Friday, November 27, 2009

What does the term "progressive" mean?

It is quite customary for people leaning to the left to utilize self-congratulating names to describe their political views. One of terms which is being recently used is "progressive", which denotes a set of left-wing to extremely left-wing sets of assumptions and ideas. In reality, of course, left-wing ideology is just as "progressive" as communist regimes were "people's democracies" or "people's republics".

In general, it is amusing how many benign code words, or self-congratulatory terms are in use today. In reality, one cannot even guess what these words mean without sufficient background. Most of the terms came from the left, since there is no need for the right to mask their ideas. The readers are free to add more terms.

Left-wing Terms
Affirmative Action ("politically correct" discrimination of people based on skin color, ethnicity, gender and sexual preferences)
Social Security (compulsory government pension system)
Progressive (left-wing)
Pro-choice (pro-abortion)
New Deal (left-wing)
Medicare (compulsory government insurance for the elederly)
Welfare (handouts for the poor)
Housing Projects (subsidized housing)
Liberation Theology (marxism-leninism)
Multi-culturism (all cultures are better than the Western culture)
Diversity (normally means that people of politically-correct racial groups are present)
Inclusive (left-wing)
Crisis (situation which is not the left-wing liking)
Solution (a policy which the left-wingers like)
Social Justice (liberals divide other people's property as they see fit)
Fairness Doctrine (government decides how the media presents the views)
The Employee Free Choice Act (giving more power to the union goons to force workers to join the labor unions by getting rid of secret ballots)
Insensitive (a term used to describe the views which are factually correct, but offend the liberals)

Right-wing Terms
Patriot Act (exanding the power of the government to combat terrorism)

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy"

Remember those infamous words from the Downing Street Memo? Well, today, progressive hackers got into the computers of a leading climate research group in the world, University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and made their records public. What a horror! Hoi Polloi can now look at the raw data and email exchanges, and find out how the climate data and facts are fixed around the policies promoted by the government. And this is only a few months after CRU declared that all its raw climate data was "accidentally" deleted.

Here is one example of a Downing Memo that became public - an email from one "researcher" to another "researcher":

Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
first thing tomorrow.
I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
Thanks for the comments, Ray.

As was reported before, indeed it is a nice "trick" - you keep mixing different sets of data from different measurements until you get the result you want - i.e. the "hockey stick". CRU is now in complete disarray, I have a feeling they will now appeal to the government to make sure all the facts and intelligence they fixed around the policies be withdrawn from public review.

Rick Moran - a silly monument to arrogance

I've read an article by one Rick Moran (what a telling name - someone clearly misspeled it some decades ago), and I must say it made me smile again. The self-described conservatives and intellectual geniuses - with their arrogance only matched by their stupidity. Anyway....

Upon re-reading the article, I found a few interesting pieces....

Firstly, Rick writes: "So we await the inevitable bio where the applicant can either prove herself worthy of joining the ranks of cotton candy conservatives or prove me wrong and be taken seriously. From what I’ve read so far, Sarah Palin has not disappointed me."

After this, Rick goes ahead and quotes what other people wrote about Sarah's book - which, if we consider his careful phrasing, demonstrates that Rick has not read her book. So, in order to be clear, let me ask this question directly:
Rick, you seemed to have read a lot ABOUT Sarah's book - but did you actualy read her book?

The second amazing point that Rick made was that Reagan's views are outmoded and no longer relevant: "Palin and many of her supporters are stuck in this past, unable or unwilling to comprehend the basic reality that the world, America, and time itself have moved on, making whatever Reagan wanted or believed in the 1980s virtually irrelevant to where we are today and, more importantly, where we are headed in the future."

Rick, since in your mind you are an intellectual genius, would you mind explaining which Reagan's economic and political ideas are irrelevant? And if his views (essentially views of Hayek and Friedman) on the role of the government in the economy are irrelevant today due to unspecified changes in our society - would you care to explain what those changes are? Moreover, ss Social Security better today than it was in 1988? Is government welfare any more efficient? Has medicare finally proved to be fiscally sustainable? Do we finally reached the stage when the government can set prices and wages? And if your answer to all these questions is a blind stare (or embarassed silence) - then what is the source of your belief of your intellectual superiority over Sarah Palin?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dahlia's article is a perfect example of liberal debating tactics...

I just got back from vacation, and the first day back home I came across article by Ms.Dahlia Honest to God, this article made me laugh. Dahlia's articles normally show what happens when a liberal lives among liberals and never dares to get outside of her little gated paradise to find out the conservative point of view. Of course, my analysis presumes that Dahlia is simply ignorant, and is not deliberately trying to obfuscate the issue and is creating a straw man. It's your pick really, what is true.

Lets go step by step and see what arguments the right-wingers give against the civil courts for a few hand-picked terrorists per Dahlia, and compare that with reality.
Ms Dahlia starts the article with asserting that anything less than civil trial for the terrorists is a sacrifice of American legal principles:
“What both camps [people who object to having civilian trial for moslem terrorists] share, besides a kind of unhinged logic and complete disregard for the legal process, is an obsessive fascination with the accused. The result is a broad willingness to sacrifice our commitment to legal principles in favor of the symbolic satisfaction of crushing the hopes and dreams of a motley group of criminals.”

If Ms.Dahlia were familiar with the views of the right-wingers, she would have known that her assertion is the exact opposite of what they say. As American scholar and famous economist Thomas Sowell writes: “Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States. Terrorists have never observed, nor even claimed to have observed, the Geneva Convention, nor are they among those covered by it.”

Now, whether the terrorists are entitled to the civilian trials or not is a very serious legal question. It’s also important to resolve whether military tribunals for moslem terrorists is a violation of American principles (Dahlia’s assertion) or on the contrary is quite normal and expected. Moreover, if Dahlia’s assertion is correct, then she cannot in all sincerity support Obama’s decision to bring only a handful of terrorists to civilian justice, while keeping the rest of them either in indefinite detention or subject them to the military tribunals.

Powerline correctly asks pertinent questions, which are obviously news for Ms.Dahlia: “At the same time time that the Obama administration announced its decision regarding KSM et al, it also announced that it will try other Guantanamo detainees before the military commissions established by Congress conforming to the Supreme Court's specifications. If anything, however, the acts of KSM et al. against the United States are far more heinous and destructive than those of the others to be tried by military commission. No serious rationale supports this disparate treatment.”

Now, Ms.Dahlia is not the smartest person on Earth, but it’s amazing that it did not enter her mind to wonder how she can reconcile her claims that only civilian courts are the appropriate avenue allowed for trying the terrorists, while completely ignoring the decision of the Obama administration to use the military tribunals for the rest of the detainees.

Ms.Dahlia spends inordinate amount of time nitpicking on whether we should or should not follow the wishes of the terrorists on bringing them to NY city for trial – which is, surely, is a minor issue. She also poo-poohs Sarah Palin’s views on the subject, claiming that: “In addition to her argument that witnessing the American justice system at work will lead U.S. allies to "become less likely to support our efforts in the future," Palin ends her post with an exhortation to "Hang 'em high." Here's betting there's nothing KSM wants more.”

She also deny the accusation that terrorists will turn the trial into circus “Both Palin and Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., are also obsessed with the prospect of allowing these terrorists to have an opportunity to mount a so-called "circus trial." They must be awfully afraid of the other side's message to believe that allowing the defendants to utter even a word in their own defense is to risk recruiting millions of new adherents worldwide.”

Indeed, it is worthwhile to look at the right-wing claims on the subject – and one would be of very feeble mind not to agree that their arguments hold water. Sarah Palin correctly asserts that “It is crucially important that Americans be made aware that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks may walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment because of a “hung jury” or from any variety of court room technicalities.”. Indeed, what guarantee is there that there will be no hung jury?

If Dahlia were to spend a bit more time studying history, she could easily find examples of civilian trials going awfully wrong - Bill Ayers for example or Simson's trials come immediately to mind. But lets look at the example of Milosevic, a former dictator of Yugoslavia. He was tried by the International Court for nearly a decade – and in the end he died in jail, when there was still no end in sight for the trial. Indeed, the trial did become a circus – and I would like to understand Dahlia’s confidence that the Obama trials would not end up this way. How can she predict the decisions of 12 juries?

Moreover, it’s clear that the trial may be much harder than she imagine, given that “when terrorists like KSM were captured, we did not gather information on the assumption that it would be presented in federal court. Thus, the prosecution is at a disadvantage in proceeding down this road now.” If KSM was not read his rights – would this mean that everything he said becomes un-admissible in court? This is something that could be easily spotted by a person of average intelligence, but Ms.Dahlia is clearly not an average person – she is most likely quite below that level.

Ms.Dahlia mindlessly repeats that “It would be nice if we could call off the trial of anyone with plans to use the proceedings to promote hateful ideas. We could have refused to try all sorts of bigmouths who have used their trials to spread noxious garbage, but we don't. The purpose of a criminal trial isn't to suppress a political message. It's to put forth a better political message: Namely, that we believe in our legal system.”

Of course, the purpose of the trial is not to suppress hateful ideas, but neither it is to send a political message. The purpose of a trial is to find the truth and punish the guilty parties - in other words, the goal is justice, not propaganda one way or another. It’s a tad strange that Ms.Dahlia does not understand this.

But wait, there is more to this. As Eric [Black Panter] Holder said: “In addition to that, this is a matter that, as I said, happened in this country as opposed to overseas, which is different from what we might do with regard to those who are going to be tried in the military commissions. But that is a fundamental tenet of American jurisprudence, that crimes are tried in the places where they occur.”.

Powerline immediately notices that Obama’s chief prosecutor in effect created an incentive for the terrorists to strike on American soil: “Put yourself in the place of a would-be terrorist: If you want to garner maximum publicity; if you want to make yourself into a world-famous martyr; if you want an endless platform for disseminating jihadist propaganda; if you want to be treated with kid gloves at all times; what should you do? That's right: you should organize an attack on American soil that kills thousands. You'll be rewarded with top-flight legal representation at taxpayer expense and a forum in which to advance the cause of jihad. Like so many things the Obama administration does, this creates exactly the wrong incentives and needlessly puts American lives in danger.”.

Now, it would be interesting to see what would be Ms.Dahlia’s argument against these observations – but it’s unlikely to be written since, as I said before, she is not terribly smart, and she is not very knowledgeable – in other words she did not read this argument, nor can she figure it out on her own.

Ms.Dahlia also sneers at the argument of former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, “who tried Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing”, Ms. Dahlia says that “According to this critique, the problem isn't only that the accused may turn the trials to their own advantage. It's that the U.S. judicial and executive branches are overrun with people who really like terrorists and want them to prevail. “

In reality, McCarthy’s arguments are a tad more complex and are fact based, so it’s clear that either Ms.Dahlia did not read his article or did not understand it. To wit: “In the current Justice Department, several top officials, including the attorney general himself, are recused from various national-security cases under conflict-of-interest guidelines. The reason? They, or their former firms, represented enemy combatants in lawsuits against the American people. Indeed, such is the mindset of the Obama DOJ that, to help formulate detention policy, Holder recruited Jennifer Daskal - a Human Rights Watch official with no prosecutorial experience - who had been a tireless advocate for terrorists held by the United States.”

Are there more examples of the ways for liberal judges to make the terrorist prosecution more difficult? Sure enough, McCarthy provides just that: “The intelligence and evidence supporting the military's designation of Mutairi as an enemy combatant were not merely solid, they were overwhelming. The Kuwaiti intelligence service identified him as a "hardcore extremist" affiliated with al-Qaeda before he left for Afghanistan shortly after the September 11 attacks; to get to Afghanistan, he used a known al-Qaeda smuggling route; he contributed money to an al-Qaeda front designated as a terrorist entity by both the United States and the U.N.; after the U.S. invasion, he fled towards Tora Bora at the same time and using the same route as al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters; when al-Qaeda safehouses were raided after his apprehension, his name was found on a roster of "captured Mujahideen" (a mujahid is one who fights in a jihad); and his passport was deposited in a safe-deposit box consistent with the al-Qaeda practice of having operatives turn in their passports (which gives the network more control over them, makes identification difficult if they are captured, and provides al-Qaeda opportunities to forge fraudulent identification documents). In the face of these damning facts, the military's determination that Mutairi is an enemy combatant was invalidated. A federal district judge in Washington, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, absurdly held that the evidence was insufficient.”

“Naturally, the Obama Justice Department went along for the ride. No appeal was pursued, nor would one have expected otherwise. The way Kollar-Kotelly warped the case is precisely the kind of "justice" top Obama lawyers were pushing for over the last eight years. Now they're in charge, and they readily cited Kollar-Kotelly's ruling as justification for transferring Mutairi back to Kuwait, where he'll be free to rejoin the jihad and take up arms against the United States - like so many other former detainees who've been released in the mad dash to empty Gitmo.”

If one were to read McCarthy’s articles and Ms.Dahlia’s petty attempts to minimize his arguments – who would win?

But Ms.Dahlia’s does not stop there. She also manages to attack the views of John Yoo, by claiming that his concerns about the intelligence information getting into the hands of terrorists in the case of a civilian trial are limited to the number of of times KSM was waterboarded. Compare Ms.Dahlia’s writing with John’s Yoo’s:

Ms.Dahlia: “Yoo warns, apparently without irony: "KSM and his co-defendants will enjoy the benefits and rights that the Constitution accords to citizens and resident aliens—including the right to demand that the government produce in open court all of the information that it has on them, and how it got it." Wait, wait. John Yoo—isn't he the same guy who is being sued for creating the legal structure that justified the entire U.S. torture program? And now he's saying he opposes open trials because he doesn't want the world to learn secret information, like how evidence was gathered from a man who was water-boarded 183 times? Curious.”

Curious or not, but Yoo's views are based on facts, which Ms.Dahlia refused to deal with.

John Yoo: “Now, however, KSM and his co-defendants will enjoy the benefits and rights that the Constitution accords to citizens and resident aliens—including the right to demand that the government produce in open court all of the information that it has on them, and how it got it. Prosecutors will be forced to reveal U.S. intelligence on KSM, the methods and sources for acquiring its information, and his relationships to fellow al Qaeda operatives. The information will enable al Qaeda to drop plans and personnel whose cover is blown. It will enable it to detect our means of intelligence-gathering, and to push forward into areas we know nothing about.
This is not hypothetical, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has explained. During the 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (aka the "blind Sheikh"), standard criminal trial rules required the government to turn over to the defendants a list of 200 possible co-conspirators.
In essence, this list was a sketch of American intelligence on al Qaeda. According to Mr. McCarthy, who tried the case, it was delivered to bin Laden in Sudan on a silver platter within days of its production as a court exhibit. Bin Laden, who was on the list, could immediately see who was compromised. He also could start figuring out how American intelligence had learned its information and anticipate what our future moves were likely to be. Even more harmful to our national security will be the effect a civilian trial of KSM will have on the future conduct of intelligence officers and military personnel. Will they have to read al Qaeda terrorists their Miranda rights? Will they have to secure the "crime scene" under battlefield conditions? Will they have to take statements from nearby "witnesses"? Will they have to gather evidence and secure its chain of custody for transport all the way back to New York? All of this while intelligence officers and soldiers operate in a war zone, trying to stay alive, and working to complete their mission and get out without casualties.”

Again, would a reasonable person conclude that Ms.Dahlia treats John Yoo’s arguments in a reasonable fashion? Surely not…

In the end, Ms.Dahlia was exhausted with the legal arguments (I am being generous here) and ends with a refusal to admit that America is at war, after which she proudly proclaimed that “Of course, these aren't so much legal arguments as political theater. And it's hardly surprising that, after eight years of insisting that the law doesn't apply to extremely bad people, opponents of Holder's decision are now focusing their arguments on the bad people, not the law. Still, it's awfully depressing to keep hearing that the only thing wrong with the criminal justice system is the criminals themselves.”

Well, for one, whether US is at war and moslem terrorists are combatants is a rather important issue. Secondly, Ms.Dahlia must provide legal rational for her claims that military tribunals for moslem terrorists is against the US law. For some reason, it slipped her mind to write down those arguments – assuming she actually understood that it’s not enough to assert this.

Finally, it is worth noting an interesting question asked by powerline: “Ask yourself this question: suppose that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's trial results in an acquittal or a hung jury. Would the Obama administration really let him go? If so, they are crazy. If not, why are they holding the trial?”. Indeed, Ms.Dahlia – can you think beyond step one?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Republicans lost connection with American Middle Class.

Our republican leaders have lost the connection with the middle class Americans. They don’t understand anymore what issues concern us most – and I am not sure they even care. At this point I don’t care for them either, we need new young leaders who are not afraid to upset the status quo and fight for this country. In order to win, GOP must appeal to the middle class, it must become a popular party, and it must fight back. And sure enough, we should learn from the other side. Firstly, GOP must start following the Alinsky’s rules for radicals. "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."

We can destroy the DNC if we follow this simple rule. And the current debacle with H1N1 vaccines is a golden opportunity to strike back at the liberal establishment.

Obama wants to spread the wealth? Obama wants everyone to have same healthcare? All children should have same coverage? All right, comrade. Then same rules applies to you and your children. No more jumping in front of the line to get the vaccine. My children should be treated no better than the children of a welfare bum? My kids should stand in the same line for 3 hours with the kids of illegal immigrants? Fair enough - then send YOUR Natasha and Malia, and have them stand together with my kids in the same line. If you want social justice - then live it, don't push it on others. If you want the government perks and privileges, then you cannot demand the middle class to share its wealth. Either all of us have to provide their fair share and sacrifice – or none at all. An American president behaving like a middle-eastern nabob, while appealing to social justice?! As Alinsky said: “Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage."

At this point, the GOP must start exploiting the popular anger. Remember, there are literally millions of very upset people, who are standing for hours on the streets, waiting to get the government vaccines. These people pay taxes, play by the rules, and now they are screwed by the teleprompter in chief. He plays golf, goes to cocktail parties, calls for sharing the wealth, tells the masses that everyone is equal – and the middle is stuck with higher taxes and no vaccines. Is this the social justice he promised? Is this the equality he was supposed to deliver? Is this the new and changed America he promoted?

How about an ad with a series of pictures - long lines for the vaccines for the middle class, an interview with an outraged parent – NYT report on Obama's children getting their vaccines without any trouble and inconvenience - Obama talking about how all kids are precious and how all have to be treated the same. This followed by the CNN glamorous report about Obama’s exquisite cocktail parties, another quick interview with an upset parent, Obama talking about spreading the wealth, Obama talking about new America – and another picture of long-long lines for vaccines. Obama: We are the ones we were waiting for” – a mother with a child on her shoulders, who just did not get a vaccine, and she is upset and she is crying. Ask the mother who voted for Obama – did she vote for this?

A few more quick picks: If I vote for Obama, I don’t have to pay my mortgage

When Obama in power: People trying to get free money

Another scene – a mother is upset – “We pay for these vaccines in taxes, but we cannot get them”. Is this the Obama America?” And then we get an interview with a man who just lost his job, a family which is losing its house. And then a piece of Obama telling the people that economy is getting better. And lastly – another CNN report on Obama’s vacation, a few pictures from the People magazine, and Michele’s claims how much she had to sacrifice to come to Copenhagen.

This ad is fairly easy to do - just go to the next place which is distributing the H1N1 vaccine and talk to the people in line. Talk to the people when the doctors tell the crowd to go home because there are no vaccines. It's so simple, really...

In the conclusion of this rant, I want to tell you that the task at hand is fairly simple and straightforward, and I say this from personal experience. I was born and raised in the USSR, and I distinctly remember the fall of the Soviet Empire. What broke the spine of the regime was not the just publication of the communist crimes – these was fairly well known. The Soviet elite was ousted when the plebs started openly questioning the government perks and openly mocking their left-wing propaganda. It was a devastating weapon - when the left claims everyone is equal, and yet demands special treatment for themselves – people get mightily annoyed, and the bureaucrats get really uncomfortable when people start asking questions.

We can destroy the Obama regime – but we must attack them with scorn and mockery, not just intellectual talking points. I am all in favor of quoting Hayek and Friedman, but awaking people’s outrage at the corruption and hypocrisy of the Obamunists is a much more immediate and devastating weapon.