The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, December 31, 2007

May our Seditious Elite Media Propaganda Machine's "Prestige" and Ratings continue to plummet in 2008...


Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/31/2007 05:27:00 PM | Permalink | |

HAPPY NEW YEAR! A Look Back and New Year's Predictions from NRO

Many of National Review's best and brightest have predictions for 2008. Definitely worth the read.

Also don't miss Victor Davis Hanson's look back to 2007; and be very thankful that we still have men leading this country like President Bush and General David Petraeus. And let's make sure that we continue that trend next November.

Whatever may or may not come, may you and yours have the happiest of New Years'; have some fun, get some rest--and then it will be time for us all to join together and prevent the Socialist takeover of America. It's going to take a Herculean effort--but isn't the Greatest Country on Earth worth it?

Finally I would like to thank many of my readers for making 2007 a good one for DT and especially friends like retire05 and the Two Sisters for keeping me from throwing in the towel. I need you guys (and gals) much more than you know--you keep me going.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
DiscerningTexan, 12/31/2007 05:10:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sarkozy, France Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Syria

Via Don Surber, more evidence that Sarkozy is not just all talk when it comes to the global war on Islamic Fascism:

No scarf for Sarkozy as he suspends diplomatic relations — over the Lebanese elections.

Nicolas Sarkozy — L’Americain — continues to show more courage in his little pinky than the Democratic Party combined when it comes to the War on Terrorism. L’Intifada sent a message to Sarkozy and the people who elected him president of France.

After meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Sarkozy cut off diplomatic relations with the Syria over Syrian interference in Lebanon.

The BBC quoted Sarkozy as saying: “I ask Syria to… work to create agreement.”

AFP quoted him as saying:“It’s time for Syria to prove with facts what it has not stopped saying in speeches. We are now waiting for acts on Syria’s part and not speeches.”

Xinhua reported:“Mubarak underscored the urgency of Lebanon’s election of a president, which was postponed for the 11th time and rescheduled on Jan. 12, 2008. Mubarak said that the situation in Lebanon could lead to unspecified complications if it continues like that.”

The Jerusalem Post quoted Sarkozy as saying: “France has taken the responsibility of talking with Syria. One must recognize today that we cannot wait any longer, Syria must stop talking and now must act.”

Read the whole thing here.

DiscerningTexan, 12/31/2007 02:51:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, December 30, 2007

Media Bias Wake-Up Call


Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 05:55:00 PM | Permalink | |

Wither Pakistan? Don't Ask a Democrat

Mark Steyn makes Democrats look like village idiots regarding Pakistan:
It’s tempting to rerun my column on Pakistan from a month ago. Not because I predicted the assassination of Benazir Bhutto or offered any other great insight, but rather for the opposite reason: “Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything: General Musharraf should do this, he shouldn’t have done that, the State Department should lean on him to do the other… Well, I dunno. It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate when offering advice to Islamabad.”

Oh, well. In the stampede of instant experts unveiling their Pakistani solutions-in-a-box, some contributions are worthy of special attention. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who is apparently running for the Democratic presidential nomination, was in no doubt about what needs to happen in the next, oh, 48 hours:

“President Bush should press Musharraf to step aside, and a broad-based coalition government, consisting of all the democratic parties, should be formed immediately... It is in the interests of the U.S. that there be a democratic Pakistan that relentlessly hunts down terrorists.”

Wow. Who knew it was that easy?

Except maybe it isn’t. A “broad-based coalition” of “all the democratic parties” would be a ramshackle collection of socialists, kleptocrats, tribal gladhanders and Islamists. Whether this is the horse to back if you’re looking for a team that “relentlessly hunts down terrorists” is, to say the least, uncertain.

But, since Governor Bill Richardson brought it up, it’s worth considering what exactly “the interests of the U.S.” are in Pakistan. The most immediate interest is in preventing the country’s tribal lands from becoming this decade’s Afghanistan – a huge Camp Osama graduating jihadist alumni from all over the world. That ship, if it hasn’t already sailed, has certainly cast off and is chugging out the harbor. Something called “the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan” now operates a local franchise of Taliban rule in both north and south Waziristan, and is formally recognized by the Pakistan government in the Islamabad-Waziri treaty of just over a year ago. Officially, the treaty was intended to negotiate a truce, although to those unversed in the machinations of tribal politics it looked a lot more like a capitulation, an interpretation encouraged by the signing ceremony, which took place in a soccer stadium flying the flag of al-Qaeda.

You will want to read the rest.
DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 05:43:00 PM | Permalink | |

Fred Thompson: Shooting Straight on What's At Stake

Fred Thompson makes his case to the voters of Iowa.

DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 01:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Iran/Russia: New Axis of Evil?

Scott Johnson echoes warnings that we all should heed:

Investor's Business Daily summarizes the evidence counseling against underestimating Tehran and Moscow. The IBD editorial is a good companion to Walter Russell Mead's important Wall Street Journal column "Why America's in the Gulf" (subscribers only). Mead's column concludes:

Today the U.S. is building a coalition against Iran's drive for power in the Gulf. Israel, a country which has its own reasons for opposing Iran, remains an important component in the American strategy, but the U.S. must also manage the political costs of this relationship as it works with the Sunni Arab states. American opposition to Iran's nuclear program not only reflects concerns about Israeli security and the possibility that Iran might supply terrorist groups with nuclear materials. It also reflects the U.S. interest in protecting its ability to project conventional forces into the Gulf.

The end of America's ability to safeguard the Gulf and the trade routes around it would be enormously damaging -- and not just to the U.S. Defense budgets would grow dramatically in every major power center, and Middle Eastern politics would be further destabilized, as every country sought political influence in the Mideast to ensure access to oil in the resulting free for all.

The potential for conflict and chaos is real. A world of insecure and suspicious great powers engaged in military competition over vital interests would not be a safe or happy place. Every ship that China builds to protect the increasing numbers of supertankers needed to bring oil from the Middle East to China in years ahead would also be a threat to Japan's oil security -- as well as to the oil security of India and Taiwan. European cooperation would likely be undermined as well, as countries sought to make their best deals with Russia, the Gulf states and other oil-rich neighbors like Algeria.

The next American president, regardless of party and regardless of his or her views about the wisdom of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, will necessarily make the security of the Persian Gulf states one of America's very highest international priorities.

I'm afraid that we will have frequent occasion to return to Mead's column in coming days.

DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 01:28:00 PM | Permalink | |

My Nominee for Blog Post Title of the Year Goes To...

... Don Surber for Kristol blue persuasion.
DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 01:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Mike Huckabee For President Campaign: Where Knowledge Of World Affairs Comes To Die

Pejman Yousefzadeh is spot on concerning Mike Huckabee's Foreign Policy gaffes:
I realize that Presidential candidates are under a lot of stress and pressure and from time to time, they make a gaffe or two. But this is ridiculous and indicates quite clearly that Mike Huckabee is not the most well-versed foreign policy candidate around . . . to say the least:
Explaining statements he made suggesting that the instability in Pakistan should remind Americans to tighten security on the southern border of the United States, Mr. Huckabee said Friday that "we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities, except those immediately south of the border."

Asked to justify the statement, he later cited a March 2006 article in The Denver Post reporting that from 2002 to 2005, Pakistanis were the most numerous non-Latin Americans caught entering the United States illegally. According to The Post, 660 Pakistanis were detained in that period.

A recent report from the Department of Homeland Security, however, concluded that, over all, illegal immigrants from the Philippines, India, Korea, China and Vietnam were all far more numerous than those from Pakistan.

In a separate interview on Friday on MSNBC, Mr. Huckabee, a Republican, said that the Pakistani government "does not have enough control of those eastern borders near Afghanistan to be able go after the terrorists." Those borders are on the western side of Pakistan, not the eastern side.
This is embarrassing. This is unsettling. And this appears to indicate that Mike Huckabee is not ready for prime time. Add all of this to Huckabee's past foreign policy errors--including his disastrous Foreign Affairs article and his complete lack of preparedness in discussing the recent NIE on Iran's nuclear capabilities a full 24 hours after the NIE was made public--and you have a Presidential candidate not ready for prime time.

I measure my words carefully when I write this: If Huckabee can't be bothered, during an era of consequence when it comes to matters of foreign policy and national security--to learn the basics of foreign policy, then he has no business running for President. And if he persists in running, he will have no business being surprised once the electorate makes clear that they will not take him seriously thanks to his lack of knowledge.
DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 12:50:00 PM | Permalink | |

China's Economy: 40% smaller than advertised

The "Great Fall of China" (h/t Glenn; emphasis is mine):
The most important story to come out of Washington recently had nothing to do with the endless presidential campaign. And although the media largely ignored it, the story changes the world.

The story's unlikely source was the staid World Bank, which published updated statistics on the economic output of 146 countries. China's economy, said the bank, is smaller than it thought.

About 40% smaller.

China, it turns out, isn't a $10-trillion economy on the brink of catching up with the United States. It is a $6-trillion economy, less than half our size. For the foreseeable future, China will have far less money to spend on its military and will face much deeper social and economic problems at home than experts previously believed.

What happened to $4 trillion in Chinese gross domestic product?

Statistics. When economists calculate a country's gross domestic product, they add up the prices of the goods and services its economy produces and get a total -- in dollars for the United States, euros for such countries as Germany and France and yuan for China. To compare countries' GDP, they typically convert each country's product into dollars.

The simplest way to do this is to use exchange rates. In 2006, the World Bank calculated that China produced 21 trillion yuan worth of goods and services. Using the market exchange rate of 7.8 yuan to the dollar, the bank pegged China's GDP at $2.7 trillion.

That number is too low. For one thing, like many countries, China artificially manipulates the value of its currency. For another, many goods in less developed economies such as China and Mexico are much cheaper than they are in countries such as the United States.

To take these factors into account, economists compare prices from one economy to another and compute an adjusted GDP figure based on "purchasing-power parity." The idea is that a country's GDP adjusted for purchasing-power parity provides a more realistic measure of relative economic strength and of living standards than the unadjusted GDP numbers.

Unfortunately, comparing hundreds and even thousands of prices in almost 150 economies all over the world is a difficult thing to do. Concerned that its purchasing-power-parity numbers were out of whack, the World Bank went back to the drawing board and, with help from such countries as India and China, reviewed the data behind its GDP adjustments.

It learned that there is less difference between China's domestic prices and those in such countries as the United States than previously thought. So the new purchasing-power-parity adjustment is smaller than the old one -- and $4 trillion in Chinese GDP melts into air.

The political consequences will be felt far and wide. To begin with, the U.S. will remain the world's largest economy well into the future. Given that fact, fears that China will challenge the U.S. for global political leadership seem overblown. Under the old figures, China was predicted to pass the United States as the world's largest economy in 2012. That isn't going to happen.
Read the rest here.
DiscerningTexan, 12/30/2007 10:58:00 AM | Permalink | |
Saturday, December 29, 2007

Poltergeist


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/29/2007 11:22:00 PM | Permalink | |

Hillary, CNN Destabilize Pakistan (for Votes?)

From Sweetness and Light (via Accuracy In Media), evidence that Hillary will literally do ANYTHING to achieve power, no matter how damaging to world instability; and also evidence that CNN will go to any lengths to help her.
DiscerningTexan, 12/29/2007 11:13:00 PM | Permalink | |

Mark Steyn takes the gloves off for Free Speech in Canada

Mark Steyn is a clever, witty person. But he can be direct like a laser beam, too--and deadly spot on. And Steyn is not shy here about his feelings about the Canadian Islamists' lawsuit attempting to silence him in Canada:

Here's my bottom line: I don't accept that free-born Canadian citizens need the permission of the Canadian state to read my columns. What's offensive is not the accusations of Dr Elmasry and his pals, but the willingness of Canada's pseudo-courts to take them seriously. So I couldn't care less about the verdict - except insofar as an acquittal would be more likely to bolster the cause of those who think it's entirely reasonable for the state to serve as editor-in-chief of privately owned magazines. As David Warren put it, the punishment is not the verdict but the process. To spend gazillions of dollars to get a win on points would do nothing for the cause of freedom of speech: It would signal to newspaper editors and book publishers and store owners that it's more trouble than it's worth publishing and printing and distributing and displaying anything on this subject, and so it would contribute to the shriveling of freedom in Canada.

This is a political prosecution and it should be fought politically. The "plaintiffs" certainly understand that, ever since the day they went in to see Ken Whyte and demanded money from Maclean's. I want the constitutionality of this process overturned, so that Canadians are free to reach the same judgments about my writing as Americans and Britons and Australians and it stands or falls in the marketplace of ideas. The notion that a Norwegian imam can make a statement in Norway but if a Canadian magazine quotes that statement in Canada it's a "hate crime" should be deeply shaming to all Canadians.

This morning I spent 20 minutes mulling over a couple of offers for overseas rights to America Alone from the Islamic world. It seems that Muslim publishers from Turkey to Indonesia are more robust than Osgoode Hall law students. What a sad comment on the decayed Dominion.

Meanwhile, as I've said before, the best way to show support is to support the beleaguered publishers by taking out a subscription to Maclean's for you or a friend. US and overseas wannabe-subscribers have told us they're having a bit of difficulty getting the website form to acknowledge non-Canadian postal codes. If you have trouble, send us the details and we'll make sure Maclean's sort it out when the Subscription Dept wallahs return to the office on Christmas Bank Holiday First Thursday After Hogmanay, or whenever folks go back to work in Toronto.

Light a candle for free speech in Canada this Christmas. And if your tree catches fire and burns the house down, report it to the British Columbia HRC as a hate crime.
DiscerningTexan, 12/29/2007 10:22:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Huckabee Meltdown continues...

Huckabee is absolutely losing it... This meltdown seems even more destructive to Huckabee's credibility than was Howard Dean's scream to his, because the Huckabee Keystone Cops routine continues to occur--every. single. day.

But I can't say it bothers me. Can you imagine this guy in the Oval Office? Or even running as the Republican nominee? It would be catastrophic, for the party and for the country.
DiscerningTexan, 12/29/2007 09:57:00 PM | Permalink | |

Fox to Paulistas: Serious Candidates Only please UPDATED: It's a Hoax

UPDATE: The whole thing was a hoax! But I was not the only one snookered: Ron Paul took the bait hook line and sinker.

*********************************************************************************

This was long overdue. But look for Paul to use it as the excuse he has been waiting for to "play the victim" and run as an Independent.

I say: bring it on. He undoubtedly will take more votes from anti-war Dems anyway.
DiscerningTexan, 12/29/2007 08:50:00 PM | Permalink | |
Friday, December 28, 2007

PerishTheThought (from this Congress)


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/28/2007 11:35:00 PM | Permalink | |

Worst Congress in History Crafts Untenable Defense Bill

Bush continues to fight the good fight! DT readers may recall my post from last week, indicating that Bush might not be wild about signing the omnibus bill... And voila, one week later: out comes the veto pen again for this Defense bill, just when the Dems thought they had slipped another "fast one" past the President.

The President has a very valid reason, as you will see from his "Memorandum of Disapproval" linked above, and also from Gateway Pundit's excellent post below. This is what happens when the Dems play chicken with the military, is fast and loose with the American people, waits until the last nanosecond to actually try and do Legislative business instead of trying to pass laws and conduct endless investigations designed to dictate to the Executive Branch how it is supposed to carry out its Constitutional role. And then when it finally does get to the people's business, it continues to try and sneak in "poison pills" to an otherwise critical bill to our Armed Forces--at a time when world tensions could not be higher..

Yet the President stands firm. Good.

Now let's see the Dems fight a new streamlined bill for our troops, now that the news of their glaring omission/betrayal is out, and especially in light of world tensions after the Bhutto assasination; denying the troops the funding they need now--no strings attached--would IMO be tantamount to political suicide for the party's fall fortunes:
The worst Congress ever is criticizing President Bush’s expected veto of H.R. 1585, the fiscal year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.

The White House believes the bill is "A Danger to Iraq's Progress"...

Obviously, the White House is very concerned about Section 1083 because the provisions included risk imposing financially devastating hardship on Iraq that will unacceptably interfere with the political and economic progress.

The Defense Appropriations Bill also includes over 2,000 earmarks.
I've seen some criticisms of this even from bloggers I respect. But personally I like a guy who does the right thing, even if it goes against the grain or comes at a not particularly opportune moment with primaries coming up next week. Leaders don't get to pick when mistakes happen; but they do need to correct them. I'm standing behind the President on this one.
DiscerningTexan, 12/28/2007 11:25:00 PM | Permalink | |

Huckabee Claims Bolton Supports Him; Bolton says: "Nuts"

There is nothing I can really add to this. Astounding. This self-destruct may be worse than Howard Dean's:

I didn’t want to write yet another blast at Huckabee, honest. Like the movie says, I keep trying to get out but he just keeps pulling me back in. Over and over and over again.

And again. Oops! Huck did it again…

A few weeks back, Mike Huckabee touted Frank Gaffney among his foreign policy advisers. Gaffney is a serious guy. He’d be an asset to any campaign. But Gaffney was eventually asked about this purported relationship to the Arkansan, and responded memorably:

GAFFNEY: I think that’s cockamamie.

More recently, Huckabee has also claimed that former Ambassador John Bolton is among his advisers. Bolton would also be a great asset to any candidate. Perhaps Huckabee was trying to earn my vote? Whatever the case is, like Gaffney, Bolton was asked about this and responds memorably.

In recent days, Mike Huckabee has tried to answer long-standing questions about who is on his foreign policy team. On Friday morning, he listed former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as someone with whom he either has “spoken or will continue to speak.”

At a Thursday evening press conference, Huckabee said, “I’ve corresponded with John Bolton, who’s agreed to work with us on developing foreign policy.”

Bolton, however, has a different view. “I’d be happy to speak with Huckabee, but I haven’t spoken with him yet,” said Bolton, now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

“I’m not an official or unofficial adviser to anyone,” said Bolton, who mentioned he’d had conversations with other Republican candidates but refused to name any names.

So now that we know who isn’t advising Huckabee on foreign policy — twice now — perhaps at some point we’ll learn who actually is advising him. I’m not sure that asking Huckabee who his advisers are is the best way to find out who his advisers are.

Update: Not much I can add to this. No siree.

huck-nforeignpolicy.png

DiscerningTexan, 12/28/2007 11:19:00 PM | Permalink | |

Yes, this does destabilize Pakistan... but Bhutto was NOT "all that"...

Ralph Peters lays it out and I find very little to argue with. The Left will try to make her into some kind of saint, but all she really was was a corrupt politician in a sea of corruption:
FOR the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Her country's better off without her. She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life.

We need have no sympathy with her Islamist assassin and the extremists behind him to recognize that Bhutto was corrupt, divisive, dishonest and utterly devoid of genuine concern for her country.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.

Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools.

During her years as prime minister, Pakistan went backward, not forward. Her husband looted shamelessly and ended up fleeing the country, pursued by the courts. The Islamist threat - which she artfully played both ways - spread like cancer.

But she always knew how to work Westerners - unlike the hapless Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who sought the best for his tormented country but never knew how to package himself.

Military regimes are never appealing to Western sensibilities. Yet, there are desperate hours when they provide the only, slim hope for a country nearing collapse. Democracy is certainly preferable - but, unfortunately, it's not always immediately possible. Like spoiled children, we have to have it now - and damn the consequences.

In Pakistan, the military has its own forms of graft; nonetheless, it remains the least corrupt institution in the country and the only force holding an unnatural state together. In Pakistan back in the '90s, the only people I met who cared a whit about the common man were military officers.

Americans don't like to hear that. But it's the truth.

Read the rest here (h/t Reliapundit).

DiscerningTexan, 12/28/2007 04:02:00 PM | Permalink | |
Thursday, December 27, 2007

Al Qaeda killed Bhutto; So what do WE do now?

After its bitter defeat in Iraq, it is obvious that Al Qaeda's new goal is to incite as much strife in Pakistan as possible, and murdering the former Prime Minister may be as incendiary as was the killing of Franz Ferdinand (murdered by an Islamist Serb) in sparking 'The Great War':
A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

“We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.

It is believed that the decision to kill Bhutto, who is the leader of the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP), was made by al-Qaeda No. 2, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.

Death squads were allegedly constituted for the mission and ultimately one cell comprising a defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Punjabi volunteer succeeded in killing Bhutto.

Bhutto had just addressed a pre-election rally on Thursday in the garrison town of Rawalpindi when the bomb went off.
Sowing the seeds of Civil War in Pakistan is exactly what AQ attempted to do when it murdered hundreds of fellow Muslims who committed the sin of praying at the Shiite Mosque in Samarra: AQ was less concerned with innocent Muslims it murdered than it was with doing whatever was necessary to maximize the chances of chaos and Civil War. Fortunately the surge has defeated them there, but Al Qaeda is still a dangerous enemy elsewhere. And they obviously are trying the same strategy in Pakistan, although it is worth mentioning that the bombing also helps the pro-Taliban opposition leader Nawaz Sharif enormously in his war against Musharraf (indeed, it would not surprise me if Sharif were involved somehow in the plot):
Bhutto’s death also makes former prime minister Nawaz Sharif Pakistan’s top opposition figure. Sharif has attempted to appeal to Islamic militants, arguing that Pakistan needs to pare down its cooperation with the United States. Sharif has already capitalized on Bhutto’s death, visiting the hospital where she was declared dead, blasting Musharraf for providing Bhutto with insufficient security, and calling for a reunification of Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party and his own Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Here is the bottom line now: Under no circumstances can we abandon Musharraf the way Jimmy Carter abandoned the Shah of Iran when the going got tough (and that worked out real well, didn't it...). Of course, this is exactly what Al Qaeda is counting on, but withdraw our support now (unless we have already found another pro-American replacement...) would be to put scores of nukes directly into the hands of sworn enemies who have vowed to bring mass murder to as many American, European, and Israeli "Infidels" as possible. At that point a US military option against Pakistan cannot be overlooked. And at that point protecting our borders takes on a whole new ominous meaning.

If the Taliban and/or Al Qaeda are able to topple Musharraf, the chances of nuclear war will be greater than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis. So, it does beg the question: with the stakes as high as they are for the entire world, can the United States really afford to elect some rank amateur as President? God help us if we do.

(NOTE: as an slight modification to VDH's list, is being the wife of a President--who didn't even have a security clearance--more important than strategic defense of American interests--and who like her husband has been getting illegal money from the Communist Chinese and Saudi Arabia--really count as "experience" that Americans would want in the Oval Office facing down our enemies in an Armaggedon scenario? I think not.)
DiscerningTexan, 12/27/2007 11:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sanctuary


Cartoon by Lisa Benson (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/27/2007 08:18:00 PM | Permalink | |

Fox News: Most Balanced of 2008 According to Non-Partisan Media Group

And, no--I did not ever think it was a typo. Fox is clearly the best we have. (h/t Don Surber)
DiscerningTexan, 12/27/2007 07:31:00 PM | Permalink | |

Bhutto Assasinated; Ron Paul, Barack Obama Blame America, Huckabee Apologizes

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is likely to have far-reaching repercussions which cannot even be imagined right now. But the seeming rush of two Republican candidates (and Barack Obama) to try and hang the blame for the assassination of Bhutto on US policy is not merely a lie born of cheap opportunism; it is a lie that is damaging to our country's interests and reputation across the world:
Do you not think that these irresponsible statements are bouncing around every Islamist website on the planet? And this is Presidential???

All three of these items--coming after such a momentous and monumental tragedy--are illustrations of why we so desparately need the leadership of serious, sober people for these serious, sobering times. And it is well past high time that certain misguided Americans wake the hell up and drop their love affair with the sleazy and clueless Huckabee and/or the vapid Mr. Paul, and to get behind a Republican with experience, a sober understanding of world events, and the strength and will to pro-actively protect this country from the very Islamists who killed Ms. Bhutto today.

If you want to help make that result happen, here's how.
DiscerningTexan, 12/27/2007 06:23:00 PM | Permalink | |

Blogburst for Fred, Today 12/27 - UPDATED

I am going to take the advice of fellow blogger Rick Moran, and I hope all of my readers will think seriously about what I am about to echo here. Romney seems to be slipping, and Huckabee is in my opinion a nightmare scenario. If Romney falls back, there is only one conservative left who I trust to really do what he says he will do on all the issues I care about: Fred Thompson. Here is a message on behalf of Thompson bloggers to solicit dollars for a last minute push for Fred. If Thompson can even finish second or third in Iowa it would dramatically enhance his chances to go the distance. And that result is achievable, but we need your help. Moran's suggested text is below:

Dear Friends,

I am writing to ask for your help.

All of us know the long odds faced by Fred Thompson in his efforts to win the GOP nomination for president. I’m sure you are all aware that Fred has undertaken pretty much of a do or die bus tour of Iowa in order to finish strongly in the Caucuses on January 3.

Many of you have already taken steps to support the Thompson campaign in a tangible way by placing fundraising widgets on your sidebar and writing about the campaign. In this way, each of us alone has done whatever we can to support Fred in his efforts.

But at this, the 11th hour of the campaign in Iowa, I think it would be a very effective fundraising tool if as many of us as possible were to participate in an old-fashioned Blogburst, writing a post asking readers to donate to the campaign while embedding a fundraising widget in the post for convenience.

I propose Thursday, December 27 for the Blogburst. If you have an email list, I would urge you to ask your subscribers to donate. If you know of other bloggers who support Fred, please forward this email and ask them to participate as well.

Not expecting a “money bomb” but even a few tens of thousands of dollars would help, I’m sure. Given the number of readers represented in the blogs listed here (where I got all of your email addresses) and your cooperation, I feel confident we can give a real shot in the arm to the campaign.

I don’t think any of us believe that our endorsement of Thompson alone means that much in the long run. But working together, uniting for one day and speaking with one voice, I think we could make a significant impact on Fred’s chances in Iowa. After all, when the candidate you support rolls the dice as Fred has, the least we can do is back his play to the best of our ability.

No need to respond to this [blog post/email]. Just do it.

Sincerely,
The Discerning Texan [or, your blog name here...]


Here is the commercial your dollars will make possible in Iowa.

Please keep in mind: even small contributions will help. $10, $25, $50, $100 -- as much as you can give. If enough people tomorrow just give a small amount it can make a huge amount of difference, especially with folks like Rick and Glenn Reynolds promoting it. Is this just a game we are playing out here, or are we going to make a real difference this year?

This next step is up to us: do we want to take back our country, or not?

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers--and many thanks to Glenn for the link. It is because of him that most of you have gotten this far; but there is still another step you can now take:

You can be a major reason that Fred Thompson becomes a major player in Iowa... or why he did not. If everyone reading this gave what little they could, it could not only get the commercial run, it could possibly even make the news cycle. If it did that, then a lot more Iowans might pay attention when it does run in Iowa. Hell, maybe the commercial would even get a couple of plays on Brit Hume or O'Reilly.

It is not my wish to preach here or to sound condescending: but any student of US politics understands how much of a difference moments like this can make in history; this can be our time.

What we do tonight could change everything. If the Paulistas and their friends in the skinhead community can raise so much money at once, then why not decent Americans like ourselves who think this is a pretty special place already--and definitely a place worth defending against religious zealots who want to kill as many of us as they can?

Friends, Instapundit readers, countrymen. Let's take our country back from the Socialists, the Isolationists, the anti-Gun zealots, the big Government tax and spenders, the Judicial Activists, and the Amnesty lobby: let's give Fred Thompson a chance to win this thing.

UPDATE: I have put my own money where my mouth is, and I have bumped this because today is now 12/27.
DiscerningTexan, 12/27/2007 01:53:00 AM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Huckabee Wanted 25K to speak in Churches

The hits just keep on coming from that "man of the cloth", Mike Huckabee... Funny, though, I always thought that the idea was for preachers to move the people to give money to Churches, not to hit the Churches up for big bucks, just for the "privilege" of having a preacher-turned-politician solicit votes, brandishing his all-too-convenient theology and little else of any value.

Seems to me that this is exactly what the Founders were trying to avoid--but Social Conservatives in Iowa and elsewhere seem to be buying right into it. Never mind that Huckabee's positions and recent statements indicate that his core beliefs when it comes to governing are light years apart from positions that Social Conservatives have taken for years. I have no problem with a religious man being my President. I think Presidents Bush and Reagan are excellent examples of men of faith who have governed admirably. I just have a problem with this particular man. Because I think he will do and say anything to get power--and in that he is no different than Hillary Clinton.

What a weird turn of events this Huckabee phenomenon has been; let us hope it dies a quick death, a la the Howard Dean "swoon" of 2004.
DiscerningTexan, 12/26/2007 07:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Bad Santa


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/26/2007 12:17:00 AM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, December 25, 2007

On Giving and Receiving Bad Gifts

Interesting column about the phenomenon of the "Bad" Christmas gift from Andrew Tallman. A bit too "black and white" judgmental from where I sit, but a thought provoking moral journey nevertheless, with a decent point:

Have you ever received a Christmas gift you didn’t want? Idiot mittens from grandma. A subscription to the deodorant-of-the-month club. Membership to the “We Fix Fat People” gym and spa. Yes, we’ve all received bad gifts.

But do you remember what it felt like? Burdened. Insulted. Irritated. Disturbed. All are candidates. Naturally, however, you smiled and said, “Thank You” while you secretly considered how to dispose of the new curse you’d acquired. And, of course, if someone gives you a bad gift once, next year’s gift is preambled with a nice holiday dose of anxiety to boot.

So if that’s how you felt when receiving a bad gift, why would you want to risk being such an anti-blessing to someone else? If you love them, you surely wouldn’t. We all want to be the sort of person who gives the gifts people can’t wait to open and are thrilled to receive. If so, why does this process go so wrong with such regularity?

1. We live in America.

In the United States of America, the vast majority of us have enough money to buy pretty much anything we want. If I want a shirt, I buy it. If I want a DVD player, I buy it. And if I want a new CD, I buy it. In short, anything someone might give me that I would actually want, I already own. So in buying a gift for me, someone should ask himself a simple question: “Why doesn’t he already have it?” There are three possibilities.

One, I’ve never thought of it. This is obviously a good reason to buy it for me, and quickly, before I think of it myself. Two, I can’t afford it or don’t think it’s worth the price. This may seem like a fine reason, but such gifts then burden me with the obligation to be equally wasteful on you in return. That’s rarely a blessing. But the third and primary reason a gift recipient doesn’t already have this something is pretty obvious: he doesn’t actually want it. Clearly, such gifts really aren’t. But wait, there’s more.

2. Some people are picky.

I can’t buy gifts for my wife. Not because I’m bad at buying gifts, but because she is extremely particular. The good news is she doesn’t care whether I buy a gift for her. She is unusual in that she is perfectly happy for me to tell her to go buy what she wants for herself, and I get the credit. Other people have the unfortunate disease of being picky and also desiring gifts. I’d love to tell you that I have a solution for such people, but I don’t. However, I do have a thought.

Picky people are usually unhappy people, and unhappy people are usually not worth trying to please. So, one viable option is to simply not get a gift for this person and see what happens. “Why didn’t you get me anything this year” can easily be answered with an honest, “Because nothing I ever buy satisfies you, and I’d rather save my money and spare you the grief of receiving what you don’t want.” Isn’t honesty liberating?

3. The nature of gifts escapes many people.

The real hang-up is that people don’t understand what a gift is. A gift is a tangible demonstration of your love for someone.

Bad gifts are a burden precisely because they show your lack of love for the recipient. The prerequisite of love is knowledge. You cannot love whom you do not know. Thus, a gift shows love when it demonstrates a real knowledge of who someone is and what he desires. Bad gifts are evidence of a bad relationship because they demonstrate that you do not know enough about this person to be capable of giving a good gift.

Thus, an unwanted gift is a double failure. First you’ve burdened the recipient with something he wants about as much as more telemarketing calls. Second, you’ve actually insulted him by saying that he isn’t important enough for you to really know who he is. This may sound harsh, but it’s the truth that few people are willing to tell bad gift-givers. Unless the giver is a child who cannot do better, it’s not cute when someone gives a bad gift. It’s obnoxious.

Let me be clear, the reason I’m writing this is so that people will swallow some pride and actually accomplish their (hopeful) purpose in buying Christmas gifts: to bless the recipient. Just think of how awful the theological implications are in celebrating the Perfect Gift from God by giving someone a gift he neither wants nor needs. But just as a bad gift wounds a relationship, a good gift solidifies it. And, because I want people to have good relationships, I want people to learn how to be more like God and give great Christmas gifts.

4. But isn’t it the thought that counts?

There is one final myth that needs direct dispelling. The thought does not count. The gift counts. And I’ll tell you why this phrase disgusts me. When do we say it? We say, “It’s the thought that counts,” precisely when the gift is terrible. But if the gift is terrible, that means that the thought wasn’t really so great either. It takes a lot of thought to give a good gift. It takes only a little thought to give a terrible one. So, a bad gift is actually evidence that you don’t care enough about the person to bother taking the time to have a quality thought about what would make a good gift for him. Thus, rather than the thought being the thing that counts, it’s the lack of thought that winds up counting.

By the way, this is why it’s so tacky to ask people what they want to be given. If you have to ask, you’re admitting you don’t know them well enough to be giving them a gift in the first place. It’s sort of like saying, “Gee, I really want to pretend that we have a strong relationship and I want to earn false affection from you, so can you tell me who you are and I’ll just act like I already knew?” Now, granted, it’s better to ask and get it right than to not ask and get it wrong. But the real challenge is to not ask and get it right. And if you can’t get it right without asking, maybe you shouldn’t be buying gifts for this person in the first place.

5. Categories of bad gifts

To illustrate some of the pitfalls, here are my six categories for bad gifts:

· The insult gift, which criticizes rather than edify the person. “Here’s your Thigh-Master video and a subscription to Escaping Codependency Magazine, hon.”

· The selfish gift, which shows you can’t distinguish between what you like and what others like. “Here’s your organic lotions that I’m really into all of a sudden.”

· The narcissistic gift, which serves your ego, not his needs. “Here’s your own framed portrait of me.”

· The gift from me to you for me, which looks like a gift, but it’s really selfish. “Here’s that uncomfortable lingerie I know you hate to wear for me, dear.”

· The burden gift, which is the gift that keeps on giving you problems like stealing your time or space. “Here’s your own copy of ‘War and Peace.’ Let’s talk about it when we have lunch next week.”

· The almost good but really bad gift, which shows you know a little about someone but haven’t really taken the time to realize that a person’s interests are actually a dangerous place for gifts precisely because you probably don’t know enough about the field of interest to gift well in it. “Here, Dr. Schwartz, I thought you could use this copy of ‘Basic Anatomy for Dummies’ in your neurosurgical practice.”

6. Being a good gift-giver

Okay, sarcastic humor and acerbic comments aside, how do you give good gifts? It’s simple, but it’s not simple. Be humble, and do your homework. That’s it. You have to realize that there is no formula because every relationship and every person is different. The idea of giving gifts is to put aside every desire you have other than the one to bless someone. Then you just learn whatever you have to learn about this other person so that you can buy (or make) a really good gift.

In fact, one of the most powerful gifts is a gift that you do not even agree with and the other person knows this because this is a statement of great love. “I love you more than I love myself, and to prove it I’ll submit my own desires to my love of you, and give you what you will appreciate.”

Now go do the work necessary to give a gift so precious that the recipient would never even think of having to say something ridiculous like, “Oh, well, it’s the thought that counts,” because the thought really did count. If this column means you need to go make some returns, so be it. And look for my next article on what to do when you get a bad gift. A hint: the answer is not to politely say, “Thank you.”

DiscerningTexan, 12/25/2007 11:58:00 PM | Permalink | |

Latest Huckabee Endorsement: the Mullahs in Iran

If this does not speak volumes about the inadvisability of even thinking about supporting Mike Huckabee, what does?

Huckabee is the 2007 personification of The Manchurian Candidate.
DiscerningTexan, 12/25/2007 11:43:00 PM | Permalink | |

Harry Reid: Stalinist

Harry Reid and the Socialists in the Senate care as much about our Constitution as Karl Marx himself. And they are showing it in spades.
DiscerningTexan, 12/25/2007 11:39:00 PM | Permalink | |

Novak: Subverting Bush at Langley

A lot of this have been talking about this for quite some time now; but it is nevertheless heartening to see as respected a journalist as Robert Novak stating the truth openly.
DiscerningTexan, 12/25/2007 11:32:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Decline of the West (continued...)

DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 11:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

Huckabee getting Money from Embryonic Stem Cell Researcher

Well, well, well... look what the cat dragged in. Not so sanctity of life after all, are we Mr. Huckabee?
DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 10:50:00 PM | Permalink | |

Olberman Explained...by George Orwell

Keith Olberman is obvious to most astute observers of American media, but qualifies as cult-like "Indoctrination programming" to some--and that is a problem:
I watched MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann one night last week. Mimicking university hiring committees, MSNBC added a voice from the far left to its existing television lineup, already heavily burdened by the left. My evening of viewing Olbermann no doubt caused a significant spike in the percentage of his audience, perhaps even to those lofty levels of Air America.

George Orwell in 1984 captures perfectly a characteristic of radical thinking, if thinking is not too generous a term. The regime of Orwell's fictional "Oceania" regularly televises "Two Minutes Hate" that is required viewing for the population. These broadcasts are a shortened version of the regularly scheduled renditions of "Hate Week." During these exercises, everyone must follow the ritual of hate against those deemed enemies of the regime - "Goldstein" (Trotsky) being that regime's favored enemy.

The purveyor of Hate Minutes and Hate Weeks betrays a simple and stifled mind that seeks the same in its viewers. It is a mind that cannot conclude that someone with conflicting views is merely misguided or wrong. Rather, anyone who has views that don't comport with those "smelly orthodoxies" (as Orwell put it) is utterly contemptible. He deserves all the venom and hate that can be mustered.

This sort of hate, so lovingly cultivated by the likes of Keith Olbermann, is indicative of a peculiar attitude and little more. This attitude is actually the pose of one who supposedly sees through all the charades, who cannot be fooled, and who then smugly reports his findings to the less sophisticated. It simulates depth. This attitude has become especially prevalent on the left since King Karl Marx was dethroned and relegated to the dustbin of history.

So, during primetime on weeknights, MSNBC treats America to Olbermann's hatefest, where, like being on The Edmund Fitzgerald, the minutes go by like hours. Rather than "Goldstein," Olbermann subjects to his venom George Bush and anyone who may implement or support his policies.
Read the rest; one of the better exposes of Olberman I've read.
DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 10:24:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sunnis, Shias join in Peace March in Baghdad

Another "good news in Iraq" story that the media isn't exactly foaming at the mouth over.
DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 10:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sleeping With the Enemy

A textbook case that illustrates, even for the most dim, to what extent the Lefty press manipulates what you see--and in many cases what you think--about Iraq and a host of other matters. And even more startling is that the study itself came from the very left-leaning Pew Research Center.
DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 09:55:00 PM | Permalink | |

Fred's Stock in Iowa Rising

Via Hugh Hewitt--who is a big time Romney supporter--some good news from Iowa (h/t to the Instapundit):

I have all the candidates’ public schedules loaded into my Google Calendar. Take a look at Fred’s schedule in the last week:

Lazy Fred is no more. The dude’s had 5 events in Iowa each day the last week. Some of those events were canceled because of a blizzard today, others received less than rave reviews, but you can’t argue that Fred is confounding the pundits with a bruising schedule when it matters most. That kind of thing counts in Iowa, and as a result of that and the inevitable Huckaslide, I’m predicting he places a surprisingly strong third and stays in the race.

I'd call it a full court press. More here.

DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 09:38:00 PM | Permalink | |

Thank you, Rush

Knowingly or not, Rush Limbaugh is doing America a great favor this week. On behalf of the many who have given their hearts and souls for this country--some who have given their lives: thanks!

Dan Riehl (together with our friends at Hot Air) provide a nice summary of what went down:

The commenters at Hot Air are speculating as to the whys and wherefores of Rush Limbaugh's response to Huckabee as reported at The Politico. But Rush's response comes with a landmine that Huckabee doesn't dare go near.

“Gov. Huckabee’s campaign is engaged in identity politics at this moment, ....

That charge is key to why so many conservatives have a problem with Huckabee. As most realize, he seeks to do the same thing with being Evangelical as the Left has been doing for years with identities such as Black, Hispanic, Female, gay, etc. Huckabee would have it so that his qualifications and positions on many important issues don't matter - only his religion, or identity, does.

If he or his people engage Rush's premise it opens the door for Limbaugh to take him down and make the argument that Evangelicals, of which Bush is one btw, shouldn't be fooled. Conservatism and evangelical-ism are two different things. I wouldn't look for Rush to drop this anytime soon. He'll have to at least comment on it when he comes back.

Given that any conversation could be so dangerous for Huckabee, he's going to look as though he turned tail and ran from a talk show host. So, the question for Huckabee is, how are you going to stand up to terrorists, if you can't even stand up to Rush? He may not realize it, yet, but Huckabee has already lost this confrontation.

He can come away looking weak, or being exposed for his non-conservative views. He'll probably try to finesse it by responding indirectly, but Rush's mentioning of identity politics in his email makes it clear Rush isn't backing down.

DiscerningTexan, 12/23/2007 09:22:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, December 22, 2007

How To Lose ANY War


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/22/2007 09:52:00 PM | Permalink | |

Viva la France!

The President of France continues to do and say things that American Democrats won't...which speaks volumes about both. It used to be that the Marxists in the French Government outnumbered those in the American Government; that is no longer the case:

I thought Bush ruined America’s relations with all our allies.

Let’s see, France elected L’Americain as its president in June and now that president is talking about adding more troops to fight in Afghanistan.

While he is in Afghanistan.

Said Nicolas Sarkozy: “There is a war going on here, a war against terrorism, against fanaticism that we cannot and will not lose.”

I would love to hear a Democratic candidate for president of the United States say that.

By the way, both the Dutch and the Canadians (who finally elected a conservative as prime minister) have re-upped for tours of Afghanistan through 2010.

Oh and one more thing about timelines. Sarkozy said: “What is certain is that we have not wanted to give the signal of departure, that would have been a despicable signal at a time when one sees the ravages inflicted by terrorism in the world.”

DiscerningTexan, 12/22/2007 07:10:00 PM | Permalink | |

Control Freaks Gone Wild


Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/22/2007 06:50:00 PM | Permalink | |

Weekly Standard Clocks TIME over Petraeus snub



Nice Cover! And when Bill Kristol gets it right, he really gets it right:
We are now winning the war. To say this was not inevitable is an understatement. Even those of us who were early advocates and strong supporters of the surge, and who thought it could succeed, knew the situation had so deteriorated that success was by no means guaranteed. Two military experts told me early in 2007 that they thought the odds of success were, respectively, 1-in-3 and 1-in-4. They nonetheless supported the surge because, even at those odds, it was a gamble worth taking, so devastating would be the consequences of withdrawal and defeat. We at THE WEEKLY STANDARD thought the chances of success were better than 50-50--but that it remained a difficult proposition.

Petraeus pulled it off. The war is not over, of course. Too quick and deep a drawdown--which some in the Pentagon and elsewhere in the Bush administration are, appallingly, pushing for--could throw away the amazing success that has been achieved. Still: It is as clear as anything can be in this world, where we judge through a glass darkly, that General David H. Petraeus is, in fact, America's man of the year.

Time ludicrously chose to make Russia's ex-KGB agent-turned president Vladimir Putin its cover boy. They just couldn't make Petraeus man--oops--person of the year. Our liberal elites are so invested in a narrative of defeat and disaster in Iraq that to acknowledge the prospect of victory would be too head-wrenching and heart-rending. It would mean giving credit to George W. Bush, for one. And it would mean acknowledging American success in a war Time, and the Democratic party, and the liberal elites, had proclaimed lost.

The editors couldn't acknowledge their mugging by reality. That's fine. Nonetheless, reality exists. And the reality is that in Iraq, after mistakes and failures, thanks to the leadership of Bush, Petraeus, and General Ray Odierno--the day-to-day commander whose contributions shouldn't be overlooked--we are winning.
Read the whole thing here.

TWS Interview with America's Man of the Year here.
DiscerningTexan, 12/22/2007 05:19:00 PM | Permalink | |

First Rule of Debating: have the FACTS on your side

I just noticed today that the great Bill Whittle is back. It has been a while, so I have not been paying attention like I used to. But he has been missed.

In this case Whittle had obviously read one America-hating Democrat Underground post too many, and so we now have a textbook lesson on how to so completely eviscerate Leftist propaganda that all that remains of the original argument is egg and large amounts of crow.
DiscerningTexan, 12/22/2007 04:22:00 PM | Permalink | |

Now? Or Later?

I saw this quote today over at the Free Mark Steyn website (for more information on the attempt to railroad Steyn, go here), and I am republishing it here because these words really do hit home, and--like most of Dr. King's words--they are as relevant today as they were then:
“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be.
And one day, some great opportunity stands before you
and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle,
some great issue, some great cause.
And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.
You refuse to do it because you want to live longer.
You’re afraid that you will lose your job,
or you’re afraid that you will be criticized
or that you will lose your popularity,
or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you,
or shoot at you or bomb your house;
so you refuse to take the stand.
‘Well you may go on and live until you are 90,
but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90.
And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right. You died when you refused to stand up for truth. You refused to stand up for justice.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
November 5, 1967

Like it or not, this is where America is today. Our future hangs in the balance. Going with "the flow" means that the greatness of America country will soon be lost forever. Will you stand with those of us who care?
DiscerningTexan, 12/22/2007 03:51:00 PM | Permalink | |
Friday, December 21, 2007

Snow Job


Cartoon by Gary Varvel (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 12/21/2007 10:44:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Great One... and the Great Communicator

I think that Kathryn Jean Lopez knows a good thing when she sees (or hears..) it; and if anyone who listens to this now still holds any hope at all for our future, I think it will send your holiday spirits soaring. I only hope that the Republican candidates are smart enough to follow Ms. Lopez' advice.

Isn't it amazing how stirring and how relevant these words are--even 43 years after the fact. Keep them in mind as we move into the heavy primary season. Because this kind of vision and strength is exactly what is needed today.
DiscerningTexan, 12/21/2007 10:40:00 PM | Permalink | |

Limbaugh and Condi Lash out at Huckabee

This last week could not have been more disastrous for Mike Huckabee's campaign. His poor judgment for over the last few weeks in making statements which impugn virtually everything that Conservative Republicans have stood against the appeasers and the Socialists are now coming back to haunt him:

CALLER: Yeah, Romney after that debate, the last debate, said he was in favor of expanding entitlements, which is anything but conservative.

RUSH: Yeah, that’s why I haven’t endorsed anybody. I’m waiting. I don’t know how else I can do it. I realize that there are a lot of you out there: You got a candidate, and you think that if I got behind your candidate it would put ‘em over the top, and you might be right. But, at this point, it’s just an age-old belief that I have, and I remain true to my beliefs and principles. Now, some people have written me, “I hear you say this, but you’re full of it. What about 2000 with Bush and McCain in South Carolina?” Special circumstance. You had a two-man race, and what was happening in South Carolina, McCain was going so far off the conservative reservation, so far off of it, that it was necessary to step in. Huckabee is getting close, I’m going to have to tell you. Huckabee’s getting close to the same stuff. Huckabee is using his devout Christianity to mask some other things that are distinctively not conservative. He is against free trade. He’s really doesn’t believe in free market. Well, let me read what George Will wrote today. This is when I go along with “the DC-New York axis.” But I just want to read from George Will’s column, a paragraph today. “Huckabee’s campaign actually is what Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy is misdescribed as being — a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs. Giuliani departs from recent Republican stances regarding two issues — abortion and the recognition by the law of same-sex couples. Huckabee’s radical candidacy broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America’s corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity. [C]onsider New Hampshire’s chapter of the National Education Association, the teachers union that is a crucial component of the Democratic Party’s base. In 2004, New Hampshire’s chapter endorsed Howard Dean in the Democratic primary and no one in the Republican primary. Last week it endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary — and Huckabee in the Republican primary.” It likes Huckabee on education.

The retorts today by Rush Limbaugh and Condolezza Rice could not have come at a more appropriate moment, nor could Huckabee's incredibly lame attempts to talk his way out of these entanglements. He is becoming more transparent by the day--and the transparency is anything but flattering.
DiscerningTexan, 12/21/2007 10:19:00 PM | Permalink | |

A Presidential Masterstroke?

In a last-minute announcement, President Bush sent a signal today that he might not honor many of the almost 10,000 Congressional pork earmarks sent up to him with this latest "Omnibus" spending bill. Captain Ed has the details of what may be a long overdue, yet boldly imaginative move by this President, against a Congress that seems only interested in having repetitive token symbolic votes and/or investigating the White House. As for the business of actually governing, it is quite possibly the worst one year Congressional performance in US history:

The omnibus spending bill made its way down Pennsylvania Avenue this week, and it could have slid all the way down on the grease it contains from over 9,000 earmarks. In remarks yesterday, George Bush warned that his budget director will look at ways to eliminate wasteful spending, and thanks to Congressional dishonesty, he may have a way to do it:

The White House threatened yesterday to cancel thousands of pet projects that Congress inserted into a massive spending bill before leaving town this week, a move that could provoke a fierce battle with lawmakers in both parties who jealously guard their ability to steer money to favored purposes.

At an end-of-the-year news conference, President Bush chastised Democratic leaders for failing to live up to their campaign promise to curb so-called earmarks and said he has ordered his budget director "to review options for dealing with the wasteful spending in the omnibus bill." Aides later said those options would include simply disregarding earmarks not included in binding legislative language. ...

His sharp message on earmarks, though, stirred consternation on Capitol Hill and anticipation among fiscal conservatives. Calling Congress irresponsible for lumping 11 spending bills into a single, 1,400-page measure nearly three months into the fiscal year, he added, "Another thing that's not responsible is the number of earmarks that Congress included." While Congress "made some progress" curbing pet projects, he said that "they have not made enough progress."

Bush said he asked Jim Nussle, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to draft possible actions to take, but he would not elaborate. One option, aides said, would be to ignore the vast majority of earmarks that are included only in conference reports rather than in the appropriations bill itself. Although traditionally honored, language in such reports is not legally binding.

Congress can blame itself for leaving this loophole, and it stems from their eagerness to airdrop earmarks rather than account for them as promised. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid passed reform rules that supposedly barred earmarks in conference reports. However, 90% of the earmarks in the omnibus bill never entered the legislative language, making a mockery of their claims to reform.

Read the rest here. And keep your fingers crossed that the President will have the courage to take this bold step.

I must say that the possibility has me really pumped. If true, it could not be a more welcome Christmas present for the American taxpayer. And it would send a real message to our hyper-partisan Socialist Congress that "business as usual" is not going to get a free pass from the "Bully Pulpit" any more. It would be a masterstroke. Stay tuned.

If I might be so presumptive as to offer a suggestion to the President, as Phil Knight likes to say: "Just do it." It will really help the cause this year, and the danger of the Democrats being even more uncooperative is all hat and no cattle, as they say around here: the Democrats could not possibly be any more uncooperative--that is if they wish to retain power after next year's elections. If the President really does follow through on this as he suggests he might, it could dramatically boost Republican chances to really have an impact next year--assuming the Party picks the right man for the top of the ticket (hint: it isn't Huckabee or Paul...).
DiscerningTexan, 12/21/2007 09:06:00 PM | Permalink | |

Leap of Faith

Kimberly Strassel has summed up perfectly most of my reservations and anxiety about Mike Huckabee:

As pigs in pokes go, the Democratic Party bought itself a big one in 1988. Michael Dukakis was relatively unknown, but he was also the last man standing. Only too late did his party, along with the rest of the country, realize Mr. Dukakis was a typecast liberal -- a furlougher of felons, and a guy who looked mighty awkward in a tank.

This is what happens when a party takes a flyer, and it could be Republicans' turn with Mike Huckabee. The former Baptist minister and governor of Arkansas is surging in Iowa, and is tied with Rudy Giuliani in national polls. He's selling his party on a simple message: He's not those other guys, with their flip-flops and different faiths, and dicey social positions. As to what Mr. Huckabee is -- that's as unknown to most voters as the Almighty himself.

Mr. Huckabee is starting to get a look-see by the press, though whether the nation will have time to absorb the findings before the primaries is just as unknown. The small amount that has been unearthed so far ought to have primary voters nervous. It isn't just that Mr. Huckabee is far from a traditional conservative; he's a potential ethical time bomb.

On policy, Mr. Huckabee's tenure in Arkansas has shown him to be ambivalent about tax increases, variously supporting sales tax hikes, cigarette and gasoline taxes and Internet taxes. Spending increased 65% from 1996 to 2004, three times the rate of inflation.

He's so lackluster on education reform that he recently received an endorsement from the New Hampshire affiliate of the National Education Association -- the first ever of a GOP candidate. The union cited Mr. Huckabee's opposition to school vouchers. Mr. Huckabee is a fan of greater subsidies for farmers and "clean energy." He's proven himself a political neophyte on foreign policy, joining Democrats to skewer President Bush and glorify the "diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy" line.

Most of this is out there, thoroughly documented, and even now slowly filtering its way to voters. Of more concern is what has not yet been discovered about Mr. Huckabee's time as Arkansas lieutenant governor and governor, in particular on ethical issues. There are signs that Mr. Huckabee's background -- borne of the same Arkansas establishment that produced Bill Clinton -- is ripe to provide the sort of pop-up political scandal that could derail a general election campaign.

Read the whole thing.

DiscerningTexan, 12/21/2007 01:17:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED Huckabee (you know, that "Man of God"...) plays the Victim

UPDATE: I have edited, appended, and cleaned this up a bit for clarity. Also bumped.

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Subliminal crosses appearing in his ads, that gee-whiz Christmas message (whose real message is/was: 'we are too good of a people to be criticizing each other over this holiday--i.e. now that my polls are up, the other candidates would be positively 'non-Christian' were they to criticize me. Merry Christmas! ...')

Sorry, but I'm not buying.

I am all for a person of faith and conviction, but I do not trust a man who uses the Cross he's wearing on his sleeve as the prima facia evidence why we should chose him over the others. I want to know what the man will do, not how he prays or his religious dogma.

When it comes to real issues--and even what I suspect to be his psyche--Huckabee seems to stands for almost nothing else beyond his undefined faux (or at least overblown) morality. We don't like it when zealots in Iran run their country based on the literal interpretation of Quaranic scripture; why in the world would we want to put as big of a question mark as Huckabee in the position to do something similar here in America? What does the Bible say about:
But the other thing is I am just not buying this whole "aw shucks I'm just a man following Jesus..." political campaign. I am all for people being allowed to express their faith, and our Constitution has succeeded in this country because it promotes toleration of others' faiths, not to persecute them--but also I think what the Framers were trying to accomplish with this whole Church/State balancing act is to avoid repeating the mistake of the English whom they were breaking away from--a kingdom whose rulers got to determine the "official" State religion; a policy that caused widespread bloodshed throughout English history.

The UK became a kingdom where you could be persecuted if you did not adhere to either the Pope's or Martin Luther's version of theology (depending on the timeframe). If the King was Protestant and you were Catholic, well--things did not go so well for you. And vice-versa. Which is probably, by the way, a cause-and-effect reason why I am here today writing this. But it is nevertheless true, and it is also the primary reason why the United States came into being in the first place.

The men who wrote our Constitution and fought the bitter war against the most powerful country on Earth of that time, went out of their way to try and prevent a similar form of Government here. And yet this seems to me to be exactly what Mike Huckabee's commercials (and his campaign in general)--seem to be gunning for.

I understand that a great majority of American "believers" (regardless of religion) make their home in the Republican Party. And I am glad this is the case, because the Judeo-Christian underpinning means that the Republicans are more likely to have a civilized moral and ethical basis to their policy decisions. But with that said, I do not think that one should use their specific religious affiliation as a "campaign issue" (nor religious dogma of one belief against another candidate(s)). To do so is to project ourselves backwards in every sense of the word. We are not the Tudors of England nor do we want to be. That we are not is America's raison d'etre in the first place; (well that and our disdain for taxation, which the Republicans also have in their favor...)

Huckabee is a "false prophet" from where I sit. I don't not like him because he is a Christian; I don't like him because I believe he is using his religion to support his own blind ambition. Hell, Romney is doing everything he can to not discuss Mormonism--yet I buy it that Romney really is a man of morality and conviction, who would not be blown about by every wind.

Huckabee on the other hand seems to be courting the "David Duke demographic" of the party--or that portion thereof not supporting Ron Paul--while simultaneously trying to emulate the "I lusted in my heart" phenomenon of Jimmy Carter. Worse, he seems to have a frighteningly similar ideology and campaign style to Carter.

And now this charlatan is playing the victim--this man who is trying to become the most powerful man on earth. I don't want someone with victim mentality as my President. Nor to I want someone that has to be popular to feel good about himself. We tried that with Jimmy Carter. It was a disaster, to put it lightly.

When I hear the word "populist" it means to me someone who always wants to do the popular thing. That is great if the country happens to be behind standing up for the Constitution. But if half the country is wanting to tear it up and start over again, electing a "populist" is not the best prescription for fulfilling the Oath of Office. Why did we all love Reagan so much? Because he was a man of principle--and because we knew what those principles were. With Huckabee all we know is that as Governor he did not govern like a Conservative--and that he prays every night. That's it. He did not govern like a Reagan on Kennedy, he governed like Carter.

America does not need a President who is blown about by every wind and who caves to the forces who want to destroy us.

For that job, we can do better than Mike Huckabee.

Give me Fred, or short of that Mitt, or Rudy.

UPDATE: I also heard a scintillating rumor about negotiations between the Rudy and John McCain camps, discussing the two of them running as President and Vice President. But who would be at the top of that ticket? I can easily see Fred and Romney making a similar deal if it came to that.
DiscerningTexan, 12/21/2007 01:28:00 AM | Permalink | |
Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why TIME picked Putin over Petraeus (to paraphrase: They Can't Handle the Truth)

The always resonable and erudite Michael Barone cuts straight to the chase (emphasis mine; but you really should read the whole article: home run):

Time magazine has chosen Vladimir Putin as the person of the year. This strikes me as an odd choice. Yes, Putin has been an important player on the international stage; yes, he has frustrated American efforts to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons; yes, he has been more intransigent on asserting Russian power on the "near abroad," the former Soviet republics, which, like Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltics, seek to take a different course. But he has been doing these things for years, and he has made no important advances, at best incremental progress, in calendar year 2007.

In contrast, Time's fourth runner-up for person of the year, Gen. David Petraeus, has made an enormous difference this past year. With the help of many others (which is true of any leader), he has turned around the military situation and the political situation (if not at the top-down national level, then at the bottom-up local level) in Iraq. What seemed to be an imminent American defeat has been transformed into an imminent American success. And Petraeus has done more than any other person to turn that around.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Time didn't name Petraeus as the person of the year because its editors didn't want to spotlight and honor American success. ...

[... ] Which brings us back to the person of the year for 2007, Vladimir Putin. Yes, he's a consequential figure, who has just nominated a successor who looks like his pawn (at least for now; for a contrary view, see this speculation). But Russia ain't what it was when Time saw Ronald Reagan and Yuri Andropov as a dynamic duo. And who are Time's runners-up? Al Gore, who exaggerated the IPCC climate forecast by a factor of 20 to say that New York and London would be flooded by global warming (they weren't in the 13th century, when the weather was a lot warmer than it is now). J. K. Rowling, who has made millions writing books that children and adults love to read; all power to her, but she's not exerting the kind of influence over human affairs that Hitler did in 1938 and Stalin did in 1939. Or Hu Jintao, who is presiding over a system whose initiation, in 1978, was rightly honored by Time as a turning point in history. I have on my bookshelves somewhere (actually, it's not there, because I've just moved and haven't reshelved my books) a book by a China scholar entitled 1587: A Year of No Significance. I bought it because of the title and haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Hu Jintao is, so far as I can tell, like that book, of no significance. David Petraeus, No. 4 on Time's list, has made a much greater—a huger—difference. But Time doesn't want to acknowledge that, because to do so would be to admit that George W. Bush is not an ignorant tyrant and that the United States is not on the losing side of history. Better to elevate Vladimir Putin to a significance he does not deserve. Shame.
Spot on.
DiscerningTexan, 12/20/2007 09:46:00 PM | Permalink | |

If the Islamist 'Hitler' held a Presser in the Woods & Announced his Initent/Goal of a World Islamic Govt., Would the MSM Make a Sound?

Apparently not. From Gateway Pundit, via the Iranian News Agency:

Ahmadinejad: "Islam's Aim Is Establishing Global Government"

"God willing the flag of monotheism and Muslim glory will be hoisted and the ground will be paved for the expulsion of the enemies from the occupied lands."
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
During His Spiritual Pilgrimage to Mecca
December 20, 2007
At the Hajj, Ahmadinejad also professed to what he sees as Islam's goal- a Global Government, via IRNA:
IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Wednesday on Al-Adha Eid Day in Saudi Arabia philosophy of Haj can be defined merely through considering Islam's aim at establishment of a global government...

He said, "If we would delete the ultimate objective of establishing a global system from the Haj rituals, the remainder would be deeds devoid of a soul."
Hmm. You'd think those two lines from Mahmoud might get a few headlines.
It would be a sensible assumption to make, especially in a country where hundreds--if not thousands--of its sons and daughters are dead because of this Iranian sociopath; but then you would have to also make the assumption that the media actually gives a damn about what happens to Americans at home and abroad. And that is where you would be wrong.

Our Leftist media's overwhelming predominance of Socialist ideologues--and the zero sum game mentality of their puppeteers in the DNC--trump National Security every time. And their obviously false "sympathy" for Americans (and families) whom Islamist Iran has already killed does not leave any room for consideration the Americans and Israelis that it intends to kill; yet another example of our own media cutting off a once informed and vibrant democracy at the knees. And if it leads to a nuclear holocaust someday? Their attitude seems to be: "Oh well... that would be America's fault too..."

Isn't time that entities like Disney, General Electric, Time-Warner, and Viacom--the conglomorate media giants who are ultimately responsible for these networks busy undermining the United States--began to feel the anger and power of people like us who care about this country?

We can do something, you know. We can cancel those TIME and SI magazine subscriptions (I will not be renewing my Sports Illustrated--which has always been one of my favorite mags; but I can live without it...) We can get our movies from from Netflix instead of Blockbuster (chcck). We can buy non-GE products. And who says that Disney is the only place where you can get good entertainment for kids?

These are just a few examples. Obviously not watching their ridiculous networks goes without saying. Writing their letters to their sponsors telling them you aren't going to buy their products. And when you cancel subscriptions, etc, you can write to the CEO's of these conglomorates and tell them you have sold their stock, cancelled those subscriptions and written their sponsors--and why. These guys only understand one thing: money. And as long as they aren't feeling pressure they will continue to sponsor our nation's desctuction. This is yet another aspect in the "Silent Civil War" I was wthe other night where we can make a difference.

If enough people actually took these actions, it might--and I stress might--make a difference. But regardless, you will feel better, and you won't be supporting the people trying their damdest to destroy our country.

There is no half-assed way to defeat the Socialist, America-hating enemies that threaten us. It is an "all in" situation. I have moved my chips to the center of the table.

And you?
DiscerningTexan, 12/20/2007 07:01:00 PM | Permalink | |