At President Obama's latest media extravaganza (I have to write this quickly before that line becomes outdated), Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted out at one point what many of his fellow Americans were thinking, "You lie!" (Video) I'd say he's a great example to the rest of us, but unfortunately he quickly apologized. Even so, Vice President Joe Biden said that Wilson had "demeaned the institution" of the US Congress. Biden and other Democrats repeatedly said they were "embarrassed." Republicans, including Senator John McCain (R-AZ), said it was "inappropriate" and "disrespectful." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) even discussed taking punitive action against Wilson.
It seems like some perspective is in order here. Plenty of bloggers have pointed out Democrats' hypocrisy. Sharon Soon has a great piece here. Many point to Youtube videos like this one from 2005 where Democrats showed Bush the same level of respect that Republicans showed Obama last night.
But the truth is, if Bush couldn't handle some boos from his fellow countrymen, there was no way he'd be able to handle Saddam Hussein or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Il, and the same goes for Obama. The office of the President is the most powerful office in the free world, and the policies of the President affect every American and many non-Americans as well. If the President can't even take as much in-your-face criticism as comedians do, how is he going to justify those policies to the American people and to the world with any kind of clarity and strength of purpose? read more »
Representation, more or less?
I recently learned of a new third-party initiative, called GOOOH (pronounced "go"), for Get Out Of Our House, focussing on the U.S. House of Representatives. GOOOH describes itself as more of a system for selecting candidates than an ideologically-bound party; as such, it strives to be more representative of the individuals in a given district. You can find them at goooh.com. Achieving greater representation is always a laudable goal in government, so initially I was drawn to the idea. Further reading of their site, however, has led me to discover some problems in their approach. Quotes under each heading are taken from the GOOOH website.
1. An ideologically split party is bound to fall apart in Congress.
"GOOOH does not define (or have) a platform. It allows elected candidates to represent their district's interests unencumbered by partisan politics. Candidates will define their own platform by filling out the Candidate Questionnaire."
Every district will select a GOOOH candidate through the GOOOH process; as their website says, this is likely to produce a leftist candidate in a left-leaning district and a rightist candidate in a right-leaning district. Let's assume that GOOOH manages to get a large number, maybe dozens, maybe even hundreds, of candidates elected to the House in 2010. What will those newly-elected representatives do then? They will seek out other representatives who share similar opinions on important issues. They will form blocs who tend to vote together on most issues, who work together to draft legislation, to convince others to join them, and to block legislation advanced by other blocs. Over time, they will need to raise money for their particular issues, or simply for reelection, to supplement the money they receive from GOOOH. These voting blocs will then work together to raise money, holding town hall meetings and fundraisers. read more »
The setup: Akron, Ohio, 2004. A costly and messy divorce, with a five-year-old child caught in the middle. She, Victoria Douglas, says he, Rodd Sutton, sexually abused their daughter. Victoria prints out and distributes flyers with his name and address and the words "CHILD RAPIST. BE ALERT! PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN."
Akron city police investigate and find no evidence of abuse. Nearby Springfield township police investigate and find no evidence of abuse. Akron City Hospital investigates and finds no evidence of abuse. Summit County Children Services investigate and find no evidence of abuse.
Victoria Douglas, with custody of the child, gives her house to her mother to avoid losing it in the legal fallout, and flees with the child to Florida.
Fast forward to August 2009, when a jury decides Victoria Douglas should pay $1.2 million in damages for defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, including $136,000 for the value of the house. Sutton's lawyers doubt that he will be able to collect the damages.
So this woman (and I use the word begrudgingly) ruins this man's life; steals his child through completely false allegations; defames him with flyers that all but beg the public to break into his house and rough him up (or worse); forces a hospital, two police agencies and the Children Services board to spend who-knows-how-much on investigating her wild claims, taking those investigators, doctors and social workers away from their actual duties where they could be helping people... and she basically gets away scot-free. She has custody of the child, she's living it up in Florida, and he probably won't see a dime of the settlement. My only hope is that he pursues this and uses this judgment to get custody of his child away from that nutcase. read more »
A look back at the third week of August 2009
I read a lot of news, and I don't get to talk about it all. So I'd like to start a weekly segment here that I'm going to call the Saturday Summary, a look back at the news I found newsworthy over the past week or so (some links may be older than a week).
The Obama Administration is blocking American efforts to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, while paying the Brazilians to do it themselves. Meanwhile, China, India and Russia are doing it without our help.
Contrary to the common belief, the US manufacturing sector is doing better than ever, accounting for 25% of global manufacturing value-added (compared to 10.6% for the Chinese).
The US currently has 130,000 troops in Iraq and 68,000 in Afghanistan. But most anti-war rhetoric ended in January with Obama's inauguration. To her credit, Cindy Sheehan is still at it, she's just being ignored by the left.
High prices in health care aren't as high as they seem. Medical insurance seems to act more like a union looking for bargaining power than as actual insurance.
Canadians are regularly coming to the US for health care, both paying out-of-pocket for it and getting the Canadian government to pay for it. A lot of people are asking where Americans will go once Obamacare is law, but I also wonder, where will the Canadians go? read more »
My previous blog entry covered many labels that fit me, when understood in the proper context (in other words, when not twisted by the left for their own purposes): liberal, pro-choice, etc. I'd like to add to that list with a few labels that do not fit me, but that the left will insist on applying to me-- and if you oppose them, they'll insist they apply to you too.
First, I am not Racist. I think it's great that we finally have a black President even though I did not vote for him. I don't agree with most of what he does and I don't trust his motives, but that's not because he's black. I wouldn't agree with the policies he's advancing no matter what color he was. Frankly, the idea that white people cannot oppose a black President's policies without being racist is one of the most racist things I've heard in the past year.
Second, I am not Fascist. I have much less in common with Nazi ideology than socialists do. The word Nazi is an anglicized abbreviation of the German word Nationalsozialismus, meaning National Socialism. The Nazi Party's official name was the National Socialist German Worker's Party. Their actual policies involved increased government control over every aspect of the German citizen's life. They opposed capitalism on principle and they "approved" of individual property rights only when those rights were used to further the Nazi agenda. I could go on and on, but this issue has been widely covered in other blogs lately.
Third, I am not Sexist. I am a man who believes that abortion is morally and socially wrong, at least as wrong as killing any other human being. I'm all for equal rights for both sexes, but that means equal rights for both, not better rights for women. Violence by men against women is horrible, but is violence by women against men somehow more acceptible? Why do feminists work so hard to cover up statistics about violence by women against men? Considering that criminological studies estimate 40%-50% of rape accusations are false, why is it wrong to suggest that those accused of rape should be considered innocent until proven guilty? Why is it wrong to hold false accusers accountable for the lives, careers and relationships they ruin? I've been called a rape sympathizer and told I'm as bad as an actual rapist, just for asking this. Many other men have been called sexist and worse for asking questions like these. Rather than address potent issues that could benefit us all, men and women, the left would rather have you believe that anyone who questions their dogma is simply sexist and bigoted. read more »
and a pro-choice socialist progressive
This list has been a long time in the making. So many times when I debate someone from the left, I find their arguments boil down to little more than code words and accusations. "You must just be homophobic... How can you be against equality and choice?..." and so on. Yet the left's intended meanings of most of these code words are far removed from their common usage. I've even seen fellow conservatives fall into the word traps laid by those on the left; and when they do, they inevitably lose. So I present this list in the hopes that any conservatives reading this will take heart, and speak up the next time the left tries to frame the argument in their twisted words.
The first mis-used liberal code word is Liberal itself. The truth is, I am a liberal. The word "liberal" comes from the Greek eleutheros through the Latin liberalis, from which we also get words like liberty. Eleutheros means "free", while liberalis literally means "pertaining to a free man" and later took on the meaning "noble, generous". We could go with either one of those definitions. Ask yourself this: Which political philosophy is freer, the one that encourages individuals to be masters of their own actions and consequences, or the one that is willing to take away the individual's life and property for the good of "society"? Which is more generous, the philosophy that encourages the poor to become dependent on cradle-to-grave government care, or the one that ensures opportunity and class mobility for all, rich and poor alike? And which is more noble, the philosophy resting on coercion and "spreading the wealth around" or the one that emphasizes the rights and dignity of the individual? Moreover, even today Europeans use liberal the same way I'm using it here, the same way they always have, meaning support for individual freedoms. It seems only in Canada, the US and a few other select countries has liberal become twisted to mean the opposite of what it actually means. And if you need more evidence that it was truly twisted, consider this: By the end of the 19th century, usage of the word had so deviated from its original meaning that true liberals were forced to adopt a new, entirely nonpolitical word to describe themselves: libertarian. read more »
An Overview of Conservative Positions
As a new member of Conservative Outpost, I think it's appropriate for me to explain where I'm coming from. The most direct way to do that is to grapple a bit with the Conservative Outpost's stated Philosophy.
The Conservative Outpost is a home for what we call 'Comprehensive Conservatives' - those who consider themselves to be conservative on social, cultural, economic and foreign policy issues, as well as on the role, size and scope of government."
I am conservative, and I'd like to use this entry to explain what I think that means. Most political philosophies can be characterized by their relative positions on the optimal size of the government. Anarchists want no government at all, totalitarians want complete government control over our lives, and everyone else falls somewhere in between. In general, conservatives believe in more government than libertarians, but less than liberals and socialists. There are other defining characteristics of conservatism: conservatives uphold every individual's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in that order. Conservatives stand up for what they believe in. We believe that the fundamental institutions of society are the free market, the family and personal (often religious) convictions. We believe in a republican form of government, and we promote individualism and nationalism above more collectivist philosophies.
A conservative government fulfills two fundamental roles: 1) ensuring property rights and the rule of law, including guarantees of individual rights and freedoms and 2) acting as a secondary, backup institution to the free market, taking limited action to curtail market failures (such as providing public goods like national defense or dealing with market externalities like pollution). read more »