Monday, March 31, 2008

On Lying

Christopher Hitchens on Hillary's Lies HT: Weekly Standard:

The punishment visited on Sen. Hillary Clinton for her flagrant, hysterical, repetitive, pathological lying about her visit to Bosnia should be much heavier than it has yet been and should be exacted for much more than just the lying itself. There are two kinds of deliberate and premeditated deceit, commonly known as suggestio falsi and suppressio veri. (Neither of them is covered by the additionally lying claim of having "misspoken.")

The first involves what seems to be most obvious in the present case: the putting forward of a bogus or misleading account of events. But the second, and often the more serious, means that the liar in question has also attempted to bury or to obscure something that actually is true. Let us examine how Sen. Clinton has managed to commit both of these offenses to veracity and decency and how in doing so she has rivaled, if not indeed surpassed, the disbarred and perjured hack who is her husband and tutor...

There's more.

Another Smoking Iranian Gun

From the Weekly Standard:

Long before the start of the Iraqi offensive against the Mahdi Army and the associated Iranian-backed Special Groups in Basra, pundits had been bending over backwards to claim Muqtada al Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist with no ties to Iran. As Matthew Duss wrote, "the repeated attempts by conservative defenders of Bush’s Iraq policy to dispute Sadr's nationalist credentials and treat him as an Iranian puppet indicate a real and troubling lack of knowledge of the Iraqi political scene, and of Sadr’s place within it." Such claims have been made despite the fact that Sadr is sheltering in Qom to study the Iranian strain of theocratic Shia Islam known as wilayet al-faqeeh. Sadr’s Mahdi Army has also been caught red-handed with Iranian made weapons, and there's ample evidence that Hezbollah and Iran’s Qods Force have trained his militia.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Thank you, Vice President Cheney

Thank you for giving that interview. I didn't see it, and can respond only to the sound bites I've seen of it. In those your answers were so clear and convincing, I wish I had seen the interview.

Thank you for going to hostile media for that interview. That in itself shows a measure of courage not evident in any of those currently seeking to replace your superior.

Thank you for being prepared for the interview, even to the point of thinking through what questions might be asked and how you would respond to certain situations. I know you have staff to help you prepare, to research the interviewer and brief you on what to expect, but the preparation still falls much to you. Your answer "So?" in response to the question about lack of support for the war according to opinion polls was spot on.

Thank you, along with President Bush, for not worrying about every time I change my mind about some issue. I'm sure, when the decision to go to war in Iraq was made, public opinion was a factor in the decision making process. I'm sure other factors and facts, most of which are known only to those who see the intelligence data and briefings, also entered in. I'm sure you did not go to war in a cavalier way, but rather weighed everything, and made the difficult choice many leaders wouldn't.

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

[Full disclosure statement: My wife is a Cheney. No relationship between her and the V.P. has been proven, and they descend from two different immigrant ancestors to Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1630s. If those two were brothers, as many assume, then my wife and the V.P. would be 8th cousins twice removed. If you think that relationship clouds my judgment in this post, contact me about men in white coats.]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Are You One of Those [Crazy] "Born-Again's?"

I have heard that question asked many times over the years.  This being Easter Sunday, I thought it might be an appropriate time to take a moment from my occasional tirades to answer this oft asked question for myself to the half dozen or so regular readers of this blog.

Yes, yes I am.  Why?  First of all, when Jesus cornered poor Nicodemus as recorded in John's gospel in chapter 3 and declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again,” He tends to get your undivided attention on the question.  Or at least it should.  And that means to those who ask this question, and who think they will one day see heaven, as over 80% of Americans believe, then their cynicism in asking this question in this manner sits on the wrong side of it.

And the other reason is in the beginning of a beautiful letter written by Jesus' leading disciple, Peter, he said in the first chapter of his first epistle: "...[O]ur Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to [obtain] an inheritance [which is] imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,..."

I tend to be mathematical about such things.  In math, there is the possibility of infinity.  And then it seems to me that if two points equal a line, then in order to have that assurance of hope, one must not take these declarations of the need for rebirth too lightly.  After all, the limit of the inverse of X as it approaches infinity is, as we know from high school mathematics, equivalent to zero.

A good time to consider such questions is when the family is young, and the kids are small.  We want the best for our kids, and why not look into giving them, and yourself, an eternal hope, and a moral grounding?  So we take our families to church on Easter, and maybe Christmas.  And if we do, it is a great time to give consideration to the serious side of the question of the need to be born again.

Author Anne Rice in a recent blog entry in the Washington Post wrote: "Look: I believe in Him. It’s that simple and that complex. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the God Man who came to earth, born as a tiny baby and then lived over thirty years in our midst. I believe in what we celebrate this week: the scandal of the cross and the miracle of the Resurrection. My belief is total. And I know that I cannot convince anyone of it by reason, anymore than an atheist can convince me, by reason, that there is no God.

"A long life of historical study and biblical research led me to my belief, and when faith returned to me, the return was total. It transformed my existence completely; it changed the direction of the journey I was traveling through the world. Within a few years of my return to Christ, I dedicated my work to Him, vowing to write for Him and Him alone. My study of Scripture deepened; my study of New Testament scholarship became a daily commitment. My prayers and my meditation were centered on Christ.

"And my writing for Him became a vocation that eclipsed my profession as a writer that had existed before."

A Chuck Colson certainness, but read the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Who is Barack Obama?

Barack Obama made a stab at explaining his 20 year relationship with a pastor who has had occasion to spout strong anti-American views. Here is a composite of interesting observations made in recent days:

From The Patriot:

“We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst.” —C.S. Lewis

“Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure that there is one less scoundrel in the world.” —Thomas Carlyle

“The world is weary of statesmen whom democracy has degraded into politicians.” —Benjamin Disraeli

“Freedom has a thousand charms to show, That slaves, howe’er contented, never know.” —William Cowper

“I profoundly believe it takes a lot of practice to become a moral slob.” —William F. Buckley

“[Barack] Obama says Rev. [Jeremiah] Wright is no longer among his campaign’s ‘spiritual advisers.’ Obama should not be asked which of Rev. Wright’s outrageous statements he disagrees with, but rather which ones he does agree with. That Obama remains a member in good standing of Trinity United Church of Christ indicates that he prefers the company of many people who have demonstrated that they believe what their pastor has said.” —Cal Thomas “We don’t need a President of the United States who got to the White House by talking one way, voting a very different way in the Senate, and who for 20 years followed a man whose words and deeds contradict [Barack] Obama’s carefully crafted election year image.” —Thomas Sowell

“All you really need to know about Barack Hussein Obama is this: Louis Farrakhan really, really, really wants him to be president.” —Don Feder

And this from the WSJ:

So yesterday Mr. Obama sought to rehabilitate his image by distancing himself from Mr. Wright's race-paranoia. He talked about his own multiracial background -- son of a white mother and Kenyan father -- and said, "I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible."

Mr. Wright's remarks "expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country," Mr. Obama continued, and are "not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity" -- his way of broadening out the discussion to include his political message.

Less uplifting was his attempt to pair Mr. Wright's extremism with Geraldine Ferraro's recent remarks as "the other end" of the spectrum on race. Mr. Wright's sermons are rooted in a racial separatism and black liberation theology that is a distinct minority even among African-Americans. Ms. Ferraro was, at worst, saying that Mr. Obama is helped because many Americans want to vote for someone who is black.

It is also notable that Mr. Obama situated Mr. Wright within what the Senator sees as the continuing black-white conflict and the worst excesses of racial injustice like Jim Crow. He dwelled on a lack of funding for inner-city schools and a general "lack of economic opportunity." But Mr. Obama neglected the massive failures of the government programs that were supposed to address these problems, as well as the culture of dependency they ingrained. A genuine message of racial healing would also have given more credit to the real racial gains in American society over the last 40 years.

The Senator noted that the anger of his pastor "is real; it is powerful," and in fact it is mirrored in "white resentments." He then laid down a litany of American woe: "the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man who has been laid off," the "shuttered mill," those "without health care," the soldiers who have fought in "a war that never should have been authorized and never should've been waged," etc. Thus Mr. Obama's message is we "need unity" because all Americans are victims, racial and otherwise; he even mentioned working for change by "binding our particular grievances."

And the cause of all this human misery? Why, "a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many." Mr. Obama's villains, in other words, are the standard-issue populist straw men of Wall Street and the GOP, and his candidacy is a vessel for liberal policy orthodoxy -- raise taxes, "invest" more in social programs, restrict trade, retreat from Iraq.

Needless to say, this is not an agenda rooted in bipartisanship or even one that has captured a national Presidential majority in more than 40 years. It would be unfortunate if Mr. Obama's candidacy were toppled by racial neuroses, and his speech yesterday may have prevented that. But it also revealed the extent to which his ideas are neither new nor transcendent.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama May be Toast

I think Obama has committed the unforgivable sin. The sin of acquiescence in radical anti-Americanism.

And now the behavior of his wife, and the other, little telltale signs, like his removing the American flag pin from his lapel, are giving away his true heart of hearts, revealing a very unorthodox view of the world - quite unorthodox.

When first confronted with his pastor's kooky remarks, he denounced them and said he had not heard them. Had he heard them, he would have resigned from the church. Now he says he did hear at least a couple of the pastor's remarks.

And so he waffles again.

But a bigger question is, regardless of whether or not he had heard the remarks of this nincompoop, how could he not know where his own pastor was coming from, being a member of his church for so many years. The voters are not stupid. They'll ask the same question. How could he not know, and why did he remain a member?

And so now we find that he is dropping in the polls, and may have opened the door more than just ajar for Hillary.

I could just imagine what her husband is thinking right now.


Saturday, March 08, 2008

Who Said Obama Doesn't Waffle?

Hot Tip from the Weekly Standard:

In a piece that will appear in tomorrow's issue, the New York Times joins its step-sister (the Boston Globe) in noticing the fortuitous timing of Barack Obama's emergence as a leading voice advocating withdrawal from Iraq:

"He was cautious (during his early days in the Senate) — even on the Iraq war, which he had opposed as a Senate candidate, he voted against the withdrawal of troops. He proposed a drawdown only after he was running for president and polls showed voters favoring it."

Two takeaways here: First, Obama's followers have become so blinded by his aura that they suspend the skepticism that they normally (and appropriately) have for politicians who conveniently evolve in the direction of popular opinion. Obama's base is noteworthy for its credulity, but Obama's apparent opportunism is unlikely to wear as well with voters beyond the candidate's most smitten followers.

Second, it's interesting that the Globe and the Times have taken a run at similar musty subjects on the same weekend. Coincidence?

Or could there be something deeper at work here?


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Change we Heed

Here's an example of why a race between McCain and Obama is going to be very, very interesting. This is from Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard:

Democrats have spent the last year loudly insisting that Afghanistan is the "real" war on terror. But when it comes to making meaningful recommendations for what actually needs to be done to reverse the situation in Afghanistan and defeat the Taliban, they have been notably vague and lethargic. Barack Obama--despite being the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee responsible for overseeing NATO’s military operations in Afghanistan--hasn’t bothered to hold a single hearing on the Atlantic Alliance’s flagging mission there. In fact, the putative Democratic commander-in-chief has never even taken the time to visit Afghanistan and talk to our commanders on the ground there (nor did he take the time to talk to the Captain whose stories of shortages in that theater he so badly mangled).

The explanation for this behavior, of course, is that the overwhelming majority of Democrats in Congress couldn’t care less about the hard realities we face in Afghanistan or how to turn them around. Rather, they see Afghanistan as a political tool to justify retreat and defeat in Iraq. It’s the kind of cynical manipulation of national security that has increasingly become the norm among the politicos of the left.

By contrast, Joe Lieberman today has an op-ed in the Washington Post that offers a sober and serious policy proposal for reversing Afghanistan’s slide: expand the Afghan National Army. Here’s hoping that the administration--and Republicans, more broadly--listen to him and reclaim this issue from the Democrats.

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How to Drive a Hugo Off a Cliff in South America

Here's one from John Noonan that the peacemongers are sure to despise. A blog posting at the Weekly Standard:

If Colombia and Venezuela were to come to fisticuffs over this latest South American crisis, the Bogota government could quickly find itself in trouble.

Colombia's Army is both larger than Chavez's and battle-hardened from years of fighting the FARC. They know the terrain, have greater mobility via their enormous helicopter fleet (including 90 modern Blackhawks), and are supported by a Colombian Air Force that specializes in close air support.

But Chavez would undoubtedly control the skies, or at least come close to it. The Venezuelan Air Force sports 80 or so operational fighters, including F-16s and Sukhoi-30s. Colombia's Air Force, postured for the close air support mission, has only a single squadron of 20 Dassault Mirage V/Kfirs, airframes that wouldn't last long in an aerial bar fight with their socialist opponents. Without freedom of the skies to clear the way for Colombian Tucanos and helicopters, Bogota's advantage on the ground is sharply reduced.

Colombia is our ally, FARC is our mutual enemy, and Chavez has built an entire career as an anti-American posturer. So here's a three-fer: Let's have joint U.S.-Colombia exercises involving a squadron or two of our new F-22s. It would concentrate the mind of Chavez, who adores his new Sukhois. His prized fighter-force would soon become scrap metal against F-22s.

The presence of the Raptor would at once remind Chavez of his place in the hemispheric pecking order, help prevent a war, aid an ally, and reassure the American public of the value of the F-22. Let's get those Raptors to Colombia!

Monday, March 03, 2008

It will be McCain Vs. Obama After Thursday

Stanley Fish at the NY Times has an interesting piece today entitled "Why McCain Would Vote For Obama." I think the column is mistitled by the editors. In reality, the article is about how the Iraq war position held by McCain is an asset to McCain, while Obama's position will fast become a major liability for him.

His basis for this thought is:

On the one hand, he [McCain] voted to authorize the invasion. On the other, he consistently disagreed with the administration’s prosecution of the war in general and with the judgment of defense Secretary Rumsfeld in particular. And on the third hand, he advocated for a course of action that was at last implemented in the so-called “surge,” and with some success.

So, at any moment, he would be able to present himself as a strong patriot, and at another moment as a critic of the hard-line hawks, and at still another as a hard-line hawk with more experience and military knowledge than the others. And, depending on which position he was occupying, he could deny that he was an uncritical supporter of the war or that he was inattentive to the needs of the troops, or that he had nothing positive to offer.

Meanwhile, as McCain was nimbly moving around, Obama would be standing still, stuck in the one-note posture he has assumed from the beginning of the campaign.

At the end of the piece, the writer speculates ever so briefly that were McCain to vote in the Democrat primary he would vote for Obama over Hillary. Well, maybe so would I,... if pigs flew.

So how will things pan out tomorrow:

Hillary will win by a small margin in OH, by a decent margin in RI. She will lose big time in VT, and by a small margin in TX. I think by Thursday, the writing will be on the wall, but in the Old Book, when Balshazar witnessed it for the first time in history, and the Prophet Daniel explained to him that it was the end, he really didn't quit either. But what happens to him is rather ugly, and I am afraid, so will be the end of poor Hillary.


Talan Supports Huckabee

This from a correspondence from my good friend and loyal Republican stalwart from all place, Providence, RI, Dave Talan:


The Republican Party has an embarrassment of riches, when it comes to choosing our nominee for President. Every one of the candidates on our GOP Primary ballot on Tuesday is outstanding, and deserves our support in November if he is running against Hillary or Obama.

Senator John McCain is a war hero, and a respected and principled leader. Congressman Ron Paul has contributed to the discussion of the proper role of government in today's society. Ambassador Alan Keyes is a passionate spokesman for protecting life and family. Dr. Hugh Cort is a knowledgeable author about national security and terrorism. Governor Mitt Romney (who is still on our ballot) did a fine job running our neighboring state. And the candidates who are no longer in the race (Fred Thompson; Rudy Giuliani; Duncan Hunter; Tom Tancredo) made us proud to be Republicans.

But I have decided to support GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE for President on Tuesday. Let me tell you about some of the reasons that I LIKE MIKE.

* GREAT COMMUNICATOR. Nobody is better than Mike Huckabee at explaining our Republican issues to the general public, in ways they can easily understand and support. If you close your eyes when you listen to Mike speak, you would swear you were listening to Ronald Reagan.

* GENUINE AND SINCERE. I have had the chance to talk personally with Mike Huckabee the 2 times he has been in Rhode Island: last June when he spoke at the Health & Fitness Fair at R.I.C.; and last Monday, when I was able to ride with him all day to the 10 events he went to in our state. In person, he is the same honest, passionate, funny and compassionate man that you watch on TV. What you see is what you get with Mike Huckabee.

* CARES ABOUT ORDINARY PEOPLE. I am the GOP Chairman in Providence, where I live on the poor side of town. Most of my neighbors are Blacks or Hispanics, many of them 1st-generation immigrants. All of the GOP candidates agree on most issues. But I admire Mike Huckabee's emphasis on remembering that the people served by our government are "real human beings". In his career as a minister, and as Governor & Lt. Governor for 12 years, Mike Huckabee has helped ordinary people to deal with day-to-day problems. This is a pretty good background to bring to the Presidency.

* GET GOVERNMENT OFF OUR BACK. Mike Huckabee's plan to abolish the income tax and the IRS is just the change we need. (He would replace it with a sales tax, where people of all incomes would pay no more than what they do now.).

Too many decisions in our lives now are based on how tax policy affects them. Under President Huckabee, we will make decisions based on what is best for us as individuals and as citizens.

Let me respond to some questions that people have asked me. "Isn't this race already over? Why doesn't Mike Huckabee just quit?" The race is not over until some candidate wins 1,191 Delegates, which nobody has done yet. Only 5 months ago, John McCain was dead in the water, and people suggested he get out of the race. To his credit, John McCain refused to quit, and kept on fighting. Now Mike Huckabee is doing the same, and is fighting for what he believes in.

"But isn't Mike Huckabee hurting the eventual nominee's chances of winning in November, by continuing this campaign?" The GOP convention isn't for another 6 months. The election is still 8 months away. If Mike Huckabee quit now, before anybody had clinched the nomination, then the Party's nominee would disappear from the news until September. Just ask Rudy Giuliani what happens when you are out of the news for just 2 months. Mike Huckabee's positive campaign helps whoever the GOP nominee turns out to be (hopefully Mike himself) by continuing this race.

So, if you believe as I do, that MIKE HUCKABEE is the best man for the job of President; and that MIKE HUCKABEE has the best positions on the issues; then join me in voting for MIKE HUCKABEE on Tuesday.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

What's Rhode Island Gonna Do?

I've been away from Little Rhody too long to make a prediction.

What's is going to be? Is The Senescent Man Blog going to make an official prediction about the primary elections this coming Tuesday? Obama or Clinton? McCain or Huckabee?

And, what are TSM members going to do?

C'mon now; I told you mine; you tell me yours.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Obama's Judgment

I am by no means a Hillary Clinton supporter.

Hillary had the chutzpah to offer up an ad in Texas expressing what kind of judgment might be required in a global crisis at 3 AM when you and your children are asleep.

Today the Obamanista's have hastily cobbled together this response.

It is cute, and I am sure will have some effectiveness for the unschooled Democrat voter (of which Lord knows there are many), but it does, indeed, help us understand Obama's judgment versus the missus.

I think it shows he has poor and naive judgment. All the evidence at the time was that the core mass of weapons capability and the nuttiness to do it was queueing up in Iraq. Nearly everyone agreed on the evidence at the time.

He claims he made the right choice, but he wasn't for sending troops to Afghanistan either. He's a pacifist like Lincoln Chafee.

Wake up Democrats.

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