The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, March 31, 2008

Behold ...

... the New York Times' "correspondent" in Iraq (via Glenn Reynolds):

ALL THE NEWS THAT FITS:

Got that? The New York Times reporter was an officer in Saddam’s army. Nice. By the way, officers were not drafted (that’s how the enlisted ranks were filled). Officers had to be selected and regularly vetted for loyalty and effectiveness. So Saddam decided that he could trust our intrepid correspondent and so did the New York Times. . . . This is Seinfeld reporting—“news” about nothing.

As for the New York Times, one wonders why they didn’t embed a reporter with the Iraqi forces streaming south. Like Dr. Zaius, were they afraid of what they might find?

Ouch. (Link was bad initially; fixed now.)

UPDATE: A journalistic shell game.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Sadr's triumphant surrender: "The media appear to be unanimous: by getting his butt kicked, surrendering control of Basra, and being mocked as an Iranian catspaw Sadr has… succeeded. . . . I haven’t seen the media swoon this hard over a militant anti-American in decades. Is Sadr the new Che?" Well, Che was an incompetent buffoon who was a media hero, so . . . .

MORE: Heh.

DiscerningTexan, 3/31/2008 10:59:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Sad Day: Infringement of Free Speech on the Net

A few days ago, World Net Daily published this report:

"Defying the wishes of the government of the Netherlands, a Dutch MP has posted his 17-minute documentary on the Quran, juxtaposing images of Islam's holy book with terror attacks and bombings by Muslim extremists.

Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party, released "Fitna," an Arabic word meaning strife, on the political party's website today, but it disappeared a short time later due to "technical difficulties," reported the London Times."

Wilder is well known as a critic of the "Islamization" of the west and apparently daring enough to confront his government's condemnation as well as the expected threats from offended Muslims. One would expect that, with no possibility of a theatrical release, the film would have found a home somewhere on the internet, but apparently the fear of Islamic violence is so great that Wilders' film is unable to find a host.

In what amounts to an act of censorship, the original host, Network Solutions, decided not to air the film, claiming that the site's content was in violation of their "acceptable use policy."

Soon after, Glenn Beck lamented on his show that "the evil spectre of political correctness has made its way into cyberspace" and that the video would be picked up by Live Leak.

In the end, however, "the price was too high" for Live Leak also. The video was removed and the following statement was issued in its stead:

"Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed comments from certain members of the British media that could directly affect the safety of some staff members, Liveleak has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers.

"This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one.

"Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one another’s culture.

We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high."

Sad day....definitely. Our cherished freedom of speech has been infringed. High price....a reasonable assumption given the source of the threats. But, Live Leak's hope for a reasonable discussion is resoundingly naïve. Do they really not know that mutual acceptance of Islam and any other religion is impossible? Western nations have welcomed Muslim immigrants and demonstrated their willingness to accept their culture and their religion. The question is: How do we get them to accept OURS?

You can read more about Geert Wilders and his film HERE.

Posted by Two Sisters from the Right

BoRhap77@aol.com, 3/30/2008 12:23:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, March 29, 2008

HILLARYCARE AND THE ROAD TO SERFDOM

NYTIMES:
If Elected ... Clinton Details Premium Cap in Health Plan

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview on Wednesday that if elected president she would push for a universal health care plan that would limit what Americans pay for health insurance to no more than 10 percent of their income, a significant reduction for some families.

In an extensive interview on health policy, Mrs. Clinton said she would like to cap health insurance premiums at 5 percent to 10 percent of income.

The average cost of a family policy bought by an individual in 2006 and 2007 was $5,799, or 10 percent of the median family income of $58,526, according to America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. Some policies cost up to $9,201, or 16 percent of median income.

The average out-of-pocket cost for workers who buy family policies through their employers is lower, $3,281, or 6 percent of median income, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health research group.
When the price of goods or services is set by the government - and is not based on costs in a free and competitive marketplace - then it is SOCIALISM.

It has never worked anywhere at anytime in any market.
AND SO ON...

Hillary's policy will destroy our healthcare system. It is exactly the wrong medicine.

It is socialism and it is the road to serfdom.

VOTE ACCORDINGLY.

*******Update (with apologies to Hayek):

If Hillary and her leftist comrades think that CAPS (VISUAL PUN INTENDED!) would work for healthcare, then why wouldn't they use them elsewhere (as they DO with "carbon caps")?

Some parts of the USA have a housing crisis, so...
Some corporation in the USA pay their executives a lot, so...
Some people in the USA waste energy - and the USA uses the most per capita in the world, so...
Some people have "too much house" and others not enough, so...
Some colleges are cheap and others are too expensive, so...
AND SO ON....

The reason not to do ANY of these things is NOT because some pundits call them leftist or socialist (which is what they are!).

It is because these policies have failed everywhere they have ever been employed.

They reduce the quality of the good or service and prosperity overall because:

No matter the intelligence and good intentions of the socialist, the collectivist - whether Maoist or Stalinist or or Trotskyite or Clintonite or Obamanist , they will therefore utterly fail.

Leftists have a very hard time with this fact because it's counter-intuitive to "people who think they know better". These know-it-alls - these leftist elitists - have a hard time accepting the fact that a marketplace made up of millions of free people buying and selling things can more efficiently price things than a "kitchen cabinet" or a POLITBURO of well-intentioned geniuses.

Hillarycare's fundamental failure was not a result of her stupidity - she isn't stupid.

Hillarycare's fundamental failure was pre-ordained because no politburo can out perform a marketplace.

Perhaps this analogy can convince a few lefties of the superiority of the efficiency of the marketplace:

Imagine a single supercomputer program by a team of computer geniuses.

And imagine it's playing chess against ALL the PC's and APPLES and computer game systems, all hooked up in a massive network. Which would win? The network. (Scientists are actually using networked computer power - ps3's - to do calculations they'd otherwise not be able to accomplish in order to find a cure for cancer! - MORE HERE.)

And this is even MORE true in real life, in real markets because people in markets bring a vast and diverse set of knowledge to an issue, and they have a powerful incentive to be right: they're risking THEIR OWN capital.

Nothing is smarter or more efficient.

That's why marketplaces are the MOST efficient means of assessing value. In fact, it is the only means of doing it well.

And it's why privatizing things leads to better outcomes.

BEYOND THAT THERE'S THIS REASON:

Free marketplaces are really just an amalgamation of free people doing what they want - buying what they want, making what they want.

It is the social face of liberty.

Without liberty, not only is there now prosperity, but there is no room for the Human Spirit.

Those who advocate socialism advocate impoverishment and servitude.

Serfdom.

That's why socialism is the ROAD TO SERFDOM.
Reliapundit, 3/29/2008 12:00:00 PM | Permalink | |

SHOWDOWN IN IRAQ: IRAN'S ATTEMTP AT A "TET OFFENSIVE"

MICHAEL YON and GLENN [emphasis mine]:

Michael Yon called on his satellite phone to talk about what's going on in Iraq. I recorded it and it's up here for your listening pleasure -- nothing fancy, just a quick recording posted less than 20 minutes after it happened. Click here to listen.

A few key points:
(1) It's likely to get worse before it's better;
(2) No one seems to doubt Iranian backing for the violence;
(3) This isn't about religion, it's about money and power; and
(4) Unlike Al Qaeda in the north, this isn't so much a fight to the finish as violence as a negotiating tactic. It's not a civil war.
BUSH IS 100% CORRECT: THIS IS IRAQ'S DEFINING MOMENT.

ME: This is AN IRANIAN GAMBIT:
they want to take over the region. To do that they need us to leave woith our tail betwen our legs. And to do that they need the Democrat in the Whiote House, so they need help the Democrats - and a "TET OFFENSIVE" is how.
Because the US election is only six months away, all Iran has to do is keep it going for six months. hen the Democrat's will win the White House (probably with Obama) and he wiull retreat.

To stop that, Bush and Maliki and Petraeus need a coup de grace by convention time. That's 120 days.

Only 120 days.

I expect Petraeus and Central Command to take on Iran as directly as they can.

Stay tuned.

*******Update: The good news is - according to Yon: while Iran tries to foil us with their Shia stooges, AL QAEDA IS BEING CRUSHED elsewhere.
Reliapundit, 3/29/2008 11:58:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, March 28, 2008

It's Time to Boycott NBC

We have boycotted Hollywood actors and movies and several TV shows before, but now it's time to boycott a whole network. NBC has carried their liberal tolerance into full-blown anti-American propaganda, and...frankly...these two sisters have had enough. In 2003 they defended war correspondent Peter Arnett's traitorous remarks on Iraqi TV before finally firing him after a barrage of public criticism. Two years ago, NBC's Dateline sent some "Muslim-looking" men and a camera crew to NASCAR in order to film fans' reactions for a story they were doing about anti-Muslim sentiment in the U. S. In December of last year, NBC refused to run the ads from Freedom's Watch thanking the troops for their service. Although they finally caved in under public condemnation, their message was clear. They don't support the troops and they don't support America.

NBC apparently feels compelled to keep driving the point home, however.....by allowing their bias against America to seep into family dramas such as the popular 'Law and Order' series.

Writing for American Thinker, Marc Sheppard writes about the Left's favorite tactic: using false moral equivalence as a device to paint America as the villain while exonerating the truly culpable. This is the ruse employed by NBC in a recent episode of 'Law and Order' to convince the public that American Christians are just as bad as Muslim Jihadists:

"True to its 18 season formula, last Wednesday's Law And Order opened with the discovery of a homicide victim in New York City - this time a Caucasian woman found stoned to death. Watching with family members, I had an immediate uneasy feeling of where the storyline might be headed."

The viewer soon comes to the realization that the perpetrators are not the Islamic extremists, but rather a fanatical preacher who had been inciting a group of youths to "die for Jesus" while waging war against Muslims. The plot would have been laughable if it hadn't been so offensive to our religion. See.....that's the difference between Christians and Muslims. We can be offended if someone insults our religion, but we won't go out and kill anyone in retaliation. Not only do we believe in free speech, but Jesus also taught us to turn the other cheek.

Someone might have mentioned that to NBC before they approved the preposterous script. If there are "Christian extremists" lurking somewhere in America, we have yet to determine where they might be hiding.

Sheppard concludes by saying that "Disgraceful barely covers it." Indeed! There are brutal Muslim honor killings all over the world - even here in America - but none involving Christians. NBC is so eager to make America the guilty party that it creates a scenario that doesn't even exist within the Christian culture. As far as we're concerned, the NBC network (including executive producer Dick Wolf and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt) have carried their anti-American grudge too far. They're not just disgraceful. They're offensive, insulting, deceitful and treasonous. Freedom of speech is a great privilege, but it should be balanced with propriety and common decency.

Wolf & Immelt will continue their attempts to brainwash the public, but we won't be watching. NBC does not deserve our viewership.

Posted by Two Sisters from the Right

BoRhap77@aol.com, 3/28/2008 10:04:00 PM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No Idol


Cartoon by Ken Catalino (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 3/26/2008 10:54:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sporadic Blogging this weekend

I'll be in Houston watching my Longhorns try and make the Final Four. I will post some but it will be very sporadic. I am hoping that my good friends can help to pick up some of the slack.

I'll be trying to get our good friend retire05 to join the fun as well.

In the meantime: Hook 'em.
DiscerningTexan, 3/26/2008 10:09:00 PM | Permalink | |

McCain gets one right...

All I can say to this is: A-men. :

Let’s start with some straight talk:

I will not play election year politics with the housing crisis. I will evaluate everything in terms of whether it might be harmful or helpful to our effort to deal with the crisis we face now.

I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers. Government assistance to the banking system should be based solely on preventing systemic risk that would endanger the entire financial system and the economy.

In our effort to help deserving homeowners, no assistance should be given to speculators. Any assistance for borrowers should be focused solely on homeowners, not people who bought houses for speculative purposes, to rent or as second homes. Any assistance must be temporary and must not reward people who were irresponsible at the expense of those who weren’t. I will consider any and all proposals based on their cost and benefits. In this crisis, as in all I may face in the future, I will not allow dogma to override common sense.

When we commit taxpayer dollars as assistance, it should be accompanied by reforms that ensure that we never face this problem again. Central to those reforms should be transparency and accountability.

If he keeps saying things like this, I might actually start to get excited about the guy...

Peter Viles adds:

Earlier I wrote that it was hard to pick a headline out of Sen. John McCain's housing speech today, and tonight I stand corrected, by The New York Times: "Drawing a sharp distinction between himself and the two Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain of Arizona warned Tuesday against vigorous government action to solve the deepening mortgage crisis and the market turmoil it has caused, saying that 'it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.' "

A long headline, but a good summary of an important speech.

More: "... in a departure from Democrats, who have focused on the lending industry’s role in the crisis, Mr. McCain suggested that some homeowners had also engaged in dangerous practices, including borrowing too much in hopes that a rising market would cover their mortgages."

A candidate who talks about taking personal responsibility instead of relying on government bailouts? Works for me.

DiscerningTexan, 3/26/2008 11:22:00 AM | Permalink | |

Dems Pick Up Coveted Hugo Chavez Endorsement

Nope, I'm not kidding; our Marxist enemy has endorsed the Dems (via Ed Morrissey). Who knew??:

Hugo Chavez has made sure Americans understand his preferences for the upcoming presidential election. He says he could work with the US — but only if we do not elect John McCain as President:

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist and fierce U.S. critic, warned on Tuesday that relations with Washington could worsen if Republican candidate John McCain wins this year’s presidential election.

Chavez said he hopes the United States and Venezuela can work better together when his ideological foe, U.S. President George W. Bush, leaves the White House next year, but he said McCain seemed “warlike.”

“Sometimes one says, ‘worse than Bush is impossible,’ but we don’t know,” Chavez told foreign correspondents. “McCain also seems to be a man of war.”

Thank goodness Chavez shared his thoughts with us on McCain. At least now we know how Sean Penn will vote in November. That open question had bothered me of late.

I am on pins and needles waiting to see who Ahmadinejad and Zawahiri will endorse...
DiscerningTexan, 3/26/2008 10:48:00 AM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Democrat Kevorkians


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 3/25/2008 11:54:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED: A BIG WIN FOR FEDERALISM AND US SOVEREIGNITY; Bush tries (AND FAILS) to Cede American Power--and for What?

I do not like to spend a lot of time ragging on President Bush because it is one hell of a tough job, and because I greatly admire him for standing up and doing the right thing by not abandoning the Iraqis--when it seemed like almost everyone else on Planet Earth wanted him to. He has fought hard for tax cuts and he has fought for the right to protect us from those who want us all dead. In many ways, I greatly admire the man. Hell, I went to his first inauguration...

Which makes days like this particularly painful for me.

Whan a President of the United States--any President--has the audacity to send the people's lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court, that an extra-Constitutional "International Court of Justice" has jurisdiction over an American state (or over anyone in any American state, for that matter); especially when that state is simply operating according to the very Constitution that the President himself has sworn to uphold...well a day like that is a shameful day in American history.

To call it disgraceful would be to do a disservice to the word "disgrace". I have thought many things about President Bush, but I never thought I would see the day when he would so openly espouse the betrayal of American sovereignty. It appears as if the assimilation of the Presidency into the "Borg" that is the State Department and our seditious Intelligence Community--is now completed. What an enormous departure from the Bush that addressed the nation after that terrible day in 2001--and what an utter tragedy.

Fortunately, the President did have the good sense to appoint a couple of Justices to the Supreme Court--without whom our country could have suffered an enormous setback today. And this does underscore the importance of keeping a Democrat out of the White House. But I nevertheless am very sober and saddened today.

From where I sit, this is a betrayal: of my State and of the Constitution of the United States. I expected more from this President.

Michelle has more here, including this great quote:

Andy McCarthy summed up the bottom line on this case last fall:

At bottom, the case is about the freedom of Texans to govern themselves, to put sadistic murderers to death if that is what they choose democratically to do, as long as they adhere to American constitutional procedures in carrying out that policy choice. Sure, it offends Mexicans, Europeans, international law professors, and a motley collection of jurists who see themselves as a supra-sovereign tribunal. But that is not a basis for the President to interfere.

The administration has made a great show of promoting democracy. Democracy, however, begins at home.

Don’t you forget it.

This quote too, from the same post, is telling:

An international court ruled in 2004 that the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexicans on death row around the United States violated the 1963 Vienna Convention, which provides that people arrested abroad should have access to their home country’s consular officials. The International Court of Justice, also known as the world court, said the Mexican prisoners should have new court hearings to determine whether the violation affected their cases.

Bush, who oversaw 152 executions as Texas governor, disagreed with the decision. But he said it must be carried out by state courts because the United States had agreed to abide by the world court’s rulings in such cases. The administration argued that the president’s declaration is reason enough for Texas to grant Medellin a new hearing.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, disagreed. Roberts said the international court decision cannot be forced upon the states.

The president may not “establish binding rules of decision that pre-empt contrary state law,” Roberts said.

That is why we have a Constitution. That is why our fighting men and women swear an oath not to the United States--but to the Constitution of the United States. Somewhere along the line our President seems to have forgotten about that document. Perhaps he's been seeing a bit too much of Condi lately...

This just in from the world of bloodsport:
US Federalism - 1
Pretentious World "Governing" Bodies - 0.

Score one for the good guys for a change. This is a guy who raped and killed two little girls while he was here in our country illegally. Children.

Must suck to be him.

(Oh, well...)

UPDATE: This, from yet another Malkin post:

Phyllis Schlafly connects the dots between the Medellin case and the Law of the Sea Treaty:

Just this week, the United States Supreme Court gave us an important look into what kind of global power grabs we face if the Senate ratifies the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST). On October 10, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Jose Medellin, an illegal alien rapist-murderer now on death row in Texas. Medellin, a citizen of Mexico who lived illegally in the United States, was convicted and sentenced to death after he confessed in 1993 to the brutal rape and murder of two teenage girls in Houston.

Long after Medellin had received the full due process of the American legal system, in 2003 the Mexican government sued the United States in the International Court of Justice (known as the “World Court”), an agency of the United Nations which sits at The Hague in The Netherlands.

In 2004 the World Court ruled in favor of Mexico and ordered the United States to give Medellin another hearing, or perhaps another trial, at which he could receive the assistance of Mexican consular employees.

A 1963 treaty known as the Vienna Convention, which both the United States and Mexico have signed and ratified, provides that aliens who are accused of crimes in a foreign country are entitled to request the assistance of consular officials of their home country. Medellin never requested such assistance until long after he was tried, convicted and sentenced, and after all his appeals were denied.

Of course, Medellin did receive the assistance of competent American legal defense lawyers throughout the process, and there is no reason to think that the presence of a Mexican consul could have made any difference in the outcome.

Incredibly, the Bush Administration has knuckled under to the World Court and tried to order the Texas courts to give Medellin another hearing. The Texas courts properly refused to honor this unconstitutional interference, and the Texas decision was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

This case shows why the U.S. Senate should not agree to diminish American sovereignty by ratifying another UN treaty called the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST)…

As I mentioned, the White House supports LOST, too.

A wholly fitting acronym…

It appears so. And I feel like a big ol' knife has been firmly planted in my back.

DiscerningTexan, 3/25/2008 11:35:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, March 24, 2008

New Jihadist Mantra: If they insult our religion, sue them

Via Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch (and Hot Air), the all-out jihadists' struggle for Western Civilization continues via "soft" means as well; and in the long run this "prong" of the attack is equally perilous.

I'm sorry, but I am about at the end of my rope here. This is going to be a rant, and my apologies if this gets out of hand, but forgive me if I do not believe in committing societal or personal suicide here.
Writers like Spencer, Oriana Fallaci, and Mark Steyn have been talking about the warning signs for years now. Now we can no longer have the luxury of rationally pretending that this sort of thing will simply go away on its own. The Islamic Fascists are religious fanatics; their zealotry and their slow but pervasive radicalization continues unabated as their hate-filled influence grows in societies hungry for little more than someone to hate and to kill.

The time to win this war for our freedoms is now, not later. The longer we wait, the more likely that it will get much, much worse. We must stand firm for freedom of speech and freedom of expression against the prevailing winds of Political Correctness--or we will lose everything.

If you have never read Fallaci's brilliant essays The Force of Reason or The Rage and the Pride; Melanie Phillips' chilling Londonistan; Mark Steyn's powerful America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It; or Richard Wright's Pulitzer-winning The Looming Tower--you need to read them. ALL of them. Because here is the thing: there can be no question about the forces now aligned against the free societies of the West--and of their deadly intent for us. We are infected by a deadly and virulent disease which already has Europe, Africa, and Asia playing "catch up"--and don't pretend to think that the United States is going to get off scott free. It is going to get much worse before it gets better.

Have we not learned ANYTHING in the last 30+ years? The Marine barracks Beirut. Embassies in Tanzania and Nairobi. Hostages in Tehran. WTC I. Munich. Madrid. Saudi Arabia barracks. Gaza. Paris. London. Lockerbie. Glasgow. Kashmir. Mumbai. Bali. Kuwait City. Tel Aviv. Anbar. Chechnya. Beslan. Moscow. Baghdad. Afghanistan. Pakistan. The Phillipines. Burma. Buenos Aires. Sudan. Somalia. Yemen. Kosovo. The Aquille Lauro. Entebbe. Samarra. Fallujah. Ramadi. Bangkok... (Is anyone sensing a pattern here? Just an itsy bitsy one?)

New York. Washington. A field in Pennsylvania. ...

This list goes on and on and on...

What else is there to learn? That it is all our fault??? I don't know about you, but I did not dial up Pizza Hut and ask for an extra large three topping with human heads, human ears, and human fingers.

So you "intellects" out there really think this is happening (and has been since the 7th Century) because Dick Cheney wanted to drum up some biz for Haliburton? So what have YOU been smoking?

And yet our media remains fixated on listening to their phone calls??? Our media wants us just to go on as if nothing was going on at all? They worry about a little water up the snout???

This is madness. We are in an existential fight for our very existence and way of life and a majority of our citizens are as ignorant as the most optimistic member of Neville Chamberlain's staff. It is a disease. And it is spreading rapidly.

A misogynistic child-molesting psychopath way back when starts a cult--and despite its humble beginnings, that ragtag band of "spiritual" bandits and robbers has grown into a worldwide movement of which threatens our entire planet. And yet our country seems to be blissfully ignorant--along with the rest of the world--that anything is awry at all. "Can't we just reason with these people?" they ask...

Are you kidding me??? Have you ever tried to reason with a brainwashed Moonie? Or someone who thinks that a dog is telling them to commit serial murder? Or a paranoid schizophrenic? Or a sociopathic mass murderer who puts human body parts in their deep freeze and eats them? Or someone who believes that the US created the AIDS virus to carry out Genocide? Or someone who denies the holocaust even happened? Or someone who thought that we destroyed our own towers and all those innocent souls--so we could get a few construction projects underway in Iraq?? Whether the United Nations wants to acknowledge it or not, there are some people you cannot reason with. And I would put persons who think their God is giving them instructions to commit mass murder right at the top of the list.

Have we become a nation of brain-dead, feeble-minded, imbecilic morons??

We are supposed to use rational thought to converse with people that think that we brought down--OURSELVES--on one sunny morning the overriding symbols of our financial leadership and all that we stand for, plus our Nation's Military control center to boot??

Can you reason with someone who thinks the Aliens are landing on your front lawn tomorrow? And would you allow them to kill intimidate, kidnap, threaten, bully, suppress our Bill of Rights, enslave and mutilate our women? Would you not consider that someone--whose openly stated desire is to build nuclear weapons and attempt to kill every Jew that breathes our air--just might be better served in a mental institution than wielding power over how you should live your life?

What is the difference between people like this and the people who make videos of themselves sawing our children's heads off? Or who blow up double decker buses and trains in London, or bring down skyscrapers? How are they any different from Hitler and Himmler marching the 14 million souls (including 6 million Jews) into the showers? Should we have gone out of our way not to hurt these people's "feelings" too?

Apparently, the elites, Marxists, and Democrats expect for us to answer that question "yes". And just why is that exactly? For our health? Or is there something more sinister beneath the facade of Political Correctness.

We are expected to simply turn the other cheek for these cretins; do our elites truly expect us to simply wither and tremble in fear when confronted with their evil, yet to bend over backwards-- not only not to hurt their feelings or offend their symbols of hate--but to give in to their demands??

We are supposed to pretend like this is normal, civilized behavior--and that it is we who are wrong to believe that civilized human beings ought not to act this way--simply because we just don't understand their culture?? If this is "culture", give me the jungle.

No, as "civilized people", we are supposed to smile and blame ourselves as these subhuman monsters rub their hands together and plot our personal demise, and the demise of the remainder of the greatest experiment in human freedom the world has ever known. We are supposed have pity for these barbarian freaks. How can we blame them for their suicide bombings of women and children--when the United States has had the audacity to actually stand up for itself and for freedom? The horror. The horror.

This is not being "civilized"--it is collective insanity. Nothing more, nothing less.

"It's all America's fault..." they say. Right: it is America's fault...that we aren't working to send every single one of these sociopathic, malicious, savages to meet their "virgins in heaven" as quickly as humanly possible.

I submit that THIS would be the moral thing to do; that THIS would be the way to save civilization. But if we are going to continue this colossal game of pretending these Islamist zealots can be reasoned with, we might as well just head down to Jonestown and start drinking the Kool Aid now. Because we are dead already.

If we as a nation go down this road, we do not deserve the United States of America. We deserve hell. And if we go down this road, we shall have it, soon enough.

What then must we do?
DiscerningTexan, 3/24/2008 09:45:00 PM | Permalink | |

Chinese Police Fire on Priests and Nuns

This speaks for itself.
DiscerningTexan, 3/24/2008 01:45:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, March 22, 2008

Obama and Race as a Topic of "Convenience"

Tom McGuire has gone yard today. Read it all, it is really, really good. (h/t Instapundit)

McGuire has a point: Race either is or is not an important issue to discuss; you can't have it both ways . Obama (and his lackeys in big media outlets like MSNBC and CNN) suddenly talk of the importance of putting a "conversation" about race on the nation's front burner; but only after the Marxist Messiah's 20-year collaboration with an African Nationalist Marxist bigot have been outed by the non-cooperative ABC and Fox News.

But now--just as suddenly--race isn't that important anymore; the Obama campaign has decided that enough is enough on the Reverend Wright, and it is time to talk about "more important" things. Meanwhile CNN and the mindless sheep who watch it (if you don't believe me just read the comments here) gladly follow suit.

So: last week race was a vitally important discussion we must undertake, now that we have a "uniter" (that is, if you happen to be a Socialist...). But this week we are now told that this "important conversation" (an adoring Chris Matthews called it most important speech since 'I Have a Dream'...) is suddenly so....yesterday's news.

Sorry Barack, it doesn't quite work that way. Pandora's Box has been opened.

If all Americans of all races are ever to be truly "united", a much greater truth still needs to become ubiquitous--a truth that the Hispanic community, the Anglo community, the Asian community, the Jewish community, and some middle/upper-class Blacks (who have risen above the bigotry of their "community") understand all too well: Until we as a country get to the point--officially and otherwise--where the only considerations for advancement are one's character, one's intellect, one's work ethic, one's initiative, and one's achievements, we will never have a color-blind society.

Any community that continues to underscore its historic victimization--and whose "leaders" falsely stoke the fires of hatred for demographic "outsiders" in order to assign blame for the plight of their people--is a community that is on a perpetual downward spiral.

Victimization and blame are the same mantras which despots have used for millennia to enslave others (e.g. Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Chavez...). These monsters all knew that for others to give you power, there must be an external "enemy" to assign all blame for the shortcomings of the situation. It this sense hate has also been a "uniting" force; just ask the Jews of that 1930's "Socialist utopia", Europe (if you can find any still living)... or the hundreds of millions of victims of China's "Cultural Revolution"... or the present-day populations of Cuba and Venezuela. Or...ask the victims of the KKK. These historical "wrongs" similar in this sense: there had to have been a "bad guy" to blame in the beginning, else they never could have happened.

The "leaders" of Afro-centric nationalism--as that movement exists in American inner cities today--use the very same MO to achieve their own influence and power; they seek to point fingers at "whitey" for all the troubles of black community (real or otherwise), while neglecting to stress the very things which would empower its citizens and enable them to rise above the culture of victimization: self-reliance, work ethic, capital formation, entrepreneurship, initiative, character etc. In order for men like the Reverand Wright (or Farrakhan, or Sharpton, or Jackson) to have any influence whatsoever, there must first exist a belief in the mythology of victimhood. It's in their job description.

The truth hurts: until the African-American community gets past projecting hate for past sins onto others and begins instead to take responsibility for its own success/failure, the vicious cycle will continue.

Now we find ourselves in a Presidential election, and we are told we must ignore Obama's embrace of one of the most outspoken adherents of this form of reverse bigotry--which is a textbook example of why he is exactly the wrong person to bring forward any coherent conversation about race. It's no wonder his campaign now wants to "move on".

The phenomenon of white guilt over past injustices is part and parcel of the same never ending cycle of victimization and hopelessness. I was not alive during slavery and the Civil War--I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. I am competing in the marketplace of ideas and commerce just like every other American citizen. I was only a child during the sixties and had nothing to do with the Civil Rights movement either. Hell, I am glad it happened, finally. So what good does it do anyone to blame me for their problems? To do so is not only factually inaccurate, it also takes the focus off of the role of the individual in assuming responsibility for one's own life. Yet for whatever reason, big media continues to perpetuate the myth that I am responsible for all the ills of the world, simply because I was fortunate enough to have been born Anglo in the United States of America.

Here is the paradox that addicted-to-victimhood African-Americans need to be clear about: millions of people have risked their lives to come here and worked their asses off, because their experience in other countries instructed them as to what an enormous gift and tremendous opportunity America offers. This is just an undeniable truth.

The Vietnamese refugees who came here in the 70's and 80's are a perfect example of this phenomenon. You have people who came here with absolutely nothing and did not even know the language, who now after 20-30 years have built hugely successful businesses and are sending their kids to elite colleges. Leaving the illegal immigration issue aside for the moment, Hispanics are also disproving the notion of "vicitm as destiny". We all know about the millions who have come here over the last 50 years, with no possessions, the desire to work, not a dime in their pocket, no education, and not even speaking the language. Yet a great majority of these have found work and now a great many are thriving here.

So here is a question for the leaders of "the black community": if the same politicians you trust are correct in saying that Hispanics are "doing the jobs that others won't do" (that is a big "if", but let's stipulate...), then my question to your leaders is: why? Cannot the impoverished individuals in your community also take the same opportunities to make something of themselves? And why instead are you preaching that it is my role to subsidize a general unwillingness to go to such lengths?

So much for "the jobs others won't do".

It is not that success for African-Americans is not possible here--it is more possible here in the US than anywhere else on Earth. It is rather that the "community" seems to have become so fixated on blaming others for past sins and its present plight, that it fails to see the forest of opportunity for the trees of race-baited hate. And it is Afro-centric preachers like Wright--and the politicians who pander to them--who continue to stoke these fires of victimization, white hatred, "affirmative" (reverse-discriminative) action and hopelessness, as hypocrites in the media and the Democrat party continue to turn a blind eye to the truth. They continue to call initiative and self-reliance a "myth", even as millions who came to America with absolutely nothing have proven them wrong, over and over again.

The condition of the African-American community thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, despite the occasional voices of hope offered by people like Bill Cosby, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Larry Elder, LaShawn Barber, Clarence Thomas, etc. These voices--rational though they may be--are drowned out by the culture of victimhood promoted by race "opportunists" like Sharpton, Jackson, and Wright. Even left-leaning analysts like Juan Williams can see the tragedy in this, and are speaking out about it.

We can pray that the madness will one day come to an end; but it won't so long as millions are praying to the likes of the Reverend Wright, or pandering to the altar of "false prophets" like Jackson and Sharpton--or Olberman and Matthews. It is a colossal tragedy--for America and for African-Americans. Our country does need to have a conversation on race, and we do need to get beyond the chains of the past--but we do not need more of the conversation that Barack Obama wants to have. When Obama embraces this culture of victimhood and panders to the power brokers in "the community" it is highly instructive: at the heart, Obama is little more than a mediocre Senator with a silver tongue and a neo-Marxist world view. But the false prophets of white guilt in big media still can't bring themselves to say that this Emperor is not wearing clothes.
DiscerningTexan, 3/22/2008 10:36:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, March 21, 2008

(Divine) March Madness


Cartoon by Henry Payne (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2008 11:53:00 PM | Permalink | |

The Grey Lady links to...The Discerning Texan?

I am not quite sure what to make of this; in a way I guess it is flattering that a humble blog such as mine is linked by the New York Times--which does not share my editorial worldview, to say the least--after I (and Don Surber) took a position contrary to the elitists' holier-than-thou take on Waterboarding this week.

On the other hand, I would at least hope that any of their readers who clicked over also bothered to look at retire05's comment, which is worthy of note in its own right. For those who missed it, I reproduce it below:
I am constantly being told that we cannot waterboard because it is torture although the defination of torture in Webster's dictionary is more like what a person experiences when they have their fingers cut off. But no mind, they say, we must take the moral high road.

OK, then answer this if you are so into the moral high road: your daughter's name is Jessica Lundsford. You know that Cuey has her, you just don't know where and there is a good chance she is still alive; do you waterboard Cuey to save your daughter's life?

You will be told "well, that's not the same." But yes, it is, only there are a lot more daughters at risk than just your own.

When three of our soldiers were kidnapped a year or so ago, we found one of them. His head had been removed from his neck. I am sure that holding the high moral road is great comfort to his parents, and all the citizens who lost sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, wives and husbands, friends and neighbors on 9-11.

Killing is illegal. Killing someone who threatens the security of your family is not called killing, it is called "self defense." What is the difference?

I've been trying to encourage retire05 to post occasionally out here on DT, because he's a fellow Texan and his comments are always lucid and well thought out. Maybe with a little encouragement by some of my other readers, we can make some headway in this regard.
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2008 08:09:00 PM | Permalink | |

More Thoughts on the Giant "Pass" taken by Big Media on Obama the "Messianic" Hypocrite

Allah has a couple more observations about Obama's sudden need to engage in racial politics--which has stirred up many more questions than it did provide believable answers. Unfortunately many big media sites are still ignoring those questions:

My Messiah-supporting pal Steve Sherman notes a trend in our blogging lately. Honestly, I’m bored with writing about it, although e-mail tips about new angles continue to trickle in. Let’s see if we can close the show with this one. Not a rant, just a redirect to a rant — namely, Ace’s on CNN analyst Roland Martin’s hacktacular apologia for Wright’s 9/11 sermon. You need to read Bob Owens’s update here to appreciate how dishonest Martin’s selective quotation is, but laying aside the source, what exactly is the argument? That celebrating the glorious karmic payback delivered by St. Osama is fair game so long as you’re quoting Ed Peck, a Reagan official, when you do it? Old old old-school HA readers might recall that Peck has popped up on this site before. The Reagan administration wasn’t the only one he worked for, and the chickens coming home to roost isn’t the only “nuanced” opinion he holds when it comes to jihadist elements.

To come full circle with the quote from his speech that I found so irritating on Tuesday, if Obama sincerely believes the great national conversation on race can’t wait a moment longer, why didn’t he use the bully pulpit of being a presidential candidate to start it last year? Why now, if it’s not just a cynical attempt to distract attention from his own scandal? The obvious answer: Because to force a discussion of race then would have it made too easy for Hillary to ghettoize him as a “black candidate” before the primaries. He held off to preserve his chances. That’s fine, but contrast his approach to race with McCain’s approach to Iraq. As far back as eleven months ago, before the surge results were in and doom awaited any candidate who dared take a hawkish line, Maverick was telling audiences that he’d rather lose the election than lose the war. The issue came first, his own political ambitions came second. There’s a little character comparison worth mulling. And since we’ve already had one exit question today that’ll be asked forever, here’s another: If the Wright thing had never blown up, would Obama have ever delivered this allegedly urgently important, historically significant meditation on race? You think?

If you missed his classic post the other day, you might want to check out that one too.

Meanwhile, Karl over at Protein Wisdom also has some not so great observations about the dearth of objectivity about the Obama campaign in the in-his-pocket Media (emphasis mine):
McClatchy has now done more than most of the establishment media (and certainly more than TIME magazine’s new puff piece or the ignorant and inane ramblings of E.J. Dionne, Jr.) on the underlying issue, even as it hypothesizes Obama’s church membership is one of political convenience rather than reading Obama’s writings on the subject, which are consistent with the theology.

Given the chain’s general leftward slant, it is all the more notable that McClatchy is perhaps the first establishment media outlet to report some of the specifics of the Black Liberation Theology that is the vision of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Barack Obama’s church — and to note (as already noted here) that Obama dodged the larger issue:

Obama’s speech Tuesday on race in America was hailed as a masterful handling of the controversy over divisive sermons by the longtime pastor of Trinity United, the recently retired Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

But in repudiating and putting in context Wright’s inflammatory lines about whites and U.S. foreign policy, the Democratic presidential front-runner didn’t address other potentially controversial facts about his church and its ties.

[....]

Most important, McClatchy sought answers from the Obama campaign on the issue:

It isn’t clear where Obama’s beliefs and the church’s diverge. Through aides, Obama declined requests for an interview or to respond to written questions about his thoughts on Jesus, Cone or liberation theology.

That is the standard response of the Obama campaign to any controversy, as anyone trying to report on Obama’s relationship with Tony Rezko will tell you. Obama will not answer press inquiries until the establishment media turns up the heat to the point where he feels compelled to do so. That pattern should trouble people far beyond those concerned about the degree to which Obama susbscribes to Black Liberation Theology.

It damn sure troubles me.

On the subject of McClatchy's story, Gateway Pundit adds:
Uh-Oh... This wasn't supposed to happen.

An amazing article appeared in the mainstream news today.
McClatchy actually reported that Obama's church merges Marxism and Christian Gospel and preaches that the white church in America is the Antichrist because it supported slavery and segregation.

Does this explain why Obama lashes out at conservative Christians?
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2008 04:35:00 PM | Permalink | |

Your Future Under Hillary (or Barack) Care

Ouch! (via The Guardian; h/t Reliapundit):
Women in labour turned away by maternity units

Women in labour are being refused entry to overstretched maternity units and told to give birth elsewhere, NHS hospitals admitted yesterday in response to an application under the Freedom of Information Act. They disclosed that maternity wards in almost 10% of trusts closed their doors to new admissions on at least 10 days last year. One trust in North Yorkshire closed 39 times between October and January because it did not have enough staff to provide a safe service.

The NHS encourages mothers planning a hospital delivery to make a booking early in pregnancy and get to know about the facilities during regular check-ups with a midwife. Most mothers discuss a birth plan with a consultant obstetrician, including choice of pain relief.

These preparations are made on the assumption that the hospital will have enough capacity to deal with unpredictable peaks in demand when women go into labour. But information disclosed to the Conservative party under the FoI Act showed 42% of trusts could not get through last year without turning women away at least once.

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said the results showed large maternity units closed most often.

Details of your future under a Democrat Socialist Medical Plan can be found here.
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2008 12:28:00 AM | Permalink | |

It Just Keeps getting Better ...

Newt Gingrich.

And, not to be outdone, Victor Davis Hanson:
Whence Obama's problems? It is not that he believes in the venom of Rev. Wright, or that when he says something stupid like a "typical white person" he means to imply a stereotyped distasteful race. He doesn't.

The problem is instead the environment that he heretofore has navigated in — prep school, the Ivy League, the regional identity politics of Chicago, or Illinois liberalism — is hardly representative of his own country. So what he can say among sympathizers and friends will not be excused or contextualized by average others who don't know him and won't give him the latitude he is accustomed to and apparently has counted on.

He and Michelle have no doubt rebuked sympathetic elite white audiences, and by both their presence and purse have let it be known that they consider the Rev. Wright's rhetoric tolerable, but they have no idea that the vast majority of Americans that they heretofore have rarely come into contact with are a far different audience, and find the Obamas both more privileged than themselves and undeserving of any more of a pass than any others.

The irony is that like proverbial rarified whites, who have voiced racialist remarks beyond the club, and who have rightly caught hell for the perceived bias, the Obamas suffer from that same blinkered existence and narrow associations that make the extreme seem accustomed and normal.

When he praises Rev. Wright he sounds like he is from Mars — but hasn't a clue that he does. And so like a deer in the headlights Obama keeps waiting for a black precinct captain or a Columbia professor to come to the rescue and explain — ever more clueless that even if they did, it wouldn't matter a bit.
DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2008 12:19:00 AM | Permalink | |

"Riding Dirty"

No wonder Hillary is saying nothing (via The Politico):

Jeremiah Wright was White House guest

DiscerningTexan, 3/21/2008 12:11:00 AM | Permalink | |
Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Like "Pharisee" ...


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2008 11:54:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED Saving the Planet (March 20 Edition)

I hope that Mr. McQ over at QandO will not mind my mirroring his post here; I wouldn't know where to even begin to cut it. (Go pay QandO a visit anyway). Meanwhile I present Mr. McQ's tremendous contribution towards ending the greatest threat to our planet today: Global Vapidity:
Global Warming - The Oceans Aren't Cooperating

In fact, they've shown a slight cooling in the last 4 or 5 years:
Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren't quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming.

In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.

"There has been a very slight cooling, but not anything really significant," Willis says. So the buildup of heat on Earth may be on a brief hiatus. "Global warming doesn't mean every year will be warmer than the last. And it may be that we are in a period of less rapid warming."
One of the more interesting aspects of this is that sea levels have risen about half an inch over the years. That's previously been believed to be because the oceans were warming and, as they warm the water expands. Now scientists are theorizing that the rise may be because of ice melting in Antarctica and from the Greenland glacier.

But what doesn't seem to be happening is warming oceans. So where is all this heat going?
Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research says it's probably going back out into space. The Earth has a number of natural thermostats, including clouds, which can either trap heat and turn up the temperature, or reflect sunlight and help cool the planet.

That can't be directly measured at the moment, however.

"Unfortunately, we don't have adequate tracking of clouds to determine exactly what role they've been playing during this period," Trenberth says.
Wait ... so we don't know for sure where the heat is going (but speculate it may be going out into space) and don't have enough data on how clouds work or any way to measure this phenomenon, but we're still able to say the earth is warming?
It's also possible that some of the heat has gone even deeper into the ocean, he says. Or it's possible that scientists need to correct for some other feature of the planet they don't know about. It's an exciting time, though, with all this new data about global sea temperature, sea level and other features of climate.
Since when does heated water sink?

But it's "exciting" alright - governments are getting ready to spend us into oblivion and science isn't even sure how all of this works or if what they say is happening is happening.

But there is all that consensus to fall back on isn't there?
As usual, I want to include this for anyone of my readers who has not seen it yet: do yourselves a favor.

UPDATE: If you watch carefully and pay attention, the documentary linked above provides the answer for why the ocean's temprature does not mimic that of land masses. If the scientists are really "puzzled" about this, they should just click the link. OTOH, methinks that what these "scientists" are really "puzzled" about is how to keep this ridiculous myth alive with all of this contrary evidence streaming in.
DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2008 05:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

CAIR Intentions More and More Evident

Robert Spencer points out that it is not exactly secret which side of the GWIF (Global War on Islamic Fascism) that CAIR is on:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in the past week has lobbied Congress about conditions in Hamas-controlled Gaza and urged support for convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, Sami Al-Arian. CAIR was silent in the wake of the Yeshiva attack in Jerusalem in which a Palestinian gunman murdered 8 students in cold blood, and has never called on Hamas to stop its indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

Talking to government officials about the humanitarian situation in Gaza is not, in and of itself, problematic. But CAIR's efforts must be viewed in the context of their recent actions, and, more importantly, CAIR's glaring omissions.

On Al-Arian, who is engaged in yet another hunger strike while he again attempts to evade a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, CAIR writes:

His attorneys say an earlier plea agreement freed him from further cooperation with the government.

Yet the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that Al-Arian's plea agreement did no such thing – a development of which CAIR is very well aware.

Read the rest.

So riddle me this: why is it that the FBI is having "sensitivity sessions" led by these enemies of the US? Why has our government given this organization legitimacy by including it in "dialogues". This is a terror-front organization. Period.

DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2008 04:37:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED Paying the Piper

If the high cost of America's "dalliance" with a Democrat Congress is not clear enough, we have Texas' own Jeb Henserling (during the recent Budget debate) to make things painfully clear:

(h/t Teapot Tantrums)

UPDATE: And speaking of Congress...

DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2008 11:40:00 AM | Permalink | |

UPDATED Prosecutorial Misconduct in the Enron Case...and the Scourge of Sarbanes-Oxley

It is now looking as if the prosecutors in the Enron case may have been engaging in gross prosecutorial misconduct--which could conceivably free Fastow and Skilling from their "obligation" to society. This is in itself sad, but the real travesty in the Enron case was the overreaction to it by our own government.

It is safe to say that the downfall of Enron has caused the pendulum to swing way too far in the direction of over-regulation of US businesses. Sarbanes-Oxley has exacted such an enormous cost on public corporations in the US, that now many large privately held companies (not subject to SOX) are choosing to go public offshore. This is one of the factors behind the alarming rate at which London and Hong Kong are slowly but surely chipping away at New York's claim as the World's financial capital. And it is a much larger factor in sending American jobs overseas than are anti-protectionist free trade agreements.

What we have here is a lesson in Economics 101: anytime government tries to interfere with free markets--even with the best of intentions--the law of unintended consequences almost always makes the ramifications of that regulation far worse for the economy than the conditions which brought it about. In the case of Sarbanes-Oxley, the only real beneficiaries are those who want more central control of our economy (i.e. more government and regulation) and their patrons in the Public Employee Unions.

99.99% of the time, stockholders and Boards of Directors enable business to be a much more efficient self-policing and self-correcting mechanism than government regulation ever could hope to approach; certainly any business is more efficient at correcting its own inefficiencies than are big government bureaucracies--have you ever tried working with the IRS when they have gotten their information wrong?

In the free marketplace, if the shareholders of a public company are not pleased with its performance, they can sell their stock, which lowers the value of the company (and its executives' compensation); and it also puts pressure on its Board to make changes in management if necessary, etc.

Similarly if the independent Accounting firm chosen to audit a public company finds irregularities in that company's books, pressure is exerted to correct the problem internally, because the shareholders get to see the financial statements--and if they are displeased, they can again sell stock, lose confidence, etc.. Audits also serve to show executives where money is being spent efficiently...and inefficiently.

Sarbanes-Oxley was created in a vain attempt to "protect the public" from 0.01% of cases (and that may be overestimating the number) where you might have collusion between the offending company and its auditors. It reality, the purpose of SOX was to show the public and investors that it was "safe" to invest in US companies again. But the unintended consequence is that the burden imposed by this law has in reality made it less safe for such investors, because now US companies have to devote more of its resources and assets towards a process that is more cumbersome and less flexible to the changes of the marketplace. As a result, investment in US companies suffers, and the ripple effects spread from there. Lower stock prices. Lower profits. More layoffs. More relocation of jobs overseas. And so the vicious cycle continues.

It needn't have happened, especially when one fully understands how rare an Enron really is. Yes, greed and corruption do exist and always will, but even before Sarbaanes-Oxley there were checks and balances to root out such behavior. At Enron the good of the company became a secondary concern to their own lavish lifestyles for several high-placed executives; but even the Enron executives could not have gotten away with their fraud were it not for the corrupt and shoddy auditing (and later shredding of the evidence) by the Arthur Andersen auditors assigned to police the company's books. So you actually had collusion between a giant Natural Gas company and representatives of a giant, highly esteemed accounting firm. Very, very rare. And: the resulting lawsuit by the shareholders of Enron against Andersen put that "Big Five" company--which had been in business for over a hundred years--out of business.

Had Arthur Andersen been "straight up" and diligent in inspecting Enron's books from the beginning--which all auditors are required to do--then the Enron executives' malfeasance and excesses would have been flagged by the auditors, and as a result changes would have been made internally to correct the excesses long before the real lasting damage to the shareholders and employees was done. And while this may have meant fewer "heads on a plate" for the business-hating media to vilify, it also would have cost the public far less money than did the collapse of Enron, the collapse of Andersen, a long, drawn-out legal struggle on the public's dime (which now appears to have been bungled as well..), the resulting loss of confidence in US markets, and the onset of the recession in the last quarter of the Clinton Presidency.

Sure, had the books been audited properly, Enron might have had to cut back, as many companies do, and shareholders would undoubtedly lost some of the value of their stock; but it needn't have been "all or nothing". If it were not for the collusion of the auditors, this would have been a much softer landing for all.

Instead, a huge accounting firm with a very strong reputation--which had been in place for over 100 years (full disclosure: and where I used to work as a Consultant...)--went out of business, costing tens of thousands of jobs. If that is not a "self-policing" mechanism--and a dire warning to all other Accounting firms to play it straight--then what is? Why do you need government bureaucrats and huge business overhead imposed on Americans trying to compete with the rest of the world, when the downside and ultimate cost of such collusion has now become so starkly clear to all other major auditing firms?

Instead, to protect the 0.01% of companies where such collusion "might" be going on, Government regulations are now costing US business hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars; a cost that reverberates throughout an already fragile US economy.

If all this weren't enough, now it appears that the Enron prosecutors also ran roughshod over the law in building their case. It is probable here that--much like Mike Nifong--prosecutorial egos raised their own individual interests "above" the law--and their resulting excesses may end up setting free the very criminals who participated in the fraud, not to mention to deal yet another blow to the public's "confidence" in its government.

Another factor which cannot be understated is that the United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the WORLD. Therefore, all those companies which would like nothing better to provide more Americans jobs are having their profits obscenely confiscated by a bureaucracy-mad Federal government. And yet the unions--whose artificially high wages are part of the reason jobs go offshore--blame open trade for their own plight.

Ask any left-leaning person this question: "do you get more satisfaction if a poor or middle-class person gets wealthy, or for a wealthy man to fall on hard times?" I would argue that most Leftists, given the choice between allowing more people and companies to retain more of their own income (and for small businessmen like myself, the two are synonymous), would prefer instead to sock it to "the rich" to grow an already mammoth Government--thus effectively removing all of that wealth that would otherwise be available to our economy and/or investment. Only--now that "progressive" rates have all but eliminated the poor from paying any taxes--it is the middle class that gets hit hardest when rates go up on the so-called "rich". Class warfare not only is dishonest, it is also extremely harmful to American jobs and competitiveness.

And so now, with Sarbanes-Oxley, we have the costs of an enormous, inefficient internal and external bureaucracy which public companies in the US now must incur, which make US businesses' flexibility in doing business in a dynamic worldwide economy much more difficult than, say their competitors overseas in places like China.

Even some Socialist-lite governments like the UK have less onerous restrictions on their business than does the United States. Why else would companies and investors be taking their business to London instead of New York?

When one looks at the big picture, Sarbanes-Oxley was a huge overreaction to Enron. Our businesses need fewer--not more--regulations in order to compete with the Chinas and Indias of the world. Placing enormous artificial burdens on US business like the SOX Act (and our obscenely high corporate tax rates), and then asking those businesses to compete with Global companies who do not have these onerous regulatory burdens to contend with is to add a 100 lb. backpack to a talented athlete about to compete for Olympic gold in the 100 meter dash--it severely hampers what otherwise might be a competitive advantage. In the case of SOX, it is the metaphorical equivalent of slowly destroying a lush forest to save one large tree. And it is especially this: a textbook case of why Big Government is not the solution--it is almost inevitably the problem.
DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2008 09:24:00 AM | Permalink | |

In Their Face

A Marine responds to the Dixie Chicks. (h/t Hot Air)

And while we are on the subject...
DiscerningTexan, 3/20/2008 08:59:00 AM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Frontrunner


Cartoon by Glenn McCoy (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2008 10:58:00 PM | Permalink | |

Oba-plomacy

Credit Tom McGuire with the quick-hit of the day:
Imagining Barack Abroad

Our heroic world traveller is meeting with Ahmadinejad of Iran. Outside, with cameras rolling, crowds are chanting "Death to the Great Satan!" Cut to Barack:

"This hatred of America has a long history. And it is part of Iran - I could no more expect Ahmadinejad to disown it than I could expect him to disown the Iranian community, or his blessed grandmother. Besides, I heard this stuff all the time in my church back in America, and I recognize it is a distraction form the real issue of better health care for all Iranians..."

OK, maybe not.

DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2008 09:28:00 PM | Permalink | |

DC Gun Ban Oral Arguments: A Very Compelling Transcript

Glenn Reynolds pointed today to SCOTUSBlog, which has up both streaming audio and a transcript of the oral arguments in the Heller vs. District of Columbia case.

As a gun owner who is "licensed" in my State to carry a loaded handgun on my person, the outcome obviously has a compelling interest for me. But I would go further that the arguments themselves makes fascinating reading because they demonstrate--even to the layperson--the sort of discussions that the Justices have about the Constitution. And it also shows pretty clearly where "rock solid" Justices like Scalia and "swing voters" like Kennedy come down on this particular .

The extra-Constitutionalist Justices like Ginsberg and Souter do not seem nearly so interested in my reading in directing their questions towards the intent of the framers (go figure...)--even though that is their sworn duty. They seem more interested in what Federal Law "applecarts" might be upset. But in this case, anyway, the fact that the moderates like Kennedy do take a key interest in the Framers' intent is a good sign that the DC Ban will be thrown out.

I could be reading the tea leaves wrong--my only legal training is in Family and Business Law for mediation purposes--but by my own analysis of the questioning, I am seeing at least 5 votes to throw the ban out. And maybe more.

This is an extremely interesting argument to read (or listen to) and ponder, if you have the time. Very, very compelling.
DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2008 04:55:00 PM | Permalink | |

Target(s) Destroyed

Allahpundit's post today about the NY Times' reaction to the Obama ("Checkers") speech is pure gold.

I felt joy reading this; I felt like standing up and cheering in a way reminiscent of that glorious day/night in January 2006 when I sat in the Rose Bowl and watched Vince Young take a 4th and 5 "do or die" situation into the annals of history. And, unlike Obama or his "mentor", my guy and his mentor handled it with class. Now I am engaging in a bit of hyperbole here, because few things in my life will ever match that moment; perhaps a Dexter Pittman slam dunk is a better simile for reading Allah's post....(but I digress)

In any case, Allah put a huge smile on my face today (the following excerpt is addressed to the editors of the NYT):

Hey, guys? If the last 20 years count for anything, the best estimates of his “fundamental beliefs” are that the United States is a racist hegemon begging to have jets flown into office towers to teach it a thing or two about imperialism. He’s a gutless, opportunistic coward who was afraid to say an unkind word to one of the power brokers in the black community on whom he counted for votes as an Illinois politician, and now that he’s a national figure he’s throwing the same guy under the bus to preserve the illusion that he’s a “post-racial” politician. And you’re sitting there cheering him on because you don’t care what sort of idiocy or anti-American vitriol you have to swallow to put a Democrat back into the White House. Does that about sum it up? Have I missed any “nuance” in the “U.S. government created the AIDS virus” rant that Obama never, ever heard anything about and that you’re now willing to wave away?

Exit question invitation: Which parts of Wright’s sermons, precisely, does the New York Times have any great objection to? The punchline to all this nonsense is that the good reverend’s rantings really aren’t very far outside the liberal mainstream (his AIDS theory notwithstanding), which is probably why Obama thought he could bury this scandal in the first place. So let’s compromise: You make a list of everything Wright’s said that you think is beyond the pale or off the reservation and we’ll pretend that Obama’s objections to those statements are heartfelt and sincere and not something he’d ever, ever want his young daughters to hear. Deal?

Allah: respect is due. Read the whole thing.

And PS, just for the record: Barack, you are NO Vince Young. Not even close.

DiscerningTexan, 3/19/2008 10:13:00 AM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Aggravated Assault


Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 3/18/2008 11:25:00 PM | Permalink | |

McCain having a good week

I have to admit--so far--the guy is walking the walk.

First there is the 2nd Amendment Case we referenced earlier in DC.

And then there is Iraq. Haditha, Iraq. Plus McCain nailed it on Iran (as if we didn't know, but still)...

And Maverick is looking pretty good to the electorate these days too. Meanwhile Obama seems bent on self-destruction.

But it's a long way to November.
DiscerningTexan, 3/18/2008 10:47:00 PM | Permalink | |

Iraqi Security Chief predicts "Catastrophe" if US Leaves

Open and shut, case closed reporting from Gateway Pundit:
Mouwafak al-Rubaie: "Withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would be a catastrophe."

FOX News has video of Iraqi National Security Advisor HERE.
FOX News reported:

Iraq's National Security Advisor Mouwafak al-Rubaie told FOX News that he agrees that a precipitous withdrawal of troops from Iraq would be a catastrophe for Iraq tipping it into violent chaos. "John McCain tough steadfastness and perseverance and stamina has helped in pulling back a lot of old friends back, to supporting Iraq and I think he's a very interesting guy.

More than any other presidential hopeful, McCain has staked his reputation on America coming out of Iraq with its credibility intact. Today in remote Anbar Province the continuing improvement in security looks like he's backed a winner.
Hat Tip Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi

Meanwhile... Hillary Clinton said on Monday we cannot win the Iraq War.

UPDATE: It sounds like Pelosi Wants 'Rwanda-Like Genocide' in Iraq, too.
DiscerningTexan, 3/18/2008 10:37:00 PM | Permalink | |

UPDATED Barack: Nice Try

NRO has a nice symposium of Obama's lame attempt to extricate himself from the horrendous judgment he has shown in his 20 year association with a race-baiting bigot. Allvin Felzenberg's take in particular rang true:
Today we may have witnessed the beginning of the end of Barack Obama’s once-stunning campaign for the presidency. Not for the first time, the Illinois senator demonstrated, for all to see, that he is not qualified to service as the nation’s president — at least, to paraphrase Mr. Obama, “not this time.”

What the nation saw today was a candidate too self-absorbed to fulfill the promise of national unity and reconciliation he has repeatedly made since he launched what has to have been the longest-running ego trip in the history of presidential politics. Rather than tell his listeners precisely what he finds so objectionable in his “former pastor’s” remarks (other than his having to account for his friendship with a bigot), Obama repeatedly resorted to the old standard that political charlatans have used through the centuries: ideological equivalence.

He condemns with equal vigor a stupid remark that Geraldine Ferraro — a self-admitted “affirmative action” vice-presidential candidate of yesteryear — made during an interview for a publication that no one can name, with a series of sermons delivered from the pulpit by a man who (as Obama reminds us) has lectured at some of the most prestigious seminaries in the world. He equates public declarations of hate (including a prayer that the nation Obama proclaims to love and wants to lead should be damned) with a private remark his grandmother purportedly made. (What does it say about the character of a man who would “out” as a racist a dead relative whom he credits with helping to raise him, just to make a political point — and a bad one at that?)

Senator Obama revealed just how little he knows about the nation he will not be privileged to lead next year when he described the coalition that twice elected Ronald Reagan president in record landslides as the coming together of angry and resentful whites. In Obama’s world, double-digit inflation, high interest rates, high unemployment, a 13-month “hostage crisis,” and accelerated Soviet adventurism had little or nothing to do with it.

Anyone who believes that is not qualified to serve as the nation’s next president. But I repeat myself.
But Thomas Sowell, probably the greatest living economic intellect and philosopher today--who also happens to be black--is masterful in his analysis, and powerful in his condemnation:
... Wright’s actions matched his words. He went with Louis Farrakhan to Libya and Farrakhan received an award from his church.

Sean Hannity began reporting on Jeremiah Wright back in April of 2007. But the mainstream media saw no evil, heard no evil, and spoke no evil.

Now that the facts have come out in a number of places, and can no longer be suppressed, many in the media are trying to spin these facts out of existence.

Spin number one is that Jeremiah Wright’s words were “taken out of context.” Like most people who use this escape hatch, those who say this do not explain what the words mean when taken in context.

In just what context does “God damn America” mean something different?

Spin number two is that Barack Obama says he didn’t hear the particular things that Jeremiah Wright said that are now causing so much comment.

It wasn’t just an isolated remark. Nor were the enthusiastic responses of the churchgoers something which suggests that this anti-American attitude was news to them or something that they didn’t agree with.

If Barack Obama was not in church that particular day, he belonged to that church for 20 years. He made a donation of more than $20,000 to that church.

In all that time, he never had a clue as to what kind of man Jeremiah Wright was? Give me a break!

You can’t be with someone for 20 years, call him your mentor, and not know about his racist and anti-American views.

Neither Barack Obama nor his media spinmeisters can put this story behind him with some facile election-year rhetoric. If Senator Obama wants to run with the rabbits and hunt with the hounds, then at least let the rabbits and the hounds know that.

The fact that Obama talks differently than Jeremiah Wright does not mean that his track record is different. Barack Obama’s voting record in the Senate is perfectly consistent with the far-left ideology and the grievance culture, just as his wife’s statement that she was never proud of her country before is consistent with that ideology.

Senator Barack Obama’s political success thus far has been a blow for equality. But equality has its down side.

Equality means that a black demagogue who has been exposed as a phony deserves exactly the same treatment as a white demagogue who has been exposed as a phony.

We don’t need a president of the United States who got to the White House by talking one way, voting a very different way in the Senate, and who for 20 years followed a man whose words and deeds contradict Obama’s carefully crafted election-year image.
Read all of the symposium and especially read Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson's An Elegant Farce.

UPDATE: On second thought, Shelby Steele's contribution may be the Obama must-read of the day.
DiscerningTexan, 3/18/2008 07:59:00 PM | Permalink | |