The loss of Buckley seems much more profound than those. I wish there was another way to mark his passing. I would have liked to have attended a memorial service to mark the occasion of the passing of this great man.

Goodbye, Mr. Buckley, and thank you.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Williams F. Buckley Remembered

The Wall Street Journal pays tribute to William F. Buckley Jr in this video.

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For Some it Begins With Williams F. Buckley, Jr.

There are a pair of satirical memoirs of the libertarian movement by Jerome Tuccille, It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand and It Still Begins with Ayn Rand. For me, at least, it began with William F. Buckley, Jr. Buckley was, of course, considered conservative, not libertarian, but it was a distinction without a difference as could be seen, for example, in his 1995 statement to the New York Bar Association on the «War on Drugs»:

I have not spoken of the cost to our society of the astonishing legal weapons available ow to policemen and prosecutors; of the penalty of forfeiture of one's home and property for violation of laws which, though designed to advance the war against drugs, could legally be used -- I am told by learned counsel -- as penalties for the neglect of one's pets. I leave it at this, that it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs, except to minors.

Perhaps the greatest way Buckley's loss will be felt is in not having someone to make such an eloquent, conservative case against the excesses of wartime zeal in the current War on an Abstraction.

My Comment: The above is from fellow blogger "Tom Rants" and expresses my sentiment also. While Buckley is often portrayed, by those who are only casually acquainted with his body of work, as a stanch anti-communist, committed Catholic, and a traditionalist, Buckley's political philosophy also was generously sprinkled with libertarianism. He occasionally annoyed the more traditionalist wing of the movement by his more libertarian positions. In the 60's when the generation gap was at its peak and many conservatives were spending time fighting long hair and marijuana use rather than the ideas of the left, the mischievous Buckley admitted that he had smoked marijuana. He said he sailed out beyond the three mile territorial waters of the US to do so however, in order avoid violation of American law. Buckley could make light of marijuana use and advocate decriminalization of marijuana and still hold the various strains of the movement together. Buckley was able to hold the economic free-marketeers, religious and cultural traditionalist, and libertarians in a coalitions and make the movement a coherent whole. He defined was was modern conservatism.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82


By DOUGLAS MARTIN
February 27, 2008, The New York Times (link)

William F. Buckley Jr., who marshaled polysyllabic exuberance, famously arched eyebrows and a refined, perspicacious mind to elevate conservatism to the center of American political discourse, died Wednesday at his home in Stamford, Conn.

Mr Buckley, 82, suffered from diabetes and emphysema, his son Christopher said, although the exact cause of death was not immediately known. He was found at his desk in the study of his home, his son said. “He might have been working on a column,” Mr. Buckley said.
Mr. Buckley’s winningly capricious personality, replete with ten-dollar words and a darting tongue writers loved to compare with an anteater’s, hosted one of television’s longest-running programs, “Firing Line,” and founded and shepherded the influential conservative magazine, “National Review.”

He also found time to write at least 55 books, ranging from sailing odysseys to spy novels to celebrations of his own dashing daily life, and to edit five more. His political novel “The Rake” was published last August, and a book looking back at the National Review’s history in November; a personal memoir of Barry Goldwater is due to be publication in April, and Mr. Buckley was working on a similar book about Ronald Reagan for release in the fall.
The more than 4.5 million words of his 5,600 biweekly newspaper columns, “On the Right,” would fill 45 more medium-sized books.

Mr. Buckley’s greatest achievement was making conservatism — not just electoral Republicanism, but conservatism as a system of ideas — respectable in liberal post-World War II America. He mobilized the young enthusiasts who helped nominate Barry Goldwater in 1964, and saw his dreams fulfilled when Reagan and the Bushes captured the Oval Office.

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William F. Buckley, RIP


I just now heard on the radio that William F. Buckley passed away. Buckley was one of my heroes. In the late 50's and early 60's Buckley essentially founded the modern conservative movement and made conservatism respectable. He pulled together the coalition of libertarians, anti-communist, and conservatives of various strips into a coherent movement. He provided a home for the intellectual conservative. Some of the greatest political minds of the 20th century worked for National Review, the magazine founded by Buckley. His influence is hard to underestimate. In the books he wrote, on his long-running television program Firing Line, in the pages of National Review, and in his syndicated columns he analyzed the current events and the news developments of the day, and spread the ideas that define modern conservatism. Much of the credit for the West developing the ideas necessary and the will power essential to countering and defeating Communism must go to Buckley. The passing of William F. Buckley is the end of an era. I mourn his passing. He will be missed.

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Bush might be right on Iran,

but then who will believe him?
The Tennessean, Friday, 11/02/07

The Bush administration has two major obstacles to overcome in dealing with an increasingly dangerous-looking Iran. The first is Iran's nuclear ambitions. The second is the Bush administration's own lack of credibility, from the way it handled Iraq.
To continue reading: Bush Might …

My Commentary
This editorial nailed it. We have a dilemma. It seems clear that Iran is a threat to world peace. It is clear that Iran is pursuing a nuclear program that they claim it is for peaceful purposes, but which few believe. The Iranian President has called for wiping Israel off the face of the map. We cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

However, after the Bush history of lies and manipulations that led to war in Iraq and the mess created by that adventure, who can trust Bush’s leadership, integrity, or wisdom?

On the other hand, the moral of the story of The Boy who Cried Wolf is not that there is never a wolf. What if Bush is exactly right about Iran? If Iran is on the verge of getting nuclear weapons, we don’t want to wait until they have nuclear weapons before we decide to take action.

A few months ago, William F. Buckley, announced his split with Bush and argued against a preemptive air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. "If we find there is a warhead there that is poised, the range of it is tested, then we have no alternative,” said Buckley. “ But pending that, we have to ask ourselves, 'What would the Iranian population do?'"

I would not be surprised if we wake up some morning soon to find that we have bombed Iran. I hope not. At some point, that may be necessary. But I will not believe it is necessary if done by this administration. I will be distrustful of any pre-emptive strike by this administration, unless they can prove it meets the Buckley test.

The intelligence community says Iran is about five years away from having a nuclear weapon. Again however, how can we trust the intelligence community, since they got is so wrong on Iraq? If we can assume the intelligence is right, then there is time to wait. I hope the intelligence estimate is right and Bush will leave Iran for the next administration to deal with.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Land Deal Protects Cave with Ancient Drawings

Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation buys 385-acre site south of Crossville

By ANNE PAINE Staff Writer The Tennessean (link)

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. — The green, 385-acre Devilstep Hollow has guarded a secret since prehistoric times. A cave lies underground with bird-man creatures and other mysterious images carved into the limestone or painted on the walls.

This is one of only about 60 cave art sites documented in the Southeast, and 48 in Tennessee, according to Jan Simek, distinguished professor of science and interim chancellor of the University of Tennessee.

The Devilstep cave art should survive modern times because the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation has acquired the land, and the state is buying it at cost, about $2.1 million, including surveying and fees. This will protect the natural area and spring that helps form the Sequatchie River, but the cave is its most unusual feature.

My Comment: Last summer I spent a weekend at Devilstep hollow. The site being protected is a beautiful lush green valley and the mouth of a cold mountain stream flowing out of a cave. The site is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Thanks to the work of the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation this archaeological treasure and this beautiful spot of God's good earth is being protected for future generations. Kathleen Williams, the Executive Director of the foundation is my sister. I am proud of the work she is doing to protect the waterfalls, wilderness, and scenic vistas of Tennessee.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

Illegal Immigrants Can Get Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, Car Loans, and Mortgages!

Many Americans are outraged to discover than illegal immigrants can get credit cards, bank accounts, car loans and mortgages. Perhaps opponents of illegal immigration deplore bank accounts and mortgages for undocumented people because they see it as aiding and abetting criminals. It is not now, nor has it ever been, a crime to sell goods or services to foreigners. Is not food more important to survival than bank accounts? If providing financial services to illegal immigrants is aiding and abetting illegal immigration this is not selling groceries to illegal immigrants also aiding and abetting criminals? Why are financial services different?

Nashville conservative talk-radio host Phil Valentine’s radio program has commercial sponsors. I wonder if any of those sponsors ever sell products to illegal immigrants? If they do, then we can blame Phil Valentine for facilitating illegal immigration.

When immigrants get bank accounts or home loans, it is not the American taxpayers who are providing these services or financing these loans, but commercial for-profit companies. Just because banks have names such as “First American”, or “US Bank”, or “First National” does not mean they are part of the government. Banks are non-government entities and it is not their job to enforce immigration laws. It is their job to make a profit. Many of the same conservatives who object to the Federal Government loading down American businesses with burdensome regulations, advocate that businesses be required to enforce immigration laws and be able to prove they are not doing business with undocumented persons.

Financial institutions provide services to illegal immigrants because it is good business. To qualify for most of these financial services, the undocumented applicant cannot have spotty job histories, poor credit or no credit, nor can they have been working “off the books.” First of all, they must have their ‘illegal immigrant id card’ known as a matrícula consular, which is an Id card issued by the local Mexican Consulate. They must then have a W-7, which is also know as an individual tax identification number (ITIN). The ITIN allows the illegal immigrant to pay federal income taxes. If we are not going to allow them to take out loans because that somehow facilitates their illegal immigration, should we not also refuse to accept their tax payments for the same reason? The IRS had issued approximately 9 million of these ITIN’s.

With the proper Id and credit, illegal immigrants can buy health insurance, set up checking accounts, check out library books and make monthly payments on big screen TVs, sign up for phone and cable TV service, and get car loans and mortgages. When they start doing these things, they will be spending more money in America and sending less money home. And, they will be putting down roots.

Perhaps it is putting down of roots that really bothers people. As long as the immigrants were renting and living “off the book” in the underground economy, and had to turn to predatory lenders for financial services they did not seem like our neighbors and part of our community; they were transient and we thought they would move on.

When immigrants purchase homes, establish churches, finance cars, and when their American born children start playing football at the local high school it will be harder to uproot the foreigners among us. When your neighbor who picked up your newspaper when your are out of town and who helped you start your car on that cold morning when it would not start, is suddenly threatened with deportation, you may soften the “no amnesty” rhetoric. It is hard to hate your neighbor when your know him and he becomes more like you. Maybe that is the reason immigration opponents are outraged to discover that illegal immigrants can open bank accounts.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Foreigners are Buying Property in America!

Internet chatters and local and national pundits are discovering that foreigners are purchasing homes in America and they are expressing surprise and outrage. They are not happy.

It has never been a requirement that one had to be an American citizen to own property in America; one does not even have to be a resident of America. If residency is not even a requirement for owning property, then why are people so concerned about the residency status of those who are purchasing homes?

Ever since we have been a nation, foreigners have owned property in this country. Foreigners own stock in corporations that own timberland, manufacturing plants, shopping centers and office buildings. Some of those corporations have majority foreign investors, or the American corporation may be owned by a foreign corporation.

Chrysler has changed hands again, but for a while it was owned by a German firm and Chrysler was renamed DaimlerChrysler. A few years ago a Japanese company, the Mitsubishi Group, purchased the entire 22 acres Rockefeller Center complex in midtown Manhattan, the home of Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Plaza, and NBC.

Nissan has an auto plant in Smyrna Tennessee, a town in the county next door to Nashville. Tennessee sought the plant and Nissan's investment has been and economic boon to the region.

Wealthy foreigners own condos in New York City, Miami Beach, Vail Colorado and elsewhere throughout America. The less wealthy foreigners may own vacation time-shares in Gatlinburg or Gulf Shores.

Not only do foreigners own property in American but Americans also own property in other countries throughout the world. Many wealthy Americans have condos on the French Riviera or vacation homes in the Caribbean. Over one million Americans own property in Mexico. As the baby boomers reach retirement age, many are discovering their retirement income goes a lot further in Mexico and they can enjoy a better lifestyle south of the border. They are moving there in droves.

American companies own or have ownership interest in vineyards, banana plantations, manufacturing plants, utility companies, and land holdings throughout the world. Prior to it being nationalized, Americans owned a large chuck of the real estate in Cuba. American Telephone and Telegraph at one time had large holding in many countries of the world. Many developing countries seek and welcome this foreign investment. If you have an IRA invested in a Mutual Fund, you may have an ownership interest in a foreign corporations with real estate holdings.

Do the same people who object to foreign ownership of American properties object to American ownership in foreign countries?

I am not at all concerned that foreigners can own American property and I am glad Americans can own real estate in other countries. To my way of thinking, this is a good thing. A more integrated world is a less dangerous world. Ask yourself, “Do you think the Japanese would have been as likely to have bombed Hawaii, if they would have had the same level of investment in Hawaii prior to Pearl Harbor as they have now?”

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Illegal Immigrants are a Good Mortgage Risk

In a recent Tennessean article, columnist Phil Valentine speculated that the reason we are experiencing a mortgage crisis is because illegal immigrants are getting home mortgages. His basis for this was that several of the nation's leading mortgage companies that are participating in Project Lifeline make mortgages to illegal immigrants. Project Lifeline is a program that will allow people facing a mortgage foreclosure and an additional 30 days to try to work out a plan to avoid foreclosure.

Mr. Valentine’s speculation is contrary to fact. In actuality illegal immigrants are a good mortgage risk. The type of mortgages that illegal immigrant get is called an ITIN mortgage. To qualify, the applicant must have a form of identification known as a matrícula consular, which is an Id card issued by the local Mexican Consulate. (You may want to think of this as their “Illegal Alien” id card.) They must also have a W-7, which is also know as an individual tax identification number (ITIN), insured by the IRS. The ITIN allows the illegal immigrant to pay federal income taxes.

They must have two years income tax returns, two years work history, and a bank account. Their income must be verifiable and stable. They must also have two year history of non-traditional credit which must include two years rent history and three other sources of credit which may be bills they have paid on time such as utility bills or cable TV, or some others monthly bill. This is more documentation and a more stringent standard than is required on lots of other alternative type mortgage products.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, ITIN mortgages have a delinquency rate of about 0.5%. That compares with 1% for prime mortgages and 9.3% for subprime mortgages extended to those with spotty credit histories.

Before we jump to conclusion and blame society’s woes on illegal immigrants we should get our facts correct. Mr. Valentine will not let facts get in the way of a good opinion.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Peace Sign Turns 50

The Peace sign turns 50 today, but don't expect me to celebrate. If some deranged Vietnam vet beats the hell out of someone who is celebrating the peace sign turning 50, I might celebrate. Actually that is a little harsh. I'm actually a peace-loving guy myself and don't celebrate violence. However, if some deranged Viet vet did beat up some peace-sign-wearing dude, I would see a certain poetic justice in the act. But really, I don't want to see neo-Nazi or peaceniks get beat up, not one more than the other. In a free country both have the right to express themselves.

I know not everyone who wears a peace sign is an evil person, many just think it is "cool". To many it is just generally associated with the fun of getting stoned and creative music and 'going to San Francisco and wearing a flower in your hair.' Flower Power! Groovy! Peace! Far out! Cool! Many people have no concept of the context of the Peace sign, and it is just a fashion statement. To some, it has no more meaning than the 60's era smiley face. To some it is just a nostalgic relic of the past.

To me however, it is a symbol of those who won the Vietnam war on behalf of the Viet Cong. It represents those who gave aid and comfort and encouragement to our enemy. It is the banner that prolonged the war and caused more death and destruction. When I see the Peace sign I think of those who marched and chanted "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh" and burned American flags and spit on returning vets. It is the symbol of those who hated America and allied with our enemies. It represents the worst of my generation.

The Vietnam war was not won by the Communist in the jungles of Vietnam but was won by the "Peace" activist on the college campuses and the streets of America and the peace sign was the banner under which they marched. Those who marched under that banner can take credit for millions of deaths at the hands of the Communist, for many millions more who were enslaved and for prolonging the cold war for an extra thirty years. The Peace sign represents to me those in the Communist fifth column who stabbed us in the back. If you want to offend me, the Nazi swastika, the Communist hammer and sickle, "KKK", and the Peace sign are all symbols that will do the trick.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Are Illegal Immigrants Causing the Mortgage Crisis?

In the Middle Ages, people used to blame plagues and crop failures on witches; now, many Americans blame everything from crime to unemployment on illegal aliens. Nashville’s own Rush-Limbaugh-Want-a-Be, Phil Valentine, makes the absurd assertion that the subprime mortgage crisis is a result of mortgage companies making mortgage loans to Illegal immigrants. (See: Stop Bank's catering to ….. ) He makes this leap in logic because the participating lenders in Project Lifeline make loans to illegal immigrants.

Project Lifeline is a program that will allow people facing a mortgage foreclosure an additional 30 days to try to work out a plan to avoid foreclosure. While it is true that several of the mortgage companies involved in Project Lifeline do make loans to illegal immigrants, these are the largest mortgage companies in the nation and they make loans to everyone. Only a very small fraction of their loans are made to illegal immigrants. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest the sub prime crisis is a result of loans made to illegals. Mr. Valentine offers no evidence to support his conclusion.

One has to be cautious in making leaps in logic like the one that Mr. Valentine made. These same mortgage companies also make loans to red headed people and people with the last name of “Valentine.” Valentine not only does not offer proof, he does not even show a correlation.

People who carry cigarette lighter have a higher incident of lung cancer. That is a correlation, but even that does not show cause and effect.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

U.N. says waterboarding should be prosecuted as torture

Fri Feb 8, 2008 11:04pm GMT
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The controversial interrogation technique known as waterboarding and used by the United States qualifies as torture, the U.N. human rights chief said on Friday.

"I would have no problems with describing this practice as falling under the prohibition of torture," the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, told a news conference in Mexico City. (To continue: UN says... )

Comment: The United States should not be an outlaw nation. We should stop denying that waterboarding is torture, we should disavow the practice, and we should declare that from now on the United States will not engage in the practice. We should also declare that we will not practice torture by proxy by sending prisoner to friendly countries so they can be tortured. John McCain has unequivocally called the practice of waterboarding torture. I assume the Democratic nominees for President also condemn the practice. Whoever is the next President will likely prohibit it. President Bush should act now and not wait until the next election to restore America's honor.

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Anybody But McCain


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Thursday, February 14, 2008

A reply to, "Am I Still a Conservative?"

No. You have moved to left. Please allow me to address some of the issues below.

Global Warming.
Global warming does exist. What does not exist is man-made global warming. One good volcano eruption release more of these nasty substances blamed for global warming than the internal combustion engine has since its invention. There is also global warming on Mars, you see. There are no SUV's or factories there. What's causing Mars to warm? The very same thing that is causing the Earth to warm. It's the Sun. However, global warming and cooling are cyclical. The warmest decade in the last century was the 1930's.

Iraq.
I have more than 4 pages of links regarding this. There are links to Saddam Hussein and 9/11, though the MSM does not discuss them. There are also links to Saddam Hussein and the Oklahoma City bombing. There are links to Al Qaeda and Oklahoma City as well. And there are links between Hussein and Al Qaeda. There were also WMD discovered in Iraq, as well as proof that much of them were spirited to Syria while we were fiddling around at the UN. I disagree with the way the war has been fought, but Saddam Hussein had to be stopped.

Welfare Reform
Please don't give Clinton any credit for this. He vetoed it twice. It was only when the Republicans in Congress had enough for a veto-override that Clinton signed it, and that is why he signed it.

Free Trade
You, of course, understand the difference between "free" and "fair"? That's one of the problems with NAFTA, CAFTA, etc., that while they're allegedly free, they place the US at a disadvantage. Another big problem with them is that they are the groundwork, the foundation, if you will, for the NAU. Both NAFTA and CAFTA also surrender a bit of national sovereignty, which is another problem. I believe vehemently in free trade if it's fair to the US, but I vehemently oppose NAFTA, CAFTA, LOST, the NAU and a host of other agreements the US has entered into because they surrender American sovereignty and I have a real problem with that.

Immigration
Legal, okay. Not illegal. What you fail to see is that we no longer have a problem with illegal immigration; we have a problem with invasion. And, as we've discussed, disincentives will solve the problem. It's only common sense not to reward illegal behavior. And, the efforts to grant amnesty while leaving the borders open is all part of the NAU/globalism agenda.

Homosexuality
I don't know how old you are, but when I was young, if you called someone "queer," which was the term de jour for homosexuals, you'd better be prepared to physically defend yourself as it was just about the worst thing you could call someone. It was also on the list of psychiatric problems.The same group who successfully had homosexuality removed, who worked to have it "normalized" is now trying to do the same thing with pedophilia. So, you see, it's a societal trend. One you'd have a greater understanding of if you read Karl Marx's manifesto.

Posted by"Anne" in a yahoo chat group.

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Another reply to "Am I Still a Conservative?"

Rod:


Finally, a point of view with balance and thoughtfulness. I have embraced these points of view you have expressed for many, many years now. Only to be ridiculed by the more extremist elements of our party. Elements who call themselves "conservatives”, but are anything but conservative. President Bush is the leader of this splinter group and have plunged our country into a economic nightmare. These extremist, who hate everything and everyone who has an opposing view, have been very arrogant in their approaches to issues in our country. However I still have stuck to my guns and will as long as my blood is flowing in my body.


Extremism in any political or religious setting is just plain wrong by the virtue of the "exclusivity" extremism espouses. This tactic just leaves out too many, and there begins the downfall of it all. One recent example..... Shia turning against Al-Qaeda in Iraq.


Ronald Reagan as influential and controversial as he is, was not an extremist, at least not by today's standards. I would venture to say that by today's standards, he was sort of moderate.


I tend to agree with most of what you wrote, and there are times I also ask myself, Am I still a conservative? I believe that I am. Like your self I subscribe to conservative publications and have given money and support to conservative causes. I have had the opportunity to spend time with Ronald Reagan. One of the most proud moments in my life, next to the birth of my children.


However, I do believe in being reasonable with people who are reasonable. I may not agree with everything that our party stands for, but I do not agree with everything that the Democrats stand for either. I tend to agree with you that sometimes a blend of both conservative and liberal approaches can sometimes reach the best conclusions. It can never be "Our way or the Hi-Way" sort of mentality. This more that often never works out right. Usually the truth is somewhere in the middle. Fortunately or unfortunately, we live with other humans who have a different point of view. And, differing points of view should at the very least be considered, even if they are dull and ignorant. This does not mean adoption of ignorant or arrogant concepts.


I believe that the liberals will win the White House in the coming elections. Over all, I do not see that as a good scenario. However, the conservatives only have themselves to blame. We had gone too far with our right wing ideology and taking certain topics to the extreme.


I find it oxymoronic that the conservative view of Global warming is so far off base from what appears to be the dawning of this reality. The true conservative view is the preservation of life takes precedence.. .. RIGHT? And yet, when it comes to the preservation of life on a global scale, "conservatives" fall far behind grasping the concept that this could be a real planet threatening situation. Let's suppose that the environmentalists are just wrong. The question I have always posed is what would be wrong with trying to slow down the pollution of the only planet we have? Preserving life on the planet. What kind of future world are we going to leave for our children's children's children? Shall we neglect this issue in lieu of the green back? For corporate profits? If the world is getting warmer, there will be no-one here to be able to purchase the goods and services of the future. I see no conflict with true conservatism agreeing with the precepts of global warming.

I see no conflict with looking for better solutions to the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars. I agreed that Saddam should have been removed at first. However, it does appear that we got there under some false information. Yes we should stay there until the job is finished, even if it takes 100 years. I would add though that it appears that removing Saddam caused a lot of blood-letting between the different religious factions. These factions were under control during Saddam's rule.

Thanks for your thoughts; I often thought I was the only one thinking this way. Nice to know I have a brethren.


Raul in Los Angeles.
Posted by: "Raul Estravit." Posted in a Yahoo chat group.

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More replies to "Am I Still a Conservative"

Hi Rod!
Although I disagree with you on some of your specific positions, I do agree that your views are conservative in the William F. Buckley tradition and, that at this point, you are a man without a party.I'd say you're still a conservative, but the GOP has no real conservative wing.
Greg



Rod,
You are right, the political spectrum has shifted beneath our feet. The Marxists/socialists have infected the Dems and dragged them way over to the left, if you were in the center you are now to the right.


Global warming. If you have any science at all you can say, at most, that humans might contribute. If you are convinced that humans contribute you should focus on the cause: too many people (3rd world), too many polluters (China, India, Indonisia, ect.). Get the HATE America bunch to direct their energy there.

If you don't like Iraq I don't blame you. We however should put some of the blame where it should be. The Clintons and liberals put no effort into security and if they had the twin towers would still be standing and we wouldn't be in Iraq.


Most of the policies of the republicans that you don't like are caused by the infection of socialism and it's symptoms. Work against that. It's been easy to let things get out of hand, the fix will be difficult.

Posted by Tim

Rod,
I'm in agreement with many of your points, though not all. I too feel marginalized in the GOP by the same crowd. But it isn't that we've moved to the center; the party has moved to the Far Right. That's why I think both McCain and Paul are bringing it back it what conservatism really stands for.
Posted by: "ERIC

Rod,
You haven't moved to the center, you moved to the far left.The Republican Party hasn't changed since Lincoln.
Posted by: "DJ Entropy"

Rod,
Believing in Global Warming is not Conservative, and is not American- it is buying into a wild unproven and unprovable theory that has 20,000 scientists say is NOT happening and that they do NOT go along with the wild theory or its potential outcome(s).. Global warming is a scare tactic, nothing more
Posted by nealgbrown

Rod,
My hero, Reagan said the party is a "BIG TENT" so you are welcome in it. I too don't always agree w/ the party, but the DEMS. just flat scare me.
Be well,
Rob. B.


NO
Posted by: "Garth J"

I'd say you're still a conservative, but the GOP has no real conservative wing.
Posted by: "bowman"

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Little Comic Relief: Bush on Global Warming

This is a very funny! This kid deserves an Oscar.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kamikaze Republicans

Kathleen Parker: The Audacity of Compromise
Monday, February 11, 2008

Kamikaze Republicans — those who say they'll never vote for John McCain because he isn't conservative enough — may get what they deserve. The Clintons.

Many on the right, including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, James Dobson and others, have declared they'd rather vote for Hillary Clinton — or not vote at all — than cast a ballot for McCain. These self-appointed spokesmen for conservatism insist that voting for Clinton is a matter of principle: Better to go down on the strength of one's convictions than to be a morally compromised placeholder, they say.

To be sure, political cannibalism makes for interesting dinner conversation, but the winner eventually starves to death.

It isn't necessary to love everything McCain has done to vote for him should he be the nominee. But it isn't possible to argue that there's no difference between McCain and Clinton (or Barack Obama), as some Republicans insist. Link

Comment: I don't know if Kathleen Parker was the first to coin the term "Kamikaze Republicans" but it the first time I have heard it used. I like that. That term describes well those who would prefer to lose to Hillary rather than vote for McCain. Parker offers an insight into the "irrational conservatism" that champions that view and explains why some on the right so detest John McCain.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Am I Still a Conservative?

In today’s political climate, I find myself unable to identify with the “conservative” wing of the Republican Party. What passes for conservative is a collection of neoconservative foreign policy adventurers, holy rollers, and right wing populist who advocate the politics of resentment and envy.

I have always considered myself a conservative. I have not just been a casual Republican, but felt myself part of the conservative movement. I have the credentials. I subscribed to National Review for over twenty years. I read the journals and the books. I have belonged to dozens of conservative organizations. I wrote a conservative column for my college newspaper. I was chairman of a Young Americans for Freedom chapter. I admired and loved Ronald Reagan and had his picture on my wall for years. I have contributed money to candidates, causes, and the party, and have worked the polls and the phone banks. I have even shaken hands with Jesse Helms and Spiro Agnew.

In recent years, I have moved to the center, but I really don’t feel like I’ve moved at all, but that the political spectrum has shifted beneath my feet.

I believe global warming is real and we should do something about it. I don’t think that that is any more of a liberal position than believing the world is round is a liberal position. I believe we must use market mechanism such as a carbon tax or a system of cap and trade if we are going to accomplish any curtailment of global warming. To deny the science and assume nothing needs to be done should not be a measure of one’s conservatism.

I do not believe we should trade our freedom for security but believe we can have both. I do not believe it is a measure of conservatism to advocate the use of torture.

I believe we need to be rational regarding immigration policy. You cannot humanely round up and deport 16 million people. We need immigration reform similar to that proposed by President Bush and Senator John McCain.

I think we were misled into an unnecessary war in Iraq. Now that we are in it however, I think we must stabilize the region before we can withdraw. To withdraw prematurely would be as equally foolish as the original invasion. I do not see any continuity between the defense policies that led to victory in the cold war and the Neocon policies that led us into Iraq. I would not define conservatism by one’s support for the invasion of Iraq.

I oppose gay marriage but personally am tolerant of homosexuals and don’t really care what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom. I see no need to amend the Constitution to define marriage.

I oppose abortion and hope that eventually a conservative Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade or so weakens it that its impact is greatly restricted. I think it is foolish and a waste of time to attempt to amend the constitution to define life as beginning at conception. This issue needs to gradually be returned to the political arena of each state. I believe in federalism and do not think every state has to have the same policy.

I support the second Amendment, but think guns in bars and guns in the hands of lunatics is a bad idea.

I support smaller government so I generally support tax cuts but I do not automatically think every tax cut is wise. At some point, the next tax cut could result in less revenue, not more. Some tax cuts need to be matched by spending cuts or they do not need to occur. Tax policy is economics, not religion.

I disagree with many Republican on these issue and in today’s political climate some of those Republicans would therefore classify me as a liberal. In many areas however, I think I am much more conservative than those who define conservatism today. I am often critical of the Republicans for their failure to be conservative enough.

A Republican President and Republican Congress that allow runaway pork barrel spending and special earmarks are not conservative. In a divided government, Republicans would have opposed this runaway, out of control spending.

I believe deficits matter. The Republican Party used to be the party that railed against deficits. When Bush came to office the country had a budget surplus; by the time Bush leaves office we will have a deficit approaching $413 billion. To run up huge deficits as if they do not matter is not conservative.

Welfare reform was one of the conservative victories of the last century and it happened under a Democratic president and a Republican Congress. Republicans should have continued welfare reform and other measures to dismantle the Great Society and the destruction it has brought to the Black community. Changing the culture of Black poverty and despair should be a “conservative” cause. I do not advocate programs that subsidize and perpetuate poverty, but we need to put in place programs that can help break the cycle of poverty. We need more Jack Kemps in the Republican Party of today. Ending welfare should be a conservative value.

Free Trade is a Conservative principle. It is not conservative to demonize multinational corporations, Chinese imports, NAFTA, and immigration.

Republicans have not done enough to advocate market solutions to the health care problem. For starters, we need to divorce health insurance from employment, we need to institute health savings accounts, and find other innovative market solutions to lower health care cost expand health care coverage. Conservatives have to do more than simply deny we do have a problem. Advocating for the status quo and simply proclaiming we have the best health care system in the world will insure the adoption of “liberal” solutions.

I also do not believe that every issue neatly fits a “liberal” or “conservative” pigeonhole. Potholes aren’t “Republican” or “Democratic”. Many problems may need a pragmatic solution that may be a little liberal and a little conservative nor neither. By trial and error we sometime need to find out what works and go with that. We actually have very few true socialist or libertarians in America and most of us are somewhere in the middle. We should not be afraid to engage those who wear a different political label, and political pundits and activist should not demonize those who may have a slightly different opinion than their own.

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Crazy People Should Not be Allowed to Purchase Guns.

More Mentally Ill Barred from Guy Buying
USA Today
WASHINGTON (AP)
— A federal list of mentally ill people barred from buying guns has doubled in size since the Virginia Tech shootings, and U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey encouraged more states Thursday to add information to the database.

In his first policy speech since taking over as attorney general early this month, Mukasey said stepped up reporting by states has added information about 393,957 mentally ill people to the federal database used to screen the backgrounds of potential gun-buyers. In July, three months after the Virginia Tech shootings, the database had 174,863 names.

"Instant background checks are essential to keeping guns out of the wrong hands, while still protecting the privacy of our citizens," Mukasey said. Link

Gun Play
Bredesen blasé about lunatics buying firear
ms
by Jeff Woods

The annual low comedy that is the Tennessee legislature is well under way, and the shenanigans again this year include bills letting supposedly law-abiding citizens carry pistols into saloons, state parks and all sorts of other new places. The Second Amendment is paramount at the Capitol, which behaves like an adjunct of the National Rifle Association. No one mentions the inconvenient truth that any of these thousands of Tennesseans exercising their right to go strapped could have been wearing a straitjacket in a mental institution a few hours earlier.

Yes, even lunatics apparently have the right to buy firearms in Tennessee. Almost 10 months after the massacre at Virginia Tech, where the young killer could buy guns even though he had been found mentally unsound, no action has been taken in Tennessee to prevent such a tragedy here. Link

Folsom Prison Blues
By Johnny Cash

When I was just a baby my mama told me. Son,
always be a good boy, don´t ever play with guns.
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
now every time I hear that whistle I hang my head and cry..

Comment: Crazy people should not be allowed to purchase guns.


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Friday, February 8, 2008

Why They Hate John McCain

It appears that John McCain has the Republican nomination all but locked up and will almost certainly be the Republican nominee, yet it seems that John McCain is disliked more by some members of his own party than he is by Democrats.

Those on the outrageous and righteous right loath John McCain. Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Glen Beck, Sean Hanity, Michael Savage, Rev. James Dobson, Laura Ingraham, and a host of Internet bloggers and chatters seem to try to out do each other in proclaiming their contempt for John McCain. Many would prefer a Hillary Clinton or Obama victory to a McCain win.

Rush Limbaugh said, “If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, Obama or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit rather than a Republican causing the debacle. And, I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative."

Ann Coulter has said she will campaign and vote for Hillary Clinton if John McCain is the nominee.

Reverent James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said, “I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances.” He sited a statement McCain made that appeared tolerant of gay marriage and the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance reform legislation as the reason for his dislike of McCain. "Values Voters are not going to carry the water for the Republican Party if it ignores their deeply held convictions and beliefs," he said.

The basis for this extreme dislike for John McCain is varied but boils down to a claim that McCain is a liberal. With a rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action of only 15%, and a lifetime rating from the conservative American Conservative Union of 83%, it is hard to support the contention that McCain is a liberal. In any objective look at voting patterns, McCain stacks up with the icons of the conservative movement.

The Dobson argument is that McCain is weak on the values issue. Others are angry because he did not support the initial Bush tax cuts although McCain has said he would oppose their repeal. Others site McCain’s efforts as a leader of the “Gang of fourteen” that negotiated a conciliatory compromise on a parliamentary procedure in the Senate. The result of that effort benefited Republicans in getting conservative judicial nominees approved by the Senate, yet some seem angry that McCain found a congenial compromise rather than ramming the will of the Republican majority down the throat of the Democratic minority. Others are mad because McCain does not think the US should engage in torture of prisoners of war.

Despite these issues however, the two overwhelming issues that make the right livid is that John McCain disagrees them on immigration reform and global warming. On global warming, John McCain accepts the prevailing science about global warming and he supports a policy of cap and trade that would do something about it.

On immigration, McCain does not think we can round up and deport 16 million people. He supports a humane immigration reform policy similar to that proposed by President Bush that many have wrongly characterized as “amnesty.” In fact, the legislation proposed by McCain would actually increase the penalty for those who illegally entered the United States and it would establish a way for illegal immigrants to come out of hiding, register as guest workers, pay a penalty, and earn the right to apply for citizenship if they desired to do so. For these two rational pragmatic policy positions he is reviled.



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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bob Dole to Rush Limbaugh: Lay off McCain.

Below is the text of an open letter former Republican presidential candidate, Senate Republican Majority Leader and long-time Kansas Senator Bob Dole sent to radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. I appreciate Bob Dole for speaking out. It is time someone with good Republican credentials publicly stood up to that blowhard windbag Rush Limbaugh. Rush does not speak for all Republicans and no one gave him the authority to define who is and who is not a conservative.

I am disgusted by the attempt of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the Internet bloggers and chatters who are demonizing John McCain. They want to narrowly redefine what is “conservatism” and want everyone to march in lockstep to a narrow agenda. I doubt Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, or William F. Buckley could pass their purity test.

Like Bob Dole, I do not always agree will the policy positions of John McCain, but John McCain is an honorable man and has served his country, party, and the conservative movement well. He has a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 82.3%; hardly a liberal. We need to be trying to mend the splintered Republican coalition and not reading people out of the party. Thank you Bob Dole for coming to the defense of John McCain and standing up to Rush Limbaugh.


Rush,

I have not seen you in a long time but I do hear you frequently and I know that you have serious reservations about Senator McCain. Not that many care but I have not been involved in the Republican Primary contest because Elizabeth, a good conservative, is running for reelection in North Carolina where Romney, McCain and Huckabee each enjoy considerable support.

I was the Republican Leader from January 1985 until I left the Senate voluntarily in June 1996. I worked closely with Senator McCain when he came to the Senate in 1987 until I departed. I cannot recall a single instance when he did not support the Party on critical votes.
(At my age, I cannot be entirely certain but here are a few key conservative examples:)
1. Consistent pro-life record
2. Strong advocate for strict constructionist judges (We were misled on the Souter nomination)
3. Supported voluntary school prayer
4. Supported Constitutional Amendment for a Balanced Budget (needed two-thirds and lost by one vote - 66-34)
5. Strong advocate for reducing spending and opposing pork barrel “ear marks” which has, I might add, angered some of his colleagues
6. Consistent on defending Second Amendment rights
7. Opposed “Hillary Care” which would have been devastating
8. Probably the Senate’s strongest advocate for strong national defense

Of course he has cast many votes since I left. I totally disagreed with the McCain-Feingold legislation. On immigration, Senator McCain was not in the Senate when Congress passed President Reagan’s immigration legislation which passed overwhelmingly. It granted amnesty to 2.7 million illegals. It was not much different than the 2007 McCain, Kennedy, Bush effort.

I disagree with his votes against the Bush tax cuts but I believe his pledge to make them permanent and I do not agree that Governor Romney ever suggested a timetable for troop withdrawals in Iraq.

McCain is a friend and I proudly wore his P.O.W. bracelet bearing his name while he was still a guest at the “Hanoi Hilton.” I believe our major candidates are mainstream conservatives and that our nominee will address our concerns by keeping taxes low, reducing corporate taxes, protecting and assisting the vulnerable, strengthening our traditional values, and above all, keeping America strong militarily, whatever the cost.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination will need your enthusiastic support. Two terms for the Clintons are enough.

Gob Bless America,
BOB DOLE

P.S. Rush, I just came across a document from the Senate Library which shows Presidential Support scores. Let me give you ratings for “Mr. Conservative” Senator Helms through 2002 (Helms retired in January 2003) and Senator McCain through 2004.

[To see the year by year data, click here: " Bob Dole" . The evidence is clear that John McCain's record stacks up well against that of Senator Helms, the senator often regarded as the most conservative man in the Senate. Rod]


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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fred, Why Did You Not Say It?

I was disappointed to see that the Fred Thompson presidential campaign never caught fire and that Thompson withdrew from the race. Fred was criticized for never having the drive and zeal necessary to win the nomination. I see a paradox in that I think that anyone who wants the job bad enough to do the things necessary to get it, may not be worthy enough to deserve it.

I admit that Thompson almost lost me a couple times. His verged on the edge of appealing to the worst in people on the immigration issue and he walked a fine line between being adequately pro American and pro defense and being jingoistic. I also was disappointed that at times Thompson seemed to be playing to the crowd that is dismissive of the science of global warming.


Nevertheless, I thought Thompson was the best candidate in the running. Thompson struck me as a person who was intelligent and thoughtful, and I thought he was the most mainstream reliable conservative in the race. I admired Fred Thompson for speaking the truth on social security and for advocating market solutions for health care reform.

What disappointed me in Thompson, was that I felt he never let loose and was himself. He never did do much to distinguish himself from the pack.

Columnist David Broder writes in a recent column of a meeting he had with Fred Thompson last summer in which Thompson discussed his plan to run. Broder writes that Thompson emphasized that the only reason he saw to run was to raise issues that the other candidates were too timid to address. Those issues included the need to expand military manpower and increase the Pentagon budget and taking on the out of control entitlement spending programs.

Broder writes:


Thompson was particularly critical of farm subsidies, and when I asked if he was really going to take that message to Iowa, he said, ‘Yes, but I'd like to keep that off the record until I announce out there.’ I agreed to omit that detail from my column but reported that he was going to enter the race with rhetorical guns blazing, and that was his reason for running.”

Then I sat back and waited -- and waited. In time, Thompson unveiled a serious proposal to attack the long-term deficits in Social Security -- another of the major entitlements. But I never heard the speech on the farm subsidies. When I asked for a follow-up interview with Thompson, his new press secretary found reasons to put me off.

Would a bolder campaign delivered with some of the personal passion I saw in Thompson at that lunch have produced a different result? I don't know, but given what he said about his motives, I suspect that Thompson would feel better today if he had followed his instincts instead of becoming a more conventional conservative.

I would have liked to have heard the speech that Thompson never gave. I sent Thompson a modest campaign contribution, but never developed a lot of enthusiasm for the campaign. If Thompson would have made the farm subsidy speech I could have dug deeper and become more passionate about the Thompson candidacy.

Our farm policy is irrational and expensive. It is the epitome of liberal economic policy making. It makes food cost billions more for Americans, it is bad for our health, it keeps families farming that don’t need to farm, it enriches the corporate factory farmer, it harms the environment, it keeps agriculture from flourishing in undeveloped countries and it undermines American leadership as an advocate for free trade. Yet, the policy continues and hardly anyone but the farmer pays any attention.

Fred, when you had the microphone, why did you not say what you knew needed to be said?

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Prophet Gore Preaches the Inconvenient Truth at Baptist Gathering.


Last Thursday, former Vice President Al Gore preached the gospel of environmentalism to the New Covenant Baptist Celebration meeting in Atlanta. Over 15, 000 people were attending the event which brought together people from over 30 different diverse denominations that call themselves “Baptist”.

Gore presented his slide show of melting glaziers and stranded polar bears and read Bible passages as he called the faithful to take action to stop global warming. Gore criticized politicians who he said, “instead of acting decisively have tried to talk their way out of the crisis.”

As reported in the Tennessean: “Gore asked his listeners, whether Republican or Democrat, to pressure presidential candidates to stop talking and act on global warming. When asked for specific suggestions, Gore told them to pressure politicians to approve a new global climate treaty and to push for a carbon tax”.

God bless Al Gore. He is not just promoting Live Earth rock concerts. He is not just raising awareness. He is not preaching a muddled message of soft environmentalism. Like a prophet of old, Gore is not mincing words or sugar coating the truth.

So many pussyfooting environmentalist want to tell us to simply change light bulbs and properly inflate our tires. They put out list of “100 easy things you can do to help the environment.” None of those suggestions are going to matter a hill of beans. Global warming will not be stopped by turning down your thermostat, turning corn into ethanol, or tightening CAFE standards. Global warming will not be stopped by making people feel guilty for driving an SUV or letting them feel virtuous for wearing a sweater.

Just as not enough people will turn from their sinful ways so that society can do away with policemen and jails, neither will enough people be persuaded to voluntarily live a carbon neutral life-style to stop global warming. Any thing short of the call to action put out by Mr. Gore is just feel-good environmentalism. As Al said in his sermon, “As long as pollution is free, the earth will be treated like a sewer.”

It is disappointing that so many people who have long warned of the dangers of global warming will not endorse the solutions to combat it. I am not sure who is doing more to keep us from solving the global warming crisis, the global warming deniers or the reality deniers. I am not sure who is the best friend of global warming, those who don’t believe in science or those who don’t believe in economics.

Those bearded, flannel-shirt-wearing, vegetarian, leftist, old hippie environmentalist who think we only need to love mother nature and conserve are doing more to advance global warming than all of the Rush Limbaughs and oil company lobbyist put together.

I hope Al Gore is not a voice crying in the wilderness.

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