Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Nation of Cowards

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

That's what Attorney General Eric Holder called America earlier this year, "A nation of cowards." Do you agree?

Is there an American political topic that is more talked about, more beaten to death, than race relations? The race card is the Democrats' hole card, played as needed to obfuscate real issues that need public debate. Tawana Brawley was an example. BTW, did you know that her lawyer was disbarred for treating poor clients badly? (You mean clients like Ms. Brawley but without national notoriety?)

"Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we average Americans simply do not talk enough with each other about race...". -- Eric Holder

"I think it's fair to say that if I'd been advising my attorney general, we would have used different words." -- Barack Obama

But you're his BOSS, Barry. Gotta agree with the prez on this one, though. I even might have used the words "race-baiting coward", but that's just me.

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Eric Holder's stewardship of the DoJ is open to some question. He doesn't want to prosecute Black Panthers who intimidated voters this year. I don't understand that so I impute nefarious race-baiting cowardly motives to what might be a simple matter of DoJ resource conservation. From here, it looks like Eric being a judge rather than an Attorney General. Or maybe that coward thing. Hey, those BPs had big sticks and, y'know, a guy could get hurt if had to stand up to big guys like that.

He dismissed the indictment of ex-AK gov Ted Stevens, the indictment that successfully convicted him of corruption charges, in order to avoid the potential stain of prosecutorial misconduct. He was convicted, Eric. Let the court decide if it was misconduct or not. You don't have to be Stevens' judge either. Eric cowardly imposed his values on your judicial system when he didn't like the system's results.

Today the murder trials of five Blackwater employees were thrown out. Turns out the DoJ promised them immunity for their statements, then relied on the statements in their prosecutions. I am NOT for letting murderers (if that's what they are) go but I AM for the government keeping its word. Eric knew all this but unlike in the Stevens case, he said nothing. Coward. The one guy who ratted out his fellow Blackwater-ites in return for a plea deal is probably wondering when his number will come up. Bad idea, ratting out guys with lots of guns. Nice touch, Eric. Gonna keep him locked up now? Coward.

Eric isn't a big fan of waterboarding, either. Well, who is? Certainly not the three guys the US has used that technique on. Eric might change his mind if it was his life on the line and not yours, I suspect. That's what cowards do, sell out their principles. Your life is expendable in his zeal for justice. His isn't, I speculate, because he's special... him being the AG and all, and you're not.

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EricH is agenda-driven while the DoJ is supposed to be JUSTICE-driven. Thus the J in their name. Rather than list his agendas (agendae?) and risk missing a few, I'll just summarize them by saying his are anti-you and serve only to advance his personal political best interests.

Eric represented a big Swiss bank (UBS) in the private sector. I don't blame him for that. Money is money and banks, as bank robber Willie Sutton noted, are where the money is. As AG, when UBS was accused of American tax fraud Eric nobly recused himself from involvement in the prosecution, THEN... wait for it... held private meetings with the Swiss Minister of Justice. Agenda-driven? More like client-driven, but the AG's only client is... you. Guess he forgot.

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I really can't close today without mentioning GMAC again. They make loans, right? Congress converted them to kinda-like-a-bank status in order to give them $13.5 bil in free money. Your money, true, but free to the gummint. Yesterday they gave GMAC another $3.8 bil. So, $17.3 bil and what did American taxpayers get in return? Some preferred stock that is supposed to pay 8%. The US now owns 56.3% of GMAC and all of GM and Chrysler.

GMAC, GM and Chrysler have one thing in common. They are victims of their own decisions and the gummint has chosen them, and a few others, to become captive quasi-gummint organizations, propped up (perhaps indefinitely) by capital infusions from... YOU. Is that really what you had in mind, gummint ownership of what used to be the biggest private entities in America?

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Neither a borrower, nor a lender, be; for loan oft loses both itself and friend and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. -- William Shakespeare

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Happy New Year, good and faithful readers.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Health Care, Bribes and JanieN

We tax all the others and pass the savings on to you

I can't write my end-of-year column yet. No one knows yet what's going to happen with the health care bill but what a farce it's been so far.

The health care bill (now the health insurance bill) is in a lot of trouble. Turns out that the Dems have had to bribe at least a few of their own in order to get their vote. $300 mil for Dem Sen. Mary Landreiu's Lousiana, complete exemption from Medicaid increases forever for Dem. Sen Ben Nelson's Nebraskans. Political hardball: Nelson says he will vote for the bill only if "nothing's changed".

This even irritates the NY Times, according to an editorial. Federally-subsidized vote-buying, they call it. Some doofus Dem strategist named Bob Shrum has the onerous job of trying to sell this as everyday politics, American style. I'm tempted to say "Don't believe it" but I already know you don't. No one does.

Don't get me wrong here. They would have bribed any Repub senators they needed to but they refused them admission to the talks in the first place. So it's all Dems all the time for this one. Stand by for a ram.

* * * * *

I've done a lot of international traveling over the past eight years or so, beginning in October, 2001, a month after the 9/11 attacks. I've had to endure everything you've gone through but probably a lot more times. I've missed flights and endured indignities that I couldn't have imagined beforehand. Still, I tried to grin and bear it because it was for the greater good. So did you. Now it turns out that Homeland Security failed in every detail regarding this week's terror attack on an American aircraft.

Janet Napolitano and her TSA employees have pulled me aside (no criminal record, no threats, nothing to indicate why) but they let a guy board who was on the terror watch list AND had been reported as a terror threat by his own father! Hey, JanieN!!! How's that $44 bil budget working for you? Need some more?

JanieN had the temerity to tell CNN (thus you and me) about this near-disaster that
"The system worked." Oh, really, Janie? Then she told NBC it hadn't. She was for the system before she was against it. Hello, John Kerry.

JanieN thinks that "disgruntled" military vets might be a terror threat. I'm a vet and I'm hardly ever gruntled so that must include me, by definition. But cancel the visa of
this guy after they had been put on notice, or even at least add him to the no-fly list? Well, no. It might offend some sensibilities, maybe even cost a political point or two. Might cost a couple hundred lives, too, but so?
* * * * *

JanieN doesn't like the term "terror attacks", either. Way too insensitive. She likes "man-caused disasters". You know, like global warming, distant and hard to define and therefore hard to assign responsibility for while still being urgent enough to throw money at. No use in telling us what our real risk factor might be.
"I referred to man-caused disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur."

Ummm, would one of those risks be
known terror threats being allowed to board flights to the US? We weren't prepared for that even though it had happened before and we knew about it this time? Hey, Janie! When did that stop being your responsibility? My kid could have gotten that one right.

It doesn't matter who your employer is, hasn't there always been someone around who was completely ignorant of what they were being paid to do? In government, they usually get kicked upstairs. Now we have a lawyer-politician in charge of Homeland Security, reporting to a guy whose biggest risk before becoming president was deciding to vote "Present" rather than yea or nay. Did we really imagine that it would be different with them?

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"Nonetheless, to the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there."

Janet Napolitano

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"Can't anyone here play this game?"

Casey Stengel

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Story - The Original

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found May and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed as what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

From Matthew 1:18-2:12

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place this way. When his mother had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."

When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."

When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so has it been written by the prophet: "And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel."

Then Herod secretly call for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage."

When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Too good to be true? To some, I suppose. To good to have happened? No, it really did happen. I believe.
Merry Christmas, good and faithful readers.