The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):


  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”


Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Harry Reid just doesn't understand!

I saw this quote today in a newspaper (it can be seen online at the Fox News site at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,306178,00.html ):

"[I]f Congressional Republicans would stand up to the President and demand a change of course in Iraq, we could spend less time working to fix this failed war policy and more time focusing on other threats we face around the world."


Well, I have a news flash for Sen. Reid: Congressional Republicans don't want to stand up to the President, because they (and I) think that his is not a "failed war policy."

Way back in the long-gone days of World War II and immediately following, it was the Democrats who were unified in fighting the enemies of our nation and the Republicans who had isolationists, people who felt we should ignore the rest of the world and concentrate on domestic affairs, in their number. Now these are reversed.

The Democrats were right then. And the Republicans are right now. Sen. Reid should emulate the good Republicans like Sen. Vandenberg of that era and give up this isolationism for the good of the world.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Children's Health bill

Obviously, the Democrats in Congress care more about confronting the President than actually passing a children's health bill. The President vetoed their earlier bill and the Dems couldn't find the votes to override, so Pelosi et al., instead of trying to put through a smaller bill, want to repackage the bill slightly, but without reducing the amount. It seems she's never heard of "half a loaf is better than none." But of course, she doesn't want her loaf, or even half a loaf: all she wants is to draw another veto so she can paint the President as insensitive to children's needs.

She clearly doesn't want to help kids; she only wants to get into a fight.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More on the Turkey/Armenian genocide resolution

It seems that others agree with me on the post I recently made. Yesterday there was a nice column by Jay Ambrose (a man whose columns sometimes coincide with my thinking and sometimes do not). He said (http://www.examiner.com/a-993792~Jay_Ambrose__Political_opportunism_explains_bad_timing_of_Turkish_resolution.html):



WASHINGTON - It’s hard to imagine a congressional action more pointlessly provocative than passing a resolution that Turks committed genocide against Armenians some 90 years ago. But here come House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, many of her fellow Democrats, and some Republicans with an ironclad determination to do just such a detrimental thing to their country.


The cost could be high. The Turks don’t like this idea one little bit, and warn they may just quit letting the United States and its allies use Turkey as a crucial transport avenue for military supplies in Iraq if the condemnatory declaration gets majority votes in the House and Senate.


This Muslim democracy, which has itself been a vital ally in multiple respects, may also refuse to cooperate in other ways. One example: Our leverage in keeping Turkey from going to war with our Kurdish friends in northern Iraq could be lessened as a result.


And what exactly would the resolution achieve? Nothing, of course. No one can possibly think that a congressional vote will make this atrocity any more real or true, or alter an understanding that is dependent on witnesses, evidence and scholars, not elected officials.


It’s not as if the judgment of humankind is dependent on majority votes in the U.S. Congress, or as if anyone alive in Turkey today had anything to do with what happened then. The thought that a condemnation now might help dissuade others from repeating such vileness is an extraordinary stretch.


Why on Earth should it be the job of Congress to go around saying what it thinks on this or any other distant historical event? How about Congress paying more attention to current events and leaving assessments of past iniquities to historians, as critics have suggested?


Considering the disadvantages such a futile resolution would heap on us during our present, perilous struggle with Islamic fascists, you begin to wonder what’s up with Pelosi and friends. Utter, total, half-crazed incompetence, maybe, or could it conceivably be a traitorous hatred for their own land?


Surely not. It’s got to be something else. And so you read more on the subject, and you find the answer: a Reuters story reporting that something close to 2 million Armenian Americans have been lobbying for years for a resolution of the kind recently approved for floor consideration by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.


“U.S. representatives in Congress and state governments now realize the Armenian community has a lot of political power and they can make contributions to political causes and various parties,” Armenian American filmmaker Michael Hagopian told the Reuters reporter.


In other words, U.S. representatives - mostly Democrats - shrug their shoulders when a Turkish military leader warns of an irreparable tear in U.S.-Turkey relations or the Pentagon notes how logistically dependent we are on Turkey in the Middle East, but they do multiple bows when some slight political opportunity shows its face.


Democrats aren’t alone in their frequent obeisance to anyone and everyone who might do them a favor, of course. When they had control of Congress, Republicans had a hard time refusing favors for special interests at public expense, giving us spending records at variance with both their enunciated principles and the common good. For that and other reasons, they ultimately paid a steep electoral price.




That probably says it better than I could. And it seems that some of the Democrats have begun to recognize this. (See http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gWW8WW0xt_U4Iqg30uuw23lBuEvgD8SB6NNG2, where we see that the sponsors of the resolution are pulling out.)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

On Turks and Armenians

The Turks and Armenians are squabbling about a Turkish massacre of Armenians that happened over 90 years ago. Neither side is exactly covering itself with glory. The Turks refuse to accept that this massacre can be characterized as genocide, and are threatening to retaliate if the U. S. Congress passes a resolution declaring it to be such, even though it's a toothless resolution that commits us to nothing in response. Contrast this with, say, the Germans, who accept the fact that the Nazi regime was guilty of unspeakable crimes, and simply have taken it upon themselves to commit no more.

However, the Armenians are not without their faults. After all, what is gained by getting Congress to pass this resolution? It is, as I said, totally toothless, and accomplishes nothing except getting the Turks mad. The Ottoman Empire, which is the real guilty party, is long gone. And the current republic of Turkey certainly has no obligations.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gore's Nobel Peace Prize

Once more, the Nobel Committee has proved that they give out Nobel Peace Prizes for political correctness, not for really furthering peace. I should not have been surprised that they gave one to Al Gore... but rather than expostulating myself, let me simply quote Charles Krauthammer, who had this to say on Fox News Sunday (I didn't see it on TV, but I read it in the paper):


Look, let's remember what the Prize is about. Al Gore now joins the ranks of Yasser Arafat, the father of modern terrorism, Le Doc Tho, who signed a treaty on behalf of a government that two years later invaded and extinguished the country it signed that treaty with, and the most disgraceful ex-president of the United States Jimmy Carter, who, forget about Iraq -- I'll remind you in the Gulf War, actively lobbied other countries to oppose his country in helping it in going to war. So, look, this is a treaty that is, has nothing to do with peace, it's about politics. It's the...I'm sorry, the award.


The Nobel Peace Prize is about politics. It's the Kentucky Derby of the world left, and it gives it to people whose politics are either anti-American or anti-Bush, and that's why he won it.

I usually agree with Krauthammer, and I'm happy to let him speak for me. So take this as my own comment too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Civil unions and gay marriage

In the state of Maryland, where I live, both the Governor, Martin O'Malley, and the speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael Busch, have come out in favor of civil unions, so I think that Maryland will join Vermont and Connecticut. And though I generally do not like anything associated with O'Malley, I think he is probably right. Civil unions are the best compromise between the religious right (who want to preserve "traditional marriage") and the gay friendly part of the public (who want equal rights).

Frankly, I see no harm in gay marriage. I cannot see how it even affects the people who are so opposed to it; if same-sex couples can get married, it certainly doesn't prevent opposite-sex couples from doing so. But if some people object to it being called a "marriage," then certainly giving them all the rights of a married couple without the word seems a good compromise.

Of course, the problem is that some people are (based on religious background) simply opposed to homosexuality. You can't show me anything that is not based on religion, and in fact on a specific religious belief, that makes homosexuality per se undesirable. And because we have a Constitution that forbids an "establishment of religion," no religious argument can hold water as a basis for our law.

So for once, I think O'Malley is right.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Politics at its worst

The Democrats have insisted on including a hate-crimes provision in a defense authorization bill. This is one of the worst examples of Congress trying to engineer legislation, not to make it conducive to accomplishing something good, but to try to embarrass the President. Either he signs it and puts into law something he feels is a bad provision (I might actually favor it, but it still doesn't have anything to do with defense funding, and many of the President's allies certainly don't) or he vetoes it and risks not having the military properly funded.

This is the sort of political behavior that gives politics a bad name.

Undeserved criticism

Yesterday's Washington Post contains an article by Jonathan Capehart taking all the Republican candidates to task, but particularly Rudy Giuliani, for not being willing to publicly discuss gay issues with him. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/30/AR2007093001043.html )

Why should Giuliani, at this moment, call attention to the fact that he's been more gay-friendly than most Republicans? At least he hasn't reversed himself like Mitt Romney. But he's trying to get votes from Republicans who are not as tolerant as he. He's going to scare them off if he does what Capehart wants, without winning over enough gay Republicans (how many gay Republicans who will be eligible to vote in a GOP primary are there?)

Capehart shouldn't be criticizing Giuliani -- before Giuliani can do anything helpful to gay causes, he needs to get nominated, and elected. He should be working to help the only possible nominee who might be favorable to the causes he espouses get nominated.