Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dems Determined to Raise Taxes, Any Way They Can

Ed Morrisey at Captain’s Quarters has a post up about the Congressional Democrats and their determination to raise taxes any way they can, even if it brings our economy to a screeching halt. Here’s a link:

The new tax attacks the engine of American economic growth: capital investment. These funds provide the funds that start businesses and create jobs. The lower tax on gains allows more money to stay in the economy, as investors can pursue greater risk when they keep more of the gains they earn. Reduce the earnings, and not only is there less to reinvest, it creates more hesitancy to risk what there is left.

Of course, the Democrats don't see that. They see an opportunity to raise revenue in the short term without considering the long term effects. The expansion of the last four years has taught them nothing. They want to start passing new top-down programs, and they need to start passing more confiscatory tax policies to fund them.

This is why elections matter. The Republicans certainly didn't cover themselves in glory on spending issues the past six years, but we're about to see Congress go sharply in the wrong direction. They will claim fiscal responsibility by passing more taxes to pay for their spending, which will make even more money available for earmarks, lobbyists, and the like. That's the real trap of government expansion -- it feeds on itself, and the money always runs short.

We have sixteen months of a Democratic Congress to endure. Hopefully they will leave a few dollars in our pocket by then, but at the rate they're going, it's looking grim.

There's a link to the Washington post article at the Captain's Quarters blog. Notice in the article the positive spin they give the new tax--that we're taxing CEOs at the same rate as other American workers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not So Fast, Mr. Reid!

Harry Reid has declared the war in Iraq "lost" and our generals "incompetent". But Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards Blog is skeptical.

“...[U]nder a more realistic set of victory conditions, we're actually doing pretty well:

We overthrew Saddam Hussein and the Baathists;
We killed his demented offspring;
We drove Iraqis to vote for a constitution;
We got them to elect a parliament -- twice!
We built up the most powerful Arab army in the region and have worked with the Iraqis to professionalize the army and the national police;
We rebuilt a huge amount of the infrastructure in Iraq, replacing the crumbling antiquities left behind by a couple years of war and decades of rule by Hussein;
We helped turn the Sunni tribesmen away from al-Qaeda, and now they are actually at war with the jihadis;
We have pretty effectively stifled the Mahdi Militia and the Badr Organization (the two main Shiite extremist paramilitary groups), such that neither actually runs the government (as many expected they would);
We have pretty much pacified 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces, and we are now bringing a counterinsurgency campaign to bear on the last three: Anbar, Diyala, and Baghdad;
And we did this all for a cost of about 3,500 American soldiers over four years. While every loss of a soldier or Marine is a personal tragedy, it's still an extraordinarily low number by warfare standards -- especially considering what we have accomplished."

I have several points of my own to add:

While our military has been engaged in Iraq, many thousands of Islamist jihadis have also been engaged there, and thousands of them have fallen under our guns, a point seldom acknowledged in the pages of the New York Times. Also, while thus engaged, Islamist terrorists have been unable to strike another blow for their cause against our civilian population on our own shores, even though they have vowed publicly to do so. Because of our own vigilance since Sep. 11, 2001, many attempts have been discovered and thwarted.

Rosie O’ Donnell proclaimed on the View that over 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of our troop presence in Iraq, “so who are the real terrorists?”, she asks. But the truth is that the vast majority of actual Iraqi deaths, as opposed to those in the imagination of Ms. O’ Donnell, have been the result of Baathists and al Qaeda terrorists attacking Iraqi civilians and police, civil officers, legislators, mayors, etc., in a bloody attempt to sway the struggle of the Iraqi people for democracy and independence. Every time a terrorist suicide bomb kills an Iraqi, his or her family is either cowed into submission to the terrorists, or they resolve to resist however they can. The terrorists are not winning hearts and minds of the Iraqi people by indiscriminately killing men, women, and children. It’s a strategy that will, in fact, already is failing.

There is actually only one way that the current situation in Iraq is similar to the conflict in Vietnam, and that is the certainty of a bloodbath if our forces were to withdraw precipitously. The Baathists and al Qaeda would swoop into the vacuum that would be left, and blood would flow in the streets much like the sewage that flows there now.

There are reports of many thousands of Iraqis fleeing the country for other more peaceful countries. The vast majority of them are Sunnis. For many decades the Sunnis have had the wealth and power in Iraq, but not the numbers. The American troop presence in Iraq has upset that balance of power, and Sunnis, seeing which way the wind is blowing, and being unwilling to share their wealth and their power, but being unable to maintain it, are abandoning Iraq in droves.

The post, entitled “the Omnipotence Illusion”, by Dafydd ab Hugh at Big Lizards Blog, is well worth reading. Here’s a link:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Greetings

Aunt Cindy with nephew Jacob and niece Hattie

Some of the blessings of fatherhood, for example, grandchildren

and sons, daughters, and sons and daughters-in law.

Aunt Jodi and Hattie

Jacob Ryan Petersen, age 2

Michael Kavika Leiser

Hattie Mae Petersen

Bradley and sons Jacob and Izac

Brad and Jodi and sons

2 grandsons

Michael on his birthday

Cousins Hattie and Michael


Noelle with son Michael and niece Hattie

Susan with nephew Michael and daughter Hattie

Brand new parents Noelle and Todd with their son Michael

Christian with daughter Hattie on the day of her birth

Hattie Mae Petersen

Baby Hattie

Happy Father's Day, dads!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ban Guns, Make Murder and Gun Violence Go Away!

Tonight I watched the show on CNN by Anderson Cooper about gun violence in the south side of Chicago which has claimed the lives of 28 inner city school children so far this year. The most recent victim, Blair Holt, 17, a high school jr. just wrapping up his school year, was the most recent victim of random violence. Normally he takes a 40 minute ride on a CTA bus to his grandparents’ store to spend the late afternoon until his parents pick him up. He was on the bus with several of his school mates when a gang banger boarded the bus and opened fire at a rival gang member with a semi-automatic handgun, who apparently was unconcerned about hurting anybody else. Five students were shot, but Blair was the most seriously injured with a wound to the chest, with internal bleeding. He died later that night around 9 p.m.

Blair was not a gang member. His future was bright and he had set high goals for himself. His mother was a fire fighter and his father was a policeman. He had a strong and loving family background. But he was aware of the violent death culture around him and had no illusions about the possibility that his young life could be snuffed out at any instant. The fact that his life was cut so short by a random act of violence is a horrible tragedy.

But he’s only one of 28 such cases this year, of school children in Chicago, killed, not on school property but on their way to or from school, and some even in their own homes.

People in Chicago are angry and upset. There was a protest, and locals demanded safe passage to and from school. Other people are demanding that the state legislature pass stricter gun laws.

Arne Duncan, CEO of Chicago Public Schools had this to say when interviewed by Anderson Cooper: “The common denominator in Columbine, Virginia Tech, and all the other school shootings, is guns. People should not have guns. We as a society value our rights to keep and bear arms more than we value the lives of our children. It’s wrong.”

I’ll tell you what’s wrong: this kind of thinking that taking guns away from law abiding citizens is going to solve this problem. It’s wrong headed and simplistic. It doesn’t address the source of the problem, which is the violent inner city gang culture and morality that says “don’t be a snitch.”

Gun Control advocates point to countries like Australia and Great Britain, where they’ve outlawed gun ownership by citizens. Gun deaths have gone down. True enough. But now, only criminals have guns. The law abiding citizens have turned theirs in, and are now unarmed potential victims. Many criminals have kept their firearms, but the others have simply turned to knives, chains and other “contact weapons”. Violent crimes have not gone down, because violent criminals know they won’t get shot. Violent crimes have actually risen and the crime rate is spiraling upward.

You can pass laws making guns illegal, and the law abiding citizens will turn in their guns, but not the criminals. Criminals know that strict gun laws guarantee safety for armed criminals, so it doesn’t make sense to turn in their guns. Enforcing existing laws, attacking the gang problem instead of the so called gun problem, prosecuting criminals instead of gun owners, might have a more positive effect than just taking otherwise legal guns away from otherwise law abiding citizens. Criminalizing gun ownership is not going to solve the problem of inner city violence and death among inner city school kids on their way to and from school. Legal gun owners aren’t killing school kids in Chicago. All you do by passing more laws is make more people criminals. Enforce existing law vigorously and things might change. Make criminals responsible and accountable for their crimes, and things might change. Put the blame on guns, and make guns the villain, and nothing will change.

City and State executives who are responsible for enforcing the law aren’t taking that responsibility seriously, and only muddy the waters by calling upon the legislatures to write more laws with stronger enforcement provisions. But they feel the pressure to do something, anything that will make it look like they're actually concerned and want to do something, so that’s what they do. And legislatures add to the problem by responding to the pressure to pass more laws instead of sticking to their real function, which is to provide actual funding for vigorous enforcement of existing laws. And the revolving door that characterizes our current judicial system really adds to the problem by turning violent criminals loose because the jails and prisons are over crowded and incapable of holding our deserving criminal population. But let’s make more criminals by outlawing gun ownership by law abiding, non-violent citizens. That makes a lot sense, doesn't it?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Getting Out of Iraq; Four "Modest" Proposals

Dan Simmons, a writer and educator living in Colorado, has 4 modest proposals for getting out of Iraq. His website has a long post on the subject, and it’s well written and well thought out, but, again, long. Here’s a link:

Modest Proposal #1 SURRENDER,
and call it surrender, not redeployment or withdrawal or some other euphemism for defeat, and be prepared to accept and live with the consequences, not the least of which would be a nuclear Iran and Islamist jihad all over the world, including on our own shores and in our own heartland.

Modest Proposal #2 OUTSOURCE / PRIVATIZE the war.
There are currently 120,000 to 150,000 private military contractors, or PMCs (some prefer the term mercenaries) in Iraq. Doubling that number could be easily and quickly done. Cumbersome rules of engagement under which U.S. and Coalition forces operate could be dispensed with, along with the Geneva Convention silliness. It would internationalize the conflict in a real rather than rhetorical sense, because hundreds of North American, Asian, South African, European, Russian, even Israeli companies would be involved. Our own military could redeploy, rebuild and upsize. Military equipment currently in the field could be "lend-leased" to the PMCs instead of being abandoned or turned over to the current regime to be turned over to the terrorists to be used to commit genocide on the Sunnis.

Modest Proposal #3 TURN THE KEYS TO IRAQ OVER TO THE IRANIANS AND JOIN THE INSURGENCY, presumably similar to what we did in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation during the 80's.
"Let us consider the logic of giving the Iranians control of that fiction called the ‘government of Iraq’ and of American advisors then joining the insurgency. This would require leaving behind the few thousand special forces troops and CIA specialists needed to keep the Iranians in Iraq busy for the next decade as they try to fight a growing counterinsurgency supported by the United States and by rich Sunni nations just across Iraq’s porous borders."
I honestly don’t like the idea of leaving troops behind to become "insurgents". Americans would stand out too much. That won’t work.

Modest Proposal #4 PREVAIL (my personal favorite).

Sunday, June 10, 2007

"The Demoralization of America is Complete"--Yuri Bezmenov, former Soviet KGB Agent and Defector

Here's an absolutely scary film clip of an interview with a former KGB agent and defector who outlines the basic strategy the KGB employed to bring about the "demoralization" of America, or the stripping of patriotic values from our society.

Here's a link to the clip. Check it out. It's about 5 minutes long, but it's not one bit boring, and it's well worth the time.

Yuri Bezmenov says that Marxist-Leninist idealogy has been pumped into the soft heads of three generations of students, basically unchallenged or counterbalanced by Americanism or American patriotic values. These people are now firmly entrenched throughout our society and we can't get rid of them, we're stuck with them. They're everywhere. People like this can't be reasoned with or shown the truth because they won't believe it and they're incapable of assessing true information. Even if you shower them with accurate information, they won't accept it or be able to respond to it logically, because they have been stripped of their moral values. Even though the Soviet Union has collapsed and decayed from within itself, this Soviet strategy of subversion has succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. It's a very sobering take on the American Left and the future of our country.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Woman Seeks Opportunity to Meet Other Women, Sues

There’s an AP story out of Los Angeles today about a woman suing because they don’t provide their dating service for gays, lesbians and bisexuals. Here’s a link to the story:

Linda Carlson said she tried to use the Internet site in February to meet a woman but could not based on her sexual orientation. When Carlson wrote to eHarmony to complain, the company refused to change its policy, according to the lawsuit filed on her behalf in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"Such outright discrimination is hurtful and disappointing for a business open to the public in this day and age," Carlson said in a statement.

The company denied the allegation, saying:

The research that eHarmony has developed, through years of research, to match couples has been based on traits and personality patterns of successful heterosexual marriages...Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future, it's just not a service we offer now based upon the research we have conducted.

This isn’t about lesbians, gays and bi-sexuals being deprived of opportunities to meet similarly oriented people. If you Google "women meeting women" you’ll find 162 million entries. That’s an awful lot of "opportunities". There is no shortage of companies and websites willing to provide the service that Linda Carlson says she is seeking and being deprived of. This is more about trying to force your own standards on the world and making it conform to your narrow view of how it should perceive you. This isn’t in any way, shape or form similar to making colored people go to the back of the bus. It’s more like suing McDonald’s because they don’t serve pizza. And, I suspect, there are very deep pockets behind this ridiculous litigation. A sexual encounter is not exactly the kind of "opportunity" Linda Carlson is looking for.

I haven't actually checked this out; I'm just wondering if there are any services that cater exclusively to gay and lesbians, and if that isn't a problem, why isn't it? Is there some kind of double standard at work here?