29 April 2009
I tend to be a hawk on military matters, but what sense does it make to have a "surge" in Afghanistan, where (unlike the circumstance in Iraq) no commander has requested additional forces? And how does Obama expect to bolster our presence there, maintain that in Iraq, be ready for other contingencies, and defend our own country, while making deep cuts in the defense budget? Most importantly, there's just one policy worse than isolationism, and that's incompetent interventionism; can this country win a war with Barack Obama as commander-in-chief?
There are interesting parallels between the mid-term switch of Arlen Specter and that of James Jeffords eight years ago. Both men, of course, threw over the Republicans for the Democrats; both justified their defecation—I mean, defection—by saying that the GOP had moved too far to the "right" (although, in the more-recent case, the real reason was the likely success of a challenge by Pat Trueman for the Republican nomination; Specter's statement that "I have nothing to say to the GOP primary voters. They have said it to me" amounts to an admission of this); and both defecations were costly to the Republican Party, for the one by Specter gave the opposition control of the US Senate (though for under two years; in 2002, Republicans routed Democrats in elections for both houses of the Congress, putting the lie to Jeffords' "the GOP is too conservative" propaganda), and that by Specter has, in tandem with the "election" of Pseudo-Senator Al Franken(stein), given the ruling party the 60 votes that it needs to close legislative debate on any subject, thus neutralizing the prospect of a Republican filibuster. (This is the only reason why the loss of Specter, who was always one of the worst of their number, can be considered a blow to Republicans.) It's also interesting, and amusing, to contrast the welcome that Specter is now being given with the vilification of him by his future Democratic Party inmates at Clarence Thomas's confirmation hearings two decades ago.
Specter's change of allegiance could, perversely, turn out to be the closest thing to a blessing for the minority party that can happen under our political system, precisely because leftists will now have their coveted filibuster-proof majority; not because they'll govern well, but because they'll do so badly. Allow me to explain. Even when leftists win they lose, because then they have to rule, and they can't. The fact of their holding power practically without opposition will mean that there will be no curbs on their desire to remake the USA into a socialist paradise, with predictably catastrophic consequences. A healthy US economy will, as is already obvious, be one of the casualties of this megalomaniacal experiment, and since the voters blame (fairly or not) the party in power for their wallet woes, the Democrats will subsequently be ejected from office (assuming that free elections can still take place, which really is not a foregone conclusion). One would hope that, in the meantime, they will not have had quite enough opportunity to ruin this country in every conceivable way; if they do, the rest of us will have to be stoic, bearing in mind that many other peoples have been living under odious regimes for decades.
Perhaps just one thing remains to be said about Specter: Although a politician obviously should not be forbidden to ever alter his affiliation, he ought to at least wait to do so until his term of office has expired. Specter was, after all, elected as a Republican, not as a Democrat, and so to jump parties now is unethical. He ought to feel at home in the Democratic Party.
28 April 2009
In the early 600's AD (as I have already referenced in I Slam Islam?), the Byzantine Empire inflicted a decisive military defeat upon the Sassanid Empire of Persia; because the Byzantines were Christian (and thus, like Jews, qualified as a "People of the Book," whom Mohammed instructed his followers to respect) and the Sassanids Zoroastrian, Islamic historians regard this as a triumph of Truth over falsehood. What this reveals is the inaptitude of Obama's remarks in Turkey (see Uncommon Commentary #47), which indicated that he believes that the way to "engage" the Islamic world is to have Moslems think that our country is wholly without religious ideology, and thus, according to his logic, no threat to them. A culture such as ours, which minimizes the importance of religion, has little hope of "engaging" one that still values religion above all else.
Don't be too concerned about growing older. The only ones of us who don't age are those who are dead.
The scandal is now several weeks old, but the administration of the University of Notre Dame still refuses to rescind its invitation to Obama to be this year's commencement speaker. University President Fr. Jenkins defends his bewildering decision by saying that having the messianic claimant on campus will be an opportunity to "engage in dialogue" with him, but Obama is coming not to engage in dialogue but to present a monologue; that's what a commencement address is. And guess which point of view he's going to present in this monologue: that of God, or his own?
Of course, I don't actually know what Obama is going to say at Notre Dame; it would be nice to be able to believe that his address will have nothing to do with the critical moral issues on which the Roman Catholic Church has consistently taken the right, and Obama just as consistently the wrong, positions. Even if he were to avoid controversy, though, there would remain the shameful fact that this great Christian university is bestowing accolades upon the most un-Christian President in US history, both by the intention to present him with an honourary degree and by the mere fact of having selected him to be the speaker.
I can think of only one possible reason for Father Jenkins' otherwise inexplicable decision: perhaps he's under the impression that our chief executive spells his name "Burrach O'Bamagh," and is thus an Irishman.
17 April 2009
The contents of the Army Field Manual (e.g., interrogation techniques) were never intended to apply to the CIA, or to anyone else in non-combat conditions; is this not why it’s called the Army Field Manual?
If the Middle East comprises the states from Turkey and Egypt to Iran, and the Far East those such as Japan and Malaysia, where's the Near East? It would be more sensible to use the older term Near East for what's now being called the Middle East (which expression could be applied to the Indian subcontinent and a few neighbouring countries, or could simply become obsolete, since, if one has a Near and a Far, one doesn't really need a Middle)—but, then, what has common parlance to do with sensibility?
09 April 2009
King Ahab—I mean, President Obama—said on his Near Eastern trip that "one of the great strengths" of the USA is that it does not consider itself "a Christian nation [sic] or a Jewish nation [sic] or a Muslim nation [sic]" but rather "a nation [sic] of citizens who are bound by ideals and [by] a set of values." Perhaps misconstruing the adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," he spoke like a turkey while in Turkey.
07 April 2009
Uncommon Commentary #46: Those Who Cannot Remember the "Hope and Change" of the Past Are Condemned to Repeat It
The USA has probably never had any other President so ignorant of history as is Obama, as has again been demonstrated by one of his two remarks in Prague about "moral authority," this one being the rationale for slashing the US defense budget. Around the time of Obama's birth, Secretary of Defense McNamara puzzled over why it was so difficult to reach arms-control agreement with the USSR; he witlessly concluded that it was our fault, for being too far ahead in the arms race, and that we should therefore allow the Soviets to catch up to us. At the end of the 1960's they indeed caught up, but continued expanding their arsenal, until, by the time Reagan became president, it had numerical superiority over ours in nearly every category. Later in the 1980's, such politicians as Sen. Gary Hart didn't even want to see the USA catch up to the USSR, but instead called for another unilateral nuclear freeze, going on the assumption that the Kremlin would consequently feel morally compelled to halt its own buildup. In case my readers' memories are as deficient as those of my president: What actually ended the "Cold War" (by bringing about the end of the Soviet Union) was, as many of the Russians themselves have said, the reconstitution of the US military under Reagan, which challenge the Soviets attempted to meet by seeking to maintain their lead over our country; this placed an unbearable strain on an economy that was already crippled by left-wing mismanagement (politicians, please note). Perhaps Obama's campaign rhetoric ought to have invoked not the word "change" but "rehash."
By the way, how can a country ruled by Democrats have "moral authority" in regard to anything?
01 April 2009
Today, the US Congress began consideration of the 2010 Obama budget, which, if approved in its present form, will produce a record $1,300,000,000 deficit; by contrast, the cumulative 1940-1944 deficit amounted to $1,650,000,000 in today's money, despite the fact that most of those five budgets included the expenditures necessary to wage the biggest war that the world has ever seen. Let's hope that it's all only an April Fools' Day joke.