Out and About on a Sunday

Terribly sorry to hear of the death of Vice President Biden’s son, Beau. I can only imagine the pain. One Catholic to another, I ask Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, to pray for the repose of the soul of Beau Biden, and for the comfort of his family and friends.

Yes, I realize they are all also-rans – but we’ve now got O’Malley and Sanders in the race against Hillary, and we can shortly expect Lincoln Chaffee to join the lists. Keep in mind that Biden still might get in, as may former Senator Webb and Senator Warren. Obama was also supposed to be an also-ran in 2008, you know? Hillary may be the giant who only needs a slight shove to fall down. What is rather funny is that all three Democrats in the race are talking up how bad things are as if a certain Democrat hadn’t been in charge since 2009. Winning a third term in the White House is a tricky thing. It has only happened once since World War Two when the elder Bush rode Reagan’s coat tails into office…anyone want to tell me that a Democrat can ride Obama’s record into office?

The decline in GDP of 0.7% in Q1 2015 is interesting – and I’d likely have more to say on it if I had any real interest in government statistics. Given how relentlessly dishonest our government is, I just don’t trust that is the true number. I’m highly doubtful that it was better than the announced figure because if it was, they’d have gone with that – one is left to assume that the reality is much worse.

Latest mindblowingly dumb Democrat idea – make gun owners get liability insurance in order to curb gun violence. Like a person contemplating a crime will make sure his insurance is in order before he acts…

Some people are talking up a rise in crime rates of late – there does seem to be some evidence of it but before I join the bandwagon on this, I want to see how things go for a while. It could just be a statistical blip…or it could well be, as some claim, that the police are deciding that if enforcing the law means you might be hauled into court like those cops in Baltimore, then maybe its better to turn a blind eye…

A lot of liberals went nuts over the armed demonstration in front of an Islamic center in Arizona. I didn’t. Now, those who pay attention know that I’m not in favor of drawing insulting pictures of anyone’s religion, even of Islam. So, have I changed? Nope. People have a perfect right to demonstrate peacefully and to keep and bear arms in the United States – even if they are demonstrating peacefully while keeping and bearing the arms. Demonstrating, as such, does not insult anyone. And as I recall some of the rather anti-Catholic demonstrations by liberals out in front of Catholic churches, I take liberal outrage here with about ten pounds of salt.

The guy who drew the Stalinist “Hope” poster for Obama is disappointed in Obama – and in the American people. From what I’ve read, we’re just not commie enough, and neither is Obama. I guess he’s right – even about Obama. After all, we’re nearly six and a half years in and Obama hasn’t called out the Kulaks by name.

Walker has the early lead in Iowa. Right now, its Anybody But Bush. Or Christie. Or Graham. Or Trump, if he gets in (the Donald does seem to be getting ready to jump in).

Bob Schieffer doesn’t know where we get our news from these days. Here’s a clue for ya, Bob: we don’t get it from the MSM because the MSM doesn’t report it . If you did, we wouldn’t have President Obama and Hillary would be facing indictment.

And, now, St Joan of Arc:

JOAN of Arc was not stuck at the cross-roads, either by rejecting all the paths like Tolstoy, or by accepting them all like Nietzsche. She chose a path, and went down it like a thunderbolt. Yet Joan, when I came to think of her, had in her all that was true either in Tolstoy or Nietzsche, all that was even tolerable in either of them. I thought of all that is noble in Tolstoy, the pleasure in plain things, especially in plain pity, the actualities of the earth, the reverence for the poor, the dignity of the bowed back. Joan of Arc had all that and with this great addition, that she endured poverty as well as admiring it; whereas Tolstoy is only a typical aristocrat trying to find out its secret. And then I thought of all that was brave and proud and pathetic in poor Nietzsche, and his mutiny against the emptiness and timidity of our time. I thought of his cry for the ecstatic equilibrium of danger, his hunger for the rush of great horses, his cry to arms. Well, Joan of Arc had all that, and again with this difference, that she did not praise fighting, but fought. We KNOW that she was not afraid of an army, while Nietzsche, for all we know, was afraid of a cow. Tolstoy only praised the peasant; she was the peasant. Nietzsche only praised the warrior; she was the warrior. She beat them both at their own antagonistic ideals; she was more gentle than the one, more violent than the other. Yet she was a perfectly practical person who did something, while they are wild speculators who do nothing.

~G.K. Chesterton: “Orthodoxy,” III.—The Suicide of Thought.</i>


Just a Few Things

Bernie Sanders is out there plugging for a top marginal rate of 90% – typical socialist nonsense, to be sure, but it just occurred to me: the rate doesn’t matter as much as everyone being treated the same for tax purposes. The problem isn’t in what rate we have, but who is getting special treatment. If it were really true that above a certain income amount everyone pays 90% of that to Uncle Sam, it would probably be bad…but what is worse is when some people at, say, $250,000 a year get hit with it and others making the same amount don’t. Same thing with corporations. The thing is our tax code is riddled with exceptions for various groups – over the years all manner of special favors have been written into it and so while the official rate is X, only some people pay that…others who managed to get the ear of a Congresscritter pay less. Set a rate and stick to it – no one gets a break from it, for anything. That, I think, would create the political will to ensure that all tax rates are set rationally…and, by the way, taxing 90% of someone’s income is irrational….the super rich you are theoretically going after with such a rate don’t pay that tax because they don’t make much taxable income. The extreme example is the Clinton slush fund – a “charity” which is mostly concerned with keeping Bill and Hillary and their hangers-on living a plush life. Make the top marginal rate 100% and you still won’t touch their slush fund…nor the various other slush funds built up by the super-rich to hold on to their money. 25% is probably a reasonable highest marginal rate, if we don’t got for a flat tax.

The “Iraqis” don’t want to fight for Ramadi. There’s a simple reason for that – there are no Iraqis. You see, Iraq was an administrative convenience for the British Empire…some territory they grabbed in the carve-up of the Ottoman Empire after World War One. Keep in mind that the Brits in 1918 never envisioned the end of the British Empire: those people back then fully expected British rule in Iraq to be continuing to this day. Joe Biden took a lot of flack prior to the Iraq War for suggesting a partition of the nation…in my view, it was one of the few sensible things the man ever said. I went along with Bush’s desire for a unified, democratic Iraq because that became the plan and I hoped it would work out. It actually might have, had we not abandoned Iraq under Obama. Be that as it may, the true state of Iraq is now in sharp relief: the people living in the nation of are different nationalities with not too much concern one nationality to another. At this point, trying to keep Iraq together is probably a lost cause…the Shia and the Sunni don’t like each other, the Kurds appear to want no real part of it and there are plenty of other minority peoples who would probably agree to pretty much any other arrangement than current. Whether or not some sort of Iraqi Confederation can be put together is an unknown – but the concept that a unitary Iraqi State governed from Baghdad is in the cards absent massive U.S. military intervention is almost certainly a non-starter.

Why we can’t argue with liberals – this article says that persons of color must have a “safe space” where they can discuss there issues. Such a place must have no white people in it, because that would change the dynamic once those white people are present – which is an assumption that all white people are racists and that all non-white people are fearful of white people. This, of course, would be a racist view to hold – but liberals have their “out” on that in their claim that only people with power can be racist…which is, of course, to make another racist statement that all white people have power and no non-white people have any. There’s no way for us to win this argument – so, let’s just de-fund the left, get rid of them, and go on with a rational society.

Memorial Day Open Thread

Sorry for not having this up earlier – and for not having anything interesting to write about this important day. My internet connection got some gremlins last night and I was unable to really get anything done.

At all events, do take some time today to remember our fallen – those who really did give the last, full measure of devotion to our nation. We owe our existence as a people to them and we can never repay the men and women who gave all for us.

Out and About on a Friday

So, we had an earthquake in Nevada. We then had rain. The end of the world was expected momentarily, but all we got was a traffic jam on the US 95.

Senate GOP revives Pelosi’s “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it” policy re: legislation. We’ve given Obama the go-ahead on trade authority…as if anything Obama negotiates could possibly be to the advantage of the United States. That is bad enough – but no one will even tell us what’s in the trade deal. And the GOP leadership wonders why it has a popularity problem…

The economic data just hasn’t been all that great lately. Our government’s solution? Change the data.

Your new car has a computer and a complex program to run the car – manufacturers are arguing that while you own the car, you only own a license to the computer program which runs your car. My view? Not so fast. Suck it up, manufacturers. You want to put all these clever gizmos in the car to get us to by it, fine – but what I pay for I own, completely.

Yeah, Hillary is just as corrupt as we all thought.

Apparently, fighting climate change is the first step to defeating ISIS.

Roger Simon is rather upset about the state of the world. I agree with him on that. But I disagree on the PATRIOT Act thing – I don’t care if we can’t show anyone in particular harmed by it: I don’t trust any government but particularly this government to have that much information on that.

Memorial Day is Monday. It ain’t about the barbecue:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.- John McCrae, 1915

The Iraq War Was not a Mistake

As I noted before, the MSM is asking the GOP Presidential candidates the question, and the GOP candidates are all blowing it – the most recent entrant in the “Get It Wrong With a Gotcha” is Marco Rubio. I realize that the Iraq War is now the most unpopular thing which ever happened, ever, but that still doesn’t make it a mistake. At least in Rubio’s case, the question was honestly posed by Chris Wallace – it was more of, “granted that Bush believed it was the right thing to do then, do you believe it was the right thing to do now?”. The answer to that is an unequivocal “yes”.

Invading Iraq was the right thing to do in 2003. This doesn’t mean it was the only possible course of action open to us. But something had to be done about Saddam’s regime and we had the power to do it. Sure, you can go back and say we should have started arming rebels and sending Special Forces in to work the overthrow of the Saddam regime. Probably would have worked – but who would we have been arming? The people who now make up ISIS? Good chance we would have. One thing I think we’ve all learned is that arming Muslim rebels very often means arming the next set of problems. We could also have left Saddam alone – and now we’d be worrying about an Iraqi nuke along with an Iranian nuke – along with untold number of other problems a Saddam regime would have stirred up over the past 12 years. Among the possible options, President Bush choose invasion – and he was right to do so. And our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fought with splendid devotion and courage and secured a victory for the United States, and the world. The victory was thrown away by our current President, but that doesn’t make Bush’s decision wrong, nor the sacrifices of our military in vain.

Winston Churchill in his book about World War One – The World Crisis – asserted that it is unfair to criticize someone for actions taken in the past unless the same substantial criticism was made to the decision-maker prior to the decision being made. Unless you’ve got someone from 2003 saying that the liberation of Iraq would result in a 5 year counter-insurgency operation – and showing how you know it would happen and what forces would be involved – then you’ve got no criticism to make about the decision to go into Iraq. You may use the Iraq war as a reason for, say, not going into Syria in 2015, but you can’t use knowledge gained in 2004 to condemn a decision made in 2003.

In human affairs, there is no “correct” answer in that a decision can be made which will 100% work out correctly all the time. Everything is a judgement – a balance of risks against rewards. A wise man hesitates before making a decision – but once the decision is made, moves with celerity to carry it out. And once made, all one can do is the best he or she can. Criticize and condemn the Iraq war all you wish – but to call it a mistake in the sense of “Bush should have known better in 2003″ is to presume to impossible knowledge.

Memo to Conservatives: Don’t Trust the MSM on Pope Francis Quotes

A couple days ago, a lot of conservatives got really ticked off at Pope Francis over an alleged quote calling PA leader Abbas an “angel of peace”. Looks like it wasn’t quite like that – via Stephen Kruiser over at PJ Media:

As is tradition with heads of State or of government, Francis presented presented a gift to the Palestinian leader, commenting: “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”

As Kruiser points out, exhorting someone to be an angel of peace is not exactly the same as calling them an angel of peace. Kruiser further notes the puzzling fact that many on the right – who wouldn’t trust the MSM on anything – blithely swallow whatever the MSM is putting out about the Pope…as if the MSM actually likes the Pope and would actually do him a favor!

Keep in mind regarding Vatican dealings with the PA that there is a small and highly oppressed Christian minority in the West Bank and no one in the world – other than the Vatican – cares about them. In order to secure any sort of peace and justice for this minority, the Vatican has to work with the PA…and this means walking a very, very fine line. You can complain about it all you want, but until someone with power steps forth to protect the Christians of the West Bank, that is the way it will be.

Anyone thinking that Pope Francis is the “commie Pope” just doesn’t understand Pope Francis or the Catholic Church. Kruiser further points out to anyone thinking that Pope Francis is a liberal should note that a very early act of Francis was to defrock and excommunicate a priest who was in favor of gay marriage and female ordination. For those of you who aren’t Catholic, I’ll make something very clear – the Pope cannot unilaterally change doctrine. Pope Francis will not proclaim same-sex marriage, nor modification of the pro-life message, nor female ordination. It just won’t happen. Ever.

For those hung up on Francis’ condemnations of consumerism and capitalism: lump it. The Church has always condemned capitalism and consumerism. It didn’t like it when the Liberals of the Manchester School were using it to grind up the workers of Britain any more than it likes it today. It never will like it – because profit, as a thing, must never be the prime motivation of economic activity. All actions, to be moral, must have as their motive the betterment of humanity. If you can make a profit while doing that, knock yourself out…but if profits start to come before the needs of men and women, then you’re doing it wrong. How we decide to balance the needs of humanity with the needs of profit in work is a prudential judgement – the Church makes no commands about how you do it, other than you must not lie, cheat, steal, poison the environment or screw over your workers while doing it.

End of rant – and may everyone have a blessed Sunday!

Would You Vote to Authorize the Iraq War?

The MSMers, true to form, are asking all the GOP candidates this question. They haven’t quite got around to asking Hillary, even though she’s the only candidate on either side who did, indeed, vote for the Iraq War. As to why they are asking the question: battle space preparation. They know the Democrats can’t realistically run on Obama’s record, so might as well try to get the issue being Bush, again.

The question is phrased along the lines of, “knowing what we now know, would you have authorized the Iraq war?”. All of the GOP candidates are answering it wrong – mostly by trying to answer it. The proper response to the question is to dismiss it as absurd – because it is absurd. It would be like Asking FDR in the run up to the 1944 election, “knowing what you now know, would you have allowed the Navy to kick it on Sundays rather than having at least half the fleet at sea at any given time?”. Of course the answer is, “I would have had the fleet at battle stations at all times!”. But its a stupid question, all the same. When the decision to invade Iraq was made, we didn’t know what we now know – and a good deal of what we now know is only known because we invaded Iraq. Had we decided not to invade Iraq, a whole series of different issues would confront us today.

The proper way to respond to the question is to state that one doesn’t know what decision he or she would have made at the time, not being privy to every bit of information provided to the President who made the actual decision, with the full support of the American people and the Congress, including Hillary Clinton…but that if any decision comes up about whether or not to use force, it will be made with all due care. To answer “yes” makes you look thick headed, to answer “no” is to presume to impossible knowledge…and to, incidentally, insult every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine who served in Iraq…and especially those who were killed or wounded. It is telling them that their sacrifice was in vain.

Republicans really got to get smart about this – the MSM is going to do nothing but try to destroy Republicans. Every question should be taken in that sense – what bad answer is the MSM trying to get out of me? Will what I say make me look bad to LIV? As 90% of MSM questions are absurd, partisan hackery, the best response is to be dismissive of 90% of their questions and just use any opportunity to speak as a chance to condemn Obama and the eventual Democrat nominee for their 8 years of failure…and then move immediately into talking points about how you’re doing to fix the failures. Don’t play the MSM game – the are just Democrats with by lines and they are out to get you.