Saturday, June 12, 2004

More Liberal Death Rattle

All week we've been treated to anti-Reagan remembrances from the press. Most of it damned him with faint praise as the "Great Communicator," not the man who drove the Soviet Union to collapse and brought our enemy out of his fortress and made him a friend, as Margaret Thatcher put it so eloquently. Here's another by Fred Kaplan blaming Reagan for bin Laden.

Yeah, it's a shame that Reagan ended the threat of nuclear annihilation. We might have been safe today from terrorists, if only we hadn't helped the mujihadeen drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan!

This is the kind of hate speech that will drive more and more of those who value the America that Reagan believed in away from the Democrats and the mainstream media.

Friday, June 11, 2004

I promise it's not Amway!

The American Spectator is reporting that the DNC is going to distribute Michael Moore's latest attack film, Fahrenheit 911 on DVD. I can imagine my reaction if I were invited to some friends house to watch a movie and it turned out to be that, and then they wanted money for Kerry.

This has some big blowback potential.

Reagan, Bush and destiny

Andrew Sullivan has rounded up some quotes from Ronald Reagan's critics that make them look as arrogant and stupid as they seemed to think Reagan was. Every great leader in a democratic nation accumulates a mass of such detractors, who are seldom remembered by later generations. Lincoln was called all sorts of names. He was widely hated in the press, but became a hero only after he was assassinated.

One thing that has expressed itself eloquently in the past week is the depth of respect and even love ordinary Americans have for Ronald Reagan. There is still plenty of bile and contempt in much of the media toward him, but it's the genius of democracy that saves us from such people. Reagan wasn't just a great communicator; that's just the way those who despised him rationalized his success. He was a good, kind man who loved America and was willing to stand up to frightening threats to protect it. Just as Eisenhower won the War in Europe, Reagan won the Cold War.

He believed in destiny and that he was a tool in the hands of God for a great purpose. I believe he was right, just as I believe that this nation is destined to be a tool for God to bring about his purposes in the world. George W. Bush was elected by such a narrow margin that I've always felt that there was a divine hand in it. (Won't that make Democrats furious!) I felt it again after 9/11 when I contemplated what our response would have been had Al Gore been president. The Democrats don't have any real warriors anymore, unless you count Wesley Clark. They generally don't care much about national defense.

I don't believe in fate or destiny in terms of every life having been determined in advance, but I do believe that God is guiding many things subtlely for his own purposes, and I think that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were raised up by him in their times to lead this nation, which probably doesn't deserve to hold such power and receive such blessings as it has. America is an instrument he will use as he sees fit. I just hope we Americans have the sense to be humble enough to serve what Margaret Thatcher calls our "mission of freedom." Note that "mission" does not imply "freedom." A mission is an assignment and it usually requires discipline and concentration, even risk. Freedom is something that demands effort and sacrifice. It's frightening to those who have lived under totalitarian systems. It is maintained by making the right choices consistently and repeatedly, with the knowledge that making the wrong ones will limit one's freedom. That's why I'm not a libertarian. I don't think that liberty is something that maintains itself, or that it means that we should be free to abuse drugs, receive a dole, wallow in pornography or perversion, or become slaves to gambling, alcohol or anything else. We can always make those choices, but society shouldn't be encouraging us to make the wrong ones. In the end we will harm it as well as ourselves and cause ourselves to lose the liberty we wanted all along.

Thursday, June 10, 2004


I watched the Reagan retrospective on the History Channel this evening. The most telling detail about his character/personality to me was Patti Davis' describing his reaction when she told him she was getting her first bra. It sounded to me like he was embarrassed. Tonight, I saw a photo on Fox of Reagan and Clinton, with Clinton's head back in a big laugh. I wondered what Reagan's reaction to the Monica scandal would have been. He never took off his suit jacket in the Oval Office, because he felt that it wouldn't be respectful.

Reagan was a man from a different era, like Walt Disney, when love was courtship, sweet notes and canoe rides, patriotism was sincere, and "keister" was about as rough as language got in mixed company. He was corny, from the red states and he knew what he wanted to do and did it. George W. Bush has a lot of Reagan about him.

Who were these men?

I'm listening to Hugh Hewitt on replay, Speaker Dennis Hastert's comments at the placing of Ronald Reagan's body to lie in state in the Capitol. He invoked Reagan's question at Point du Hoc, "Who were these men?" That means more to me now at 56 than it could have when I was 20 years old. I didn't know, as they probably couldn't, what life had ahead for me. I wouldn't have known as they probably didn't what they were offering up as they charged the German guns on the beaches of Normandy. I think that at that age, I was bobbing along like a twig in a river, not really knowing what was ahead or how to do anything about it. There were many others who, like George Bailey, knew what they wanted to do "tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that."

The fact that they put all that on the line is difficult to grasp. We can speculate what would have happened if they hadn't, but no one really knows. All we know is that their actions thwarted the ambitions of a madman and drove them back into the heart of darkness that spawned them. Because of them, we now live our small humdrum lives, just as their lives were made possible by those who fought the Civil War and the Revolutionary War. The only time that this faith, the faith that one's sacrifice would mean freedom and a hopeful future for others, was Vietnam.

Vietnam left many of us disillusioned, wondering if we had blundered, if we were on the wrong side this time. Events since then have told us that we were not, and stirred a resolve to return to the fight for freedom and consentual government for people with whom the only thing we have in common is our being human.

Many, especially in the chattering class, have clung to the opposite view. They preach disarmament and withdrawal from power, an ingrown kind of patriotism that would surely disgust those who made such great sacrifices in the past. I hope we never give in to that shriveled attitude. It would be a dishonor to the memory of men who stood up to evil and defeated it.

There were people who sneered at Reagan because he didn't enter the military during WWII, as they sneer now at Dick Cheney and George Bush. But one must recognize that Reagan's contribution came later and few others could have filled that role. I expect that we will come to a time when we recognize the same about Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and the rest. Semper fi!

How did those get here?

Banned Iraqi missile engines found in Jordan

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Put on your Home Alone face

The Grand Canyon is endangered! The dams above and below it have allowed trout, that alien species, to live there. Salt cedar and other "alien" plants have moved in. The sand bars and beachs are eroding. $200 million has been spent on studies of how to save the canyon.
four of the canyon's eight native fish species have disappeared, and the prospects for a fifth, the endangered humpback chub, are grim. The chub is being hurt by a number of factors, primarily the cold water, which hampers reproduction, and the Asian tapeworm, a non-native parasite that is killing the fish.
Oh, NOOOO! Not the humpbacked chub!

Everywhere else the Wildlife Resources agencies are fighting chubs, killing whole lakes full of fish to get rid of them.

What I want to ask these guys is why they want to fight nature's adaptations to changing circumstances. They haven't got a chance in hell of breaching either the Hoover dam or the Glen Canyon dam. Human beings change things, just as every other living organism does. Sometimes they make it harder for other species, often for pretty stupid reasons, but consensus and democracy still rule the day, for better or for worse, and all the environmental sob stories in the world won't save species who can't adapt. That's how it has always been. That's what Grand Canyon is demonstrating.

One of the odd facts in the story is that "The sandy shorelines are washing away. And once-buried Indian archaeological sites are slipping into the river." We should preserve the ruins of primitive man, but destroy the artifacts of modern man? If these sites were buried, what were we learning from them? Maybe it's a good thing that they emerged, and that we can study them. If the sand is washing away, what are the salt cedar trees growing in? How is restoring the old muddy torrents going to deal with the tapeworm now infecting the chubs? The whole issue is one big tail chase with no solutions. The environmental idolizing of a changing ecosystem makes no sense, except for fundraising.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Save the Subspecies!

A subspecies of chimpanzee, the Pan troglodytes vellerosus, is going extinct, "because of man-made threats like logging and hunting."
The study was presented at a conference of The Pan African Sanctuaries Alliance in Johannesburg. PASA sanctuaries care for orphaned or injured great apes.
I wish I could work up more concern about such claims. I think it's because of the constant appeals for donations for the large-eyed urchins that constantly air on cable channels between the male enhancement ads. After awhile you just start to resent having your human feelings manipulated. When I read this story, which claims that chimps are threatened by being hunted for food, I wondered how much this PASA group was doing for economic development in the countries where these animals live. Isn't it necessity that drives people to kill animals and the absence thereof that allows for their protection? Maybe, instead of holding conferences and issuing dire warnings and fundraising apppeals, these people should be establishing schools, teaching skills, etc. But since they aren't really producing any economic value themselves, what can we expect from them?

�It is believed that the illegal hunting and eating of apes -- known as the bushmeat crisis -- has had the greatest impact on the rate of decline, along with deforestation, human encroachment and disease,� PASA said in a statement.
Of course it is. What else did you expect them to say?
�The numbers at the sanctuaries don�t lie."
But they don't really explain themselves or reveal solutions either. The only thing that seems to reliably reduce population growth among humans is prosperity, which seems to follow democratic governments and capitalism, which the scientists who build these sanctuaries know little about and don't trust anyway.

The Geneva effect

The Democrats in the Senate were squeezing John Ashcroft to give them proof that the administration has condoned torture. Ashcroft refused.

Here's an interesting exchange between Joe Biden and Ashcroft:
"There's a reason why we sign these treaties: to protect my son in the military," Biden said. "That's why we have these treaties. So when Americans are captured, they are not tortured. That's the reason, in case anybody forgets it."

Ashcroft responded that he too had a son in the military now on active duty. "I'm aware of those considerations. And I care about your son," he said.
Does Biden really think that our policy on torture had any effect on the people who beheaded Nick Berg?

The Iraqi Debt

The administration wants most Iraqi debt forgiven, but won't say how much. I would hope that it will wait for the new Iraqi government to take its own position on this issue, since that is part of what sovereignty means. The real question is when the American press will admit that democracy has taken hold in Iraq.

Also, the debt entered into by Saddam's regime did more to benefit him than it did for the country, and most of it is owed to Russians and French companies. I would hope that Iraq will refuse to pay for weapons or honor sweetheart oil deals, especially.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Reagan, the believer--Another reason for the left to hate him.

My nephew sent me the text of remarks made by President Reagan at an Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast in Dallas, Texas on August 23, 1984 containing this:
We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief, to apply moral teaching to public questions.

I submit to you that the tolerant society is open to and encouraging of all religions. And this does not weaken us; it strengthens us, it makes us strong. You know, if we look back through history to all those great civilizations, those great nations that rose up to even world dominance and then deteriorated, declined, and fell, we find they all had one thing in common. One of the significant forerunners of their fall was their turning away from their God or gods.

Without God, there is no virtue, because there's no prompting of the conscience. Without God, we're mired in the material, that flat world that tells us only what the senses perceive. Without God, there is a coarsening of the society. And without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
The central point is tolerance. That is what the First Amendment stands for with its two clauses, one forbidding an establishment and the other prohibiting interference with the free exercise of religion. This was not a "wall of separation" as it has been interpreted by courts who portray religion as some kind of predatory influence that makes people feel stigmatized who don't believe. This view, rather than promoting tolerance, has resulted in a hair trigger society where the least hint of religious faith in a public setting sets off the threat of lawsuits.

I think that the founding fathers were no wimps. They didn't feel sorry for themselves and would have despised whiners who think that the constitution was meant to protect our delicate psyches from feeling stigmatized. Nobody protected me from feeling stigmatized when I was the only Mormon kid in my grade school. It never occurred to me to complain about the songs we sang in school. What I learned in a pluralistic setting was respect for religion as a civilizing influence in society. Today it is seen as a source of division, only because the courts have made it so. If you want to understand the effect of the "wall of separation" doctrine, look at how much tolerance you feel both from religions other than your own or how tolerant you perceive them to be of you. The distrust and resentment has come from atheists, those who could not be content to say they do not believe in God but realize that it is impossible to disprove his existence. They are positive that belief in God harms society and demand that their views be given pre-eminence in public settings. The courts have agreed and thus made atheism the de facto state religion, the opposite of the tolerance intended by the founders. It was certainly true that there were all kinds of prejudice in the 18th Century between Puritans, Anglican and other protestants, Catholics, and Jews. That's why so many intellectuals were deists; it allowed them to believe but not be involved in the disputes among the sects. They were also aware that many groups had come here to escape religious persecution and to be free to worship according to their own beliefs. Is it really believable that they would approve giving so much veto power to atheists?

My Grandma, what big teeth you have.

Here's a hair raising sample of the Iranian revolution's approach to P.R.

No heroes these days?

The New York Times remembers D-Day with this:
We may find the heroics of D-Day stirring in the extreme. We may struggle to imagine the special hell of those beaches, the almost despairing lurch of the landing craft as they motored toward France. Those were brave times. But it was a bravery of shared sacrifice, a willingness to rise to an occasion that everyone prayed would never need to come again. This is a day to respect the memory of 60 years ago and, perhaps, to wonder what we might rise to if only we asked it of ourselves.
I guess having the president ask it of us isn't good enough.

Another Profile In Courage

Natan Sharansky recounts his learning of Ronald Reagan's calling the Soviet Union an evil empire. (Via Best of the Web):
In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an "evil empire." Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan's "provocation" quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth--a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.
I found this quite touching. It's one of those things that makes you feel the glow you associate with truth and right. Reagan was a man who understood right and wrong and the obligation to stand up for what is right. He didn't seem courageous at the time because all we heard were howls from the cowardly in the media, who saw such statements as scary provocations and portrayed Reagan as reckless. Funny that JFK's statement, "Ick bin ein Berliner!" was treated as bold, courageous and inspiring, while Reagan's statement sent the left into spasms of denunciation. The point was the same: The Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall were evil.

Note, however, that Reagan didn't treat Gorbachev as an evil person. Maybe Reagan was just the continuation of Kennedy's politics in an age when the Democratic Party had moved away from them. Reagan came from an era that recognized the evil of Communism and other attempts to impose tyranny on mankind. He also knew that it was antithetical to what Americans believe and that we had missed the opportunity to confront and destroy it many times since the end of WWII.

Bush is doing just what Reagan would have done. That is really what people today should remember.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Tenet's Resignation

I agree completely with Mark D. Roberts observations. It's the Karen Hughes story again. The inside-the-beltway mentality can't imagine that people would trade power and influence for their families. There always has to be another explanation.

More Democrat Insanity

Why is it that Bush can be opened equated with Hitler, called a drunk, a drug addict and a moron, and now extermination of Republicans called for, the promoters of hate speech laws don't seem to be bothered at all. Hugh Hewitt has more. What amazes me is that people who are otherwise bright and gifted have become so full of hatred. Where's the faith in democracy? The sanctity of freedom of speech? The nobility of rescuing people oppressed by tyranny? These used to be a hallmark of that party. Maybe this is what the death throes of a party look like. The Federalists disappeared because they couldn't win, but they also made it worse by becoming bitter and negative.