Monday, January 31, 2005

Gamma Ray Window: A GOOD BLOG

I want to acknowledge a cool site I came across while surfing blogs. Gamma Ray Window is by a guy named Edmond, and while politics isn't the focus of his blog, he has some good comments on Iraq and Social Security reform, two of my favorite issues. On Soc Sec, here's an excerpt: "Why is it that all of the public attacks on President Bush's proposal to reform Social Security must first falsify what he is proposing before attacking it? Let's get a some things straight. First, participation in the new program would be voluntary. In other words, you could choose to stay in the current program if the changes seem too risky for you. Aren't most of us in favor of choice"?
Good stuff, I say! There's a link in the title, and I'm still checking on setting up a permanent link on my page. Write on, Ed!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

IRAQI ELECTION: A TURNING POINT?

From the first reports after the polls closed, the Iraqi elections were a success. People turned out in good numbers, and terror killings were restricted to a few suicide bombers who didn't even chase away the voters they were attacking. All in all, a good day for democracy. If this can translate into motivation for the Iraqis to stand up and fight as part of the new Iraqi armed forces and police, it bodes well for the whole region, and the world at large. Look for disappointment from Rather and Jennings when they report on Monday night. They went over there to cover the Iraqi version of the "tet" offensive, or so it seemed to this viewer. Brian Williams was a bright spot, seeming to follow my advice about not being afraid to report positive news as well. No-one knows how this will all turn out, but it just keeps striking me how the Bush people set a goal, and then they accomplish it, even with the myriad setbacks that Iraq has provided. I feel the momentum turning in favor of the President's strategy in foreign policy. History was made again today, and history will remember this President as a huge figure, particularly because of his bold leadership against domestic opposition. If this is as dramatic a turning point in world history as it has been for Iraq's, Joe Lieberman may be the only Democrat standing on the right side of history in this debate.

LIKE IT IS: MOYERS' HYPOCRICY

THE FRAUDULENCE OF USING RELIGION TO PROMOTE HIGHER TAXES

LIKE IT IS, an ABC network show about "African American" affairs, broadcast a half hour Bill Moyers' rant from the pulpit of a church. Moyers took the occasion to bash the Bush administration, and conservatives in general. Among the things he condemned them for was cutting taxes on "the rich", and not helping the poor enough. He further accused the Bush administration with collaborating with the "Religious Right" to further his agenda. He almost came to tears as he bemoaned this as some unholy link between capitalism and religious fascism. As I watched this, it looked to me like nothing more than a hypocritical blowhard setting himself up like a rack of bowling pins. This guy Moyers has made millions off of the public largesse, through deals that sometimes have a bad smell themselves. As if that's not hypocritical enough, I take issue with his equating paying taxes with helping the poor as the bible means it. If one person can show me where the Bible says that paying taxes is the same as helping the poor, I'll eat my words. Moyers is using religion for his own political ends, just as he accuses Bush of doing. His is the typical position of Northeast liberals, who give less to charity than any other area of the country. They equate paying taxes with charity, without regard to the services they actually use themselves. I wonder how much of the money Moyers has made privately from the sale of his PBS documentaries was donated to charity? It seems that "he doth protest too much", and from the clearest of glass houses.

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I HAD TO STEP IN IT AGAIN

PRE-ELECTION PREDICTIONS! 11/24/04 email to friends first published on WWW.NEXTLEAV.BLOGSPOT.COM

I HAD TO STEP IN IT AGAIN...Friday, September 24, 2004

Iraq's Prime Minister Allawi addressed the U.N. and did a round of interviews with the U.S. media over the last few days. Much has been said about how he parrots Pres. Bush, of how they could have had the same speech writers. This is only true insomuch as they both are aligned against the terrorists, not trying to "understand" them. PM Allawi is focused on Iraq, while Pres. Bush has a wider focus, but anyone who doesn't see that the enemy is the same is a fool! Sen. Kerry still believes that Communism wasn't a threat to southeast Asia, after 2 MILLION people died following his advice back then. How many will die if Kerry is elected President? Kerry has the nerve to try to discredit PM Allawi, and to disconnect the terrorists in Iraq from the rest of the world. If he can't see that the links between these terrorists are worldwide, he is unfit for leadership of this country.A second thing that Allawi mentioned was the western media bias, in favor of the terrorists. He called it "giving them oxygen". A wise man, this Allawi is. He didn't say the western media should not cover the bombings and murders, but that they should cover the school openings, and political councils that are happening in localities around the country. This is actually a fault of the "what sells" mentality more than the political bias, but the US networks would like nothing better than to have the power to affect this war somehow. It's just too bad that they don't saturate the airwaves with some of the positive developments in that troubled country. People are taking their cue from Dan Rather, and disbelieving what the liberal US media reports, believing instead the words of US servicemen who have been there, and the Bush Administration, as well as the Iraqi government. One view will prevail!
IN LEAV'S IMAGINATION, THE REAL FIGHT LOOKS LIKE THIS!Here are the clear differences: Dan Rather is Kerry's surrogate, and Iyad Allawi is Bush's. Allawi survived Saddam's assasins with axes in a London hotel room. Rather survived men in suits beating him up, saying "what's the frequency, Kenneth?". Allawi is the fully respected Prime Minister of Iraq. Dan Rather, much like John Kerry, is losing credibility fast in the public eye. Both men have a big challenge ahead, but the difference is that if Rather or Kerry win, the public loses. If Rather stays employed, we all lose credibility in the news. If Kerry is elected, chances are we will lose the war on terror, at least as much as in the '90's, for the forseeable future. I guarantee that the enemies of America are salivating for a Kerry Presidency.DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM!

Friday, January 28, 2005

IRAQ IS NOT VIETNAM!

IRAQ IS NOT VIETNAM!
Is it just me, or are there any other people out there that realize that IRAQ IS NOT VIETNAM, no matter how many red-faced idiots in the liberal mainstream media say it is! Let's count the differences. Vietnam was divided into North and South, each with a different government. Iraq is one nation with one government forming through national elections. The "insurgent" terrorists have no government, and hold no signifigant territory. The North Vietnamese regime was being sponsored by the Soviet Union, and politics kept the military from bombing Hanoi. The terrorists in Iraq are sponsored by the rogue nations Syria and Iran, as well as our main foe in the war on terror, Al Queda. While Al Queda is pervasive worldwide, Syria and Iran pose nowhere near the threat that the Soviet Union did in the Vietnam era. They should be worried about how long they will stay politically "out-of-bounds" for US or allied bombing. The French had their asses kicked out of Vietnam 10 years before negotiating the US' political defeat there. The French were in bed with Saddam's Iraq regime for over 20 years, and now they just want to defeat the US again, and screw the Iraqi people. Luckily this time, we are not letting them get involved. The US and "world" media was solidly against the Vietnam war, and there were far fewer news outlets available. Today, there are more news outlets than there are views on the war to report, it seems. There has been an anti-war bias in the majority of media coverage. My analysis is that the media outlets that aren't afraid to also offer pro war reporting are doing better with the public. I've also noticed how large a roll the press must have played in our political defeat in Vietnam by the behavior of Dan Rather, among others. The media that played a signifigant role in events back then are dinosaurs now, known as "old media". Their attempts at morphing the current conflict in Iraq into another Vietnam fall short in the face of the facts being reported daily by the "new media", which more often compare Iraq and the war on terror to World War Two (see my previous post :1945-2005: same problems).

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Are Songebob and Lincoln Gay? Another "Tinky Winky" story!

Are Songebob and Lincoln Gay? Another "Tinky Winky" story!
Both liberal and conservative groups have tried to tie the "gay" label to cultural figures, for different reasons. Personally, a person's sexual orientation should not make a difference one way or another. The crucial factor in the equation is the reaction to the "outing", or declaration of gayness. The more sensitive the figure is to conservative or traditional values, the more publicity it gets. This explains why cultural icons like Pres. Lincoln get grouped with cartoon characters that are popular with children. Traditional families do not want their children to be taught that "gay is OK", nor do they want them to be taught that Pres. Lincoln was gay. This is the cultural divide. Adults should be free to debate these things, but children should be taught their parents' culture and value system, and the schools should be wary of treading over that right. My parents taught me that being gay was OK, and I firmly believe in that right for human beings. I also believe that it is a sin to engage in homosexual behavior, just as heterosexual behavior is outside of marriage. My point is that we are all sinners, and for anyone to worry if Pres. Lincoln's sins included homosexuality, or if Spongebob and Tinky Winky may be teaching your child to be gay is absolutely ludicrous. Saving souls is what Christianity is about, and we should not be scared to show our children the morally weakest, who need saving the most. Teach them to forgive other sinners as God forgives us, if we truly repent. Christians judge people on the content of their heart, not on their sexual proclivities.

Friday, January 21, 2005

DEMS HAVE INAUGURATION BLUES!

Dems still don't get it. On Pres. Bush's second inauguration, they are still plotting petty ways of attacking him. Did they learn nothing from their previous losses? They seem to be the party of the past, replaying the Republicans' treatment of Pres. Clinton in his 2nd term. This is a different time. The economy, while growing, is nowhere near the boom that was starting then, and any party (Democrats) that looks like it's trying to hamper a sincere effort to help the economy by the other party (Republicans) is going to have a problem. The same goes with Judicial confirmations. Democrats must not realize how badly the court system is regarded by the general public. They may not realize that by calling the President's court appointees "extreme", the appointees may be seen as just what is called for to fix the out of control court system. Finally, and most importantly, is national security and the war on terror. Are the Dems going to take John Kerry's approach that 9/11 didn't really change anything? For all of their criticism of Pres. Bush's performance since then, have they proposed anything of their own in this area? If they continue to be the party that wants to weaken our ability to defend ourselves, in all the areas I have mentioned, they will go further into the minority in congress, even if a Democrat is elected President after Bush. I mention that circumstance because, as a New Yorker, I have noticed how both of my liberal Dem Senators are hawkish in the war on terror, and one may be planning a return to the White House. I wonder how they will vote on the Judicial nominees, and such things as Social Security reform. My guess is that they'll toe the anti-Bush line on most other issues, to their own detriment.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

PONZI SCHEME: What is Social Security?

A few thoughts for those of you who don't know what a Ponzi scheme is. Also called a Pyramid scheme, the dictionary definition is: "an investment swindle in which some early investors are paid off with money put up by later ones in order to encourage more and bigger risks". I use this phrase "Ponzi scheme" because it accurately describes how Social Security has always run. The money paid in is not invested or even noted as a debt owed to any taxpayer anywhere. Don't even ask how such a tax payment could generate a "surplus" when it all gets spent every year. There may be a statistic somewhere saying how much has been stolen over the years, but nobody in government will actually tell you this "magic number", much less say it's anything more than a "complex accounting method", or some other meaningless or deceptive phrase. The new phrases to watch out for are "there is no Social Security crisis", and "it will pay full benefits until 2042", often followed by "75 percent benefits after 2042". Don't believe this hype. While it's true that this is not going to hit the fan this year, it is a future crisis that only gets worse the longer it is ignored. For Americans over 40 but under retirement age, this is a crisis. I need to invest in something other than Soc Sec as soon as possible. Those of us without access to IRA's or 401K accounts could surely use what President Bush is proposing. It was a large part of the reason I voted for him again.

A further warning against the AARP (American Association of Retired People, a liberal group) ads comparing investing retirement funds in the stock market with gambling, from Alan Reynolds' column on 01/13: "When AARP recruits employees... it does not describe its own unusually generous 401k plan as 'gambling.'" http://www.townhall.com/columnists/alanreynolds/ar20050113.shtml (link in the title)

What's good for the AARP should be good enough for the rest of us. AARP's opposition to Soc Sec reform is hypocritical and absurd. Hopefully, when the people in their 40's and younger approach retirement age, we won't be suckered into this liberal group with the lures of cheap insurance, motel and travel rates. Remember that the AARP are spending MILLIONS of dollars to defeat Social Security reform! Why do they want to keep retirees dependent on the government?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM: Conservatives are the New Progressives Pt. II

As the debate over Social Security reform gets started, many media types will be misrepresenting some of the basic facts. Soc Sec is basically run as the hugest Ponzi scheme in history. Any time you hear someone call it a pension or retirement benefit, they are spinning the program as something it is not. The progressive view that conservatives take is to actually turn Soc Sec into a true retirement benefit, while paying off the last generation of scamees. This may take some borrowing in the short term, but is the only logical course to fix the system in the long run. Also watch for talk of "giving money to Wall St. fat cats". One can only reply "as opposed to overpaid/underperforming government bureaucrats"? These are the very people watching the current system run into the ground without a peep. The facts are not in dispute. The differences in how the facts are reported in the big lib media will possibly shape the debate.
Social Security was a progressive idea 70 years ago. Democrats and liberals fighting it's reform are not progressive. One only has to look at the diverse proponents of partial privatization. From Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan to countries in Scandanavia and South America, this idea has been proposed and successfully enacted. Why is this such a problem to fix here?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

TONY BLANKLEY explains the WHITEWASH REPORT

Read Tony Blankley's explanation of why the "memogate" report absolved Rather and CBS of political bias, and refused to say definitively if the memos were forgeries. His upshot is that Thornburgh and his law firm were ethically bound not to reveal any information that could open CBS to civil or criminal liability. I like when someone with better sources and more info backs up my point of view. There should be a link in the title, but I'll post the URL at the bottom. I also read something that sounded familiar in Jay Bryant's colomn (01/12): "Dan Rather, who having retired as CBS Evening News anchorman continues at the scene of the crime, 60 Minutes II". This echoes my line from the previous post (01/10): "He was due to retire from the nightly news this year anyway, and he still is on the show that he committed his journalistic sin on in the first place". Notice how the same idea is phrased differently, indicating a lack of "talking points", just individuals who come to similar conclusions on their own. This is the big "grass roots" advantage that the conservatives have. What Democrat wants to be associated with what appears to be the media's version of Watergate. As more of them are embarassed for their party, people like me are coming out and saying what we think about these events in a more public way than ever before, and finding that our own thoughts can be put out before those of our favorite pundits! LOL! I further wish to thank the two pundits I referenced in this post, Tony Blankley and Jay Bryant, and to list the links to their articles: http://www.townhall.com/columnists/jaybryant/jb20050112.shtml
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/tonyblankley/tb20050112.shtml

Monday, January 10, 2005

NO PENALTY FOR RATHER: CBS Thornburgh Report a Whitewash

My first question regards Dan Rather's "memogate" punishment: Where is it? He was due to retire from the nightly news this year anyway, and he still is on the show that he committed his journalistic sin on in the first place! I want to compare a line from my piece "the Bush Haters" with a report on the review.
I wrote on 9/17/04: "Will he last until his scheduled retirement next year? Has he succeeded, where Nixon failed, at 'circling the wagons?'".
From the AP 01/10/05: "The review said CBS compounded the damage with a circle-the-wagons mentality once the report came under fire. The independent investigators added, however, that they found no evidence of a political bias against Bush".
It's a pretty obvious whitewash for Rather. This brings into question the overall integrity of the review. I hate to question Mr. Thornburgh, but to see this story as anything other than a political hit piece timed to influence the election involves delusion of a higher order, or outside influence. He may have rolled over because of a lack of hard evidence, but I understand that CBS STILL will not confirm that the memos are forgeries, saying it's not determined one way or another. I'd like to see what the review says about this, if it's true. Expect some stronger attemts to get Rather off of 60 minutes by bloggers and talk radio, of course. I'm pissed at the lack of response to the show the offending report aired on, and so are alot of others!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

CONSERVATIVES ARE THE NEW PROGRESSIVES

CONSERVATIVES ARE THE NEW PROGRESSIVES! 01/06/05

It is obvious to any objective observer that conservatives are the new progressive movement in U.S. politics. It apparently cuts across party lines, though the Democrat leadership is having trouble seeing it, as do some liberal Republicans. The facts are the same, regardless of ideology. Let's start with education: liberal "progressive" reforms started around 40 years ago, leading to a federal Department of Education being established in 1980. Education in the U.S. has been on a downward spiral through this whole period. As the "progressive" (welfare state supporting) Democrats encouraged parents in housing projects not to pay for private schools, but to let the state educate their children, the results have proven worse than the disasters that the housing projects have become. Wasn't the idea of subsidized housing so that parents can afford to send their kids to better than public schools? It was in my neighborhood, and at my old Catholic school in Manhattan. Most of the kids were from the Amsterdam housing project, right behind Lincoln Center. Here's where the conservative idea of vouchers enters the equation: Had Presidents Nixon or Ford been bold enough to suggest it back then, St. Paul's the Apostle School might not have been replaced by a hi-rise condo. The point is that there were, and still are many deserving schools that are willing to take in kids whose parents are willing to apply for the chance for a better education. With vouchers, public school overcrowding can be alleviated, as well as a host of other problems with our education system. The liberal ideology has run the educational system into the ground in the US, to a point that exceeds China's "cultural revolution" disaster. The Chinese realized it was destroying their country much faster than we have caught on to our own liberal subversion. It is time that true "progressives" accept that the liberals are on the side of stagnation, clinging to a failed ideology. Let conservative ideas have a shot at solving the problems in education. Besides vouchers, we conservatives like competition, discipline, and accountability, with rewards for excellence. There is also the fact that a voucher will take about half of what the public school spends per student, leaving the public school system with more money for the kids who stay in the public school system.

Look at the recent history of the US education system, and give me another reason why it's gone wrong, or a better solution. This is the first of a series of posts deconstructing the myth of liberal "progressiveness". All comments welcome.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Occupation 1945 & 2005: same problems

I want to take issue with all the "gloom and doom" about Iraq. While I can't predict an outcome, I can say that some of the same news outlets were "doom and gloom" predictors after WW II. Some examples from the NY Times:
Germans Reveal Hate of Americans. Oct. 31, 1945.
Loss of Victory in Germany Through U.S. Policy Feared, November 18th.
Germans Declare Americans Hated, December 3rd, 1945.
German Election Set In Towns of U.S. Zone.
Does any of this sound familliar? So I take all this reporting with a grain of salt. However, people like Bill O'reilly have a much more balanced approach covering this war. The reports of thousands of Iraqi policemen deserting is worrisome, but not surprising. Look at what their strategy was in the first place, when they were working for Saddam: run away, and regroup as terror cells (or desert). The real question is will enough Iraqis stand up for their right to govern themselves, risking terror attacks to vote? I think they will, in good numbers. Expect the attacks to get worse leading up to the 30th, but expect the US to counter the terrorists more aggressively.

Hat tip to Rush Limbaugh for the headlines. Also see IRAQ IS NOT VIETNAM, and LEGAL REDUX' History Repeating Itself?

Sunday, January 02, 2005

COULD THIS HAPPEN IN THE ATLANTIC?

This is lifted from another website, speculating on a tidal wave hitting the East Coast, and how it could happen. READ ON!

Here, the wave would reach heights of 130ft to 164ft - higher than Nelson's column - and travel four or five miles inland flattening everything in its path.
Previous research by Dr Day predicted that a future eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano was likely to cause the western flank of the mountain to slide into the sea.
The energy released by the collapse would be equal to the electricity consumption of the entire US in six months.
Working with Dr Steven Ward, from the University of California, Dr Day has now produced a new model which predicts more accurately how big the tsunami will be and where it will strike.
http://www.rense.com/general13/tidal.htm

Saturday, January 01, 2005

WISHES for 2005!

Things I look forward to in 2005: Personally and Politically.
Making the lovely Anna Zarbano engaged to be my wife!
Private retirement accounts-I can't stand commentators who say this idea is dead. Same for medical savings accounts, though those are tied to health care reform, so I don't have as high hopes.
Hanging out with old friends more often--socializing (that's not a dirty word, except politically)
Judicial nominees who will adhere to the constitution, not interpret it in new ways. I hope the Republicans stop the Dems from filibustering judicial appointments.
The hope that charter schools and voucher programs flourish, and public schools rise in quality through competition.
Getting Anna's daughter into a good local college.
Rising resentment against the NY political "system" continuing to shake things up, hopefully with good results.

2004: the YEAR that WAS!

2004 was a year of success and failure. For Republicans, it was a success. For Democrats, it was a failure. In Iraq, the verdict is still out. Afghanistan was a success, so far. Israel was never happier now that Arafat is dead, but success or failure of PEACE over there depends on whether the terrorism died with him, and we all know the answer to that one. For all the failures in our intelligence services, we were not attacked again, though Spain was attacked twice, before and after they left the coalition force in Iraq. The 9/11 commission was a big thing this year. Political force wielded like a baseball bat is what it looked like to me. The high point was when AG Ashcroft brought out the memo by Jamie Gorelick, a 9/11 commission member, that instituted a "heightening" of the wall between branches of the government, or making it HARDER to share information, from her time as assistant AG under Pres. Clinton.
Another big scandal was Abu Graib prison. Compared to what went on there under Saddam, this was college hijinks!!! While I can't get too upset about the stuff in the famous photos, I know that any serious violations, like deaths in custody are being investigated. Now the libs are saying similar things about Gitmo. All I can say is that there are more terrorists out there, so let's GITMO! I think we give them more rights over there than they afford captured Americans or innocent civillians in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Geneva convention specifically neglects to cover persons who ignore it's conventions, leaving these terrorists without legal protection other than what the US constitution gives, and they're stretching that!
MARTHA STEWART was a big thing, as was SCOTT PETERSEN. 2 jailbirds, one on death row, the other ready to make multi-millions after her release. MARTHA, already a big name, will soar. PETERSEN, a nobody, will sink back into the ether of anonymity, and his case will be all but forgotten by the end of '05.
Janet Jackson rivaled Howard Stern for most offensive act of the year, and Michael Powell had inverse popularity poll numbers than his father Colin... RUSH LIMBAUGH survived the exposing of his drug habit, and still hasn't been charged with any crime. (I THINK IT'S SAFE TO SAY HE WON'T BE, EITHER!)
WE LOST MORE THAN ANY YEAR'S SHARE OF PEOPLE IN THE LAST WEEKS OF LAST YEAR. I WANT TO ASK ALL OF MY FRIENDS, AND ANYONE ELSE WHO IS ABLE TO PITCH IN AND HELP OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS OVERSEAS. THEY NEED US, AND I ALREADY KNOW THAT WE'LL BE THERE FOR THEM. THANK YOU FOR MAKING THE START OF THE NEW YEAR SUCH A GENEROUS ONE!