A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Birdnow vs. Darwin

I take on Darwin in my latest at the American Thinker.

Let me state for the record; I am not a Creationist in the strict sense of the word, and I believe that God created Life using natural mechanisms. That said, what I object to is the slavish devotion to a theory which leaks so profusely. It strikes me that Darwinists believe far more than they think. They defend Darwin because they think admitting Darwin`s problems will be tantamount to a return to the Dark Ages, where scientists will be burned at the stake for being rational. That they themselves are the ones doing the burning never seems to occur to the rabid defenders of Darwin. If we are to be rational, let`s look at the matter rationally.

Darwin has been given a free pass for over a hundred years, largely because he has been a useful tool for the left to recreate society in a mold which is more agreeable to them. Darwin can be used to justify all manner of things, from a libertine sexual more to abortion and euthenasia, to socialist despotism. Darwin has been a particularly handy club with which to beat Christianity. Because it serves so useful a purpose, most of its proponents fight doggedly in it`s favor despite increasing evidence against it. None seek any alternative, because for far too long Big Science and liberalism has invested their hopes in this theory.

I neither support nor condemn Intelligent Design, but I support it`s study because we need to open our minds on this issue. Darwinism is like the Geocentric theory of the Universe; it seems to make more sense than the crazy idea that the Earth merely revolves around the Sun. (Both the Heliocentric and Geocentric theories had epicycles, in which the planets had to move backwards in their orbits at times. Copernicus was unable to eliminate this particular problem; it was up to Johanne Kepler who realized that the orbits were eliptical!) Darwinists stand in the position of the old Geocentrics, fighting desperately to hold onto a collapsing theory and worldview.

I suspect that 100 years from now, people will smile at the quaint, silly superstition known as Darwinism which we hold as gospel truth today.

Sharia and the Iraqi Constitution

Is the new Iraqi Constitution going to bite us in the posterior? There are certainly some disturbing elements to consider.

It`s hard to imagine any legal document in the Mideast not mentioning the traditional role of Islam (unlike that Frankenstein`s Monster the EU tried to foist off on Europe which completely ignored Christianity) but if this document is to produce real reform, it must limit Islam`s role. After all, why are we there in the first place? We are trying to reform the regime to put an end to terrorism. The only way we can adequately reform the Mideast is to impose limitations on the political influence of Islam; rather like our ``seperation of Church and State`` here in America. Islam may advise, but not govern.

Ultimately, Iraq needs freedom of religion, and needs it badly. Islam must weaken it`s iron grip on the region, and that means it must become one alternative in a pluralistic society. The best thing which could happen to Iraq would be the growth of other, more peaceable religions inside of its` borders. The people of the region need to be given different ways of looking at the world, need to attain a fresh perspective on things. Islam demands submission (that is, after all, the meaning of the word) and will crush anyone who thinks differently if given the power. That is why the role of Islam must be reduced; it needs to become a competing religion. If it is given dominance it will destroy.

I fear recognizing Islam`s dominance in the Iraqi Constitution may be a serious mistake, born of political fortunes rather than need. Acknowledging Islam`s traditional role is fine, but this Constitution needs ironclad guarantees that Islam will not be master-otherwise everything our soldiers have fought and died for will be in vain.

A Planned Partisan Attack in Crawford

Byron York, writing in NRO today, shows that Cindy Sheehan is more than the distraught mother she pretends to be. Professional protest organizer Lisa Fithian has been with her since before the beginning, putting the lie to the claim that Sheehan did this on her own accord out of grief.

I suspected as much; Cindy Sheehan comes across as an aging hippie still fighting the Power and Vietnam. I never believed that her protest was anything but a politically motivated stunt, and I suspected there were leftist forces behind her from the beginning. What mother would so dishonor her child in that child`s name as Ms. Sheehan has done? Only a frothing-at-the-mouth partisan would essentially spit on their kids grave. Cindy`s son was a volunteer, and he died for what he believed in. Cindy has besmirched everything her son fought and died for, and has done so publicly and repeatedly.

That the mainstream press has failed to mention the minor detail of Lisa Fithian`s presence speaks volumes, both about the complete bias of the media and about what is really happening on that dusty road outside of Crawford.

This is yet more proof that we need regime change in the media.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

...We Will Lose Our Country`s Battles- On The Land And On The Sea!

David Limbaugh nails the anti-war ``patriots`` at Townhall.

Tears for Terrorists

Just more proof that the U.N. is dangerously ignorant and useless.

The U.N. is demanding that Britain not deport any Jihadists if there is a danger they may be tortured or mistreated back home. (What, I wonder, would the U.N. consider torture? Maybe a Pauly Shore movie marathon?)

I find it hard to worry about the fate of someone who is calling for the blood of innocent people. Why, pray tell, are these deportees going to be facing torture or mistreatment if they are deported? Generally because they are wanted criminals in their homelands. If they are afraid of going home, perhaps they should stop calling for the destruction of their host country.

Maybe we can house these at-risk terrorists in the United Nations building! They can`t be any worse than the gang of cut-throats, rapists, and embezzlers who now occupy those hallowed halls.

If the U.N. is so concerned about this, why don`t they get on board with the President and work on providing a solution, rather than continuing to perpetuate the problem?

Birdnow v. Pinkerton and Able Danger

I haven`t weighed in on the Able Danger issue yet, and I`m not really going to now since I think the 911 Commission`s purpose should have been obvious all along; why else were the likes of Jamie Gorelick and Richard Ben-Viniste put on the panel? Why wasn`t Gorelick removed when her role in the ``wall of separation`` came to light? What was a former Watergate Stormtrooper doing there? It was apparent to me from the beginning that the whole purpose of this commission was to act as a political club with which to beat the President. Able Danger merely fleshes out what I suspected all along-namely, that we had intelligence during the Clinton years which were ignored or mishandled.

The Clinton Presidency was characterized by an unwillingness to act if it had the potential to harm the President`s political fortunes or popularity. Clinton`s normal response to any stimuli was to take action to defer a problem, rather than deal with it. He didn`t care what mess he left for his successor, provided he looked good (in fact, he thought he would look better from an historical perspective if his successor floundered about.)

Below is an e-mail argument I engaged in with Newsday columnist and erstwhile conservative James Pinkerton back in April of `04 regarding the 911 Commission. I raked him over the coals in a letter to which he graciously responded. I thought this argument germane to the Able Danger issue.

Here was his original article:

Pre-9/11 Doings are Coming to Light
By James Pinkerton

April 9, 2004

If you knew that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had received a memo a month before Pearl Harbor entitled, "Japanese Determined to Attack the United States in the Pacific," and that he had done nothing about that information, would that knowledge change your perception of FDR as a wise war leader?

Roosevelt received no such memo, of course, but President George W. Bush got a blunt warning five weeks before 9/11 and he did little or nothing. He even presided over a stand-down in preparations, concentrating on other concerns.

The Washington Post reported in May 2002 that Bush had received a President's Daily Brief on Aug. 6, 2001, entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." But, of course, not everything that's reported becomes widely known, or is necessarily true. And so for most Americans, yesterday's 9/11 hearing provided their first occasion to learn, from the highest sources, just what was in that document.

Condoleezza Rice began her testimony with a statement in which she minimized the possibility that anyone could have known what was happening. All intelligence prior to 9/11 was "not specific as to time, nor place, nor manner of attack," she said. But then 9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste pressed her about that PDB memo, still rated as "classified" by the government. Ben-Veniste was legally prohibited from mentioning even the title of the document.

But he wasn't prohibited from asking Rice the title of the PDB. And she obliged: "I believe the title was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.'" Ouch. Just moments after she had said intelligence was "not specific" about the place of attack, here's a presidential-level document warning, specifically, that al-Qaida's target wasn't overseas somewhere, but rather the United States itself.

David Colton, Washington lawyer and veteran of the intelligence world, observes of this exchange: "Ben-Veniste hypnotized her." Colton adds, "She fell into the rhythm of a smart lawyer's questions, and so blurted out the single most damning admission of these hearings."

Seeming to realize she had said too much, Rice tried to bury the revelation by piling on words. She insisted that the document, the PDB's title notwithstanding, "did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting." Whereupon Ben-Veniste invited her to seek the declassification of the entire memo. Rice declined.

Rice's semi-admission - she was under oath, but that doesn't guarantee that every witness will tell whole truth - stirred up Bob Kerrey, another commissioner.

Kerry was bound by the same strict rules of classification as Ben-Veniste, but he's a free-spirited war hero and so didn't care that he was breaking those rules. "In the spirit of further declassification," he announced, "this is what the August 6th memo said to the president: that the FBI indicates patterns of suspicious activity in the United States consistent with preparations for hijacking. That's the language of the memo that was briefed to the president on the 6th of August."

Ouch again. "Hijacking" is pretty darn specific - which seems to contradict Rice's assertion that the intelligence was "frustratingly vague" as to the "manner of attack."

Plenty of people in Washington had their "hair on fire" about the terror threat in the summer of 2001. But not Bush, apparently. On Aug. 4, he went off on a working vacation to his ranch in Texas.

According to White House speechwriter turned memoirist David Frum, that summer Bush "did something I had never seen him do: he brooded." Yet the issue wasn't terror; it seems it was stem cell research. On Aug. 9, Bush gave his first primetime policy speech to the nation - on the topic of embryos. After that, according to Frum, Bush launched a "mini-political campaign" that took him out on the stump.

And we all know what happened the following month.

What we don't know is the precise sequence of events that led to the government's Pearl Harbor-like cluelessness on 9/11. But there's at least a chance now, as documents are revealed and as officials testify under oath, that we'll find out. In the meantime, here's a prediction, based on what we know already: Bush won't dare show more 9/11 images in his campaign ads.

Copyright: 2004 Newsday

I responded via e-mail:

Dear Mr. Pinkerton,

Your commentary on the farcical and politically motivated 9/11 commission is sophomoric at the very least. You try to suggest that Roosevelt had no idea that something was in the wind before Pearl Harbor while trying to claim this empty, PDB told Bush everything he needed to know. This is ridiculous, and a historically inaccurate. FDR had been goading the Japanese for several years, and our intelligence KNEW some sort of an attack was coming. Everyone thought the attack was coming on the Philippines. No one blamed Roosevelt for being caught by surprise (except conspiracy theorists who note that most of the fleet was out on maneuvers that day) because of the lack of specificity of the intel. You are trying to hold this President accountable because of a political agenda. This is shameful.
This administration had been in office less than 9 months, and was largely staffed by holdovers from the CLINTON administration because of the highly charged political climate. If you want to point to failures of policy you should look at the previous administration. (YOU wouldn`t do THAT now, would you?)
Why didn`t Congress put this together? They had most of the same intel as the president. Also, in case you have forgotten, the Democrats pushed through strict controls to prevent the CIA and FBI from sharing information. The very people questioning Dr. Rice were responsible for this intelligence failure by putting these policies into place.
Ben-Veniste proved conclusively that this is not about finding the truth about intelligence failures-it is a partisan witch hunt. This is another tired attempt to create ``scandal`` and bash the current administration for political gain. Democrats have elevated this ``special prosecutor`` style dirt digging to a high art form. They demand an investigation (since you want to speak about FDR you will note he refused to allow an investigatory commission until AFTER the war) then cry until milquetoast Republicans are put on (to show their willingness to ``cooperate``) then they begin partisan agitation and run roughshod over the weak-kneed Reps. This is such a classic case. If this commission were serious about their work they would be investigating what went on IN the CIA and FBI, not demand ``what did Bush know and when did he know it``. The political ends were beyond the scope of this investigation and are fruitless. The preparations for this attack were in the works for years. ``What did Clinton know and when did he know it?`` I don`t believe that matters. Only a frothing-at-the-mouth partisan would think the President should be blamed for something like this. You, sir, have shown your true colors.
Yes, that is exactly the point of all this-to remove the chief political arrow from the president`s quiver. Liberals are slinging this mud to accomplish nothing more than a cheap political victory. You are disgraceful. (Don`t tell me you are an uninterested member of the media-you guys are the willing accomplices to the lies and innuendo of the left/Democrats.) WE ARE AT WAR! You should be ashamed of yourselves! Why do you think the resistance in Iraq has been so tough? Because the enemy sees us divided. They see this because you in the media and the unloyal opposition constantly attack the commander-in-chief. Never has the Nation been so divided by partisanship during a time of war. The enemy will continue to intensify their attacks before the election, hoping to put Kerry in office. Americans are dying because of this. SHAME ON YOU!

Timothy Birdnow
St. Louis

Dear Mr. Birdnow:

Thanks for a thoughtful e. I will confine myself to just one point in response.

I realize that the issue of what FDR knew, and didn't know, about Pearl Harbor in advance is a huge continuing debate among historians and other interested parties. But that was my point: for all those who think that Roosevelt knew in advance, to whatever degree, that feeling changes their view of FDR. That is, those folks who have concluded that he knew in advance will also conclude that he was either remarkably careless about American security or incredibly conniving about getting the US into a war.

And so, too, with George W. Bush. I think that most Americans believe that Bush was taken unavoidably, as well as totally, by surprise on 9-11. But is that really the case? Or was he careless? Or was he conniving? My own preliminary guess is that Bush was careless. And that should have some bearing on the '04 election since a president's judgment is critical, as he sits in the Oval Office.

By contrast, back in ’41, my guess is that FDR was at least a little bit conniving. But either way, looking ahead from 9-11-01, the American people should seek the truth, even if takes 63 years, or more, to get the whole truth out. But let’s not skip past truth-seeking in the here and now. No politician’s career should come ahead of the truth, when thousands of lives have been lost, and thousands--maybe millions--more are at risk.

And then, of course, the same intellectual thresher needs to be applied to Bush’s national security team. Because 9-11 was a big deal, and the Iraq war, which was fought in the name of 9-11, was an even bigger deal.


Jim Pinkerton

Dear Mr. Pinkerton,

Thanks for responding to my criticism of your article.

I would like to make just a couple of points regarding your response. FDR DID want to get us into the War, and he put immense pressure on both Japan and Germany before we actually went to war. (Remember, we had been embargoing steel and oil to Japan, literally strangling their industry.) I point this out not to condemn him but to set the stage for-Roosevelt understood that war with Japan was coming and we had to fight them sooner or later (sounds a bit like Iraq, does it not?) I do not believe for a moment that Roosevelt knew the exact place and time of the attack. We had broken the Japanese code, but had literally thousands of messages to decode and interpret in a very short amount of time. All Roosevelt knew for certain was that something was in the wind. The experts all expected the attack on MacArthurManilailla-just as the vague warnings about possible terrorist attacks had everyone looking overseas (after all, only the first World Trade Center bombing was on American soil. The attacks on the Kobar Towers, the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassy bombings, the U.S.S. CoMogadishuishu, etc. occured overseas-no one had any reason to believe a major attack in the U.S. was likely.)
I would like to point out that Bush WAS caught by surprise-but not because of any carelessness on HIS part. His administration had been in office 233 days, and he was largely staffed by former Clinton ``lame duck`` staff. Remember, the election of 2000 had been bitterly contested, and the Democrats were determined to make this President Impotent. (They made this strategy clear.) John Ashcroft`s appointment had been a grueling battle, the head of the CIA was a Clinton holdover, the FBI had just been turned over. Bush was still working to create a coherent administration. The Clinton administration had been less then helpful (remember the White House office trashing-computer viruses and keyboards missing the W?) Bush needed to reevaluate intelligence operations, and had not had adequate time to do this. He was forced to rely on previous Clinton policy-included the extreme interpretation of FISA created by none-other-than Jamie Gorelick when she was assistant Attorney General. (Interesting how she is now demanding answers when she was one of the creators of the bad policy. It is also interesting that a former Watergate prosecutor, Richard Ben-Venista, was the Democrats appointee.)
Bush had made efforts to improve the situation. He had restored the daily briefings by the CIA. He had demanded that a plan be developed to remove the Taliban and get Bin-Laden (who had been offered to Clinton on more than one occasion-Clinton himself has admitted this-but because of the Law Enforcement interpretation of FISA Clinton turned this offer down.) I think it is disingenuous to claim Bush was doing nothing. That he was not omniscient cannot be blamed on carelessness.
What was Bush supposed to do? Address the Nation and say ``A terrorist attackimmanentnent. We do not know where in the World, or when, or how it will occur. Now is a good time for everyone to panic``? Look at the blame his administration has received for the ``orange`` alerts. This, I would like to remind you, was in a pre-war mindset. He would have (rightly) compared to Chicken Little.
No one could have stopped the 911 attacks. The Fisa/Gorelick wall of intelligence separation made UNDERSTANDING the enormous mass of data next to impossible. The real question is how did the President adapt to the situation. Everyone but the Bush-hating Left in this country would say the President did what needed to be done. The Patriot Act (hated by the Democrats and liberals) removed the wallseparationtion between law enforcement and the intelligence community. We went after Al-Qaida in their lair and did not wait for them to come to us. We overthrew Saddam in Iraq (who, it is becoming increasingly clear was involved intimately with terrorists.) creating a bulwark in the Middle-East. (I would like to point out that we had been at war with Iraq since Gulf War I. Saddam was in noncompliance with the ARMISTICE, routinely firing missiles at U.S. planes and had attempted to assassinate G.H.W. Bush.) This President has been a true leader. That is all anyone can ask.


Timothy Birdnow

Dear Timothy:

I tend to agree with a lot of this, but not enough of it. I was not critical of Bush re: 9-11, till I realized just how totally Iraq had conquered their minds. Surely you noticed, too, how Rice said that the Cole was small potatoes, how not only was it not something for Bush to respond to once he took office, but she even told Jim Thompson that if another such attack had occurred during 43's presidency she was not sure that she would've responded to that, either. And now I see Tom Kean saying that mere publicity about an upcoming threat--of the kind that the US issues now, routinely--might've been enough to scare off the 9-11 hijackers. So I'm no longer convinced that nothing could have stopped 9-11--I now think that a lot of different actions could have stopped it,

You might look up the Israeli word "conceptsia," in regard to the Yom Kippur war, as tojust how blinding such a mindset can be.

So yes, Saddam was/is a nogoodnik, but he was manageable in his box. And certainly the US is worse off now.


Dear Jim,

Just a couple of quick points. 1. The Clinton administration considered the Cole small potatoes also. 2. Dick Clark said in his (hostile) testimony that a terror alert probably wouldn`t have done any good. 3. Tom Keen`s job isascertaintain why intelligence broke down; He is overstepping his mandate and qualifications by pontificating in such a manner.
Was Saddam really ``in a box`` like so many people claim? You may want to ask the families of those who were killed by suicide bombers in Israel. I suspect they would disagree since their loved ones were killed for a $25,000 bounty courtesy of Iraq. Furthermore, the embargo leaked profusely. Saddam bought weapons and dual-use hardware from all our ``friends`` who opposed the war. (We have not been able to keep Castro ``in a box``, and he is a mere 90 miles from our shore. How could we succeed with Iraq?) He DID possess banned weapons (missiles) and had his WMD program ready to be reconstituted. The point is that WE were the ones trying to keep this guy in his ``box``. Given the cooperation we received from the rest of the World this ``box`` would not hold for long.
We have not had a major terrorist strike in the United States since 911. Everyone predicted we would. Why? Because all of our enemies are fighting Jihad in Iraq and Afghanistan. That alone makes The U.S. better off.



Friday, August 26, 2005

Another Antiwar Protest?

In Brentwood, N.H., on July 30, police responded to an emergency call to find an intoxicated man with a padlock around his scrotum. He was taken to Exeter Hospital, and a locksmith freed him. And the day before that, in Worcester, England, Geoffrey Hughes, 51, was given a two-year "anti-social behavior order" in Magistrates Court for a series of incidents, one of which was appearing in public wearing only a hat and, on his scrotum, a padlock. [Portsmouth Herald, 8-5-05] [Worcester Standard, 8-6-05]

The Democrat`s Warplan

The Democrats have finally unveiled their response to terrorism and plans to deal with the Iraq War.

In July, film director David Lynch announced that he had formed a foundation to raise $7 billion to fund 8,000 Transcendental Meditation practitioners to bring world peace by creating a "unified field" of stress-free brain waves over the Earth (which TM'ers accomplish, as they unironically describe it, by detaching their minds from the "thinking process"). Training expenses have increased dramatically in 12 years, for TM maven Dr. John Hagelin needed only $4.2 million in 1993 to bring 4,000 TM'ers to Washington, D.C., to reduce crime for eight weeks, and TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi asked for only $1 billion in 2002 to train 40,000 meditators to calm the world after Sept. 11. [Reuters, 7-20-05, 7-4-02; New York Times, 8-1-93]

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Do Not Like Green Spam, I Do Not Like It Sam-I-Am

I received this in my e-mail yesterday, and I decided to post it up for everyone to look at if they wish. It is a website dedicated to ``action against global warming`` and came addressed to ``dear Sir or Madam``. Either this was some kind of spam triggered by my last Climate Change post, or more likely it was sent by a liberal reader-Dadahead is my prime candidate.

If this was sent by a liberal, I suppose they thought that this site disproves my accusations against the Climate Change Theories as pseudoscience. On the contrary, it seems to me that this proves many of my accusations; most of the ``evidence`` cited is either some University grant-type study bemoaning a fraction of a degree rise, or is something which presents dubious linkage. For example, the lead post is about satellite photos of glacial retreat in the Arctic. This is supposed to prove that the ice caps are melting because of manmade global warming, and we must end our industrial civilization if we are to survive. What the Enviros fail to mention is that glaciers expand and retreat all of the time, and of course they are shrinking since the sun is reaching a peak in its temperature cycle. This is natural. The Earth was several degrees warmer during the Mideval Warming Period, and the ice-caps didn`t melt and flood the Earth then, as these people would have you believe is about to happen now. Did the glaciers receed some? Of course they did. Did they come back during the mini-ice age? Absolutely.

Quite frankly, getting rid of the ice caps might actually be a blessing to Mankind since the frozen wastes of Siberia and the Northwest Territories of Canada, as well as Greenland, Baffin Island, Antarctica, etc. would then be in the grain belt. Oh, and Darwinism says species will evolve to fit the new conditions so why do we worry our tiny little noggins about Climate Change causing extinctions? It`s survival of the fittest, and we and our symbiotes (wheat, corn, apples, squash, horses, cattle, etc.)are top dog!

At any rate, please check out this site on climate change, and perhaps leave a comment or two. Liberals are always afraid to debate the facts; I welcome the debate! For resources to balance the Global Warming scaremongers, try going to Junk Science, or Tech Central Station or check out Robert Bidinotto at Econot. You also might want to catch David Hogberg at Greenwatch.

Fiddling While the Oil Well Burns

I continue with my Bush-bashing theme by linking to an article by the incomparable Herb Meyer in the American Thinker.

Mr. Meyer makes the case that there is a sizable, growing number of Bush supporters who are disappointed in the President`s execution and prosecution of the War. These are people (like myself) who believe we are going at this far too gently, and that the war has dragged on because we are allowing our enemies to retreat into sanctuaries.

We are fighting a completely ruthless enemy, and we have to CRUSH them if we are to win this war. Furthermore, the Islamic world respects strength and holds weakness in contempt, and our policy of ``win the hearts and minds`` is foolish in the extreme because this is clear evidence of American cowardice and weakness. We won`t win ``the hearts and minds`` by simple kindness and forgiveness in this war. The neutrals in this affair have to see our strength as well as our power, then they will respect us. We will accomplish nothing without first winning their respect.

We also won`t accomplish anything as long as Syria and Iran can keep the pot simmering. There IS a similarity between this war and Vietnam, in that the enemies in both wars had sanctuaries they could retreat to, places which they could use as staging grounds and bases. The Vietcong had North Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. and the Mujihadeen have Syria and Iran. By sheltering terrorists who are killing American soldiers, these nations are in a state of war with us. We can`t win this if we don`t address this problem.

Which is what President Bush has been very poor in doing. The politicians have been managing this war, basing their actions on political need here in the States rather than on the requirements for victory. We have held back on Syria and Iran because of the fear of political fallout, and the political straitjacket the President finds himself in is a result of his mistakes regarding the weapons of mass destruction. President Bush did a poor job of articulating his reasons for going into Iraq, and the WMD issue became paramount. When we didn`t find ourselves tripping over weapons (as indeed we shouldn`t have expected after a year and a half of war preparation) the President conceded the issue-and put his credibility in the drink. (The President, as part of his ``new tone`` concedes most arguments so we can move on; unfortunately moveon.ogre remains stubbornly in the past.)

So now the President is afraid to broaden the war. He knows people are saying ``Bush lied and people died`` and he knows that an attack on Syria or Iran will punish him politically. So we continue on our merry way, watching 2 or 3 soldiers die each day while Iran forges ahead with Uranium enrichment. The average Joe is war weary, and the Democrats are gaining steam with their demands for a pullout timetable. I fear that when we pull out our friends in Iran and Syria will be taking over.

President Bush stated plainly that this is a global war, and that it will continue for some time. He is right. The genie will not go back in the bottle, and our enemies won`t go away through understanding and good will. We can`t make this go away by fiddling while the oil well burns; we have to prosecute this with all vigor. It`s time we got at it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Salmonella CAFE

It`s funny; I thought we won the last election! Silly me, I didn`t realize that last year I was voting for President Carter and the tumbledown house that Jimmy built. Unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what I have done, since President Bush seems to be morphing into our esteemed elder statesman these days.

President Bush hasn`t met a spending program he doesn`t like, has failed to control the borders (it was under Carter that the term ``undocumented worker`` first appeared; Reagan had to shepherd through the policies to resecure the border in the `80`s; the song by the Rock band Genesis ``Illegal Alien`` goes back to 1982, for instance), has devalued the dollar, has allowed gasoline prices to spiral out of control,and has allowed liberal social policies to grow. He has failed to roll back any of Bill Clinton`s garroting labyrinth of government regulation, and has even lost that steely resolve on foreign affairs which made him so appealing.

Now his Transportation Department has brought back a golden oldie from the Carter years; the government is going to impose fuel economy standards on vans, light trucks, and SUV`s! Dust off those 8 tracks and put your bell-bottoms on, folks! The days of disco are back!

The argument-both then and now-is that we need to conserve oil because the Islamic world is using it as a bludgeon with which to beat us. Fair enough. But Carter mishandled OPEC and fostered a revolution in Iran, a revolution which established a virulent anti-American government in one of our prime oil suppliers. President Carter II (er, Bush) allowed a communist (Chavez) to return to power in one of our prime oil suppliers (Venezuela) after a military coup deposed him, and Mr. Bush has mishandled OPEC. Couple this with crushing gasoline taxes and draconian environmental regulations on refineries, and you have skyrocketing inflation of fuel prices.

Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards were an idea going back to the Carter years, and mandated by Congress. This salmonella CAFE destroyed the American auto industry in the early `80`s because the auto makers were forced to build their cars as small and flimsy as possible, and the Japanese and Germans were way ahead on building compacts. Eventually, the quality of American products improved (mainly because of the development of computers which regulate the engine)-but at the cost of safety and sticker price. (I remember my mother paid $5000 for a Toyota Corolla in 1980; how much does the cheapest American car cost today?) The auto industry suffered greatly during the Reagan years because of these regulations. (On the upside, the UAW had less money to give to the Democrats!) Why does the Bush administration think these new standards won`t likewise damage the economy?

But (they say) we need to cut back on our oil consumption! We are at the mercy of the Arabs! Well, the case can be made that increasing fuel efficiency increases our dependence on foreign oil, since the average driver can now afford to drive more. That is the problem with government mandates; the law of unintended consequences comes into play.

Why did Capitalism displace the old mercantile system of the late middle-ages? Because the mercantile system suffered from central control. The King issued orders on how business would be conducted, and heads would roll (literally) if he were disobeyed. This system did not encourage entrepreneurship, nor did it lead to successful markets. Capitalism is lead by the vicitudes of the free market, and it is responsive to the needs and wants of the consumer in a way that a directed economy can never be. Through the `70`s we had been reinstituting a mercantile system-and the economic chaos of stagflation resulted. Ronald Reagan largely dismantled this medieval system and restored the free market as the prime economic mover. Now, under Bush, we are seeing a revival of the old Keynesian/mercantile system.

One of my brothers works for the Ford Motor Company, and he is probably going to lose his job soon. Why? Because the plant he works at makes the Explorer, and high gas prices are discouraging sales of the Explorer. The MARKET is dictating what people drive, and why. High gas prices mean changes in driving habits by the consumers. This does not have to be mandated by an imperial government. Forcing car manufacturers under the yoke of CAFE will drive prices up and limit customer choice. It`s a lose/lose situation.

Remember the station wagon? You don`t see many of those around any more. Why not? Because the station wagon was considered a car, and was not exempt from the original CAFE standards. The price of wagons went through the roof after government forced fuel economy regulations on the auto industry. Trucks had been exempt, and so we witnessed the birth of the minivan and SUV to take the place of the family wagon. Now government wants to close this loophole, and we will see prices skyrocket while these vehicles become unsafe. Safety is a matter of physics; you can`t increase fuel efficiency without removing mass. The high-tech electronics which increased fuel efficiency in cars has already been applied to trucks and SUV`s, so there will be nothing more that can be done on the engine side of the equation. This requires that these vehicles be made lighter, which means they will be less safe.

Furthermore, by endlessly stretching out the dwindling supply (if that is really the case) we are removing any incentive to develop alternative sources of fuel. Necessity is the Mother of invention, and without the spur of an oil shortage the necessity to develop hydrogen, say, as a fuel for automobiles is not great enough to push those who can do it to invest in such a project. Fuel economy standards thus INCREASES our dependence on foreign oil by artificially increasing the supply of oil. The market will act only if there is cause, and our Carteresque energy policy is stifling that cause.

But none of this matters to liberals, and apparently none of it matters to our Republican President. President Bush was elected to office to stop this kind of crap! If we had wanted a regulating regular rich guy we would have elected John F. Kerry! The fact that the Presidents own people are fostering this type of liberal hooey is a betrayal of the principles for which he was elected.

Ronald Reagan, when presented with the Law of the Sea Treaty, refused to sign. His advisors and the career diplomats were beside themselves because this treaty had been negotiated for years. Reagan pointed out that his election was not about the old and the worn but about a new start, and he was not going to fail those who elected him by signing a flawed treaty just because diplomats had worked hard on it for years. THAT is the way a true leader behaves!

If this President would stand firm against this type of arm-twisting, he would find plenty of political support for his agenda. He should demand Congress authorize more drilling both in Alaska and offshore. He should demand Congress remove the gasoline taxes they have accumulated over the years. He should order the EPA to standardize fuel mixtures and stop forcing refineries to produce different blends for different areas. He should streamline the process to build new refineries.

In short, there is no good reason for this pile of camel doo-doo. This is merely a sop for the Democrats. President Bush is incapable of understanding that the Dems and the media will never, ever, be satisfied with him. Nothing he does, no compromise will make him acceptable to them; they will fight and stonewall until he leaves office. I don`t know why he can`t see that!

Since his reelection, President Bush has been a huge disappointment to many Conservatives (indeed, many Conservatives didn`t care for him before the election) and he seems to take his base for granted. He has been fracturing the coalition which swept the Republicans into office by his ``new tone``, his knock-kneed policy of political appeasement. This is just another nail in the coffin of the Republican coalition.

If I had wanted Jimmy Carter for President, I would have voted Kerry. I wanted a Conservative; I wanted our agenda advanced, I wanted our views articulated, I wanted the damage done by Bill Clinton reversed. President Bush has exercised his veto only once, he has failed to rescind the mountain of Clinton`s executive orders, he has failed to advance our agenda. Environmental regulation proceeds unhindered, ``affirmative action`` preferences continue unabated, President Bush actually funded fetal stem cell research, etc. Illegal immigration is near and dear to the President`s heart. He signed McCain-Feingold to limit our rights to free speech. And don`t forget that the President failed to enforce the Congressional subpoena and save Terri Schiavo from those black robed, jackbooted thugs. Why should we support a Jimmy Carter with an R behind his name?

I realize this is rather harsh, but sometimes what is needed is tough love and this President needs some very tough love indeed. I supported President Bush, and I supported his re-election. But I can`t stand idly by while he runs like quicksilver into the mold of ``Malaise`` Carter. I am unwilling to see him tear our party apart, and damage our movement in an effort to please our enemies. The fact is that our enemies will stay our enemies, no matter how much we bribe or cajole them. President Bush needs to learn that lesson.

This ``energy policy`` smells of Carterism. If President Bush gets attacked by a rabbit, I`m moving to the Libertarians!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Old Environmentalist Soft Shoe

Once again, hysterical environmentalism has carried the day. In this case, by forcing Roger Pielke Sr. to resign from the panel which is preparing a report for President Bush on changes in atmospheric temperatures.

Dr. Pielke is a Climatologist at Colorado State University who disagrees with the panel`s belief that human activities is causing global climate change. At issue is the question of why surface measurements disagree with satellite observations. Surface (especially oceanic) measurements suggest the Earth is heating, while satellite observations show a slight cooling. Perhaps they should read my article from last year in the American Thinker to find the answer.

Environmentalism is more about faith than science, and anyone who disagrees with the consensus is branded a heretic and expelled. Dr. Pielke was the only member of this panel who broke ranks, and so now he`s gone. The question one must ask is why was he the only doubter in the group? There are thousands of scientists who disagree with the concept of manmade climate change. Over 15000 scientists have signed a petition against Kyoto and the Global Warming myth, and yet only ONE of them was allowed on this panel! Where was S. Fred Singer?

We are often told that Darwinism is science while the growing field of Intelligent Design is philosophy. Yet ID sits on far more solid ground than does most Environmentalism. The Global Warming crowd wants us to accept their views based on shaky computer models and weak data. They often fudge statistics, using abnormal periods as the norm to ``prove`` their case. (They usually use the end of the Maunder Minimum and the Mini Ice-Age as their baseline to prove the Earth is growing warm-Duh!)

If Environmentalism is solid science and can be taught to every school kid, then I demand that Darwin move over for Intelligent Design!

The Killing Fields

Partial birth abortion is a horrible thing. Essentially, the baby has been delivered except for the head, into which the ``doctor`` jabs a medical tool resembling an ice pick under the cranium and into the baby`s brain. There is absolutely no medical reason to perform a PBA since the baby has to be delivered and is fully developed. The only value, the only case to be made for partial birth abortion, is for the ``health and welfare`` of the mother; which means the mother simply doesn`t want to be burdened financially or psychologically with a child, and does not want to worry about adoption. There are absolutely no justifiable reasons for performing partial birth abortion.

Which brings up the matter of Michigan and the ACLU. According to the Stop The ACLU newsletter, Michigan citizens passed a ban on partial birth abortion, overriding Deathhead Governor Jennifer Grahnholm`s veto back in 2003. Now, normally that would be Democracy in action, and the matter would be closed. Wrong! Enter our good friends from the ACLU. They have filed suit to overturn the new law! This law came about as a result of a petition drive by the citizenry of Michigan, and using legal machinations to overturn it is clearly an attempt both to thwart the Will of the People and overturn the Moral Law of God.

This is yet another example of the usurpation of power by the Courts, and it proves the necessity for a reordering of the balance of power between the three branches of government. The Supreme Court has legalized infanticide, and the Executive and Legislative branches have a moral and civil duty to intervene. If this goes to the Supreme Court, and the People of Michigan lose, the United States Congress must act. It will be time to amend the Constitution (or utilize one of the other remedies the Constitution affords.)

Back in 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a ban on Partial Birth Abortion. My father-in-law, John Dunsford, wrote this article slamming the Court for cowardice and atrocious reasoning:

“Like a Startle . . . Like a Flinch”
John E. Dunsford on Abortion

From one point of view, the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 decision in Stenberg v. Carhart, shielding partial-birth abortion from legislative prohibition, is a solid victory for the proponents of choice. From another point of view, however, there is reason to believe that the decision may prove to be costly to those defending abortion as a “right,” as the full implications of the opinion are absorbed by the American public and become part of its consciousness.

Abortion activists are anxiously aware that the long-range prospects of their cause are dubious, since the opinion polls indicate that the degree of public acceptance of abortion has been steadily receding. For one example, a Los Angeles Times poll shows that nearly 57 percent of both men and women consider abortion to be “murder.” Carhart will accelerate that negative trend, because (1) it illustrates dramatically what abortion actually represents, and (2) it elicits nagging questions about the legitimacy of Roe v. Wade itself.

A Gruesome Procedure

One may reasonably assume that Justice Stephen Breyer approached the task of writing the majority opinion (representing Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, John Paul Stevens, David Souter, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg) with some trepidation, precisely because the subject is partial-birth abortion.

This is a late-term abortion in which a physician dilates the mother’s cervix, inserts forceps into her uterus, pulls the lower extremity of the fetus into the vagina, forces scissors into the base of the fetus’s skull, inserts a suction catheter into the hole, and sucks out the contents of the head in order to remove a dead fetus. The name is applicable because the baby is in a position to be born except that he is killed before he emerges totally from his mother.

Early in the opinion Justice Breyer apologized for the fact that, as the procedures he would describe dealt with the termination of “potential [ sic] human life,” his prose might seem “clinically cold or callous to some, perhaps horrifying to others.” Of course, he was right.

Indeed, during the oral argument of the case, one of the other justices (O’Connor) called the methods before the Court for terminating the life of a fetus “rather gruesome procedures.” That is the reason that some 73 percent of Americans in opinion polls favor banning partial-birth abortion after receiving only a brief description of the procedure. And that is the reason some thirty states have passed laws prohibiting some form of the procedure. Three times the Congress approved similar legislation by large margins, only to have it vetoed by President Clinton.

Since five members of the Supreme Court voted to prevent the State of Nebraska from prohibiting partial-birth abortion, they could scarcely avoid the obligation to explain what it was they were allowing. As their spokesman, Justice Breyer had the unpleasant assignment of describing the D&X (Dilation and Extraction) procedure under review.

Perhaps hoping to obscure the horror of the procedure when rendered in plain English, he offered the medical definition of the D&X procedures provided by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The College’s definition described the procedure in four steps:

1. deliberate dilatation of the cervix, usually over a sequence of days;

2. instrumental conversion of the fetus to a footling breech;

3. breech extraction of the body excepting the head; and

4. partial evacuation of the intracranial contents of a living fetus to effect vaginal delivery of a dead but otherwise intact fetus.

But one of the dissenters, Justice Anthony Kennedy, stepped forward to fill in some of the details of the procedure, relying on the evidence in the record. After the cervix is dilated, he wrote in his dissenting opinion,

the fetus’ arms and legs are delivered outside the uterus while the fetus is alive; witnesses to the procedure report seeing the body of the fetus moving outside the woman’s body. . . . At this point, the abortion procedure has the appearance of a live birth. As stated by one group of physicians “as the physician manually performs breech extraction of the body of a live fetus, excepting the head, she continues in the apparent role of an obstetrician delivering a child.” . . . With only the head of the fetus remaining in utero, the abortionist tears open the skull.

Noting that one advocate of the procedure has said that a pair of scissors is “the appropriate instrument” to be used at this stage of the abortion, Justice Kennedy continued:

Witnesses report observing the portion of the fetus outside the woman react to the skull penetration. . . . The abortionist then inserts a suction tube and vacuums out the developing brain and other matter found within the skull. The process of making the size of the fetus’ head smaller is given the clinically neutral term “reduction procedure.”

. . . Brain death does not occur until after the skull invasion, and, according to Dr. Carhart, the heart of the fetus may continue to beat for minutes after the contents of the skull are vacuumed out. . . . The abortionist next completes the delivery of a dead fetus, intact except for the damage to the head and the missing contents of the skull.

Most readers of the opinion will agree with Justice Antonin Scalia that this method of killing the fetus “is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion.” Apparently conscious of this widespread reaction, those justices in the majority took pains to deplore the “emotional uproar” that is generated (and the ink that is spilled) by those reacting to the gruesomeness of partial-birth abortion. They took some cover in the statistics cited by Justice Breyer that the D&X procedure is, according to estimates, performed only 640 to 5,000 times a year. (Only?)

A Remarkable Argument

But the most remarkable aspect of their opinion is their reliance on the counter argument that the procedure is (in Justice Stevens’s words) no “more brutal, more gruesome or less respectful of ‘potential life’ than the equally gruesome” D&E (Dilation and Extraction) method, a second-trimester procedure that would remain legal even if the ban on partial-birth abortion was upheld.

According to Justice Stevens, “the notion that either of these two equally gruesome procedures performed at this late stage of gestation is more akin to infanticide than the other . . . is simply irrational.” As Justice Ginsburg put it in her concurring opinion, the D&E method is “no less distressing or susceptible to gruesome description” than the D&X.

In effect, therefore, a person concluding that partial-birth abortion is barbaric would be compelled to form the same judgment about the D&E abortion, and this at least two justices saw as an argument for approving both of them. The Court estimated that approximately 10 percent of all abortions are performed in the second trimester, most with the D&E procedure.

Again, Justice Breyer depended upon a scientific description of the procedure, this time provided by the American Medical Association:

D&E is similar to vacuum aspiration except that the cervix must be dilated more widely because surgical instruments are used to remove larger pieces of tissue. Osmotic dilators are usually used. Intravenous fluids and an analgesic or sedative may be administered. A local anesthetic such as a paracervical block may be administered, dilating agents, if used, are removed and instruments are inserted through the cervix into the uterus to removal fetal and placental tissue. Because fetal tissue is friable and easily broken, the fetus may not be removed intact. The walls of the uterus are scraped with a curette to ensure that no tissue remains.

And again it was Justice Kennedy, relying on the testimony of the physician abortionist in the case, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, who provided the awful particulars. This procedure “requires the abortionist to use instruments to grasp a portion (such as a foot or hand) of a developed and living fetus and drag the grasped portion out of the uterus into the vagina,” he began.

Dr. Carhart uses the traction created by the opening between the uterus and vagina to dismember the fetus, tearing the grasped portion away from the remainder of the body. . . . The traction between the uterus and vagina is essential to the procedure because attempting to abort a fetus without using that traction is described by Dr. Carhart as “pulling the cat’s tail” or “dragging a string across the floor, you’ll just keep dragging it. It’s not until someone grabs the other end that you are going to develop traction.”

In many cases, Justice Kennedy continued, the unborn child

dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn from limb from limb. The fetus can be alive at the beginning of the dismemberment process and can survive for a time while its limbs are being torn off. Dr. Carhart agreed that “when you pull out a piece of the fetus, let’s say, an arm or a leg and remove that, at the time just prior to removal of the portion of the fetus . . . the fetus [is] alive.”

Ultrasound had shown Dr. Carhart the fetus’s heart beating even with “extensive parts of the fetus removed.”

[Carhart] testified that mere dismemberment of a limb does not always cause death because he knows of a physician who removed the arm of a fetus only to have the fetus go on to be born “as a living child with one arm.” . . . At the conclusion of a D&E abortion no intact fetus remains. In Dr. Carhart’s words, the abortionist is left with “a tray full of pieces.”

What “Choice” Signifies

And so Stenberg v. Carhart has become part of the official legal archives of the United States, available to be scrutinized by the ordinary citizen. There is no covering of the eyes to the manner in which prenatal life is treated in our society in the year 2000, for those who have eyes to see.

Young Americans growing into adulthood no longer need wonder what the secular mantra of “choice” signifies. They will know what exactly it is that mothers are allowed to choose. They will understand the testimony of registered nurse Brenda Pratt Shafer, testifying in 1996 before the Senate Judiciary Committee:

On the ultrasound screen, I could see the heart beating . . . the baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall.

As things stand now, there is no acceptable restriction on the freedom of a pregnant woman to kill the unborn child in her womb, and it does not matter how or when it is done, if a complaisant doctor is at hand to sanction it. The question remains whether such a proposition is tenable in a civilized society.

—John E. Dunsford is the Chester A. Myers Professor of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Immigration, Supply, and Demand

Thomas Sowell weighs in on the economic arguments for unrestrained immigration:

"Immigration has joined the long list of subjects on which it is taboo to talk sense in plain English. At the heart of much confusion about immigration is the notion that we 'need' immigrants—legal or illegal—to do work that Americans won't do. What we 'need' depends on what it costs and what we are willing to pay. If I were a billionaire, I might 'need' my own private jet. But I can remember a time when my family didn't even 'need' electricity. Leaving prices out of the picture is probably the source of more fallacies in economics than any other single misconception. At current wages for low-level jobs and current levels of welfare, there are indeed many jobs that Americans will not take. The fact that immigrants—and especially illegal immigrants—will take those jobs is the very reason the wage levels will not rise enough to attract Americans. This is not rocket science. It is elementary supply and demand. Yet we continue to hear about the 'need' for immigrants to do jobs that Americans will not do—even though these are all jobs that Americans have done for generations before mass illegal immigration became a way of life." —Thomas Sowell

Thanks to the Federalist!

Technical Woes and a New Blog

At the suggestion of GM Roper from GM`s Corner I decided to try to install a trackback feature here at Birdblog. As usual, it did not work.

I first went to Holoscan which has a code that is to be inserted in the Template. I created a test blog (so as not to screw Birdblog up too badly) and inserted the code; it worked beautifully! I then tried the same thing on Birdblog, only to find that nothing happened. I wasn`t sure exactly where on the template I was supposed to insert the code (the directions said in the comments link between blogger and /blogger, and I`ve done this but it did not work. Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

So as not to waste my test blog, I`ve created Birdblog`s Literary Corner which will be a site dedicated to my great literary pieces-poetry and any other non-non fiction (if I may coin a phrase). I`ve posted a number of poems there for your amusement.

Also, there will be no pictures of the kitten posted here soon. I borrowed a digital camera from a coworker, snapped some really good shots, and gave it back to him so he could e-mail me the pics. He said that when he went to download them in his computer they erased! Oh, well, I knew it was too good to be true...

Presidential Malaise

Jed Babbin nails it in TAS this morning. What`s wrong in Iraq? Find out from the incomparable Mr. Babbin.

Here are some reader comments:

Aussiegirl here again -- great article by Babbin. And once again, Bush's speech yesterday was annoyingly and disappointingly lame and repetive. He just says the same thing over and over again like we are stupid and didn't hear him the first hundred times he used the same phrases. He didn't address directly the problems we are having in Iraq, nor as the author states the wider goals and implications of the war on terror. He didn't address American's concerns about the Iraqi constitution and the diminution of women's rights under Sharia law. Is this what 2000 Americans died for? So women would be forced to wear the hijab and be subservient to their husbands and little more than chattel in the eyes of the law? And the old saw about "we are fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here doesn't make any sense. They are fully capable of waging a war over there and still organizing a strike on America. They managed to do it in London. It's not like there's more than enough of these fanatics and plenty of homegrown cells living amongst us here. He simply seems to have lost focus and I think just wishes to move on and not be bothered with it anymore.

8:03 AM
TJ Willms said...
I am forced to agree with Aussiegirl, Dubya has fallen on his face without the aide of his mountain bike this time. The “proposed” Iraqi constitution is disgusting and will set the stage for the Ayatollah’s north of the border to exert even more influence than they do now. We (the US) have assumed a defensive posture in Iraq, and any soldier worth his salt knows that no war was ever won defensively.

Only slightly less disgusting than the Iraqi constitution are the Republican politicians who voted to authorize this war when it was easy to do so and are now attacking the administration because they detect that the popular winds have shifted. Hagel is the most flagrant of these sleazebags but he has always pretended to be a maverick like McCain…

Now for the really important question; I have no idea what trackback is or what it’s good for, But I will investigate and report back here…….. later Dudes and Dudettes……..

3:26 PM
TJ Willms said...
Well I gave it the old collge try, but after taking the time to sign-up and attempting to bring trackback to life on my blog using the auto install feature it decided to ........... crash and burn. So with out further ado I said "screw it, who needs trackback anyway?" I can comment my fool head off as it is.........
and that's my report from flyover country unless your flying Northwest, then this may be fall over country........

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Moderate

For those of you who are new to Birdblog, I occasionally honor the old American tradition of writing political poetry. Before music became easily accessible through records and radio, political propoganda was frequently in the form of poetry; you especially see this during the Revolutionary period. The Colonists frequently wrote poetry to ridicule the British-and their own loyalists. It was the safest way to mock those who would hang you for your troubles.

I have tried to maintain the tradition here with my own humble scribblings.

The Moderate (An Ode To The Rinos)

In the course of world events
it is wise to sit upon the fence
and divorce yourself from those right-wing gents
a moderate man I`ll be!

I`ve a mighty will for what`s weak and mild
and the record`s nil which I have compiled
for it makes me ill when I am reviled
a moderate man is me!

I command my views which I can`t define
though I`m oft confused still I stand resigned
and I rarely choose of my own design
a moderate man you see!

I will back each horse to maintain suspense
and revise my course based on inducements
while my thoughts defy any common sense
a moderate man, indeed!

I dedicate this to Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snow, Jim Jeffords, John McCain, Anthony Kennedy, et. al.

(I hope we don`t have to dedicate this to John Roberts!)

Good News

Good News from Iraq!

I Told You So!

Who predicted that the Democrats would not unleash the Horsemen of the Apocalypse over John Roberts? Who said the wise course for them was to wait, while the wise course for Republicans was to nominate a true conservative and provoke the coming war now?

See, I told you so!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tender Loving Care

It looks like Michael Schiavo has been given an award as guardian of the year! Now let me get this straight; this guy has ordered the murder of his wife, and then is awarded for his tender loving care!

This is just more proof that the Left has completely lost it`s mind.

How You Gonna Keep `Em Down On The Farm?

According to a recent study hardly any Mexicans are buying insurance. Gee, I can`t imagine why?

The article states that the principle reason given is that Mexicans don`t fear death, and believe in their own strength. This leads to the inevitable question of immigration; Can we stop people who are not afraid to die from strolling across the border with our current feeble system, and do we really want such a reckless bunch in the United States?

We should at least make them buy insurance before they illegally immigrate!

Fueling Around

I suspect this will make drinking and driving more acceptable for owners of electric cars!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tyranny and The Rights of Men

Governments hate to be thwarted, and they are very nasty when you tangle with them. What is happening in New London, Connecticut, is proof that tyranny will flourish when given the chance. The residents are being forced to pay back rent for occupying their homes until the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision on Kelo! They are also being paid according to 2000 prices, not current market rates!

That this has happened should come as no surprise to anyone; the Sups have reversed the purposes of the Constitution, making law act to protect Government rather than law acting as a break on government power. The Supreme Court has made it very clear to New London (and any other entity whose lust to seize property can overwhelm any political price to be paid) that they have carte blanche, and that there is no longer any ``controlling legal authority`` (as Al Gore would say) that they have to answer to. In short, the Supreme Court has removed Constitutional protections.

No one should be surprised if governments behave like thugs. Why, do you suppose, did Communists behave like Mafia? Why were the Nazis so vicious? Because they weren`t constrained by the Rule of Law. America has been greatly blessed by the Rule of Law. We are a nation with a Constitution, which acts as the highest law of the land-and we were a God-fearing culture which valued Biblical Law and obeyed civil law out of our duty under God. As a result, governments in the United States-Federal, State, and Local-found their power circumscribed by the Constitution, by Judeo-Christian morality, and by the sacred nature of the rights of freeholders. Kelo has taken the next step in the denigration of those restraints.

We have been walking this path for many years now, and the Supreme Court has been at the vanguard of this deteriorating condition. The Courts have given their blessing to numerous restrictions on the rights of property owners; the Fair Housing Act, the Rico forfeiture provisions, the erosion of search and seizure restrictions, Environmental restrictions, etc. These all fly in the face of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution, yet the Court has stretched the Elastic Clause far beyond it`s elastic limit; it now resembles the comic book hero Plastic Man more than a serious governing document. The Courts have always found the public need to outweigh the rights guaranteed in the Constitution. (If you don`t believe that, think about the Dred Scott decision!)

Many of the Founding Fathers understood that this would happen with the Courts, and there was great concern about the possibility of a Judicial tyranny. That was why the Courts were given no rights to finance themselves, and no power to enforce their own orders. In Federalist78 Alexander Hamilton (a devout friend of big government) tries to assuage the fear of Judicial tyranny by pointing out the relative weakness of the third branch of government:

``whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive that, in a government in which they are seperated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but hold the sword of the community. The Legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgement; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgement.``

His problem was he had no way of knowing that America would fall under the heal of a ``Fourth Branch`` of government, an unelected group which would seek to impose left-wing philosophy on the Nation through legislation and the Courts. The Media has dominated American life for a long, long time. Yellow journalism is an old term, and several moments in our history can be traced to it. (Remember the Maine? How about WWI? How about our defeat in Vietnam?) Liberals and their allies in the press (and later electronic media) have shriveled the will of the Executive and legislative branches (which both are responsible to the electorate) to impose a monarchy by Judicial fiat. They understand they cannot succeed with their program at the ballot box, and they certainly can`t convice people to voluntarily socialize, so they force it via the courts.

The fact is, the courts were set up to be subordinate to the other two branches of government, and if the other branches would assert themselves the courts would be powerless. Congress can cut off funds as well as impeach judges. The Executive branch is entrusted with enforcing court orders, and it could simply refuse. That is the dirty little secret nobody is talking about; nobody HAS to obey the courts! Hamilton makes that very clear in Federalist 78; the courts have the power of advice only. Their power stems from the other branches of government. Remember the Terri Schiavo case? The judge in the case flipped Congress the bird, and both Congress and the President failed to act in any material way. Congress could have sited the judge in contempt, the President could have enforced the Congressional subpeona, but the Executive and Legislative branches of government have gotten too used to rolling over to the Courts. The Abortion issue, for another example, could be ended by the Republican Congress and Republican President simply refusing to enforce Roe v. Wade. (Don`t hold your breath!)

Actually, that would be a calamitous decision, and should be used only in the direst need. (I think the Schiavo case clearly warranted it.) Still, it may have to be used at some point; the Courts simply have to be reigned in, and the threat of being overruled by the other branches of government would clearly act as a braking mechanism. As things stand now, the Courts know full well that their word is the absolute final judgment. Any parent knows that their child will grow completely out of control if allowed to make their own rules; in this same way our courts system has gone out-of-control. In short, the Courts have become spoiled brats, and it is time they were taken to the woodshed!

This Kelo decision is an example of the ease with which governments can strip the citizenry of their Constitutional and God-given rights. What has made America work has been the willingness of the nation to defer to Law over men. The Courts have determined that, much like Sylvester Stallone in the movie Judge Dred, they are the law, and their word is the embodiement of the fundamental rights of Man. What the Constitution, the Bible, the other branches of government have to say is immaterial; if they find a right to privacy, say, in the Constitution then, by all that is holy (themselves),it is there!

Congress must pass laws restricting Eminent Domain. It`s time the men and women we have all worked so hard to elect begin earning their pay. Such a law will undoubtedly be challenged in the Courts, and then we can see if the Supreme Court has the gall to strike it down. If they do, it may be time to launch the true ``nuclear option``, the Constitutional provision which says the Courts may advise, but that we don`t necessarily have to listen to them.

At least, one may dream!

For those of you who don`t think property is a fundamental right, read my American Thinker Article The First Right.

(Thanks to the American Thinker for the inspiring link.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

We Must Be CAIRful of Them

Once again, Always on Watch has shined the spotlight of truth on those smarmy Islamic terrorists-in-training at CAIR. AOS has a great article about the origins and history of CAIR which shows the Corrupt Arab Insurgent Rebels for the enemies they are. This is a must read!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Gaia Strikes Back at Birdblog

As you all know, my blogging has been light due to a number of factors including babysitting a little kitten. My parents have returned to town and the kitten has gone home, so I thought I`d FINALLY get in some good blogging. Unfortunately, Global Warming has conspired against me!

I hadn`t been to my property in the Ozarks lately, and I needed to get down there to make sure my cabin was still standing. For those of you who don`t know, my ``cabin`` is a tiny one room tarpaper shack with tarp roofs, no running water, no electricity, etc. It sits on an old logging trail back in a young oak forest in South-Central Missouri. Facilities are, shall we say, rustic, including a toilet made from a toilet seat set on cinder blocks between two trees. I often go there to get away from the world (I can`t even pick up cell phone signals, and the few radio stations which come in play country, bluegrass, or gospel music.) I have to check on the place at least once a month to make sure it hasn`t collapsed, and to do any repairs to keep it standing.

Anyway, when I got there I found several pieces of tarpaper had fallen off the walls. I had to nail them back up, and in the process smacked my little finger with the hammer, making it turn black and swell.

After finishing my carpentry I decided to rake out some leaves from an area I have been planning to turn into a parking area. As I was raking, I found a piece of chicken-wire I had left there buried in some leaves. I reached down to pick the wire up when suddenly a cloud of yellow-jackets or hornets exploded from the ground! I took at least 15 stings, and they chased me completely off my land (Over 200 yards)!

My legs, arms, hand, ankles, and back had been badly stung, and the corresponding areas were red and inflamed. I went to bed in my cabin early that night, and came home Sunday only to find the stings were making me sick. It may be a few days before my blogging returns to normal.

I now understand; Mother Earth has vented her wrath upon me for my assaults on her Global Warming defenders! Gaia has smitten me for my impudence via Birdblog, and those hornets were the angels of Her punishment! It`s clear that they would never have attacked me, except Global Warming is changing weather patterns, and stirring up forces of nature against those of us who despoil the pristine character of the Earth. I now understand that I have reaped that which I have sewn, and my punishment from Mother Earth was fair and just. I must repent of my evil polluting ways, and work to return the Earth to the pure and unspoiled paradise which it had been until America came with her greedy corporations and evil desire to rape the land.

Fat chance!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Moderating Islam?

There is a brilliant piece written by Jason Pappas, who many of you know from several of the blogs I have linked. Jason is razor sharp, so be sure to check him out at Liberty and Culture. Be sure to read his piece ``Moderate Islam is Not the Answer``, it is brilliant!

The Orange Peril (Red and Yellow Make Orange)

Here is a letter my brother Brian wrote to the editors of the St. Louis Past-Disgrace, er, Post-Dispatch, in response to a vacuous letter portraying China as a peace loving, innocuous nation being provoked by the imperialist ambitions of that tyrant-the United States.

To The Editors,
In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of Monday, August 1 Gwynne Dyer wrote an urgent and breathless epistle to the readers of the newspaper warning them to beware of the Bush Administration's attempts to isolate and encircle the peaceful Chinese. He then demonstrated that China is no threat to the USA and that the administration's policies will bear bitter fruit in the near future.

Dyer's analysis of the current dynamic animating U.S.-Chinese relations is almost completely incorrect. He argues that America is attempting to "encircle" China when, in fact, the Chinese are doing the exact same thing to America. Today, the Chinese control the Panama Canal, they have negotiated for submarine bases in Venezuela and Cuba, they are attempting to corner the market on important natural resources. They are also using their government money to buy American corporations. The Chinese even had a deal to buy the Long Beach naval yard until the U.S. Congress nullified this Clinton Administration initiative. The Chinese government subsidiary that was active in this endeavor was the Chinese Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), a group that was caught smuggling Chinese-made weapons into the USA, intended for use by street gangs in Los Angeles and Oakland, in 1996. The encirclement argument carries no weight.

Likewise, Dyer's claim that China is peaceful and unthreatening are demonstrably false. He unwittingly gives away the game when he states that "China's economy already is more robust than the Soviet economy ever was." If this is true then a booming economy, a very large and rapidly modernizing military, and an inexhausable population make China a much more dangerous adversary than the Soviets ever were.

Dyer is also on shaky ground when he claims that "Nothing in the Chinese Communist government's behavior over the past fifty years, or in China's cultural traditions over the past several thousand years suggest that a more powerful China would be territorially expansionist." This betrays a lack of understanding of recent Chinese history. The seizure of Tibet shortly after the revolution was territorial expansion. More recently, the Chinese seizure of the Spratly Islands in 1992 was naked aggression. Today the Chinese government refers to Burma and Singapore as "Greater China", and , contrary to Dyer's insistence that China does not intend to fight over Taiwan, the Chinese government contends that the Gross Domestic Product of Taiwan is a Chinese national commodity.

Dyer's contention that China does not have the military capacity to threaten the United States cannot be taken seriously. While the rest of the world celebrated the end of the Cold War and slashed defense spending the Chinese saw a once-in-a-millenium opportunity and ramped up their defense spending along with espionage and high-tech spying. Independent agencies have confirmed that the Chinese are building a "Blue Water" navy complete with fighter aircraft and submarines. This build-up, which began in the mid-1990s, is directed at one power. Along these same lines independent analysis suggests that the Chinese will be able to win a naval conflict with the American fleet in the South China Sea by 2010. If this comes to pass Taiwan will be invaded.

Finally Dyer suggests that the recent provocative rumblings emanating from Beijing indicate Chinas fear of the United States. Dyer is wrong! The Chinese threats to destroy Los Angeles and seize Taiwan, to continue to interfere with American military aircraft over international waters, and her habitual references to the USA as the "Main Enemy" prove only that China is a menace and a growing danger.

Brian E. Birdnow
Bellefontaine Neighbors

AOW Doesn`t CAIR For Them

Always On Watch has a great article titled ``CAIR Accuses Michael Graham-Again`` in which he exposes the Islamic group for the criminals that they are. While you are there, read the rest of their posts-AOW is a terrific resource and all-around great site!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

From the Enemy`s Own Mouth

I was listening to Sean Hannity`s radio program this afternoon, and he was speaking with Susan Estrich about the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court. (Hannity has been cautiously enthusiastic, and has been defending this guy from the beginning since he sees no reason to oppose him.) Estrich`s comments were very disturbing; she warned conservatives that they will be very disappointed in Roberts.

Estrich pointed out that Roberts has been in Washington for decades working as a government lawyer (government lawyers tend to be liberal, or ``moderate`` as she put it), has made few enemies, and she claims he is known as a member of the Gerald Ford wing of the Republican Party. Given the current makeup of the Court, Estrich warns that Roberts will naturally gravitate to the ``moderates`` (Souter, Kennedy, Bryer, etc.) since he really doesn`t have anything in common with the conservatives. If Rehnquist were younger he could take Roberts under his wing and guide him in a more conservative direction, she argues, but with Rehnquist being very ill and probably about to retire, he will have very little influence over a Justice Roberts.

Hannity tried to accuse Estrich of attempting to split conservatives from Roberts, and I wouldn`t put such a trick past her, but she verbally shrugged and laughed this accusation off. I don`t think she was trying to game anyone. She stated that Roberts will be easily confirmed, and that none of the Senate Democrats will seriously attempt to fillibuster, because they all know he is not bad from their perspective, and that the real battle will come when Bush nominates a true conservative.

Let`s see, where have we heard that? Oh, I remember, we read that in my July 20 post ``The Art of War``! I argued that:

It seems clear that the President is doing everything in his power to avoid a long and bitter confirmation battle. But is that a good idea at this point?

Why hasn`t Chief Justice Rehnquist retired? Probably because he is afraid that the Republicans will appoint another Souter, and his life`s work will melt away because of their cowardice. I suspect he has been waiting to see what happens with Sandra Day O`Connor`s seat. If it looks safe for him to leave, he will.

There is the rub. If Roberts confirmation hearing fails to erupt into a war, the Democrats will be in a decent position to attack Bush`s next nominee with all vigor; the war will have been postponed from 2005 to `06 or even `07, and the President may not be able to win at that point. The Democrats will be able to fire all of their guns, and they will be able to defend this action by claiming to have given Roberts a pass. Time is not on the President`s side. When Rehnquist retires (or passes away) the President will have a vacancy on the Court, as well as the nomination of a new Chief Justice. The stakes will be much higher. Will he be able to persuade his party to implement the ``nuclear option`` immediately before the midterm elections, or before the Presidential elections? Will a very lame-duck President be able to force his picks through before his term expires? The time to fight is now, not two years from now. President Bush has pushed this battle off into the future, and he can ill-afford it.

As Sun Tzu pointed out,``One who knows when he can fight, and when he cannot fight, will be victorious``. We needed to fight this judicial battle now to be victorious. If the tripods throw everything they have at Roberts, reneging on their deal with Senate Republicans and filibustering, Mssrs. Frist and Delay will be able to launch the nukes at them. If the Democrats wisely pursue a ``bloody nose`` strategy (make some fuss but then confirm) they will be in a position to stop the more critical appointments which the President will make later. Republicans needed to draw a line in the sand, and that should have been accomplished by the President selecting a verifiable, strong conservative. (The words ``confirmable`` should give us all great trepidation.)

Susan Estrich is confirming my argument! SHE thinks that Roberts should not be so well liked if he were truly a conservative, and SHE thinks that the Democrats won`t waste bullets on a skirmish but will save them for a real shooting war. This isn`t the war, folks! The war will come when Rehnquist is gone, and the President gets to nominate a new Justice and a new Chief Justice. If this happens in `08 we are dead; President Clinton will be the one doing the nominating, or President ``freedom of speech`` McCain! Do we really want to wait for this to happen?

I hope and pray that I am wrong on this, and that Roberts turns out to be a fine, strongly conservative Justice. (I usually hate being wrong, but I`ll make an exception in this case!) I hope and pray that I`m wrong, but I don`t think that I am. We have heard it out of the enemy`s own mouth!

Y`all Come Back Now, Ye Hear!

I found this in me e-mail box this morning.

US-VISIT: Only for Show?
Border-Screening System Hamstrung by Limited Use

WASHINGTON (August 2005) -- A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies finds that the US-VISIT border-screening program is being seriously undermined by policy decisions that limit its effectiveness. US-VISIT has proven its potential, according to the report, but the Bush Administration has exempted so many foreign visitors from being screened, and made so little use of the system’s exit-recording capabilities, that it could well turn into little more than a high-tech Potemkin Village.

What’s more, the current limited deployment of US-VISIT cannot guarantee a secure guestworker program. Until all visitors are subject to screening and enforcement and the systems are in place to deter fraud and abuse of all temporary programs, lawmakers must refrain from inviting still more visitors.

The report, entitled ''Modernizing America’s Welcome Mat: The Implementation of US-VISIT,'' was prepared by Jessica Vaughan, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Center, using both published information and interviews with officials. It is on line at .

Among the specific findings:

* Most Mexicans and Canadians, by far the two largest groups of visitors, are exempt from enrollment in either the entry or the exit components. Currently, only about 22 percent of all visitors are screened by US-VISIT.

* Fraud and abuse of Border Crossing Cards (BCCs) issued to Mexicans is rampant, but could be curbed if this group of visitors were enrolled in US-VISIT. Imposters now can use the cards with little risk of detection. In addition, a significant number of Mexicans illegally use the cards to commute to jobs in the United States.

* The exemption of Canadian visitors from US-VISIT at land crossings is another major weakness. The US-VISIT controls now in place at airports intercepted eight Canadian terrorism suspects who would not have been caught if they had used a land port of entry.

* Although visa overstays represent perhaps as many as 40 percent of all illegal aliens, DHS apparently is planning to implement only a very limited entry-exit-recording program. So far, DHS is using the exit-recording feature of US-VISIT primarily for workload reduction rather than for proactive immigration law enforcement.

* US-VISIT cannot by itself bring order to our immigration system. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is serious about curbing illegal immigration, the agency will have to move beyond its current enforcement strategy of triage, targeting only the most newsworthy offenders, and embrace a complementary strategy of ''broken windows''-style enforcement of all immigration violations that encourages voluntary compliance with the law.

For more information, contact Ms. Vaughan at (508) 346-3380 or

Click It or Ticket

Christopher Orlet has a piece in TAS this morning about seat belt laws and the rights of free citizens. He is trying to fight a ticket he received in Illinois for not straitjacketing himself into his car, and he intends to argue his case on Constitutional grounds. I can`t wait to hear the outcome!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Impeach the Governor!

The ever brilliant BobG over at Sweet Spirits of Ammonia has written about completely outrageous behavior by the Governor of Utah. He is courting Mexico, and is ignoring the Constitution by conducting his own foreign policy and immigration program. He should be Impeached! Everyone must read this!

Star Gazers and Navel Gazers

There was an article in the American Thinker yesterday by Paul Shlichta,an occasional technical advisor to NASA, in which he argues that the Space Agency is adrift and in need of a new purpose. He makes several suggestions on how to reinvigorate the space program, and if NASA follows his advise they will be defunct in five years.

I agree; NASA IS seriously adrift. There are several reasons for this; after the spectacular success of the Moon landings, NASA was expected to pursue sweeping programs. During the `70`s NASA put up Skylab, and then developed the Shuttle, whose primary purpose was to build things. The whole point of the Shuttle (everyone keeps asking why it was designed so large) was to build several space stations in higher orbits to be used as way-stations to the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere. The original idea was to have large, permanently manned, stations with gravity (via rotation) and everything the space traveler would need. Once these stations were in place, we were supposed to build permanent settlements on the Moon which would supply raw materials, oxygen, and perhaps even manufactured goods. (Moving material off of the Moon is a lot easier than it is launching it from Earth.) These stations were intended to act as launch platforms for voyages to Mars, Jupiter, and all points north. Unfortunately, this never happened.

Jimmy Carter slashed the budget for the Shuttle, and so NASA had to convert it from an efficient space-plane into a gas-guzzling SUV of the Skies (thanks to the loss of a reusable first stage in favor of throwaway boosters), and funds were not available for building a space station. Although Ronald Reagan restored funding for a station, the Challenger disaster seriously hampered efforts, and taking on international partners turned a serious American affair into another U.N. ``Oil For Food`` fiasco in which American money earmarked for building the thing was sucked out by our partners. As a result, the ISS (which was supposed to be named ``Freedom``) has never captured the public interest; who gives a rats hindquarters about an ``international`` space station? It needed to be an American station! The public has no reason to care.

Furthermore, the Russians have had several stations, and we had Skylab. There really isn`t any glamour to the ISS. It isn`t doing anything new, and the missions on the station seem to serve no useful purpose. Remember, the it was originally intended to be merely a way-station, sort of an early day Las Vegas in the sky. (Vegas was originally an airplane refueling stop.) Vegas at least had the sense to invite tourists to stay and gamble; the ISS should take a page from the Desert Oasis.

Which is something NASA has opposed bitterly. The Russians decided to use their sections of the station for bed and breakfast accomodations (I`m amazed Bill Clinton didn`t think of that!) and NASA went into a tizzy! The Russians were right; bringing millionaires into space may seem snobbish, but it is a lot less snobbish than the current system. That has been part of the problem; everyone knows that they are never going to get beyond the atmosphere. Space is for the lucky few who dedicate their lives to NASA. These are the high priests, and the ISS is the holy of holies. There is nothing there for the common man. But if you can buy a room...

Which is precisely what the Artemis Society has been trying to do for years. They are a group dedicated to using private funds to build a Hotel on the Moon. They (rightly) believe that the settlement of space is critical, and a Tranquility Hilton will facilitate that settlement. Space tourism has the potential to be massive, and will excite the public since they will have the option to go (if they don`t mind ending up in hock). People will go too; consider how well these adventure packages to Antarctica, or the Himalayas do. The exclusivity makes the concept all the more attractive, but it will not be so exclusive as to be impossible (as it is now.)

Where I seriously disagree with Mr. Shlichta is his suggested remedy to NASA`s woes. He wants to redefine the Agency`s mission, changing to a more Earth-oriented, eco-friendly endeavor. He seems to be particularly keen on the concept of using NASA to conduct liberal environmentalist studies. He points to the popularity of environmentalism and Earth Day, and seems to think this will excite the public. (I would point out that NASA has been doing that very thing for several years, and the public has not been thrilled.) He thinks NASA should spend it`s time looking for asteroids, studying Earth bound phonomena, and whatnot.

I have one word for all of this-zzzzz! Nothing he is proposing will help NASA get the public excited about space, and none of what he proposes they do requires MANNED spaceflight. He is proposing NASA committ Hari-Kari! Most people who are into environmentalism hate the military/industrial complex, and hate manned space flight because it requires big aerospace corporations and a massive industrial base, as well as sucks up funds for social programs (not to mention launch vehicles belch out massive amounts of ``pollution``.) Using NASA to help these people is akin to public financing of Jihadist Mosques; in both cases you are helping the enemy. Environmentalists have no love for the space program.

Looking for asteroids is a decent idea, except there isn`t anything we can DO about them, given the current state of affairs. What NASA should be doing is going to some of these near-Earth asteroids! THAT will excite the public; pictures of men and women hanging on the side of a flying mountain! We could learn a lot about asteroids, plus it wouldn`t be excessively expensive, plus it would help us figure out how to deal with them before they deal with us.

What I think NASA`s mission should be is a return to the Moon. The first Lunar landings were spectaculars without any plans for permanence. We need to build a Lunar Colony. I`m not talking about a couple of soft-landed mobile homes, mind you, but permanent structures with an eye on industrial developement. (If the astronauts want to sit around drinking Milwaukee`s Best and watching reruns of Mama`s Family, they can stay on Earth; NASA should not be building trailer parks!) Nasa should be partnering with private industries and organizations. The Artemis Society, or the L5 Society would be more than willing to pony up cash and technical assistance. We need more real people in space, and less media gods.

Ultimately, Mars is calling and we will have to answer eventually. The problem with Mars is that it is too far (given current propulsion systems) and will be too expensive. If we go to Mars now, we will blow the entire budget, and ultimately make no headway-just as the Apollo program ultimately set us back since it emphasized going but not staying. We need to work out the bugs of planetary settlement, and that can be done quite well on the Moon, which is a decent-sized planet 240,000 miles away. The good thing about the Moon is that we can always come home if something goes wrong; a Mars shot would be entirely on it`s own.

We need to learn about living in lower gravity. We need to learn how to protect ourselves from solar storms and cosmic rays. The ISS is inside the Earth`s magnetic field and thus is protected from a good deal of radiation. We need to see if we can live outside the magnetosphere. We need to see what happens to different life-forms.

In short, we need practice over the long haul. We should go back to the Moon with the intention of staying, we should visit near-Earth asteroids, we should look to build infrastructure for industry. The ISS failed at industry because it was not designed for it. Imagine trying to make textiles on board a cargo ship; the ship wasn`t designed to be a textile factory, so anything made aboard would be expensive and inferior. If you want industry, you build a factory. We need to build factories in space, then prices will drop and quality will rise. With unlimited power (thanks to Mr. Sun) space industries will ultimately prove superior to Earth-bound industry; they are non-polluting (well, nobody cares if they pollute), more efficient, less cost-intensive thanks to virtually free energy, and they have the benefits of microgravity and hard vacuum. Materials from the Moon and asteroids will ultimately result in drastically lower supply costs.

What we don`t need is to spend eternity gazing at our own navels. Mr. Shlichta is proposing a very narcissistic idea; we turn our backs on OUTER space and concern ourselves mainly with Earth. Why he thinks this will improve the public perception of the space program is beyond me. We have been studying the Earth for quite some time, and we can do that easily with unmanned satellites and whatnot. His proposal will ultimately lead to a reduction in manned spaceflight. When Las Vegas advertises trips, do they emphasize the mundane? Do they try to get people interested in coming by stressing their city parks and office buildings? Why would they want to emphasize what everybody has at home? No, Las Vegas advertises casinos, bawdy entertainment, glittering showgirls. They sell themselves as something different and exciting. NASA has something very different and exciting to offer. They need to take a page from Vegas!

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by