Another Write-wing Conspirator

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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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Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

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.

 

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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.

________

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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 »

A Tough Week for Logic

Posted by The Curmudgeon on July 13, 2010

Conventional wisdom and common sense take it on the chin

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) chief John Morton revealed last week that his agency had resources only to remove four hundred thousand illegal immigrants per year. That’s about 4% of the estimated eleven million believed to be here—with more arriving every day. This announcement comes on the heels of Arizona’s passage of tough new legislation for dealing with illegal immigrants, which (logically) federal officials might be expected to welcome as needed bolstering of their efforts.

And the Obama regime’s response to Arizona’s initiative?

It filed suit against the state for what it characterized as an attempt to preempt federal authority (you know: the job that the Feds haven’t been doing).

Sure. That makes a lot of sense. (Cue the old cartoon of the dopey dog intoning: “Du-uuh…dat sounds log-i-cul.”)

It was a busy week for the Department of Justice. Far from Arizona (Philadelphia, to be precise), another high-profile case reclaimed the public’s attention.

Remember the 2008 election? Now, remember the ugly specter of the New Black Panther Party goons clad in black paramilitary garb and berets, wielding clubs outside a polling place? Well, that’s called “voter intimidation”—and it’s a federal crime. The sort of red meat upon which Justice Department attorneys feed. Justice has an entire unit devoted to this kind of stuff—and one might imagine they were all chortling with glee over the ease with which they’d be able to make this case. In fact, the goons made it even easier by not bothering to show up for the trial. Guilty, guilty, guilty. Summary judgment. An easy, slam-dunk conviction. All that remained was sentencing.

…until Obama’s Justice Department arbitrarily dropped the case without official comment. (Cue the dopey mutt, again.)

Justice officials also announced, however, that they’d be investigating the case of Johannes Mehserle (a transit cop—and white), convicted of manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant (who was being arrested at the time for his involvement in a public melee—and black). Meanwhile, comments and testimony furnished by former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams — assigned to the Voting Rights Section until his recent resignation — suggest a culture within Justice that vigorously prosecutes cases involving minority plaintiffs and white defendants, but seems to have no interest when the roles are reversed.

And then there’s NASA administrator Charles Bolden’s revelation that he was charged by Obama with the mission “…perhaps foremost, (to) find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science…and math and engineering.” (Sorry; even the dopey mutt’s scratching his head over this one.)

Of course, it could be argued that all this is, in fact, perfectly logical—but it makes no sense to us because we’re not viewing it all in the proper context.

For example, Senator John Kyl (R-AZ) recently revealed that during a private meeting with Obama, he’d reiterated his stance that the Mexican border must be secured before any comprehensive immigration reform measure could be considered. According to Kyl, Obama replied that “The problem is…if we secure the border, then you all (congressional Republicans) won’t have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform.” Kyl added that “In other words, they’re holding it (border security) hostage. They don’t want to secure the border unless and until it is combined with comprehensive immigration reform.” This, despite Kyl’s reminding Obama that both the President and Congress have a duty and a responsibility to secure the border—immigration “reform” notwithstanding. It follows, then, that anything that serves to enhance border security or otherwise combat illegal immigration runs counter to Obama’s agenda—so, he sics the Justice Department on Arizona.

In other words: in Obamaworld, the megalomaniac-in-chief’s political aims trump his Constitutional duties, federal law, the will of the people, and pretty much everything else.

Make sense, now?

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Posted in ballot, border security, corruption, election, hate crimes, illegal aliens, immigration, immigration reform, muslim, national security, obama, politics, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Crushed by a Rolling Stone?

Posted by The Curmudgeon on June 29, 2010

Was McChrystal thrown under the bus—or did he leap in front of it?

By now, the initial waves have settled in the departure of General Stanley McChrystal. He’s out, General David Petraeus is a virtual lock to be confirmed as his successor, and life goes on. Some are still sorting-out the particulars surrounding the affair and the events leading up to it, but it’s largely moot.

But, I’m gonna throw-in a few extra cents, anyway.

First of all, there’s still no clear picture of exactly what happened. Were McChrystal and his minions blind-sided by a far-left zealot of a reporter who duplicitously included details understood to be “off the record” — or did they believe their comments would be deemed acceptable? Rolling Stone has released the “factcheck” sheet supposedly approved by McChrystal’s people prior to publication of Michael Hastings’ piece (variously described as an “interview” and a “profile, with details provided over a period of weeks). On its surface, it appears pretty much in order with the lone apparent exception being the inclusion of McChrystal’s voting record. Beyond that, McChrystal (or one of his subordinates) seems to have been in agreement with Hastings’ account.

Now, I’d like to digress just a little and pose one question: What idiot would give any reporter (and especially one from such a liberal publication) unfettered access to follow him around recording and taking notes on everything that was heard and observed? Speaking from experience, soldiers with information worth imparting quickly identify whether a journalist is friend or foe—and know enough to keep their mouths shut when faced with the prospect of being second-guessed later. If it’s a “feel good” story, they’ll play along and wave and say “Hi” to Aunt Edna and Mom and Uncle Dewey and smile and reassure everyone they’re all just fine; otherwise, they clam-up and hold the interloper at arm’s length. (Wisely so.)

One would think that a four-star general and his staff would be at least that discreet.

Here’s another news flash: Soldiers gripe. They piss and moan. They complain. They bitch. And they cuss. And they say very unsavory things about senior leaders and politicians. This holds true from the lowliest buck private to the guys with stars; the difference is that the further one progresses up the chain of command, the more discreet one becomes. (Again, wisely so.)

Another news flash: The Army knows they’re all out there bitching and pissing and moaning and complaining. The Army tolerates this. Wanna know why? The answer is in some sage advice I was offered as a junior enlisted man: “A complaining soldier is a happy soldier. Soldiers believe they have a God-given right to bitch—as long as they’re also getting the job done. A soldier’s not happy unless he does have something to gripe about. Don’t worry about the complaints. You only worry if they stop; that would indicate that they’ve given up and no longer care—and then you have a real problem.”

Now, back to our recalcitrant general.

When this “profile” (or whatever it was) was published, many immediately jumped to the conclusion that Hastings had deliberately set out to write a “hit piece”…a hatchet job; truth be told, I wondered, myself. Then I read it.

I hate to disappoint my right-leaning friends, but…unless there were inclusions that had been expressly marked for omission, or comments taken out of context, Hastings doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong. There don’t appear to be any outright fabrications, and no one seems to be disputing that what was written accurately records what was said and done.

Again, we have to wonder: what the hell was McChrystal thinking? Did he approve this journalistic effort? Was he pressured to allow it? And why was Hastings allowed such broad access? It’s unthinkable that such a group of experienced, carefully selected senior military officials would be so loose-lipped in the presence of an outsider representing a faction generally seen as less than friendly—if not downright hostile.

I’ve not seen the question posed elsewhere, but…I gotta wonder: Did McChrystal deliberately provoke this confrontation with his boss? If so—to what end?

Let’s go back to McChrystal’s White House meeting with Barrack Hussein Obama. While many mainstream pundits lauded Obama’s decisiveness and criticized McChrystal for having left him (in their view) no viable alternative, they seemed to overlook the obvious: Every news report I saw stated clearly that McChrystal immediately tendered his resignation upon arrival for the meeting—and Obama accepted.

That’s not quite like being fired.

Now, consider that only two days ago Obama seemed to be distancing himself from his own pre-set withdrawal scheme for bringing troops home from Afghanistan, citing “a lot of obsession” about holding him to his announced withdrawal date and emphasizing that his focus is on making sure the mission there is successful. “I think that right now the debate surrounding Afghanistan is presented as either we get up and leave immediately because there’s no chance at a positive outcome, or we stay basically indefinitely and do quote unquote whatever it takes for as long as it takes.” He added that the planned July 2011 date to begin withdrawing troops does not mean the U.S. will “suddenly turn off the lights and let the door close behind us,” and posited that U.S. assistance to Afghanistan would continue “for a long time to come.” (Remember also that before the planned withdrawal begins, U.S. troop strength will first increase to 98,000.)

Interesting.

Recall that Obama hand-picked McChrystal for the job, and specifically asked him what he needed to take care of business. McChrystal gave his response—and Obama “dithered” (remember that term?) for an inordinately long time before issuing his reply. Ultimately, he agreed to give McChrystal about 75% of the requested troop strength.

Now, suppose you’re McChrystal, sitting in Afghanistan with only 75% of the force strength you’ve calculated necessary to get the job done—and a planned withdrawal date looming. Next, ask yourself: What’s my next assignment going to be? One of the realities of having those stars on your shoulders is that as time passes, there are fewer places to put you; there are strict limits placed on the number of slots available—fewer than there are personnel in which to put them. As each assignment draws to a close, then, somebody moves up—or is forced out. Given your length of service and past assignments, there would seem pretty slim pickings awaiting you at the end of the current tunnel. Moreover, you’re prosecuting a war under the still-controversial doctrine of counterinsurgency (COIN), and your own experience shows you that your commander-in-chief seems somewhat “disengaged” (according to the Hastings profile). Are the prospects for success good?

Okay…now revisit the damning comments appearing in the Hastings piece. Were they really so terrible? Unacceptable, to be sure—but not likely to taint someone for life. There’d be a few handsome scars. Nothing more.

Now speculate just a little on what McChrystal’s likely to do next. He’s already indicated to the Army that he’ll retire in the near future—a matter of a few months. Most likely, he’ll be a hot property on the lecture circuit for a time—and there’ll be no Army constraints placed on his comments, then. Further into the future, it’s conceivable that he might find himself sitting on a board of directors or two, probably a book deal, and the usual trappings that come to those of his background.

…all of which becomes less of a certainty if you botched your last assignment prior to retiring. On the other hand, if you bowed-out gracefully after chafing against restrictive policies, your reputation and integrity remain relatively intact—perhaps even enhanced.

Just food for thought.

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Posted in Afghanistan, McChrystal, Michael Hastings, national defense, national security, Petraeus, Rolling Stone, Senate confirmation, surge, terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

That Surreal Detour to Gander

Posted by The Curmudgeon on February 28, 2010

The most compelling 9/11-related story you probably never heard.

Toward the end of the recent onslaught of Olympics coverage, NBC aired a—…well, I’m not sure exactly how to categorize it. I suppose it’s loosely considered a “human interest” story.

Unlike most such fill-in pieces, though, this one was more. Much more.

There were several vignettes shown during the two weeks of the Olympics games; video of contestants as children, grinding training regimens, background information, local color, etc. The usual stuff.

This one, though, was nothing like that. It had nothing to do with the Olympics. In fact, one must wonder why it was included as part of the accustomed array of fillers, at all.

It deserved to stand alone.

For those who missed it, I urge you to find someone who recorded it. Watch it. It’s worth it. Tom Brokaw outdid himself—and it’s a story that deserves much more attention than it has received.

When we think back to the events of 9/11, we typically recall several things. These items vary somewhat from one individual to another, but there are some fairly common features. We were stunned at seeing the World Trade Center struck by airliners hijacked by fanatical killers. We seethed with a violent, impotent rage. We tried to think of something — anything — that we could do to help those affected. We heard of carloads of volunteers from across the nation who went to New York — nurses, paramedics, relief workers — without waiting to be asked for help. We wept at others’ staggering losses.

Somewhere in that mix (if you think hard enough), you might recall hearing about all those incoming transatlantic flights that were diverted to Gander, Newfoundland when the U.S. airspace system was shut down. You might even recall hearing about how the local residents opened their homes and their hearts to aid the stranded passengers and crews. Sadly, much of that story was overlooked (or soon forgotten) in the myriad events of the time; most of us know very little about one of the more compelling stories to arise from the horror of the 9/11 attacks.

Brokaw provided us with a poignant reminder.

A town of roughly 10,000 residents, two traffic lights, and exactly one four-lane roadway, Gander boasted a grand total of only a little over 500 hotel rooms; the good citizens of Gander and the surrounding area (notably Lewisporte) somehow managed to see to the needs of nearly 7,000 stranded voyagers—and they did it with a rare style. They didn’t have months to prepare; it just happened — as did pretty much everything else that happened that fateful day — without warning. Their response was immediate—and it was as heart-warming and inspiring as any on record.

For every traveler who needed a place to sleep, one was provided; no one was left wanting. Schools and community centers became improvised dormitories, with blankets, bedding, and pillows provided by the locals. Families traveling together were kept together—wherever they ended up. Special needs were met; needed medications were provided, kosher meals were arranged, elderly passengers were placed in private residences, and a pregnant traveler was taken-in by a family conveniently located immediately adjacent to a clinic. Other townspeople took empty-handed strangers into their homes, as well. They fed them. They gave them clothing. They prayed with them. They wept with them. They consoled them.

When they ran out, they got more. Lacking storage facilities for perishable goods, they improvised and temporarily turned a local ice-skating rink into what one humorously described as “the largest walk-in refrigerator in the country.” Nearby merchants opened their shops to those who lacked basic necessities—and much of the merchandise was simply given away.

They played the perfect hosts for three days—even becoming tour guides, entertaining their unexpected “guests” during the most trying of times. They furnished telephone service, email access, and televisions.

They asked nothing in return. When showered with thanks and accolades, they seemed to shrug it off as simply the right thing to do.

By the time the immediate crisis had ended and the “plane people” (as they’d come to be called) resumed their journeys, many enduring friendships had formed—the kind of friendships often spawned under the most adverse of circumstances. Some of the plane people in the years since have alternated between returning to visit their onetime hosts and playing hosts themselves to those who opened their homes to strangers in need. And two previously unacquainted travelers thrown together by adversity found romance; they married shortly thereafter.

When the plane people first arrived in Gander, they were told by a local official: “If there’s anything you need…anything at all…just ask. It will be taken care of. Bottom line.”

It seems safe to say that claim was backed up.

It’s been said that there’s no limit to the good that one man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.

It seems safe to say that assertion received some validation, as well.

____

 

Many of the once-stranded travelers sought ways to express their gratitude for the kindness that had been shown; one — Shirley Brooks Jones, by name — provided them with an avenue to do so. A retired Ohio State University fund-raiser, she proposed a scholarship fund and circulated pledge sheets shortly after her flight’s departure from Gander; by the time the much-delayed Delta Flight 15 finally landed in Atlanta a few hours later, some $15,000 had been pledged—but that was only the beginning.

Today, the fund lives on—now with a value on the order of nearly a million dollars.

 

For more information, see the Snopes entry: Snopes.com: Gander and Stranded Americans

There’s also a site for the scholarship fund: Gander Flight 15 Scholarship Fund

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Posted in 9/11, Brokaw, Gander, Newfoundland, Olympics, terrorism, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 10 Comments »

Salvaging a War

Posted by The Curmudgeon on December 2, 2009

Will it be enough?

Digging deeply into the brain cells for memories of my Army days (it has been a few years, after all), I seem to recall the standard approach for dealing with the supply system (and supply clerks) thusly: figure out how much you need, then double that amount and submit your requisition reflecting the inflated figure—and hope that you’ll receive at least half of what you originally sought. It was an accepted truism about military life that we’d never have everything we needed; we saluted smartly and cobbled-together what we could, made do with what we had, and did the best we could with what was available (the true impetus behind that “GI ingenuity” for which soldiers are renowned)—and hoped it’d be enough to get the job done.

We also figured that life got easier the further up the food chain one progressed. Just as it was a given that we’d have to connive and cajole to get what we needed, a few stars on one’s shoulders (that would be general-officer rank) supplanted a lot of begging with some real influence—and what The General wants, The General will get.

Against this backdrop, it’s important to note that Gen. Stanley McChrystal–Barack Obama’s hand-picked commander in Afghanistan–requested forty thousand troops…not the thirty thousand Obama announced he’s sending. (Eventually, that is; it’s going to take several months to start bringing these reinforcements into action—in addition to the three-month delay incurred while Obama dithered and dawdled, trying to make up his mind what to do.) We’re also told now that both McChrystal and his boss Gen. David Petraeus agree that the job can be done with 30,000; while that may be (they’re both soldiers, too; notwithstanding their lofty positions, they also know that padding requests has long precedent), they might also be merely biting the bullet in the wake of a Presidential decision that offers no alternatives. Whatever the case, the resulting situation raises some troubling questions.

Does the commander-in-chief really believe that the additional 10,000 troops aren’t needed—or did he make a political calculation, betting that the smaller force would be more palatable to the left? It’s no secret that ever-louder murmurs are emanating from his liberal base, upset that he hasn’t moved more quickly to end U.S. involvement in the region. It’s an uncharacteristic risk on Obama’s part, though, to slash McChrystal’s request. There’s a very real possibility that under-staffing the coming “surge” will serve only to create a bigger mess—and if the whole operation goes sour, the first question will be: What if he’d given McChrystal those extra 10,000 troops? Conversely, any attempt to blame the military leadership for future shortcomings will yield one guaranteed response from the Pentagon: “We told you so.”

Obama’s delay in announcing this decision has given rise to predictable doubts about our resolve as a nation—and seriously calls into question the President’s own level of commitment to a war that Obama himself deemed necessary…one from which he (again uncharacteristically) left himself no clear line of retreat. While he seems to have not (yet) adversely affected operations directly, the mere appearance of a commander-in-chief seeming so indecisive and risk-averse is disturbing. Is he really going to see this thing through? If so…then, to what end? How will success–or failure–be measured in the coming months? Moreover, he’s now also set a timeline for beginning the withdrawal of forces—potentially setting the stage for a waiting game with a clearly determined foe.

The Obama regime telegraphed a part of its message well in advance of his address: there’s deep concern in the White House about having a credible exit strategy. While it’s become common practice to think in such terms (and it admittedly makes some sense to establish an end-point rather than allowing operations to go on indefinitely), it’s unclear whether the true aim is to identify and accomplish a mission, then withdraw—or if it’s to determine a point at which a graceful and politically-acceptable retreat can be effected. By establishing an arbitrary date to begin withdrawing troops, Obama may well have painted himself into yet another corner should his timetable be upset—ultimately facing a hard choice between reneging on his withdrawal scheme (and further alienating his base) or throwing in the towel and exiting the region with the mission not completed.

And what of the troops assigned to the Afghanistan operation? Have they been consigned to failure, inadequately equipped for an impossible task? It’s a safe bet that there’s growing concern at the sharp end of the stick; seeing the President cut the legs from underneath the very commander he put in place–their commander–is certain to get the attention of soldiers already in harm’s way.

Stanley McChrystal has served this nation well for more than three decades. His credentials are substantial, and his word carries a great deal of weight—though not enough, apparently, for his commander-in-chief. Frankly, a part of me wishes that his answer to Obama would’ve gone something like this: “Look. You specifically hired me for this job. You asked me what was needed—and I answered you promptly. Had I thought the mission could be accomplished with an additional 30,000 troops, I’d have requested that number. I didn’t. I told you that 40,000 were needed. I also told you very explicitly that doing less than I recommended risks failure. So, if you–with your zero experience in military operations–think you can get the job done with those 30,000 troops, then knock yourself out. It’s obvious that my professional assessment backed by thirty-plus years’ experience means nothing to you, so it’s time for me to retire. Good luck, pal; I’m going fishing. Have a nice war.”

Instead, what will now play out is the time-honored practice of soldiers saluting smartly and setting about the business of cobbling-together what they can, making do with what they have, and doing the best they can with what’s available—and hoping it’ll be enough to get the job done.

Posted in Afghanistan, McChrystal, obama, surge, terrorism, war | 7 Comments »

Observations from the Middle of the Road

Posted by The Curmudgeon on November 26, 2009

A meandering mini-manifesto from the mythical Middle Majority

Somewhere in the ether between the extreme-left-wing ultra-liberal socialist pinko left and the extreme-right-wing ultra-conservative Neo-Fascist right lies the legitimate majority of the population, that elusive 51% that most accurately reflects the prevailing opinions and sentiments of the nation; pinpointing this group, however, is often difficult. Party affiliation severely blurs the picture (yes, there really are pro-choice Republicans who play golf and buy beer on Sundays…just as there are pro-life Democrats who attend church three times per week without fail). The plethora of polls intended to locate this “Joe Six-pack” center–I think of it as the mythical Middle Majority–often serve only to muddy the waters (I figure that since college football was for years allowed a “mythical national championship,” I’m entitled to a myth or two of my own).

The way I figure it, both extremes collectively account for a relatively small percentage of the populace—but their inclusion can skew the middle, making it difficult to define what is “middle of the road” on political issues. I’d suggest that most…say, about 50%-60%…fall somewhere between center-left, center, and center-right on most issues—party affiliation not withstanding (don’t bore me with lectures about bell-shaped curves, statistical analysis, standard deviations and the like, by the way; this is my bailiwick–and my opinion–so, yes, you may wish to comment, but…it’s nearly impossible to reasonably assess a mere opinion as either right or wrong). Moreover, our views on specific “hot button” issues don’t always allow categorization along philosophical or party lines, either, and sometimes move otherwise middle-of-the-road or even straight-ticket voters to adopt more extreme stances—even to the point of rendering them one-issue voters who make a vote/no vote decision about a candidate based exclusively on that candidate’s position regarding a single issue of particular concern. And they cross party lines to do so.

Based on entirely un-scientific methods (unless one wishes to so classify my own gut feeling), I’ll toss out a few thoughts which I believe closely approximate the views of the Middle Majority:

We don’t like Congress. We see that band of ne’er-do-wells as a necessary evil. Period. We resent their “I’m-above-the-law” and “I-know-what’s-best-for-you” attitudes. They spend actually working only a fraction of the time the ordinary citizen does. They travel unnecessarily and expensively—and stick us with the bill for it. They’re currently trying to force-feed to the populace a mammoth piece of health-care legislation from which they expressly exempt themselves (as they do with any other law they choose to ignore). They’re crooked. Though there may not be a direct exchange of cash from one had to another, they buy and sell their votes in the form of support or obstruction based on—well, that seems to not have a lot of rules, either. We’re tired of congressional figures cheating on the very taxes they levy on us, too.

Huge volumes could be written regarding our dislike of Congress; the above offers only a few examples.

We want legislation we can understand. It should be clear, simple, in understandable English (not legalese)—and brief. The time-honored standard for marathon reading is Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It took him years to complete. It is 1,225 pages long (1,475 pages, paperback). It takes the average reader…well, a long time to read. Congress is attempting to force passage of a bill that dwarfs Tolstoy’s masterwork at more than 2,000 pages—and it was assembled over a period of mere weeks. It would likely be months (if not years) before the ramifications of its passage–to say nothing of the hidden surprises–would be completely revealed. Coupled with the intense politicking on both sides…well, frankly, it scares Hell out of us.

What happened to “one issue, one bill, one simple vote”? Part of our dislike for–and mistrust of–Congress stems from its propensity for hidden agenda. What on earth has “hate-crimes” legislation to do with defense authorizations? Unable to ram-through that unwanted law any other way, however, they somehow attached it to funding for national defense—which few dared oppose. Politicians see this sort of thing as being business as usual and part of the political process; we, on the other hand, despise it as yet another means of forcing something on us that doesn’t belong.

We’re ready for term limits—and we’re really ready for congressional term limits. There’s a reason that House terms are set at two years. The Founders never intended for this to become job security. From the moment these people manage to achieve “incumbent” status, though, their first order of business is to work on their re-election…over and over again. For as long as the law will let them.

Yes, we hate taxes. But we know they’re necessary, so we pay them. What we hate more than taxes is a tax code so convoluted that no one understands it. If the tax code was worth a damn, all those tax-return preparation agencies wouldn’t exist; we’d be able to do it ourselves. Oh, and we don’t like cabinet members who are revealed to be tax cheats—and we really don’t like members of Congress who cheat on their taxes (especially the crook who chairs the committee that writes the tax code that bedevils the rest of us).

We’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of William Shakespeare—especially that bit about killing all the lawyers.

To be sure…when we need a lawyer, we want a vicious, ruthless, blood-sucking, cutthroat bastard par excellence advocating on our behalf; when the dirty work is done, however, we expect him to quietly crawl back under his rock where he belongs—not to change careers and run for Congress. (We’ve noted that the political process has been pretty well defiled at a rate that tracks well with the rising ratio of lawyers in Congress—which probably also explains that crap they try to pass off as legislation…which we can’t read because it’s all legalistic gobbledygook interlaced with hidden agenda items.)

We as a people champion the underdog. On the other hand…while we don’t feel quite right having to side with mega-corporations beset by nuisance lawsuits, we can’t bear to have our sense of fair play insulted, either. If you’ve genuinely been treated unfairly or wronged in any way, we want you to get justice—but we don’t like seeing the legal system subverted through your (more correctly: your lawyer’s) ridiculous demands that your stupidity be indemnified by the courts…no matter how hot your coffee was. We also cringe if your “just compensation” exceeds what we see as a reasonable amount; for you to be awarded twenty bazillion dollars in damages for having stubbed your toe while entering Megabuck, Inc.’s world headquarters seriously offends our sensibilities—and again forces us into the uncomfortable position of siding against “the little guy” (and his blood-sucking lawyer, of course).

Here’s an idea: after every civil suit, have the case immediately reviewed by a panel (preferably including at least one member who isn’t a lawyer) to determine whether the case should have been brought to court in the first place. If this panel concludes that it was a “frivolous” or “nuisance” suit (often little more than shakedown attempts) that should never have seen the light of day, the plaintiff’s lawyer then has to reimburse both the court and the defendant for all costs associated with the trial. Think that might cut down on the caseload? (Count this as an endorsement for tort reform.)

Apollo 11 went to the moon and back in 1969. The electrical power needs of the craft were met by a hydrogen fuel cell…one that even produced fresh water as a by-product—and one based on technology that had already been around for decades. Only a few years later came the Arab oil embargo—when we realized that our dependence on foreign oil jeopardized our national security. At about the same time, we also concluded that the massive amounts of pollutants being discharged into the atmosphere when we drove our cars were having a range of effects that we still haven’t entirely tallied-up.

…so, why–forty years later–are we still importing and burning that oil? Why haven’t we moved on to a better power source? (Yes, some fuel cells have finally become available—but relatively few, and much later than they should have been on the market. And there are other alternate sources to consider, as well.) If the Federal government–which clearly enjoys sticking its tentacles pretty much everywhere–really wants to do some major good, this would seem a logical area.

By the way…we’re not entirely in love with nuclear power plants, either—but we’d rather deal with those than kiss the backsides of a bunch of sheiks. Just don’t build any more of the damned things on known fault lines.

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 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.

Speaking of political correctness…we’re sick of it. We’ve quietly tolerated (foolishly) its gradual insinuation into our lives. We have at various junctures over the years laughed at its manifestations, ridiculed it, and shaken our heads in disgust; unfortunately, we also allowed it. Perhaps the recent massacre at Ft. Hood finally snapped us out of our complacency with the many references to the role political correctness may have played in enabling a terrorist to murder thirteen people. Whatever the case, voices are now being raised as never before–whether borne of outrage, fear, disgust, or exasperation–and the groundswell seems to be gaining momentum. Finally. We’ve grown weary of being dismissed as “racist” even for something as fundamental as criticizing the guy in the White House, we now cringe at the overuse of terms like “insensitive” and “inappropriate,” and we bristle at being labeled “homophobic” for having the audacity to oppose the promotion of “gay pride” rallies and parades—and become downright hostile at what we see as the brain-washing of the young via classroom indoctrination designed to compel acceptance of same-sex activities. (“Homophobe” is incorrect, anyway; there’s no fear–”phobia”–at issue. We’re fed-up…and that’s all there is to it.)

On a closely related matter…we don’t like the idea of having same-sex marriages sanctified by law. Of course, the days are long since gone when homosexual activity would likely lead to a jail cell; we have become much more accepting of what consenting adults do behind closed doors. There’s a reason, though, why initiatives to legalize same-sex marriage are batting zero on state ballots: adopting an accepting, laissez-faire attitude toward personal relationships is one thing—granting such activity an officially-sanctioned status (particularly with its concomitant implications for matters such as family health insurance coverage) is quite another matter. Furthermore, we don’t like the feeling of being compelled to embrace activities we view as lifestyle choices; we consider ourselves reasonable, fair people with a basic “live-and-let-live” philosophy—and force-feeding us anything invites resistance.

Back to those incessant claims of racism: give it a rest, already. The current climate makes us yearn for the relatively good old days (which we also detested, at the time) of “playing the race card” as a last desperate measure. We saw through it then, too. Now, the dreaded label of “racist” has become the first resort. We particularly object to such charges being leveled by those whose own actions reveal their racism (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Louis Farrakhan come immediately to mind). Political candidates running on this theme do so in a clear attempt to polarize, pandering to the minority vote. Time for them all to move on to another teat; this one’s been milked dry. No one outside the liberal media and those mental giants in Hollywood is buying it, anymore—while resistance within the populace is rapidly strengthening (again, long overdue).

We learned all about John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, and judicial review back in about the sixth grade. We accept that as an established part of the system. We also know there’s supposed to be some reasonable limit to a judge’s authority—and we know judicial activism when we see it. We grow livid when some among us go through the trouble of having an initiative placed on a ballot, voted on, passed by a wide margin—then shot down in flames by an activist judge anxious to make his or her mark by discovering yet another Constitutional “right” neither conferred nor intended by the Founding Fathers.

…and we noticed that Sonia Sotomayor pretty much has all the bases covered: blatantly activist, racist, and sexist. And they say justice is blind.

Yes, we’re utterly convinced that the so-called “mainstream media” (which doesn’t represent mainstream thinking, at all) has a left-wing bias; hell, even they know it—and many of them seem mighty proud of it. We in increasing numbers have largely given up on the three so-called “major” network news bureaus and most of the print media in favor of Fox News and the multitudes of web news sources. Do we really believe that Fox is as “fair and balanced” as it claims? Hard to say. Some probably do. Without question, though, Fox does at least serve to balance-out some of the obviously slanted barrage of their leftist counterparts, anyway—and frequently brings to light stories that would no doubt have died quiet deaths in its absence.

We are especially galled by what Bernard Goldberg calls the “slobbering love affair” that ensued when media met Obama. The media’s traditional role has been one of probing and “vetting” potential candidates, to the point of knowing even how Jimmy Carter cleaned his teeth and how frequently Ronald Reagan’s wife consulted astrologers. Though there’s long been a generally more-favorable presentation of liberals than of conservative candidates, at least there was until recently a semblance of an effort to appear even-handed, anyway. No more. It’s astonishing how readily the media hopped aboard the Obama train—even going so far as to devour their own when there appeared among them a rare dissenting voice. The result? The ascension to the White House of a man whose obsession with secrecy surpasses even Richard Nixon’s—and about whom we still know precious little…and he sure as hell isn’t volunteering anything, either. Even more puzzling is the newsies’ tolerance for the obvious condescension served-up by the Obama regime on a regular basis when dealing with even prominent media figures.

The war(s) in Afghanistan and Iraq are causing the Middle Majority some pretty major angst. On the one hand, we see a need for military action in one or both; on the other hand, we’re concerned about the cost in lives, money, and political capital versus what’s been gained for our expenditure. The one uniting issue is our support for the troops—and we’re wary of seeing them largely abandoned to an uncertain goal.

Islam stands as one of the most troubling issues of our time. We absolutely and jealously guard our religious freedom, and are quick on the trigger when this fundamental right is threatened. We’ve also noted, though, how many acts of terrorism at home and abroad have been committed in the name of Islam—and the lack of condemnation within the Muslim population(s) of such acts (to the contrary, there are frequently indications of broad approval). Yet, we feel a need to tread carefully when mentioning Islam and terrorism at the same time. Or even on the same day. Contrast this treatment with, say, the Federal government’s handling of the Branch Davidians at Waco, who were dismissed as pretty much a fringe cult—and summarily crushed. The prevailing view is that speaking against Muslims in any way risks allegations of “hate speech”—and “hate crimes.”

Cries of “hate speech” and “hate crime” are not hollow complaints; they can subject the accused to fines and imprisonment for something as trivial as referring to a homosexual as a “homo” (while the shortened version of “heterosexual” is acceptable. Gee.). The steady designation of various groups as somehow endangered and in need of special consideration (as opposed to the legal standard of “equal protection under the law”) has pervaded society and the legal system. The Middle Majority’s view of such goings-on is mixed and complex; we believe in protecting those who are threatened and in short-circuiting routes that may lead to something akin to the Holocaust—but we’re not so sure about this practice of essentially conferring “endangered species” status on seemingly endless groups for reasons that aren’t at all clear. We regard the practice as unnecessary—and what exactly is a “love crime,” anyway?

We got very bent out-of-shape when Homeland Security announced which groups warrant close observation for signs of “home-grown terrorism” leanings—and which ones don’t. (The first two I thought of were the Internal Revenue Service and the National Education Association—but, that’s just me.) Apparently, a gaggle of senior citizens waving tea bags at protest rallies constitutes a greater threat than guys wearing turbans and shrieking “Allah u akhbar!” Who knew? The Middle Majority suspects this is related to the widely-held belief that dissent is only acceptable when it’s done by liberals and Democrats—who are clearly more experienced in such pursuits (“Don’t try this at home, kids. Remember: we’re professionals.”). And then there are all those returning veterans—who (presumably) somehow became radicalized while fighting those Islamic terrorists who (presumably) aren’t out to destroy us. Except the ones who hijack airliners and crash them into buildings. Or who blow-up buildings. While shrieking “Allah u akhbar!”

Abortion. Frankly, after more than four decades of hearing about this one, I wish it’d just go away. I’ll come out of the closet as pro-choice (much to the annoyance of many family members)—but I admittedly speak only for myself on this one. I do not agree with “late-term” abortions, however, except when the mother’s physical health is at risk—and only upon the advice of her physician; “partial-birth” abortions are simply murder. Note that this is not an invitation to debate the issue; I don’t even want to hear about it—let alone discuss it. It’s pointless, as virtually everyone is already firmly entrenched in his/her opinion and unlikely to be swayed. As for the how the rest of the Middle Majority feels about it…you figure it out. I’m tired.

Illegal immigration and border security are major issues for the MM crowd. They’re not “undocumented workers”; they’re illegal aliens. They entered the country illegally. And they’re aliens. What’s difficult to understand about that? We consider the term “open border” an oxymoron—emphasis on the “moron” part. We don’t think the economy will self-destruct from the reduction in cheap labor. We are very concerned about who else is sneaking across our porous borders along with the poor folks looking for work. We’re sick of a Congress that simply isn’t getting the message. We’re thoroughly disgusted with a government that refuses to discharge its most basic responsibility: securing and protecting the nation. Get it? Oh, and…amnesty? Don’t even think about it. Path to citizenship? Here’s one: go back to square one–that’d be where they came from–and start over again. And this time…do it legally.

The deficit. Hel-loooo-oooo? Twelve trillion. Depending on how it’s all computed, maybe eighteen trillion. And counting. It looks like this: $12,000,000,000,000 . What more needs to be said but: “Please, don’t tell Obama what comes after ‘trillion,'” and “Stop spending money you don’t have!” The rest of us have to balance our checkbooks; why doesn’t the government?

Health care reform. We don’t trust our health care to the Federal government—and certainly not to Congress (you know; those guys who’ve been busily cutting deals behind closed doors). Oh, and, by the way…whatever gave rise to this notion that anyone loves insurance companies? We’ve all spent more time swearing at them than Pelosi, Reid, and Obama combined. Get real. We see the current “reform” attempt for what it really is: a power-and-money-grabbing scheme that has nothing to do with reforming health care. We don’t want “socialized” anything. We don’t trust a Congress that compels us to accept a system from which it exempts itself. And don’t think we’re fooled by all those re-writes, either; they’re nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to conceal items we’ve already rejected, sneaking them in via an esoteric Trojan horse that’s carefully crafted to be incomprehensible.

Gun control. We have it, already. It’s called the Second Amendment. Great reading. Somebody show it to Schumer.

Need more? Just ask. Have opinion—will write.

 

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