Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween: The ghost of GOP feuds returns

Jonah Goldberg urges infighters not to kill the buzz.

Liberals have an inherent advantage. As long as they promise incremental, "pragmatic" expansions of the government, voters generally give them a pass. And every new expansion since FDR and the New Deal has created a constituency for continued government largesse.

If Hillary Clinton promised to socialize medicine — which, let the record show, she has attempted to do in the past — she would lose. But her current campaign promise to simply expand coverage sounds reasonable enough — even though there's no reason to think she'll stop pushing for a national single-payer health-care system (a.k.a. socialized medicine).

"Liberals sell the welfare state one brick at a time, deflecting inquiries about the size and cost of the palace they're building," writes William Voegeli in an illuminating essay, "The Trouble with Limited Government," in the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books.

Committed conservatives, meanwhile, find themselves at a disadvantage: They advocate smaller government for everybody — when Americans generally (including most Republicans) want smaller government for everybody but themselves.

Some conservatives respond to this dilemma with an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" shrug. If voters don't embrace limited government — which really just means self-government — then have them choose between a big government that does right-wing things and one that does left-wing things. Some of those people are called "compassionate conservatives." Others seek comfort in the soothing irrelevance of purism and adopt libertarian candidates and causes that will never, ever win at the ballot box.

But there is another course for conservatives: Simply do what you can, where you can, including supporting the most conservative candidate who can win and succeed in office.

Meanwhile, writes Voegeli, it "makes sense for conservatives to attack liberalism where it is weakest, rather than where it is strongest." Unlike the utopianisms of the left, conservatism is defined by an understanding that this life can never be made perfect. So you state your ideals and then you compromise when life gives you no other choice. Pry free the bricks you can, loosen the ones you can't, and make peace with the ones you can't budge, until you can.

Meanwhile, Tony Blankley notes an odd attack on Mike Huckabee from what he calls "Small-tent conservatives". Indeed, the attack is odd. If Mr. Huckabee is called a RINO, one can only ask: "Relative to whom? Giuliani? McCain?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Arnold Ahlert: The "Top 10" of illegal immigration

Are you sick and tired of hearing there are no “good” solutions to the problem of illegal immigration? So am I. See if my “Top Ten” works for you:

1. Stop telling the American public we need “comprehensive immigration reform.” They know it’s amnesty, and they aren’t buying it. Not now, not ever.

2. Stop using the term “undocumented immigrant” when you’re talking about “illegal aliens.” Who do you think you’re kidding?

3. If Americans genuinely “refuse to do the jobs illegal aliens do,” and fruits and vegetables will be left “rotting in the fields,” two immediate solutions come to mind: either able-bodied American welfare recipients or American prisoners can take up the slack. Why should either group continue to be underwritten by the taxpayers for doing nothing?

4. Demand that the Social Security Administration, the IRS, and the Dept. of Homeland Security share data bases. Think the government doesn’t know who’s using phony Social Security numbers to get work? Think again. Privacy issues? Privacy for who, people who snuck into the country illegally?

5. Build the damn wall–all of it! Stop stalling, stop pretending that “virtual fences,” or “high-tech” whatever are viable substitutes for bricks and mortar. And while we’re at it, create an atmosphere where Border Patrol agents–rather than border-busters–get the benefit of the doubt in any altercations.

6. End the “anchor baby” nonsense. Another item that galls the American public, especially when the MSM trots out the sob stories of illegal parents forced to leave their citizen children behind if America gets tough on illegal immigration.

7. Pass federal legislation requiring the states to use picture IDs for voting. The 2000 presidential election hinged on less than a thousand votes. Would you be willing to bet that less than a thousand illegals cast illegal votes nationwide–in ANY recent election? Those against picture IDs for voters–aka liberal Democrats–are revealing their true motive for keeping 12-20 million non-Americans in the country. The issue is currently before the Supreme Court. To say the future of the nation depends on the outcome is no exaggeration.

8. Phase out all benefits for illegals. In-state college tuition, Matricula Consular IDs, drivers licenses, etc. Can’t be done? Welfare reform put a time limit on benefits, and welfare rolls dropped like rocks nationwide. This one also answers the “lament” about how we can’t deport 12 million people all at once. True, but who said anything had to be done all at once? Swinging the pendulum in the right direction is a great place to start. It’s called “attrition.”

9. End sanctuary cities. Quite simply, this is anarchy masquerading as compassion. Federal law is not “optional,” and those who refuse to enforce it should be held to account.

10. Reform the LEGAL immigration process. We’ve made chumps out those immigrants who’ve stood in line, obeyed the law and want to become productive citizens of America the RIGHT way. Streamlining the process has two benefits: one, America gets more of the kind of people who made this country great and; two, it exposes the outright lying of those who say anyone against the illegal alien free-for-all is nativist, xenophobic or racist.

Immigration is a make-or-break issue in 2008. Survey after survey shows the Americans public is fed up with the idea that big business, in cahoots with the political elite, can radically alter the nature of our country for their naked self-interest. None of the above is “impossible”–and the public knows it.

The elitists can take their “open borders,” “citizens of the world” mentality–and shove it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A commie mommy's son volunteers for Iraq

And Rochelle Reed of San Luis Obispo is shocked, shocked!

When I tell people that Evan has joined the Army, their reactions are almost always the same: their faces freeze, they pause way too long, and then they say, "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry for you." I hang my head and look mournful, accepting their sympathy for the worry that lives in me. But as it dawns on them that Evan wasn't drafted, as Vietnam still clings to my generation, their expressions become quizzical, then disbelieving. I know what they're thinking: Why in the world would any kid in his right mind choose to enlist when we're in the middle of a war? I begin telling them the story, desperate to assure them it wasn't arrogant patriotism or murderous blood lust that convinced him to join. What finally hooked him was a recruiter's comment that if he thought the country's role in Iraq was so screwed up, he should try to fix it.

In a country founded by men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to secure our liberty, what a tragedy it is that many of its citizens can even conceive of asking that question, or imagine that the only answers to it could be “arrogant patriotism” or “murderous blood lust.”

But this sentence is the real kicker--to repeat it:

What finally hooked him was a recruiter's comment that if he thought the country's role in Iraq was so screwed up, he should try to fix it.

Gee, lady, that sounds like "arrogant patriotism" to me....thinking we can make the lives of people in Iraq better! How dare we (blank)ist and (blank)ophobic Americans think we can do that? Lady, did you forget your multicommunist and politically communist brainwashing?

But as much as you and your sad-faced friends decry your son's decision to enlist, it means a lot to the Iraqis. It means salvation.

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and
soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.

Mayor of Tal ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq

And let's not forget that Zarqawi was an invited guest of Saddam Hussein.....but Iraq had nothing to do with Al Qaeda, right? Ah, the Dhimmicrat canards fall hard, don't they?

Meanwhile, this kid had other reasons of his own to enlist:

And on a deeper, personal level, he signed up hoping that after, somehow the Army would help him find what young men these days often try to fill with alcohol, drugs and video games: a sense of purpose.

A teenager when his father and I divorced, he'd never had anyone to teach him what it meant to be a man, he told him when he explained his decision to join the Army. He couldn't concentrate on college courses, he was resisting promotion at his job, and he not only wanted but needed challenge and discipline, he said. The only way to get it, he'd decided, was to pit himself against drill sergeants, armed insurgents and Improvised Explosive Devices. If he could do it, he told me, he'd have the self-assurance he hadn't found in his old life.

So, commie mommy, you in a way brought this upon yourself--breaking up with his dad for your new lover whoever he is (or given San Luis Obispo, whoever she is) wasn't such a good idea now, was it?

Mrs. Reed's piece is also quite a window she provides into the "liberal Democrat and antiwar" subculture of which she is a part. Because of her commie mommy politics, "never in a million years" did she think her son would join the military. The people she knows see his decision as a cause for sorrow, not pride. Mrs. Reed has to talk them out of the assumption that only "arrogant patriotism" (the adjective itself is telling) or "murderous bloodlust" would motivate someone to serve his country, that no "kid in his right mind" would do so.

Judging by Mrs. Reed's account, American liberals harbor a deep and invidious prejudice against the military--a prejudice Mrs. Reed herself is now overcoming, thanks to the bravery of her son.

A year ago, a famous liberal Democrat remarked, "You know, education--if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq." Perhaps he didn't know any better. Rochelle Reed now does.

But this lady's response to the commie mommy says it best of all:

I wondered as I read Ms. Reed's article why she was so focused on -- as she puts it -- "the worst case scenario"... not once does she ever mention or even consider that her son may make Iraqi friends... that he will be bringing security to Iraqis... that he will probably help open any number of schools and medical centers or clinics to help those Iraqi mothers and their children... that he will actually SAVE the INNOCENT sons of Iraqi mothers and only defend himself against those who are trying to kill him... Not once does she even consider that her son is working to establish peace for Iraq... and help bring peace to the Middle East. Her story was all about her... (and who CARES what those people think???)

So, Dear Rochelle, I know how you feel... I have felt the fear... but I have also felt immeasurable pride in my soldier -- something I am very sorry that you apparently do not share. And I will tell you what I have told others with the "whoa is me" attitude: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU.

I hope you can find the time to recognize what a special and selfless person your son is and that perhaps he really CAN and will make it better.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

How San Jose (and the Bay Area) became unaffordable

A fascinating Cato Institute study on how anti-growth and rail transit policies are screwing over San Jose and leading to the very L.A.-style sprawl that advocates of such policies claim to oppose.