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A Courageous Voice From Inside Islam

11 Jan

A Courageous Voice From Inside Islam.

This is refreshing, and somewhat encouraging.  The Egyptian president jacking up the Egyptian religious leaders.

Hillary Explaining Benghazi Again?

31 May

I write this in response to the “leak” of excerpts from a new book by Hillary, in which she once again defends her role in the Benghazi fiasco.

I find it odd that I haven’t noticed any emphasis on a particular aspect of Mrs. Clinton’s testimony before Congress.  We’ve heard it all, of course – the entire testimony – and we’ve heard/read literally a hundred responses to it, mostly criticizing her for insultingly saying “What difference at this point does it make?”

However, to me, the really damning aspect of this testimony has less to do with that question than with the broader statement, which I quote here:

“Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans?  What difference at this point does it make?  It is our job . . . .”

My problem is not with the callous-sounding, “What difference . . . .?”

My problem is that, “at this point”, Hillary is STILL trying to deceive the American people by attributing this terrorist action to either “a protest” or “some guys out for a walk”.  This represents a continued and damning cover-up, deceit, and conceit with regard to the exceedingly well-known fact at the time of this testimony that this was, in fact, a terrorist attack.  An unconscionable and insulting “lie”.

In my opinion, this statement alone, this sorry attempted continuation of a gross deceit so long after the event, should have raised an immediate cry for her resignation from both sides of the aisle – and should have destroyed her credibility as a future presidential candidate.

But I don’t hear anyone at all emphasizing this blatant deceit.  What am I missing?  Is this point alone not valuable ammunition for her opponents in the upcoming presidential campaign?

The Answer to Bad Government

30 May

Mona Charen, in a recent column titled “Why VA Service Won’t Improve”, points out the pitfalls of thinking that firing and hiring at the VA will fix the problems there.  Her last sentence is a classic.

The entire column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/mona-charen/why-va-service-wont-improve.html

 

Excerpts:  [Bolding and caps are added by me]

Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: After the press loses interest in the Veterans Affairs scandal, after the investigations have been completed and one or two officials have resigned, nothing will change.

Is this cynicism? Not really. It comes down to one’s view of how much government can achieve by bureaucratic, top-down management.

The progressive project has limitless faith in the capacity of wise managers to run complex systems for the benefit of all. Untainted by the profit motive, bureaucrats can deliver services equitably and efficiently. Every liberal/progressive program has the effect of taking decision-making away from individuals, communities and local governments, and centralizing it in Washington.

President Barack Obama has doggedly championed this approach.

. . . .

Progressives respond that the IHS is simply underfunded — as they regard every federal program except the military. But even Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana found when he examined problems with the IHS that at least one provider was seeing only one patient per day.

It isn’t management; it’s a matter of incentives. No central authority can make a system like the VA or the IHS or Britain’s National Health Service run efficiently. Competition is the only system that gives the power to consumers to reward good service and punish bad. But progressives cannot shed their faith that MORE government is the answer to BAD government, so this story is sure to be repeated.

[End of excerpts]

I feel that the theory that “MORE government is the answer to BAD government” is responsible for most of the truly serious problems we now face in this country.  Everyone should understand that the government should only provide solutions of last resort.  When faced with a problem, its prime directive should be, “How can this problem be solved in the private sector, with minimal regulation and oversight by the government?”  But I fear that ship has sailed . . . .

Drip, Drip, Drip . . . The Sound of Freedom Slowly Being Lost — and It’s Our Own Fault

5 Mar

From a Dr. Thomas Sowell column titled “Freedom Is Not Free”, warning us against a government that continually pushes the Constitution aside to achieve ideological goals.  The full column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/freedom-is-not-free.html

Excerpt: [bracketed material is mine]

It doesn’t matter what rights you have under the Constitution of the United States, if the government can punish you for exercising those rights [through IRS, FCC, and NSA targeting, indoctrination through Common Core, through nitpicking prosecutions of opposition, etc].

And it doesn’t matter what limits the Constitution puts on government officials’ power, if they can exceed those limits without any adverse consequences [as in effectively making and changing laws within the Executive Branch].

In other words, the Constitution cannot protect you, if you don’t protect the Constitution with your votes against anyone who violates it. Those government officials who want more power are not going to stop unless they get stopped.

As long as millions of Americans vote on the basis of who gives them free stuff, look for their freedom — and all our freedom — to be eroded away, bit by bit. Our children and grandchildren may yet come to see the Constitution as just some quaint words from the past that people once took seriously.

[End of excerpt]

On Mixing War and Politics

19 Feb

From the pen of Dr. Thomas Sowell, my favorite writer – an excerpt from a recent column of his titled “Another Galling Betrayal”.  The entire column can be found at

http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/another-galling-betrayal.html

Excerpt:

. . . .

If we learn nothing else from the bitter tragedy of the war in Afghanistan, it should be that we should put an end forever to the self-indulgence of thinking that we can engage in “nation-building” and creating “democracy” in countries where nothing resembling democracy has ever existed. . . .

F.A. Hayek said, “We shall not grow wiser until we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.” Nothing is more foolish — and immoral — than sending men into battle to risk their lives winning victories that are later lost by politicians for political reasons.

That started long before the war in Afghanistan. Vietnam was a classic example. Years after that war was over, the Communist victors themselves admitted that they lost militarily in Vietnam, as they knew they would. But they won politically in America, with the help of Americans, including the media — as they also knew they would.

The war in Iraq was more of the same. American troops won that war but our politicians lost the peace. Terrorists have now taken over, and raised Al Qaeda flags, in some Iraqi towns that American troops liberated at the cost of many lives.

How did this happen? It happened much the same way it happened in Afghanistan. We insisted on trying to create a “democracy” in the Middle East — a place with a history going back thousands of years, without a single democracy.

[End of excerpt]

When Does the Process of “Breaking the Bank” Actually Break It?

27 Oct

Notes from a recent John Stossel column about reckless and dangerous government spending [“Broke U.S. Resumes Spending”].  It speaks for itself.

Begin Excerpt:  [Bolding and italics are mine]

.  .  .  .  [W]hen Congress and President Obama agreed on a deal last week to raise the debt ceiling and resume government spending, people reacted as if a disaster was averted — instead of reacting as if a disaster had resumed. It has.  .  .  .   

For most of the history of America, federal spending never took up more than 5 percent of the economy. . . .

Then came Presidents Johnson and Nixon and the “great society.” . . . Now, if you include local government, government spending makes up more than 40 percent of the economy.  .  .  .

[W]hen Obama campaigned for the presidency, he was very upset about his predecessor’s deficits.

Sen. Obama complained, “The way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the bank of China. … We now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back. … That is irresponsible.”

I agree! $9 trillion in debt is totally irresponsible. That makes it all the more remarkable that just a few years later, under President Obama, debt increased to $17 trillion. But now, suddenly, this vast debt is no longer irresponsible. Today the president says what is irresponsible is for Congress not to constantly raise the debt ceiling .

.  .  .  .  I showed people on the street a chart that documented America’s unsustainable spending. People were horrified and said government “should make cuts.” But when I asked, “What programs would you cut?” most could not name a single significant program.

So let me make some suggestions: Eliminate NPR and PBS funding. Cut foreign aid. End the war on drugs. Kill Fannie and Freddie, which .  .  .  helped cause the financial crisis. Eliminate cabinet departments like Commerce, Energy, Agriculture and Education .  .  .  . (Education is a local function, and the department spending $100 billion a year hasn’t raised test scores one bit.)

Shrink the military by reducing our overseas commitments. Reform Social Security by raising the retirement age. And instead of increasing government involvement in health care, turn Medicare into a self-sustaining insurance program.

But to save America from bankruptcy, we don’t even need to make all those cuts. We could grow our way out of debt if Congress simply froze spending. They won’t do that either, but if they limited spending growth to 2 percent per year, we could balance the budget in just three years.

Limiting government growth is politically difficult, but if we don’t do it, America is doomed.

[End Excerpt]

Is This Any Way to Report a War?

20 Oct

I find one of the most striking aspects of the reporting on the war on the Taliban in Afghanistan to be the almost complete absence of Taliban casualty counts.  As much as I hate war, one of the few sources of satisfaction to be derived from an assertive war effort is the ability to inflict higher casualties upon your enemy than they inflict upon you.

Yet our seemingly absent media/journalists focus almost entirely upon single events and American casualties tied to those events – showing how horrible it all is for America.  We get little feeling at all about how our guys are doing in actual combat.  Following the media reports, one could easily infer that the Taliban is beating us up pretty badly.

I don’t recall any war, including the hated Vietnam War, being reported in this manner.  Seems to me we always got a report of casualties on both sides.

To me, the reporting on Afghanistan is irresponsible, and somewhat demoralizing.  It is reporting with an agenda – and that agenda is to play up how horrible this war is for the Americans – to allow an over-politicization of the war to force an early pull-out.

Now – again – I’m no war-monger, and I don’t like us being there.

BUT – and this is a BIG but – though I had to dig a little to find numbers, it appears that we are beating the crap out of the Taliban in Afghanistan.  And not just with drones.

The best numbers I can come up with indicate that we have lost about 2000 soldiers (maybe twice that across all Coalition forces) to hostilities in Afghanistan.  Granted, many consider 2000 to be 2000 too many.  But as bad as that might be (considering that we lost 56,000 men in fewer years in Vietnam), what I am seeing is that the coalition forces have probably inflicted 80-120,000 casualties (30,000 killed) on the Taliban.

Now – as war goes, this is a pretty darn good ratio!

I hope all our soldiers are able to leave Afghanistan soon.  But meanwhile, KEEP UP THE AWESOME WORK!  Americans can be proud of our servicemen not just for their sacrifice in protecting America, but for their overwhelming effectiveness when meeting the enemy.

Next problem in Afghanistan – the bloodletting that will follow the withdrawal of Coalition forces, when the Taliban declare victory over the once-mighty United States and its western allies.  There have probably been as many civilian casualties in this war (inflicted by BOTH sides) as there have been combatant casualties.  Anyone think this will go down with the Coalition’s withdrawal and the Taliban’s declaration of victory?