Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Air America no more?

Apparently, the liberal Air America radio network is going bankrupt. This is hardly tragic, but it is somewhat surprising. Apparently, they're not good enough, smart enough, and goshdarnit, people don't like them. Seriously, I don't completely understand why they are in such bad shape. True, most of the hosts on Air America are dull, very partisan, and have completely predictable views on every issue. But so are the vast majority of "conservative" talk radio hosts (e.g. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity), yet these hosts are extremely popular. I can't adequately explain this anomaly. I would not automatically assume that Air America's failure proves a liberal radio network can't succeed. My guess is that Air America has not marketed itself well and isn't getting enough advertisement money. One would think some rich leftists (where are you, George Soros?)would get together and bail it out, but apparently that hasn't happened.

I personally don't care if Air America survives, as it adds little of value to the public debate. My advice to them would be simple: find a liberal who thinks for himself like Jonathan Chait (a shameless plug for my favorite liberal columnist). This won't happen, so I bid Air America a less than fond farewell. With any luck, Al Franken will return to Saturday Night Live and give me some reason to watch that show again.

(For those of you who didn't get the joke in third sentence, watch Al Franken's character Stuart Smalley on a Saturday Night Live rerun and you'll understand).

Monday, September 26, 2005

The most dangerous organization in America

The most dangerous organization in America is not, surprisingly, the ACLU, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, the Republican Party, or the Democratic Party (though I despise them all). This dubious honor belongs to CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. This group's modus operandi is to try to ruin anyone who criticizes any aspect of Islam, or anyone who points out that Islamic fundamentalists are responsible for the vast majority of the world's terrorism. They recently got a popular talk show host who harshly criticized Islam fired. (I know, my leftist friends, it was a white guy in Oklahoma City, there's exceptions to every rule).

I signed up on CAIR's e-mail list, and they are quite open about their contempt for the First Amendment. Arsalan T. Iftikhar, the national legal director for CAIR, said it was time for everyday Muslims to "defend the image and reputation of the community and Islam in general." "I am here to teach you how the American Muslim community can legally empower itself to protect itself in the American courts," he said, as he went into the nuances of the limits of the First Amendment (emphasis added). Personally, I agree. Really. I hate how that pesky Bill of Rights stands in the way of a "civil rights" group suppressing speech it doesn't like.

Now, Mr. Iftikhar is upset again. It seems (horror of horrors) that agents of the New Jersey Office of Counter-Terrorism have been accused of targeting suspects that were Muslim. Iftikhar, apparently a law enforcement expert in his spare time when he's not busy circumventing the First Amendment, went on to say "Profiling is never an effective law enforcement technique." He didn't site any evidence or expert testimony for that opinion, not surprisingly.

Let's look at this logically. If the vast majority of terrorist activities are done by one group, which they are, it would be absolutely insane not to watch members of that group more carefully. If a few innocent Muslims are harassed,that is regrettable, but unfortunately necessary. The next attack on America could make a 9-11 look like a firecracker. Unfortunately, we have to deal with groups like the ACLU and CAIR more concerned with sensitivity and political correctness than stopping terrorism. For the good of the nation and of the world, American citizens must awaken to the danger of CAIR.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The time has come

The Federal Reserve, under the leadership of Alan Greenspan, raised short-term rates again this week, under the guise of fighting inflation. Of course, this action will slow an already sluggish economy, but Greenspan and his fellow central bankers simply don't care. Republican Senator Jim Bunning blasted Greenspan as being insensitive to working families. The senator is correct, but he doesn't go far enough. It is time for Congress to abolish the Federal Reserve System.

This sounds like a extreme step, but it isn't. The Fed's ostensible purpose, combatting inflation, is an absolute farce. The Fed causes inflation, it does not prevent it. If federal policy makers really wanted to fight inflation, they would abolish the Fed and return America to a gold standard. Incidentally, as an economist prior to assuming control of the Fed, Alan Greenspan favored a return to the gold standard, so the idea is hardly radical.

Thomas Jefferson, were he alive today, would be horrified at the power the Fed has over the country. He once said:

A private bank (which is what the Fed is) with the power to issue unlimited currency is a greater threat to the liberties of the people than a standing army. We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.

This is exactly what has happened, as spendthrift Congressmen and Senators have used the Fed to cover their spending by "monetizing" the debt; basically the Fed simply adds money to the existing money supply to cover the spending, increasing inflation in the process. This practice must end, and it will end if the American people demand accountability from their elected officials.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Funny, in a bad sort of way

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the following story, reported by Barton Gellman in the Washington Post yesterday. This is a story that should be in the Onion, but it is all too true. Apparently, possible Al-Qaeda agents or sleeper cells in America are no longer a threat the American public . The FBI can focus on the real problems threat facing Americans: adults looking at naked pictures. The religious fundamentalists who jointly control the Bush administration (in conjunction with the major corporations) are getting almost everything they want. First, no federal funding for stem cell research. Next, "intelligent design," a.k.a. creationist nonsense, taught in high school science classes. Now, a war on the evil of pornography. What's next, mandatory school prayer?

Notice Gellman points out this is a "top priority" of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in my opinion, the next Supreme Court Justice. (If you're curious, I'm also picking the Colts and Panthers in the Super Bowl). Before you lose respect for Gonzales, though, remember one important thing about him: he is the son of immigrants! (I personally wouldn't resort to this irrelevant argument, but Bill O'Reilly felt it necessary to mention this fact when supporting Gonzales for the position of Attorney General). Please don't ask me why being the son of immigrants qualifies one to be Attorney General; direct your questions to mailto:oreilly@foxnews.com.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Yes on prop 73

For some reason, there's actually a debate on the merits of Prop 73, which would require parental notification for a teenage girl to get an abortion, and requires a 48 hour waiting period. NARAL and Planned Parenthood are (surprisingly!) opposed to this modest restriction. I thought these organizations were too busy smearing John Roberts to get involved, but I was wrong.

The pro-choice crowd's position makes no sense. A high school student cannot go on a field trip without parental permission, but they should be allowed to get an abortion without even informing Mom or Dad? Sorry I don't see much logic in this argument. NARAL's argument is especially curious:

Proposition 73 would serve as a blatant intrusion by the government into private, personal family matters. It places our most vulnerable teens—those in abusive homes or are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

Huh? On the contrary, prop 73 is a pro-family bill. Parents ought to be consulted in important decisions involving their children. Nor does NARAL provide any evidence that a majority or even a significant number of pregnant teenage girls are pregnant because of rape or incest. Isn't it possible that they are pregnant because they didn't use proper birth control when having irresponsible sex? Furthermore, if it is an extreme case like incest, the girl has the option of going to a judge who can authorize the procedure.

If we want to make abortion less common, the solution is simple: sex education combined with access to birth control. If people from both sides of the political spectrum worked together to reduce abortions, it could be done fairly easily. This won't happen, of course, but I'd like to end this post with a pleasant thought.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Fiddling while Rome burns

The California state legislature ought to be ashamed of itself. It is wasting time and money, as usual. Suddenly, gay marriage is a major priority. A letter writer to my local paper put it well:

There are skyrocketing gas prices, 30 million Californians are struggling with crisises in medical care, housing, energy, clean air, immigration, and a budget that is out of control. And is what is the top priority of our elected Democratic officials in the state capitol? Whether a few licenses have marriage or domestic partners written on it!

Exactly, Robert Keirsey of San Diego. I would also add a few other issues to his list of concerns the state is ignoring. I am not either advocating for or against homosexual marriage. I simply don't think it is an important issue. I have two more urgent issues Mr. Keirsey didn't mention that far trump gay marriage: the poor performance of our schools and the broken foster care system. For a depressing look at the state of foster care in this state see this editorial in the Sept.11 San Francisco Chronicle.

Please find out who your local senator/representative is and tell them to get to work immediately actually doing something for the good of the state.

Monday, September 05, 2005

True incompetence from the feds

It's really disgusting, but you should check out the L.A. Times reporting on the poor federal relief effort. Where did all that highway bill money go anyway? Unbelievable. I think the mayor of New Orleans is on the verge of a breakdown. I would highly suggest listening to his interview, also on the Times' website.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Why was the government so unprepared for Katrina?

Two real conservatives,William Norman Grigg of the New American and Paul Craig Roberts have come through with an excellent analysis of the government's poor relief efforts. You may say, who the heck are these guys? Many of you may never have heard of them, for good reason. They have too many independent thoughts to make it on Fox News or on the Bush-loving "conservative" talk radio shows.

Grigg wrote an excellent article that is now on his magazine's website, "Why So Few First Responders in New Orleans? They're in Iraq." He points out the following key facts:

The occupation of Iraq has rested heavily on the services of National Guard units, including those from Gulf States that have been mutilated by Hurricane Katrina. Additionally, many Guardsmen and reservists now serving in Iraq are key law enforcement and disaster response personnel whose absence is also being keenly felt in the flood-ravaged states.

Another anti-Bush conservative, Paul Craig Roberts, points out in Antiwar.com, that the Bush administration slashed the funding for the Corps of Engineers' projects to strengthen and raise the New Orleans levees and diverted the money to the Iraq war. An even more important point: Rumsfeld's refusal to send enough troops to Iraq in early 2003 led to, you guessed it, national Guardsmen being sent there later.

The chickens have come home to roost. As if it wasn't bad enough that 1800+ (for now) lives have been lost in a war that has helped place into power a pro-Iranian government.

No, Kanye West, Bush isn't a racist. He's just incompetent.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Bush's on vacation: so what's the problem?

Many people, mostly but not all liberal, seem to be upset that George Bush is on a long vacation during a very tumultous time in Iraq. I am not one of those people. Far from it. In fact, I wish Bush would extend his vacation until about, oh, January 2009. It's not as though he were solving any problems when he was officially "working."

All he did was hold one press conference after another where he just repeated mantras and cliches, primarily "we're making progress." If he ended his vacation today, would the war go any better? Of course not. Some pro-war critics have maintained sending more troops to Iraq would help the situation. They may be right, but it won't matter. Bush will never send more troops to Iraq because that would force him to admit he didn't send enough soldiers in the first place. That kind of mea culpa is impossible for this administration.

As for his domestic policies, America needs a long break from all of those bad ideas. I think we can prosper without more disastrous corporate giveaways like the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, CAFTA, and the pork-laden highway bill. He can't mess up the country as badly on vacation. Don't listen to those lefties, Mr. President, take as long a vacation as you want! As for your critics, those anti-Americans can be dealt with by your cohorts at Fox News and on the "conservative" talk radio shows, e.g. Melanie "The WMDs will still show up" Morgan, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, etc...

P.S. Mr.President, is John Gibson on your payroll? I'm really getting suspicious. You already bribed Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher. Gee, do you really think Karl Rove deserves a medal of honor? I really don't see why, but maybe John is such a subtle genius the rest of us just don't realize the full extent of his wisdom. And I thought it was just ridiculous bias. Mea culpa.

Theocracy comes to Iraq

Supporters of the Iraq war are desperately denying that Iraq is becoming an Islamic fundamentalist state. They are, unfortunately, dead wrong. As the Wall Street Journal points out in its August 23 issue, page 3: "Islam has been named a source of law and a clause says no legislation shall be passed that contradicts Islamic principles." (On a side note, wouldn't it be nice if the writers on the editorial page read their own newspaper once in a while?). Furthermore, Iraqi prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has told a magazine that "Iraq should become an Islamic state." In fact, during his visit to Iran, al-Jaafari signed several bilateral accords. One accord was a military alliance wherein Iran will provide arms to Iraq; Iran will provide border security between the two countries; and the two countries will share intelligence. "This is a new chapter in relations with Iraq," enthused Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Aref during al-Jaafari's visit. Agha Panayi, an Iranian intelligence official, has offered a similarly enthusiastic assessment: "Throughout Iraq, the people we supported are in power."

It would be great if MSNBC, CNN, NBC, ABC, and the other nitworks could run a story about this once in a while, as much as I hate to interrupt the fascinating cruise ship mystery or the nondeveloping Natalee Holloway case. On a side note, Beth Holloway Twitty is now the second most annoying grieving mother on TV. FOX obviously won't cover this because it might reflect poorly on their Supreme Leader, George W. Bush. Yes, I know, there's been a major flood recently, but let's face the facts: the nitworks weren't covering anything important prior to that disaster anyway. (Yes, reader, I am deliberately misspelling the word network).

My primary source for this post is the one of the best magazines you've never heard about,the New American, staunchly conservative, but non-partisan. The bookstores won't carry it, for whatever reason. Please see http://www.thenewamerican.com/artman/publish/article_1995.shtml