An online preview of the upcoming segment on ABC's news show 20/20 takes an interesting look at potential voters who have a shocking ignorance of all things political.
Stossel brings up a point that I've always thought made a lot of sense. If you don't know what you're voting about, you really shouldn't be voting. I don't think there should be any legal way to take away someone's voting rights because they know nothing about the basics of the American political system. However, we should discourage people from voting if they are completely uninformed. And that's the reason I'm glad 100% of potential voters do not participate in any election cycle.
If you want to vote you should become informed about the candidates and the issues involved in the election campaign. If you're not willing to do that, why are you even voting? In essence, these voters are voting blind. And all that does is dilute the votes of those voters who actually cared enough to inform themselves before they voted.
I want to live in a country with universal suffrage. On the other hand, I don't want to live in a country governed by emotional and irrational mob rule. Authoritarianism can be seen in the rule of one man and it can be seen in the rule of millions.
(Hat Tip: Hot Air)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
An online preview of the upcoming segment on ABC's news show 20/20 takes an interesting look at potential voters who have a shocking ignorance of all things political.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
One of the most contentious areas of American politics is energy policy. With rising gas prices, energy has become even more important. One of my major problems with the leaders of the Democratic Party on this issue is that they seem to want to have it both ways. Read this excerpt from an article about Nancy Pelosi and her views on energy policy, and then I'll explain what I mean. Story from the International Herald Tribune.
"The president of the United States, with gas at $4 a gallon because of his failed energy policies, is now trying to say that is because I couldn't drill offshore," Pelosi said in an interview. "That is not the cause, and I am not going to let him get away with it."
In a private meeting last week, according to some in attendance, Pelosi told members of her leadership team that a decision to relent on the coastal ban would amount to capitulation to Republicans and the White House. She attributes today's energy problems to a failure of the Bush administration to develop a comprehensive approach, its ties to the industry and a mishandling of the economy.
"We have to get to a place where one day my grandchildren will say, 'Do you believe our grandparents had to go with their car and fill up?' It will be like going with a barrel on our head to a well to get water. That will be the equivalent."
When the Democrats took control of Congress nearly 2 years ago, they claimed that they had a solution to gas prices and that they would go down under Democratic leadership. In all reality, there was no plan. They have no plan because they have two divergent goals that they try to push together. The first goal is to lower gas prices. The second goal is to stop using oil as the major fuel source.
If you try to lower gas prices, you either have to increase supply or decrease demand. If you increase supply, you are doing nothing to get off of oil. And you're never going to get enough of a drop in demand to help to lower the price. In other words, if you stick to this first goal the focus remains on petroleum.
If you choose the second goal, you have to turn away from oil. That means you do not increase supply, and in a world of rapidly increasing petroleum demand that's not going to help gas prices one bit. Additionally, you are going to have to get American consumers to use another product instead of oil. That will cost billions if not trillions to set up the delivery system for new fuel sources. Again, that will make it more expensive. And this does not take into account the actual cost of the fuel. Who is to say that this new fuel will not be even more expensive than petroleum is now. It might well be less expensive, but who really knows. In the transition period between petroleum and whatever alternative sources we end up using, the cost of energy will definitely go up.
In the end, these two goals diverge rather than converge. If you're going to fulfill one goal you have to ignore the other. That's the basic truth that the Democrats, nor anyone else for that matter, are not willing to publicly face. As long as they're not willing to face that reality they're just going to continue the blame game, and nothing constructive will ever happen. Over the last 30 years, discussions on energy policy have been nothing more than a dance around the hard truth. It's time to face reality as it is, and stop the decades long procrastination.
(Hat tip: Say Anything)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Yesterday, Barack Obama spoke at La Raza's national convention in San Diego. Predictably, Obama devoted most of his speech to highlighting his support of "comprehensive immigration reform" a.k.a. allowing illegal aliens to become legal residents. But he went further by talking about how horrible US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is. Transcript via RealClearPolitics.
The system isn't working when 12 million people live in hiding, and hundreds of thousands cross our borders illegally each year; when companies hire undocumented immigrants instead of legal citizens to avoid paying overtime or to avoid a union; when communities are terrorized by ICE immigration raids [NMS-emphasis mine] - when nursing mothers are torn from their babies, when children come home from school to find their parents missing, when people are detained without access to legal counsel.
You have to give Obama credit, when he panders he goes all out. Last time I checked, ICE immigration raids are part of federal immigration law enforcement. But I've been enlightened, federal immigration enforcement is run by evil, malicious, ne'er-do-wells looking for some random illegal alien to harass and terrorize, and maybe take a baby from a mother while they're at it. Give me a break.
(Hat tip: Hot Air)
Sunday, July 13, 2008
After every major natural disaster, someone will inevitably blame global warming for the disaster. At first, it annoyed me to no end. But now, I find it absolutely hilarious. On Thursday, Congressman Ed Markey decided to have some fun and play the blame game as well. Story from CNS News.
A top Democrat told high school students gathered at the U.S. Capitol Thursday that climate change caused Hurricane Katrina and the conflict in Darfur, which led to the “black hawk down” battle between U.S. troops and Somali rebels.
Actually, the beginning of the article is a bit wrong. Markey said that global warming caused hurricane Katrina, the conflict in Darfur, and the salmon that caused US humanitarian intervention in Somalia in the early 90s. Darfur had nothing to do with the Somali intervention. Now let the ridicule commence.
"In Somalia back in 1993, climate change, according to 11 three- and four-star generals, resulted in a drought which led to famine,” said Markey.
This makes perfect sense, because Africa never had famines before the late 20th century. No one ever went hungry before then, right?
And it gets better from there. The article has quotes from high school students talking about the imminent danger of global warming.
The students who testified at the event, most of whom had lived in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, described the difficulties they faced after the storm and blamed global warming for the disaster.
"Katrina woke me up and made me pay attention,” said 17-year-old Danielle Wold from Harvey, La. “One of the worst disasters in history made me want to do something. In 100 years, New Orleans could just be another Atlantis.”
One of the worst disasters in history? What about the dozens of floods in China that killed hundreds of thousands of people each. What about the recent Chinese earthquake? How about the recent Southeast Asian tsunami? Need I go on?
And while I'm at it, pinning the blame of hurricane Katrina on global warming doesn't entirely stand up to scrutiny. Why, do you ask? Well, have the last couple of hurricane seasons being especially severe? No. So, if global warming is spiraling out of control why haven't we seen more destructive hurricanes hitting the US Atlantic Coast? Just thought I'd ask.
Fifteen-year-old Stephen Bordes from New Orleans called on lawmakers to do something to end global warming. “Cutting carbon emissions is mainly in your hands since you pass the laws,” he said. ‘You basically control climate change. We should have changed yesterday, but it’s too late to change yesterday so we should start now.”
Bordes said that he thinks the warming of the atmosphere could lead to a situation in which his home, which is near the superdome in New Orleans, could become permanently inundated with water.
Sage advice from a climatology expert. Oh wait, he's a 15-year-old high school student. Maybe it's just me, but having high school students talk about global warming really doesn't do it for me.
Markey finished his talk by comparing the debate against global warming to the 20th century fight for women suffrage. “Back 100 years ago, women rose up and said we want the right to vote, and they were successful,” he said. “Now, you are like the green generation and you are rising up and saying we must ensure the planet does not suffer the worst consequences of climate change.”
The scientific debate over global warming is about whether human induced carbon emissions or causing the earth to rapidly warm. Like any other scientific debate, there is an answer to that question, it just hasn't been hammered out. It's a ridiculous analogy because the 19th amendment has nothing to do with scientific facts whatsoever. But when you're throwing analogies out, relevance isn't really relevant.
In conclusion, everybody panic, the world's going to end. The sky might fall. It's the end of the world as we know it (no, I'm not paying royalties REM, so don't ask). I'm out of catchphrases, so I guess this is the end.
(Hat tip: Right Wing News)
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
To most people, a black hole is a term from astronomy. But according to a Dallas County Commissioner using the term black hole is offensive. Story from the Dallas City Hall Blog.
County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.
Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.
Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."
That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.
Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term.
Wow, a judge any Commissioner. Dallas County sounds like it's represented well. It also sounds like they're itching for a fight. Combine that with an astonishing lack of basic knowledge, and you might end up looking like a fool. These two geniuses certainly did.
I have a question for the Commissioner and the Judge. Are you smarter than a fifth grader?
(Hat tip: Right Wing News)
Thursday, July 03, 2008
That's exactly what the EU wants to do regarding the Lisbon Treaty. After the defeat of the proposed EU constitution in popular referendums in France and the Netherlands, the EU decided to repackage that failed Constitution as the Treaty of Lisbon. According to the rules set out by the EU, ratification would only be assured if the treaty was passed by all 27 nations in the EU. 26 nations refused a popular vote, leaving Ireland as the only one with a popular referendum. Yet again, the EU lost in a popular referendum.
So how do the proponents of the treaty respond? By attempting to change the rules. Story from The Telegraph.
Future referendums will be ignored whether they are held in Ireland or elsewhere, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the European Union Constitution said.
The former President of France drafted the old Constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters three years ago before being resurrected as the Lisbon EU Treaty, itself shunned by the Irish two weeks ago.
Mr Giscard d'Estaing told the Irish Times that Ireland's referendum rejection would not kill the Treaty, despite a legal requirement of unanimity from all the EU's 27 member states.
"We are evolving towards majority voting because if we stay with unanimity, we will do nothing," he said.
"It is impossible to function by unanimity with 27 members. This time it's Ireland; the next time it will be somebody else."
If the requirement for unanimity was such a problem why was it not brought up before the referendum? Simple, because the EU didn't think it would be a problem. After the defeat of the referendum in Ireland, the EU decided that following the rules was too burdensome. In other words, legality is all right if it doesn't get in our way. Not very democratic.
This is nothing but a power grab. The EU wants to control Europe as a single entity, and they don't care about how they do it. They try to act like they're doing it for the good of the people, but no intelligent person should believe that nonsense. The EU believes it is above the law and therefore any government of Europe controlled by the EU is never going to be democratic. The best adjective that describes the EU is authoritarian.
(Hat tip: Gates of Vienna)
Monday, June 30, 2008
Yesterday Wesley Clark appeared on Face the Nation to support Barack Obama for president. In the course of the interview, Clark made some baffling statements about John McCain in regards to his military service.
Here's the part of the transcript when Clark talks about McCain's military service.
SCHIEFFER: How can you say that John McCain is untested and untried, General?
Gen. CLARK: Because in the matters of national security policy making, it's a matter of understanding risk, it's a matter of gauging your opponents and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the armed forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn't held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn't a wartime squadron. He hasn't been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn't seen what it's like when diplomats come in and say, `I don't know whether we're going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it publicly?
Ludicrous, simply ludicrous. McCain flew a fighter over Vietnam, was shot down, and suffered five years of torture as a POW in Hanoi. But, somehow he is untested and untried? So, if you're in the military but aren't a general you haven't been tested or tried? Did Clark think before he talked? It looks like he's grasping at straws to somehow make McCain's military experience look less appealing.
This shows a complete lack of political skill. McCain has loads of military experience, from his military service and as serving on the Senate Armed Forces Committee. First of all, trying to make McCain's military service look less important is simply nitpicking. To me, to attack McCain's military experience seems to be an utter waste of time for an Obama supporter. It makes the Obama campaign look desperate.
Secondly, if you go after McCain's military experience you inevitably bring up the obvious fact that Obama has absolutely no military experience. The Obama campaign is trying to steer the election away from issues of experience, for obvious reasons. If you bring up McCain's military experience in any way, you're not accomplishing that goal. If the Obama campaign thinks this is a strategic winner, they're not very intelligent. If they don't think this tactic is a good idea, they might want to ask Wesley Clark to open his mouth a lot less.
(Hat tip: Hot Air)
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference) is an organization that has repeatedly shown its utter contempt of freedom of speech. Over the last two years the OIC has used the Danish cartoon brouhaha as a reason for Western countries to restrict free speech when that speech involves Islam. So, it's no surprise that the OIC is announcing a Danish court ruling that upheld freedom of speech. Story from Reuters.
The High Court for western Denmark on Thursday rejected a suit against Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that first published cartoons of Islam's prophet, leading to deadly protests in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The court said the editors had not meant to depict Muslims as criminals or terrorists, the cartoons had not broken the law, and there was a relationship between acts of violence and Islam -- comments that provoked outcry among Muslim groups in Denmark.
"It is a known fact that acts of terror have been carried out in the name of Islam and it is not illegal to make satire out of this relationship," the court said.
The Saudi-based OIC, the largest grouping of Muslim countries, said the ruling could encourage "Islamophobia," a fear or dislike of Islam, which the group has identified as existing in the West.
"The Danish ruling came as a surprise to the OIC at a time when almost all Western governments including the USA had made categorical statements rejecting any linkage between Islam and terrorism," an OIC statement said.
"The linkage drawn by the Danish court ... could create a precedent for exacerbation of Islamophobia."
It's sad that the newspaper had to win a court battle over whether satire was allowed. But at least the court did it use its power to restrict freedom of speech. But that really isn't my point, I want to focus on the OIC.
What the OIC wants is quite simple: outlawing criticism of Islam. It's not that they don't understand freedom of speech, because they do. They understand it, and they despise it. They believe that people should not be able to form their own opinions, the OIC wants to form their opinions for them.
The position of the OIC is inherently insecure. They are broadcasting to the world that they do not believe that Islam can stand up to the rigors of free and open speech. They are afraid of competition, and therefore wish to outlaw that competition. If you view your belief system as strong you won't be worried about speech critical of your belief system. If you believe you are right you should believe that you have the ability to persuade others. If you don't believe you can persuade others to your belief system, does your belief system actually have any strength? I wouldn't think so.
I believe that people should be able to express obnoxious, unpopular, or contentious opinions about any religion. Free speech allows people to be stupid and it also allows people to be brilliant. The merits of an idea should be decided by individuals, not mandated by the government or international institutions. The state should be less intrusive in people's lives, not more so.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
On June 21, 2001, the great blues musician John Lee Hooker passed away. So, I thought it would be fitting to do my weekend music post about him.
Although he was born in the Mississippi Delta in 1917, John Lee Hooker's music career didn't start until he was living in Detroit in the late 1940s. He had his first hit in 1948, with the song "Boogie Chillen." As with any other blues musician, Hooker certainly had talent with the guitar. What made Hooker unique was his vocal style, a combination of singing and talking that made him sound somewhat like a storyteller.
"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"
The main message of the Obama campaign is that Barack Obama is a new type of candidate that will engage in a different kind of politics. But Obama's recent comments on race in Jacksonville look like typical Democratic tactics, not some kind of transformative politics. Story from Reuters.
"It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy," Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. "We know what kind of campaign they're going to run. They're going to try to make you afraid.
"They're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?"
It looks as if Obama is trying to portray the Republicans as a party willing to use racism as part of its campaign tactics. That's really new, isn't it. We've never heard this from a Democrat before. Oh wait, we have.
I agree with Ed Morrissey who says: "Without noting a single supporting piece of evidence, Obama cast any opposition to him as bigotry." Claiming that a group is willing to use racist tactics is a serious accusation, and should be treated as such. If Obama is going to claim that the Republicans are going to use race against him, be prepared to give a few examples. Otherwise, you're just throwing around accusations to throw around accusations.
Additionally, you can't preemptively accuse someone of doing something. Last time I checked, The Minority Report (a movie in which people are arrested for crimes before they commit them) was science fiction. If you're going to accuse someone of a wrong, it can't be in the form of a prediction. The wrong that you are accusing someone of doing has to have actually occurred for the accusation to be valid. Show me the evidence, otherwise silence would be especially golden.
I thought only the Republicans used the "politics of fear."
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I've written before about Barack Obama attempting to claim that his wife should not be subject to political criticism in the presidential campaign. He makes the same claim in an interview with David Brody of CBN News.
If you think about Michelle, I mean here's somebody who's done everything right. She grew up in modest means. She grew up in a nuclear family. Her parents looked after her. She went to college on a scholarship. She's worked hard for everything that she has.
She is the best mother I know. She has made repeated sacrifices on behalf of her family and has said that her children and her husband are her number one priority.
So the fact that people have tried to make her a target, based essentially on a couple of comments in which she was critical of what's happening to our American dream and the enormous difficulties that people are experiencing -- the difficulties that she hears directly as she is traveling across the country, I think is really distressing. And you know I've said publicly before, and I'll say it again - I think families are off limits. I would never consider making Cindy McCain a campaign issue, and if I saw people doing that - I would speak out against it.
I agree that families of presidential candidates should be off limits in a presidential campaign. However, that does come with a condition. As long as family members of the candidate don't make themselves a part of the political campaign, they should be off limits. But if they become a part of the political campaign, as Michelle Obama has by giving political speeches on the campaign trail, all claims of immunity should be null and void.
Obama throws in a red herring as well. The criticism of Michelle Obama's political speeches has nothing to do with how good of a mother she is. It has to do with her political rhetoric. Obama is trying to portray anyone who criticizes his wife as a barbarous Neanderthal targeting the innocent. Don't you just love the smell of demonization in the morning?
It's perfectly reasonable to argue whether criticism of Michelle Obama is well founded or not. However, it's arrogant to argue that any criticism of Michelle Obama is necessarily a bad thing. It's attempting to get a political free pass, giving political speeches and then claiming immunity from criticism. But I thought Obama was above such disingenuous arguments, after all he is the "new politics."
Meet the new politics, same as the old politics.
(Hat tip: Hot Air)
Sunday, June 15, 2008
This post is quite shorter than most of my music posts, but here it is anyway. One of my favorite songs is "(Night Time Is) the Right Time" by Ray Charles. And one of my favorite sitcoms is the Cosby Show. Here's a video from the Cosby Show, in which this song is lip-synched during an episode.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
A few months ago, the opposition in Zimbabwe won an election but was denied their rightful victory by the Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Instead, Mugabe claimed that a runoff election was necessary. That sham will occur at the end of this month and Mugabe is doing all he can to make sure he "wins" the election. Thus, it's no surprise that is threatening the opposition with military force. Story from AFP.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said Saturday the opposition would never govern in his lifetime and he was ready to go to war to ensure it does not oust him from office in a June 27 run-off election.
"Should this country be taken by traitors... it is impossible," Mugabe said, referring to the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in a speech at the burial of a former independence fighter.
"It shall never happen... as long as we are alive and those who fought for the country are alive,"
he added. "We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it."
The veteran president, who has ruled since independence in 1980, has frequently portrayed Tsvangirai as a puppet of former colonial power Britain and wealthy whites, thousands of whom lost their land when he launched a controversial programme of farm expropriations at the turn of the decade.
"Once again we want to make it clear to the British and Americans that we are no one's subjects and will never be," said Mugabe.
"This country shall not again come under the rule and control of the white man, direct or indirect. Never, ever.
"The British rule has gone, gone for ever. The white man is gone, never, ever will this country be ruled by a white man again."
This rhetoric is quite typical of an authoritarian regime. Any opposition to the powers that be is automatically an insidious plot by an outside, foreign enemy. There is always a bogeyman around the corner telling the opposition what to do, it's like George Orwell is their manual for government.
Mugabe is not going to allow the opposition to win any election, and will use whatever means necessary to accomplish that goal. Recent reports have shown that pro-Mugabe militias have murdered members of the opposition and their families. The government has shut down international aid groups in the country so that no outside prying eyes can see the tactics Mugabe uses to stay in power.
If you want to learn how to destroy a country, Zimbabwe's a good place to start studying. The economy is completely destroyed from Mugabe's absurd price controls. The inflation rate is in the millions. Zimbabwean currency is worth less than the paper it's printed on. And of course, Mugabe blames everything on everyone but himself. And yet, no international organization is willing to openly criticize Mugabe. What a world.
(Hat tip: Gateway Pundit)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
About a month ago, Barack Obama tried to claim that his wife should be off limits from political criticism. Here's a clip of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin doing the same thing.
Again, this has absolutely no merit. Criticism of Michelle Obama is totally within bounds because she has given political speeches on the campaign trail in favor of her husband. Once you make yourself a part of the campaign, you're going to be subject to criticism from the opposition. You can't make campaign speeches and then claim you can't be subject to criticism from the opposite side. It's attempting to get a free pass, and sounds a lot like "old politics". I thought the Obama campaign was all about "new politics".