Daily Wisdom

May 26, 2008

Memorial Day, 2008

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Dawn

Today, we gather to honor those who gave everything to preserve our way of life. The men and women we honor here served for liberty. They sacrificed for liberty. And in countless acts of courage, they died for liberty. From faraway lands, they were returned to cemeteries like this one, where broken hearts received their broken bodies -- they found peace beneath the white headstones in the land they fought to defend.

It is a solemn reminder of the cost of freedom that the number of headstones in a place such as this grows with every new Memorial Day. In a world where freedom is constantly under attack and in a world where our security is challenged, the joys of liberty are often purchased by the sacrifices of those who serve a cause greater than themselves. Today we mourn and remember all who have given their lives in the line of duty. Today we lift up our hearts especially for those who've fallen in the past year.

-- President George W. Bush, May 26th, 2008

May 22, 2008

Obama: Too Sensitive To Be President

When President Bush gave a speech before Israel's Knesset on May 15th, he made some statements about appeasement. Although most of us have heard the sound-bites, we should look at his statements in context. In reference to Osama bin-Laden, Ahmadinejad, and the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah, President Bush said...

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Notice that Mr. Bush did not single out any particular individual, but spoke of "some" who are "good and decent people". His statement would appear to encompass a substantial portion of today's American liberals who have little regard for the military or the use of force against terrorists, dictators and state sponsors of terror. We have heard the mainstream media drone on about the importance of diplomacy, and how the use of force only "creates more terrorists" and "energizes our enemies". Such a group would include Jimmy Carter, as evidenced by his ill-advised meeting with terror group Hamas. It would also include Nancy Pelosi, as evidenced by her ill-advised trip to Syria, a state sponsor of terror.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama was quick to denounce the President's remarks before the Knesset as a personal attack upon himself...

It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack.

First of all, there was nothing "false" about the statement, as there is plenty of evidence to back it up. Secondly, it was NOT a personal "political attack" upon Barack Obama. It was a statement of fact presented in an attitude of sympathy to the citizens of Israel who have had to endure hundreds of terror attacks, wars, murders and Antisemitism since the U.N. mandate established the nation of Israel in 1948. Israelis are not blind to the delusions of "some" who think that "talking" will solve all the world's problems -- they have endured it for 60 years.

But the real story here, is the apparent sensitivity on the part of Barack Obama. Obama incorrectly perceived the President's statement as a personal attack against him, and his stated policy of being willing to meet with America's enemies without any preconditions. His own website says the following...

Diplomacy: Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions (empahsis added)...

Regional Diplomacy: Obama will launch the most aggressive diplomatic effort in recent American history to reach a new compact on the stability of Iraq and the Middle East. This effort will include all of Iraq's neighbors – including Iran and Syria (empahsis added).

Talk to our Foes and Friends: Obama is willing to meet with the leaders of all nations, friend and foe (emphasis added). He will do the careful preparation necessary, but will signal that America is ready to come to the table

Obama's terse, reflexive response to the President's comments speaks volumes about the candidate, who tends to be self-centered, defensive, and somewhat paranoid. Obama has an over-inflated ego that basks in praise and adulation, but abhors criticism of even the most trivial nature. Such are not good qualities in a leader.

Then, a few days later, Obama told the press to "lay off my wife"...

The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record. If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family.

Obama made the comments during an interview along with his wife Michelle, that was aired on ABC's May 19th broadcast of "Good Morning America". The comments were in response to a question about an online video produced by the Tennessee state GOP criticizing her for an unpatriotic comment she made last February, when she said: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country." Obama called the ad "low class."

While it is highly doubtful that Obama will tolerate people saying "whatever they want to" about him, this statement and the Knesset episode further illustrate a pattern which started back in 2006 when Maureen Dowd of the New York Times said "his ears stick out". Obama responded by calling out Dowd...

Obama is very sensitive about his press. After his press conference, he headed toward New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd and chided her -- in a kidding way -- for a comment in the 12th of 14 paragraphs in an Oct 21 column. She wrote that Obama's "ears stick out."

"I just want to put you on notice," he said. "I was teased relentlessly when I was a kid about my big ears."

Said Dowd, "We're trying to toughen you up."

Since then, Obama has appeared to be "touchy" about any number of subjects that smack of a personal nature. Apparently he does not want us to learn anything about himself or his history (except what he has already published in his books). And this from a man who has spent so little time in the public arena that he has been for all practical purposes a mystery. We are not allowed to question him about his former associates, his judgment, his patriotism, or his comments. And don't even mention his race.

When Geraldine Ferraro (a member of the Clinton campaign) made a simple analytical statement which touched on the issue of race, the Obama camp called it "outrageous" and demanded that Mrs. Clinton repudiate it. Ferraro defended her comments and said she was furious with the Obama campaign, accusing it of twisting her words. “Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,” she said.

When Bill Clinton made an analytical observation about the impending South Carolina primary, Obama said his remarks were the "hallmarks of the politics of racism." So what was the remark that was SOOO controversial? Bill Clinton simply observed that Obama was likely to win in South Carolina because "Jesse Jackson won in South Carolina twice in '84 and '88, and he ran a good campaign, and Senator Obama has run a good campaign. He has run a good campaign everywhere." Hardly racist. Perhaps not particularly flattering for Obama to be compared with Jesse Jackson, but if Clinton had said simply that Obama would likely win the Palmetto State because there is a large black population there, such a statement would have no doubt been equally excoriated as "racist" by the easily offended Obama.

When ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous posed questions of a personal nature at the April 16th Pennsylvania Democratic debate, Obama became irritated. The next day he said, "Last night I think we set a record because it took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people." In other words, "Let's not talk about me and my personality. Let's talk about 'issues'." Hillary used the opportunity to poke fun at Obama by saying that Obama was "kind of complaining about the hard questions... I'm with Harry Truman on this. 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen'."

Apparently we are not allowed to ask questions about Obama's Muslim roots or his childhood education. We are not allowed to mention his middle name. We are not allowed to question his relationships with indicted realtor Tony Rezko, or racist preacher Jeremiah Wright, or unrepentant terrorist William Ayers. We are not allowed to question his contention that he attended a radical black church for 20 years and never heard anything inflammatory from the pastor. We are not allowed to question Obama's comment that working-class whites are "bitter" and cling to guns and religion because of their economic status. We are not allowed to question his comment that the "typical white person" is fearful of blacks. We are not allowed to question why he has refused to wear a flag lapel pin, or to hold his hand over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem. We are not allowed to question why his wife has never been proud of America, and thinks that this is a "mean" country. We are not allowed to question his voting record. We are not allowed to question his claims of being a "uniter" when he has no history or evidence of being one. These are all "distractions" according to the man who wants to hold the most powerful office in the world.

But these are not mere distractions for the American electorate, at least for those who are interested in politics. Democrats may have no particular interest in questions which might tarnish the luster of Barack Obama, but Republicans and Independents are a different story. Those who are neutral or who may differ with his opinions, are sincerely interested to know more about who the candidate is and what he represents. They want to know what his possible election might portend for next four to eight years. They want to feel secure that the White House will not be occupied by a naive neophyte, an elitist, an appeasement afficionado, a criminal, a Marxist, or a racist. And so we will continue to ask the "tough questions", even if the mainstream media won't.

At this point I am inclined to agree with Hillary Clinton (which is a rare occasion). If Obama can't take "the heat" of public scrutiny, then why did he decide to run for the most important public office in the land? Didn't he know that the life of a presidential candidate would come under the microscope? If elected, how will Obama be able to handle the personal criticisms from his opponents on an almost daily basis? Will America be subjected to four years of Presidential whining about "Why is everybody always pickin' on me"? How would a President Obama be able to negotiate with dictators and despots who want to embarrass or destroy this country when he can't handle a crack about his big ears?

And if he thinks that the Republican ad in Tennessee was "low class", then he ought to open his eyes to his fellow "low class liberals" who have been trashing President Bush for the last 7-1/2 years. They have called him everything from an idiot to an evil madman. They have repeatedly belittled him and mocked his frequent linguistic mishaps. Personally, I think President Bush has responded to such attacks with remarkable grace and dignity. His use of self-deprecating humor and blatant acknowledgement that he can "mangle a few syl-LAB-bulls" is genuinely charming. Instead of focusing on "Audacity", Obama ought to take some lessons in "Humility".

May 13, 2008

Conservatives Happier Than Liberals Because...

Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer for LiveScience.com wrote an article benignly entitled "Conservatives Happier Than Liberals". But it becomes immediately apparent that the article and the "scientific" study it discusses is nothing more than a hack job on conservatives. It would almost be laughable, if the article was not so patronizing and demeaning of conservatives. The article refers to a new study by Jaime Napier and John Jost of New York University, which concludes that conservatives are happier than liberals, because they "rationalize social and economic inequalities".

The article simply oozes with liberal bias, and Warner Todd Huston has written an excellent piece at 'Stop The ACLU' where he exposes and comments on this bias. Jonjayray has re-posted the Bryner article at 'Blogger News Network' with a good Intro suggesting that conservatives are really happier than liberals because they are less angry.

If the LiveScience article is any indication of the study's quality, then we can assume it must be seriously flawed. The study however, is not yet available for review. According to the article, the study found that conservatives "scored highest on measures of rationalization, which gauge a person's tendency to justify, or explain away, inequalities". Yet, the article quotes some of the statements posed to the study subjects, and they appear to be very poor indicators of "rationalization".

The rationalization measure included statements such as: "It is not really that big a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others," and "This country would be better off if we worried less about how equal people are."

Unfortunately, an answer to either one of these statements provides no indication of "rationalization", or lack thereof. In order to explain this, we need to understand a bit more about "rationalization". Since there are various definitions of the word which do not apply here, we will concentrate on the one intended by the researchers...

ra·tio·nal·ize Function: verb, 1: to bring into accord with reason or cause something to seem reasonable... broadly: to create an excuse or more attractive explanation for (eg, to rationalize the problem).

Clearly then, in order to measure "rationalization", one needs to develop a method whereby one can quantify the ability of an individual or individuals, to "make excuses", or to develop "attractive explanations". Such a method would have to be independent of political persuation (ie, it would have to be unbiased). A true method for determining "rationalization" would necessarily be able to measure the "excuse-making" capabilties of conservatives, liberals, libertarians, anarchists, authoritarians or centrists using a common method for all. Neither of the two statements quoted in the article can accomplish that. Therefore, they cannot be used as a measure of "rationalization".

Rather, what it appears that Napier and Jost have done, is to simply categorize conservatives who disagree with their liberal-socialist viewpoint into an "ugly box". They have apparently made the assumption that "inequality" is a serious problem, and they have therefore determined that anyone who disagrees with that assessment must be "rationalizing". That's not science. That's "political justifying". That's "spin".

To be fair to them, it is a very difficult task to do "pure" research into areas touching on the political realm. One always brings his or her own political baggage and philosophical biases into the equation. One would hope that Napier and Jost are not just political hacks dressed in academic suits. But unfortunately, they bring a lot of baggage and bias to their "research"...

From her "Personal Information" page at the Psychology Department of NYU.edu, Jaime L. Napier says she is "interested in how situational and cognitive factors motivate people to adopt certain ideologies". And her research "focuses on political conservatism and religious fundamentalism". In other words, it would appear that Ms. Napier is studying Christian conservatives such as myself. She says that in her current research, "John Jost and I are currently looking at how individual differences, such as need for cognitive closure, can predict political and religious conservatism".

The impression one gets from reading this personal information page is that Jaime is studying an aberration of nature. You might imagine that formerly she was investigating the "social cognition model" of psychopaths. Today she has moved on to political conservatives and religious fundamentalists. No doubt her research will help find a cure.

John Jost, is not much better. According to Jost's "Personal Information" page, his research "focuses on theoretical and empirical implications of a system justification theory". For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept of "system justification theory", Jost is trying to find out why some people are not as "progressive" as he is. He wants to "understand how and why people provide cognitive and ideological support for the status quo", a neurosis if I ever heard one. The second goal of his research is to "analyze the social and psychological consequences of supporting the status quo, especially for members of disadvantaged groups".

Jost, it would appear then, seems to think that social stability (ie, "the status quo") is an impediment to the members of "disadvantaged groups" (such as illegal aliens, perhaps?). Jost would no doubt like to change "the status quo" so that such "disadvantaged groups" can more rapidly obtain economic "equality". And those of us conservatives who oppose such "progressive" ideas are clearly in need of study and investigation.

Among his research concerns are "nonconscious biases that perpetuate inequality, attitudinal ambivalence directed at fellow ingroup members who challenge the system, opposition to equality among members of disadvantaged groups, rationalization of anticipated social and political outcomes, and tendencies among members of powerless groups..." But that which seems to fascinate John Jost above all, is "the underlying cognitive and motivational differences between liberals and conservatives".

In particular, we are carrying out studies to determine whether certain epistemic and existential variables (such as uncertainty avoidance, need for cognitive closure, and death anxiety) are associated more with conservative or right-wing political orientations than with other political orientations.

In other words, he is trying to prove his belief that conservatives have a "right-wing" political orientation, because: a) they want to avoid "uncertainty", b) they need "closure" on tough issues, or c) they fear death. It would seem then, that if Napier and Jost are not mere political hacks, they are certainly pretty biased in a liberal sort of way.

Which brings us back to the their test methods. What Napier and Jost appear to have done, is to establish a test protocol that is tainted by their own biases. They have: 1) created a series of "True-False" questions about things which they themselves believe to be important, 2) asked those questions of people who are unlikely to believe them important, and then 3) labeled the resulting responses as "rationalizations". Hardly scientific.

If Napier and Jost want to know why conservatives are happier than liberals, then I think I can explain that rather easily, without all the pretext of "scientific research". Liberals are basically unhappy because (IMHO) they continue to believe that they can create a utopian society. For most liberals, "utopia" means "equality", that is, economic and social equality. Liberals want a society that looks like a well-maintained lawn -- where all the grass is the same height, the same color, and the same texture. And since it is nearly impossible to accomplish such a feat with an actual lawn, then why do liberals imagine they can accomplish it with human beings? They are doomed to failure and the unhappiness that accompanies continual failure.

Liberals seem to believe that we can have that utopia if we just listen to them and do what they say. We can eliminate poverty in this country if we just declare 'War on Poverty'. We can reduce oil prices if we just impose a windfall profits tax on "big oil". We can help solve our energy shortage if we just use more bio-fuels like ethanol. All of our employment problems will disappear if we just create an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There won't be any more racial prejudice if we just enforce desegregation. Blacks and whites will sing "Kumbayah" together if we just mandate integration by forced busing and affirmative action. We can instill "political correctness" if we just impose some more "diversity training". We can eliminate the economic discrepancies between rich and poor if we just take from the rich and give to the poor. We can make sure that nobody in this country goes without health care if we just mandate a national health care system and then get those rich bastards to pay for it. We can give amnesty to all the illegal aliens and give them free taxpayer-funded benefits, and then they will do the jobs we don't want to do ourselves. And everybody will be happy! It will be a "utopia"! Can you say "Amen", brothers and sisters?

Now don't get me wrong. I do not favor discrimination. I am all in favor of tolerance. I do not wish poverty on anyone. But we have tried a lot of these programs which the liberals have suggested, and they have been dismal failures in many cases and only partially successful in others. Why? Because you cannot legislate "utopia". You cannot change human nature. You cannot throw a monkey wrench into the free enterprise system and expect it to continue working smoothly. And this makes liberals unhappy. When they come up with an idea and it fails or back-fires on them, they get even more annoyed because they are supposed to be the "utopia-makers". They are supposed to be the "intelligentsia", the "academics", the "brain surgeons".

Conservatives on the other hand, have learned that "equality" is pretty much out of the question. We do believe that all people are created equal in the eyes of God. We do believe that all people are equal before the law. We do believe that all people have certain inalienable rights including life, liberty and the "pursuit" of happiness. We do believe that all people should be free to achieve their ultimate potential. We do believe that all people should be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. We do believe that everyone should be judged on their merits and not on their race or gender. However, we do not believe that a "utopia" is possible where all are "equal".

Simply put, conservatives recognize the problems of human nature and accept it as fact. We know empirically that not all people have equal talents, equal intelligence or equal drive. We recognize that some people will succeed and others will fail. We understand that incentives will cause some people to work hard and achieve, while others cannot be motivated under any circumstances. We do not "rationalize" away inequality, we rationally observe inequality and recognize it as an immutable feature of the human condition.

We conservatives have seen the failed experiments of communism and socialism. We have seen that utopian equality is impossible to attain. We have observed that equal division of rewards among all, regardless of effort expended, reduces work ethic to the least common denominator, and ultimately leads to a collapse of the system. We have witnessed the deterioration of morale that accompanies efforts to restrict people from achieving their full potential. We have recognized the injustice of forcefully taking from those who "produce" and giving it freely to those who merely "consume". We have understood the disastrous effects on peoples long subjugated to "equality" as "wards of the state".

And so, we conservatives have not merely seen, observed, witnessed and recognized these facts... we have accepted them as truth. Our fundamental understanding of the human condition is reinforced daily on television, radio and the internet. If we are "happier" than liberals, then it is because we are constantly rewarded with affirmation of our belief system.

Christian conservatives have the added advantage of a Bible which further supports such a belief system. The Bible tells us that the poor will always be with us. Hence, we understand that a "utopia" as envisioned by liberals can never be achieved. The Bible tells us that a true "utopian" society of justice and righteousness can never be possible on this earth until Christ returns and establishes one. Thus, if Christian conservatives are "happier" than liberals, then it is because we have a God, and His Word - the Bible - to affirm our beliefs.

If Christian conservatives are "happier" than liberals, then it is because we are not trying to impose our own idea of "utopia" on others. We are not trying to fight human nature... and failing miserably. We do our best to serve our family, our country, and our Lord. We believe in the values of family, hard work, free enterprise, patriotism, democracy, Constitutional law, and the Judeo-Christian tradition. We desire that all people would come to know Jesus Christ and the inner peace He brings, but know that some won't. We also want all people to succeed, but know that some won't. So we are also generous with our charitable donations to help those less fortunate or who face unforeseen catastrophes. We believe that we are living according to God's will in the best way we know how... and we are "happier" for it.

New Ethics Complaint Targets Ramos-Compean Prosecutor

An ethics complaint is being launched with the Texas Bar Association seeking an investigation into U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton for "willfullly misleading" statements in the case against the two Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean.

Don Swarthout, president of Christians Reviving America's Values, today confirmed his ethics complaint cites Sutton's actions in the case in which Ramos and Compean were convicted of shooting at a drug smuggler who had dropped a load of marijuana near the Texas border and was fleeing back into Mexico. An announcement from his organization confirmed, "Swarthout charges Sutton's office willfully misled the jury in order to convict Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean."

On Feb. 17, 2005, Ramos and Compean pursued Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila on foot after Aldrete-Davila abandoned a van containing 743 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $1 million. During the chase, Ramos shot at Aldrete-Davila in the belief that the smuggler had drawn a gun of his own. Aldrete-Davila escaped across the border, and Ramos assumed Aldrete-Davila was unhurt. In fact, Aldrete-Davila had been shot in the buttock.

Swarthout compared Sutton to Duke lacrosse rape case prosecutor Mike Nifong, who has faced a series of penalties for allegedly withholding evidence that could have cleared the defendants. Swarthout also said nearly 100 members of Congress have reviewed the case and have asked President Bush to pardon the two. "These... elected officials represent both Democrats and Republicans. All of them agree Johnny Sutton's prosecution leaves a lot of unanswered questions," Swarthout's statement said.

"Known drug smuggler Aldrete-Davila was portrayed by Sutton as almost an 'innocent bystander.' In fact, he was involved in a second drug delivery to the United States during Sutton's prosecution of Ramos and Compean. This fact was covered up by Sutton's office," he continued. "It may be possible for reasonable people to disagree about whether Sutton's statements constitute 'outright lies.' However, the facts now in the public domain make it abundantly clear Sutton's statements were willfully misleading to the jury and that is the basis of this ethics complaint."

The Ramos and Compean convictions have been questioned by many who point out that during the trial, jurors were not told of Aldrete-Davila's continued drug trafficking. Jurors also were unaware that a fellow agent who testified against Ramos and Compean is a life-long friend of Aldrete-Davila – a violation of Border Patrol policy in itself.

T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, a labor union, testified before the U.S. Senate that a medical examination of Aldrete-Davila supported the agents' description of events and complied with Border Patrol and Justice Department policies.

Read more HERE...

May 03, 2008

National Day of Prayer For Ramos & Compean

From: Steve Elliott
President, Grassfire.org Alliance

We've just been told that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) is set to announce a National Day of Prayer for imprisoned border agents Nacho Ramos and Jose Compean on May 11. Both remain in solitary confinement as they await a decision on their appeal that was heard in December of last year! Rep. Rohrabacher, a true champion in the ongoing battle to free Ramos and Compean, will make the official announcement during a press event on Monday, May 5, at 1:30 PST at the LAPD Police Officer's Memorial, Ahmanson Recruit Training Facility.

Joining the Congressman will be numerous guests including Monica Ramos, TJ Bonner, the National Border Patrol Council President, Chris Burgard, documentary filmmaker of "Border" and others. Says Rohrabacher...

I ask that on Sunday, May 11th, the American people join me in a National Day of prayer for not only Border Patrol Agents Ramos and Compean and their families, but for all the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line to protect our communities everyday. In addition to being Mother’s Day, it also marks the beginning of National Police Week. The Ramos and Compean prosecution already represents one of the greatest miscarriages of justice I've ever seen, and if their case isn’t overturned, every law enforcement officer will be put on notice that if they use their weapon, they could face 10 years in prison.

Please join with Grassfire by remembering Ramos and Compean, and their families in your thoughts and prayers on this special day. Thanks for standing with Grassfire.


You can sign a petition calling for the freedom of Ramos & Compean by clicking here...

Grassfire Petition

If you wish, you can write to Nacho and Jose...

Ignacio Ramos #58079-180
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N. 45th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Jose Compean #58080180
FCI Elkton
P.O. Box 10
Lisbon, OH 44432