Sunday, November 7, 2010

Banana Ben Bernanke

The headlines should read, "United States Defaults on Sovereign Debt." That's what has happened under the euphemism of "quantitative easing," a.k.a. printing money. The money being used to buy back government debt has been created out of thin air. It has absolutely no value. Government bonds are being purchased with pieces of paper worth about what Bernie Madoff's IOU's were worth.

Ben Bernanke (Federal Reserve head) says that "quantitative easing" has been done by past Federal Reserve heads, and it is true. The Fed should print money as the economy expands, but only in proportion to that expansion, not at this insane rate he is doing. Proper increases in the money supply create price stability, confidence and therefore a stage for continued growth. The hope is that enough currency will be added to the economy so as to allow it to operate without radical price changes.

Imagine an economy the size of the United States with a money supply the size of France. Nominal prices would be a fraction of what they are because the currency would be worth so much more. In theory exchange rates for other currencies would be much higher than today, and that would be fine. If things were stagnant we could operate our economy this way without any serious consequences. The problem is that the economy expands and shrinks, and it does so in fits and starts. Without changes in the money supply, prices would jump up and down according to how much currency was needed to conduct business. This would reduce confidence of everyone holding that currency and would reduce their willingness to invest for the long term, thereby reducing growth.

The Fed should raise and lower money supply according to our economic growth. However, it must be done carefully. Everything I am saying is theoretical, and economics has a way of fooling us consistently. So no matter what theory one subscribes to, any action should be moderate so that we will adhere to the physician's admonition, "First do no harm." What the Fed has chosen to do today is anything but moderate. It is radical by any standard.

The inherent assumption in the "Bernanke Theory" is that we are at risk of deflation, and deflation would worsen unemployment. The theory says deflation would cause an increase in the value of our currency, making imports cheaper and exports more expensive, resulting in fewer jobs to create exports. Also, it would put foreign competition at an advantage exporting products which we also make, again resulting in fewer jobs.

Of course the opposite of deflation, inflation, which will be the result of this policy, does its own damage. Fewer people will invest in the country due to a declining value of the currency, and only interest rate increases would attract some level of investment. The problem there is that with higher rates the business cycle slows, thus fewer jobs are created. Also, whatever assets one holds are reduced in value. At the end of the day inflation is a tax, imposed on all savers, earners, and anyone holding assets of any type. Of course that tax accrues to the government in the form of reduced debt or more accurately, reduced purchasing power owed.

I would argue that deflation is not likely to occur, but even if it does, it is probably a symptom of a rapid contraction of prices in one sector or another, not the cause of an economic slowdown. Japan has had deflation for over 20 years because of a stagnant economy and the crash of their stock market in 1987. The US may experience it now because of the housing crash, but it doesn't follow that fewer jobs will be created because of it. We have had periods of mild deflation in the 1920s and they were boom times. In theory shouldn't declining prices induce economic activity, not curtail it? I certainly don't know exactly what all the causes are, but neither does Bernanke. His "cure," for his new demon deflation is inflation. His prescription is like infecting a patient with cancer in an attempt to treat his diabetes.

This type of effort to reduce government liabilities with a printing press has been tried by every banana republic on the planet, and the only question unanswered by looking at their history is how severely the investment community will punish us because we have become a deadbeat nation. Make no mistake. We will be punished. In nominal terms there has been no reduction in the value of the debt, but in purchasing power terms, which is the only real measure of worth, we have already experienced severe reductions, and that applies to every dollar based asset we own.

Just look at the value of our currency. Every western nation can now buy US assets for an amount of purchasing power far below what they had to pay before this scheme was hatched. The only thing that has kept the dollar decline from becoming far more severe is that the markets anticipate that other countries might crank up the presses as well. So the result is, we know we will be hurt, but we are not sure yet how much.

It can be argued that in aggregate the United States citizens owe the government debt, so the dilution of their worth is constructively a repayment of their own indebtedness. The questions that arise are, what about foreigners who hold US debt and were promised repayment with equal purchasing power? They don't owe our nations debt. Answer: they are screwed. Also, who gave the Federal Reserve the authority to do this? They are charged with maintaining price stability and maintaining employment. This latest fiasco does the opposite of their charge to maintain price stability, and it is highly questionable if it will help employment.

This policy is the idiot dream of an academic, but worse, it is a dream when all available evidence (and common sense) shows that even in the unlikely event it helps in the short term, it is certain to be destructive in the long term. It is even worse. We know so little about the unintended consequences of this action, we risk unimaginable damages to ourselves and to the world financial system. King Canute had a better chance of commanding the sea than Banana Ben has of making this work.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

More Lowry Silliness

Rich Lowry should read some history before he comments on it. In his column today he tries to make the self evident point that Obama's politics are gutter politics (there's a real shocker.) He says "...when he (Obama) reflects on his closing arguments during this campaign he'll tell himself, "I'm McCarthy baby. I can play in the gutter."

Lowry's appraisal of the stench of Obama's methods is of course correct, but why must he use liberal mythology, provably false, to compare it to? Is Lowry, or for that matter the whole Sarah Palin bashing, John McCain endorsing National Review staff so ignorant of our history that they believe these myths about McCarthy, or do they know the truth but prefer to adopt the RINO creed of "go along to get along?" I suppose this shouldn't be surprising from a "conservative" writer or magazine that trashed a clear thinking conservative like Sarah Palin and endorsed John McCain, who arguably has done more harm to the conservative movement than any living politician.

In the event the former is the case and Lowry only suffers from extreme ignorance, let me suggest he read the well footnoted book "Blacklisted by History," by Stanton Evans. This book stands alone in giving an unbiased account of the McCarthy period, as can be attested to by anyone who has read it or watched the author debate other historians who have made contradictory claims.

Joe McCarthy was a patriot, his charges were 99% accurate (verified by the Venona papers and the Soviet archives), and the innocent who were tarred by his hearings have only the Democrats to blame. Over McCarthy's objections they prevented the hearings from being closed. The repetition of liberal propaganda says otherwise, and Rich Lowry may buy into it, but if accuracy is considered a virtue among journalists, perhaps he will take my advice and find out what really happened.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More "Peace"

The Arabs in Gaza were wildly cheering with joy at the terrorist killing of an Israeli family of 4 including a pregnant woman. Should we read anything into these outbursts of joy? One third of French Muslims think suicide bombing is acceptable. Does that mean anything? Am I nuts when I say that too many Muslims have missed the "peace" part of the "religion of peace." Maybe it is a peaceful religion as they claim, but wouldn't it be nice if that message were delivered to the faithful rather than us? On 9/11 I saw explosions of joy, not just in Arab capitals around the world, but in the Arab sections of western capitals. What should a reasonable person take away from this? Should I believe the liberal press and the practitioners of Islam, or my lying eyes?

The mayor of NY is either on a different planet or dangerously misinformed. He continues to make bogus and nonsensical arguments about the mosque. After telling us that supporting freedom of religion and opposing the mosque are mutually exclusive (nonsense) and that opposing the mosque is either politically motivated or simple bigotry (slanderous nonsense), he now is warning us against giving the government the right to look into where the mosque funding is coming from. He says we don't want a precedent of this sort. Wow! Is he kidding? Does he have any idea how many charities and mosques are proved to have served as fundraisers and planning centers for a variety of terrorist groups, from al Qaeda to Hamas to Hezbollah and lesser known radicals? That doesn't even include all the organizations suspected of doing so, albeit with insufficient evidence to act.

Earth to liberals: You very lives are at stake. Your nonsense can be an amusing indulgence some of the time, but here you are planting the seeds of your own destruction, and far worse, mine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Religion of Peace

Several years ago an Israeli garage mechanic who had fought in the 67 war there, told me the Americans will never get it right when dealing with Arabs. The problem is, he said, that Americans assume that the Arabs think like them, want the same things as them, and will respond in the same way as them. He continued, nothing can be farther from the truth. Over these past 35 years I have observed Arab Israeli relations in this light, and he had it absolutely right. They don't think like us, although we keep dealing with them as if they do, and consequently nothing positive ever happens. Substitute Muslim for Arab, and you will make similar observations.

Below is Geerd Wilders speech given in NY. The left brands him a bigot, just as they brand anyone against illegal immigration a racist, or someone in support of heterosexual marriage as homophobic. Of course when the left debates him, they can not contradict one fact he represents, and ultimately make themselves look very foolish.

Read this. Your blood will run cold.

Geert Wilders is a Dutch Member of Parliament.

In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: Who lost Europe ?'
Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Party for Freedom, the Netherlands , at the Four Seasons, New York , introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem .
Dear friends,
Thank you very much for inviting me.
I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe.
First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe . Then, I will say a few things about Islam. To close I will tell you about a meeting in Jerusalem .
The Europe you know is changing.
You have probably seen the landmarks. But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world. It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration.
All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighborhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It's the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corners. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighborhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe . These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe , street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.
There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe . With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule.
Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam , Marseille and Malmo in Sweden . In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighborhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities.
In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims.
Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear 'whore, whore'. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin.
In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin . The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity.
In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighborhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels , because he was drinking during the Ramadan.
Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel . I could go on forever with stories like this. Stories about Islamization.
A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.
Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France . One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favor of a worldwide caliphate. Muslims demand what they call 'respect'. And this is how we give them respect. We have Muslim official state holidays.
The Christian-Democratic attorney general is willing to accept sharia in the Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority. We have cabinet members with passports from Morocco and Turkey ..
Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots. Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs, the banlieus. I call the perpetrators 'settlers'. Because that is what they are. They do not come to integrate into our societies; they come to integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam. Therefore, they are settlers.
Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighborhoods, their cities, their countries. Moreover, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be ignored.
The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet. His behavior is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized.. Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriages - at the same time. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed. Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. If it is good for Islam, it is good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad
Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life.. Islam means 'submission'. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.
Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam 'the most retrograde force in the world', and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran.The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel . First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.
This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam's territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines , Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan , Lebanon , and Aceh in Indonesia . Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.
The war against Israel is not a war against Israel . It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel , Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.
Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel , they can get everything. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a 'right-wing extremists' or 'racists'. In my country, the Netherlands , 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat. Yet there is a greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine. An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for America - as its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome , Athens and Jerusalem .
Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe , American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe 's children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so.
We have to take the necessary action now to stop this Islamic stupidity from destroying the free world that we know.
Please take the time to read and understand what is written here, it is time to wake up America. Please send it to every person that you know, it is important.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Islam..Phobia or Simple Understanding

The very politically incorrect joke goes, "The Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, George Bush, and a moderate Muslim are standing on four corners of a road with a ten dollar bill in the middle. Who got the ten dollar bill? George Bush of course. The other three are fairy tale characters."

The problem we face at the Mosque and elsewhere is not one of moderate Islam versus an extreme or perverted version. The problem is with the fundamental nature of Islam itself. Read the Koran, listen to the Imams. One need not be selective in the passages he chooses, just try to understand what the Koran is commanding the faithful to do. For anyone who still has doubts after that, play back the tape of millions of wildly cheering Muslims from Cairo to London after the 9/11 attacks.

The US is a Christian nation. No, you don't have to be Christian to be a citizen, but we are a nation of laws, and our laws are derived from natural law and are consistent with Christian teachings. Simply put, laws are born of values, and in the US that means Christian values. Most faiths share these values, and thus practicing them presents no problem. However, Islam and Sharia law are different. They are inconsistent with those values, inconsistent with our laws, and therefore Islam should be treated like any outlaw organization that sets itself above our law.

Why are we obliged to accept the presence of Sharia and Islamic laws or values anywhere in our society if adherence to them demands the violation of our laws? Must we accept this simply because they arrive under the banner of religion? Is not freedom of speech a basic right for all Americans, even Muslim women? Sharia says no. Are those women chattel? Should all religions be subordinated to Islam (if tolerated at all) in civil society? Should we not prosecute honor killings? Do we want legal sanctions, as Sharia has, for violating dietary laws (Michael Bloomberg, the trans fat Mayor of NY not withstanding). You get the point.

Foreign law has no standing in the US (exception of Ruth Bader Ginsberg noted), and neither does religious law. We should use every means possible to eradicate illegal and often treasonous teachings from all sources which require the breach of our law. There is nothing inconsistent with following Christianity (or Judaism, or Buddhism, or Scientology), and following American law. But there is a huge conflict between following Islam and following US law. If we are to remain a nation where the law, our law, continues to reign supreme, it is not only our right but our obligation to fight against any person or organization that would undermine them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Mosque Must Go

The argument that the proposed mosque near Ground Zero is an issue of religious freedom misses the point. We all agree that worship is constitutionally protected. The real question is, does anyone have the right to build a monument where ever they want to what they believe was a great military victory over the United States? Would the United States have the right, under private property laws in Japan, to build a monument to the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki on those sites? I think not.

The argument that this proposal will be a monument to a battle victory of radical Islam at Ground Zero has a lot of evidence supporting it. Certainly throughout history Islam has built monuments in the form of Mosques on the sites of many battle victories. Imam Rauf, the promoter, has said many things (you have heard them all) that supports that contention here. If this would simply be a place of worship with the added purpose to reach out to Islam's neighbors, why would the Imam fight for this particular sight? He would create a mountain of goodwill before even breaking ground if he went elsewhere. But if this is a victory monument, fighting for that location makes good sense. I think his refusal to change locations betrays his real motive.

To those who would argue we can not know what is in his mind, rather we can only guess at his innermost motives, I would agree. We can not know with absolute certainty, in fact we can not even know beyond a reasonable doubt. But knowing with that degree of certainty is not necessary for the state to exercise its authority. This is not a criminal case. Different standards of proof are intentionally set in different areas of the law. A civil case need not meet the standard of proof that a criminal case does. If the smell test were applied, this proposal would fail miserably. I believe that whatever standard is ultimately applied, the Imams own statements leave only one reasonable conclusion. The mosque should not be built.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wolfowitz's Mistake

Paul Wolfowitz has a distinguished public and private career. Most recently he was head of the IMF and before that assistant secretary of defense under Donald Rumsfeld. He has always subscribed to the highest standards of integrity, confirmed by everyone who knows him. Recently he was driven out of the IMF with trumped up charges, (provably false), because the other career people, almost to a man, wished to keep the cushy, corrupt status quo of the organization that he fought but failed to reform. The result was one for the bad guys.

In yesterdays WSJ Wolfowitz co authored an article with Al Gore titled "Malaysia's Opposition on Trial" where they challenge the world to speak up on behalf of Anwar Ibrahim, who has had politically motivated, false charges filed against him. Their cause is virtuous. I just wonder why Wolfowitz would allow his name to be tarnished by associating it with someone like Al Gore.

I can appreciate the idea that an article like this might have broader appeal when presented by representatives from the left and right. And I believe that in this world, there are at least a few well intentioned liberals, albeit misguided. However, I also know Al Gore is not one of them. He lacks any sort of ethical standards in his personal or public/ professional life. The examples of this are too numerous to recount. I will simply say he is an unethical intellectual mutant (American Thinker term), but a powerful and therefore dangerous one. He should be avoided like an ebola virus.

We are judged by the company we keep. Obama's behavior as President was entirely predictable based on the extremists he kept company with his whole life. Doesn't Wolfowitz understand that the credibility of a news article is in part a function of the credibility of the author? This is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich's advertisement he made with Nancy Pelosi touting cooperation on climate change. Of course what Newt did was even more egregious because the policy he was supporting is simply another liberal scam. At least here the cause has merit.

I hope all conservative spokesmen take note. Only speak to a liberal if you must. But never share a stage or an idea with one, lest your good ideas get thrown into the trash heap of garbage liberalism generally produces.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Enemy of my Enemy ....

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries."

William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

This may be Obama's time, if only he seizes it.

The thought of a nuclear armed Iran is bone chilling for anyone who understands the consequences. It is an existential threat for not just Israel, as many would like to pretend, but for the entire western world. We have dallied far too long, wishing somehow it would just go away.

During the "Green Revolution" protesters in Iran rose up in force demonstrating against the regimes theft of the election. Obama chose to side with the Mullahs. I can only guess he calculated that his support for their totalitarian regime would cause them to negotiate away their nuclear ambitions. If so, he was very wrong.

Had he backed the demonstrators there would only have been a small chance of success, but that chance was squandered. If somehow the regime had toppled (would the Revolutionary Guard have fired on their own people, probably, but we can't be sure), the present nuclear problem would likely have been arrested. Funding for Iran's proxies like Hezbollah and other regime backed terrorist groups would have dried up, or at least being curtailed. It would have been a safer world. But that was then, and now is now.

An editorial in The NY Post, Facing a Common Foe by Alexander Smoltczyk and Bernhard Zand, says that at a forum at The Aspen Institute Ideas Festival last week the United Arab Emirates' ambassador to the US was asked whether the UAE would support a possible air strike against the regime in Tehran. He said, "A military attack on Iran by whomever would be a disaster, but Iran with a nuclear weapon would be a bigger disaster. " A Middle East expert. Jeffery Goldberg said the Ambassador was expressing "the standard position of many Arab countries." Goldberg believes the Jewish Arab problem is bad, very bad, but the Persian Arab problem is far worse. The deep seeded hatred and mutual distrust has been simmering for centuries, and it is far worse now with Iran threatening to develop a nuclear bomb.

Saudi Arabia suspects Iran of stirring up the Shite minority in its eastern provinces. In fact the Saudis have had military exercises where they have stood down their air defenses in a manner that would allow Israeli jets to fly through their airspace. If Israel does attack Iran, the Saudis will be ready to help- not Iran but Israel. The Arab emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Kuwait have in one way or another expressed grave concerns over the growing Iranian threat. They all have been helpful seizing illicit cargo aimed at countering Iranian mischief. There is no love lost here.

Because of this Obama has an even better opportunity to end Iran's nuclear threat than before, but this time he might simultaneously create a lasting peace in the Middle East. Our State Department should meet secretly with those Arab nations that are fearful of a nuclear armed Iran and propose that they make peace with Israel, and quickly, within a year. They would further be tasked with forcing the PLO and Hamas to accept Israel's right to exist, and complete an agreement for a two state solution, insuring Israel's security, even if the implementation of such an agreement took a while longer to complete. If all parties agreed, and if they completed their tasks, the US would guarantee to use any force necessary to de fang Iran. The biggest risk for the Arabs would be the failure of the US to honor it's word, and so their answer would in no small part depend on how much they trusted the President. It is therefore vital that Obama give every possible assurance that he will not back away.

It is certainly in the Arabs long term interests to agree. Remember, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Israel does not threaten their existence, Iran does. The Arabs can save face while reversing course with Israel by directing their populations anger towards a bigger enemy, a bigger threat, Iran. Deadlines with catastrophic consequences help focus the mind, and the deadline of needing action before Iran develops the bomb could well be the catalyst necessary for the Arabs and Israelis to truly achieve a lasting peace.

If Syria watched this unfold, they would likely abandon Iran. It would be clear which the winning side would be, and they would have to act quickly in order to extract some concessions from Israel before the dust settled and they risked becoming a rogue outlier.

For the US the benefits are tremendous. If agreements were finalized, it would put severe and unprecedented pressure on Iran to give up their ambitions. Unlike past vacuous statement about all options being on the table, the message here would be unambiguous. "The US, Israel, Europe and the Arab states stand together and are prepared to do whatever it takes to end the Iranian threat." It is anything but certain that Iran would turn their swords into plowshares, but they would have internal pressure from a young, well educated, cosmopolitan, western leaning majority, and external pressure from a large, powerful international coalition. Combined, the pressure would be an order of magnitude greater than anything they have felt thus far.

If they didn't capitulate, there would be enough support worldwide that the Chinese and the Russians, looking at this huge coalition with an irrevocable commitment to act, would at worst steer clear of the situation, and at best join in.

The key to success is that our commitment be absolute. The behavior of all the players, the Arab states, China, Russia, Syria, not to mention Iran, will be very different depending on how they interpret our resolve.

There are three possible roads to success. Iran could capitulate. If not, strategic attacks could both seriously damage their nuclear facilities and at the same time undermine the government, perhaps allowing the Green Party to take over. The third and last alternative is war.

The first phase of a war would not likely be terribly difficult. With a joint US Israel attack (assuming a Desert Storm strategy was not adopted where Israeli hands were tied) the Iranians would have a hard time resisting. Certainly with ground troops we could easily set the nuclear program back many years. And unlike Iraq and Afghanistan where the "peace" became the real problem, there is a popular government in Iran waiting to take over.

Of course with any war, things could go wrong, terribly wrong. But the consequences of even the worst turn of events pales in comparison to a nuclear armed Iran, not to mention the dangers of an irreconcilable situation in the Middle East.

The world would hardly be a safe place even if success here were achieved. A not very stable Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a terrorist takeover would not be shocking. Sudan is a failed state that harbors terrorists and could easily become a safe haven for them. Russia and China have ambitions that are yet to be understood, and Al Qaeda continues to actively plot our destruction. None the less, an achievement of this magnitude would be a huge step towards peace and stability.

The likelihood of getting the Arabs on board is very small. The likelihood of succeeding even if we do get them on board is small, but the reward is huge. We must do something.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

McCain Letter

This is a letter to the editor I sent to National Review during the Republican presidential primary fight. Ramesh Ponnuru was singing the praises of John McCain. I am posting it here because it is a good example of why in many areas so called moderation should not be tolerated. At the end of the letter I say that if McCain is nominated it will be time for some creative destruction. Here we are over 18 months later and that process has begun. We shall all be the beneficiaries.

It was shocking to read Ramesh Ponnuru's NR cover story, The Coming McCain Moment. In order to properly understand John McCain, a few modifications and additions to the article are needed.

McCain was a member of The Keating Five, where he traded influence for campaign contributions. It was long ago, but it plants a seed of doubt as to his willingness to sell influence.

Ponnuru says "He supported a scheme of taxes and regulations to fight smoking"...It was a scheme all right, hatched in the back rooms of liberal politicians and trial lawyers. McCain was the point man for legislation and the trial lawyers to punish American Corporations that had not only been operating legally, but had been given a hold harmless by the congress and the Surgeon General by virtue of warning labels on cigarette packages. This was a blatant attack on private property and a classic abuse of government power. It created a government backed feeding frenzy among trial lawyers costing (mostly the poor) billions of dollars, and provided a wealth of talking points for Democratic operatives.

Ponnuru says campaign finance reform is not the issue it once was. Perhaps he is right. But should conservatives support McCain who sponsored this restriction on free speech, enhancing the unelected Democratic media's power? By lending his name and support, the media misleadingly represented the bill as bipartisan. Bush's abandonment of principle by signing the bill in no way excuses McCain's part.

McCain fought Bush on interrogation methods for suspected terrorists. The author charitably explains this as a principled act resulting in part from his being a POW in Vietnam. I am not so charitable. I see this and many other positions he adopts as attempts to ingratiate himself to the mainstream media by joining in their Bush bashing flavor of the month.

McCain's support of "free market solutions" (lol) to global warming is somehow seen by the author as "more prescient than most conservatives." This presupposes global warming needs a "solution". Many disagree, and even under the highly questionable assumption that global warming is man made, and under the further questionable assumption that it will be harmful, nothing proposed by any group, McCain and Kyoto included, would make any meaningful change in the warming trend. McCain's position does however, once again, give ammunition to the enemy.

"McCain has never voted for a general tax increase" says Ponnuru. He surely advocated one. In the 2000 presidential campaign he took a page from the basic Democratic playbook and argued that we should raise taxes on the rich. I don't know if his understanding of economics is so poor that he believed it would be a good thing, or if he was trying to score cheap political points, but either one is roundly unattractive. It may not be a vote to increase taxes, but when he voted against the Bush tax cuts he got in bed with increases first cousin.

In 2000 McCain trashed Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. These men are/ were not perfect, but they represent a wide constituency and have done tremendous good for their followers and all Americans. Recently he went after Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, two highly ethical, highly accomplished, great Americans. If he believes what he said, he is out of step with the people in his own party. If he driven by political calculations, one must question his rationality.

How many of these misconceived initiatives can be excused as the behavior of a maverick, or a principled maverick as the press would say? Irrespective of Ponnuru's assertions to the contrary, he disagrees with far too many basic conservative principles. Should Republicans look the other way in order to get this RINO elected? Is he a political opportunist, or simply out of touch, and does it matter? If McCain is the best Republican hope, it is certainly time for some creative destruction.

John McCain's record indicates he is better qualified to be president of than President of the United States.

Michael Sall, Villanova PA

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ideologues...A Breath of Fresh Air

A friend asked me to contribute to a candidate for the House's campaign and said "He is not an ideologue." I said "Too there anything good you can say about him?" Who ever got the idea that compromising or abandoning one's values, or worse, not having any values to begin with, is a virtue. Arlen Spector is not an ideologue, and neither is John McCain. What they are is chameleons. Their ship flies no flag, but they are not ideologues.

This idea reminds me of those who take it as a priori that moderation is a virtue. Many years ago Barry Goldwater (One of the founders of the modern conservative movement) said "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

Goldwater was an absolute ideologue, and one with all the right ideas. Would you trust your possessions, or more importantly your freedom, to an ideologue like him, or McCain and Spector?

McCain and Spector claim to be moderates. Antony Scalia, one of the most thoughtful jurists ever to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court, answered a question posed to him about moderation in interpreting the law. He asked the questioner, "What exactly is moderation...halfway between what the law says and what you wish it would say?"

Of course there are things where moderation is appropriate. They are mostly where the effect of a policy are uncertain but worth trying. But there are others where "extremism" is clearly called for. Perhaps the devotees of moderation would like Lincoln to have freed half the slaves, or maybe he could have freed them from 12:00 until 5:00?

No..moderation is no virtue. I would prefer to let all the ideologues, right and left, fight it out. Let the differences be clearly understood...and the better ideas will survive. If people understand liberalism and its history, its boot heel might be removed from our country's neck and the proverbial stake will be driven through its heart.

For those of you who don't know much about Goldwater, he and Reagan are credited with founding modern conservatism. He was the Senator from Arizona and the Republican Presidential nominee in the 1964 election. Like Reagan and all influential Republicans he was labeled stupid, evil and extreme. Of course the Left never addressed his policies or philosophy. He moved to the right of the "Country Club Republicans," or the "Rockefeller Republicans," and their low tax anti communist platform. He extended this to include smaller government, individual responsibility, and constitutional mandates. In doing so the party developed a politically viable coalition by bringing rural Americans and evangelical Christians along with all people of faith into the Republican tent.

To get a sense of who he was, here is one more of his quotes. "I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents "interests," I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can." pg 15. The Conscience of A Conservative (1960)

Sunday, January 31, 2010


Lies come in many forms. Progressives justify most lies based on a misbegotten "greater good" theory- or the ends justify the means. Their techniques vary from repeating the lie so many times that people begin to believe it (A propaganda technique of Trotsky), or enlisting media types and supposed experts to confirm the lie (in logic this is referred to as a fallacious appeal to authority), their hope being that the lie will become "common knowledge" after some time period. Time would never allow anyone to deal with even a small percentage of these, but below I will list a few put out over the last couple of years that on their face are obviously false, yet achieved the status of a "given," "accepted science," or something "we all know."

Torture doesn't work. Remember the debate about water boarding. Whether or not it is torture may be debatable, but the lefts suggestion that torture doesn't work is preposterous on its face. American soldiers are instructed if captured to give the enemy only their name rank and serial number. However, during Vietnam many were told in advance to give up information well beyond that because they would be tortured and talk then anyway. Stories came back about captured enemy soldiers riding in a helicopter where one was asked a question and when he refused to answer was summarily thrown out of the helicopter from a thousand feet in the air. The next was asked the same question. Guess what happened? I don't know if these stories are entirely true, but I do know that almost anyone will give up information to stop torture. Yet everyone on the left repeated this myth and acted as if we are idiots for laughing at them.

Al Qaeda uses Gitmo as a recruiting tool.
Would Al Qaeda say anything different or act differently if the prisoners were housed in Marion Ill? Think about the absurdity here.

Obama failed to communicate enough on his health care bill. Really his problem was he communicated too much, even though he did abandon the truth when explaining the bill. His problem was if he communicated better or more (if he told the truth) it would have been rejected faster and more completely than it was (if that is possible). He explained it his fictional way ad naseum, he gave 27 speeches about it, and still it was roundly rejected. No... he spoke enough. His problem was he was the tenth medicine man to pass through town.

Global warming is settled science.
I admit that one could be illiterate and still know the last two were lies, whereas understanding the silliness of this statement might require reading a newspaper...say about once a month. The various attempts to hide information, fudge results, and destroy climate data are well documented in the Climate-gate emails. NASA and other US government organizations have admitted to participating in fraud in climate analysis. A paper was cited at the climate conference in Copenhagen last month claiming the glaciers in the Himalayas will melt within the next 35 years. When the author of the paper on which the conclusion was based stated that the conclusion was nonsense and not his, and that it would take hundreds of years if it happened at all, we discovered that the presenter was willing to lie. But what came out later was more egregious. The head of the UN Committee on climate change knew the presentation was fraudulent two months before it was presented, yet remained silent before during and after the presentation. Why are so many lies told if it is "settled science?" Could it be because if it is scrutinized in the same way any other scientific theory is, it becomes apparent it is baseless nonsense?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gay Marriage is Not a Right

Ted Olsen, a great man and a great conservative, has teamed up with the liberal attorney Davis Bois to argue in the California State Supreme Court against Proposition 8 in which the people of California banned gay marriage. This week he wrote in Newsweek magazine an article defending his position. You can find it at I believe he misses at least one fundamental and game changing point, and here is why.

Dear Mr. Olsen,

As a a lifelong conservative, I take exception to the case you make for gay marriage in as much you fail to address the most conservative of all objections, that being support for the rule of law.

The arguments you present are quite moving, although you might want to trash that "settled science" bit as to the nature/nurture debate about homosexuality. I am not suggesting you are wrong, only that there is nothing at all settled on the issue. But I digress. The problem is that the proper forum for your most thoughtful and compassionate arguments is a legislative body, not a court of law. Were your arguments presented to the people's representatives, I for one might support them. But you seem to have chosen the liberal elitist approach. They know it is easier to win an unelected judge's support than a majority of the voters or their representatives.

For 200 years federal, state and local legislatures have passed laws giving privileges and responsibilities to married couples. In every case the "couple" was defined as a union between a man and a woman. This limitation may be unfair. It may be undesirable. But it is legal, and claiming that it is illegal based on an imaginary extension of a basic constitutional right is a gross misreading and misuse of the constitution. And, if it is not a constitutional violation, it is no business of the courts.

As a conservative I can support the right of people to do as they please so long as it doesn't affect others, but to enjoy privileges simply because another group has them, is offensive to me and many others. Do I have a constitutional right to park in a handicapped spot under some bizarre extension of the equal protection clause? Was the court right when it presented an incoherent argument in order to create the "right" to an abortion. As repulsive as legislatures often are, they are a lot better than unelected or unaccountable judges ruling on constitutional issues from which there is little recourse. That authority should only be used in the clearest and most egregious of violations. Certainly allowing some judge to make these public policy decisions is to undermine the greatest document in support of freedom ever written.

The length of your argument betrays its' failings. If the case you are making truly does relate to constitutional issues, you would have been able to make it in short order, much like the constitution itself.

I trust you will rethink this. Your sense of right and wrong and your compassion should not only include gays, but should extend to the very system which insures that our basic rights are inviolate. Your approach will create an uneven, chaotic application of the law, having the practical effect of denying us the freedom and the protection the law affords us when it is evenly applied.