Monday, December 6, 2010
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all, whether your celebration includes culinary delights of the carnivorous variety or the various and sundry iterations of vegetarianism, veganism, and the like. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2011, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To My Conservative Friends: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
A TSA supervisor told Tyner that “by buying your ticket, you gave up a lot of rights.” How, exactly, is that possible? At what point during the process of purchasing an air fare is the passenger obligated to actually take the trip? If a man purchases air transport for his family, does he at the point of purchase obligate his children to having their genitals touched by strangers? If a woman schedules a trip through a travel agent, at what point has she accepted a contractual obligation in which she gives overt or tacit permission for TSA to touch her breasts, feel her buttocks, or fondle her genitals? If she buys a ticket to send her child to grandmother’s house for Christmas, at what point has she agreed to subject him to what is considered a sexual assault when it is perpetrated by his schoolteacher?
San Diego TSA chief Michael J. Aguilar, a retired Marine brigadier general with a Master’s Degree in “Strategic Studies and National Security Affairs,” asserts that it is “irresponsible to encourage anyone to opt out of a technology that is there in place specifically to protect the public.” Really? We’re to accept without question the claim that government agents taking graphic nude pictures of us without our informed consent will keep us safe? Aguilar further claimed that “once a passenger enters the security area, there is a legal obligation to follow through with the process.” Indeed? By choosing to fly within the continental United States, I’m agreeing to allow a minimum wage employee of dubious moral character to touch my vagina? To feel between my buttocks? To squeeze my breasts?
Janet Napolitano says “It’s all about security. It’s all about everybody recognizing their role.” It appears that our role is to provide cheap thrills for TSA agents, whether by allowing some to see us naked and evaluate not only our lack of concealed weaponry, but the general size and shape of our naughty bits, or by permitting others to put their hands on our breasts and genitals. Talk about a Hobson’s choice!
I have noticed that women seem to be more concerned with both the nude scanner and the pat down; in part, I think men and women tend to look at things from a bias inherent to their gender. When I think of three or four guys sitting in a semi-dark room all day, looking at pictures of naked people for eight hours at a time, I know they are making lewd remarks, commenting on people's genitals, breasts, fat rolls, etc. The thought of subjecting myself to that kind of review makes me angry. When you factor in the reality that around 33% of women are victims of some sort of sexual abuse or assault in their lifetime, you will understand that a good portion of the population is apt to be much more sensitive to invasive procedures and inappropriate touching.
Have we become a nation willing to have our lives dictated by a pablum of political correctness foisted upon us by the far left? Are we so afraid of being considered racist that we have abandoned reasonableness and logic in our effort to be “fair?” We know that the single largest threat to the security of our airways is the Moslem male between the ages of 18 and 40; we know that the primary purveyors of terrorism are Islamic and likely to be Arab, yet our government instructs its agency to manhandle American citizens—from catholic nuns to the elderly to our defenseless children—while potentially allowing Moslem women to limit the intrusive search to the head and neck.
In a digital age, where our government knows so much about her citizens, there should be a way to pre-screen the majority of prospective travelers to eliminate those who are extremely low risk--say, those with TS-SCI or other clearances; those who neither fit the profile of the terrorist nor the native malcontent, while placing increased scrutiny on those who pose the bigger threat--the non-native, the Moslem, and yes, I dare say it: those who fit the racial profile of the terrorist. It's a pretty damn tough pill for Americans to be forced to swallow, either way. I'd rather have military working dogs in airports than subject myself to either option offered by the TSA--I'd much rather a dog sniffed my crotch than some random agent fondled it.
John Adams once wrote, “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.” Are we really willing to let our government force us to give up personal liberty and bodily integrity to preserve the illusion of safety?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
However, in the minds of many, the myth that the pre-Contact populations lived as one cohesive, widespread, yet happy family of tree-hugging environmentalists and earth-loving “noble savages” persists. Regrettably, the facts certainly do not support this position.
Technological advances not only define a culture, but they mark important steps in human and societal evolution. The European Bronze Age began in approximately 2800 B.C.; the Iron Age circa 800 B.C. This technology had spread to northern Europe by 500 BC (the same time frame as the Golden Age of Athens). Poured concrete was in use by around 200 B.C. The Aztecs, arguably the most technologically advanced pre-Columbian culture, didn’t enter the Bronze Age until after 1200 A.D.
The written Hellenic language—and by “language” I mean, symbols for particular phonetic sounds or letters, and not merely pictures—made its appearance circa 1400 B.C.; Italic languages around 700 BC, and Germanic language a bit later, around 160 AD. Pre-Columbian America and Mesoamerica had no written language, with the possible exception of the Maya, who had a system of glyphs—not generally accepted as a written “language.” By contrast, over a hundred years before Columbus arrived in the New World, Dante’s “Divine Comedy” (1321) and Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” (1387) had been published.
The European Renaissance began in 1400, and by the time Columbus set sail for the New World, Europe had produced such masterpieces as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, da Vinci’s The Annunciation, Tommaso’s The Betrayal of Christ, and Lippi’s Madonna and Child. In 1503, da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa; by 1508, Michelangelo had begun painting the Sistine Chapel. While Mesoamerican art was very detailed, most notably some of the Mayan murals, it was not on a par with the artwork of the Renaissance—even the early Renaissance. North American art at that time seems to be limited to textiles, pottery, and crude cave drawings.
Before 1492, pre-Columbian cultures had developed rudimentary percussion instruments, rattles, and a few very primitive wind instruments. Their music was primarily for ceremonial purposes, and in the case of the Aztec and Inca, primarily for rites of ceremonial human sacrifice. In contrast, by the late 1400s, Europeans were using instruments such as the harp, the lute, the vielle, the flute-like recorder, bagpipes, and the pipe organ, among others. Music in Europe was not merely for purposes of religious ceremony; the troubadour introduced secular music and poetry to Europeans 200-300 years before the Renaissance, but the Renaissance brought about widespread use of these instruments for secular purposes.
By 1492, Europeans had mastered the wheel, domesticated oxen and horses, used heavy wheeled wagons to move goods, had invented the windmill and were using various iterations of “Archimedes’s screw” to move water. They utilized a magnetic compass, and beginning around 1200 BC, had begun to use crude stellar navigation techniques. With the development of the caravel and their advancing knowledge of distance navigation, the Europeans were able to voyage ever further from their shores—and return to them. The pre-Columbian natives had no means of conveyance capable of feats such as crossing the ocean, and no means of long-distance navigation.
Pre-Columbian Americans had not yet invented the wheel—an important step in human evolution. The pre-Columbian Indian method of ground transportation for himself and his goods was, for the most part, his own two feet, although those near water did utilize canoes or rafts. While many Mesoamerican tribes and a few North American tribes lived in settlements and were therefore able to acquire and store possessions, the majority of North American Indians were nomadic hunter-gatherers, a lifestyle that limits leisure time and the ability to acquire personal possessions. History shows that the Plains Indians did use travois (two sticks lashed together that allowed a man to drag more weight that he could carry) to transport objects that couldn’t be carried in their hands or on their backs, but had no livestock to pull those travois save dogs. Some historians argue that these Indians had a simpler lifestyle and were uninterested in material possessions; the reality is that they had no means of maintaining many possessions in excess of what was necessary for survival.
Although the Europeans were undoubtedly much more advanced than the pre-Columbian Indians, it does not necessarily follow that the Europeans were morally and ethically superior. Nevertheless, that argument can certainly be made by contrasting some practices and cultural behaviors. After any factual review, it would be difficult to support the claim that the persistent perception of a “noble savage” is based in reality.
By 1492, human sacrifice in Europe was a distant memory—most archeological reports indicate that the practice ended in the first century B.C. Human sacrifice continued to be a common practice in the Mesoamerica, however. According to anthropologist Michael Harner, it is possible that the Aztecs sacrificed as many as 250,000 people annually. Human sacrifice was not limited to the Aztecs—it was practiced with equal enthusiasm by the Maya, the Mixtec, and the Inca.
North American Indians were not immune to barbarism and human sacrifice, either. The mound builders of Cahokia appear to have engaged in ritual human sacrifice, as evidenced by the skeletons unearthed in Mound 72; archaeological evidence points to human sacrifice among the Pawnee and Iroquois tribes, as well.
More confirmation of what could be considered barbarism and questionable moral and ethical behavior stems from the widespread cannibalism perpetrated by the New World Indians, especially the Indians of Mesoamerica. Bernal Díaz del Castillo (1492-1585) in The Conquest of New Spain, wrote of rampant cannibalism among the natives he and his fellow conquistadores came across in their trek to Tenochtitlan. His account was corroborated by many others, including Diego Muñoz Camargo in his History of Tlaxcala. An account by explorer Amerigo Vespucci, published circa 1504, tells of Indians in Brazil who brought home captives from war not as slaves, but as dinner—Vespucci averred that human flesh was a “common article of diet.” Again, North American Indians were not immune: early French and English explorers and settlers reported cannibalism in tribes from coast to coast, among them the Iroquois, Mohawk, Algonquin, Micmac, Assiniboine, Cree, Fox, Chippewa, Ottawa, Kickapoo, Sioux, Winnebago, Caddo, Karankawa, Kiowa, Tonkawa, Comanche, Tlingit, and Ute. In 1994, the Archaeological Institute of America published findings proving cannibalism among the Chaco Canyon Anasazi, as well.
The New World Indians also practiced scalping prior to the first contact, despite the best efforts of many historians to assign blame for the practice to the Europeans. Anthropologists found evidence in the remains of the 486 victims of the Crow Creek massacre, an event in pre-Columbian 14th century AD in South Dakota, proving that Indians not only scalped their enemies, but decapitated them, cut out their tongues, and otherwise dismembered them. Early European settlers reported that the Huron, Iroquois, Chichimec, and Muskhogean tribes all scalped enemy warriors. It is no surprise that the Europeans labeled the natives “savages.”
Interestingly, very few of those who eagerly assign blame to all Caucasians for the mantle of perpetual victimhood that is so proudly worn by so many for no reason other than their ancestry are willing to admit or discuss these barbarities—and such information is certainly germane to any discussion of how Europeans viewed the inhabitants of the New World and concomitantly, how that affected the status of Native Americans in North American society.
In any case, the western hemisphere before first contact was hardly a place of peace and serenity, and the pre-Columbians were not environmentalists. The “noble savages” inhabiting the continents were in constant strife, and violence abounded. In short, life for most of the New World Indians was, while not necessarily solitary, almost definitely “poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
The “pristine myth” has been solidly debunked; scientists now acknowledge that the pre-Columbian aboriginal populations intentionally burned huge tracts of land for their own purposes, significantly altering the land and the ecosystems in which they lived. Warring tribes fought over territory for game, religious practices and belief systems. They used fire indiscriminately, not only to deprive the enemy of hiding places, but to channel game into controlled areas where that game could be more easily killed en masse, and they left devastated landscapes behind them. Many historians believe that reforestation, especially in the Eastern United States, should be attributed to the advent of the European settlers, who interrupted the ecological mayhem perpetrated by the aboriginal tribes.
Is it reasonable to imagine, had Europeans not discovered the New World and made known its existence to civilized societies, that the aboriginal populations would have continued their warlike, nomadic, almost pre-historic existence? No, it is not. Had the European influence not impacted the development of the various Paleo-Indian tribes, would they have continued as before, never advancing, never creating, and never evolving? One would hope not.
A final note: Americans provide for the taxpayer-subsidized continuation of a society that under normal circumstances would have faced extinction had it chosen not to assimilate, as the North American aboriginal population has chosen.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Shirley Sherrod video posted by Breitbart that led to a firestorm of media attention brought into crisp clarity two things: First, the NAACP is a racist, entitlement-promoting organization, and second, that Obama learned absolutely nothing from his vaunted “beer summit,” which was only necessary because he rushed to judgment without knowing all the facts, opened his pie hole, and called a police officer “stupid” for doing his job.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Fast forward a year, and Obama rushes to judgment once again, pushing Vilsack to fire Sherrod before anyone from the White House or the USDA actually bothered to speak to Ms. Sherrod or to watch the entire video, for that matter, to ascertain all the facts of the situation. Yet somehow, the left blames Andrew Breitbart and the Tea Party for the actions of Vilsack and the Obama White House.
Let me be clear: it was the Obama White House that chose to rush to judgment. It was Obama and Vilsack who took direct action against Sherrod. There is a huge disconnect between the true and actual circumstances of this case and the manner in which it is viewed by the left.
Breitbart comes from the right; his BigGovernment.com website is filled with right-leaning pundits and conservative commentary. If you work in the White House, or on Capitol Hill, for that matter, you already know that to be the case. If you are a responsible staffer, a good leader, you verify the facts before you spring into action. If the DailyKOS or Keith Olbermann or Alan Colmes posted a video of Rick Santorum speaking about a heretofore unknown racist past at a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Caucasian People, you can bet that if it is my job to follow potential 2012 presidential candidates, I’m going to chase down the facts of the story—all the details—before I demand he ride off into the sunset.
Breitbart showcased not only a black woman speaking of her own racism and her recovery from it, but no less importantly, the behavior of NAACP members who rejoiced at the perceived manifestation of racial bigotry by one of their own. Despite the fact that the woman continued to explain how she overcame her own prejudice, the immediate response of the NAACP members at that meeting in March was very telling and is perhaps as significant a part of the story as the Obama Administration’s rush to judgment…again.
Monday, July 19, 2010
I refer to those who feel entitled by merit of their existence, those in this country who demand something for nothing--who expect to be cared for without being willing to care for themselves or work for themselves--who would rather demand handouts, reparations, entitlements, etc. from the government--which, in case you haven't noticed, is US--that is OUR money they are spending. Even those on the right side of the aisle who consider themselves “compassionate conservatives” seem to embrace the same startling point of view: that a person is somehow entitled to food, drink, shelter, medical care, education, etc. by merit of his very existence--that there is no obligation for him to earn these things, but that they should be provided without question. How astounding it is that there are so many people who demand sustenance, shelter, health care, and education, without being willing to work for them!
Those things are not guaranteed "rights." A person does not have the right to demand that I provide him with water because I have a bottle of it; he cannot rightfully demand to sleep in my house because I have a spare bedroom; he cannot require me to pay for his broken arm for no other reason than that I earn enough to afford it and he does not.
Similarly, free food and water are not human rights. The equal opportunity to compete for food and water is a human right. You want water? Pay your water bill or live next to a stream, or walk to the stream, get the water (hopefully boil it), and then drink it. And once you have successfully acquired it, endeavor to prevent someone who is either unwilling or unable to go to the creek for his own water from taking it from you by force, or by government fiat--either that or be prepared to spend a lot of time walking back and forth to the stream to provide water for the unwilling, while never getting any for yourself.
If you are the free rider—if you are the one receiving the benefit of another's work—if you are the one getting the water without having to get off your arse to walk to the well or the stream—if you are the one getting money for nothing, I imagine you view the system as a good one. However, this school of thought is so far removed from the mindset of Americans at the time of the founding of our country that I don't know if the Founders could have imagined a people so unwilling to work to feed and clothe and educate and care for themselves, but rather, who spend more and more of their efforts in determining new ways to take what they need from those who ARE willing to work.
The way to achieve a better life is to advance your skills and your abilities so that you have more earning power and therefore place yourself in a better position for the future. If a person deems his employer-provided insurance to be inadequate, he is free to find a different employer with a better insurance plan. The key is that he must have the skills required by that employer. Failing that, he has the option to spend more on insurance and less on other things. The part of socialism that liberals seem unwilling to recognize is that the majority of citizens pay no taxes at all, placing the burden for financing the needs of the masses on those who do earn—the free-rider problem.
Socialism discourages the producers from working--why should I work if I am unable to enjoy the fruits of my labor? Why should I work if it is only to support people who are unwilling to make the same financial decisions or expend the same effort to improve their marketability in the workplace that I made? By what right does one demand that someone else support him or his family? It is not "the government" who pays the price, it is the taxpayer--people like us, who work hard and would prefer to keep a larger portion of the 37% of our income that the government appropriates. However, there is limited probability that I would ever be able to convince a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat of its negative impact, because the Democrat constituency is reliant on having a hand in my wallet to ensure its very survival.
How could I possibly explain to someone who demands my money—albeit through a middleman--that he is not deserving of it by merit of the simple fact that he has less than I have? Generally, we respond to extortion and strong arm robbery with the law--unfortunately, the Obama administration seems to be using the law for the purpose of extortion. I can't be surprised, because Obama did state during his campaign that he planned to redistribute income. It doesn't change the fact that to do so is immoral, reprehensible, and has all the markers of Marxist/Leninist revolutionary behavior. From each, according to his ability, to each according to his need. Sound familiar?
Democrats supported the health “reform bill,” the Wall Street “reform” bill, and most other bills promoting the redistribution of wealth, because they see it as a way to buy votes from their constituency. They are counting on a type of class warfare that they incite by pointing at the wealthy and telling their constituency that those wealthy people are stealing from the common man...that the wealthy have no right to their money or their property. That the world would be fairer if the rich man had to give his money to the poor man--regardless of whether or not the poor man was willing to work for it. It's the whole bastardized Robin Hood mentality--take from those with more, and we won't call it stealing or hold you accountable so long as you give it to "the poor."
It is my view that those who want to get something for nothing, those who wish to reap the rewards of other people's labor, are lazy, unethical, and morally inferior. I believe that the forced redistribution of wealth, whether done at the hands of a robber with a gun, or Congress with the IRS as their weapon of choice, is a criminal act.
You can tax me into penury, you can force me to support you through government-mandated entitlement programs shoved down my throat by an out-of-control Congress, but you cannot force me to like it.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I recently commented that the single most reprehensible act committed by George W. Bush was to promote and sign into law the first bailout. By doing so, he set the stage for the current economic disaster, for the very real assault on free markets and capitalist principles, and for the socialist policies of the Obama administration. For that single act, in large measure, the blame for the multiple bailouts and nationalization of private industry can be placed squarely at his feet. He should have taken the principled position and vetoed the bailout. He did not, and we are all paying the consequences.
No company is “too big to fail.” Failure will cause short-term pain and misery, then the free market will take over and the vacuum will be filled by eager, determined companies willing to provide the same or better service at a lower cost. Nature and the market abhor a vacuum.
I speak often in opposition to Obama’s stated goals and policy initiatives promoting wealth redistribution. Health care is a prime example. Not only is it a blatant over-extension of governmental authority by using Art. 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution to demand that every single American purchase a specific product, against his will, but the basic premise of nationalizing the entire health care system, dictating what care can be given to whom, and under what circumstances, is abhorrent to a free society.
Another thing anathema to a free society and a democratic republic of the people is the manner in which the health care bill was created and passed. For the third most powerful person in the line of government succession to tell the American people that a bill must first be passed before those whom it affects can know what said bill contains is a blatant violation of the public trust. Also in violation of the sacred duty bestowed upon our elected representatives is their failure to read the health reform legislation before voting it into law.
Some take no exception to fact that the federal government is forcing every American, by virtue of citizenship, to purchase a product against his will. I regard it as an unconstitutional violation of my civil liberties. Additionally, should I willfully refuse to buy this product the government demands I purchase, then I can be fined up to $25,000 and/or imprisoned because my government has authorized the Internal Revenue Service to enforce this mandatory purchase. Even in the best case scenario, my refusal to purchase this government-mandated product will result in the IRS using monies I overpaid to the government—my money—to pay this illegal fine, due process be damned.
I deem this a contravention of the rights granted to me under my Constitution, and I will fight to right this wrong.
That being said, with all that technology immediately available, it would be easy to let the technology drive me, rather than the other way around. How many people turn to their smartphone instead of a book when they can’t sleep, or when they are bored? How many times do you find yourself reaching for your iPhone while watching a movie, instead of allowing the film to entertain you? How often do you give your husband or your wife or your children—the most important people in your life—only a portion of your attention, because your other eye is on your iPhone, following Twitter or facebook, or reading email or news or baseball scores?
I’m guilty, but I’m recovering.
I’m putting the iPhone aside in the evenings to spend time with my husband. There is nothing so important, no debate so interesting, and no liberal so desperately needing a smackdown, that can or should draw me away from time with my husband. It is difficult for me, because I’m competitive by nature. I can make catching a metro, climbing stairs, folding towels or even drying dishes a competition. I want to be faster, smarter, better. I want to throw harder, jump higher, and finish first. I think it’s so deeply ingrained in my DNA that I sometimes have angst from denying my competitive impulses.
I’m recovering. I’m picking my races; I’m controlling my absorption with things that push my competitive buttons.
Which brings me to the point of these personal revelations…I’m doing things on my time, on my terms, and in a way that is best for me and my family. A consequence of that appears to be that sometimes a cavalcade of liberals will think they’ve stumped me, or that I cannot defend against their spurious attacks, whether against me personally, or John Wayne, or George Bush. And that’s ok. I’m driving the technology, it’s not driving me.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
My husband and I are the type of people who brave the masses for book sales and little else. We can often be found with our noses in a book, both figuratively and literally—there is nothing like the smell of an old, well-made, gently used book. One of my favorite used bookstore finds was a copy of a book edited by Donald Robinson, published in 1958, entitled, “The Day I Was Proudest to be an American.” I love the anecdotes in that book. My heart thrilled to read about the success stories of immigrants, the life-changing events witnessed by my fellow Americans, and so many moments that filled my heart with pride and honor at my good fortune to have been born in this country, to have been born an American.
This is a feeling that every citizen should share, but most especially, our nation’s leaders should recognize and share that sense of honor, of pride, of carrying the torch of freedom to others—of standing as a beacon of light demonstrating what honest labor, freedom of thought, and the pursuit of success in an open economy, should mean. Freedom isn’t a guarantee of success, but a guarantee that you have the opportunity to work for it in the freest market in the world. Liberty is not a guarantee of a chicken in every pot, but an assurance that your government will not impede you in your lawful and honest pursuit of it. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be used as an excuse to say anything one pleases without being held accountable; but rather, it carries an obligation to educate one’s self to gain greater understanding of the responsibilities of citizenship.
Obama is unable to support and defend America because he doesn’t comprehend what it means to be American. He has never put a stake in the ground and worked to defend it. He hasn’t looked to this country as a place of opportunity where hard work brings reward. He has never invested anything in America other than words.
Our president hasn’t spent much time in America; he was not educated in a system that by its very existence demonstrates American exceptionalism. His understanding of our Founding Fathers, of our Revolution, of our strenuous efforts to create a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, came from law school, not at his father's knee and not from basic civics classes in grammar school. He appears to imagine himself more a citizen of the world than a citizen of the United States of America; he is only proud of America when she conforms to his ideals. He married a woman who was only proud to be American once her husband was elected.
This is not leadership, and it is definitely not American leadership. A United States President must put this country’s interests FIRST. He must sweat and worry over the death of every soldier or Marine he sends to battle. He must recognize deeply within his soul and his gut that America is worth fighting for, that her ideals, her Constitution, her laws, and yes, her borders, are worth defending. He must recognize that every inch of this land was earned with blood, the sweat of hard work, and the patriotism of determined men who stood ready to die to ensure the survival of America.
Obama acknowledges none of this. The actions of this administration demonstrate that Obama is willing to subvert the law to maintain his tenuous hold on power. He is dangerous because he does not recognize that the survival of America is more important than his presidency--more important than any president. To remedy this, we must have rational Americans in control of Congress. Americans who understand what it means to be an American.
Remember this in November.
If the GOP manages to salvage this election cycle, it will be done on the backs of the fed-up tea party voters, and not because it earned support or swayed independents to the GOP position.
1 November 2009
Republican National Committee
310 First Street SE
Washington, D.C. 20077-1084
Dear Sir or Ma’am:
I have been a Republican since I first registered to vote; I chose to identify myself as such because I believed strongly in the core principles the party espoused: smaller government, free markets, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, and personal liberty. I still believe in those principles. I am not sure that the Republican Party under the leadership of Michael Steele is capable of standing firmly for those principles.
In the past several months, I have received several solicitations for donations from the RNC. I’ve read each missive carefully, searching for a cogent statement of principle or enumerating the values and ideas Mr. Steele’s GOP embraces. I haven’t found it. Not once, in any of the 2-3 communications per week that I’ve received.
Instead, I have received a succession of requests whose primary focus has been on pointing fingers at the Democrats, casting blame onto Obama, and returning power to the Republicans. I have received requests for donations with “past due” stamped in red on the envelopes. When I called the RNC to register my dismay at the effrontery—the chicanery—of such solicitations, most notably those stamped “past due,” I received not an apology or a statement that the RNC would consider changing its methods, but a letter removing me from the RNC’s contact list. Talk about not getting it!
Meanwhile, I’ve watched the RNC’s leadership endorse RINOs like Scozzafava and Crist, while ignoring the strong conservative credentials of Hoffman and Rubio. Insofar as returning Republicans to power is concerned, the Republicans in Congress, with few exceptions, do not deserve to remain in office due to their betrayal of conservative principles and their support of pork-laden bills and bailouts. Neither do the Democrats, but that is a story for another day.
I have yet to determine exactly where Mr. Steele believes the party should go—I’m not sure he knows. I don’t believe he can lead the party anywhere. The Republican party leadership needs to embrace conservatism and solidify the party’s message—to make it clear, as Reagan so ably did, that a return to conservative principles is not only the best option for the country, but is in fact the only viable option.
The RNC needs to work on developing and espousing a statement of principle that speaks to those of us who still believe that WE are the best arbiters of our own lives, not a ubiquitous government; that WE have the power to change our circumstances through our own efforts, not through edicts from the state, and certainly not through entitlement programs; that WE are best able to decide if, how, and when to spend or save what we earn, not the IRS or the spendthrifts in Congress.
I still consider myself a Republican. Taking me off the mailing list doesn’t change that. However, I am extremely disappointed in the party and in Mr. Steele as its leader. Any donation to the RNC under the current leadership would be throwing good money after bad.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Dear President Obama:
I'm planning to move my family and extended family into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me.
We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico , and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.
We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws.
I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here. So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Calderon, that I'm on my way over?
Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:
1. Free medical care for my entire family.
2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.
3. Please print all Mexican Government forms in English.
4. I want my grandkids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.
5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.
6. I want my grandkids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.
7. Please plan to feed my grandkids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.
9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico , but I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.
10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.
11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my housetop, put U S. flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.
12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.
13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.
14. I want to receive free food stamps.
15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.
16. I'll need income tax credits so that although I don't pay Mexican taxes, I'll receive money from the government.
17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Government pays $4,500.00 to help me buy a new car.
18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.
I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all his people who walk over to the U.S. from Mexico . I am sure that President Calderon won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.
Thank you so much for your kind help.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Is it more important to elect any Latino than to elect a qualified candidate? So now one Latino, in Port Chester, NY, is equal to six white people...Dred Scott, much?
Friday, June 11, 2010
Smith describes the White Paper of 1939 as a repudiation of the earlier 1937 plan for partition proposed by the Peel Commission. Nonetheless, ten years later, partition was on the table again with the UNSCOP plan. What was the essence of each of the three proposals (Peel Commission proposal, White Paper, and UNSCOP plan)? And in each case what were the reactions of the Jews and the Arabs? Were the Jewish and the Arab leaderships consistent in their approaches?
Partition Plans and White Papers: Jewish and Arab Response
The Peel Commission partition plan, the 1939 MacDonald White Paper, and the UNSCOP partition proposal, when taken in concert, were in large measure responsible for producing a unified Jewish people in pursuit of a National Home in Palestine, and creating an antagonistic coalition of anti-Jewish Arabs. Jewish and Arab responses to the three proposals were generally consistent. While Arab responses were sometimes limited in their consistency due to the competing agendas of the various Arab factions and by the inability of the Arabs in the region to coalesce into a unified voice or agree on a single message, they were generally unified in their opposition to a Jewish population on an equal footing with the Arab populace in Palestine, and were consistent in their rejection of the three proposals. Jewish planning and strategy through the cooperation of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization, while sometimes conflicted in approach, generally had a single goal and a single message, and at least on the surface, reflected the Jewish willingness to compromise and co-exist with the Arabs in the region in order to achieve their primary goal: a safe haven for Jewry.
The Peel Commission Report, published in July of 1937 following the Arab Revolts, recommended further partitioning of what remained of the British Mandate of Palestine (Figure 1) in an attempt to reconcile both Arabs and Jews in such a manner as to preserve British imperial interests in the Middle East. In the years immediately after the Balfour Declaration, in which Britain had promised the Jews a “national home” in the British Mandate of Palestine, the mandate territory had already been partitioned once. In March of 1921, Emir Abdullah, the Arab son of King Husayn, along with around 2000 Arab warriors, occupied the mandate east of the Transjordan River. This Arab land grab was rewarded the following year by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s decision to grant the entire mandate area east of the Transjordan River to Abdullah.1 Many view this action as the fulfillment of Britain’s promise to create an independent Arab nation in Palestine; it had the added impact of reducing the area available for a Jewish national home by approximately 75% (Figure 2).
In essence, the Peel Commission Partition Proposal did three things: it recognized the impossibility of a fusion of Arab and Jewish cultures2 it suggested a two-state solution (excluding the Holy Places) to solve the crisis of the widening gulf between the Arab and Jewish races and the concomitant violence arising from that gulf, and it envisioned an “exchange of population” requiring Jews living in the future Arab state to move to the Jewish partition, and Arabs living in the future Jewish state to move to the Arab partition.3
Arab response to the Peel partition proposal was an unqualified rejection, despite the fact that Arabs had already been ceded the largest portion of the mandate in the form of the new Arab protectorate of Transjordan. The Arab response further ignored the fact that Jewish immigration had been limited by the mandatory authority in the years preceding the Peel Commission Report, while Arab immigration had continued apace and did “a certain injustice to the Jewish immigrant outside the country whose place is taken” by the Arab immigrant.4 The only exception to the unilateral Arab rejection of the Peel Commission’s suggested solution was the aforementioned Emir Abdullah, who hoped that partitioning would lead to an opportunity for him to take over the remaining Arab portion of the mandate.5 According to Smith, the Peel Commission also “envisaged Arab Palestine being united with Transjordan.”6 This assertion is supported by the Peel Commission Report itself7
The Peel Commission Partition Plan led to a more united Arab resistance than had been seen before, and resistance to Jewish aims became an Arab issue, and not just a Palestinian Arab issue.8 Arab response following the publication of the report became incrementally more violent and more retributive, especially with regard to Arab-British interactions. The Arab Revolt continued, more aggressively than before, and added the British mandatory authority as well as leading Arab families to the list of targets, which previously had included mostly Jews.9
Jewish response was more measured. After much consideration, the Jews accepted the partition plan even though the acreage allotted for Jewish settlement was much smaller than that set aside for Arab settlement. Jewish acceptance of the partition plan was chiefly given in an effort to ensure a safe haven for European Jews who were desperate to escape Nazism. Secondarily, according to Smith, the Jews believed they would be able to negotiate or purchase additional territory as required in the future; the Jewish people would not necessarily be confined to the borders as delineated in the Peel plan.10
Interestingly, Smith comments that “[a]dherence to administrative procedures established under the mandate guaranteed the progressive loss of Arab Palestine” and that “[e]ventually, violence [against Jews] became the only recourse,”11 yet this seems to disregard the reality that there was not at that time, nor had there ever been, a unified Palestinian Arab community, and ignores the fact that the British had already established an independent Arab state in the British Mandate of Palestine. Further, Smith does not appear to take heed of the fact that Arab immigration into the remaining territory of the Palestine mandate far outpaced Jewish immigration, according to a comparison of British census data from 1922 to 1931, which showed an increase in Arab population of around 173,120 people, while the Jewish population increased by 70,610 during the same period. Jews comprised 11% of the population in 1922 and 16.8% of the population in 1931.12
It could be argued that the tribal rivalries between groups such as the Husaynis and the Nashashibis made the Arabs unwilling to assimilate into a cohesive nation, despite their similar religious and societal structure. For all their supposed pan-Arab aspirations, it appears to have been preferable in the Arab view to demand territory from the subservient “dhimmi” population in the remaining British mandate than to resolve their tribal differences and coexist in the newly-created independent Arab protectorate of Transjordan.13
The Arab response to the Peel plan and the brutal Arab attacks against Jews, Arabs, and the British, generated retaliatory actions by both the Jews and the British, as well as fomented the rivalries among existing Arab factions, and the violent unrest that followed, combined with events unfolding in Europe, led to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s decision to appease the Arabs via the publication of the MacDonald White Paper of 1939.
At its heart, the MacDonald White Paper was an attempt to ensure continued British security in the Middle East by appeasing not only the Arab population in Palestine, but also the Arabs in the surrounding countries who were becoming more interested in the Palestine situation. The Chamberlain government felt that if steps were not take to secure Arab sympathies in the upcoming war, British strategic interests in Palestine, including access to the Suez, Mideast oil and the harbor in Haifa, would be untenable.14
The 1939 White Paper abandoned the concept of partitioning the remaining Palestine mandate as proposed in the Peel report in favor of creating an independent Arab Palestine within ten years, denied the intent of the Balfour Declaration, and limited Jewish (but not Arab) immigration, possibly sentencing hundreds of thousands of European Jews to death by denying them a safe haven to which they could escape.15
The Arab response to the 1939 White Paper was, again, unilateral rejection. The root of the rejection, according to Smith, appears to be due to the fact that the policy paper did not grant to the Arabs immediate and independent authority over the Palestine mandate.16 Interesting again is the statement by Smith that “the Arab community in Palestine was essentially leaderless, riven with more factions than ever before,” which seems to belie his repeated insinuations that there was a developing “Palestinian Arab” identity—something that clearly was not part of the Arab collective to that point.17
Jews also rejected the 1939 White Paper, asserting that the British act of political expediency was “a breach of faith and a surrender to Arab terrorism,”18 as well as a violation of promises made to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration and afterwards. The future effects of this British perfidy are foreshadowed as Smith details the unintended consequences of the British release of the 1939 White Paper and Britain’s attempts to adhere to the policy put forth therein.19 While the Jews had no option other than to support the British in the war effort against the fascist Axis powers, the White Paper forced upon them the realization that Britain was willing to abrogate her promise to aid in the establishment of a Jewish national home in order to appease the Arabs and further British aims; under the leadership of Ben-Gurion, the Jews prepared themselves militarily for an eventual war against Britain herself.20
The UNSCOP partition plan recognized what the Peel Commission had determined a decade previously: that the Jewish desire for a national home in Eretz Israel and the Arab demand for sovereignty in Palestine and a return to rightful Arab superiority over the dhimmi, were irreconcilable. The UN delegation’s majority recommendation acknowledged:
The outstanding feature of the Palestine situation today is found in the clash between Jews and the mandatory Power on the one hand, and on the other the tension prevailing between Arabs and Jews. This conflict-situation, which finds expression partly in an open breach between the organized Jewish community and the Administration and partly in organized terrorism and acts of violence, has steadily grown more intense and takes as its toll an ever-increasing loss of life and destruction of property.21
The UN committee recommended a two-state solution, with the Holy Places under international control, similar to the recommendations of the Peel Commission before it. The Jews, although dismayed at the small partition allotted for their national home, accepted the compromise. The Arabs, consistent with their flat rejection of every other proposal set before them, and somewhat united under the leadership of al-Husayni, rejected the UNSCOP proposal.
The British problems were compounded by increasing Jewish immigration and continuing Jewish violence against British troops. The UN committee witnessed the shambles the mandate had become when Jewish refugees, some of whom had survived German concentration camps, had their refugee ship turned away by the British and found themselves interned in the very same concentration camp from which they had so recently been liberated.
With the horror of the Holocaust and the debacle of the mandate looming over the upcoming decision and the British announcement of their intention to wash their hands of the entire situation contributing to the urgent need to implement a solution, the United Nations approved the partition plan and recognized the Jewish right to an independent state within Palestine.
The Peel Commission and the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine both understood the undeniable incompatibility of Arab and Jew, and their inability to peacefully coexist in a single state. A two-state solution, similar to the partition plans set forth by both committees, may set the stage for a future solution to the Arab-Israeli problem. However, where the partition plans and even the 1939 White Paper appear to have positively impacted the socioeconomic development of the Jewish state and cemented their unified pursuit of the realization of a Jewish National Home, the Arab refusal to compromise had not done the same.
The establishment of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization allowed the Jewish people to develop a cooperative and functional infrastructure that could support their aspirations of nationhood, and their willingness to accept compromises and to negotiate in the attempt to further their objectives demonstrated cohesive national unity. Despite the divergent methods promoted by some groups within the Jewish population, they remained cooperative and communicative within their society. By contrast, the Arabs, in part because of their inability to coalesce around a single positive plan of achievement or a single goal (driving the Jews into the sea is not a positive aspiration), and in large measure because of their factionalism, were and remain unable to develop a viable infrastructure to support their aims of nationhood; because of this, no two-state solution will be viable unless and until the Palestinian Arabs are able to achieve economic stability and a social structure devoid of or at least not dominated by factionalism and competing agendas.
1Smith, Charles D. Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: A History with Documents, 7th Edition, (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009) p. 84.
2Peel Commission Report, 1937, Part I, Chapter V, par. 1
3Peel Commission Report, Part III, Chapter XXII, Section 10
4Hope Simpson Report, 1930, Chapter X, Page 126
5Smith, page 141
6Ibid., page 138
7Peel Commission Report, Part III, Chapter XXII, Section 1
8Smith, page 138
9Ibid., page 141
10Ibid., page 138
11Ibid., page 121
12British Census, 1931, www.ismi.emory.edu/Articles/Census_1931.pdf, page 3
13Smith touches briefly upon the rivalries and factionalism on page 121 and later on page 133
14Smith, page 143
15Ibid., page 145
16Ibid., page 146
17Ibid., page 148
18Jewish Agency for Palestine: Zionist Reaction to the White Paper, 1939 from www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org
19Smith, page 148-9
20Smith, page 148
21UNSCOP Recommendations to the General Assembly, September, 1947, Section A
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I guess the Islamic populace cannot be trusted not to look at the drawings. A normal person, offended by the sight of something, would choose not to look at it. A normal person would just not go to the Facebook page showing the pictures of Mohammed. This is a rational response. An irrational response is to be so afraid of an image that you are willing to kill to prevent having to look at it.
This is Islam, the religion of peace.
I'm offended at many of the characterizations of Jesus Christ. Museums show images of people urinating on representations of Christ, and movies portray Christ in flagrante delicto. My response: I don't patronize the museum, I don't watch the movie. I don't threaten to murder the filmmaker, decapitate the artist, or blow up the museum or theater. Islam, the religion of peace, does.
In addition, Moslems riot in the streets, fire weapons indiscriminately in the air, burn American flags, issue fatwas against infidels, and generally make a colossal mess. Religion of peace? I don't think so.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
As heinous and irresponsible as these comments are, one would think that the founder of CNN would have done his homework. The majority of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, one of the richest nations on the planet, and they were funded by Osama bin Laden, who, last time I checked, hardly qualified as a poverty-stricken man. Lest we forget, Turner’s brainchild, CNN, also contracted with that bastion of religious tolerance Al Jazeera at the beginning of the war in Afghanistan so that CNN could achieve better battlefield coverage of the war. This from a man who called his rival Rupert Murdoch, whose company owns Fox New Channel, a “warmonger.”
As if that weren’t reason enough to turn your stomach, Ted Turner is also the man who in 2001 called Catholics celebrating Ash Wednesday in the CNN newsroom “a bunch of Jesus freaks;” who called Christians “losers” and “bozos” (Citizen Turner: The Rise of An American Tycoon, 1995), and referred to Christianity as “an intolerant religion.” Pardon me, Ted, but as I recall, the majority of terror attacks committed in the world today are committed by Islamic fundamentalists, not Christians.
His liberal peace-loving sensibilities motivated him to ridicule the late Pope John Paul II at a pro-abortion conference in Washington DC, in 1999 during which he said that if he met the Pontiff, he would tell him to “get with it,” while in the next breath calling the Ten Commandments “obsolete” and saying “if you are only going to have ten rules, I don’t know if (a rule against) adultery should be one of them.” He went on with a vulgar joke concerning Polish soldiers using their feet to clear land mines, asking the audience if they had “ever seen a Polish mine detector.”
Turner also seems to be something of an anti-Semite and a Muslim apologist. He is reported as having found "other reasons for disliking [Jerry Kapstein] other than he wears full-length coats and is a Jew.” He has accused Israel of terrorism, and was quoted by the Guardian of London in June 2002 as saying, “The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, that's all they have. The Israelis ... they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists?” He repeated these sentiments in an interview with CNBC in 2006, when he suggested that the United States should negotiate peace in the Middle East "so we can stop...furnishing military aid to Israel." Turner believes that "you don't win people over by bombing them, you win them over by being friends with them," and that we would be safe from terrorism if we gave Islamic jihadists "things they've asked of us...things that the Muslim extremists and a lot of other Muslims, too, would like to see us do."
Ted Turner wants us to eat at his restaurants, yet at a speech to a CNN sponsored forum for foreign journalists in 1996, Turner called his fellow Americans ignorant, stating "The United States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that. We know that. It's a disgrace.” (Reuters, May 10, 1996).
Ever the patriot and believer in American exceptionalism, in July of 1997, according to Reuters, Turner called for a national vote on replacing Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner with a “less warlike” anthem, because in his own words, “we believe in democracy and liberty.” In an interview with emagazine.com in February 1999, Turner said, “We can't even get this country to pay the back dues that we legally owe the United Nations. We're doing a lot of things wrong. The United States is withdrawing from international involvement at a time when we're the only superpower. We can't do that. If we do, it's at our own peril. Basically, if we keep doing dumb, short-sighted, nationalistic things, rather than be thinking what's best for the whole planet and thinking long-term, then we're going to become just as extinct as the dodo.”
Turner’s philosophy of environmental management, in his own words, is “just to leave the environment alone and try to get the introduced species out of there. Cattle came from Europe, while bison evolved on the Great Plains, and they're the right animals to be there.” Evidently, he wants America's ranchers to get rid of their cattle...and coincidentally, Turner, the largest private landowner in the nation, just happens to have the largest buffalo herd in the nation.
Ted is also a vocal supporter of population control. The father of five takes a simplistic and simple-minded approach to population control, suggesting that “if every woman in the world voluntarily stepped up and said, 'I'll only have one child,' and if we did that for the next 80 to 100 years, that would reduce the kind of suffering we're having…We could have 10 billion people living below the poverty line, or we could have two billion people living well and having color TVs and an automobile.” His support for population control, and his billion dollar donation to the UN, supported such population control methods in China as a program in which “births must be approved by the government, involuntary sterilization is routine for any woman with two children, and enforcement includes sending officials into the countryside to check on compliance,” according to former enforcer Gao Xia Duan, in testimony before the US House International Relations Committee. Turner’s comment? "People who abhor the China one-child policy are dumb-dumbs, because if China hadn't had that policy, there would be 300 million more people in China right now."
Maybe it's just me, but I’ve lost my appetite.
In what world has it become acceptable to post a caricature of Sarah Palin and John McCain engaged in a sex act? In whose mind is this legitimate political discourse? This type of behavior is abhorrent, and the people who engage in it as well as those who tolerate it, are contemptible. The irony is that these are the same people expounding upon tolerance and diversity, and demanding that we embrace the political correctness of gay marriage.
I have been surprised, also, at the remarkable volume of misinformation and false statements made by the tolerant left. I don’t mind being quoted—in fact, I rather enjoy it. However, if a person quotes me, I expect him to have the intellectual integrity to do so honestly, and not to assert that I hold positions I have not espoused. Unfortunately, that seems to be the exception, rather than the norm. The left seems to take pleasure in misstating, misquoting, and misrepresenting conservative positions based upon their own needs and not upon facts in evidence. That is one of the reasons I have decided to resume blogging. If you wish to vilify me, please do so based upon my actual statements or positions and not upon false assertions, misinterpretations, or comments taken out of context.