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Friday, December 09, 2005

CNN.com - Dean: U.S. can't win Iraq war - Dec 6, 2005
"The idea that we are going to win this war is an idea that unfortunately is just plain wrong," [Howard Dean] said.
You see, it's stuff like this that makes people question whether or not the Democrats truly support the troops. It's one thing to oppose the war, but at a certain point you have to accept reality and acknowledge that the decision was made and we have to deal with where are, not where we'd like to be. (It's called being an adult...) Quotes like this can only fire up our enemies, firm their resolve, and potentially increase their numbers if any fence-sitters jump over to their side, especially when they come from the leader of one of America's two political parties that matter. As our enemy gets larger and more emboldened, there's a greater chance of our soldiers (or even civilians) being killed. It's not outlandish at all to say that comments like this could cost American lives.

When our nation is at war, we need to win, even if we're wrong. Losing wars makes us look weak and our enemies are more likely to take further aggressive action against us or our interests. After Vietnam, the Soviets went into Afghanistan, Vietnam went into Cambodia/Kampuchea. The Soviets and Cubans made efforts to subvert democracy in Central and South America. All this because they perceived an America that was weak and afraid to fight. The same can happen here if we lose or turn tail in Iraq.

Those who argue for a withdrawal from Iraq are arguing that we should lose this war, and that's just wrong. A call for a withdrawal is a call for a weaker America, and more attacks on our people and our allies. (Even the French don't think we should pull out.)

Governor Dean, and those who side with him: if you truly do love this country, help us win or shut the hell up.

What does it mean that your first act on entering a country is breaking its laws?
Peggy Noonan asks a very important question that isn't often discussed in the debdate about illegal aliens.
Here is what is true of my immigrants and of the immigrants of America's past:
They fought for citizenship. They earned it. They waited in line. They passed the tests. They had to get permission to come. They got money that was hard-earned and bought a ticket. They had to get through Ellis Island or the port of Boston or Philadelphia, get questioned and eyeballed by a bureaucrat with a badge, and get the nod to take their first step on American soil. Then they had to find the A&S.

They knew citizenship was not something cheaply held but something bestowed by a great nation.

Did the fact that they had to earn it make joining America even more precious?

Yes. Of course.

We all know it is so often so different now. Perhaps a million illegal immigrants come into the United States each year, joining the 10 million or 20 million already here--nobody seems to know the number. Our borders are less borders than lines you cross if you want to. When you watch videotape of some of the illegal border crossings on a show like Lou Dobbs's--who is not a senator or congressman but a media star and probably the premier anti-illegal-immigration voice in the country--what you absorb is a sense of anarchy, an utter collapse of authority.

It's not good. It does not bode well.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one's work seriously and taking one's self seriously. The first is imperative, and the second disastrous." —Margaret Fontey

"Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." —Robert E. Lee

"December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan... Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory." —Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Some people think the government must decide everything. But when government decides, minorities, even large minorities, lose rights." —John Stossel

"To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks... [There is a] jarring contrast between what the American people are reading and hearing about Iraq and the views of the Iraqi people." —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld

"I know people who hate Wal-Mart. I've interviewed the founders of anti-Wal-Mart web sites and leaders of protests... And whenever possible I try to interrupt their petition gathering and sign waving and protest marching to get them to answer the same question: 'Why not just shop somewhere else?' The simplicity of the question seems to startle them. They act as though I've asked a starving Ethiopian family why they don't just send out for pizza." —Michael Graham

"[Rep. John Murtha claimed] the United States Army is 'broken,' 'worn out' and 'living hand to mouth.' If the reaction to Murtha's remarks by my military readers is anything to go by, he ought to be grateful they're still bogged down in Iraq and not in the congressional parking lot." —Mark Steyn

Jay Leno... Saddam Hussien was back in court. They said that Hussein remained defiant and acted as if he was still in power. Kind of like the Democrats here. ... Only in America—even though [California Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham] stole $2.4 million he has agreed to pay back $1.8 million to make it right. So let that be a lesson to all you other Congressmen out there. If you get caught stealing you may have to pay back a small fraction of what you took. ... President Bush was at the Mexican border recently. Apparently his poll numbers are so low, he was thinking of making a run for it. ... Right after he finished the speech the rebuttal was given by the Democrat leader—Barbra Streisand. ... Actually, the rebuttal was given by John Kerry. Then Kerry asked for more time to give a rebuttal to his own rebuttal. ... The U.S. Postal Service says they expect to handle twenty billion pieces of mail for the holidays. They'll only deliver about ten billion, but they'll handle twenty billion.

Why aren't the media telling the whole story about Iraq?
Donald Rumsfeld asks why the media is so one-sided in only presenting bad news from Iraq.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Priests as Mediators
People often wonder why Catholics have to go to a priest to be forgiven their sins. Some point out that St. Paul tells us that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man (1 Tm 2:5).

But while Jesus is the only way to the Father and the only Mediator, Scripture makes it very clear that God calls other human beings to participate in this mediation. From the very beginning of God's revelation to Israel 3,700 years ago, God has chosen individual human beings — people like Abraham, Moses and the prophets — to communicate, or mediate, His will to the world. And in today's Gospel text, St. Mark reminds us that God sent St. John the Baptist to act as a mediator between Jesus and the Jews.

"What a funny world. Where once it was scandalous to be unmarried and pregnant, now it is scandalous to disapprove of another's being unmarried and pregnant... The larger moral issue, meanwhile, isn't that yet another young lady didn't get the marry-first memo, but that the culture-at-large has decided fathers aren't necessary. When we celebrate single motherhood, as we have since Murphy Brown made out-of-wedlock birth a glam option for busy women, we can hardly pucker in disapproval when the next generation doesn't know any better. Look around at cultural signposts, from television to movies to magazines, and you see a consistent message that men are nonessential to woman's higher reproductive prerogative. I wouldn't worry so much that children might infer a premarital sexual liaison between teacher and boyfriend. Far more offensive and morally dangerous is the cultural patricide taking place in America today. 'Killing dad' may not be a crime, but it is surely a sin." —Kathleen Parker

"Where, I have at times asked myself, where do you all [U.S. Armed Forces] come from? How have you managed to cohere into the crack, disciplined, patriotic band of brothers I see before me this morning? Well, the answer's simple. You come from the southwest and the northeast, from the Rockies and the Adirondacks, from the inner cities and the most remote of farms. You come from America, and you are America's pride. And on behalf of all America, I thank you and pray God that He may bless you now and forever." —Ronald Reagan

"... Losing this war would guarantee Iraq out does Afghanistan under the Taliban as a recruiting and training center, exporting terror worldwide. There is no turning back. This is what too many critics refuse to see. They indulge in fantasies like 'Bush lied' about weapons of mass destruction and began the war under false pretenses. In the December issue of Commentary magazine, Norman Podhoretz—in an article entitled 'Who Is Lying About Iraq?' —demolishes that myth. He lists the numerous individuals, nations and intelligence agencies worldwide that reached identical conclusions about Saddam Hussein's weapons... The Podhoretz article is full of quotes from Democrats and others who were once gung-ho to topple Saddam. It also contains facts from bipartisan investigations that have looked into WMD and the run-up to the invasion. It exposes some liars, but President Bush and Vice President Cheney are not among them. The Bush administration has finally started to reply to these modern 'summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.' They had better persuade more of the public, or risk losing a war that we must win." —Cal Thomas

"The fact that people sort themselves out in many ways is not usually a big problem—except to those people who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do. Government programs to unsort people who have sorted themselves out have produced one social disaster after another. The decades-long attempts to mix black and white school children through school busing produced no real educational benefits but much racial polarization and ill will. The same thing continues to be done in colleges in the name of 'diversity' —and with the same bad results. Among the most unconscionable attempts to unsort people who have sorted themselves out by behavior are government programs to relocate people into neighborhoods where they could not afford to live without subsidies. Often the people in those neighborhoods have sacrificed for years in order to be able to live where they could raise their children in decent surroundings and not have to live in fear of hoodlums—only to have the government import the bad neighbors and hoodlums they have tried so hard to escape. Blacks as well as whites have objected to having problem people thrust into their midst through housing subsidies or government housing projects being built in their neighborhoods. Almost never do the social experimenters relocate dysfunctional and dangerous people into their own elite neighborhoods. They unsort other people's neighborhoods and embitter other people's lives." —Thomas Sowell

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Windfall for the dimwitted by George Will
"A Locrian who proposed any new law stood forth in the assembly of the people with a cord round his neck, and if the law was rejected, the innovator was instantly strangled."

-- Edward Gibbon, "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire"
The article is a fairly good description of why windfalls taxes on oil profits are a bad idea. But I just love the concept behind the policy above.

OpinionJournal - Hot Topic
But even if you buy into the myths, there's no getting around the fact that somewhere out there, millions of people are spending billions of dollars on what Wal-Mart puts on its shelves. No one is making them do it. To the extent that mom-and-pop stores are threatened by Wal-Mart, it's because the same people who supposedly so value their Main Street hardware store find that Wal-Mart's selection, or prices, or parking lot--something about it--is preferable. Wal-Mart can't make mom and pop shut down the shop any more than it can make customers walk through the doors or pull out their wallets. You don't sell $300 billion a year worth of anything without doing something right.

What about the workers? In response to long-running criticisms about its pay and benefits, Wal-Mart's CEO, Lee Scott, recently called on the government to raise the minimum wage. But as this page noted at the time, Wal-Mart's average starting wage is already nearly double the national minimum of $5.15 an hour.

So raising it would have little effect on Wal-Mart, but calling for it to be raised anyway must have struck someone in the company as a good way to appease its political critics. (Bad call: Senator Ted Kennedy quickly pocketed the concession and kept denouncing the company.) The fact is that the company's starting hourly wages not only aren't as bad as portrayed, but for many workers those wages are only a start. Some 70% of Wal-Mart's executives have worked their way up from the company's front lines.
But suppose Wal-Mart did look more like the company its detractors would like it to be, with overpaid workers, union work rules, and correspondingly higher prices on goods. It would not only be a less attractive place to shop, and hence a considerably smaller company. It would drive up the cost of living for the millions who shop there, thus hurting those in the bottom half of the income-distribution tables that Wal-Mart's critics claim to be speaking for. One might expect this fact to trouble the anti-Wal-Mart forces, except that their agenda is very different from what they profess it to be.

As our Holman W. Jenkins Jr. pointed out in a recent column, the vanguard of the Wal-Mart haters is composed of unions that have for decades kept retail wages and prices artificially high, especially in the supermarket business. Those unions have had next to no success organizing Wal-Mart employees and see Wal-Mart's push into groceries as a direct threat to their market position. And on that one score, they may be right.

The Main Street Partnership, the leading moderate Republican organization tilting the balance of power in the House, is expanding its staff and looking for larger quarters in Washington.
Main Street, headed by Rep. Michael Castle of Delaware, has recently blocked passage of oil drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) and extension of investment tax cuts.
Mike Castle -- Hard at work keeping gas prices and taxes high!

Why is he a Republican again?

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