Friday, July 30, 2010


The electricity outage in my street was shorter than expected so I got the chance to update all my blogs today


Dishonest Democrat campaign tactics

Counsel for a Democrat Congresscritter:

The strategy is one you may remember from past campaigns. They call it the Great Smoke Blower. Jimmy Carter used it against Reagan in 1980. When things are objectively bad and you can't run on your record, you accuse the Republicans of extremism. Remember? In 1980, inflation was running at 14 percent. Interest rates were about 15 percent. American hostages were paraded on Iranian television. The economy was febrile.

What did they do? They accused Reagan of being a warmonger. They said he would divide north from south, white from black, union from management, and Christian from Jew. They said he would plunge the world into nuclear Armageddon. It was a reprise of the anti-Goldwater effort of 1964.

The newest ad from the DNC seeks to link the Republican Party with the tea party. Flashing faces on the screen, now Rand Paul, now Paul Ryan, now Sharron Angle, now John Boehner, all distinctions are blurred. Then they present the "Republican Tea Party Contract on America" with 10 items. These, they expect, will frighten the heck out of John Q. Public.

Item 1: "Repeal Health Insurance Reform." Item 2: "Privatize Social Security or Get Rid of It." Item 3: "End Medicare as it Presently Exists." Item 4: "Extend the Bush Tax Breaks for the Wealthy and Big Oil." Item 5: "Repeal Wall Street Reform." Item 6: "Protect Those Responsible for the Oil Spill." Item 7: "Abolish the Department of Education." Item 8: "Abolish the Department of Energy." Item 9: "Abolish the Environmental Protection Agency." Item 10: "Repeal the 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators)."

Clever, right? Hey, why are you still weeping? Oh, I see. Rasmussen found that as recently as June, 58 percent of voters favor repealing the health care behemoth? So it wouldn't be scary if Republicans actually ran on that item.

Oh, and your opponent doesn't favor privatizing Social Security? Not even a little? Hasn't she ever said something like "We may have to consider changes to the retirement age?" because that can be demagogued as wanting to privatize Social Security. Well, you make a good point. The Republicans (to the dismay of philosophical conservatives and libertarians) have been embracing Social Security as Linus did his blanket, for many an election cycle. I guess, while we're at it, we might as well go ahead and concede that these same domesticated Republicans haven't exactly been carrying the banner for eliminating the Departments of Energy and Education (far less EPA!) for a really, really long time, though some wish they would.

There, there. Don't fret. What? Your opponent actually is in favor of repealing the "Wall Street Reform"? She says it will create 243 new regulations, just for starters, and that the federal government will now have the power to decide whether pretty much every business in America is taking too much risk. If a federal regulator decides you are making bad decisions, he can close down your shop. Besides, it completely sidestepped the biggest reason for the financial meltdown, Fannie and Freddie, because those were Democrats' sandboxes. Hmmm.

The unemployment rate in your district is 17 percent? Twenty-five percent among the young? The expiration of the Bush tax cuts will raise taxes for small-business owners, and this will make hiring even less likely? According to the Small Business Administration (another agency principled conservatives would happily kiss goodbye), small businesses were responsible for between 60 and 80 percent of net new jobs in the past decade. But now they're worried. They don't know how the new Financial Reform bill will affect them, and they've seen what the Massachusetts health reform did to business there so they're extremely nervous about the effects of the national health reform. They're getting by, but they're in no mood to hire.



The great warriors of old are still to be found among Americans

When someone who has earned the Medal of Honor enters a room, a hush follows, like waters opening. The stillness in his wake is palpable. Men are filled with more than admiration. The emotion is a mix of awe, envy and wonder. "Would I be capable of that?" each asks himself. Genteel ladies understand and hang back. Generals stand aside. "I'd sell my immortal soul for that medal," George S. Patton confessed.

Even politicians stop thinking of themselves. And the best of them are humbled. Harry Truman, a captain of artillery himself in the Great War, was heard to remark, "I would rather have the blue band of the Medal of Honor around my neck than be president."

Years ago, when the society of Medal of Honor recipients gathered here in Little Rock, the sensation was overpowering as each was called to the stage. Name, rank, branch of service, race, color, creed ... none of that mattered. Only their courage.

Freedom is much praised, but without courage, it is fleeting. As all know but too easily forget. Till the presence of someone wearing that blue band around his neck speaks that truth without a word being said. Or needing to be.

From the moment the country's highest honor is presented, the recipient is a marked man. He is different, and everyone knows it. He bears a great honor and an even greater burden. For all eyes are on him, and will be as long as he lives. And his story will be told long after he is gone. He no longer belongs to himself but to posterity. No wonder one recipient said it was harder to wear the medal than earn it.

Perhaps even more remarkable than his heroism was the grace with which Nick Bacon, a farm boy from near Caraway, Ark., wore that indelible honor. When you met him, he might ask only about your branch, unit, length of service and what he could do for you.

But you knew that behind the friendly, unassuming manner was a story as distinctive, and as essential to whatever remains of the West's civilization, as when the poet first sang of arms and the man.

There are fewer than a hundred Medal of Honor recipients still living, and now there is one less: Nick Bacon has died. At 64. Of the cancer he'd long fought. The state is in mourning. He'd earned the medal in Vietnam, taking command of one platoon after its leader was wounded, and of another when it, too, lost its leader, personally wiping out an enemy machine-gun nest as he led a counterattack that would save what remained of his unit and accomplish its mission. Talk about a trial by fire, and Nick Bacon met it with something above and beyond courage that endless day.

The formal words of the official citation, marching across the printed page as if in full review, tell of what he did one endless day in Vietnam:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Bacon distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with the 1st Platoon, Company B, during an operation west of Tam Ky. When Company B came under fire from an enemy bunker line to the front, S/Sgt. Bacon quickly organized his men and led them forward in an assault. He advanced on a hostile bunker and destroyed it with grenades. As he did so, several fellow soldiers including the 1st Platoon leader, were struck by machine gun fire and fell wounded in an exposed position forward of the rest of the platoon. S/Sgt. Bacon immediately assumed command of the platoon and assaulted the hostile gun position, finally killing the enemy gun crew in a single-handed effort.

"When the 3d Platoon moved to S/Sgt. Bacon's location, its leader was also wounded. Without hesitation S/Sgt. Bacon took charge of the additional platoon and continued the fight. In the ensuing action he personally killed 4 more enemy soldiers and silenced an antitank weapon. Under his leadership and example, the members of both platoons accepted his authority without question. Continuing to ignore the intense hostile fire, he climbed up on the exposed deck of a tank and directed fire into the enemy position while several wounded men were evacuated.

"As a result of S/Sgt. Bacon's extraordinary efforts, his company was able to move forward, eliminate the enemy positions, and rescue the men trapped to the front. S/Sgt. Bacon's bravery at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army."

When pressed, Nick Bacon would tell the story of that day -- August 26, 1968 -- in his own way:

"I got my boot heel shot off, I got holes in my canteens, I got my rifle grip shot up. I got shrapnel holes in my camouflage covers, and bullets in my pot. A bullet creased the edge of it, tore the lining off."

Sergeant Bacon also got the Medal of Honor, presented at the White House in 1969, in addition to his other decorations, among them the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. After two tours in Vietnam (he tried for a third but was turned down) he would retire from active duty in 1984 with the rank of first sergeant.

First Sergeant Bacon, first in more ways than one, would go on to serve more than a decade as his state's director of Veterans Affairs. Anything and everything he could do for his old comrades-in-arms, and those to come, he did. He was not just the face of Veterans Affairs in Arkansas, but its embodiment.

Some men are tested by one single, exhilarating day lived at high pitch, others over the course of a lifetime of day-in, day-out service to others. Nick Bacon passed both tests, excelled at them, yet somehow remained just Nick Bacon, whom everyone loved.

In the end, what needs to be said, and isn't often enough, is simply: Thank you for your service.



NAACP blackmail?

Sorry for the pun

I was just intrigued or worried by a threatening letter that a Virginian boss of NAACP, a U.S. group promoting reverse racism, sent to James Webb, a Virginian Democratic senator who has opposed affirmative action - maybe more openly than his former G.O.P. opponent, George Allen.

A week ago, Webb wrote a WSJ op-ed, Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege, in which he was advocating the end of affirmative action programs.

The intimidating tone of the NAACP reply sucks. They want to meet him and they ask him whether there are any more rotten apples around him so that they could go after their necks, too. I think that beyond a certain threshold, such communication of organized groups with the politicians has to be viewed as blackmailing.




Time to stop listening to the Keynsian economic orthodoxy: "The truth can hurt. As I see it, the truth is that the Ph.D.s and Keynesian economists haven’t prevented our nation, and in fact the world, from falling into depression. They haven’t prevented massive unemployment. They haven’t prevented the boom/bust cycle from taking place. They haven’t stabilized the economy as they were supposed to. Indeed, they have caused these things. They have created the conditions that have made these things possible. They can point fingers all they want and make the claim that the economy is just too darn complicated, but that’s because they don’t want to look at themselves in the mirror and admit they were wrong.”

Boat saga hurt Kerry, but how much? "As political missteps go, Senator John F. Kerry’s yacht issues may ultimately be considered just a minor stumble. But in a state that has just elected a new US senator with the carefully crafted image of a pickup-driving, barn jacket-wearing common man, Kerry now seems likely to be perceived as ever more out of touch, political analysts said yesterday. And with the recession feeding a fire of anti-establishment indignation, the appearance that Kerry may have tried to avoid paying Massachusetts taxes on a $7 million luxury yacht by docking it in Rhode Island could solidify a sense among voters that his life and concerns range far above their own. ‘It’s the definition of a self-inflicted wound,’ said Jeff Berry, a political science professor at Tufts University. ‘Politicians try to create a sense of empathy with rank-and-file voters, to show them that they can stand in their shoes. … John Kerry doesn’t seem to know where the shoe store is.’”

Rangel charged with 13 ethics violations: "A House panel accused Rep. Charles Rangel of New York Thursday of 13 ethics rules violations, placing his storied 40-year political career in jeopardy and guaranteeing Democrats an election-year headache. The violations were unveiled in a meeting that set the stage for a rare, full-blown trial that could take place as early as September. Rangel, a Democrat from Harlem, did not attend the meeting and has maintained he will be exonerated.”

Fixed retirement age to be scrapped in Britain: "The government has announced that the default retirement age will be phased out by October 2011. The default retirement age permitted employers to retire workers at the age without justification, and is an exception to United Kingdom labor law, which prohibits employers from making employment decisions on the basis of age and forces them to provide justification for dismissing a worker. Personnel groups and those supportive of the elderly cheered the announcement, while business groups such as the Confederation of British Industry expressed concern about the law. There is merit in both reactions.”


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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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