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Bizarro World

Liberals running at large. How many duds does it take? Jimmy the Nose. FISA details. McPeak in uniform. Plus much more.

3.26.08

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RUNNIN' WILD
Re: Jeffrey Lord's The Liberal Mania: Crazy in a Bubble:

Jeffrey Lord's "The Liberal Mania" may well be the best, most revealing, and informative essay in TAS in my memory. I struggle to find its equal.

Thanks, Mr. Lord.
-- A. C. Santore

Loved it! WFB's analogy of defining the irrational liberal thought process in clinical terms is fitting. Michael Savage has described it as "a mental disorder." When liberals speak about an issue, it's only to tell you that you're wrong because you are a hateful, insensitive S.O.B., oblivious to their own hateful insensitivities. Liberals are often confused when making moral equivalencies, they don't like to judge les they be judged themselves, "if it feels good, do it," if it's matter of personal gain, then by all means "just do it" (as proclaimed by a national advertising campaign), there are no consequences (until there are consequences then the blame goes to someone else). It's like living in a liberal fantasy theme park -- Bizarro World!
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

Reading Mr. Lord's piece I'm reminded of a Firing Line show many years ago when Mr. Buckley's guest was an old white-haired man named Foote (don't recall his first name) from Great Britain. He was at the time or had been some head socialist or Laborite leader or some such thing (sorry for the vagueness). Mr. Foote was speaking in this insufferably snotty (I guess the word today would be snarky) condescending manner and finally Mr. Buckley stops him and says something like, "Before we go any further, can we (you) get over this notion (or attitude) that everything I say is crap and everything you say is non-crap." It was beautiful. It illustrated the "there is no debate" attitude of most liberals on duty mentioned in Mr. Lord's piece.
-- Jens Andersen

I admit it, you hooked me with your title Geraldine Limbaugh but I'm glad you did. Jeffery Lord wrote a whiz-bang opinion piece. I would have emailed him directly but I just couldn't get past the salutation, Dear Mr. Lord, without my mind wandering. Keep up the good work.
-- K. Wigen

DUDSVILLE
Re: Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder's Expedience and Experience:

Indeed, how did we end up with these two duds, as Messrs. Mason and Felder posit?

In 1776 the population of the colonies was about three million out of which pool rose George Washington, John Adams, Sam Adams, Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Paul Revere, Thomas Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, et al.

Two centuries later, the population of the U.S. is 100 times larger, and out crawl "these two duds." Painful to contemplate, no?

And the Democrats cast aside Joe Biden and Chris Dodd to get to where we are today.

Does "President McCain" sound likely?
-- Dick Crawford

Whatever Rev. Wright meant, the fundamental reality is that it is a conversation killer. Once any clergyman says "God d*mn America," 95% of Americans will head for the door. We can disagree whether they should or shouldn't; but no matter what or by how much Americans think American should change, they will not stand for the country they love to be cursed.

"God d*mn America" is so repulsive and pungent that it overpowers and blows anything else that may be said off the table. That's the reality and that's the end of it.
-- Michael Dooley
Indianapolis, Indiana

As usual Jackie and Raoul do not waste any words while stating the obvious so much better than most. How did we indeed end up with these two "duds" competing for the nomination of one of our major parties? How indeed although to be truthful or factual the other contenders (Dodd, Edwards, Richardson etc)were certainly no better. It has been way too long since the Democrats had worthy even if often wrong candidates competing in the arena of ideas. It seems to me that Scoop Jackson was the last Democratic Party candidate that the voters could really respect. That is an awfully long time ago in this generation of instant gratification. I try not to be pessimistic for too long a time but William Kristol's father Irving was no doubt correct when he wrote in the WSJ in the seventies that the culture war was over and we had lost. At the time as the father of two young sons I struggled to disagree with him but in retrospect he was more right than wrong. Mr. Kristol also in a regrettably neglected book Two Cheers for Capitalism wrote that corporate officers did not deserve the monstrous salary and bonus packages they were being paid because they were not risk takers or entrepreneurs but really just talented employees or bureaucrats who should be paid good salaries but not more. Viewing this idea today it seems obvious.
-- Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

Ah-h, make that three duds.
-- Roger Ross
Tomahawk, Wisconsin

SNAKE EYES
Re: Eli Lehrer & Michelle Minton's No Dice:

If Congress is intent on generating revenues from Internet gambling, the way to go is not taxation, since the relocation of sites to foreign servers would place them beyond U.S. jurisdiction, and taxation of e-commerce invariably ends up complicated by the absence of an actual location to be taxed. If a gambler in New York places a bet with a site in Nevada, or for that matter, Aruba, where did the transaction take place? And who would collect the taxes? This is totally unworkable without having a government agent at one end of the transaction, which is how this can be resolved.

What if, instead of trying to regulate it, the U.S. government got into the online gambling business as a host? First, it would provide government with a source of revenue while giving players the opportunity to finance government programs with the illusion that they may get a return on their money. This is not unlike our tax code, except that it provides greater transparency than the current system. You'd place your bet, click your mouse, and see the government's dealer draw an inside straight, rather than having to wait months (or even years) for Congress to pass a bill that raised your taxes and spent it on a bridge to nowhere. You're still being cheated, of course, but at least you'd know it up front and be entertained in the bargain. As for collections, who would you rather give your money to, a dull IRS agent in a drab office, or a colorful tough guy named "Jimmy, the Nose"? Say what you will, but the Damon Runyonesque characters that would replace the IRS would have to be an improvement. Finally, there is the issue of competence. The current, Democrat-led Congress cannot win a war, pass a budget, confirm judges or fulfill any of its constitutionally mandated duties, but a government that has looted Social Security needs no instruction in administering internet Ponzi schemes and is uniquely qualified to separate people from their money.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, U.S. Army

SPY VS. SPY
Re: Julian Sanchez's FISA Funny Business:

The one thing Mr. Sanchez's article makes abundantly clear is Democrats will consistently violate the civil rights of American citizens for their own political gain, but fight tooth and nail to protect the ability of America's enemies to do harm to our country. The current dispute breaks down this way -- the Bush administration wants to investigate foreign terrorists and their agents in the U.S. (foreign and domestic) to keep Americans safe and Democrats want to protect terrorists and traitors so they can kill us. Simply, Democrats + spying = violations of innocent American's civil liberties. Republicans + spying = dead terrorists and a safer homeland. I'm for being skeptical and leery of Democrats' ability to spy on us, but by all means spy on our enemies.
-- Michael Tomlinson

Julian Sanchez misses the point concerning the current FISA imbroglio. The Administration does not wish to over turn FISA Laws concerning stateside wiretaps, but they wish to update the law in light of recent advances in telecommunication technology. At anyone time up to half of all long distance phone calls, cell phone transmissions, and broadband traffic are routed through the U.S. internet backbone. The ACLU and Democrats are using this fact to prevent the NSA from intercepting overseas calls that begin and end outside of our borders. According to FISA, calls originating and ending outside the US do not require a subpoena. The ACLU, however, threatens expensive litigation to any Telco that assists the NSA or FBI. The GOP and Democrats arrived at a temporary compromise in the Senate that the President could live with. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her gang in the House refused to jump on board; they refuse to grant the Telecoms immunity from civil law suits. As of 2 weeks ago, foreign terror cells know that they can freely communicate without worrying about NSA surveillance. The point isn't whether the NSA should be allowed to eavesdrop stateside, but whether a federal judge should be able to interfere with foreign communications that are not protected under current law.
-- Jerome Koch

Julian Sanchez replies:
Well, I suppose Mr. Tomlinson nicely illustrates the point that it's all too easy to fall into the trap of viewing important policy questions through a distorting tribalist lens.

As for Mr. Koch's objection, I was interested in talking about the broader attitude of the respective parties to executive wiretaps, which foreclosed detailed discussion of the present FISA debate. But since he brings it up, it may be worth noting that the impression he has formed of what is at issue in the current dispute is both widely held and almost entirely erroneous.

First, It is true that FISA has not traditionally covered strictly foreign-to-foreign wire or radio transmissions, regardless of whether they pass through the U.S. But it does not cover those things currently either. A series of vaguely worded statements from the administration have been interpreted by some popular commentators as meaning that the FISA court last spring issued a ruling which somehow applied FISA to such communications. It did no such thing, as a top Justice Department official has recently confirmed.

Rather, there is a narrower problem involving e-mails (and possibly some other forms of web traffic) passing through the U.S., for reasons having to do with FISA's complex and overlapping definitions of "electronic surveillance," are subject to different standards than phone and wireless traffic -- in particular when an e-mail is sent by an overseas party to a recipient whose location (and possibly identity) is unknown. The bills at issue in Congress -- including those proposed by the Democrats -- actually go well beyond fixing this problem, permitting interception of any international communication (including those originating or terminating in the U.S.) whose purpose is to acquire information about an overseas target. This is a significant broadening of warrantless surveillance authority, and it involves interception of types of communication (such as U.S.-to-foreign phone calls) for which the original FISA law quite explicitly required a warrant.

Second, the lawsuits filed by the ACLU and EFF do not pertain to "any Telco that assists the NSA or FBI." Any company providing assistance pursuant to either a court order or a certification by the Attorney General that the information requested does not require a court order already has immunity. Any company providing assistance pursuant to either the Protect America Act or the current reform bills under consideration has immunity. The administration has asserted that they provided such certifications to the companies currently subject to litigation; if that is so, then they are already immune, and only require a venue in which they can produce the (classified) evidence that this is the case. The bill that recently passed in the House allows for them to do just that.

Finally, it is not remotely true that foreign terror cells can now "communicate freely without having to worry about NSA surveillance". The existing authorizations under the Protect America Act will last at least through August, and if the DOJ is remotely competent (and had the foresight to renew the orders before the PAA sunset) almost certainly through 2009. Since the surveillance authority under those orders is extremely broad-at the very least covering entire organizations, and perhaps broader than that-new targets can be added to existing orders as they are identified, and indeed, have been so added since the PAA expired.

The whole of the substantive debate now is about the procedures that should be in place to protect the communications of Americans under this new, expanded authority, and about how to ensure that telecommunications firms are sharing information in accordance with the law. The absurd notion that this is somehow a debate over whether our intelligence agencies should be able to tap foreign-to-foreign calls simply shows that, for many, profound ignorance of the most elementary points of a dispute is no obstacle to holding strong opinions about it.

BEG PARDON, GOOD DOCTOR
Re: Dr. Kwame Brown's and Michael Roush's letters (under "Can We Talk?") in Reader Mail's Tony's Awards:

I would ask the good Doctor why during the first half of the 20th century the black family was a bulwark of society. Divorce was rare and so was illegitimacy. Jim Crow laws were deteriorating; blacks were progressing to higher education at a rate commensurate with whites. So, what happened? Could race pimps such as Sharpton and Jackson had some ill affect on the bulk of black citizens? Could affirmative action, which placed many blacks in sure fire failing situations had something to do with the problem?

Why does Dr. Brown feel that dialogue is the answer? What does Dr. Brown think of those blacks who do well in school, hold down jobs and respect the laws of their communities and are castigated by the droopy pantsed, baggy shirted, cap askew corner standers for "acting white"? Are these the people he would want to carry the black premises to the discussion? And what does Dr. Brown think of black men such as Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, J. C. Watts, Shelby Steele, just to name a few? In a black world where anyone who speaks normal English, works, respects marriage and the opposite sex, attempts to raise children with morality and honesty is looked upon as " Uncle Tom."

I've spent a lifetime teaching and coaching in integrated high schools and during that lifetime have seen black students succeed or fail primarily as a result of the way they looked at work, education, morality, and relationships. In this respect, they did not differ much from white students. Those who faced life with a realistic outlook, a solid work ethic, honesty, ambition, and good humor were, by and large, successful. Those who opted for the "street life style," street language, the "hip-hop" morality, and who expected society and "the government" to carry them through life are still waiting for success to visit them. This goes for white and black alike. Dialogue my Aunt Fannie's stockings! There are too many blacks listening to the wrong spokesmen and leaders! I would submit that Dr. Brown is one of them. Dialogue with closed minds, or with minds not sufficiently willing to look at reality and more than sufficiently willing to blame others will profit no one. Action is necessary. Forty years and trillions of dollars have passed under the bridge, and, according to Dr. Brown, things are worse than they were. Perhaps it is time to leave the Democrat's plantation and step into the world.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

One thing liberals excel at is distorting facts -- case in point Mike Roush's letter in defense of Democrat racism. As a good liberal Roush distorts and twists the facts to make the party of slavery, Jim Crowe, segregation, Jeremiah Wright, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama look tolerant and high-minded. It isn't and they're not.

Promoting civil rights has been a hallmark of the Republican Party and not Democrats (aside from promoting reverse discrimination and Muslim terrorist "rights"). From its inception the Republican Party has sought to incorporate African-Americans into the mainstream fabric of our society. The vaunted "Southern strategy" has been based on conservative principles (a strong military, strong national defense, tough on crime, lower taxes, smaller government, defense of the 2nd Amendment, Constitutionalists on the Supreme Court, etc.) and not racism. Had it not been for Republicans (like Abraham Lincoln, Warren G. Harding, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, etc.) there would have been no 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, no civil rights legislation and no end to Democrat disenfranchisement of blacks in the U.S.

When Democrats are caught being Democrats (lying, cheating, racists, mean spirited and intolerant) they try to deflect public attention from their culture of corruption and bigotry by projecting onto Republicans their "sins." It is Democrat Ed Rendell who is using "code language" to play on Northeastern Democrat white bigotry to get votes for Hillary. It was Democrat Ben Cardin who used race in his 2006 Democrat primary to undercut a black man and in the general election to defeat an African-American Republican. Al Gore introduced Willie Horton and his race to the nation. African-American supporters of Hillary even allege they have been threatened by fellow Democrats for not supporting Barrack Obama. The examples of Democrat racial intolerance could go on and on.

While Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson did make inflammatory remarks post-9/11 regarding homosexuals, feminists and abortionists (major players in the Democrat party) they made no disparaging racial comments. (To my knowledge in the last quarter century they never have.) Roush in classic Democrat form tries to equate Falwell and Robertson to racist Jeremiah Wright, because he was caught being a typical Democrat bigot. It is Obama who is obfuscating and defending his racist pastor and church as being "mainstream." When Republicans catch someone using their Party to promote racism they disavow them -- David Duke (for much of his life a registered Democrat). They are so sensitive that they sometimes overreact like dumping Trent Lott as majority leader for an innocent comment. As for George Allen's "macaca" statement it had nothing to do with race (Mr. Roush needs to get the facts), but he was replaced in the Senate by a man with a documented racist and misogynist past (Jim Webb).

In 2008 it is Democrats Hillary and Obama playing the race card, promoting racial division and acting like typical narrow-minded Democrats. All the squirming and sleight-of-hand will not change the facts -- Democrats are still the party of racial and national division.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

PASS FAIL
Re: Adam Creighton's Six Degrees of Preparation:

Mr. Creighton's article was interesting, and although I find his assumption that green high-school graduates are worth $40,000 per year laughable (granted, some of my friends with "useless" degrees may be more inclined to cry), he has some good points.

Like Creighton, I am all for scaling back college education subsidies. However, at least by my particular brand of conservatism, I find the idea of imposing a tax in order to influence behavior loathsome. To me, his statement that a tax on students "may well prove too provocative" sounds like a preamble to the same old argument for increasing taxes and the size of government: If we would just pay attention and not get upset, we would realize that it is for our own good!
-- John Finigan

STATE'S RIGHTS
Re: James P. Lucier's How McCain Can Win the Base:

I agree that Bobby Jindal would make a great VP for McCain. However, we need Bobby to remain Governor for two terms in order to repair Louisiana's image and bring the state into the 21st century. After that, maybe President Jindal.
-- Craig Sheppert
Shreveport, Louisiana

ROYAL TREATMENT
Re: McPeak on Display:

General McPeak's main claim to fame during his time as Air Force Chief of Staff was redesigning our officer uniforms to look more like those of the Royal Air Force, with rank signified in the naval style, by strips along the lower sleeve, instead of the army system of metal insignia on the shoulder. The new system was uniformly (no pun intended) hated, and discarded soon after he retired. Only after, of course, service members had wasted millions of dollars on the new uniforms.
-- Paul M. DeSisto
Lt Col, USAF (Ret.)
Cedar Grove, New Jersey

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