Thursday, June 30, 2005


An alternative proposal for a flag burning amendment

From J.P. Jones of The Ranger:

I'm opposed to a Constitutional Amendment to prohibit burning the American flag. It sounds alot like the Muslims and their obsession with their book. This is America, and you should have the right to act like a jerk and be offensive.

However, I am in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to protect, as free political expression, the right of any and all nearby veterans to kick the living shit out of you when you choose to burn the flag.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Squabbling EU bureaucrats make Blair and Turkey the scapegoats

First, the EU constitution was soundly defeated in public referendum votes in France and the Netherlands. Then Britain cancelled their scheduled referendum on the constitution, calling it pointless. An I talian cabinet minister called for abandonment of the Euro, and growing sentiment in Germany favors a return to the Mark. Now, the EU is unable to come up with a budget, and the hunt for scapegoats for the EU's problems is on.

Recrimination among European Union leaders over their failure to agree on a long-term budget for the bloc escalated on Wednesday [June 22] with British Prime Minister Tony Blair under fire just before he takes the EU chair.

Outgoing EU president Jean-Claude Juncker squarely blamed Blair for the failure of last week's acrimonious summit and urged supporters of European political union to resist what he called attempts to degrade it to a mere free trade zone.

"Our generation does not have the right to undo what previous generations built," Juncker told the European Parliament, earning a standing ovation.

Yep, Jean-Claude, you are absolutely right: this generation is duty bound to make like euro-lemmings and follow the last generation right over the cliff into socialist economic stagnation!

There are a few major problems confronting the European Union, not the least of which is the massive bureaucratic monolith which has already been created, and which will surely fight furiously to defend its own continued existence. But the EU bureaucracy, much like the UN, is almost like a bunch of kids playing some kind of game where they pretend to be diplomats representing countries. The EU and its political and bureaucratic structures are removed from the countries, and very very far removed from the actual populations, they claim to represent. Consider that after French and Dutch voters rejected the EU constitution, the EUrocrats uniformly took the position that it mattered not one bit. After all, who cares what the commoners think?

And this illustrates another major problem: the EU is dominated by continental snobs from an assortment of socialist nanny-states. They are absolutely convinced that they know what is best for everyone, and what is best for everyone is the sharply stratified socialist society that has dominated much of western Europe since the end of WWII. And these enlightened individuals are not about to let a bunch of Eastern European peasants and the pedestrian British push them around. To their way of thinking, the insistence on including elements of free-market economics in the EU structure is nothing more than British hubris and Slavic ignorance, driven by “Anglo-Saxon” worldwide policies. The current point of contention is farm subsidies:

French President Jacques Chirac told his cabinet in Paris that "British intransigence" had sunk a compromise at the Brussels summit, plunging Europe into crisis.

Britain made clear it would use its presidency from July 1 to change Europe's agenda by pushing continental partners to emulate its economic reforms and move away from farm subsidies.

The nerve of those British! Just because theirs is one of few actual functioning economies in western Europe, they think they should give advice to the enlightened French and Germans, with their double-digit unemployment rates and all-but nonexistent economic growth. On the eve of Britain’s assumption of the rotating EU presidency, major differences in economic policy are straining the EU, and the newer Eastern European members, with their capitalistic leanings, are not the only source of contention. As the British see it, the protectionism of the socialist states, most notably France and Germany, is a relic of a policy unsustainable in a world economy:

Straw hammered home Britain's demand for a radical overhaul of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy in the 2007-2013 budget.

"The whole world these days is now moving away from agricultural subsidies, especially export subsidies, to a more open market, not least so that each part of the world trades to its competitive advantage," he said.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is neither the first nor the only one to note that the socialist Europeans have failed to make economic reforms which were pledged in the year 2000:

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw gave a foretaste of that [Tony Blair’s presidential accession] speech by criticising the big continental economies for failing to implement vital structural reforms despite pledges made at a Lisbon summit in 2000 to make the EU the most prosperous and dynamic of all the economies in the world.

"With some singular exceptions, of which the United Kingdom is one, that is not being achieved," he told reporters.

"The prime minister will set out the problem, setting out the need for the European Union not just in its rhetoric but also in the practical decisions that it takes ... to have a forward-looking agenda," Straw said.

Europe's lack of economic success lay at the root of its current problems, including the rejection of the EU constitution by French and Dutch voters and the budget failure, he said.

But while Jacques Chirac in France blamed the British for stubbornly demanding agricultural reform and forcing the current budget crisis, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was looking elsewhere for scapegoats for the current raft of problems plaguing the European Union:

But Barroso said EU leaders had agreed unanimously in 2002 to peg agricultural spending at its current level until 2013 and insisted deals should be respected.

He also said the EU needed to conduct a serious debate over its future ties with Turkey taking account of the message sent by Europe's electorates, sowing fresh doubts over Ankara's prospects of joining the EU.

He said the European Union should discuss the signal French and Dutch voters sent about Turkey's accession. But he stressed it should still open membership talks with the Turks on Oct. 3.

Ah, so that’s it, the French and Dutch voted against the EU Constitution because they want Turkey kept out! Well, that sure explains it all, doesn’t it? Barroso was not the only European official laying blame for the problems of the EU at Turkey’s door:

Chirac called last week for a debate on expansion, and former Commission President Romano Prodi, said on Wednesday Turkey had no chance of joining in the foreseeable future.

Well, Turkey’s potential membership may in fact be one of the issues making Europeans restive with the EU, but it certainly isn’t the only issue. In fact, at the time of the French referendum, most Frenchmen probably hadn’t gotten around to even thinking about what Turkey’s membership might mean. Leftists, trade unionists, and the young unemployed (and 25-30 % of the young workers in France are unemployed) made up the left-leaning block voting against the EU, and those people seemed to be mainly concerned about the economic competition the document promoted, limiting French government protectionism, and the loss of employment to the well-educated, trained workforces in the former Soviet Union – Czechs, Slavs, Hungarians. Also opposing the EU was the French right, which furiously objected to the loss of national sovereignty represented by the EU constitution.

The Dutch, who live in a society much less economically protective than France, seem to have rejected the constitution out of a different combination of reasons: anger over the replacement of the Guilder with the Euro, the failure of their own national government to control immigration, the likelihood that the more capitalistic members will end up providing funds to keep the socialist members afloat, and the loss of national sovereignty.

But to the Eurocrats, it’s all very simple: Britain is being stubborn and pushy, demanding economic reform, and the fear of Turkey resulted in the loss of referenda in France and the Netherlands, and the cancellation of the British referendum.

I think the EU has other problems, problems the Eurocrat class isn’t about to acknowledge.

First, as I started out saying, there’s already a huge, bloated bureaucracy in existence, and it isn’t going away. The EU bureaucrats need the EU to succeed, it’s the reason their whole class of “diplomats” exist. They don’t care that the referenda failed, they point out that the European nations, not their citizens, have the right of approval.

Second, the social, economic and political views of the proposed EU states really vary widely. It isn’t just a question of degrees, “which European nation is the most/least socialist?” Many of the former Soviet block countries want nothing whatsoever to do with socialism in any form.

Slovakia has even scrapped it’s “social security” program of government managed benefits for an entirely private system which, unlike the collapsing French and German systems, is robust and healthy in a climate of economic expansion. Britain has already “been there, done that”, and has “de-socialized” large chunks of the economy which were socialized after WWII. In France, on the other hand, following the referendum, Chirac announced that the government was putting on hold plans to re-privatize large chunks of the French economy.

And finally, we have the people of Europe themselves. Why weren’t the Eurocrats expecting the people to disapprove the constitution? Well, how about, because nobody ever asked the typical European what he thought about the whole thing? The EU has been cobbled together by the governments of Europe, and in Europe there is still a pretty darn strict class society: those who rule and those who are ruled. There are occasional exceptions, but by and large there is still a “ruling class” in Europe, although no longer strictly hereditary. So how could the governments have been so wrong about what the people of Europe would go along with? Those who rule never thought to ask those who are ruled what they thought about the whole idea! Why should they?

Well, now they’re beginning to see the results of not feeling the need to listen. The Eurocrats, and certain national governments, too, are clearly out of touch with the people of the European nations that make up the Union. And those European nations don't appear to all be on the same page.

What will come of all this remains to be seen.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I hate to say I told you so...

Oh, who am I kidding? I like being able to say “I told you so” as much as the next guy. But sometimes, you’d really prefer to be wrong. Friday Brit Hume’s “Grapevine” at the FoxNews site had this item:

The chairman of the Ohio Republican Party is complaining that his state's two Senators, both Republican are hurting his fundraising efforts. Chairman Bob Bennett says donations to the party through direct mail and telemarketing have recently dropped, and "there's no question" Senator George Voinovich's opposition to U.N. ambassador nominee John Bolton, and Senator Mike DeWine's role in that Senate compromise over Bush judicial nominees are at least partially to blame. As for how much fundraising is down, Bennett didn't say.

On June 15, as part of a lengthy post about what a mess the Republicans are making for themselves in Ohio, I wrote:

With this as a background, realize that Ohio Republicans, under the supposed “leadership” of Governor Bob Taft, are cooking up a real mess here in the Buckeye state, a veritable witches’ brew of carelessness, foolishness, and downright stupidity that may provide a real opportunity to Ohio Democrats and a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008.

First, you have both Republican Senators acting like fools, Voinovich over the Bolton nomination and DeWine joining McCain and Co. in caving in and selling out over the filibuster compromise. While I believe that Voinovich, and perhaps DeWine, too, was deliberately posturing for the cameras back home (previous posts here and here), they certainly have done nothing by these actions to endear themselves to the core Republican constituency. And the real danger here is that the resentment engendered among conservatives may be translated into lukewarm support for the next Republican who really needs the support of that core constituency.

And the next Republican who needs that core is not likely to be Voinovich or DeWine.The next Republican who needs that support is likely to be Jim Petro, Ken Blackwell, or Betty Mongomery, in a run for the governor’s mansion.

Since that June 15 post, there has been even more bad news for Ohio Republicans, with Governor Taft revealing to the Ohio ethics commission that he had failed to disclose golf outings paid for by lobbyists, an offense for which he’s already fired three administration officials. This prompted calls for Taft’s resignation. Calls that were loud enough for Taft to feel he had to respond by announcing he has no intention of resigning. Taft explained it as errors made by staff, just as Nancy Pelosi explained away her failing to report a trip she took with Stephanie Tubbs Jones, whose report said a lobbyist paid for it. This stuff goes on all the time. But here in Ohio, things are starting to pile up.

Barring more nasty surprises, it’s unlikely Taft is in real danger of being forced out. But it’s not much of a leap to get from ineptitude to incompetence, and from there it’s just a hop-skip and no jump to get to corruption.

Stay tuned, boys and girls, because Ohio politics could get very scary in the near future. The current Republican state leadership in all three branches of government is starting to look like a campaign ad for any Democrat who cares to run. If the GOP doesn’t get its act together, and soon, there may well be a real opportunity for Democrats, not only for the Governor’s mansion, but for the state legislature and congressional delegation as well as the other state-wide offices, all held by Republicans, all of whom want to be governor.

Ironically, the two Republican officeholders who are probably the least at risk are the Senators, Voinovich and DeWine.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Kelo v. City of New London

I have seen some bloggers, and commenters, trying to cast this abomination as a victory for “states’ rights”.


It has long been established that the Bill of Rights applies, in toto, to the states. It is therefore the absolute duty of the federal courts, and in particular the Supreme Court of the United States, to defend the liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights against incursion by state government.

The relevant language is found in the Fifth Amendment: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The five generally more liberal members of the Supreme Court have accepted a definition of “public use” which is actually “public benefit”, i.e. private property which will generate more taxes for the government, jobs for the community, etc. This definition is clearly much more broad than “public use”, i.e., a school building, courthouse, etc., which is available for, and exists for the purpose of, use by the general public. Eminent domain law has been drifting in this direction, and many had hoped the Supreme Court would put an end to that drift.

To try to cast this as a “states’ rights” question is to pervert the nature of the controversy, and to implicitly admit that the states have the right to do what the Fifth Amendment prohibits: take private property for a private use which provides some attenuated benefit to the public. (Whether increasing the tax revenues to government is in fact a “benefit” to the public is another question entirely).

The five generally more liberal justices of the Supreme Court have done exactly what I said in yesterday’s post, and there is no other fair characterization for it: they have authorized state and local government to allow one private citizen to forcibly take the property of another private citizen, with the force being supplied by the government itself. And the justification is that the government stands to benefit by collecting more tax money. The interest of the “collective good”, as represented by the government, outweighs the interest of the individual in the private property which he owns.

This is the schoolyard bully standing by menacingly while his toady collects the second-graders’ milk money, and then taking his cut for providing the muscle.

Let's say we own some acreage, with our house sitting at the front. We have a large open field behind our back yard, and it is wooded behind that. We have left the bulk of the property “undeveloped” on purpose. We like it that way. We like the trees and the birds and all the little wild critters that call the field and the woods home. But a developer could very easily put four to six houses with nice sized lots on our property. Which would generate four to six times the tax revenue for the government.

The Supreme Court ruling in effect means that if the local government wants that additional tax revenue, we have no choice but to sell to the developer. We can not refuse to sell. We can not hold out for a better price (like maybe, what we would get if we cut up the parcel into postage stamp lots and sold six of them ourselves). Because if we don’t sell, the government will forcibly take our land and give it to the developer, and we will get what he was willing to pay.

That is not a victory for “states’ rights”. It is a victory for government power over the individual’s property rights. It is a victory for wealthy developers and big development companies over middle and lower income home owners, because it’s a cinch nobody is going to be seizing a bunch of upscale homes of the wealthy in order to build a Starbuck’s.

This is a crushing blow to the ancient roots of Anglo-American property rights, to one of the fundamental principles upon which our law, and our nation, was based.
Consider this explanation of personal property rights by William Pitt, the British prime minister in the late 1700s and early 1800s:

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail. Its roof may shake, the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter, the rain may enter, but the King of England cannot enter; all his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement."

It may still be that the King of England cannot enter your cottage, but as of yesterday, the city council can force you to sell it to a guy who wants to build a pizza shop.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Supreme Court rules gov't can take private homes to benefit private real estate developers

The US Supreme Court has ruled that cities may take the property of citizens for purposes of allowing private developers to generate taxes and create jobs. The case is Kelo et al v. City of New London, 04-108.

The 5-4 ruling represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.

As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.

Writing for the court, Justice John Paul Stevens said local officials, not federal judges, know best in deciding whether a development project will benefit the community. States are within their rights to pass additional laws restricting condemnations if residents are overly burdened, he said.

"The city has carefully formulated an economic development that it believes will provide appreciable benefits to the community, including — but by no means limited to — new jobs and increased tax revenue," Stevens wrote in an opinion joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.

"It is not for the courts to oversee the choice of the boundary line nor to sit in review on the size of a particular project area," he said.

One might think, however, that it would be the responsibility of the courts to protect the property rights of the individual citizens. This was the position of the minority, which consisted of the four generally conservative justices:

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who has been a key swing vote on many cases before the court, issued a stinging dissent. She argued that cities should not have unlimited authority to uproot families, even if they are provided compensation, simply to accommodate wealthy developers.

"Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random," O'Connor wrote. "The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

It seems ironic that the "liberal" justices sided with wealthy private real estate developers and against the little guy, the individual working-class homeowner. Obviously, the supposed traditional liberal position of "standing up for the little guy against the wealthy" has no application when the issue is an expansion of government power and the glorification of the collective good over the property rights of the individual.

UPDATE: From the dissenting opinion, written by Justice O'Connor, joined by Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas:


Over two centuries ago, just after the Bill of Rights was ratified, Justice Chase wrote:
'An ACT of the Legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority ... . A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean... . [A] law that takes property from A. and gives it to B: It is against all reason and justice, for a people to entrust a Legislature with SUCH powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it.' Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, 388 (1798) (emphasis deleted).

Today the Court abandons this long-held, basic limitation on government power.
Under the banner of economic development, all private property is now vulnerable to being taken and transferred to another private owner,
so long as it might be upgraded--i.e., given to an owner who will use it in a way that the
legislature deems more beneficial to the public--in the process.
To reason, as the Court does, that the incidental public benefits resulting from the subsequent ordinary use of private property
render economic development takings 'for public use' is to wash out any distinction between private and public use of property
--and thereby effectively to delete the words 'for public use' from the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Accordingly I respectfully dissent.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


See Dick apologize... well, sort of

Senator Dick Durbin made a statement yesterday being billed in the MSM as an “apology” for his outrageously ignorant and abusive comparison of the behavior of guards at Guantanamo Bay to the behavior of the likes of Nazi concentration camp guards, the Soviet Gulag, and Pol Pot’s murderous regime. Durbin’s apology, though, isn’t. He never admitted what he said was wrong, he just said he was sorry to have offended “some” people who might “believe that my remarks crossed the line”. Apparently, Dick doesn’t believe he really said anything wrong:

"Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line," the Illinois Democrat said. "To them I extend my heartfelt apologies."

His voice quaking and tears welling in his eyes, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate also apologized to any soldiers who felt insulted by his remarks.

"They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them," he said.

Right, Dick, comparing US armed forces personnel to genocidal regimes certainly shows no disrespect. How many terrorists at Guantanamo Bay have been taken out and shot, or gassed to death, or incinerated, or beaten to death, or used in human experiments, or flayed for human skin lampshades?

But Durbin doesn’t see anything wrong with his comparison, he just thinks it’s “a poor choice of words’:

During his apology, which Durbin delivered while looking directly into a TV camera broadcasting the proceedings, the senator said: "I made reference to Nazis, to Soviets, and other repressive regimes. Mr. President, I've come to understand that's a very poor choice of words."

He also reached out directly to Holocaust survivors, adding: "I'm sorry if anything that I said caused any offense or pain to those who have such bitter memories of the Holocaust, the greatest moral tragedy of our time. Nothing, nothing should ever be said to demean or diminish that moral tragedy."

Yeah, Dick, you sure didn’t diminish or demean the intentional murder of millions because of their religious beliefs by equating it with the use of shackles and air conditioner settings in incarcerating and interrogating a bunch of murderous genocidal terrorists.

Dick’s not the least bit sorry for, or apologetic about, what he said. He’s just sorry so many people didn’t like it.

Saturday, June 18, 2005


The European Mindset and Islamic fundamentalism

I’ve been intending to get this post up for about two weeks now, and just haven’t gotten to it. Over at CUANAS, Pastorius has been giving a good deal of thought to the mindset of Europe and how it relates to the U.S. and international affairs. In a very well-thought- out and well-written piece, he draws a parallel between European thinking in the 1930’s and today, pointing out the European tendency to try to avoid conflict by avoiding confronting, or even admitting, the true aims of dangerous and aggressive regimes:

And unfortunately, it is that way to this day. That may seem to be a very
extreme statement, but it isn't when you really look at the tide of history. If
you had polled the populations of Germany and France in the 1930's, they would
not have agreed with Hitler's proposal (stated in Mein Kampf) to completely
obliterate the Jews of Europe. They wouldn't have agreed with his imperialistic
desires. They wouldn't have agreed with the extremity of his views on

But, they would have excused them.The people of Europe sat back and said,
"Well, Hitler doesn't really mean everything he says. He's just blowing off a
lot of hot air. You have to understand the German culture. That's the way they
are. But, they would never really go that far."

In other words, the approach to potential conflict is simply to decide to disbelieve the existence of the source of the conflict. If the other guy is espousing beliefs and intentions which are dangerous, evil, or threatening, you simply dismiss that as mere rhetoric and choose to believe that he really doesn’t intend to do any of the things he says he intends to do. Pastorius then draws a striking parallel to the situation today:

These are the same things which are said of the Islamofascists today. I was
discussing the death of the Jew-hating Hamas leader, Sheikh Yassin, with a
European relative of mine and, in doing so, I condemned the Guardian for it's
fawning obituary of him. Hearing my opinion, my relative offered all the excuses
I layed out above. I must understand that the Arab culture has a "bombastic"
speaking style. They don't really want the Jews dead. They don't really intend
to take the entire land of Israel."But, it says that that's what they intend to
do in their Charter," I protested."Well, they don't really mean it"

This is precisely the attitude of many Europeans. The Palestinians are a poor oppressed minority, and Israel is the foreign occupier of their country. (Never mind that the territory is in fact the ancient state of Israel, and that the country of Palestine never, ever existed anywhere on earth.) While the Palestinians may say they want to oblitherate the state of Israel, they don’t really mean it. All they really want is their own little country alongside Israel. And then everybody could live in peace and harmony. Facts that are inconvenient to this view are completely disregarded, or dismissed as lies. The most ridiculous conspiracy theories and fantasies are indulged, as long as they enable the ostriches to keep their heads buried in the sand.

The truly alarming point raised in the piece, though, is the connection between this European mindset and the present-day United States:

The only difference between then and now, is that the European mindset has
been inculcated within the United States, and has gained frightening force in
the world of the American media and Academia.

So now, we, here in America, sit in the very same position that F.A. Hayek
described Europe as being in in during the leadup to World War II. We are
drastically divided in ideology. Half of us want America to win the war, and
half of us think there is no war to be fought.

Those who think there is no war to be fought are ideologically in league
with the Europeans. They deny that Iraq was a state-sponsor of terrorism. They
deny that Iran, or Syria, are a threat. Many aren't even that concerned that
Iran would aquire nuclear weapons. "After all, they are a sovereign nation. Who
are we to tell them what to do?"

The really shocking thing is how many seemingly reasonable people even
think the Afghanistan War was wrong. That it was only fought in order to clear
the way for the establishment of an oil pipeline controlled by America.As
ludicrous as these ideas sound to us who live in middle America, these are not
rare notions. They are rampant in the world of Academia, and among memebers of
our media. If you ever wanted to understand why it is that the media behaves the
way it does, constantly trying to dig up dirt on our military - about Abu
Ghraib, about Guantanamo, about one soldier shooting one unarmed Jihadi in a
mosque - I will give you the reasons.

The American Media and Academia are virulently angry with America. To them
the Bush Administration is an arm of the "Bush Crime Family." The war is an
illusion created in the interest of imperialism. It was planned prior to 9/11.
In fact, 9/11 was just a nifty opportunity. There were no WMD's. Saddam was not
a threat. It's all about oil.

Not so long ago, I had a personal experience that illustrates the point about this mindset very clearly. In the course of a discussion with a couple of people, well-educated, professional types, I raised the point that militant Islam does not want to be “left alone”, the goal of militant Islam is to turn the entire world into a fundamentalist state. I was accused of merely parroting Rush Limbaugh and all those talk radio guys. After pointing out that I don’t listen to talk radio at all, not Rush, not anybody else, they said “oh, so where do you get your information? We don’t have access to your super secret news sources,” I suggested that they pull the names of some of the Islamist “leaders” out of whatever news source they choose, and Google search those names to find out what they’re really saying.

The response? Well, they don’t have time to mess around with that. How, I asked, can you sit here and argue that I am wrong, and tell me I’m inventing facts, when you refuse to even check to see if my facts might be true? The response? “So what, who cares what they say in some speech, that’s not really what they mean.”

It’s the old joke line: “I have my mind made up, don’t confuse me with any facts.”
These folks, who have their minds firmly made up, assume I must be lying, making things up, because the factual information I present is at odds with their opinion. And, confronted with a way to verify the factual information I am presenting, they decide that even if my facts are accurate, it doesn’t matter. The teachings of the leaders of the Islamofacist movement are somehow not relevant to the Islamofascist movement, and can be disregarded.

The excerpts presented here are only a taste of the analysis presented in the original piece at CUANAS, and I urge you to take a few minutes and go read the original. It really is excellent stuff.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Ohio Republicans: cooking up a real mess?

Ohio is a Republican state, and for the most part has been for most of its history. For a time, in the 1970’s, we had two Democrat senators, Glenn and Metzenbaum, but for much of the fist half of my life Jim Rhodes was the Governor (1963-71 and 1975-83), and we’ve had Republican governors Voinovich and Taft since then, with Democrats Gilligan and Celeste sandwiched in between. Both Senators have been Republican (Voinovich and DeWine) for several years, the Auditor, Secretary of State and Atttorney General, the other state-wide offices, have all been Republican for at least two cycles, with the office-holders “rotating” the offices because of term limits, and Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the Supreme Court. President Bush, of course, carried Ohio both times (even with tens of thousands of apparently fraudulent new voter registrations in the four large heavily Democrat counties, where registered voters in 2004 outnumbered the population).

This is not to say, though, that Ohio is a true one-party state. While Republicans have dominated state-wide offices, control of the legislature and Supreme Court have passed back and forth, and, like in other states, the bigger cities, Cleveland, Dayton, Cincinnati and the Youngstown-Warren area in the northeast corner, are overwhelmingly die-hard Democrat in their orientation and bastions of pro-big labor loyalists. This is the land of Congressional representatives the likes of Dennis Kucinich (the former boy-mayor who bankrupted Cleveland before moving on up to congress) and Jim Traficant (who planned an abortive re-election campaign from his cell in a federal penitentiary).

With this as a background, realize that Ohio Republicans, under the supposed “leadership” of Governor Bob Taft, are cooking up a real mess here in the Buckeye state, a veritable witches’ brew of carelessness, foolishness, and downright stupidity that may provide a real opportunity to Ohio Democrats and a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. First, you have both Republican Senators acting like fools, Voinovich over the Bolton nomination and DeWine joining McCain and Co. in caving in and selling out over the filibuster compromise. While I believe that Voinovich, and perhaps DeWine, too, was deliberately posturing for the cameras back home (previous posts here and here), they certainly have done nothing by these actions to endear themselves to the core Republican constituency. And the real danger here is that the resentment engendered among conservatives may be translated into lukewarm support for the next Republican who really needs the support of that core constituency. And the next Republican who needs that core is not likely to be Voinovich or DeWine.

The next Republican who needs that support is likely to be Jim Petro, Ken Blackwell, or Betty Mongomery, in a run for the governor’s mansion. These three Republicans occupy the other three state-wide elective offices, and played “musical offices” last time around, swapping jobs because of term-limits. The problem is, there is now a logjam at the top. Both Voinovich and his one-time lieutenant governor, DeWine, have moved up to the U.S. Senate, and Taft will be term-limited. There’s nowhere else to put anybody. Petro, Blackwell and Montgomery all want to be governor, and none can afford to wait forever. Unless a deal is brokered, there will be a Republican primary which could be a three-way internecine bloodletting. Blackwell, the Secretary of State who managed the 2004 election in Ohio, gained valuable exposure from that process and is clearly the favorite among hard conservative voters. Either Mongomery or Petro, though, seem to be preferred by the state party apparatchiks, and both are less identified with “conservatives” and considered more “moderate”. Any of the three would normally have to be considered a strong favorite against any possible Democrat candidate.

But the morass bubbling to the surface today doesn’t involve that potentially messy three-way primary. Like the feckless duo in the Senate who have perhaps alienated the party’s conservative base somewhat, the current state government is in danger of poisoning the waters against any future Republican candidate for Governor, as well as any Presidential contender. How? By making it look more and more like the state of Ohio is being governed by the Keystone Cops!

First, and without going into a lot of detail, there is an ongoing, pointless and stupid pissing contest between the Republican Supreme Court and the Republican Legislature over school funding. You want to really get people cranked off at their state government? Start screwing around with their schools! This same scenario is now being repeated in state after state. Somebody sues, claiming their school district doesn’t have as much money to spend as some other school district, and the state courts, whether Republican or Democrat, jump in and decide that school funding by property taxes is unconstitutional because it results in unequal expenditures. These activist courts then take it upon themselves to order the state legislature to find some other way to fund schools, rather than the 200-year old property tax method. State legislatures, perhaps understandably, don’t take kindly to state courts ordering them to legislate this or that, and the battle is joined. This has now gone on for years in Ohio.

Governor Taft, while he certainly did not create this problem, has provided no discernible leadership on this issue. Couple this with a state budget proposed by Taft that reduces the amount of state money to local school districts, and you have the Republican Governor being blamed for school districts across the state closing buildings and reducing staff. Now whether these reductions to a bloated public school system like, say Cleveland, are actually a bad thing or a good thing is arguable. But people don’t like it. Particularly when, having been told the state can not afford any more spending on education, the state suddenly announces, as Ohio did last week, that a SURPLUS of 1.3 BILLION dollars has suddenly been discovered.

After months of talk about Ohio’s budget woes, it turns out there’s a surplus of over a billion and a quarter dollars? Shouldn’t somebody in Columbus have known that? Or been able to figure it out? Before they started closing schools and libraries? So instead of being good news, the surplus looks like ineptitude, and instead of relief at necessary cutbacks being less than feared, there is a certain level of anger and resentment over cutbacks already made. These questions may very well come back to haunt any Republican gubernatorial candidate. And when people realize that Taft’s budget proposal contains a provision, as part of a “tax reform” package, which is likely to be included in the final budget when passed and which in effect authorizes a $45 million dollar property tax increase which will not be voted on, there will be more anger directed at Republicans.

This is certainly not the worst of it, though.
Today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer carries a story about the state maintaining investments with an investment broker for 18 months after he was indicted for scamming clients:

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation allowed Alan Brian Bond to continue investing $50 million of its money for at least 18 months after Bond was indicted on charges of taking more than $6.9 million in kickbacks that were billed to his clients.

The bureau lost $3.86 million in that investment, according to spokeswoman Emily Hicks.

As is usual with this type of story, there’s the political angle. Bond was also a contributor to some well-known Ohio politicians:

In 1997 and 1998, campaign finance records show, Bond and two of his associates gave $5,500 to Republican Ken Blackwell, then state treasurer; $2,000 to Democrat Lee Fisher, who was running for governor of Ohio; and $1,000 to Republican Betty Montgomery, then attorney general.

The saving grace here is that Bond was giving money to candidates from both parties. The downside is that this revelation is only the most recent in a series of disclosures that could spell big trouble for the GOP and, at a minimum, makes the Taft administration look like a bunch of inept bunglers.

As the Plain Dealer, a thoroughly Democrat-leaning paper, is only too happy to point out (and rightly so):

The Albriond investment loss is the latest embarrassment for the bureau which pays the medical bills of workers who have been injured on the job and compensates them for lost wages.

Last week, the state acknowledged it lost $215 million in investments handled by Pittsburgh-based MDL Capital Management, and that one of two funds with American Express Asset Management lost $8.5 million more. Another of that firm's less-risky funds posted a $3.7 million gain at the end of last month, partially offsetting that loss.

An additional $10 million to $13 million appears to be missing from the bureau's rare-coin investments, which were handled by Republican fund-raiser and supporter Tom Noe.

A little more detail on the political angles: MDL Capital Management, which lost $215 million in state money, is a minority-owned business which received special consideration under laws enacted during the Voinovich administration, and employed the daughter of old Voinovich ally George Forbes, the Democratic former Cleveland City Council President, current head of the Cleveland NAACP, and a member of the Worker’s Comp oversight committee at the time of the investments and losses. Forbes has since resigned that position, and there is no evidence that his daughter’s employment in any way influenced anyone’s decision to invest with MDL.

The losses on the “rare coin fund” were the first to come to light, and were treated as kind of a joke at first, things like “hey, Bob [Taft], I’ve got some baseball cards in my attic the state might want to invest in.” It now appears that an employee of the coin dealer, who actually handled the state’s investments, may have been systematically looting the fund. And now there is also word,
as reported by the Plain Dealer, that the principal, a well-known Republican fund-raiser, is being sued for collection by a bank and is being investigated for possible improper fundraising activities while the investigation into Ohio’s lost investment money continues:

A federal grand jury in Toledo is seeking to determine whether Noe illegally reimbursed as many as two dozen contributors to a Bush fund-raiser in October 2003 and circumvented campaign finance laws.

Meanwhile, state investigators are examining a $55.4 million rare-coin investment that Noe managed for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

The Bush-Cheney campaign has already returned Noe’s contributions.

So why hasn’t the proverbial stuff hit the fan yet in Ohio? Well, it probably helps that prominent Democrats also figure into this mess in at least a peripheral way. But the rumblings have started, and there have been some hints in various media that Taft may have known about the losses months ago, before the budget was proposed, and before the election. And if anyone can connect the dots and show the Taft administration concealed the investment losses, or improper actions on the part of administrators overseeing Ohio’s investments (and a couple of heads have rolled already), things will get awfully loud in a hurry here in the Buckeye State.

And the Republicans, through a combination of carelessness, shortsightedness, and just plain old fashioned stupidity, will have brought it upon themselves. They'll have done it the old-fashioned way: they'll have earned it.


Pigs eat tons of cake, Las Vegas Centennial Committee eats the bill

The Las Vegas Centennial Celebration Committee will have to eat the bill for a $95,000 birthday cake.

The giant cake was created to celebrate Sin City's 100th birthday a month ago.
Officials of the committee thought the huge cake was being donated by Sara Lee. But company officials say they never promised to foot the whole bill, only to deliver it at a discount.

A committee worker said he's to blame for the miscommunication.

The cake was about the size of a basketball court. Tons of leftovers went to pigs on a farm in North Las Vegas.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


A suggestion regarding Koran "desecration"

From J. P. Jones of the Ranger:

Gee whiz, five incidents - or is it nine, counting accidents - in what, over two years, where a book got stepped on, or touched through a surgical mask(!) or got water on it. Boy, Solzenitsyn (remember him? If not, you better go look him up and read about 3,000 pages before you use the word "gulag") and that bunch were a real bunch of wimps. All they had to worry about was being shot for no apparent reason, or starved to death, or used as slave labor. But to have to be concerned about someone touching your book! Now that's torture. That's a real human rights abuse for you.

Here's a politically incorrect thought for you: if they're so worried about "infidels" touching their books, take the damn books away from 'em. There, problem solved. They think the book is God's words directed to them, and they think those words are telling them to kill anybody who isn't one of them. Sorry, but I just don't see how that's suitable reading material for Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer here in the USA to be paying for. And yes, we supply each one of them a Koran at taxpayer expense. Makes sense, huh? Furnish 'em with reading material they think says it's their duty to kill us.

By the way, did you see the stand Amnesty International took protesting the ongoing persecution of Christians in China? No? Neither did anyone else.

Not only does Amnesty International, along with the other Anti-American do-gooders, give China a pass on human rights, they sure aren't complaining about anybody "desecrating" anybody's Bible, or Torah, are they? Or about the treatment of women in Muslim countries? Guess you can't crank up the publicity fund-raising machine complaining about real abuses in other countries the way you can by making inane and inflammatory anti-American statements, huh?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I released the records before I didn't release the records...

The Boston Globe, a known Kerry cheerleader, ran a story which seemed to say that they had received his complete military records pursuant to his signed SF-180...everybody who is interested has already heard this, it is old news. According to the Globe, the only "new" material was a college transcript indicating that Kerry is not exactly the towering intellect he pretended to be, in fact earning a cumulative grade average one point LOWER than that earned by President Bush, who has openly admitted partying his way through Yale and whom Kerry called an "idiot", as in "How can I be losing to that idiot."

But I noticed yesterday, the Globe story, while it suggested it had received the complete SF-180 authorized records, never actually said so. Many bloggers took it at face value, gleefully reporting Kerry's crappy grades. However, since what was posted at Kerry's website was obviously incomplete (particularly, the absent discharge record, which I have previously theorized about on this blog) and the Globe story said it had nothing new other than the college grades, I felt pretty sure the Globe had not received a full record.

By the time I got around to writing a post about it, I'm way behind the curve. Powerline has posted a communication from a reader who sounds awfully knowledgeable, and thinks he knows exactly what Kerry is up to: he's playing a shell game that shuffles the files from agency to agency and allows Kerry to pick and choose what to release and what to withhold. Powerline also discloses that Thomas Lipscomb is on the job, and that's good enough for me to just sit back and wait.

Blogs for Bush has requested, and received, a comment from Swiftboat Vets leader John O'Neill, who says the request is for Kerry to release all records for public inspection, and that is obviously not what has happened here.

I have maintained in these pages that I believe Kerry is hiding his discharge. I still believe that. I think he received a dishonorable or less than honorable discharge not for cavorting with commies in Paris ( I think the left would have trumpeted that fact, you know, war hero persecuted for exercising free speech, blah blah blah) but because he never showed up for his reserve duty after he bailed out of the Navy early...which would have really left egg on all those faces yammering about what Bush did or didn't do in Alabama.

I once heard Thomas Eagleberger describe the French as "the most duplicitous people on earth." Perhaps he had not yet crossed paths with John Kerry, whose arrogance and disdain for the average person are appaling. Can Kerry really think a smokescreen like this will work? It might have back in the days when the three networks and CNN, all solidly in his corner, were the only sources of information. It won't work now. He's just making matters worse, and there is either something really, really ugly in those rcords, or he is just plain dumber than a box of rocks, and the Kerry campaign team the most ignorant bunch of fools to run a campaign since somebody said "Hey, let's have Mikey ride around in a tank!".

If the college grades are really what he was hiding, the box of rocks is clearly much smarter than Team Kerry.

Monday, June 06, 2005


June 6, 1944 -- D-Day

There is nothing I, or anyone else, can say that will effect the importance of the events of June 6, 1944. Ultimately, the history of world events has judged, and will continue to judge, the effects and meaning of the titanic events of that day.

In thinking about D-Day, and the tremendous sacrifice made on those bloody beaches, consider the following, which I find eerily appropriate:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…

The Normandy invasion was one major step in a world-wide clash of ideas and ideals, and those who gave their lives did so in an effort to save civilization from bloody and oppressive tyrants, from totalitarian regimes which believed that the individual human life was unimportant, which sought to impose and maintain their systems over others by force and terror, which held that the state had the right to determine the value of a human life based on the religious beliefs, ethnic heritage, or physical or mental condition of that life.

This struggle is not over. And those of us who are here today should be rededicated “to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”

NOTE: The quotes you will hopefully recognize. They are from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Kerry, Nader pushing "Impeach Bush" campaign

John Kerry, in the mistaken belief that anyone outside the extreme leftist tin foil hat crowd is still remotely interested in anything he has to say, apparently plans to kick off the leftists’ “Impeach Bush” campaign Monday, by waving around the Matthew Rycroft memo. You know, that memo that everyone in the world has known about since May 1, and which has been evaluated by all but the loony left as amounting to much ado about nothing. From a NewsMax report:

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that he intends to confront Congress with a document touted by critics of President Bush as evidence that he committed impeachable crimes by falsifying evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"When I go back [to Washington] on Monday, I am going to raise the issue," Kerry said, referring to the Downing Street Memo in an interview with Massachusetts' Standard Times newspaper.

Well, let’s see…I guess if Kerry actually showed up for a session of Congress, that would be newsworthy. And if he raised an issue other than commending companies that sell “dolphin safe tuna”, that would also be newsworthy. The memo, of course, has already been determined by the MSM to be not especially newsworthy, despite the efforts of the leftist extremist internet crowd to get something going. These are also the only people in the world who are still looking for those millions of uncounted Cuyahoga County votes in Ohio. You know, Cuyahoga County, that overwhelmingly democrat county that includes Cleveland and had something like 40,000 fraudulent new voter registrations for the 2004 election.

Ralph Nader, determined to prove that Kerry is not the only drooling imbecile who lost the last election, has joined in, too:

Citing the Downing Street Memo, former presidential candidate Ralph Nader called for an impeachment investigation on Tuesday in an op-ed piece published by the Boston Globe.

"It is time for Congress to investigate the illegal Iraq war as we move toward the third year of the endless quagmire that many security experts believe jeopardizes US safety by recruiting and training more terrorists," wrote Nader with co-author Kevin Zeese. "A Resolution of Impeachment would be a first step."

Notice the obligatory "quagmire" reference. Notice that Nader requires a co-author for an op-ed piece. Is it because he can’t formulate a coherent opinion on his own, or because he can’t string together a series of coherent sentences by himself? It seems to me Nader’s time might be better spent demanding a congressional investigation of the illegal AFL-CIO goon platoon activities directed at torpedoing his most recent pointless run for the presidency, but, hey, once a leftwingnut always a leftwingnut, and “all us leftwingnuts gotta stick together”, you know, that International Workers of the World mentality.

Incredibly, Kerry, the guy who got an absolute free pass from the MSM while they engaged in their 18 month-long all Bush-bashing all the time “election coverage”, is again complaining that the major media is displaying its rampant pro-Bush bias:

Though largely ignored in the U.S. outside of rabid anti-Bush Web sites like, the Downing Street Memo won Sen. Kerry's endorsement in the Standard Times interview: "It's amazing to me," the top Democrat said, "the way it escaped major media discussion. It's not being missed on the Internet, I can tell you that."

Surely you remember
this all-but incomprehensible babblefest, where Kerry blamed unfair and incompetent media coverage for his loss!

The guy is a complete imbecile. But please, please, let this perennial lightweight ghost Senator convince his congressional colleagues (once he’s introduced himself to them) to bring an impeachment investigation. Please! You want to see the American people rally behind the President? You want to see midterm elections that make the filibuster irrelevant? You want to see Howard Dean get himself into such a lather of overheated rhetoric that he provides uncontroverted proof of spontaneous human combustion?

C’mon, Senator, get your buddy Soros to cough up another $20 or $30 million or so, and let’s get this bandwagon to the political extinction of the extreme left rolling!

NOTE: The link provided is to the NewsMax main page. The story is from a subscriber newsletter, and may or may not be posted on the main page. I have concerns about the propriety of linking to a source which requires a subscription.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


You just never know

You just never know what might interest people most when you post stuff on a blog. In the past couple of days, while I've been too preoccupied with my paying job and yard work to pay any attention to the blog, this site has come up 7th in a MySearch.MyWay search for "Mike Evans Hollywood Report", 7th in a Google search for "Jennifer Hardee", and first in a Tecnorati search for "Narragansett Beer". Oh, and somebody landed on my blog from page 38 of a Google search for "Happy Slapping"...although how, or why, someone would wade through 37 pages of "Happy Slapping" search results only to land on my site from page 38 is something of a mystery to me. But thanks, reader, we appreciate each and every visit here at GeoBandy, and I hope the "Happy Slapping" post was worth the visit... and the time and effort!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]