Saturday, July 19, 2008

Briefly on Democratic Party Complete Control of Goverment:
(Aka "One From the Vault" Dept.)

This is not too deep a dip into the proverbial "vault" of responses written to inquiries on certain issues either personally or generally -actually then main text was written a few days ago. Nonetheless, the questioner's words will be in an appropriately dark green colour with footnotes added mostly on points covered in a more detailed format earlier on this weblog -though advance indulgence is begged for the caustic tonality in some of the McCain dialogual postings referenced in the footnotes. (Your host admittedly was pretty incensed when those words were written and did not conceal it as well as he should have.) Without further ado...

Conservatives: are you going to start switching to Obama now that...?

Obama has been calling for talks with Iran. Bush and McCain were dead set against this. Now we're talking to Iran.

Obama has been calling for pulling out troops from Iraq and putting more in Afghanistan. Bush and McCain were against this: "Afghanistan is doing just fine," they said, even though we've been there since October 7, 2001. Now the White House will be putting more troops in Afghanistan and taking them out of Iraq.

Bush Sr., Bush Jr., and Jeb Bush were all against drilling off the coast. Now Bush Jr. is for it. Bush Jr. even said in a White House press briefing that it won't help our oil supplies in any immediate future but will help our psychology over the economy. This coming from a guy who was surprised to hear that gas could hit $4 a gallon this summer.

If the Republicans couldn't get it write in the 7 years they had both Congress and the White house, why stick with their party? Why not push to try an all Dem Congress plus W.House to see what happens?

We are talking with Iran but not in the way that Obama wants to do. It is one thing to seek diplomatic means to handle something and another to confer legitimacy on a thug like Ahmadinejad who has voiced the notion of wiping Israel off the map.{1} You cannot dialogue with those who want you dead -something Bush and McCain both realize but that Obama evidenylydoes not.

The troops are able now to be scaled down in Iraq because of the surge and the tactics of General Petraeus along with the Iraqi government and military finally getting their act together -fifteen of the eighteen "benchmarks" set a couple years back being met as of two months ago (versus eight last year).{2} Obama would have simply withdrawn the troops before the country was stabilized if we listen to his rhetoric on the matter. But as Iraq has gone from a mess to a success in the past couple of years, Obama will now flip flop a bit on that issue as he will continue to do on other issues.

Drilling will not solve problems overnight but building more refineries could help in the short term.{3} Obama and the Democrats do not favour such things but McCain and the Republicans would be open to the idea.

The all Democrat government has been tried and failed badly over and over. The problem is, the Republican congresses of 1/1995-1/2001 which were among the best series of congresses in ages were succeeded by the Republican congresses from 1/2001-1/2007 which were as bad as any Democrat congresses in recent memory overall. The reason was the executive. President Clinton was not a great president but he showed what could happen when an executive stands up to the congress in some respects.{4} Conversely, the Republicans who opposed him showed what they could do if they had backbone -they balanced the budget together with those tensions: something that has not happened since.{5}

President Bush and the Republican congresses under his first six years do not make a good case for why the Republicans as a party should soon be trusted with total control again. However, the problem is in my view more that of President Bush not showing executive backbone.{6} He could have played hard ball with the Republican congress and been successful. But it took a Democrat congress to get GWB to show backbone and while he has defeated the Democratic congress time and time again, it raises the question of why he could not have been this way the first six years of his term. My guess is he simply was too provincialist{7} and too much of a party man to tell his party when they needed to shape up.

By stark contrast, John McCain has been a fiscal hawk for his entire congressional career.{8} He has also stood up against the Republicans at times (even times where I did not agree with him{9}) which leads me to believe that if he had a Republican congress that he would be a far more effective executive than GWB has been fiscally.{10} He also due to his ability to reach across the aisle could serve as a control on the pretensions of the Democratic congress. I do not see Obama having any similar capabilities here because unlike McCain, Obama is a green senator who has no track record of going against his own party.

Basically I see an Obama presidency with a Democratic congress being fiscally a repeat of the Bush presidency with a Republican congress. And as bad as the latter was, we do not need another round of that kind of fiscal irresponsibility. And I guarantee you that is what would happen with all Democratic congress and presidency and that is why I would never favour pushing for such a thing.


{1} On Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's View of Israel (circa June 3, 2008)

{2} Revisiting the Subject of the Surge and the Deafening Silence of the MSM Thereof (circa July 11, 2008)

{3} Revisiting the Subject of High Gas Prices in a Slowing Economy in an Election Year (circa May 31, 2008)

On the High Gas Prices and the Economics Therein (circa September 10, 2005)

{4} I do not buy (at any price) the crap of the Republicans "not being able to govern in the majority" ala what Rush has said for a number of years. That argument may have been valid in the 1990's[...] but not in the twenty-first century and with a Republican president. For crying out loud, these guys were stood down by President William Clinton -a member of the opposing party. Are you telling me that President George W. Bush of the same party (the "party leader") could not have successfully stood up to them??? [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 5, 2008)]

{5} And though many of the contemporary sorts ignorant of basic civics like to primarily blame the president for deficits, all bills for spending originate in the congress most specifically the House of Representatives. This is why the lions share of the blame for the deficits during the terms of President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush Sr. go not to those presidents but instead to the Democratic congresses of their tenures. Reagan and Bush Sr. also had promises made by those congresses to cut spending in fixed amounts which they never followed through on. (Reagan can be blamed somewhat for taking those disgraceful congresses at their word and Bush Sr. to some extent for not learning from what happened under Reagan as to how those Democratic congresses could not be trusted to keep their word.)

This is also why the credit for the reduced deficits and eventual balanced budgets during President Clinton's terms go to the Republican congresses of his tenure. But having noted these things, consistency on these scores demands that the Republicans not be allowed to skate on this. For that reason, we place the out of control budgets during Bush's first six years equally on the Republican congresses of that period and also for the same party president for failing to discipline his own party: there is no way around it however much the Republican party loyalists may attempt it.

{6} John McCain has been a senator who has to truck and bargain in the senate to try and get anything done whereas President George W. Bush has been the executive for going on eight years now who was and is in a position of far greater power and capable of getting a lot more done.

Whatever you want to say about McCain he was not a lame executive on numerous important issues as W has been for the first six years of his presidency. McCain did not fail to stand up with the power of the bully pulpit and threaten the veto pen to his own party if they did not govern according to conservative principles including fiscal discipline. The whole "well we are at war" excuse was may account for 2002 and 2003[...] but it would not account for 2004, 2005, or 2006.

And I do not give three shits about the fact that it will be another deficit this year: the Republicans messed up big time and attempts now to claim to have "learned their lesson" or whatever will have a difficult time sticking. The only real hope here is that the progress in Iraq continues to look good as it has been for the past fourteen odd months or so. At least with a Republican presidency in McCain and a Republican congress (if we can get that combination), I trust McCain to wield the veto pen against his own party unlike W who lacked the guts to. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 5, 2008)]

{7} Without exhausting much type on the matter at the present time, let it suffice to say that fallacious provincialism is present whenever a party engages in double standards with moral and ethical principles. The most prevalent one is where they give a free pass or promotion of various sorts to those who are their positional allies while either not giving a free pass or condemning the same things in those who are not their positional allies that they let those who agree with them get away with. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 16, 2008)]

{8} On matters of the economy, [McCain] scores a B particularly on matters of taxation having never voted for a tax increase. I know you think he deserves to be flogged for not supporting Bush's tax cuts all along but I remind you that support for broad and deep tax cuts in the absence of definite spending reductions is not a traditional conservative position. If anything, the traditional conservative approach to deficits is to raise taxes not cut them!!! McCain's position on taxes is quite evidently not supply side-based. I am not saying it is wrong mind you, only that supporting tax cuts in the absence of definite (as opposed to future promised) spending reductions is not a position that is required to be a conservative. And I say that as someone who does view tax cuts as important economic stimulator and who defended the hypothesis of supply side economics before a class of liberals back in college.[...]

I note this here so that you understand that I take a different view on this than McCain does in one fundamental respect yet agree with him on another. I do not favour tax cuts without corresponding cuts in spending also -increasing revenue is pointless if that increased revenue is spent and then some- so I in that respect embody in symbiosis two historical conservative positions in one. Prior to Reagan, the mainstream conservative position was one that favoured raising taxes and cutting spending. Even Reagan in cutting taxes wanted corresponding spending reductions so in this respect, my position is solidly in line with Reagan as would appear to be McCain's.

Reagan to some extent though he failed in this area can be given some leeway as he was working with a Democratic congress. Even W's daddy who really messed up by not learning from Reagan's experience in this area again was dealing with a Democratic congress. But W had his guys in control and thus there is no excuse -I do not buy the bullshit of "well we are at war now" as an excuse for a three TRILLION dollar budget and still running a quarter to a half trillion a year deficit. This was pure horseshit and the idea that Bush cares about the budget now when the Democrats have control is "nearly a laugh but [its] really a cry" (cf. R. Waters). [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 26, 2008)]

{9} On immigration, McCain gets a D or worse of that there is no doubt. You know my views on this and my disappointment in his position. But the problem is, his position is not different in substance than the one Reagan know, one of those areas where Reagan made a mistake. But The Gipper for better or worse has framed this issue as an acceptable conservative hypothesis by virtue of his support for the proposal coupled with his status as a great conservative party icon. We would be wise to not forget that however much we view that position of McCain's part as a monumental mistake. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa April 26, 2008)]

{10} At least with a Republican presidency in McCain and a Republican congress (if we can get that combination), I trust McCain to wield the veto pen against his own party unlike W who lacked the guts to. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa May 5, 2008)]

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What World War II general are you?
George S. Patton

George S. Patton
You are arguably America's most famous general! You kicked the German's butt wherever you were and were d _ _ _n proud of it!

Take the quiz!


Friday, July 18, 2008

Points to Ponder:

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near...

If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant...[Sun Tzu]


For those who need a bit of a laugh in this election season, there is always the reliable folks at Jibjab our favourite political parody site. Here is their latest on the upcoming 2008 contest...

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Miscellaneous Threads Worth Reviewing:

This installment of the long-running series will comment briefly on a trifecta of recent threads from Charles Krauthammer. Without further ado...

How Hostages, And Nations, Get Liberated (July 11, 2008)

The above thread deals with a bit of reality that many who undoubtedly have good intentions are incapable of understanding.

Make the Election About Iraq (circa July 13, 2008)

Considering how well things are going over there and have been for the past sixteen odd months{1}, this is a wise and winning approach for McCain to take. Even a number of those who do not agree with him on his war position but who respect someone who stands on principle even against the tide of unpopular sentiment may well vote for him. By contrast, if Obama continues to try and pretend that it is 2002 or even 2006 -the former being before the war and the latter being a point when we were doing very poorly in Iraq- it will come back to bite him if he tries to argue for arbitrary troop withdrawals as he has been doing up to now.

Obama's Greatest Admirer (circa July 18, 2008)

Here is a small teaser bit from the above link for you:

[H]as there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?

As for the rest, you know what to do.


{1} Revisiting the Subject of the Surge and the Deafening Silence of the MSM Thereof (circa July 11, 2008)

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A good reason why I would never want to live in Yugoslavia


On the Passing of Tony Snow:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Update: Last night in haste I did not give this posting a final review before it was published; ergo it read more like a rough draft than a finished product. I have gone through it again and refined some points, added a bit more, etc. so it is now much more complete. -ISM 7/15/08 6:20pm]

Though this is coming on the heels of the passing last month of Tim Russert, I am sure Tony Snow would not mind me mentioning him and Russert in the same sentence. And journalism as a profession to which I am usually professing of no small amount of disdain for{1} having seen in the past month two of its finest representatives departing this mortal coil seems to merit another comment from your humble servant particularly due to the circumstances involved in the case of Snow's passing in some quarters.

I should probably start with the good including that Fox News for whom Snow worked for at one point has a good retrospective on his career viewable here. Rush Limbaugh also commented on the passing of his friend and colleague in an audio clip which can be listened to here. And while most of the reports have been positive, there are some which have not been and in lieu of the current circumstances this prevalence by certain sectors deserves to be focused on at least in brief.

Among those who are showing a lack of proper respect, is the following one from AP. I am thinking in reviewing it that the "A" in Associated Press should be changed to read "assholes" after noticing the following uncalled for blurbs in their reporting on the death of Tony Snow. Observe:

With a quick-from-the-lip repartee, broadcaster's good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook — if not always a command of the facts — he became a popular figure around the country to the delight of his White House bosses...

Snow resigned as Bush's chief spokesman last September, citing not his health but a need to earn more than the $168,000 a year he was paid in the government post...

As press secretary, Snow brought partisan zeal and the skills of a seasoned performer to the task of explaining and defending the president's policies.

Critics suggested that Snow was turning the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation. He was the first press secretary, by his own accounting, to travel the country raising money for Republican candidates.

First of all, how is it newsworthy that "critics" suggest anything??? By their very nature they will take a contrary view -that is why they are called "critics" to begin with. This is as nonsensical a news bit as press bits that lead off with the "news story" of the most recent poll on an issue as if a poll is a news story rather than a bunch of fark. But that is neither here nor there.

Secondly, what point comes from mentioning the issue of Snow returning to the private sector when reporting on his death??? Of what value does this serve except to attempt to make Snow somehow appear sinister for leaving to work at another place for more money. Considering that Snow had been ailing for some time, it seems to me to be the responsible thing to do to try and insure that in his absence (should that occur) that his family is better taken care of. But whatever the reason, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with such decisions on Snow's part and discussing such things light of the current circumstances is tacky to no small degree.

Thirdly, whatever problems anyone may have with some of Tony Snow's statements, reporting on his passing is not the time to go into these matters. That Douglass K. Daniels and Jennifer Loven chose in their article to do this is deplorable and shows what happens with those who are so wedded to ideologies that they cannot see the humanity in those who do not agree with them.

Seriously folks, there is evidence here of a kind of mental sickness but strangely enough, it has far more prevalence on the side of those who would call themselves "liberal" or "progressive" than those who would call themselves "conservatives."{2} And while the next an up and coming "points to ponder" installment to this weblog will touch on that point a bit, for the time being, I will merely note that Douglass K. Daniels and Jennifer Loven should be ashamed of themselves. I do not know much about Daniels but Loven has a history of this sort of what Powerline calls in an understated fashion "classless reporting."{3}

It is garbage like this which makes the passing of Tony Snow from the standpoint of the state of journalism so unfortunate -his other qualities as a fully rounded human being who treated those who disagreed with him respectfully notwithstanding of course.

[Lord] remember Tony Snow. In baptism he died with Christ: may he also share his resurrection, when Christ will raise our mortal bodies and make them like his own in glory. [Eucharistic Prayer III: From The Roman Missal under Masses for the Dead]


{1} Or to quote from a posting referenced in last month's blog entry on Tim Russert's passing:

The depravity to which the journalistic profession has fallen since the days of Watergate can be to some extent pinned on Woodward and Bernstein...not as much them personally as what they ushered in in the aftermath of the Nixon resignation.[...] The journalistic profession has become one where you "make it" by finding someone whose reputation you can destroy. Ethics are often not a factor, indeed morals and ethics often get the screw from journalists who are trying to "make it" and then (for those who "make it") the same tactics are utilized to try and stay "on top." The same is the case with the legal profession and the political profession: oftentimes those who "make it" do so by screwing other people. So the parallel to prostitution is an apt one. The only difference of course is that prostitutes are somewhat honest about it. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa June 1, 2005)]

The above entry of course was not written with journalists like Tony Snow in mind.

{2} I would be less than forthright if I did not acknowledge that there are some liberal journalists who have conducted themselves with class among them one of Fox News' staff liberals Juan Williams who had these gracious words to say when hearing of Snow's passing. (But then again, Juan Williams represents what is best amongst liberal journalists anyway so this does not surprise me except in the detail involved in his tribute.)

{3} I have another word in mind to describe Loven but that is all I will say on the matter at the present time.

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