Reader Mail

Thank You, Mr. Secretary

Is Rummy the best ever? Also: Going nuclear? Or going global warm? Plus: Still a long time until November. Samuel Adams. And much more.

9.6.06

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REAGAN RUM
Re: Jed Babbin's Reagan's Vision, Rumsfeld's Legacy:

Another outstanding article by Jed Babbin. I believe that, in the future, Mr. Rumsfeld will be acknowledged as one of, if not the best Sec. Def. that we have had -- ever.

Mr. Babbin makes an excellent case for the farsightedness of the Secretary as regards the missile defense concept/system. I believe that an equally important policy has been the remake of the military from the heavy, ponderous machine that it was (to accomplish tank battles supported by infantry and artillery in the Fulda Gap), into a lighter, more mobile, more rapid, yet more lethal organization that can take on our modern day foes and prevail.

Many call Mr. Rumsfeld cantankerous, stubborn, mean, insensitive, and those are the nice things that they say about him. The fact is that I have been watching and studying Sec. Def. since they were called Secretaries of War. I can not think of a single one that could have taken on the task that Mr. Rumsfeld has accepted and actually accomplish it. I can not think of a single one that would not have been overwhelmed by the entrenched bureaucracy of the military flag rank old boys club. There was the battleship club, the monstrous mobile artillery club, the plethora of almost single purpose - single service air craft club, and on and on. Then there was the huge phalanx of Congressional body guards for each of the military organizations and each of the developmental projects. Then there was the civilian bureaucracy at State, and CIA, and NSA, and even Commerce. And let us not forget the tremendous clout of the reserve component organizations and the veteran's organizations.

Mr. Rumsfeld has had a vision. Right or wrong, he has been consistent. He has consistently removed the roadblocks to that vision, be they technological or personnel related. Whether it is Mr. Rumsfeld, Gen. Honore, Gen. Mattis, or many of the other fine leaders, I celebrate a leader that refuses to "suffer fools." I have applauded Mr. Rumsfeld from the first moment that I saw him pop the balloon of a pompous *** in a press conference.

Thank you Mr. Rumsfeld, and thank you Jed Babbin for bringing to the public the facts of the good things being done by "Rummy" AND our military.
-- Ken Shreve

ALTERNATIVE SCIENCE
Re: William Tucker's Mandating Physics:

While I'm an advocate of Nuclear power, I think William Tucker understates the difficulty involved in bringing more nuclear power online in this country and does not understand the primary purpose of the environmental movement. The people that make a living off of mining coal and transporting it will probably take exception to his proposal to wipe out most of their jobs as a side note. I think William underestimates the scale of his proposal, the nature of capital investments (both existing coal fired plants and future nuclear plants) and the shear legal hurdles involved in bringing large scale nuclear power to market in this country. Like nuclear ships, the number of companies that have the expertise and means is small compared to the more conventional technologies.

I hope William understands that in the time it take to build a single nuclear plant in this country, several coal or natural gas plants each of equal capacity can be built. By the same token, several such plants can be built for the cost of one nuclear plant. The capital investment market abandoned nuclear power a long time ago for this reason. Everyone understands why it cost several times more and takes 10-15 years to build a nuclear plant. Short of those factors changing, nuclear power will continue to be a loser for capital investments.

In addition, nuclear plants require something that coal or natural gas plants don't, water for cooling and a lot of it. Ask the French about the need to provide adequate water resources for cooling to see the importance of this. Add on to this that this water usually comes from a nearby river and then look at where rivers usually run (along fault lines) and then look at California closely in this regard. Given that California is the eastern most side of the Ring of Fire in the Pacific rim, placing a bunch of nuclear plants in California probably won't go over very well with the population there. Perhaps all the plants could actually be built in Arizona or Nevada instead?

And finally, the environmental movement is not ignorant or ignoring nuclear power. Their primary purpose is not to solve any problem but to tear down capitalism at every opportunity and acquire political power. Like the Civil Rights industry, they are not going to vote themselves out of a purpose (and power). At the end of the day, California is the last place in this country you are likely to see a significant investment in nuclear power. It will take a significant political and business change in "climate" long before any measurable change in the real climate can occur from the use of nuclear power. You are right in one regard, it will be interesting to watch California shoot itself in the foot again as more and more businesses relocate out of the State. If enough businesses leave, the air should clear up a bit in California.
-- Thom Bateman
Newport News, Virginia

Regarding Mr. Tucker's article on CO2 levels, the conclusions reached are based on very questionable information, not to mention child-like logic.

For starters, the idea that today's levels being 25 percent higher than those measured in SOME ice cores within the last few thousand years is trivial. Look back further and you will find levels 1000 percent higher. Earth has had thousands of "ice ages," spaced every 20,000-40,000 years. CO2 levels have fluctuated wildly during those warming/cooling periods, as plant growth increased to utilize high levels, or decreased during periods of low levels.

Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer? Ha. Do some research! Jimmy Carter TOOK A CLASS in nuclear physics while in the navy. He is NOT a nuclear engineer.

On the amount of carbon dioxide released by burning coal -- (several tons of CO2 per ton of carbon in coal) this is meaningless gibberish. As a mining engineer, I have heard a lifetime of silly comments by EXPERTS such as Tucker, who grab whatever "facts" sound good to them at the time. Yes, several tons of CO2 COULD be created ...in a lab, theoretically...per ton of carbon...

C'mon.

I was considering subscribing to The Spectator, as I have enjoyed it in the past, but you need to screen your contributors. This piece could have been written by a high school kid doing a "science" report.

I have no beef against nuclear energy, but any knowledgeable person will laugh out loud when reading Tucker's article. There were several more thigh-slappers I won't even comment on. Send Tucker over to write for The Nation.
-- John Decker
Kenai, Alaska

Once again, The Spectator proves that it is a truly liberal publication; it prints opinions that are not necessarily accepted by its constituents.

Some of Mr. Tucker's points are quite practical. In a country that faces energy shortages, an astronomical debt, and an ongoing war, there is only so much tree hugging that we can do.

I disagree with Mr. Tucker's premises: that global warming is a fact and that human activity causes it. The industrial revolution, which has been in process for over 2 centuries, would have produced a temperature spike long ago, if the climate were not self regulating, as I suspect. We are simply at the peak of a cyclical warm period that Al Gore, inventor of the Internet, described in "Earth in the Balance." Those old enough to remember the 1960s, will recall scientists predicting a new Ice Age! The reason that a carbon dioxide consuming shade tree is better than a tarp is that the tree is converting the sun light into cellulose, not just blocking it.
-- David Shoup
Iraq

Although Mr. Tucker's thesis that nuclear power is the only rational way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is correct, he has overlooked the traditional California solution to eliminating pollution from power production. From the green California perspective, all significant sources of power are unacceptable -- coal, oil, and natural gas pollute and nuclear is nuclear, after all. Therefore the solution is not to build power plants and instead to import power from Canada or other states. Therefore, under the Schwarzenegger initiative, we can expect California to shut down traditional power plants, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels and add a few more decorative windmills, decorative solar panels and, perhaps some decorative geothermal plants. (These plants are too expensive for significant use in power production and have serious environmental impacts when sized to produce the requisite amounts of power.) However, their main focus will be to import more energy from out of state. It is cheaper than the alternative energy sources and lets Californians feel good about themselves while criticizing other states for not being as green as they are.
-- John Hockert

"I would prefer to face facts, however, and admit that carbon emissions are having a measurable impact on climate..."

Ok, here are a few:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20332352-601,00.html;
http://www.globalwarming.org/article.php?uid=116;
http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200508/s1436502.htm;
http://www.skepticism.net/articles/2002/000033.html.

That last entry by Brian Carnell is particularly interesting, in that the patterns we are seeing today are equivalent to patterns seen in tree ring studies of the Medieval Warm Period, 1300s to 1600s. That period was of course evidenced by a feudal agrarian society that if anything was reaping carbon from the atmosphere in their caporal pursuits. Last time I checked the history books, Edward III, Charles IV and Robert the Bruce had not taken up the habit of driving SUVs yet. That global warming is occurring I will not deny, but to subscribe that it is chiefly of a manmade origin I will not agree too. Not when the biggest gorilla in the room is being ignored -- http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ctl/resource100.html. If someone can develop a means to turn down the sun I am all ears.

However California will meet its goal in a most unusual way. Since the bean counters can't make a direct correlation of "Warming Units" to direct human activity they will fall back to the measure that the EcoNannies propose. Total carbon deployed. So a tax will be levied on businesses on the expected carbon deployed in their activities. Electric rates will go up as a consequence that will trickle thru the CA economy. Coupled with the already hostile environment, business will continue their flight from the state at an increasing pace. As a result as the businesses leave and take their employees with them, less and less carbon will be deployed into the CA air.

But then so will the jobs won't they? But I take this as a noble experiment on the effects of Kyoto Protocols on a modern industrial economy that should prove interesting. Once enabled this legislation will most likely see the State of California bailed out by the federal government in 10 years.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Mr. Tucker has been suckered on two accounts. 1) That the evidence for human-induced global warming is overwhelming and 2) that environmentalists care about the environment. Environmentalists care more about destroying capitalism than saving the planet because they're Marxists first and foremost. They'll never adopt nuclear energy, no matter how safe we make it, because that would allow capitalism to escape the stranglehold of government.
-- Roger D. McKinney
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

"I know this goes against conservative doctrine but we've reached the point where politics has to give way to science." confesses Mr. Tucker , "Science is about prediction. Environmentalists have been talking about global warming since 1988 --"

He is right, of course, both about nuclear power (will someone send Arnold to France to check out where all the Luxe comes from) and science having the right of way.

But since when have conservatives, as opposed to neocons, creationists, and the Discovery Institute, had a problem with science? Certainly not since 1988, for in 1987 The National Interest, under Owen Harries editorship commissioned me to write on the bipartisan abuse of the scientific process, an endeavor that continued into the early '90s . I can only applaud your belated recognition, of this oft misstated problem -- albeit it might have been more astute to take notice before some of the dimmer bulbs within the Beltway gave the Dems gleeful cause to field works like "The Republican War on Science." Contrary to the received wisdom of the "No Spin Zone," the problem is the acute lack of politicized science in the nation, for in order for it to exist, not one but both sides must have some inkling of what it is they are trying to polarize.
-- Russell Seitz
Cambridge, Massachusetts

A DIFFERENT BEAT
Re: The Prowler's Fading Democratic Drumbeat:

Have the MSM and the national party headquarters forgot lesson #1 in elections? The real campaign begins after Labor Day. I am still pessimistic about the GOP chances to keep the House, and I'm not so sure that it wouldn't be a bad thing if they did lose it. However, for over a month all we have heard is how the elections are a done deal. Why would the DNC and MSM brag so early? Midterm elections are notorious for low turn out, and announcing the winner before Labor Day will just depress Democratic turn out and may energize GOP turn out.

I've seen no indication that there will be a stampede to the polls to throw the bums out. Rabid dissatisfaction of the war in Iraq is mainly a product of the Far Left; GOP dissatisfaction is a conservative one (the cause is good, but the results thus far are not). With no viable alternative on the table, the Democrats are failing to nationalize an election that will surely pivot on local issues and personalities. Falling energy prices reinforce this point. It appears the Senate will remain in GOP hands, albeit their majority will be smaller. The House will go over to the Democrats, but the 26 seat turnover is a pipedream. The Democrats will pick up less than 20 seats, more like 15. If Rove and the RNC can get lucky and forestall this, it will be one of the biggest upsets in recent history.
-- JP
Indiana

SAM ON TAP
Re: Shawn Macomber's The Samuel Adams Fan Club:

What is needed is a website for each state so we can keep up with ballot initiatives and referendums. If I was in agreement I could sign up and work to get it passed. I feel sure lots of them would make more sense that the bills coming out of congress.
-- Elaine Kyle

Mr. Macomber writes an interesting and hopeful article in his piece on Samuel Adams and the Americans for Limited Government. I would like to hope that our once great country could return to our roots in limited government. I am not sanguine, however, that we can get there with our present two party system -- or at least the present two parties. You might argue that there are, indeed, more than two parties, but there are only two parties that have a realistic chance of being elected and governing.

In fact, one of the items that Mr. Macomber relates in his article is the prominence of representatives of the Cato Institute at the gathering. As long as the Libertarian movement groups cling to some of their anarchic views, the Libertarians will not realize their potential, and will not succeed at the ballot box. Americans want limited government, not no government. Americans want freedom and liberty, not license and total absence of societal norms and mores.

In the last couple of decades the Republicans have achieved great success partly by swearing upon all that is Holy that they are not Democrats, and that we MUST come out and vote for the GOP to keep the Dems out of power. I would argue that we have seen that not to be a strategy that leads where we wish to go. We are going to have to break our bad habits and begin voting for the folks that we agree with, instead of the lesser of two evils. Only in that way will we return the governing process and machine back to some semblance of sanity. Will that require the present two parties to alter their structure, beliefs, and candidates, or will that require the death of one or both of the parties and the birth of new parties based on a realignment of the body politic?

I do not know the answer, and frankly, wonder if I have enough days left to me to see the outcome. The one thing that I do know is that we, as a country, are hurtling at warp speed towards a Socialistic government and society that I totally abhor and reject. It is no longer enough to simply slow our progression towards Socialism as our operating principle. It is imperative that we reverse course with reckless abandon. If we do not get a grip on our nerve and our individual responsibility rather quickly, we will witness the arrival of the Caliphate very soon. Then you can bet that societal changes will occur that even George Soros and Nancy Pelosi may not like.
-- Ken Shreve

MAY CAUSE HEADACHES
Re: Lawrence Henry's Syllabubs:

Being one that works for one of those Syllabubs companies, blame the patent attorneys. The law has gotten so convoluted on Intellectual Property that inadvertent use of someone else's Trademark or Service Mark could cost millions and kill thousands (kidding on that last part…) So the defense? Come up with something that is not in the lexicon today.

Pretty soon someone will come up with a drug for ED that probably has the name @exxxx. If only the marketers can get it past the censors.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Just curious to know what prompted Lawrence Henry to use the word "syllabub" in the context he has chosen. I know this word to be the name of a relatively uncommon English dessert, but when and where did it acquire the meaning he ascribes to it?
-- Howard Portnoy

STAMPING OUT MYTHS
Re: Reader Mail's Only Yesterday:

Mike Stamper, like many liberal Democrats may not realize it, but in World War II we went to war against nations that never attacked us -- Germany, Austria, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia and Hungary. Was Franklin Roosevelt a part of some neo-conservative (read Jewish) conspiracy for world domination? Considering his refusal to bomb the ovens at Auschwitz (to save Jews) I don't think so. To fight Islamic imperialism and keep America safe we can either fight them here or in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and the southern Philippines. I prefer the latter. Democrats seem to actually want to surrender here, but if they do that where do they redeploy to? Since Democrats in Congress and the Presidency (Carter and Clinton) over the last 30 years did nothing about genocide in Rwanda, the Sudan, Southeast Asia and Iraq I guess we can assume Democrats support genocide. We already know from their blogs that they have replaced the KKK and neo-Nazis as America's leading anti-Semites so why not assume they have the same penchant for supporting the mass murder of innocents (well they do love abortion) as do their philosophical brethren (Hitler, Stalin, Saddam and Ahmadinejad).

People like Mike Stamper are illustrative of why conservatives cannot allow Democrats to regain control of any branch of the government. It's bad enough that they dominate the overtaxed and declining states of the Northeast, but to give them power in Congress is giving them a mandate to invite al Qaeda to make the U.S. their battlefield.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Crownsville, Maryland

I actually can find a point of serious agreement with you, sir, in spite of my internal cheering while reading the "1942" article by Mr. Lord. I too oppose the war in Connecticut.

Thank goodness we are still able to fight the primary battles in the home lands of our enemy, instead of on the ground here in The States. But if you don't think the enemy wouldn't like to bring the war to you in Windsor, you have another think coming.
-- Scott Atkinson
Midland. Texas

In reply to Mr. Mike Stamper's blather in the 9/5/2006 edition of Reader Mail, I offer the following: BOLLOCKS! This is a fine British term and, since you seem to have matriculated in the MM (Master of Myridons) program at the Windsor Connecticut Campus of the Australian School for Myrmidons (founded in Melbourne, Australia by one Nathan Maskiell), I am sure you will understand my meaning. You obviously have the same mental acuity as the Islamo-terrorists, so might I recommend that you offer your home in Windsor to be the first target when "we start bombing ourselves." (Based upon your thesis, I presume collateral damage need not be considered, and I seriously doubt that you will get 72 virgins). I do not think that you are a true believer nor are you one of "the faith" (Islam). You are therefore disqualified
.
As to your question: "How do we know when we have won?" The obvious answer is: we don't. We can only know that we have not lost since there have been no more attacks on our soil. Several terrorist attempts have been discovered and thwarted both here and abroad, no thanks to you and those of your ilk. (To paraphrase Mr. Bumble, you sir are an ***.)* You ultra-left MoveOn.org myrmidons should really find a new source for your pap. What you have been regurgitating lately has been said many times over and has really become very stale indeed.

* Vernon Harris (c. 1910), British screenwriter. (Bumble's response to Brownlow), Oliver! 1968.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

I note with amusement the letter today from Mr.Stuart Koehl about his "African-American" acquaintance who is a blonde, Blure-eyed Afrikaaner. Excellent point, and by the way, Egyptians would fall into that category, as would anyone born on the African continent, irrespective of the color of that person's skin, hair and eyes. I must point out to Mr. Koehl, however, the ever-present danger of making an assumption. As I routinely sign myself using the initials of my first and second names (I actually have three, and then a last name), he assumed that the "W" stands for William, and then uses the common nickname, "Bill." My first name is not William.
-- W. B. Heffernan, Jr.

Just a short word to Stuart Koehl about African-Americans. Teresa Heinz Kerry is also African-American.
-- Elaine Kyle

THE DON
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Rumsfeld Speaks, Democrats Screech:

In a speech before the national convention of the American Legion, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld defended his present policy in Iraq. What policy? The Secretary has micromanaged this Iraq war with a series of blunders and he should have been fired long ago. I agree that most Democrats don't have a plan either.

I want America to win this war on terror and people like Jim Webb who is running for the Senate from Virginia understand that our present course of action is not working. We are stuck with President Bush for two more years and he is in denial of the facts so I guess the war will continue on the same course as Vietnam did. On and on with no real results. One can only hope that General Powell can be induced to make a run for President. God knows we need some real Leadership.
-- Tom Renick
Myakka City, Florida

I was stunned to read your recent comments defending the insinuations and accusations Secretary Rumsfeld spewed out the other day. No wonder our country is in the mess that it is in today, with educated journalistically powerful folks like yourself being taken in by our corrupt administration.
-- unsigned

LATE SUMMER OF '42
Re: Jeffrey Lord's Ned Lamont Is No Clare Boothe Luce:

In his sketch of the political landscape that shaped the 1942 off year Congressional elections, former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord has made an important contribution to the current national dialogue on foreign policy -- especially the use of war as an instrument of that policy -- by making this penetrating observation: "In 1942, Republicans and Democrats both understood the dangers the country and the world faced."

Having thus pulled the pin, he then lobs the grenade: "We're a long way from 1942."

Rarely have so few words been so pregnant with meaning.

How fortunate we are to have had the heroic "greatest" WWII generation on the battlefield and on the home front to defeat the Axis...instead of their puny, pitiful, pampered, preachy, post war, puissant offspring, a particularly gutless and over-educated collection of yellow-belly thumb suckers, malingering whiners, petulant bed-wetters and garrulous girlie-men I have come to think of as the Cry Baby Boom elite.
-- Thomas Stuart

TESTAMENT TO MARK
Re: Mark Tooley's America the Brutal:

I am having a little trouble with the phrase" ...paranoid partners in global destabilization." It sounds like Sister Joan is pining for a better time in history when it was stable. When was that? I'm having trouble with who the partners are too. Were we partners with Hitler to destabilize the world or were we partners with Stalin to defeat Hitler? If America is paranoid, then what diagnosis would be rendered for the homicide bomber.
-- unsigned

RED CHRISTIANITY
Re: Joseph M. Knippenberg's Religious "Diversity" at Georgetown:

Mr. Knippenberg may have thought he was engaging in a bit of hyperbole in comparing Georgetown University with China in regard to its treatment of evangelicals, but he was more right than he knows. As a current resident of mainland China (for four years now), I can attest that the situation evangelical believers here face is quite similar to that now faced by those holding the same beliefs at Georgetown.

Here in China, what the government fears is not faith, but organization. Countless (some say upwards of 80 million!) Chinese are evangelical Protestants, completely free to believe what they want. Despite living in a communist country (in name, at least), they can buy Bibles and related books from the state-run ch*rches which operate with full government support and are attended openly by anyone who wishes, including us foreigners. Outside of this official realm, however, most believers attend one of countless small fellowships that meet in people's homes. Certainly aware of many of them, the government tends to ignore these small groups...unless they become too large and/or vocal. This they see as a threat to their authority. In cases where a crackdown does come, it seems often to be carried out by officials at the local or provincial level, often without direction or coordination from Beijing.

Compare this with the current situation at Georgetown University. Despite being a Jesuit school, a significant number of its students ascribe to other faiths (or in the case of the evangelicals, other brands of Chr*stianity). It provides diverse, school-funded places of worship. Anyone is free to attend the protestant services, but most evangelicals choose to participate in ministries of various other para-ch*rch organizations. But as tends to be the case on campuses, the evangelicals have an outsized impact â€" they are eager to share their faith with others and eager for others to join them in their worship. And so, now the crack-down has come, without direction or coordination from higher up (in this case, led by one or more hostile chaplains, rather than the office of Georgetown's President, John DeGioia, which apparently knew nothing about it until contacted by the media for comment).

There are at least two significant differences, however. First, Georgetown U. has been satisfied to merely ban these organizations and instruct their followers to attend the school-provided services. In China, of course, crackdowns can be much more severe, often resulting in imprisonment or death. Secondly, as a weekly attendee of a state-run ch*rch in China, I can assure you that the message preached there is infinitely more evangelical than any message ever delivered by a chaplain at Georgetown University.

Here's wishing good Providence to the evangelical students of Georgetown University, who are no doubt now working hard through various channels to convince the school's chaplains (i.e., motivational speakers) that it is actually okay to believe and practice religion rather than merely exploit it as a career.
-- Jon King
Tianjin, China

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