Another Write-wing Conspirator

Commentary, observations, musing, and ranting from the middle of the road (or just to the right of center. Usually.) featuring The Curmudgeon

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  • Welcome to The Curmudgeon’s lair

    Welcome to my curmudgeondom. As you’ll soon learn, your reactions to my missives here are likely to range from fear to loathing to tears to outright rage—and I just might even evoke from you an occasional sober nod or two.

    If you see a posting you like and wish to share it with others, by all means feel free to do so. I'd prefer that you send the link to your friends, but you're also welcome to reproduce anything here—as long as you retain my identity on the document. If you have a web site of your own and wish to post a link to this blog (or to a specific post), again, feel free to do so.

    The purpose of this blog is simple: to provide me a vehicle for sounding-off on whatever topic suits me at the moment. While there’s sure to be no shortage of politically-oriented palaver here, it is by no means all (nor necessarily even most) of what will be proffered to your discerning mind. You’ll also find that my personal politics, ethics, morals, and standards are pretty much “all over the map” (according to my mother-in-law)—so, don’t be surprised to see rants regarding, say, the interference of churches in politics, politically-correct anything, “nanny” laws, taxes, the United Nations, Congress, the Commissioner of Baseball, the State of Ohio’s speed limits, steroids, Jesse Jackson, the “mainstream” media, ultra-liberals, ultra-conservatives, the price of cigarettes, Obamarxism, regulating sales of alcohol, gasoline price manipulation, Muslim foot baths, illegal immigration, laws banning the sale of adult sex toys, cell phones, heavy-handed cops, meddlesome politicians, Hillary, Billary, our all-but-self-proclaimed uncrowned Queen Nancy, “W”, eminent domain, freedom of speech, and the designated hitter all in succession. It is, as I said, my curmudgeondom — and I have the credentials and bona fides to lay claim to the title of The Curmudgeon. So, there.

    Some of the postings you'll encounter may seem familiar—especially to those who know me personally. By way of explanation… I once had an ongoing relationship with a local newspaper, and had a number of published opinion pieces—some of which may be posted here. My arrangement was for a feature entitled An Opposing View; given that the editorial staff had a generally liberal, left-of-center view, it stands to reason that my "opposing" view would generally be perceived as coming from the right (in more ways than one, in my own humble opinion). These posts will be annotated as having been previously published.

    Comments, of course, are always welcome. You may agree or disagree with me. Doesn’t matter. Of course, I reserve the right to completely ignore you — but, feel free to let your feelings be known, anyway. And if you don't want to comment directly here, my e-mail address is: jimseeber@gmail.com .

    Oh, and…yes, I can spell. That "Write-wing" is only a play on words. So, there. Again.

    Welcome, once again. Strap in and hang on.

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  • About this “curmudgeon” guy…

    Armchair philosopher, politically-incorrect political commentator, raconteur, retired air traffic controller, dilettante truck driver, US Army veteran, recluse, sometime-writer, redneck convert neè Buckeye, ne'er-do-well, bon vivant, unrepentant libertine, unapologetic libertarian, and (of course) curmudgeon…

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Archive for the ‘political correctness’ Category

“Merry Christmas.” (Yes, really.)

Posted by The Curmudgeon on December 25, 2010

It’s a harmless, time-honored expression. You got a problem with that?

 

In an earlier entry, I ranted thusly:

Saying “Merry Christmas” is a seasonal greeting. Christmas is, itself, observed in the United States as a traditional holiday—not a religious holiday. That some also link it to the birth of Jesus should be of no real consequence (and they’re probably a few months off, anyway), as it’s been suggested that the arbitrary designation of December 25th to commemorate Jesus’ birth was deliberately intended to coincide with the winter solstice and the Roman festival known as “Saturnalia”. People should be no more offended by hearing “Merry Christmas” than they would be if someone handed them candy and hard-boiled eggs and said “Happy Easter.” And that thing’s called a “Christmas tree”—not a “holiday tree.” Raising a fuss about that just smacks of political correctness taken entirely too far (a rapidly growing –finally!– issue in many areas of concern, by the way.) Does the expression “Yuletide Greetings” offend you? It’s no less “religious” than “Merry Christmas”, inasmuch as “Yule” initially referred to a pagan festival—another of many traditional winter festivals of various names observed in cultures around the world for hundreds (if not thousands) of years.

Now, being a reasonable guy, I many years ago began substituting expressions like “Happy Holidays” in the belief that “Merry Christmas” somehow implied other meanings that some might find offensive. (In other words, I bought into the political-correctness argument…though we didn’t call it that back then.)

This was back when the argument was first being advanced that we all have an absolute right to never be offended in any way by anything.

Kiss that good-bye. No more.

I’ve noticed the re-emergence in recent years of the use of traditional greetings by the population at large—even as retailers and businesses seem bent on eradicating their use. Whether this represents a rebellion against the political-correctness movement is uncertain.

Whatever it may suggest, I like it.

So do a lot of other people.

A few years ago, I very deliberately adopted a specific way of concluding business with those I encountered while on the road. For example, after getting unloaded and settling the matter of bills-of-lading, I’d tell the shipping clerk: “Okay, we’re good, then? Alright, have a good day—and Merry Christmas to you.”

You know what? People reacted to that. Their faces would light up. They’d enthusiastically respond: “And Merry Christmas to you, too—and get home safe.”

I’ve thought recently about an interesting encounter many years ago in Korea. The remote site the Army had assigned me to was located near a Buddhist temple, and a few of the priests came to call a day or two before Christmas. I found myself engaged in light conversation with one of them, and couldn’t help pointing out to him the irony of the situation (Buddhist priests in Korea joining in the observance of what many GI’s also regard as the day marking Christ’s birth)—which, of course, wasn’t lost on him, either. He noted, though, that while they didn’t regard Jesus the same way that Christians do, they did acknowledge him as a great man whose teachings were nonetheless compatible with many of their own beliefs; besides, the priests viewed us as visitors in their land, and maintained that they would be poor hosts if they didn’t at least note the occasion. Moreover, he emphasized the universal “peace on Earth, goodwill toward men” view as the central theme for the holiday, anyway—which resonated well with their own beliefs.

And he had no qualms whatsoever about bidding me a warm “Merry Christmas” when we finally parted company.

Sorry, but I don’t see anything offensive about Santa Claus, Jingle Bells, or reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas to kids. If the strains of Nat “King” Cole crooning about chestnuts roasting over an open fire offends you, you have a problem. While I don’t buy into the “He’s the reason for the season” and “Keep Christ in Christmas” arguments, I don’t find such missives offensive, either; each to his own. As noted above, Christmas is a traditional holiday, and I leave it to each individual to take from it what he or she may. I have no feeling about Nativity scenes one way or the other; as far as I’m concerned, if people want to have them, they’re welcome to it. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, the argument could be made that the presence of such displays is likewise traditional. While I’m more partial to Here We Come a-Wassailing, I’ll freely confess that hearing Carol of the Bells also carries a certain significance. Probably the last place anyone would expect to find me this time of year is a church—yet I’ll also admit that passing by a church alive with a choir singing familiar carols also puts me in the holiday mood; whether one embraces similar beliefs is irrelevant. Again, it’s up to each of us to take from all this what we will.

At the conclusion of a road trip not so long ago (a particularly arduous one, it should be noted), I’d just dropped a trailer and hooked another to take on the final short leg of my journey home—trying to make it home on Christmas Eve. The guy in charge came over and handed me my paperwork (oh, and, by the way…he’d done me a considerable favor,which served to save time and to make my job easier). Tired, cold, hungry, and anxious to get home, I turned to leave—then stopped. I removed my glove and extended my right hand. “Thank-you, brother—and a Merry Christmas to you.”

He’d been about to climb into the cab of his yard tractor, but stopped and grasped my hand firmly. “Merry Christmas, driver. Be safe out there.” The firmness of his handshake, his eyes, and his voice all revealed an unmistakable sincerity.

At such moments, I find that I’m suddenly no longer quite so cold or tired or hungry. In fact, I feel pretty damned good.

So do most others, I suspect.

And with that, I freely, happily, and unapologetically bid you all a Merry Christmas.

__________

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Posted in Christmas, political correctness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

To Burn, or Not to Burn…

Posted by The Curmudgeon on September 9, 2010

Once again, national angst builds—with Mohammed (again) the focus

Like many, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Reverend Terry Jones’ planned demonstration featuring the burning of Korans. Having considered it at length, I’ve reached one conclusion: I have mixed feelings about it—and this ambivalence will never be resolved.

On the one hand, I fall back on the default of freedom of religion and worship, and I cringe at the prospect of book-burning. It’s easy to understand how some would equate such an act to the Nazis’ heinous and destructive campaign against Jews. It’s easy to understand concerns that such a spectacle might focus hatred on a group based on their beliefs. It’s easy to understand why military commanders express concerns that our forces stationed in the Muslim world might be exposed to danger as Muslims’ ire is inflamed. It’s easy to understand why so many have felt compelled to distance themselves from the planned event, and to add their voices to the widespread condemnation of Rev. Jones.

On the other hand…

If one chooses to burn a U.S. flag, it’s considered “freedom of expression”—and likely to attract protection from legions of civil-rights attorneys. If a band of lunatics disrupts funeral services for a fallen soldier, the court not only affirms their right to do so, but requires the soldier’s family to pay the legal costs incurred by the loonies in defending that right. And where was the compulsion for widespread condemnation when Palestinians took to the streets in celebration even as the twin towers of the World Trade Center were still falling?

Here’s another thought: For those who may have forgotten, a shipment of Bibles was confiscated and burned by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan last year amid concerns that there might be an appearance of soldiers’ attempting to convert the local population to Christianity. In criticizing the action, a Pentagon spokesman remarked (perhaps a bit prophetically) that “There is no need to burn the Bibles. They could have been shipped back.” (I’ll add emphasis to the rest of his comment.) “Just imagine if we, the same the United States military, were to take a bunch of Korans and burn them. I can imagine the ramifications across the world.”

Indeed, soldiers assigned to the detention center in Guantanamo have been criticized for allegedly (no proof emerged) showing some measure of disrespect for the Koran (those allegations having been made, by the way, by detainees who routinely hurl their urine and feces at the staff). More recently, we’ve been bombarded with angry denunciations by Muslims for newspaper cartoons in Europe that were seen as criticisms of Islam. Still fresh is the memory of the brouhaha that resulted when the Comedy Central channel capitulated to Muslim demands over a South Park episode making fun of Mohammed.

It’s clear that a dangerous precedent has been set—and it’s being perpetuated. It seems that anything that might by any stretch of the imagination be misinterpreted by a Muslim as offensive draws criticism. It appears, in fact, to be the latest manifestation of censorship that began during the days of civil rights marches, when whites suddenly became aware of the need to choose every word very carefully just to avoid even the appearance of racism. It’s had the practical effect of creating an environment wherein Muslims anywhere in the world can now dictate behavior by whim—merely by suggesting that some unrest might result if we don’t take heed.

It is at its base a strategy intended to spread fear and force acceptance—and it’s working. Moreover, each case that sees someone appear to back-down in the face of such charges serves both to progressively embolden radical Muslim elements and to bolster the validity of their approach.

At this point, we might stop asking what may happen if Rev. Jones goes through with his planned Koran-burning event—and ask instead what may result if he doesn’t.

 

__________


Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, hate speech, islam, islamofascist, islamophobia, koran, mosque, muslim, obama, political correctness, politics, quran, speech, terrorism, war | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

A Little Knowledge

Posted by The Curmudgeon on August 28, 2010

It’s still dangerous—as is ignorance of history

Two of the most familiar and oft-quoted observations respectively hold that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and that failure to learn from history dooms us to repeat it.

With that, I present Chris Cuomo of ABC News.

This past week, Cuomo (seeming to echo the growing crescendo of ill-informed mainstream media figures) transmitted the following via his Twitter account: “To all my christian brothers and sisters, especially catholics – before u condemn muslims for violence, remember the crusades….study them”

Interesting.

Some of Cuomo’s Twitter “followers” then engaged him in a bit of back-and-forth, correctly pointing out that the Crusades were in fact preceded by an extended period of Muslim encroachment (indeed, Charles Martel and the Franks halted the Muslim invasion of Europe at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD—long before the First Crusade of 1095-1099 AD).

Not to excuse Cuomo’s ignorance, but his misperception is a common one: that Muslims have been running around in the pissed-off-and-locked position since the Crusades, having never forgiven Christendom for such effrontery—and itching for centuries to get even.

“Get even,” hell; they started this crap.

Or as Princeton University Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis put it: “The Crusades could more accurately be described as a limited, belated and, in the last analysis, ineffectual response to the jihad – a failed attempt to recover by a Christian holy war what had been lost to a Muslim holy war.”

However, let’s set aside that issue for just a moment to allow me to digress (it is my blog, after all).

Many years ago, there was a war fought in a place known (then) as South Vietnam. Some of you may recall it. Some of you were too young (or still a gleam in your daddy’s eye) at the time. For those who recall that period, there are also distant memories of widespread unrest, anti-war demonstrations, riots, draft resisters, and so forth. It was a long and costly war, and it resulted in deep divisions among the citizenry.

Being in high school at the height of the war (and rapidly approaching draft-able age), I had more than a passing interest in the matter. Personally, I had mixed feelings about this nation’s involvement in Southeast Asia; however, my ambivalence was spawned by my own research.

The same could not necessarily be said of the majority of my peers.

Oh, they could regurgitate the rhetoric on cue. They had all the chants down pat.

But did they really understand what was going on?

I clearly recall a class discussion during that time. I pretty much hung back and listened for a time, noting the by-then familiar rhetoric being offered. Then, I posed a few questions to some of the more vocal critics of the war.

“You say the war is ‘illegal.’ Based on what?”

I was immediately bombarded with cries that the war was an undeclared one, and that Congress hadn’t approved our involvement there. In reply, I reminded them of the “power of the purse” that Congress wields, and noted that Congress itself had appropriated the funds necessary to conduct the war.

No answers to that one.

I then asked them whether they were familiar with the USS Maddox or the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The “domino theory,” perhaps?

Again, no answers.

Now, I relate this vignette not in an effort to revive the decades-old debate over U.S. involvement in the war, but to illustrate my point that many during that era formed their opinions based not on what they’d discovered through examination of facts but on whatever input (we frequently call them “talking points,” these days) they’d heard from others. It was often a lemming-like acceptance of whatever they’d been fed by commentators via evening news broadcasts—sources known even then for their biased interpretation of events (and reporting thereof).

Which brings us back to the present day, where we are currently assailed by recitals of the current rhetoric. For example, how many times have we heard various sources use the precise phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” in recent months? (This, by the way, is the Democrats’ and illegal aliens’ euphemism for “amnesty and pathway to citizenship to which they have no valid claim since they’re in the country illegally to begin with.”) The phrase’s use seemed to spread overnight, as if by a hidden network (and with the “outing” of the JournoList cabal, the scenario seems quite plausible). Political organizers plant the current phraseology among their minions to go and spread the word far and wide.

Cries of “racism” are also a staple—particularly for anyone with the audacity to criticize anything that Barack Obama says or does.

And then there are the “phobes.” After years of being attacked for being “homophobes,” for example, some are finally (and correctly) pointing out that a phobia is by definition “an irrational fear”—and resistance to the concerted presentation of the homosexual agenda has nothing to do with fear, at all.

Now we’re suddenly dismissed as “Islamophobic” for daring to object to the construction of a mosque where many believe it doesn’t belong, expressing dismay at what seems an insidious transformation of our legal system to a Shariah-compliant state, or pointing out the obvious lie that mass-murder committed by a Muslim officer in the U.S. Army who considers himself a “soldier of Allah” is anything but an act of terrorism. We wonder how there can be a Ramadan observance at the White House while prominent symbols of Christianity are under attack. We question why Uncle Sam foots the bill for repairs to mosques in foreign countries while court challenges halt the restoration of a mission (listed as a national historic landmark) in California based on assertions that the use of taxpayer funds implies endorsement of a religion. We’re aghast that the Obama regime would send an imam (at taxpayers’ expense) through the Muslim world as a sort of emissary and troubleshooter—then have it revealed that this same imam basically said that we brought on the 9/11 attacks ourselves. We’re alarmed and outraged that this imam insists on erecting a mosque at Ground Zero with funds of murky origin, and puzzled that others fail to see the symbolic significance of such a structure to a movement with a history of building mosques to commemorate victories.

Oh, and Cuomo’s response to a Twitter “follower” who challenged his claim? He tweeted: “not sure how pointing out muslim wrongs erases christian wrongs…more defense by attack? proof of bias?”

As Nathan Burchfiel of Newsbusters summed up Cuomo’s response: “So pointing out Muslim wrongs doesn’t erase Christian wrongs — but pointing out Christian wrongs justifies Muslim wrongs?”

Swell. Cuomo’s little bit of knowledge brings us full circle, repeating history once again. The blind leading the blind who refuse to think for themselves, whipped-up by scores of Cuomo’s ilk who have little understanding of history (my wife cites a Biblical reference calling this “zeal without knowledge”) but are intent on shaping the public debate to their liking.

As alleged “Islamophobes,” we’re assailed for having “an irrational fear” about a purported religion of peace that in fact has a long history of extreme violence and repression…a religion that often appears less a religion and more a politically-driven cult with a sinister agenda.

Well, the pundits got the “fear” part right; 9/11 frightened the bejesus out of us. There’s nothing irrational about it, though.

And the current “Islamophobia” label has no validity. What we’re feeling now has little to do with fear.

But we are mad as hell.

________

.

Posted in 9/11, corruption, crusade, ground zero, hate crimes, hate speech, health care reform, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, islam, islamofascist, islamophobia, JournoList, media corruption, media establishment, mosque, national security, obama, political correctness, politics, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

The U.S. is NOT Mexico Norte

Posted by The Curmudgeon on May 26, 2010

What Obama, Congress, and Calderón don’t grasp—or simply choose to ignore

One scarcely knows where to begin in trying to keep abreast of events unfolding in the ongoing and escalating controversy over Arizona’s recently-enacted immigration law. What began as a desperation-driven attempt by the state of Arizona to plug the gaps created by federal negligence spawned a groundswell of public outcry and political posturing on both sides of the Mexican border.

…and—as predicted—Barack Hussein Obama and his henchmen responded with alacrity to the opportunity for extracting political gain from the situation (that “never let a good crisis go to waste” philosophy); indeed, one might wish that they’d shown as much enthusiasm in warding-off the current state of affairs.

To briefly recap:

The Arizona legislature finally got fed-up with waiting for the Feds to do their job and took matters into their own hands. Obama immediately condemned the action, in concert with Attorney General Eric “Holding Pattern” Holder and Department of Homeland Security head (and former Arizona governor) Janet Napolitano—though both Cabinet members were subsequently forced to admit that neither had actually read the legislation they’d so quickly attacked. (We can only wonder whether Obama’s read it; nobody asked him. Any bets?)

Obama, of course, immediately attempted to turn the debate away from his own failures (and, to be sure, his predecessors’), blaming Republicans in Congress for not joining with him in embracing the Democrats’ standard call for “comprehensive immigration reform” (read: “amnesty and pathway to citizenship”). Correctly citing the frustration felt by the good citizens of Arizona over Federal inaction, he incorrectly attributed this frustration to a universal desire for said “reform”—and lamented that he’s been stymied in his attempts to “fix” things by the loss of the Democrats’ sixty-vote supermajority in the Senate, imploring Republicans to “help” him. Designated legislative meddler Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote a letter to current Arizona governor Jan Brewer, calling on her to likewise fall in love with his yet-to-be-finalized “reform” legislation. (There is no substantiation that the Democrats’ new official euphemism for illegal aliens really is “undocumented Democrats”—yet.)

Demonstrations and boycotts ensued, with the state of Arizona (and the 84% of its voters who favor the state’s initiative) being pressured to abandon the effort.

The Arizona folks (here’s the part I like, by the way) responded to the mayor of Los Angeles’ boycott threats with a simple message: “Go ahead; make my day. Boycott us—and we’ll turn off your damn’ lights.” (Okay; so, I paraphrased. A little.)

The guy who heads ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), John Morton, announced that his agency might not bother to “process” illegal aliens apprehended by Arizona police authorities; apparently, this suggests that not only will ICE not go out and apprehend the illegal aliens—a big part of its mission—it won’t even finish the job when others take up the slack and apprehend the illegal aliens for them. (Why does this clown still have a job?)

And, of course, Mexican President Felipe Calderón appeared before a joint session of Congress to denounce the Arizona law, lecture us in the niceties of border protocol, and tell us that we need to ban assault weapons—for which congressional Democrats awarded him a standing ovation.

The reader will at this point kindly choke-down the bile that may be felt rising within.

Obama and his ilk are nothing if not consistent; they continue to press their radical agenda—including amnesty and citizenship for those who have, in many cases, openly flouted the law. The people of this nation are angry not only at the government’s failure to meet its obligations, but also for its (that would be Obama’s) bullheadedness in pursuing a course the people emphatically reject. No, the people aren’t frustrated with Congress’s failure to implement comprehensive immigration reform; they’re mad as hell that the government (a) isn’t doing its job, and (b) isn’t listening to them—opting, instead, to ram an unacceptable policy down the nation’s collective throats. Indeed, reports surfacing from Republican lawmakers indicate that just yesterday they informed Obama that any “reform” effort must first address the issue of border security—and in the latest demonstration of his version of bipartisanship, Obama stubbornly rejected the notion. (The Anointed One did, however, reveal that he plans to send some 1200 National Guard troops to the border region—though not in an enforcement role. The general feeling is that his intent in doing so was to forestall stronger congressional action.)

Probably the most galling development, though, was the Democrats’ inviting Calderón to appear before Congress and lecture them (and, therefore, us) in the first place. No, wait; even more galling was the specter of Democrats actually giving this pompous ass a standing ovation. (Some may have considered it fitting that Democrats—who embrace an ass as their party symbol—were so quick to embrace a fellow ass.)

Who the hell does Calderón think he is? The guy’s nothing but a tinhorn who ascended to office amid allegations of election improprieties in a country notorious for corruption. He wants open borders—but only for northbound traffic. His own nation’s human rights record has been widely assailed. He called for an assault weapons ban in the United States, citing figures that are highly suspect (and not for the first time) to support his claim of arms being shipped south to Mexico—ignoring the simple fact that the weapon of choice for Mexican thugs (the ubiquitous AK-47) isn’t even manufactured here; it is, however, readily available throughout the world. (One wonders whether Obama—known to favor such a ban—might’ve planted that idea.) Calderón conveniently overlooks the graft that is a way of life in his country—and it’s unlikely that the drug cartels could flourish without some assistance from among his own law enforcement officials. The final irony? His own government’s lax enforcement along the border—indeed, it has long fostered illegal immigration into the U.S.—has also contributed to the alleged flow of weapons and drug money smuggled into Mexico from the north. Moreover, someone needs to remind this little man that his meager authority ends at the Rio Grande—and that meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation just might result in him getting his ass kicked. (One might suspect that there is an ample supply of volunteers eager to shoulder that burden.)

Enough, already. This is not rocket science. It isn’t brain surgery. While purported to be a complex problem, the matter of illegal aliens is in fact a very simple one—and it has relatively simple solutions. This has gone on far too long. The Federal government—from the White House to Congress to the responsible agencies involved—all of them need to get off their dead butts and simply do their job.

Quit playing politics and pandering for votes; secure the border—as required by the Constitution.

________

Posted in Arizona, border security, corruption, election, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, national security, obama, political correctness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Elena Kagan: Is she—or isn’t she?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on May 17, 2010

uh…what was the question, again?

It’s said that revenge is a dish best served cold.

Irony, on the other hand, is delicious any time—and we should take time to thank those in Washington who keep us well-fed.

Take, for example, the latest nominee for the Supreme Court. Serving-up Elena Kagan as his latest hors d’œuvre, Barack Obama has once again replenished the buffet.

In a somewhat questionable move, Obama purposefully sought-out a candidate with no judicial background. While this approach is not in and of itself without precedent (nor logic), it does invite some skepticism—particularly with the memory still fresh of George W. Bush’s ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers.

Naturally, Kagan’s supporters hastily moved to discount comparisons to Miers—with some validity. While there are similarities between the two candidates, there are also some differences; yet to be determined, of course, is the extent that one may be distinguished from the other.

The salient issue accompanying the nomination of any non-judge is the lack of a “paper trail”—a history of rulings, decisions, and opinions by which a nominee’s legal and judicial philosophy might be revealed. While neither Miers or Kagan ever served as a judge, Kagan’s career has differed in being essentially confined to politics and academia (notwithstanding a short-lived foray into private practice about which we know nothing)—and her supporters would have us believe that there exist sufficient intellectual and academic works to shed light on her views.

Now, at this point, it should be noted that Kagan will almost certainly be confirmed. It’s a matter of simple arithmetic; Democrats hold more seats than do Republicans, and there doesn’t appear to be any enthusiasm for a filibuster. Absent a gaffe of historic proportions, she’ll get the job.

…and at this point, a question is posed to the reader: Upon seeing the title of this piece, what did you think it’d be about?

You might have wondered: Is she or isn’t she what? A liberal? A conservative? A socialist?

Or you might have mused: Is she or isn’t she what? A lesbian?

You might even have wondered: Is she or isn’t she what? An activist eager to “legislate from the bench?”

And so we arrive at one of two points this piece is intended to advance: We know virtually nothing about this woman. And the long history of academic works alluded to by her supporters? Well, it simply isn’t there. Indeed, after leaving a previous post in the Clinton administration, she was denied re-entry to her tenured position at the University of Chicago owing to the paucity of her works—and her original tenure was bestowed despite objections that she simply hadn’t published enough, even then. She is a tangled collection of contradictions and blank pages—and little else.

In many ways, Kagan serves as the perfect symbol for the Obama regime itself. Like Kagan, we didn’t know a whole lot about Obama, either—until he got elected. Prior to taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he kept himself shrouded in secrecy (in truth, he still does). The strategy is clear—and likely to be adopted by others with designs on high office: reveal as little as is absolutely necessary about yourself, lest that knowledge be used against you. (It’s difficult to assail a record that is essentially non-existent.)

The obvious drawback to nominating a candidate with such a blank slate is that it arouses suspicion—particularly when that appointment is made by a White House with the track record that Obama’s has, with its rogue’s gallery of tax cheats, socialists, incompetents, and thugs named to key posts.

For her own part, Kagan seems to be acting in concert with the White House to preserve that veil of secrecy. (The White House released a video of an “interview” that seems to have answered nothing and fooled no one—not even the mainstream media upon which Obama depends so heavily. Does the term “propaganda” come to mind?)

Even Kagan’s supporters have trouble grappling with her true leanings—regardless of the issue. Liberals complain that she’s too conservative (big surprise, there), while conservatives point out her apparent hostility toward the military and embracing of homosexual-rights issues as evidence of her liberal stance. Her advice to then-President Bill Clinton to not endorse late-term abortions is cited as evidence of her relative conservatism. How naive. She made that recommendation only to preserve a political compromise; failure to have done so would’ve risked that compromise being supplanted by a much more conservative (and likely veto-proof) measure being forced by Republicans in Congress. That she eventually allowed military recruiters back on campus at Harvard (she herself ejected them, citing the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy) is offered in response to accusations that she’s hostile toward the armed forces; this claim ignores the fact that she “let” them come back only after being forced to do so by a Supreme Court decision—and that she encouraged student protests even while she was opening the doors to the recruiters.

And now to return to my favorite point of this missive: that delicious irony.

Let’s face it: This Kagan episode is rich with it. Personally, I’m reveling in it.

Consider, for example, the quandary facing (or that should be facing) Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who loudly lamented the lack of a paper trail for Harriet Miers (read: There’s no record to attack.) . Kagan’s tabula rasa, on the other hand, he finds much less disturbing. Go figure.

More irony: Concealing so much about Kagan in an effort to preempt criticism actually led to more criticism as people filled in the blanks.

Think about Obama’s position. He’s being assailed by his leftist supporters for not being liberal enough (as if ); at the same time, conservatives are unlikely to embrace anyone liberal enough to suit him. True to form, then, he seeks out someone he thinks will be liberal enough to meet his standards and mollify the left, but about whom no one really knows anything for certain—fueling further speculation from the right. And this speculation cannot be decisively addressed for want of the very paper trail that Obama sought to avoid in the first place (Oh, what a tangled web we weave…).

With apologies to masculine-appearing women everywhere, one cannot help but wonder about Kagan; sorry, but this broad reminds one of a knock-down version of Rosie O’Donnell—or perhaps leads one to believe that the Washington Redskins have lost track of one of their linebackers. Not surprisingly, it was soon revealed that there have long been rumors that she’s a lesbian. The White House quickly issued a denial—but it hasn’t gone unnoticed that there now seems to be a mission underway to make her appear more feminine. And as if by magic, friends of Kagan began cropping-up in the press to also deny those rumors.

…which led to yet another ironic predicament for Obamazoids.

Equally magical was the universal realization that issuing strong denials in an effort to buttress support for Kagan risked alienating the homosexual community—overwhelmingly liberal, Democrat, and pro-Obama. What ensued strongly resembled an old episode of Seinfeld, as those strong denials suddenly became strong denials immediately followed by a qualifier: “No, she’s not a lesbian. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. If it were true. Which it isn’t.”

Sadly, while this unfolding drama provides grand political theater, it’d be easy to overlook Kagan’s potential influence over future Supreme Court decisions; given her relative youth, it’s not unreasonable to anticipate her hanging-on for thirty years or more. Therefore, it would seem to be of heightened importance that she be thoroughly vetted in her confirmation process—a practice she herself once advocated in one of her few published works; unfortunately, preliminary suggestions indicate that her reception in the Senate will more likely involve velvet gloves than boxing gloves. (It should be noted also that during her own confirmation hearing for her current post of Solicitor General, she seemed much less enthusiastic about such an approach. Surprised?) Again, barring a major faux pas like stumbling over her strap-on while entering the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room, she’s a virtual lock.

And we know practically nothing about her.

To paraphrase Pelosi’s asinine health care takeover argument (“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it…”), it appears that Kagan will be confirmed with little more than perfunctory examination—and then we find out what we’re getting.

Yet another mysterious pig in a poke foisted upon us by the Obama regime.

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Posted in hate crimes, hate speech, Kagan, lesbian, obama, opinion, Pelosi, political correctness, politics, Senate confirmation, Supreme Court, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Of Pots, Kettles, Nazis, Racists, and Aliens

Posted by The Curmudgeon on May 10, 2010

…and just how “open” are all those other borders, anyway?

Interspersed within the inevitable fallout from Arizona’s new “Nazi-like” (according to some) immigration law came the equally inevitable hyperbole condemning the racist actions of those neo-Nazi bigots in the state legislature bent on arbitrarily crushing the civil rights of every person in the state who doesn’t appear to be of (presumably) Aryan descent—and particularly those of Mexican extraction. Predictably, droves of protesters (many — if not most — aliens residing in the U.S. illegally) turned out for marches and rallies demanding “rights” for illegal immigrants. (Note to the protesters: Waving Mexican flags and chanting in Spanish won’t attract support—particularly with a tumultuous election season nigh, and politicians in no mood to face voters in no mood for demands of amnesty and citizenship from people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place.)

Not surprisingly, the shrill shrieks of the left reached a deafening crescendo—and the left-leaning media were only too happy to chime in. And Democrats continually chumming for the Hispanic vote, of course, weren’t about to miss out on the opportunity to do some timely pandering—with the added bonus of bashing a Republican-dominated legislature and  a Republican governor.

Worthy of note, however, was the response south of the border.

In an ironic role-reversal, the Mexican government issued an advisory discouraging its citizens — including those with the intent of crossing the border illegally — from traveling to Arizona. (Kindly refrain from observing that it did so several decades late and for the wrong reasons.) More significantly, President Felipe Calderón — a noted open border-kinda guy — vowed to protect Mexicans wherever they may be and cited the usual human rights issues, condemning the Arizona law for its potential to foster “intolerance, hate, discrimination, and abuse in law enforcement.” He added that “My government cannot and will not remain indifferent when these kinds of policies go against human rights.” Apparently, our neighbors to the south consider events to their north to be unfairly targeting their citizens—and they seem to think the U.S. should be more like Mexico in addressing such matters.

Well. This clearly calls for a closer examination of conditions within Calderón’s bastion of human rights.

First of all, we find that entering Mexico illegally carries a penalty of two years in prison and a fine. Evading deportation is a felony. Returning to Mexico a second time after having been deported nets a ten-year prison sentence (apparently, that “open border” argument is a one-way street—and one might be tempted to surmise that a term in a Mexican prison wouldn’t be much of a picnic). Mexico itself does some pretty extensive deporting, currently ejecting some 130,000 illegal immigrants from Mexico every year. Legal entry is tightly controlled, and non-citizen residents do not share equal footing in such areas as land ownership and employment. And while Mexico sees fit to criticize Arizona’s law (which actually does nothing but direct that local authorities enforce existing federal law—which the federal government has consistently failed to do), Mexican law requires all police officers to check for immigration status—and failing to have in one’s possession proof of that status results in being hauled-off to jail. (Note that while this practice is accepted in Mexico, it elicits a loud outcry when applied in Arizona; older readers may be reminded of the venerated maxim about pots noting that kettles are black.)

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has compiled some very damning human-rights statistics regarding Mexico. During one recent six-month period, their records show that nearly 10,000 immigrants were kidnapped, and almost half the victims interviewed implicated Mexican authorities. According to one spokesperson, “Public officials turn a blind eye, or even play an active part in kidnappings, rapes and murders.” It’s estimated that 60% of migrant women fall victim to sexual violence while in Mexico.

Ignoring his own country’s chronic widespread corruption and drug-related violence, Calderón seems to like the idea of having Mexican standards exported elsewhere, proclaiming “I have said that Mexico does not stop at its border, that wherever there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”

Let’s hope not; the Mexico that actually lies within Mexican borders is quite hellish enough. Moreover, Calderón appears to be asserting a degree of extraterritoriality that claims exemption of Mexican nationals from the laws of sovereign nations in which they reside—legally or otherwise; conversely, non-citizens in Mexico have no rights under Mexican law.

In the broader scheme of things, one might consider similar border situations across the globe. Is this “open borders” demand common elsewhere? Are we xenophobic, right-wing, racist Yankees out-of-step with the rest of the world?

Hardly. Notwithstanding the clamor of activists and news-media distortions, even the most superficial of investigations reveal broad employment of restrictive immigration law, the erection of physical barriers, and mass deportations throughout the world. In many countries, illegal entry is a crime dealt with swiftly and severely. Few nations seem to be encouraging immigration—and most resist it. (Argentina does encourage legal immigration from European nations.) Brazil last year enacted an amnesty measure—but largely because its immigration system was completely overwhelmed; it was to no small degree a capitulation on the government’s part and an implicit admission of failure. The European Union, on the other hand, recently implemented a tough, standardized system under which violators are detained for eighteen months—then deported.

Clearly, the histrionics of recent weeks do not accurately depict reality.

It cannot be overstated that one of the most crucial of the fundamental responsibilities of any sovereign nation is to provide for the security of its citizens—and meeting this responsibility begins with securing its own borders. The failure of the U.S. government to adequately attend this task is manifest. It must be remembered that the issue of aliens entering the country illegally is not strictly an economic issue; rather, it is first and foremost a legitimate national security concern.

At a time when many assert that “playing the race card” has been done to death, it was the first straw grasped by Arizona’s critics. Such vilification continued with comparisons to Nazis (always a crowd-pleaser among the socialist-leaning left) and utterly ludicrous charges of government-sanctioned separation of family members. Seemingly ignored (or simply brushed aside) by these same detractors is the clear support of the people — both within Arizona and nationwide — for tougher enforcement of immigration laws. Far from being the run amok-action portrayed by critics of a rogue state government running roughshod over civil rights, Arizona lawmakers correctly identified both the will of the people and the chronic failure of the federal government to discharge its duties, then acted very much in accordance with universal norms—though this would be difficult to discern from the media coverage that resulted.

But, then…it’s been wisely noted that one cannot believe everything that one reads in the newspaper—particularly in a media environment so institutionally predisposed to presenting its own “truth.”

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Posted in Arizona, border security, corruption, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, national security, political correctness, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Case for Government Sticking to the Job It’s Actually SUPPOSED to Do

Posted by The Curmudgeon on April 25, 2010

An object lesson in how not to provide for the common defense and secure the blessings of liberty.

At a time when the federal government seems obsessed with by turns either boldly thrusting or slyly insinuating itself into a seemingly endless array of initiatives in which it doesn’t belong, it might be nice to see our fearless leaders occupy themselves with addressing a few minor issues lying within the realm of authority that they actually have.

Securing the nation, for example, springs to mind.

Unburdened for the moment of the crushing pressure of dealing with such crucial matters as athletes using steroids, major league baseball going on strike, publicly spanking corporate executives, and removing salt from our hot dogs, Congress might now be disposed toward turning its attention to the nation’s southern border—preferably before that particular handbasket actually completes its long-unfolding journey to Hell.

With the memory of rancher Rob Krentz’s murder (allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant) still fresh, Arizona’s legislature finally decided that several decades of federal neglect was enough and took steps to crack down on illegal immigration—ordinarily (and by law, arguably) the exclusive domain of the federal government. Refusing to be dissuaded by criticism from immigrants’ rights activists, lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a measure granting police broader authority in identifying and apprehending illegal aliens. Though police are required by law to enforce this legislation in accordance with federal standards already in place, the great hue and cry over immigrants’ rights and hand-wringing over perceived threats to civil liberties commenced even before the measure was passed.

Making good on her stated intent to sign the legislation, Governor Jan Brewer remarked that “We in Arizona have been more than patient waiting for Washington to act. But decades of inaction and misguided policy have created a dangerous and unacceptable situation.”

Coincidentally, the White House also found use for the term “misguided” as Barack Obama condemned Arizona’s action.

He’s probably correct—to a degree.

Border security is rightly a federal matter. So is immigration. No argument, there.

The problem is that the federal government has been profoundly — some say willfully — neglectful of its duty to secure the border, and long ago lost any semblance of control over the flood of illegal immigrants, with an estimated twelve million illegal aliens now in the U.S. Obama acknowledged the federal government’s failings, as well, though in a back-handed manner—and with a different agenda altogether.

In keeping with his regime’s policy of never letting a good crisis go to waste, Obama seized the opportunity to blame Congress for not enacting comprehensive immigration reform — and of course urged lawmakers to do so forthwith — claiming that federal complacency has led others to act precipitously.

He’s partially correct—but demanding the wrong solution.

Arizonans didn’t act out of frustration over Congress’s inability to enact comprehensive immigration reform; they acted out of frustration over the federal government’s utter failure (or refusal) to enforce existing law.

We’ve heard for several years the mounting cries for comprehensive immigration reform, and those demands consistently include calls for amnesty or pathways to citizenship—measures overwhelmingly opposed by the populace. Indeed, there’s common belief that lax enforcement has been but one tool employed in applying pressure for passage of this so-called “reform,” allowing proponents to cite the resulting state of affairs to bolster charges that the immigration system is “broken”—which it isn’t.

Stripped to its essence, Obama’s renewed demand for “reform” is nothing more than political opportunism, attempting to capitalize on Arizona’s exasperation by reviving proposed legislation that’s currently stalled in congressional doldrums—legislation which includes an amnesty provision. Indeed, it could be argued that the Arizona legislature may have unwittingly supplied the Obama regime with the perfect vehicle for advancing his amnesty-and-citizenship scheme; on the other hand — possibly lacking adequate support in a Congress still reeling from the recent health care reform nightmare — Obama may now be forced to abandon his plan in order to soothe tensions in the region and focus on the remainder of his agenda.

Back when nationwide media attention was first drawn to the Minuteman Project’s efforts to monitor the border, numerous suggestions and requests went out for troops — whether Regular Army or National Guard — to be deployed to safeguard the border and establish a presence intended to keep a lid on things; each either fell on deaf ears or was greeted with a laundry list of reasons (including legal uncertainties) why this couldn’t be done. Mindful of a growing list of crimes committed by illegal aliens and mounting losses incurred by area residents, I speculated at the time that (a) as tensions rose, the likelihood increased that there’d be a general flare-up of violence in the region, and (b) that troops might eventually be dispatched to preserve order—but also that there was at least an even chance that they’d be tasked with ensuring the safety and well-being of illegal aliens rather than with safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens they’re intended to protect and serve.

Owing to Arizona’s actions, we may soon find out.

It’s said that Nature abhors a vacuum; it could be argued that government does, as well. Arizona lawmakers acted — for better or worse — simply because the federal government repeatedly failed to do so. By chronically ignoring one of its most fundamental responsibilities, the federal government created a perfect storm of unrest and danger.

Something for the nation’s political leaders to think about the next time they decide to address matters that lie beyond their rightful scope of authority—all the while neglecting their statutory duties.

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Posted in Arizona, border security, corruption, economy, election, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, national security, obama, political correctness, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Beauty of Brevity—and the KISS* Principle

Posted by The Curmudgeon on April 12, 2010

*Keep It Simple, Stupid

It’s said that Calvin Coolidge was once approached by the wife of a prominent political figure at a dinner party. “Mr. President,” she told him, “my husband bet me that I wouldn’t be able to get you to say three words all evening.”

“You lose,” replied Coolidge, as he turned and walked away.

They didn’t call him “Silent Cal” for nothing.

This vignette is presented in stark contrast to Barack Obama’s seventeen-minute televised response to a simple tax question that could practically have been satisfied with an equally simple “yes” or “no.” Indeed, no one in recent memory is so adept as Obama at transforming a ten-second response into a speech of indeterminate length addressing a topic totally unrelated to the question presented. (Bret Baier of Fox News was recently excoriated by the left for vainly attempting to compel him to remain on-topic and furnish something resembling a straight answer—though he was probably destined to be excoriated, anyway, because…well, just because; such is the level of adoration showered upon The Anointed One by the “mainstream” media.) Having now endured countless Obama appearances spanning seemingly endless hours of empty talk, many who at the time ridiculed Bill Clinton’s then-legendary marathon speechifying now yearn wistfully for his relative brevity.

For politicians to exhibit galling degrees of verbosity and posturing is neither unusual nor even particularly new — there is a rich history of renowned orators and speeches immortalized for posterity — though Obama’s rather extreme performances are a little surprising, given the established trend toward parceling information in neat little sound bites. The practice is likely a by-product of avoiding taking firm stands on delicate issues or being tied to specific data; speaking in euphemisms, vague generalities and ambiguous terms lays the groundwork for later claims of “plausible deniability” and even outright reversals of policy should the need arise.

Nor is this wordiness confined to oration; need we be reminded of the recent epic-length health care legislation?

In general, we prefer that matters be kept more brief. Most of us lose interest in a speech the length of the State of the Union address after only a few minutes and a smattering of insincere standing ovations. We’re even less likely to read the entire health-care bill than Congress is (any bets on how many representatives still haven’t read it?). How many people have never read an entire installment contract when making a major purchase? We know we should—but most consumers simply don’t have the patience and self-discipline to choke the whole thing down (and are quickly befuddled by legalese, anyway). Even those same congressional representatives who are so practiced at wasting our time have established time-allotment rules regarding their own guests; office visits are uniformly short and sweet—and lobbyists long ago perfected the art of maximizing this “face time.” Apart from our severely-strained attention spans, we grow (rightly) suspicious when confronted with protracted speeches or documents of daunting length; more often than not, the speeches are intended not to inform or explain, but to sell—and book-length legislation typically conceals as much as it reveals.

Charles Krauthammer wryly noted that the aforementioned Obama soliloquy was many times longer even than Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—and said far less. While Lincoln was himself noted for his own lengthy speeches, one might surmise that he was under the influence of Robert Browning’s immortal missive that day, adopting the “less is more” approach. Indeed (contrary to popular belief), Lincoln was not the keynote speaker at the dedication of what was then known as the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg; noted orator Edward Everett was. Everett’s presentation had lasted a full two hours when Lincoln finally rose to deliver what was listed in the program as “Dedicatory Remarks”—and stepped into history.

The difference between the two men’s efforts? Everett summed it up in a brief note he penned to Lincoln the following day, requesting a copy of Lincoln’s address:

“Permit me also to express my great admiration of the thoughts expressed by you, with such eloquent simplicity & appropriateness, at the consecration of the cemetery. I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”

That’s right; two minutes. *

Ah, the beauty of brevity.

We have our favorite eloquent speakers and writers who delight us with elegant prose; what we need now is a crop of public figures who get to the point, give straight answers, and know when to shut the hell up.

Which is why I virtually deify Calvin Coolidge. Can’t say that I know much about the man’s politics — nor care — but he had (borrowing a line from Sir John Gielgud’s characterization of “Hobson” in the film Arthur) “a wonderful economy with words.”

At a press conference amid growing economic concern, a reporter asked Coolidge for his thoughts regarding the inflationary trend that was then insinuating itself into the financial picture.

Silent Cal’s reply?

“I’m against it.”

Oh, bless that man.



* Don’t believe me? Go read it—and time yourself. I dare you. (It’s still a good read, by the way.) Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

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Posted in bloviating, economy, election, health care reform, hot air, obama, ObamaCare, opinion, political correctness, politics, speech, speeches | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s a border, stupid.

Posted by The Curmudgeon on March 15, 2010

Failing to grasp the obvious

 

The fence marking the U.S.-Mexican border being in a sad state of repair, a competitive contract bid was announced to beef-up security in an area notorious as a crossing point for illegal aliens. After the contract was awarded, a representative of the company tasked with replacing the fence was quoted as saying that the new fence would be so secure that anyone attempting to scale the planned barrier risked “having his arm cut off.”

 The following day, the public outcry over the “inhumane” character of the fence (which, it should be remembered, was intended to protect a national border) became so intense that the contract was cancelled, and a study was commissioned to determine a more suitable solution; it was not explained how a fence — an inanimate object expressly designed to be an obstacle — could take on human characteristics, nor how anyone would be harmed who wasn’t already breaking the law in the first place since fences aren’t known for reaching out and attacking people.

 It should be noted that the preceding events occurred in 1969. It can thus be concluded that illegal immigration is neither a new problem nor one likely to go away anytime soon.

 In the present day, we have a President advocating a “guest worker” program (not, he claims, a form of amnesty—though one congressional aide describes the proposal as “the same old pig with new lipstick”), two (thus far) counter-proposals from Congress, and a citizenry becoming more vocal in their demands for immigration reform.

 All except the citizenry seem to miss the most important point: not one action by Congress or the President — nor any of their respective proposals — offers any real hope of improving border security. While we’re frequently reminded that we’re “at war,” our political leaders seem to have little interest in prudently locking the back door to dissuade intruders. The reason? They’re wary of antagonizing a growing Hispanic voter base.

 We’re told that illegal immigrants are merely trying to edge into the U.S. labor market to improve their standard of living by taking jobs no one else wants. One can hardly blame them; even the lowest-paying jobs available are generally an improvement over what they leave behind south of the border. However, U.S. citizens displaced by illegal workers willing to accept lower pay (take the building trades, for example) might disagree with the aphorism that no one else wanted the job. Moreover, economic principles assert that the inability to fill a position suggests that inadequate compensation is being offered. Importing cheap labor isn’t the answer; increasing wages to attract applicants is.

 Most importantly, we should not accept any “reform” that fails to secure the border.

 Ironically, it seems to have been forgotten that illegal immigrants are by definition law-breakers; they broke the law to get here, and continue to do so by staying. Should we now reward them? 
 
 And the border remains a virtual open door.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 __________

The preceding is a reprint, a piece I wrote for The Huntsville Times, Huntsville, AL. It was published on April 2, 2006.

The following is a reprint of another piece I wrote for The Huntsville Times, published on May 23, 2007:

 

 To paraphrase Shakespeare: Amnesty by any other name would smell as rotten.

 

 

A brief series of urgent, timely messages to Congress might read thusly:

        *  It’s a border, stupid.
        *  Crossing a border illegally is a crime.
        *  Immigration law doesn’t need reform—comprehensive or otherwise; it needs enforcement.
        *  Granting amnesty in any form is a proven loser—and suggests that lawmakers have badly misread the mood
of the nation.

 
 
What is it about such simple concepts that prove so incomprehensible to this august body of legislators and (to a large extent) lawyers?
 
 
 

 
A motley gallery of Senate negotiators has finally produced some sort of agreement for comprehensive immigration reform. What details lie buried in the agreement (cramming a matter so essentially simple into 350 pages makes the deal immediately suspect; this is Congress, after all) has not yet been revealed.
 
 All that’s clear at this point is that everyone involved in these negotiations is pretty much equally displeased with the outcome; two of the key players washed their hands of the mess before negotiations were concluded and the remaining hopefuls don’t seem enthused about the bill’s prospect for adoption.
 
 We’re told that the measure’s concept for dealing with the estimated 12 million illegal aliens already here (the government doesn’t know how many there are, characterizing them as “invisible”) isn’t really amnesty, and that it provides for fines, waiting periods, tracking of immigrants (the government doesn’t know where these invisible people are, either), and appropriate provisions for returning them to their country of origin.
 
 We’re also told that any “not-really-amnesty” legalization of illegal immigrants will be contingent on improved border security (indeed, it appears that many features of the bill are in turn somehow dependent upon another feature’s successful implementation), and that the measure provides for tracking down and deporting violators. (Since we don’t seem to be able to locate them now, what makes anyone think we’ll be able to later?)
 
 Add to this mix a president intent on scoring a domestic policy home run, the political fortunes being staked by various congressional members and the upcoming elections—in a town where deal-making is part of the process.
 
 Such an intricately contrived house of cards is not likely to survive the forthcoming congressional battle; meanwhile, the root problems remain with no remedies in place, and they’ll still be there should the measure be defeated—at which point Congress will start all over again with nothing gained from months of negotiations. And all those invisible people will still be out there—illegally.
 
 It’s time for the government to do the job it’s avoided for decades: secure the borders and enforce the law. Forget “comprehensive” anything until we have a handle on the situation; then will be the time to consider changes.
  
 
 
 
 
 
 

__________

 

Now, I included the two segments above for the sole purpose of prefacing today’s lesson, to wit: Nothing’s essentially changed.
 
 The border with Mexico is still porous (though there is an ongoing effort to replace hundreds of miles of fencing, and patrols have been substantially increased—but, neither effort seems to have had much effect), there remains a huge population of illegal aliens (they’ve grown considerably more militant, by the way), and — sure enough — there’s been some preliminary attempt in Congress to draft legislation that many expect to prove a repeat of the fiasco of a few years ago. (Naturally; it’s being headed-up by Senator Charles Schumer. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll go ‘wa-aaay out on a limb and predict that the next two comments to arise from this effort will include “amnesty” and “pathway to citizenship”—and there’ll soon be a full-court press to force passage of this legislation prior to the coming midterm election.  Any bets?)
 
 I tell you all this just to give you something to think about in light of the Obama regime’s having stuck its toe in the water this past week, pledging its commitment to fix the immigration system it’s deemed to be “broken.”
 
 How reassuring. Given Obama’s deft handling of health care reform, I know I’m confident that his next attempt at comprehensive reform and overhaul of yet another system about which he knows next to nothing will be a breeze.
 
 Make that a big breeze. A really big breeze. Like a tornado.
 
 Make that an F5 tornado.
 

 
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Posted in election, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, national security, obama, political correctness, politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Global Warming: Part Duh

Posted by The Curmudgeon on February 18, 2010

As Obama might say: “Let me be clear.”

I was asked a few questions in conjunction with comments attached to the preceding posting. The first was whether I was “saying there is no man-made global warming dooming this planet?”…the second speculated as to whether I believed that “global warming was just a ruse?”…and the third solicited my opinion of Al Gore’s role in the climate change controversy.

I’ll take a shot at them all with this new posting.

There’s more than enough irrefutable evidence that global warming — and cooling — have occurred at various times over a period of millions of years. Some changes appear to be attributable to specific events (e.g., volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts that caused occlusive dust and ash clouds dense enough to block the sun’s rays), while others have yet to be explained—although a number of theories have been advanced, and some appear to be plausible.

As to whether we’re currently experiencing a warming trend…well, that’s another matter. Over a period of several years, I came to essentially accept — with some reservations, owing to persistent indications to the contrary — that we were; however, recent revelations have prompted me (and many others) to question that position. With the discovery of previously unknown climatological data, doubt has been cast. I consider it an unsettled issue—and very much open to debate.

The question then arises: Notwithstanding volcanoes and asteroids, is all other climate change caused by humans?

Hmmm. Another interesting proposition. Not long ago, there was broad support for the theory that global warming is actually caused by flatulent cattle releasing huge volumes of methane gas into the atmosphere, producing a greenhouse effect. (The last I heard, the jury’s still out on that one; if saving the world requires sacrificing methane-bloated cows, however, I insist that we start with the current Speaker of the House. Absent a prodigious bovine population, she’ll no longer have access to a ready source of Botox, anyway.) There’s yet another theory that there is indeed a warming trend—but that theory likewise excludes humans as the cause. Unless we’re also causing global warming on Mars—which seems to be inconveniently warming at a surprising rate, as well. (Actually, speculation as to the cause of Mars’ warming trend is focused mostly on two suspected causes—one of which may also be related to climate change on Earth http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html and http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/04/070404-mars-warming.html .)

However, I suspect that the primary thrust of my initial posting was overlooked, anyway. I shall now endeavor to clarify.

We look to science for answers—but we also expect science to do the single most important thing that science is supposed to do: to question. And science is expected to react as Ayn Rand advised: “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are faced with a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” (Which is why I cited Velikovsky—who reacted in this fashion to apparent contradictions. Though his work was highly controversial, he must be credited with having the integrity to discard his original postulates when faced with clear evidence of their inaccuracy.)

Indications of global warming are troubling—but no more troubling than the behavior of many prominent scientists. When presented with credible climatological data calling into question their growing acceptance of claims related to climate change (read: “apparent contradictions”), such data deserved their careful scrutiny; instead, they responded with a concerted effort to stifle dissenting voices and dismiss out-of-hand even the mere suggestion that their precious theories just might be wrong. Their only lament? That the revelation of such contradictions might lead to a loss of credibility among the general public (thus far the only claim that’s been proven correct), as revealed in the University of East Anglia e-mail scandal.

This is good science?

I’ve not suggested that assertions of climate change are without merit; to the contrary, I consider it a serious matter that warrants careful examination and research—examination and research that won’t be accomplished if a substantial percentage of the scientific community (that’s the folks who should be doing the examining and researching) insist on wearing blinders and smothering valid skepticism of as-yet unproven claims. Yes, some glaciers are melting—but they’ve also melted in the past. Yes, ocean current temperatures suggest external causes—but no definitive evidence has yet been presented. No, I don’t consider the snow on my driveway (in Alabama) an indication that we’re actually experiencing global cooling; some computer models developed to support claims of global warming actually predict such phenomena—and it’s snowed here before, anyway. Yes, I believe that we experience global warming…and cooling—but I remain unconvinced that such conditions aren’t cyclic; it follows, then, that I’d be uncertain whether mankind causes such fluctuations, either—a healthy skepticism shared by scientists and researchers who are a hell of a lot more qualified than I am to voice dissent.

Do I believe that “global warming was just a ruse?” Not necessarily. As I indicated, there’s sufficient evidence to warrant further study; the true gravity of the situation, however, I consider debatable. One must consider the stakes involved. Might a researcher be inclined to accentuate one finding over another in an effort to obtain (or hang onto) a lucrative research grant? Might a financier with extensive investments in “green” technology apply pressure to privately-funded research groups in an effort to produce findings favorable to those investments? Is it conceivable that a political figure might beat the drum for “green” legislation knowing the power that will be vested in the overseers of such changes?

Vast (and I mean really vast) sums of money and almost unimaginable power and influence hang in the balance. For the foreseeable future, he who controls the “green” agenda stands to hold sway over areas as diverse as government, manufacturing, finance, commerce,—… The list goes on and on—both domestically and (even more so) on the global stage.

Al Gore? An opportunist—and a very hypocritical one, at that (he wants me to lighten my “carbon footprint?” Take a look at his.). He’s shown that he’s not as knowledgeable as he’d have us believe. And he’s reputed to have accumulated an almost embarrassing level of wealth during his little crusade. Still, it’s possible that he’s sincere in what he espouses—though I’m much more inclined to view him as simply a well-compensated mouthpiece…and maybe even a mere stooge.

In summary, there’s surprisingly little about climate change or its suspected causes that we know for certain. I’ll reiterate my contention that responsibility for the lack of reliable information rests with the scientists who have allowed extraneous influences to get in the way of good science.

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