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Lord’s Work

Ted Olson's case. Doing security the American way. Massachusetts. Steele, Wofford, and much more.

1.22.10

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ANYTHING GOES
Re: Jeffrey Lord's A Rebuttal to Theodore Olson:

I think Clint Eastwood -- well, let's say Dirty Harry, anyway -- would agree with Mr. Lord's rebuttal, and pronounce him the winner of the debate. The argument, to me, seems very straightforward, and it always astounds me that those who would alter the institution of marriage try to deny it.

Firstly, traditional marriage is the cornerstone of the nuclear family, and the nuclear family is the cornerstone of society. And, by the way, this is not some right-wing crazy idea. One can hike into the furthest jungles of Papua New Guinea, find tribes who have never seen Westerners, and there you will find a man, his wife, and their children, living together in a hut, surrounded by other huts containing similar family units. And one can look back in time, five thousand years, maybe ten, and all over the world, and find this same arrangement. It is trans-global and spans many millennia. So this is about as elemental as traditions get, and, given the biology of it all, why would it not be so? We tinker at our own peril with something so basic.

And secondly, the more the definition of marriage is changed, and specifically, the more inclusive it becomes, the less it means, until finally it becomes a joke, and yet, it still will be marriage, and presumably, as legally binding as ever. Why would some young man, or woman, bind himself in a contractual relationship which has become a joke, but still has the potential to consume half his net worth if things don't work out, not to mention cause terrible agony regarding custody, if children are produced? One would have to be crazy to do that.

By the way, one can think of other combinations than polygamy, and "man-boy." For example, incestuous relationships. Incest is a taboo which arose, one assumes, because inbreeding produces genetic defects, which we now have the means to eliminate. So we have two adults who are in love -- a brother and a sister -- well, why not? Are they not hard-working, caring, grown-up sensitive people, too? What about the spinster who wants to marry her poodle (providing it is of age, of course!)?

And there may be other perturbations than just the combinations of flesh involved: Perhaps a pre-designated One-Year Marriage, or Five-Year Marriage, or some other arrangement (officially married during the week but free on the weekends; that might be useful). Once we head down Anything Goes Avenue, no telling where it will end, except that actual marriage itself will no longer exist, which, of course, is the point.
-- D. Reich

Well put, Mr. Lord. G. K. Chesterton had the condensed version, "Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."

Mr. Olson needs a refresher course in logic.
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

SECURITY, AMERICAN STYLE
Re: Stephanie Gutmann's Doing Security the Israeli Way:

Ms. Gutmann's "Doing Security the Israeli Way" brings to mind two related stories and the old adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I hate to disappoint Ms. Gutmann but CNN was not the first network to profile El Al to learn the differences in their security approach and come away with the conclusion that the Israelis focus on people rather than things. In fact, it was around 20 years ago CBS' 60 Minutes did the same because at that time, still true today I believe, that although Israel is the number one target of Muslim terrorists, El Al had never suffered a hijacking or lost a plane to a bombing. They may have even interviewed the same fellow who was perhaps then its head for all I remember. But I do remember distinctly that the El Al personage said into the camera, in regards to America's deficient methods, "The Americans look for things, we look for people." That statement has stuck with me ever since when traveling, particularly since 9/11 and especially immediately after as I've experienced the forced participatory kabuki we call airport security.

In February of 2002 I traveled to Las Vegas for a conference that was originally scheduled two weeks after 9/11 but rescheduled due to the attack. I was alone with only carry on baggage, to be there overnight and returning late the next day. Nothing at all strange about that for a domestic American business traveler. While boarding for the return "red eye" I was pulled out of line for the full going over. Now, if you called Central casting and asked for a middle-aged white guy, corporate VP, military officer or police captain type I'd show up on the set. In fact, just that happened to me on the set of Miami Vice 25 years ago but I wasn't middle-aged and that's another story for another day. The point is, I know what I look like and I don't look anything like just about every hijacker or terrorist to strike an aircraft for the last 30 years, except maybe D.B. Cooper. But a group of about 40 people in line with me did or at least the male half of the contingent did. In fact, they were middle-easterners, Israelis in a group flying to South Florida. I knew they were because I'm a native of South Florida, which has a very large Jewish population with a large subset of Israelis, so I know Hebrew when I hear it. I'm also married to a nice Jewish girl I've known for 32 years.

But I doubt very much if the nice, earnest security lady charged with my inspection knew it since it sounded like she was from Minnesota or such. Being it was only five months since 9/11 and the whole new security apparatus was just gearing up procedures were still sort of developed, shall we say, on the fly. So she approaches me very deliberately with her wand and instructs me to put my arms straight out. I chose to raise them in the surrender position as a silent protest and a move I recommend that all normal Americans employ. She makes me empty my pockets again and wands me all over. Then she decides my flat, slip on dress loafers need checking out. Rather than have me remove them she gets down on her knees in front of me, facing me, to inspect them. Meanwhile, the line begins to move and several dozen foreigners chattering in very heavy Middle-Eastern accents begin to file past completely unmolested or inspected. All of a sudden, she looks up at me and I could tell the "serious security measures" spell was broken and she felt ridiculous as well she should have. I could see it in her eyes. Her face flushed and she rose to her feet while muttering, "Thank you for your cooperation, sir," and sent me on my way. I never said a word to her and I'd bet she's never told this story.

Next month, I return to that same conference as I do annually and I dread the thought because as much as that tale plays like a tragicomedy in the mind's eye the reality of airport security has only gotten worse, much worse. More mindless reactionary routines in pursuit of the latest known tools of destruction as a cover for continued deliberate and deadly obliviousness to the actors and agents who would employ them. More searching for "things instead of people" and the exact opposite of what we should be doing. I know I'll have to watch as little old ladies from our heartland, stooped veterans of WWII, children and their nursing mothers and all sorts of folks who look like no hijacker in history are hassled, harangued and humiliated by folks who washed out of the Post Office or DMV. And I know that I may be selected because it's much easier and safer for the TSA lumpenprole, browbeaten and imbued with inane PC sensibilities, to pick me out of the line than more appropriate targets of scrutiny.

And the absolute worst part is this unyielding egalitarianism of inconvenience and hassle is making us less safe. By trying to scrutinize everybody's things in a conscious effort to offend nobody we virtually guarantee ourselves the very people who should be most closely observed will be observed least. For the same cowardly impulse driving the authorities to look into our bags instead of our eyes, lest we draw certain conclusions, is what insures that whenever an individual officer does pull someone aside its certain to be the least likely candidate for terrorism within his or her view as a proof they don't make judgments by looks. Of course, that is also to say they don't really make judgments at all so one day while they're busy wanding Aunt Bee from Mayberry, USA, the young, male soldiers of Allah will file past just as one did on Christmas day last.
-- Mark Shepler
Jupiter, Florida

BLIND IDEAS
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s The Lost Liberals:

Victor Frankle hit it on the head years ago -- "the radicals of the 60's don't have their ideas -- their ideas have them." There was a prophet for the ages.
-- Donald

SHAMEFUL
Re: Ben Stein's Witchcraft's Candidate:

Ben Stein is, again, spot on about the shameful endorsement by Obama of the reprobate, Martha Coakley. The good news is that as MA voters we received 17 calls urging us to vote: 15 for Brown, 2 for Coakley. She's done. And none too soon. The system that elevated her remains. Possibly more wary than before, but Coakley won a primary handily: what's that say about the Democrat party's core in MA? She's a true reflection of them. And they are unhinged.
-- Christopher Roberts

QUAYLING IN HIS BOOTS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Is Scott Brown the Next Harris Wofford?

I served with Harris Wofford, I know Harris Wofford, Harris Wofford is a friend of mine. Scott Brown is no Harris Wofford. (Apologies to Lloyd Bentsen).
-- Tom Gee
Newton, Massachusetts

REPUDIATING THE THUGS
Re: Robert Stacy McCain's The Scott Heard 'Round the World:

Whatever the outcome -- and I do hope Scott Brown is the new U.S. Senator from Massachusetts -- this special election won't signal a revolution has begun.

It signals the extent to which the revolution has grown and will expand.

It signals that America repudiates Barack Hussein Obama and his thugocracy.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.

OVERUSING THE WORD
Re: Larry Thornberry's None Dare Call It Socialism:

"Socialism" is a charge made too often and a lazy short-handed talking point meant to shut down the debate like lib's use "racist" against conservatives to shut down debate. I say this because it is rarely defined and only political junkies like myself may have a little understanding to the real meaning.

A good example would be Sean Hannity's man on the street interviews where he uses a line of questioning meant to shame the subject into admitting he/she is a Marxist, socialist supporting Obama-bot. What he rarely does is explain the two different economic models and how Reagan used capitalism to defeat Socialism. Or how freedom is necessary for capitalism to flourish and how Socialism leads to government passing a tax to punish the use of fossil fuels and a credit to use wind power. You don't even have the freedom to buy...no, make any kind of light bulb you want.

I also feel that the tag "Socialism" is falling short on defining what the lib's legislative actions expose as they try to justify their parliamentary maneuvering.

(aristocracy)

1. a class of persons holding exceptional rank and privileges, esp. the hereditary nobility.

2. a government or state ruled by an aristocracy, elite, or privileged upper class.

3. government by those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.

4. a governing body composed of those considered to be the best or most able people in the state.

5. any class or group considered to be superior, as through education, ability, wealth, or social prestige.

The current debate for universal health care is a prime example. The plan is for all citizens except the elected class. But even this definition can be too broad as they exempt those that support their agenda and seek to punish any who oppose them. You could say it's a "Dem-istocracy" since if you are part of the opposition party you are not fit to be part of the process, you are to be demonized for having a differing opinion. After all why should they follow the very rules they set up?
-- Luke Williams
Anchorage, Alaska

Your comment that socialism necessarily requires state ownership of the means of production is too narrow. The NSDAP was socialist but left ownership alone. But the owners had no control of their properties making "ownership" meaningless.

Obama is pursuing the NSDAP approach.
-- Pat Hegarty

SPEAKING AT THEM
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The Michael Steele/Haley Barbour Book Flap:

Republican Chairman Michael Steele may have the courage to rebel against the old school Republicans and run the risk of losing it all by stepping into the leadership vacuum of the Tea Party, or reform the GOP to include the Tea Party movement and form a political juggernaut . Steele sums up the discontent that is roiling across the economically scorched American landscape with his comment that the Tea Party "puts in stark relief" the fear and anger Americans feel when they hear the Democrats' propaganda claiming American prosperity still exists via federal government benevolence.

The Tea Party's platform seeks to restore representative government and this exerts a powerful effect on a populace that feels ignored and subjected to foreign and domestic policies crafted by neo-conservative President Bush and now socialist President Obama. RNC Steele may pull off a political coup on the White House and Congress if he convinces the American populace he speaks for them and not at them.
-- Helen
Fullerton, California

WHO ARE "THEY"
Re: Quin Hillyer's Laughing at the Left:

I am one of the left and I don't believe in anything you say lumping everybody you perceive as a liberal under "THEY."

When you lump people together as you do in your political assassination attempt you make an ass out of yourself. All the Liberals do not believe in all you say under the guise of "THEY." "They" in some cases may be conservatives. The fact is that the Republican Party is the party responsible for the huge deficit, the wars, and the sad state this country. Clinton was in fact one of the best Presidents we ever had economically speaking.
-- Paul

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