Re: Philip Klein's The Post-Post 9/11 Candidate:
Barack Obama's take on terror epitomizes the essence of liberalism: people will not be who they are, but who we wish them to be, if we say and do all the "right" things. If that doesn't happen, it's our fault, not theirs.
If terrorists ever nuke an American city, imagine one of these fools standing before the public telling us why such monsters deserve the "benefit of the doubt" and a "fair trial."
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
I strongly disagree with Philip Klein's conclusion that Barack Obama doesn't think terrorism is a big deal -- he does; which is why he has a comprehensive approach to combating it that includes using all of our resources including rebuilding our diplomatic allegiances.
Barack Obama diverges from the Bush-McCain approach in two important ways.
First, he is unwilling to go outside the structure of our Constitution. The principles laid down by our founding fathers make us stronger, not weaker. We need to abide by them for our own good and the future of our country. The Bush-McCain approach of anything goes has done more to hurt our country than we realize.
Second, Barack Obama is unwilling to use fear as a way to gain political advantage. Just look at the correlation between when the Bush administration suffered political damage and when they chose to raise the terrorism threat levels over the past 7 years and you'll see what I mean.
John McCain is picking up where Karl Rove left off by trying to scare the good citizens of the USA into voting for him. It isn't going to work. Terrorism is a threat that a rational president such as Obama will be able to handle appropriately and successfully.
It isn't the only problem our country is facing, however, and perhaps that is where Mr. Klein gets confused.
-- Matt Ahrens
I want to disagree with Klein's article about Obama representing the old way of thinking in the so-called war on terror. I simply don't hear it as a move away from moving vigorously against terrorists. Rather it is a move away from the politics of fear which has freed George Bush to assault the Bill of Rights in the name of the "war on terror." I propose the following:
* There is no "war on terror." When John Edwards declared that, he was right. Wars are waged between governments, not ad hoc groups and criminals, no matter how well organized. Edwards was simply daring to point out that "the emperor has no clothes."
* The average American has more chance of being killed in an automobile accident or even a lightning strike than by a terrorist. To use the "war on terror" as an excuse for expanding the power of the executive branch of the government at the expense of the legislative or even the courts to say nothing of violating basic constitutional rights as the Bush Administration has done is something that has to stop.
* Criminal behavior on the part of terrorists should be dealt with by the courts where the accused are able to confront their accusers and see the evidence against them. I don't buy the notion that this compromises national security. There are ways of dealing with that issue without compromising people's legal rights.
* This in no way suggests that we should lessen the resources devoted to what I will call the struggle to stop terrorism. All military, political, intelligence and any other resources needed for preventing terrorist attacks and apprehending the criminals should be used. Beef it up from where it is, even. My concern is for due process once these people are in our hands.
To conclude, I have a far greater fear of compromising fundamental liberties as those are spelled out in the Constitution than anything else. I will take my chances with the terrorists rather than continue sliding down the slippery slope where such things as habeas corpus, freedom of speech and so on become provisional at the convenience of whoever happens to be in charge of making the accusations. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who made the comment, "He who sacrifices liberty in the name of security eventually loses both.
-- "Pastor" Don
If one sees a cockroach in the kitchen, one stomps it dead. The next step is to call in an exterminator and kill the nest. Obama, as a community organizer from Chicago, certainly knows this. But after hearing his rhetoric, the question arises, did he advise the tenants to ignore the infestation, negotiate with the bugs and blame the tenants for leaving food out in the kitchen in the first place? Sometimes giving the enemy the benefit of the doubt is simply giving them time to prepare.
Senator Obama is walking down a well worn Democratic path. He naively believes that terrorism is a legal issue and terrorists are to be treated as respectable citizens (much like the Freedom Five of the Supreme Court). Terrorism is a political act but not one of civil disobedience. It cannot be fought in the courts and through police enforcement. Diplomacy is rendered useless or turned against our interests. The Middle Eastern mindset respects "the strong man" approach. As President Johnson said, "When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow." Senator McCain understands that military force is the only rational response to terrorism.
Mr. Obama, it is not time to "turn the page." It is time to open another book. May I suggest The Art of War by Sun Tzu or Carl von Clausewitz's On War?
-- Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
WHO NEEDS RETIREMENT?
Re: Peter Ferrara's Obama von Bismarck:
Obama is learning a lesson from the Socialists in Chile -- if you lie long enough and well enough you can raise taxes, stymie an economy and undermine freedom of choice and still market yourself as an "idealist" (actually ideologue) working for positive change.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
The reason that Social Security has no savings or investment is that it was never set up to be a pension fund, but was meant to be a retirement insurance program which would pay out a small percentage of claims against a huge pool of insured. This was based on the assumption that most Americans would not live to file claims, as the average life expectancy during the 1930s was less than the 65-years of retirement age. As long as most people didn't file claims, the fund would, theoretically, remain solvent.
That assumption, however, ran up against several trends. First, the Johnson administration saw the opportunity to use the SSI revenues to fill in budget shortfalls. Had a private insurer exhausted the company's assets to cover overspending, the FCC would have had his head on a plate, but since it was the FCC's boss that was doing it, the rules governing oversight of insurance funds were never applied.
The second trend was the idea that people who had never paid into the program could be eligible for benefits. This started with minor dependents or spouses of deceased recipients, which seemed like a logical outgrowth (if you accept that the payments into Social Security were part of the estates of the claimants), but soon this logic was applied to people who had no relation to the program, from recent immigrants to disabled adults. What had started out as an insurance program soon became just another form of welfare.
Finally, people began living longer. That meant that, rather than a small percentage of insured members filing claims, the vast majority filed them, draining the system's assets. Even if the system hadn't been looted, it would have been impossible to maintain the benefit structure without a constant influx of new taxpaying workers to support the retirees, a problem which will reach critical mass as the baby boomers retire. Again, a private company which paid out dividends to the first wave of investors out of the payments of the last wave, without any real investment, would have been shut down as a Ponzi scheme.
The solution to Social Security must begin with the recognition that it was structurally unsound from the beginning, and that the temptation to loot any source of revenue is too great for any government. Those who claim that it cannot be amended because it would somehow violate FDR's "legacy" have elevated symbolism over substance, and will end up saddling FDR with a far more destructive legacy, the bankruptcy of the United States government.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, US Army
Obama is just the latest empty-suit, full-blooded liberal, albeit the most unique and newest and improved-est of the lot, to come along to sell the "progressive's" "message." Trouble is the progressive agenda neither is new nor has proven progressive. In fact, their recent rebranding of themselves from liberals to progressives is a deliberate throwback to those idyllic times when their ideology held promise and was not yet tainted and bloodstained by its results around the world.
Remember too, it is the Dems who believe the success of the conservative movement in recent decades was due to packaging, presentation and marketing deception. According to this psychological self-comforting, Ronald Reagan was popular not because of his ideas and their results but because he was an artful speaker and reassuring fatherly figure. After all they sneer, he was an actor (and a B actor at that!) but in reality was an amiable dunce napping his way through history who duped the denizens of flyover country. "If only we had a Ronnie Reagan!" they tell themselves, and now they think they do.
But rather than a Reagan who governed the largest state, Obama is more like the Marty McFly of contemporary politics. Just like in the movie Back to the Future, he is a no talent, unaccomplished slacker with a winning personality and gift of gab who, through the help of eccentric friends, finds himself driving a Democratic media time machine back to an earlier day of progressivism when all of their intentions seemed possible. And intentions are all that matter to libs, not the results. When their intentions realized don't resemble their dreams their reaction is to intensify their belief in the intentions but not to ever reassess the underlying ideas. Why did Spielberg, a staunch liberal, send Marty to the '50s? My guess is because it was then liberals were emerging ascendant from the dark ages of the McCarthyite red scare and at the brink of a new era with the just the right combination of modern science, academic brain power, organization, state power and good intentions. A liberalism fully realized seems in the offing. If you listen to Obama carefully he sounds like it's the 50s when all things liberal are possible and the last 50 years of liberalism's results never happened. He thinks we can have a do over.
But the life of our nation is no movie and though Marty McFly makes it home to the '80s okay -- ironically to a day of economic growth, national security and American resurgence, no thanks to liberals -- we know how things went from the 50s on whenever modern liberals were in charge. Liberalism has not had a new idea in 50 years and Obama represents no "change" any attentive grownup can recognize, save his skin color, but instead just the same old tired script of feel-good intentions we know don't work off the set. He does, because of his skin color, represent progress of a sort but not enough to take a trip with him in a back lot Delorean whilst the real dark ages of Islamism encroaches in a pincer movement of energy extortion funding holy war against our very civilization. So, in tribute to the movie Back to the Future I've derived a campaign slogan that captures perfectly the inversion of intentions vs. results that Obama liberalism represents. Instead of Back to the Future, Obama wants to take us Forward to the Past.
-- Mark Shepler
A HOUSE DIVIDED
Re: John Samples's What Sort of Country?:
Mr. Samples rightly describes our country as culturally divided. However, I hadn't heard that people were actually moving to "live near others who are culturally and politically similar." I didn't realize we were so rich we had that luxury. I always thought that, like me, people tended to move where there are jobs. Be that as it may, where are these places that I, culturally, politically and economically conservative, can move to? Everywhere I look, I see dysfunctional big cities, localities banning smoking on private property and state governments running deficits to the moon. The only place I see where I might find Americans like me is when I look up -- to the moon! And I'd go there if ever NASA would get out of low orbit!
Finally, regarding Samples's quote, "Once Obama stops talking about 'a common purpose' and starts governing, he will discover concretely how little Americans have in common." I think Obama already knows this as evidenced by the church he went to for 20 years as well as the radical friends he keeps.
-- Douglas Skinner
Re: Christopher Orlet's American Exceptionalism:
I must respectfully disagree with Christopher Orlet's statement, "Today such social criticism (of Protestant Christians) is considered 'stirring up racial hatred,' whether or not race is the element being criticized." In America's Democrat-controlled media belittling traditional Christians is not only acceptable, but a moral obligation so as to defend Muslim terrorists, hate mongers like Jeremiah Wright, racists like Bill Clinton, anti-American activists like Michelle Obama, slanderers of brave Marines like Democrat Representative John Murtha and national security Judases like Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller -- and the sanctimonious NY Slimes itself. Other than that minor point I am in full agreement with the sentiments of the article especially considering the anti- 1st and 2d Amendment Democrats control Congress and are pressing ahead to elect a charlatan of "change" to the Presidency.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Happy Days are Here Again!:
Ms. Fabrizio always astonishes me with her perspicacity. Her description of the nightly news is bang on, as our English cousins say.
But there is one more thing to sing about. She forgot taxes.
The dialogue might go like this:
Chris Matthews: President Obama, with Americans unable to pay mortgages, buy groceries or gas, how exactly does this huge tax increase on everything from groceries to gas help?
Obama: I am so glad you asked that question. It helps in this way. Many people are not focused when they spend money. It is wasted on family vacations, entertainment and such things. The taxes will take that foolishly spent money from these poor people and allow the government to "focus" the spending of that money for them.
Matthews: How will you do that?
Obama: It is very easy. The $3.00 a gallon tax on gas for example will cause those revenues to go down, thus crippling the roads and highways infrastructure programs. So we focus the tripling of the estate and capital gains taxes to those programs. Then we raise the income tax on the richest Americans -- those making $50,000 and up -- and use that to fund the programs formerly funded by capital gains and estate taxes. This leaves a huge shortfall in the entitlement programs we've expanded to cover crystal therapy, aromatherapy and pilates.
Matthews: WOW! I am utterly in awe of the pure genius of this.
Obama: But wait! The best is yet to come. To keep all that well funded we have nationalized farms; food processing plants as well as supermarkets. That eliminates all these costs from the food chain and allows the government to make the profit rather than the robber barons. Thus we believe we can get the price of a head of lettuce down to $13.00 by the end of my first term. But even if we don't people will be buoyed by the knowledge they are paying themselves.
These funds, in part, are going to the purchase by the government of St. John's US Virgin Islands. As you know this is a paradise with unspoiled white sugar sand beaches and verdant mountains. But too many people are going there and so the purchase will make this a National Park for the benefit of the American people.
The lush destination resorts will be maintained, of course, as a place for democrat officials nationwide to escape from the terrible stress of their work.
Matthews: (Kneeling) I feel a tingle go up my leg. You ARE the Second Coming. I believe, sweet Barack, I believe!
-- Jay Molyneaux
GREEN EYED MONSTER
Re: The Prowler's A Culture of Greed:
Those Congress-folks function with a sense of entitlement rather than it being greed in the typical meaning. They're greedy for self-enriching entitlements to prove to their peers that they are "special."
-- P. Aaron Jones
"Press reports indicated that not only did Dodd and Conrad get special treatment, but former Clinton Cabinet members Donna E. Shalala and Richard C. Holbrooke received special treatment, as did several prominent Republicans."
Pray tell, why aren't the names published here???? Some kind of special privilege or do they exist at al.???
-- Jon Dolfurd
The Prowler replies:
Does anyone really care about Rodney Slater?
HOLIER THAN THOU
Re: Deborah Durkee's letter (under "Bipartisan") in Reader Mail's Clothes Make the Nation:
Guess what, Deborah. It is about the Right and the Left in the sense that Mr. Homnick has had abundant opportunities to decry the lack of decency from Rush Limbaugh (remember Barack the Magic Negro), Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, et al. but could not bestir himself to write a column denouncing the lack of decency on the part of any of these. Since you probably agree with their positions, I suspect you find nothing particularly offensive in what they say. What is the appropriate aphorism: glass houses? Log in your neighbor's eye?
-- Mike Roush
Re: Mike Roush's letter (under "There He Goes Again") in Reader Mail's Burden of Proof:
As Dr. Phil is apt to say: "80% of all questions are accusations in disguise." I don't know about the 80% part, but, having worked among learned professionals who really thought employing the Socratic method hid the fact that they really were saying "you filthy bastard," I'd say it is at least 50% true. So when we read Mike Roush's "are you willing to impose the same standards on the Right, Mr. Homnick?" we know he is saying another version of "talk about the kettle calling the pot black!" More to the point, the veiled assertion is Conservatives allow for themselves that which they condemn in liberals.
From personal experience, I'd say we Conservatives have our share of jerks; however, I've never been convinced that we have cornered the market on original sin. What I do know is that Liberals for some reason think they are a persecuted lot. There is always some kangaroo court somewhere that punishes them for their views. They write stories about themselves starring as Gary Cooper in High Noon standing heroically alone against a gang of cutthroats. And they get all bent out of shape when we don't genuflect before their lofty idealism.
What's wrong with Weiner and Davilman's little book is that it is not funny -- nor really was meant to be funny except as an in-the-club joke. It is a tribal salute. It is like two fans of the Indianapolis Colts passing each other by in Katmandu and simply giving each other the thumbs up for no other reason than sharing the same sports allegiance. It is that shrewd nod saying "I don't know you but we both see it the same way so you're OK in my book."
Are you OK? I don't know. What I don't understand is the delicious enjoyment many on the left get at the imaginary picture of the Bush twins working in a bordello. Wishing personal depraved evil on one's opponent and that which belongs to him is not...well...a good thing
-- Mike Dooley
HAVE IT BOTH WAYS
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Teacher's Pet: Big Oil:
While suggesting a tax increase makes me sick, I wonder if Republicans should suggest a targeted tax increase on Democrats' oil profits?
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina
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