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In Recovery

Don't count Frist out. Bush an imposter? Terminating Dubai. Taking Libertarian liberty. Shared sacrifice? Plus much more.

3.13.06

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VOLUNTEERS '08
Re: The Prowler's Memphis Belles:

I think a lot of people are underestimating Senator Frist. If you look at the bills that the Republicans have passed under his leadership, it is pretty impressive. He also has a lot of innovative ideas concerning the course he thinks America should take. But his biggest advantage here in middle America is that he is not a politician. I know that most people who have read about him think that most of his mistakes have been because of his political inexperience. And they are willing to overlook his inexperience in return for possibly having someone run for President who comes from another field altogether. Also John McCain is widely overrated by the media. McCain is attractive to those people who don't like Republicans, but middle America doesn't care if he is a Republican or Democrat -- they want someone who isn't a career politician. Keep your eye on Frist if he decides to run.
-- Ginny Desiderio

How about a place to check NONE OF THE ABOVE. I can tell you for sure the one that will not get my vote...McCain. Since he is for letting all the illegals in this country stay and work. McCain has done more damage to this country with his campaign finance reform than I care to think about.
-- Elaine Kyle

IMPOSTEROSITIES
Re: W. James Antle III's Bartlett's Protestations:

I was told in spring of 2000, by a retired military MSGT, a resident of Texas, that I would not like George Bush as POTUS and that Bush was no conservative. I was given to understand that "compassionate conservative" was another way of saying moderate middle of the roader that tended to the liberal side. That gentleman has proved to be 100 percent right, in my opinion. I had every intention of staying home on Election Day in both 2000 and 2004, but the Dem candidate in each case was so horrific that I went to the polls and voted for Bush -- or really against the Dem.

It was reported in several places that, at a CPAC conference in Washington, a year or so ago, a representative of the Bushies at the White House told the conservatives assembled that Bush was NOT a "small government conservative," and that they should just get over it. If there was any doubt about that statement at the time, there certainly should not be now.

Furthermore, Bush seems to take an absolute delight in slapping conservative supporters, who put him in office, in the face. One sees the comments about the Minutemen. One remembers the attempt to jam Harriet Miers down conservative throats. One notes the Bush defiance regarding his open borders/illegal alien amnesty proposal. One notes his brand new entitlement program and his embrace of Ted Kennedy and the NEA in his education policies. One can go on and on. One cannot help but notice his bull-headed refusal to hold federal bureaucrats responsible for the misfeasance and malfeasance regarding the New Orleans and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery situation. Instead Dubya opts to throw additional federal tax money at the problem.

From Sept. 11, 2001, until the "Mission Accomplished" speech on the aircraft carrier, Bush did a good job on the security front. Unfortunately, since then, he has a habit of making some strong statement and then almost immediately "going wobbly." Is it any wonder that edgy elected GOPers are beginning to run away from him. It would seem that Bush is tired of "playing the political game" and simply wants to put the administration on auto-pilot while he jets around accepting insincere accolades.
-- Ken Shreve, One of the few true conservatives left in
New Hampshire

Mr. Bartlett, according to the review, is merely putting in print what quite a few of us real conservatives have known for a while.
-- Pete Chagnon

Regarding your article on Mr. Bartlett's book. He fails to discuss, as he should have, Mr. Bush's refusal to do what he promised westerners he would do regarding, among other matters, Clinton's national monuments, and Mr. Bush's decision to go out of his way to kill a lawsuit that would have driven a stake through the heart of the monster that is government sponsored racial preferences. On the latter issue, had Bush urged the Supreme Court to rule in 2001 on the issue, there would have been no Grutter ruling in 2003. I discuss both of these matters and more in Warriors for the West: Fighting Bureaucrats, Radical Groups, and Liberal Judges on America's Frontier (Regnery 2006).
-- William Perry Pendley, President and Chief Legal Officer, Mountain States Legal Foundation
Lakewood, Colorado

As far as I was concerned, Bush was not my first choice for a Republican President, but he was so far ahead of what the Dems put forward it was an easy vote for me. After 9-11 I was so thankful that we had George instead of Al almost anything he did was fine. I voted for him again when the "look alike" Frenchman war "hero," Kerry, was the only other choice. I have not been happy with many things that Bush has done, spending increases, lack of border control, but I do think he is better for security than the Dems.

Sure hope someone better than what the Republican had in their straw poll comes forward before 2008.

By the way, I just finished reading Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy by Peter Schweizer. Should be required reading.
-- Elaine Kyle

I read the comments about Bartlett's book. I marvel at so-called conservative pundits and their dissatisfaction at President Bush. I heard an interview with Bartlett and he said that he wished he had voted for Kerry had he known what Bush had in store. Yes, all the so-called conservatives who trashed Bush 41 and we ended up with eight years of Clinton and a possible additional eight at the hands of Madame Hillary. Better watch what you wish for, folks.
-- Al Schilleci
Royse City, Texas

W. James Antle III replies:
I can't speak for Mr. Bartlett, but criticism of Bush no more implies support for Kerry than criticism of Arlen Specter implies support for his 2004 Democratic opponent. If your main concern is the Republicans' electoral fortunes, however, you might want to avoid a political climate in which the GOP can't cut taxes, can't outbid the Democrats in offering the most generous social programs and can't pay for the nation's entitlement bills. This is exactly the climate we will be faced with if fiscal responsibility doesn't return to Washington.

A RELIGION OF JOY
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Through a Glass Lightly:

As I read Mr. Homnick's writing on Purim and other topics having to do with Judaism, I am mindful of the vast gulf between this religion and the religion of the other Semitic people. I have learned from Mr. Homnick's very human tales explaining his religion that most Jewish holidays have as their theme to thank God because someone was trying to kill us, they weren't able to, so let's eat. Mr. Homnick's writings remind me of a book by Herman Wouk called This Is My God in which Mr. Wouk explained the wondrous beauty and simple joy he found in being a Jew.

The other Semitic religion is a much more primitive and bloodthirsty covenant: "believe or die." It really is too bad that the Muslims have no Jay Homnick to tell us, in such a familiar, comprehensible manner, why Muslims celebrate killing others. Do they roast and eat them? What is it that they actually celebrate?
-- Jay W. Molyneaux
Wellington, Florida

TERMINALLY SEMANTIC
Re: John Tabin's Who Lost Dubai?:

In John Tabin's column he wrote "In October of last year, the state-run United Arab Emirates firm Dubai Ports World approached the U.S. Treasury Department about plans to purchase Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., the British firm that among other things runs six major U.S. ports."

This is not accurate at all. DPW was going to buy the British firm that owns some leases for terminals to load and unload cargo ships from around the globe. If you were to do some basic research you would have found that all U.S. ports are managed and owned by the U.S. Port Authority. It's basically the same thing as leasing a dock for a boat in any marina. All most people paid any attention to was the wrong statement repeated over and over by the spinners in the MSM that this company from the UAE was going to buy six major U.S. Ports. Now you will forever see people say "good thing they stopped that Arab company from buying up our ports" since no one accurately reported this story.

And as far as those polls go they're all heavily slanted to promote liberalism and the democrats so you would be wise to run disclaimers on those dubious polls.
-- Brian
Jackson, Michigan

With all due respect to you and others who have caused this deal to fail. It's all in the presentation. It was to be a terminal lease deal not a port control deal. It has risks but not as much risk as it would if it were as you and almost everybody else has presented it. That would be a bad thing to have any country other than us control or be in charge of security in any of our ports.

It's almost treasonous to do this to an ally when if fact we do need all the friends in the area we can find.

Feel good in the fact that you helped kill a deal that might have been very helpful. You may be right and if you are, my apologies in advance but I really think this was no more risk and in fact likely much lees than the terminal leases given to the ChiComs in Seattle and Long beach.

I hope I am wrong and that this did prevent problems. My guess is, and I think any honest read of the facts, that this will show that the people who get what they want, got what they asked for and not what was good for them. It was not out of stupidity but rather media and political sabotage. Consider yourself a fellow saboteur.

No disrespect intended here just, I think, a good observation of what you and others have done to this deal because without the facts submitted anyone reading the headlines would say "Well hell no, that won't work, nobody runs our ports but us." In fact no one runs our ports but us.
-- Phil Eldridge

Regarding John Tabin's recent article it seems to me that the press won. They effectively managed to manipulate a medium-interest story into a cause celebre, which then enabled their political allies to trumpet their opposition to advantage.

Nowhere in the "reporting" of this matter was issue taken with the fact that during the original government issue of tender for ports management, later won by P&O, that no American company ever responded. This is why the majority of our ports are operated by foreign firms. Now that Congress has declared that they want only American participation, will we see all of our port deals reviewed? Sadly, the answer is "no." At the heart of this matter is racism against Arabs. I don't say this lightly or without cause. Consider that it was permissible for a British company to own the operating rights to the ports in question. It is also permissible for the Chinese government, Venezuelan government, firms operated by Columbians, Vietnamese, and the like to operate our ports without undue security concerns. Why then object to a staunch Arab ally? The process of awarding operating licenses in use today existed when the Clinton administration sold the Port of Long Beach and its operating rights to a Chinese firm owned by the Chinese government: I don't recall any outcry from the media over that suspicious transaction.

I've worked with Arabs and count many as friends; therefore I feel confident of their feelings and reaction. They will be hurt that we permitted media maneuvering and rank politics to affect our relationship. Then they will get mad. The USA will suffer loses that will be significant, long-lasting, and will come at a time when we can least afford them. It is not a matter of oil; it is rather one of positioning and gaining, or in this case losing, a valuable ally and friend in the region. If we can no longer count on the UAE as a base for our ships, trucks, and airplanes, then at a minimum our efforts in the Middle East will be harmed through lack of logistics capacity to name just one aspect. There are and will be more.

There is another matter to consider. The UAE, and Dubai in particular, have recognized that their oil wealth is finite. They have embarked on a program to transform their country from a commerce based solely upon oil to an economy based largely upon general business, tourism, and financial services. It promises to be a spectacular success that we will now probably not be a major part of. That is unfortunate to have encouraged Dubai to begin this transformation and then, because of political miscalculation and partisan manipulation, turn our backs upon it.

This has not been our finest hour.
-- Robert Hammell
Narragansett, Rhode Island

Perhaps the biggest lesson to come out of the Dubai fiasco is the fact that our government is made up of only a handful of adults, the President and his immediate cabinet. The rest of the politicians acted like a bunch of third-grade school children running to be the first in line to kill the deal (i.e., na, na, na, na, na, we got there first).

And what is even more disturbing is the apparent inability of the American public and most of the elected officials to engage in strategic, analytical thinking. God help the war on terror effort if Dubai elects to stop supporting that effort. And we would have only ourselves to blame. What a bungling disaster this has all been and what a pathetic, pathetic example of leadership by the Congress. Shame on all of them.
-- Jim L.
East Sandwich, Massachusetts

People pointing the finger of blame this way and that -- talk about Bush knowing/not knowing, and a silly calendar of events that illustrates just how inept the administration is?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but, just when this was gaining press coverage, didn't Dubya give his White House communications staff the day off for Presidents Day?

My God, what an awful president!

Yet, I'm still thankful that neither Gore nor Kerry was elected...
-- GB

A WHIFF OF FREEDOM
Re: Shawn Macomber's The Honest Libertarian:

Shawn Macomber painted an almost noble picture of libertarian Harry Browne. However, I am mystified by he and all of the other libertarians such as Murray Rothbard (the enemy of government) and Lew Rockwell Jr.

How can these great worthies who demand to be completely free of the vile intrusion of government that controls their lives bear to live among us lesser mortals? We lesser beings do not have a problem making the compromises of paying taxes that pave the streets on the far side of the state, let alone in front of the house next door, or living with legal proscriptions that vex the libertarian heart. It seems libertarians detest the United States.

It does not have to be this way. There are places in the world where nobles such as these who will make all of the smart choices without government interference could live free. Why do they not disinter their saints and solemnly bid us farewell.

Port-au-Prince is almost completely free of government and cocaine and crack would be easily available and the climate is ripe for marijuana as well. Even the re-instituting of slavery would not ruffle too many feathers. They would not have to pay for police protection any part of the city as it does not exist. Waziristan State in Pakistan has more room and many of the same conditions as Port-au-Prince, but on a larger scale. Cocaine and crack would be more difficult to obtain, but heroin's availability would easily make up for it. For the real China White they could relocate to the Shan States of Myanmar and again largely live worthy lives. Of course the perfect place would be Mogadishu where they could have it all.

I for one would wish them all God's speed any live free.
-- J.F. Wind

Shawn Macomber replies:
Thank you for helping me see the light! In but a single day, if all goes according to plan, I shall be in Port-au-Prince on a crack binge of epic proportions with nary a paved sidewalk as far as the eye can see to vex my mind! I know it will be difficult (one imagines in such heat my "dis-interred saints" will soon overpower the wafting aroma of marijuana and require attention), but, as you suggest, the re-introduction of slavery should make the transition somewhat easier. And here I was always supposing slavery was a government-sanctioned construct that limited human freedom until government was removed from it. As it turns out instead it was always simply and paradoxically a problem of too much freedom. In my confusion as to how the destruction of the Confederacy then led to liberation, I will defer to you.

Oh, how decisively you have deconstructed the libertarian philosophy: Crack, no sidewalks, slavery, hating America...yes, that about covers it.

In sum, I apologize that my "almost noble" portrait of Harry Browne vexed you so. I thought I made fairly clear in the latter part of the article that some of the real world conclusions he drew from his political philosophy were startlingly out of sync with my own. But, in truth, if it were a choice between a true believer in self-determination and liberty such as Browne and someone who apparently so heralds the compromise of basic Constitutional and individual freedoms the country was founded on...Well, I wouldn't call you a "lesser being" or myself "noble," but that would not be a difficult choice in the least for me. I don't think weighing a rowboat down with a hundred anchors is a particularly good way of getting anywhere interesting.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
Re: Quin Hillyer's The Battle of New Orleans:

Enough already!!! I am getting on in years and may well be on my way to advanced senility but I could swear that all of the pre-Katrina coverage in the MSM spoke of the levees being topped, not breached. In all of these discussions, I seem to remember that the pumps in New Orleans could handle what "little flooding" there would be. Breaching was not part of the equation/vocabulary and, what to do in the event of a breach was certainly the furthest thing from the minds (such that they are) of the corrupt and inept politicians in the state of Louisiana. It seems that the only Democrat plan in place for any catastrophe in this country is "BLAME BUSH!"

Get over it -- the Democrat party lost in 2000 and again in 2004. By my definition, that was not a catastrophe but it is the only instance where President Bush can be logically blamed.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

Quin Hillyer's passionate plea to rebuild New Orleans, while understandable and heartfelt, must fall on deaf ears. It must because Quin offers no answers to the following questions:

1. Is it in the nation's best interest to spend money to rebuild New Orleans to status-quo-pre-Katrina, with all its ills?

2. Is being a facilitator, planner, and developer for the "new" New Orleans, which is what the heralded-by-Quin Baker Bill mandates, a proper use of taxpayer dollars, given what we know about the essential geography of New Orleans and given the post-Kelo climate that developers operate in?

If one and two are a resounding "no," as I believe they are, then the current "Machiavellian" nickel-and-diming of aid is the correct course of action, no matter how frustrating or heart-rending it is to Quin Hillyer. It should be very noteworthy that while all this "bungling" has gone on, the Port of New Orleans has regained 100 percent of pre-Katrina business, with only 70 percent of the facilities in use. If that can be achieved with a greatly reduced New Orleans population (last estimate by the city was around 189,000), then the economic case against full rebuild of the city is quite clear.

If the American people can drive Hondas and Toyotas in good conscience while Detroit rots, then we can party on in Las Vegas while New Orleans does the same.
-- Bradley J. Schwartze
Denver, Colorado

I just wanted to say hello to Quin and let him know what a terrific article he wrote! Great job!!!
-- Downey de la Houssaye

Poor George, even the loyal rats are starting to desert the ship.
-- unsigned

NO NOBLESSE OBLIGE
Re: Jerry's letter (under "Encore Plus") in Reader Mail's Bad Guy Dubai:

"Jerry" wrote in response to Ben Stein's article on "Missing Tributes" that "My only comment is; "their lack of patriotic fervor surprises you?" This is Hollywood! Home of the self-indulgent and narcissistic. Like those with inherited money they have intrinsic guilt for being wealthy and knowing, intuitively, they don't deserve it."

Jerry may be right with regard to the current crop of trust fund babies of the nouveau riches, but I would like to point out that there was a time when inherited wealth carried with it a sense of inherited obligation. If you were fortunate enough to be born into money, this carried with it the responsibility for using your wealth and position for the common good. Thus, for most of our history, a disproportionate number of those who served in government, or in the military, came from the upper and upper middle classes. Even when the wealthy did not make the military a career, in times of war they were often at the forefront, volunteering to serve according to the best of their ability in a range of positions. Some served in the ranks, others as officers (in the days of the "U.S. Volunteers," many raised their own regiments; some equipped them at their own cost). Others served in war administration, or put their business acumen at the service of the country.

This was but a continuation of the British conception of noblesse oblige -- that the aristocracy, in return for its social and economic advantages, must put itself at the service of the country. And throughout its history, when there was bleeding to be done, it was the aristocracy that was usually in the front lines alongside Tommy Atkins.

What is lacking today among too many of the wealthy in America -- particularly the recently wealthy (as opposed to the "inherited wealthy" -- most of the Hollywood types that "Jerry" excoriates are first generation millionaires) is a lack of this sense of obligation. Christopher Lasch presciently observed that this would be the inevitable result of the emergence of an unchecked "meritocracy": whereas in the old aristocracy, people understood that their wealth and power was very much a matter of good fortune as inherent worth, in the meritocracy people are encouraged to believe that they have achieved their positions solely on the basis of their own merit, and that in return they owe others nothing. This sense of "deserving" what they have is the antithesis of the aristocratic norm of service in return for privilege. Granted, the aristocratic form often did not live up to the ideal, but at least there was an ideal towards which to strive and which set firm expectations for those in the upper classes. No such ideal exists for the "New Class" of the meritocracy, who have no guiding principles other than the advancement of their own interests and careers.
-- Stuart Koehl
Falls Church, Virginia

NO PENNSYLVANIA GENTLEMAN
Re: David Holman's A Specter Advisory:

RINO Arlen Specter wanting to have it both ways, while his colleague Rick Santorum twists in the wind, is not gentlemanly. Politically opportunistic, yes. Two-faced, yes. Lousy, yes. Perhaps Specter will reap what's he's sowing.
-- C. Kenna Amos Jr.
Princeton, West Virginia

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