Saturday, March 18, 2006

Gun rights update

While most of these stories haven't made the headlines, there is plenty happening in the continuing struggle to advance gun rights.

First, a few items I've been saving. Gun Owners of America summarizes the news about gun rights in 2005. John Lott reports on Brazil's rejection of a proposed gun ban. John Stossel slays myths about guns.

The battle to ensure that the right to bear arms is not infringed continues, and is now being fought mainly in the Midwest. Thirty-seven states currently have "shall-issue" laws for concealed carry permits or do not require permits to carry concealed weapons (Vermont and Alaska fall into this category).

This battle played out in Wisconsin earlier this year. Two years ago, the legislature passed a shall-issue bill, Governor Jim Doyle vetoed it, the state senate voted to override him, and the state house failed to do so after a democrat switched sides at the last minute. This year, the same thing happened. Democratic state reps. Terry VanAkkern and John Steinbink had voted for the bill three times before, and publicly announced their support, so naturally when were needed, they voted against it. Governor Doyle may be vulnerable in the 2006 election.

In Nebraska, a shall-issue bill has the support of the governor, and is struggling to maintain the two-thirds support in the legislature needed to overcome a filibuster. It has survived two rounds of debate and needs to survive one more before becoming law.

In Kansas, a shall-issue bill has passed both halves of the legislature with more than two-thirds support, and is now in the hands of Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Two years ago, she vetoed a similar bill. The senate voted to override, but the house did not. This time around, the bill has even more support, but it is unclear how whether there are enough votes to override a veto.

Shall-issue legislation has also been introduced in Iowa and Delaware. Apparently, the Delaware bill stands a good chance of passing, thanks to a relatively pro-gun Democratic governor. In Wyoming, the state house voted to do away with the need for permits altogether, but the senate did not take up the measure.

The other trend in gun rights recently is the push to broaden self-defense laws. This started with the NRA's successful efforts to pass a so-called "stand your ground" bill in Florida last year. Opponents have taken to calling these bills "Shoot first laws." Similar bills have surfaced in a number of states, including Michigan. South Dakota's version has been signed into law.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Abortionists for Schwarz

The Adrian Insider reports that Joe Schwarz has accepted money from Planned Parenthood. According to the Federal Election Commission, it appears that they have given Schwarz $10,000. It speaks volumes that the leading perpetrator and defender of abortion in America has offered Joe Schwarz money, and that he has accepted it.

Meanwhile, Schwarz is still claiming to be pro-life.

By the way, Planned Parenthood continues the legacy of its founder, Margaret Sanger, to use eugenics against black people.

See what I've written on Schwarz's position on abortion.

UPDATE: Congressional Quarterly reports on the race:

"Schwarz said that he is a faithful Roman Catholic who does not approve overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

“I agree with the decision that a woman has the right to choose and it is the woman’s choice,” Schwarz told CQPolitics.com. “It should not be a choice decided by a bunch of middle-aged men.”"

Proof of a Ruse

I noticed in the Western Herald that Michael Ruse will be speaking on campus tonight. He is a defender of evolution against creation and intelligent design. I'm not planning to go, but this seemed like the perfect time to comment on something that Dr. Ruse said a while back.

Dr. Ruse claimed that evolution is just as well-proven as a mathematical truth like "2+2=4." "In the middle of the discussion, Dr. Ruse claimed that evolution is a proven fact, just as "proven" as 2+2=4. When challenged, he insisted the two statements are equivalently true."

I've been following the creation/evolution/intelligent design debate for a while, and I have to say that I was absolutely shocked by this statement. This is completely absurd. A mathematical statement like "2+2=4" is either an axiom or proved from axioms by deduction. Even assuming that everything the evolutionists say is true, evolution would be a scientific theory. Theories are proved by logical induction. To be scientific, a statement must be testable, and hence potentially falsifiable. No matter how much evidence there is for a scientific theory, it is always potentially falsifiable by subsequent observations. Thus nothing in science can ever be "as proven" as mathematics.

Did Dr. Ruse make this statement out of ignorance or an intent to deceive his audience? It makes me wonder whether the evolutionists know anything about science at all. In any case, this is good reason not to trust the evolutionists.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Random Thoughts

1. An old saying says, "If you don't like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes."

On Monday, the following occurred within 24 hours:

A thunderstorm in the early morning hours, complete with torrential rains and a tornado watch.
Balmy weather reaching a high near seventy degrees.
A sudden cold snap, along with wind that almost blew me over.
Snow with accumulation in the evening.

2. Debbie Stabenow: Dangerously Incompetent.

3. According to recently released survey results, the faculty hate Judy Bailey. A full 83.4% of respondents do not have confidence in her ability to lead this university. 64.3% strongly felt that way. They have similar thoughts about Linda Delene.

Bailey has criticized the results, because "only" 53% of the faculty responded. That's a pretty good response rate for a survey.

The groups that hate Bailey now include faculty, students, grad students, unions, republicans, democrats, greens, and Medallion scholars. Did I miss anyone?

4. A letter to the editor Tuesday in the Herald from math professor Alan Schwenk notes that while liberals self-righteously condemned Coulter for being "mean," they tried to silence us by tearing down our fliers.

In response to the notion that the poor liberals just couldn't control themselves because they were so offended, I would point out that even the mild-mannered Students for Life have had their flyers torn down. All they say is "The future is pro-life." Liberals really are fascists who can't stand free speech. The speech is today at 7PM in Sangren.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Top gubernatorial races

John Gizzi, the politics editor for Human Events, has compiled a list of the top gubernatorial races in the nation. Michigan came in third:

"In a state that has not shared in the nationwide economic boom, Amway heir and sure GOP nominee Richard DeVos, Jr., is considered even money against Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm."

You can also see his lists of the top Senate races and top House races.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

POLITICAL UPDATE--The Culture War

This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on the culture war. The left's attempt to destroy conservatism, Christianity, and western civilization continues. This takes place not through rational persuasion, but through the subconscious influence of culture.

William Lind exposes the cultural Marxism that drives the culture war.
Donald Devine reviews the state of Christianity in the world today.
Will Grigg explains how the culture war is leading to the death of the west and conquest by Islam.
Mac Johnson shows how the culture war has led to birth rates below replacement level.
Finally, Eagle Forum reviews the continuing battle in Congress.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Why the culture war matters

A while back, I exchanged emails with a reader concerning a POLITICAL UPDATE about the war on Christmas entitled Christmas and communism. My reader agreed with me on the substance of the issue, but didn't think that the issue was very important because most people agree with us. In response, I wrote the following email about the culture war, which I will now share with you:

You don't have to have a majority to get your way. 70-80% of Americans support school prayer, oppose affirmative action, support the Ten Commandments at courthouses, oppose illegal immigration, and want to ban partial birth abortion, yet liberals have achieved their positions on all of these issues. What makes the war on Christmas so interesting to me is that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and yet the left has torn down nativity scenes, renamed Christmas trees and Christmas break, and even bludgeoned private companies like Wal-Mart and Target into banning their employees from saying "merry Christmas."

You shouldn't equate winning elections with winning the culture war. Many of the things that I listed above happened under Republican Presidents with Republican-appointed Supreme Courts. Ultimately, culture is more important than politics. The prevailing culture usually determines political outcomes. Politicians are more likely to be influenced by the culture than to influence it.

One way to define culture is what we do without thinking about it. That is, most people don't make most decisions by logically analyzing the possible choices and consequences, along with costs and benefits. They do what comes naturally. I certainly agree that issues like social security, taxes, and immigration are very important. I think I've covered a wide range of important issues in the POLITICAL UPDATE. But the outcomes of these issues will be decided by the prevailing culture. Why is it that some people choose freedom and others choose dependence on government? Why do some people fight government encroachments and others acquiesce? These are cultural issues.

Simplifying greatly, I believe that people will either depend on God or government. Faith in God gives people the will and courage to be free and to resist government. George Washington agreed, saying that the Constitution (which greatly restricts government) was "made for a moral and religious people, and is wholly inadequate for any other." Another person who agreed was Antonio Gramsci. If you read Death of the West, which I still strongly recommend, you'll know that he was one of the communist founders of cultural Marxism. He realized that people's religion was preventing them from worshiping the state, as he sought. He and others began a campaign to destroy religion and traditional Western culture through cultural Marxism, thus igniting the culture war.

I should clearly distinguish between economic and cultural Marxism. Economic Marxism has been thoroughly discredited and lives on only in phrases such as "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," and such nonsense. Very few people are cultural Marxists as such, and relatively few are consciously trying to destroy our culture, but cultural Marxism has taken on a life of its own. Political correctness, multiculturalism, deconstructionism, "tolerance," and "diversity" are all the poisoned fruit of cultural Marxism. Most of the people who advocate these concepts aren't Marxists, of course, but if you trace the origins of these ideas back to their conception, you'll find that they were invented by communists. "Political correctness" was first used in a communist party newsletter. "Tolerance" was defined by Herbert Marcuse, another cultural Marxist, as "Tolerance of movements from the left, intolerance of movements from the right."

Christmas isn't going to be abolished, at least not soon. But the goal right now is to strip it of any religious meaning. This entails tearing down nativity scenes and banning the word Christmas wherever possible. Liberalism tries to make people feel dirty, or at least self-conscious, about mentioning Christmas (you might offend someone!)

The same thing is happening with other holidays. Every year, a bunch of Ward Churchill types attack Columbus Day for honoring the genocidal racist imperialism that Columbus brought to America, or whatever. Gay rights groups attack the New York Saint Patrick's Day parade for not allowing drag queens to march in it. Are these people marginal? Maybe. But they have succeeded in getting parades canceled in one case and stopping all Democratic politicians from marching in the other.

Concerning post-9-11 patriotism, I find it interesting that Central Michigan University, in the middle of very conservative area, banned displaying the American flag after 9-11. I believe that the purported rationale was that it would offend foreigners. Similar incidents occurred all over the country. You can't tell me America isn't under attack, and I'm not talking about Osama. If I remember correctly, Central reversed its policy after public outrage ensued.

The public is on our side, as repeated election results show. But culture influences you subconsciously. People can be influenced by a culture that they don't like. As time passes, new generations arise that accept the changes as normal. I'm not saying that we can't win. We can win, but we have to try.

I love the internet

The internet is amazing. The explosion of information that is now available is just incredible. A thousand years ago, communicating with people worldwide would have required a network of thousands of employees, at the minimum. A hundred years ago, it would have required owning printing presses worldwide. Fifty years ago, it would have required owning a network of radio stations. Twenty years ago, it would have required a network of television stations. To consistently get out your message, you have to have been a multimillionaire at least.

Today, I can write something and make it available instantly worldwide. For free. Doing research is so much easier. It used to be possible for the media to hide the truth just by ignoring it. Now it isn't. More on how the internet expands freedom here and here.

Another student against Schwarz

Hillsdale College student Hans Zeiger dissects the record of Joe Schwarz and analyzes the challenge of Tim Walberg in an article for WorldNetDaily entitled "Joe Schwarz's coming expulsion from Congress." He writes:

"The first time I saw Joe Schwarz was in a six-way congressional debate at Hillsdale College. Republicans in the district made the mistake in 2004 of tolerating five generally qualified conservatives to run up against Mr. Schwarz and each other in the primary election. At the debate, Schwarz defended his pro-abortion position and his endorsement of universal health care. Those positions don't resonate with the people of Michigan's Seventh District. So the five conservatives pulled in 72 percent among themselves, handing victory to Mr. Schwarz with only 28 percent.

Needless to say, Joe Schwarz has been a disappointment.

The National Taxpayers Union recently assigned Mr. Schwarz one of the lowest ratings of any Republican in Congress. The median score for members of Congress is 48 percent. Schwarz earns a 47 percent or C-minus for his record on taxes and spending. According to the NTU, Schwarz's rating "represents a minimally acceptable voting record on controlling taxes and spending."

After Hurricane Katrina, Schwarz spoke of undoing the Bush tax cuts to finance the hurricane cleanup. He supported the $223 million "Bridge to Nowhere" in Alaska, part of the gargantuan Highway Bill. He voted to fund the terribly unnecessary Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the equally unnecessary National Endowment for the Arts. He even voted to federally finance the purchase of impotency drugs. Cutting spending does not seem an option to Mr. Schwarz. A little 1 percent spending-cut proposal was met with his big "no" vote.

Schwarz's record on private-property issues is horrendous. After the Supreme Court's Kelo decision that expanded eminent-domain powers, Schwarz opposed a bill to protect private-property rights. While the size and power of government has grown, individual ownership has become increasingly insecure. Joe Schwarz is actively helping to perpetuate that insecurity.

Gun Owners of America gives Schwarz a puny 50 percent rating (even though Schwarz represents a major hunting and outdoors constituency). Schwarz pulls in a mere 60 percent rating from Eagle Forum, and a 62 percent rating from Family Research Council. Schwarz is one of the few Republicans who stands against a federal Marriage Amendment. He voted in favor of John Conyers' bill that would deliver special punishments for so-called hate crimes."

Read the whole article. Also, see what I wrote on Schwarz's positions on abortion and gun rights.

Education on education

Have you ever wondered why college costs so much? Why is it that tuition keep increasing at enormous rates? One of the things that I love about economics is that it can be used to systematically answer such questions. The answers are often very unintuitive. If you want to know why college costs so much, read this piece.

Several recent stories in education deserve some mention. They are nicely summarized in this cartoon. In short, Yale admitted a former spokesman for the Taliban. A tape of a high school geography teacher going on an anti-Bush, anti-capitalism rant is circulating the internet. A Muslim college student in North Carolina tried to run over fellow students as an attack against the United States.

For much more on the wacky world of college, check out this blog.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The wrath of KHAN

According to the Kalamazoo Gazette, a group of homeless people is demanding that they be allowed to use private property, even if the owners don't want them there. The Kalamazoo Homeless Action Nation (KHAN) is demanding that the Kalamazoo City Commission pass an ordinance forcing business owners to allow homeless people to stay in their businesses.

Homeless people aren't taking this issue lying down, either. They're threatening to do what homeless people do best--sit around. "KHAN spokesperson Adriana Rosas said the group may protest lack of action on the ordinance by spending the night of March 31, National Night Out for the Homeless, on public property near commissioners' homes. ... `We will be a constant thorn in your side until you pass this ordinance,' one shelter resident told commissioners. `Play games with the homeless, and God's going to play games with you.'" Wow, I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want these people on their property.

Commissioner Mary Balkema is also mentioned in the article: "Commissioners David Anderson, who chaired a subcommittee reviewing the proposed ordinance, and Mary Balkema, who sits on the governing board of the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, took issue with the criticism.

`To call the Mission a prison is offensive,' Balkema said, referring to charges by some human-rights-ordinance advocates.

`Many, many cities have problems with homeless people that are worse than Kalamazoo,' Anderson said. `We do have a system on the backs of caring, generous people here so that nobody has to go hungry or sleep outside if they don't choose to.'"

"`We're going to do anything necessary within the law to get this ordinance passed,' said Lori Anne Fuller, a KHAN member who is homeless." Anything, apparently, except GET A JOB. These people have time for political activism, but they don't have time for gainful employment?

Even liberals Don Cooney and Lee Kirk point out that the proposed initiative is unenforceable.

The "Kalamazoo Homeless Action Network" is a name that raises all sorts of comedic possibilities.

UPDATE: Here is more information on the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission.

Tax increase proposed in WSA

Western Student Association (WSA) President Derek Getman and Vice-President Alex Mehn floated the idea of raising taxes on WMU students at the March 8 WSA meeting. They proposed increasing the Student Assessment Fee (SAF) by 67%, from $12 to $20.

It isn't entirely clear how such a tax increase would come about. Apparently, it would need to be approved by the Board of Trustees in any case. Also, there would need to be a student referendum on the matter.

How such a referendum would come about is unclear. Getman and Mehn seemed to think that a single student could have it put on the ballot. This seems dubious, given that nothing in the election guidelines addresses student referendums.

Perhaps the lesson for us is that government at all levels will always want more of our money. Government encroachments on our liberty must be actively resisted.

Last person you'd expect to say that

Here's a quote I read in a news article that I found to be quite interesting. "But the courts say it's not about what he did or didn't do or what she did or didn't do. It's about the rights of the child." How take a guess as to who said this. If you guessed Kim Gandy, president of leftist group NOW (National Organization for Women) then you're right! It's rather humorous when someone like that says courts focus on the rights of the child. I saw this quote in an article on the website of a local (local meaning for me meaning Toledo) TV station. It's about the reproductive rights of men and whatnot. It's an interesting read and can be found at http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?s=4603850 I'm interested in hearing how this case turns out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Minimum Wage Resources

To effectively counter the liberals' deceptive minimum wage proposal, you need facts. I have compiled a number of articles on the minimum wage (mw) that I will make available here for anyone interested in researching the subject. What follows are one-sentence summaries of the articles.

Paul Jacob argues that the minimum wage increases unemployment.
The liberal group ACORN refuses to pay its own workers the mw.
Many people are legally paid below the mw.
The mw causes unemployment of teenagers.
The mw is a perfect example of liberal economics.
For a long time, the New York Times opposed the mw.
Taxpayers pay for living wage laws.
The living wage rhetoric is deceptive.

A new Wal-Mart was flooded with applications.
Why not legislate minimum stock prices?
The mw causes massive unemployment.
Unions are conspiring against Wal-Mart.
The historical example of Henry Ford supports the free market, not the mw.

Why not raise the mw $100 per hour?
This is a detailed study on the mw.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The definition of free trade extremism

In the last POLITICAL UPDATE, I referred to some of the "conservative" supporters of the port deal as "free trade extremists." This is my term, so it may not have been clear what I meant.

I recognize that many of our members are Buchanan-style protectionists. My view is somewhat different. I generally support free trade as long as it does not conflict with national security.

A free-trade extremist, however, supports free trade no matter what. A perfect example is Larry Kudlow. At first, it appeared that his most recent column would attempt to actually defend that deal, rather than just call all its' critics racists, like his previous column.

Larry just can't understand why anyone would think there are security problems with this deal. What about the UAE's previous recognition of the Taliban? What about their ties to terrorists? As Phyllis Schlafly points out, "The fact that the UAE has been helpful in some respects since Sept. 11 does not trump the facts that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from the UAE and some money to finance the terrorists attacks was laundered through that country's banking system. Dubai was the main transshipment point for the Pakistani nuclear engineer who ran the world's largest nuclear proliferation ring and shipped equipment to enrich uranium from there to Libya, Iran and North Korea."

This is what I mean by free trade extremism: "In fact, the Bush administration’s plan to create a U.S. free-trade zone across the Middle East is one of the most positive initiatives in the effort to defeat fundamentalist Islamic terrorism." Don't worry! Free trade will solve everything! How exactly a free-trade zone will thwart Osama isn't clear. Perhaps Larry is buying into the liberal myth that terrorism is caused by poverty rather than Islamic ideology.

He continues: "Let’s not forget that the UAE in the post-9/11 world has become a strong American ally." As opposed to pre-9/11, when they were recognizing the Taliban. If they can switch, they can switch back. An alliance based on self-interest is different than an alliance based on shared values.

And then there's this: "Yes, DP World is a state-owned enterprise, but if that criteria were used to oppose an economic relationship, we’d have to terminate all activity with communist China and state-owned oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela, and Mexico."

I can't believe he actually wrote this. Can he really not see any difference between buying oil from a state-run company, and letting a state-run company manage our ports? Two words: NATIONAL SECURITY. As libertarian congressman Ron Paul, who is certainly no protectionist, points out, governments serve their own interests. We can't count on the UAE to do what is best for us.

There are currently private companies helping to supply our troops in Iraq. Would Kudlow let foreign governments run this too? If not, why not?

In Larry's mind, critics of this deal are secretly motivated by protectionism. This is strange considering that of the three critics he names, only Buchanan is clearly a protectionist. Malkin has written extensively on the deal and never once argued that the deal would be bad for our economy.

Apparently, all the secret protectionists are secretly racist, too: "Whether it’s anti-Arab Islamophobia..." (is there pro-Arab Islamophobia?) "... or anti-Mexican Hispanophobia,..." This is a new one. What about national-security-o-phobia? What about not-making-up-stupid-words-o-phobia? "...the fear-mongers in the conservative ranks do not truly believe in economic opportunity."

Ah, the poor downtrodden governments of the world, yearning for economic opportunity! Even assuming that this deal economically benefits the Emirates, what's good about that? Since when have conservatives wanted governments to have more money? Richer governments hurt, rather than help, their citizens.

Conservatives should know better than to trust someone who supports free trade at all costs, and accuses all critics of racism.

Gitmo detainees seek asylum

This is a news story I found on cnn.com: http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/03/06/gitmo.cant.go.home.ap/index.html
The gist of the story is that many Muslim detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay have been pleading with authorities to be given political asylum in the US. Now, I'm sure it isn't the wisest course of action to release suspected terrorists and Al-Qaeda operatives into the US, but this story does prove a great point. If the UN is so concerned about alleged abuse of the detainees, they should ask why the alleged "victims" of torture on a horrifying scale are begging their torturers to not make them go back home where they claim they will face almost certain death. Also goes to show that if these requests are genuine, even an Islamofascist would rather live in the US than his own country. As Reagan so well put it, truly a "shining city on a hill."

Liberals worth ridiculing

There are three items in Monday's Western Herald worthy of ridicule. First, in a letter to the editor (which is apparently not available online) a liberal claims that Ann Coulter compared Bush to Stalin. It took me a while to figure out what he was referring to. Of course, he completely mixed up what Coulter actually said. She contrasted liberals' support for Stalin's revolution, despite its obvious failure, to their opposition to Bush's revolution in Iraq. The key point here is that liberals are traitors. They supported Stalin because he opposed America, and they oppose Bush because he doesn't.

The second item is a letter from everyone's favorite Physics Department chairman, Paul Pancella. He makes the usual complaints that she is not "thoughtful" enough. This would have been slightly more credible if he hadn't tried to ask a "gotcha" question about College Republicans in the military, which Coulter easily shot down. Apparently, his idea of thoughtful commentary is a cartoon posted on his office door implying that Americans want to kill our troops to steal Iraq's oil.

Pancella then presumes to apologize on our behalf to everyone who didn't like our event. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize on his behalf to anyone who has ever had to read anything he wrote. He just can't stand the idea that conservatives might actually get to have an event on campus. Someone who cancelled his subscription to the Gazette because it was too conservative might not be the best judge of what is mainstream in the real world.

Finally, he complains about our flyers. Strangely, he has yet to write a letter about the attacks on free speech by liberals who tore down thousands of our flyers. I guess that one got lost in the mail. He is outraged by the idea that we posted more than one flyer per bulletin board.

That leads us to item number three, an unintentionally hilarious article about an experimental "writing" class. An excerpt:

"Some English experimental writing students at Western Michigan University believe bad weather is responsible for knocking down their speech bubble projects, which were hung on trees outside Brown Hall, Miller Auditorium and Waldo Library for the past couple of weeks. ... There were at least eight of the speech bubbles hanging from the trees, Wicker said, adding that some students replaced their old speech bubbles with new ones before the break in the hope that the messages of their experiment in writing would not be lost."

So apparently, hanging speech bubbles from trees gets you college credit in "experimental" "writing," but posting more than one flyer per bulletin board is too much free speech. Where are the environmentalists when you need them?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

POLITICAL UPDATE--Port Security

This POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on the proposed sale of management of American ports to a UAE company. The Bush administration approved this deal despite obvious security concerns. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a record of both ties to terrorists and human rights violations that make it unfit to manage our ports.

This deal has been widely criticized by both conservatives and liberals. It is hardly surprising that the few "conservative" defenders of this deal quickly resorted to race-baiting. The 70% of Americans who oppose this deal all hate Arabs, just like all the critics of Harriet Miers were elitists who hate women. The free-trade extremists and post-Americans who support this deal have shown themselves unworthy of our trust.

R. Cort Kirkwood explains why this deal is so bad for America.
Terry Jeffrey examines the record of the UAE.
Robert Spencer examines Bush's skewed view of Islam.
Michelle Malkin destroys the "conservative" defenders of the deal.
Finally, Malkin examines the consistency of liberals on this issue.

POLITICAL UPDATES are archived here.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The ports of Panama

In the midst of the controversy over management of American ports, it seems appropriate to remind everyone of another threat to American security related to ports. Specifically, the ports at both ends of the Panama Canal are controlled by communist China.

Following the surrender of American control of the canal in 2000, the ports at both ends of it were leased to Hutchison Whampoa, a company controlled by Red China. This arrangement was apparently the result of massive bribery of Panamanian legislators.

This surrender was the result of treason at home. In the late 70's, Jimmy Carter campaigned tirelessly to give away the canal that we had built and paid for. The treaty was (illegitimately) ratified by one vote. Ronald Reagan campaigned against the transfer, and Carter and many of the Senators who voted for the treaty were turned out of office.

The final transfer occurred in 2000, at the end of the Clinton administration. Despite the clear threat that this deal posed to national security, Clinton allowed it to proceed. This might have had something to do with all the cash that Red China illegally funneled to Clinton's re-election campaign.

For more on this topic, go here and here.

Cesar Chavez opposed illegal immigration

This article from The American Conservative points out facts about Cesar Chavez that neither the minimum wage nuts or the la raza crowd will want to hear. Chavez opposed illegal immigration because it would harm American workers and depress their wages.

"Chavez’s essential problem was straight out of Econ 101, the law of supply and demand. He needed to limit the supply of labor in order to drive up wages. Just as American Federation of Labor founder Samuel Gompers, himself a Jewish immigrant, was one of the most influential voices calling for the successful immigration-restriction law of 1924, Chavez, during his effectual years, was a ferocious opponent of illegal immigration."

...

"The UFW picketed INS offices to demand closure of the border. Chavez also finked on illegal alien scabs to la migra. Columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. reported in the Arizona Republic, “Cesar Chavez, a labor leader intent on protecting union membership, was as effective a surrogate for the INS as ever existed. Indeed, Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union he headed routinely reported, to the INS, for deportation, suspected illegal immigrants who served as strikebreakers or refused to unionize.”

Like today’s Minutemen, UFW staffers under the command of Chavez’s brother Manuel patrolled the Arizona-Mexico border to keep out illegal aliens. Unlike the well-behaved Minutemen, however, Chavez’s boys sometimes beat up intruders."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Soviet assassinations

This isn't exactly new, but it hasn't received nearly as much attention as it should have. An Italian commission has confirmed has confirmed that the Soviet Union was behind the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

Note: normally I wouldn't link to CBS news, since they have a history of making things up, but I have seen this information in several other sources, so I think it's safe.

What I find interesting about this is that a few years later, the Soviet Union shot down flight KAL 007, whose most famous passenger was Congressman Larry McDonald (D-GA), perhaps the staunchest anti-communist in Congress. The shoot-down was written up as an accident. It is worth noting that the General Secretary of the USSR at the time was Yuri Andropov, a hard-liner who ran the KGB at the time of the attempt on the Pope's life.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Conservative Voices on Campus

In today's Gazette, Diether Haenicke, former President of Western, praises the College Republicans for our hard work in bringing many conservative speakers to campus. I wish he were still Western's President. Here's an excerpt:

"I sat next to Jim, a WMU criminal justice major from Ann Arbor, a bright, well-spoken and well-mannered young man. I asked him what his guess was regarding the political leanings of students on our campus. He thought that it was 50-50, with the liberal half being very outspoken and visible in classes and the conservative half smartly holding back in class discussions and public pronouncements. They know that their opinions are not popular with many of their teachers. My own observation is that Jim has it right, but it is a guess.

Since conservative views are so seldom heard on campus, the College Republicans must be thanked. Under the fine leadership of Matt Hall and Ashley Allen, who both served as presidents of this student group, they have invited to campus, year after year, conservative speakers who address controversial issues that usually trigger horror among academics: affirmative action, racial preferences, illegal immigration, campus speech codes, and other such hot-button topics.

Ward Connerly, the African-American who fought for abolishing racial preferences in California, spoke here, as did Justice Roy Moore who placed a monument with the Ten Commandments in his Alabama courthouse, and Dinesh D'Souza, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin, Reginald Jones, and Alan Kors, the noted Princeton- and Harvard-educated historian who gained national prominence for defending the academic rights of students."

Read it all.

Schwarz on abortion

In a post yesterday, I criticized the record of Congressman Joe Schwarz. I have since received negative feedback on that post from Schwarz's staff. In an attempt to be as fair as possible, I will post detailed analyses of his positions. The post below this one examines his record on guns. This post will focus on his position on abortion.

I stated in my previous post that Schwarz is pro-abortion. By "pro-abortion," I mean that he believes that abortion should be legal. Schwarz has said in the past that he "personally" opposes abortion, but he does not think that it should be illegal. As stated, this is the same position that John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Jennifer Granholm have taken. I believe that these three are insincere, and are simply looking for a way to camouflage their pro-abortion beliefs (and reconcile them with their affiliation with the Catholic church.)

I don't know whether Schwarz is sincere. Let us assume that he is. How has Schwarz's personal opposition to abortion influenced his actions? Has he participated in a pro-life rally, such as the annual March for Life? Has he protested in front of an abortion clinic? Has he donated money to a pro-life group, or a crisis pregnancy center? (I don't know the answers to these questions. If you do, please post them in the comments.)

Here is what Schwarz has to say about abortion on his House site:

"Life

As a pro-life member of Congress, I am proud to share the same view on life as President Bush and former Michigan Gov. John Engler.

During my 16-year tenure in the Michigan Senate I voted to ban both partial-birth abortion and assisted suicide. Now, as a representative in Congress, I will continue to support those positions.

My pro-life exceptions include cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. I respect differing opinions on this very personal issue, while noting that this Congress is unlikely to bring up the issue of Roe v. Wade.

I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 748, "The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Approved by the House with my support on April 27, this bill prohibits the transportation of a minor across state lines to get an abortion in situations in which the minor resides in a state (e.g., Michigan) with parental-consent laws, unless the abortion is to save the life of the mother.

During my first three months in Congress, I cast an important vote in favor of S. 686, for a federal-court review of the case of Theresa Marie Schiavo. I am proud of this vote and consider it an important part of my pro-life record.

As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I voted against an amendment in committee to the 2006 defense authorization bill that would loosen restrictions for receiving abortions in overseas military hospitals. It is currently legal for military members to have an abortion in an overseas military hospitals only in cases of incest, rape, or to save the life of the mother. The amendment would have allowed abortions under any circumstances, while I believed the existing restrictions should be kept in place. Thankfully, the amendment was defeated."

This is what Tim Walberg has to say on his campaign site:

"Right to Life
Tim Walberg is strongly pro-life. When he first ran for public office his platform included an end to the public funding of abortions and Tim encouraged positive alternatives to abortion that ministered to the needs of desperate teens and adults. His consistent efforts earned for him the "Advocate for Life" award from Michigan Right to Life.

Congressman Schwarz supports abortion on demand believing that it is "a woman’s right to choose," [Detroit Free Press 7-18-02] and that Roe v. Wade was decided correctly [Detroit Free Press 7-1-02]."

I have not independently verified these citations, but I have no reason to believe that they are incorrect.

What do pro-life organizations have to say?

Searching the website of Michigan Right to Life turned up the following gem as part of an analysis of the 2002 governor's race:

"In the Republican primary, Posthumus will be facing off with long-shot challenger Joe Schwarz, who is a State Senator from Battle Creek. In an interview published by Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS), Sen. Schwarz described Right to Life of Michigan as "foaming, salivating" and said "if there were a thousand of them, I might get one vote. I don't give a (expletive). That's not who I'm after. I think they're wrong." Sen. Schwarz obviously does not share the same views as Right to Life of Michigan."

The website of National Right to Life has ratings of Congress. In their ratings of 2005, the one year Schwarz has completed in Congress, they found that out of seven total votes, he voted the pro-life way five times and the pro-abortion way two times. This was better than four of Michigan's Democratic congressmen and worse than two others. It was the worst record of any of Michigan's Republican congressmen.

Right to Life has endorsed Tim Walberg.

The August 4, 2002 Kalamazoo Gazette describes Schwarz's position this way: "Yet while many Republicans disagree with Schwarz's support for abortion rights and for stricter gun controls..."

Schwarz is quoted in the same article as saying the following about pro-lifers: "Moral absolutists drive me a little bonkers," Schwarz says. "Voters do not want to muddy the political process with arguments and issues that are best left to people's personal choice."

Finally, it is also noteworthy that Schwarz has been endorsed by former Michigan governor William Milliken. What is particularly interesting about this is that Milliken has refused to endorse every Republican nominee for President and governor since 1980 because they were pro-life. Evidently, Joe Schwarz didn't fail that test.

UPDATE: Planned Parenthood has contributed $10,000 to Schwarz, and he accepted it.

It is clear that Joe Schwarz is pro-abortion. He may vote for a few pro-life measures, but he is not pro-life. That is why Right to Life has endorsed Tim Walberg, and it is why any pro-life voter should support him.

Schwarz on guns

In a previous post, I characterized Congressman Joe Schwarz as "anti-gun." In this post, I will take a closer look at his position on gun rights. Like all gun rights activists, I used the term "anti-gun" to mean "anti-gun rights." Whether Schwarz personally likes guns is irrelevant. The question is whether he supports gun rights for everyone. It's his beliefs and voting record that I care about.

This is what Schwarz has to say about gun rights on his House website:

"Second Amendment

I am a gun owner myself and I support the Second Amendment. Under the Constitution, Americans have the right to bear arms, and it should remain that way.

I am a proud co-sponsor of H.R. 800, sponsored by Reps. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.). This bill shields gun manufacturers from liability for injuries due to unlawful use of firearms. I was pleased to vote for this bill when it came to floor on Oct. 20.

The Second Amendment was not written as a mere exercise in constitutional thought. It had a practical purpose: first, to ensure that citizens would have the tools to protect their families and their homes and, second, to ensure that an ARMED militia could be called up to defend the country in emergencies.

But lawsuits for damages due to criminal uses of firearms have the potential of crippling the American firearms industry, in the same manner as the threat of medical liability has crippled the medical industry. Why would we want to go down that route? Why would we want to put firearms out of the reach of law-abiding citizens.

I am also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1288, "The District of Columbia Personal Protection Act," sponsored by Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.).

Under existing D.C. statutes--which the Congress has power to overturn--D.C. residents are generally prohibited from firearm ownership within our nation's capital. Only under very rare exceptions are they allowed to possess a weapon in their home, and under few if any circumstances are they allowed to carry the weapon within their home for personal protection. This would seem to me to be unconstitional, [sic] and that is why, as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I have decided to co-sponsor this bill to restore D.C. residents' constitutional rights.

During debate on H.R. 3058, the appropriations bill for the District of Columbia, I voted for the Souder Amendment. This amendment, which was adopted, prevents the use of federal funds to enforce the D.C. gun ban."

This is what Tim Walberg says about his and Schwarz's positions on gun rights on his campaign site:

"Second Amendment
Tim Walberg believes the Second Amendment is a constitutional guarantee, not a personal opinion. He is a resolute supporter of sportsmen, a proud member of the NRA, and possesses a lifetime A+ NRA voting record rating.

Congressman Schwarz does not believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. [Detroit Free Press 7-4-02]. Schwarz also called Michigan's right-to-carry law "nuts" [MIRS 8-31-01]."

I have not independently verified these citations, but I have no reason to believe they are incorrect.

What do pro-gun organizations have to say about Schwarz?

In the 2004 congressional elections, the National Rifle Association gave Schwarz a raiting of 'B-'. It gave his Democratic opponent, Sharon Renier, an 'A' rating.

In the Gun Owners of America ratings of Congress, Schwarz receives a 'B' rating. GOA defines this to mean "Pro-Gun Compromiser: generally leans our way." It's not completely clear, but it appears that this rates only his one year in Congress, not his previous record.

I searched GOA's website for their ratings of Schwarz as a state legislator. Both their 1998 survey, when Schwarz was running for re-election to the State Senate, and their 2002 survey, when Schwarz was running for Governor are available, but Schwarz refused to fill either of them out.

In 2004, the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners (MCRGO) endorsed Democrat Sharon Renier over Schwarz. In 2002, MCRGO endorsed Dick Posthumus for Governor.

As of this date, it does not appear that any of these organizations have made an endorsement in the 2006 primary.

As a state senator, Schwarz voted against the concealed-carry bill that made Michigan a right-to-carry state. He was one of only four Republican state senators to do so. This was (in my opinion) the most important vote on gun rights that he has made, and he voted the wrong way.

Finally, there is this characterization of Schwarz's position that appeared in the August 4, 2002 edition of the Kalamazoo Gazette: "Yet while many Republicans disagree with Schwarz's support for abortion rights and for stricter gun controls, GOP Senators..." I knew my bag of old newspapers would come in handy someday!

In retrospect, it may have been too harsh to call Schwarz "anti-gun." He isn't in the Diane Feinstein camp. Nonetheless, he is at best unreliable, and there are a number of troubling aspects to his record. Tim Walberg is clearly the better candidate to defend and advance gun rights.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Imposing a revolution?

I loved 99% of what Ann Coulter said in her speech last Wednesday. So naturally, I'm going to criticize the 1% that I disagreed with.

Ann endorsed the idea of promoting democracy as a solution to terrorism, and described our efforts as "imposing a revolution" on Iraq. But is democracy really a solution to terrorism? The Islamic terrorist group HAMAS beat the Marxist terrorist group Fatah for control of the Palestinian Authority. Democratic elections have brought militant Islamists to power in Algeria and Turkey, leading to a bloody civil war and several peaceful coups, respectively. The Muslim Brotherhood, another Islamic terrorist group, gained support following the rigged elections in Egypt. And Iran's Islamic revolution clearly had popular support at the time, though it no longer does.

Democracy is the product of cultural factors including belief in basic human rights, willingness to accept defeat and allow opposition, and skepticism of human nature and government power. Such cultural traits come about through generations of gradual change and improvement. They cannot be imposed in few years. In other words, the positive traits that we associate with democracy are its cause, not its result. (More on the problems with Muslim democracy here and here.)

What about "imposing a revolution?" If our government can impose a revolution in Iraq, why can't it impose a revolution in America? Imposing a revolution essentially means using authoritarian government power and government spending to remake the entire society to be better than it was before. But conservatives know that government cannot do this. Overthrowing the existing order of society almost inevitably makes things worse, as happened in the French and Russian revolutions, and elsewhere. Terry Jeffrey, the editor of Human Events, the paper that Coulter works for, understands this, as he writes in a recent column:

"We can and have used democracy as a weapon to destabilize our enemies and we may do so again," said Hyde. "But if we unleash revolutionary forces in the expectation that the result can only be beneficent, I believe we are making a profound and perhaps uncorrectable mistake. History teaches that revolutions are very dangerous things, more often destructive than benign, and uncontrollable by their very nature. Upending established order based on a theory is far more likely to produce chaos than shining uplands."

Imposing a revolution is neoconservative, not conservative. I know from her other writings that Ann wants to eliminate most of our federal government. (See "I'd Burn my Neighbor's House Down" in How to Talk to a Liberal.) Let's hope that she applies her belief in limited government to foreign policy, as well.

Republican establishment supports Joe Schwarz

In 2004, Joe Schwarz was elected as the congressman representing Michigan's 7th congressional district (including Battle Creek, Jackson, and Adrian). Schwarz is one of the most liberal Republicans in this part of the country. Despite this, it appears that Michigan's Republican establishment is closing ranks behind him.

Let's review. Schwarz is pro-abortion. He is anti-gun, having voted against concealed carry when he was in the legislature. In 2002, he ran for governor on a platform of raising taxes. In fact, he ran to the left of Granholm. Small wonder that he lost every county to Dick Posthumus in the primary. In 2004, he ran for an open seat in congress, and won the primary with 28 percent of the vote when five other candidates (stupidly) split the votes of conservatives.

He has continued his liberal ways in Congress. The Club for Growth has set up a website to expose his liberal record on economic issues, and recent ratings from the National Taxpayers Union confirm his record as a big-government liberal.

This time around, Schwarz has drawn a primary challenge from conservative former State Rep. Tim Walberg. Walberg is everything that Schwarz isn't--pro-life, pro-gun, a fiscal conservative for smaller government.

Now, it appears that the Republican establishment is backing Schwarz. State Party Chairman Saul Anuzius has endorsed him, as has longtime national committeeman Chuck Yob. Schwarz is also being supported by former State Rep. Clark Bisbee, who in 2004 received the Right-to-Life endorsement (what were they thinking?)

It appears that the Republican establishment would endorse any Republican incumbent. Well, this is one Republican group that won't be supporting Schwarz. For more information Tim Walberg, go to his campaign site, and for more on Schwarz, check out joeschwarzisaliberal.com.

UPDATE: I have posted detailed analyses of Schwarz's positions on abortion and gun rights.

A Few Bits of Immigration Information

In the February 27, 2006 issue of National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru discusses Rep. Nathan Deal’s (R-GA) proposed legislation that would change the laws stating that anyone born in this country is automatically a citizen. (The legislation states that children of illegal immigrants are not citizens.) The article made some interesting points and had some interesting statistics that are valuable to any College Republican’s arguments on illegal immigration.

1 out of every 10 children born in the United States has an illegal immigrant mother. These children (all US citizens) cost the federal government (or more properly, the taxpayers) $10 billion/year. California spent $10 billion to educate these children in 2004. Rep. Deal points out that, “Those who come to our country the right way, legally, are the very ones, regardless of national origin, who are asking us to do something about illegal immigration.”

The article references the Center for Immigration Studies (http://www.cis.org) and a document by Thomas Cooley – “The General Principles of Constitutional Law” – which can be found here: (http://www.constitution.org/cmt/tmc/pcl.htm)(the part which is referenced is in Chapter IV, Section III).

Ponnuru is against the bill because he believes that the courts will ignore it whenever it is applicable, and because it works against some of the results of our illegal immigration problem and not against illegal immigration itself.

Rep. Tom Tancredo has an opponent in his August 8 primary. Juan Botero is a resident of Jefferson County who has worked for US Sen. Wayne Allard. The main reason Botero is running is that he disagrees with Tancredo’s policy on – you guessed it – immigration. Tancredo is happy to have a challenger (his response to the news was, “the more the merrier”).

South Dakota to ban abortion

The South Dakota legislature has passed a bill to ban abortion. Governor Mike Rounds is expected to sign the measure. I long for the day that abortion is banned in this country, but I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this bill.

On the one hand, I have serious doubts about the sincerity of many of the politicians who claim to be pro-life. I suspect that many politicians say that they are pro-life to win primaries but are unwilling or afraid to actually vote to ban abortion. They are all too comfortable to hide behind Roe vs. Wade. I'm glad to see that in South Dakota, at least, this isn't true.

On the other hand, I have to wonder if the proponents of this bill really know what they are doing. I want abortion to be banned as much as they do, but will this bill actually aid that goal?

It will probably take about ten seconds for this bill to be struck down by the federal courts. If South Dakota planned to tell the federal courts to mind their own business, and resist the unconstitutional infringement on its state sovereignty, I'd be all for it. But instead, the plan seems to be to challenge Roe vs. Wade at the Supreme Court.

The proponents of this bill seem to hold a very serious conceptual error. They seem to think that the Supreme Court simply made an error in judgment in Roe, and if presented with better, more compelling arguments, it will reverse itself.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Supreme Court doesn't decide cases based on what the law says, it decides what it wants to happen and then constructs plausible-sounding arguments to justify its decision. Sometimes, it throws in some references to the Constitution for good measure.

What are the chances that our current Supreme Court will overturn Roe? There are (at most) four anti-Roe votes. Overturning Roe would require Anthony Kennedy to change his mind again (unlikely), or John Paul Stevens leaving the Court and being replaced by a pro-life judge (possible, but I wouldn't count on it).

I don't question the dedication of the sponsors of this bill. However, zeal is not sufficient to win a battle. You also need good strategy. If I were in the South Dakota legislature, I would probably have voted for this bill. But I can't help but wonder whether passing it is a wise choice.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Wrong War?

Over the last two years, all I have heard from the liberal minded is that we are in the "wrong" war in Iraq. So wait, are they saying then that there is a "right" war for us to be in? I wouldn't even neccessarily say that "right" and "wrong" are good classifiers when describing war. I would rather describe war as either necessary and just or unneccessary and unjust. For example, I would consider America's involvement in World War II as both necessary and just, considering if the U.S. wouldn't have gotten involved, the entire world would be either under a Japanese flag or a German flag. Some would go as far to say that America's involvement in Vietnam was unneccessary and unjust. I would personally just go with unneccessary in that argument, but not everyone will see it my way.

Now when arguing whether the war in Iraq fits these classifications, there are several details that must be considered.

1. Are there innocent people dying under the current regime of Iraq? Yes there was under the control of Saddam Hussein. He is actuall currently on trial for such crimes against humanity.

2. Is the country a threat to the peace of the region or of the world? I would definitely like to think so considering that for the last 15 years Saddam had been trying to manufacture Weapons of Mass Destruction and has not neccessarily been that quiet about it.

3. Is there some other way to solve the issues at hand? Well, diplomacy was tried through the U.N. and through the U.S. and neither worked. The odd thing though is that the U.N. originally stated that armed force could be used in the case of Iraq under Resolution 1442. Of course, we all know what happened after that when the U.N. basically stabbed the U.S. in the back.

Overall, I would say that the reasons to go to war in Iraq are neccessary and just. There is a tyrannical dictator killing his own citizens and is openly trying to get WMDs. People then ask the question, "well where are the WMDs?" Oh, let me think, Saddam has had a better part of a decade to hide or to get rid of all of his WMDs. I still think that they are there and that it is going to take a little longer to find them. And whether or not the WMDs are still there, I don't really think that should be the only reason the U.S. is there. He was killing his own people! Does anybody see anything wrong with that? It seems as if people would rather help in other regions around the world when they see crimes against humanity, but when it comes to the Middle East, they say forget that and they don't like us. Oh, so we are only suppose to help people that like us? So that is why we were mixed into a mess in Somalia in the 1990's, because they liked us.

And here is the final kicker, now that Saddam is captured and being tried for his crimes against humanity, everybody is rejoicing at the fall of a dictator. Hello! That dictator wouldn't be in the court room if it weren't for the war.

I truly feel that what our government and our troops are doing in Iraq is neccessary and just. God Bless our troops and our government.

---
(This post originated on my personal blog in October of 2005)

Shooting blanks on the "shoot first law"

A recent article in the Detroit Free Press by Chris Christoff is an all-too-typical example of how the media reports on gun rights. The bill in question would eliminate the "duty to retreat" in current self-defense law as well as eliminate lawsuits in the case of justified shootings.

Here's how Christoff describes it: "The state Senate is to begin hearings Tuesday on how to commit to law the kind of public behavior the gun lobby views as an expression of freedom: Shoot first and ask questions later."

This is nonsense, of course. Nothing in the proposed law would allow you to shoot without a reasonable belief that your life is in imminent danger.

He continues: "Justifiable homicide would become less complicated. No longer would law-abiding, gun-toting citizens have to consider alternatives in the face of bodily harm, such as fleeing the scene or calling police."

What sense does this make? Consider the situation. Someone is trying to kill you. You are seconds away from death. With not a moment to lose, you...

..whip out your cell phone and call the police! At this point, it seems appropriate to quote the title of a documentary produced by the group Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership: "Dial 911 and Die."

Any serious consideration must lead to the conclusion that the police cannot protect you against imminent harm. That is not their job. The job of police is to investigate crimes and apprehend criminals. To the extent that they are successful, they "protect" you by locking up some bad guys and deterring others. But if some criminal decides to attack you, the police cannot protect you. That is your job.

What about the other alternative, fleeing the scene? Many current state laws contain a "duty to retreat." Of course, retreating typically means turning your back to an attacker, which could easily put you at greater risk. That's why state laws typically contain some provision stating that retreat is only required if it can be done in complete safety. Of course, there is no such thing as complete safety.

The issue is not whether you should consider your alternatives, assuming you even have time to do so. The issue is whether you should be sent to jail if somebody doesn't like your choice. Laws such as the duty to retreat tend to be applied arbitrarily, as people later second-guess choices made in the heat of the moment.

The column quotes a member of the Brady Bunch as saying that the law could let gang members off and that innocent people aren't being sent to jail. I've read many examples of morally justified people who did go to jail for shooting in self-defense, although I'm too tired to find any of them now. Such cases aren't common, but they do happen.

The gang member argument is a red herring. There is nothing in our current law that stops a gang member from claiming self defense. Believe it or not, even gang members have the right to self defense as long as they are not actively committing a crime at the time. Having a subjective duty to retreat in the law isn't going to help. Proving murder would require the same sort of evidence that it usually does.

I read another article recently in which another Brady type was quoted as saying that this bill will bring back the wild west, complete with blood running in the streets: "Some critics say such "Wild West" laws are vigilante justice, and commonplace confrontations and more likely turn to violence." At what point are you wrong so much that you lose any credibility whatsoever? Anti-gunners say the same thing about every pro-gun bill, and it never happens. Never! Many states already have laws like this and they haven't had any problems with them. Quoting the Brady Bunch about gun control is like quoting David Duke about civil rights.

As for the argument about changing the character of society, God forbid that criminals should run from honest citizens instead of citizens running from criminals.

What's really terrible about this column isn't that it's wrong about a question of policy. Instead, what's worst is that if (as I expect) this bill becomes law, God forbid that anyone actually believes what he reads in the Free Press. If he does, we really could see a situation where someone thinks he can shoot somebody he doesn't like. Then we really would have an innocent victim and an (otherwise) honest citizen in jail. Liberal lies come with a high price.

Minimum wage madness

You absolutely must check out this hilarious poem by a supporter of the minimum wage in the liberal arts. This summarizes better than I possibly could what is wrong with both liberal arts and economics at government schools. A small excerpt:

"It is night and

by the light of the minimum-wage moon we can see
the long pink tongues of the bosses hanging out
and the dilated white eyeballs of the employees as they flee

through woods, lacking any sense of
solidarity or collective organizing power."

This is what we're dealing with, folks.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

No Common Decency

Where has the common decency of this nation gone?

After recently reading an article that I found on FoxNews.com, I am beginning to ask that very question. The article was discussing a Kansas based church(Westboro Baptist Church) that has made it a habit to demonstrate at the funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq. I am not just talking about the usual 'liberal' demonstrations aimed at showing disapproval for the war in Iraq, but rather a group of demonstrators from the Westboro Baptist Church that claim to be Christian that use such slogans on their signs as "God Hates America" and "Thank God for 9/11". The churches controversial slogan of "God Hates Fags" has even graces the title of the their website. Members of the church have also been known to say that the death of American soldiers in Iraq is God's punishment on the U.S. for its' toleration of homosexuals.

According to the FoxNews article, several families of fallen American soldiers are seeking out legislation that would prevent such 'funeral protesters'. According to the same article, "at least 14 states are considering measures to ban demonstrations outside of funeral services." The legislative ban, if passed into law, would draw a great deal of controversy considering that it could possibly infringe on the first amendment rights of the demonstrators.

For the record, I feel that this group has tarnished the true identity of God and of Christianity. Their slogan "God Hates Fags", is truly radical and incredibly false. Christian doctrine teaches that God hates the sin, not the person. The actions of this group, which are far more than just protests at funerals, are nothing less than repulsive. This group is distorting Christianity just as the terrorists are distorting Islam. Thank God for such veterans as the individuals in Minnesota that acted as a shield, in opposition to the protesters, for the funeral procession of Cpl. Andrew Kemple.God Bless America. God Bless Our Troops.

References:
"Families Seek Legislative Remedies From Funeral Protesters"
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,184623,00.html

"Veterans guard Minnesota soldier's family from pickets"
http://www.grandforks.com/mld/grandforks/news/state/13946832.htm

The Westboro Babtist Church Homepage(Group responsible for the protests)http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/index.html

-------------------------------------
(This post originated on my personal blog)

Dinner with Ann Coulter

I'm sure that those of you who were not among The Chosen are wondering what happened at dinner. After the book-signing, everybody raced to their cars to get to the restaurant. I was walking to the door when suddenly I looked up and there she was. "Oh, here's somebody," she said. I don't know how she recognized me (maybe it was the two Coulter books I was carrying.) Suddenly, after everything, I was standing right next to her. While we were waiting for our table, I had a one-on-one conversation with her, and she signed my books.

Once everyone arrived, we rehashed the event. We talked about how liberal questions were so lame. We talked about Tom's experiences at Gitmo. We talked about our run-ins with various liberal professors. We talked about our flyers for Buchanan and this event. Coulter loved all of it. She particularly loved my idea for the "are you offended yet?" flyer.

Ann was great. She made a point of going up to everyone at the table and shaking hands. She asked everyone's name and year and major. She signed everything and posed for pictures with everybody. By the end of the evening, she declared that we had the best College Republican group in the country! It was an awesome evening.

Grand Rapids attacks official English bill

The city of Grand Rapids has attacked a bill sponsored by Rep. Jack Hoogendyk to make English the official language of Michigan. The city commission passed a resolution 6-0 opposing the bill. A commissioner named Rick Tormala said: "The city of Grand Rapids got up on its bully pulpit and said stop this nonsense."

Tormala attacked Hoogendyk personally, saying "We have always printed ballots and signs in other languages. We've done it in Polish, Italian, Dutch. Maybe if he was representative 'John Smith,' he could say this with a little more credibility."

What exactly is that supposed to mean? I can only assume that this is a racist attack on Hoogendyk's Dutch ancestry. Actually, Hoogendyk is the perfect example of why this bill is necessary. He is the child of immigrants who came to America from the Netherlands. Would he be a state representative now if his parents had only taught him Dutch?

Tormala's other "argument" was that "legislation is not necessary since 97 percent of the Michigan population already speaks English." What kind of argument is this? First, I'm suspicious of that statistic. Do 97% speak English as their primary language, or do they just know some English?

Second, this says nothing about who this bill will affect. The cost of translating government documents into other languages falls on all taxpayers, not just the few who want their ballots in Urdu.

Third, even assuming this only affects a few people, what's wrong with that? Tormala seems to be assuming that this bill would benefit English speakers at the expense of immigrants. But this is incorrect. The chief beneficiaries of this bill will be immigrants. It doesn't do immigrants any favors to keep them segregated in small ethnic communities, unable to communicate with the larger population. I find it very ironic that liberals pride themselves on opposing segregation, when they are now its chief advocates.

Fourth, even assuming that this bill isn't necessary now, that doesn't mean that it won't be necessary in the future. What's wrong with preventing a problem before it gets bad? There are parts of this country where English is not spoken. Is that what Tormala wants here?

If this is the best that liberals can do, this bill should soon be on Granholm's desk.

Friday, February 24, 2006

POLITICAL UPDATE--The United Nations

This week's POLITICAL UPDATE focuses on the United Nations. The UN continues to battle against America's national sovereignty.
Mark Steyn explains why we should get out of the UN.
Richard Lessner documents the UN's continuing efforts to control the internet.
Will Grigg reports that Bill Clinton could soon run the UN.
Phyllis Schlafly exposes UNESCO's efforts to influence American education.
Finally, John McManus writes that "free trade" agreements like the World Trade Organization and the proposed FTAA are used by the UN to impose world government.

Flyering wrap-up

I thought that since flyering was such a big part of our lives over the past few weeks, it deserved a post of its own.

We clearly won the flyering war. No matter how many of our flyers the leftists ripped down, we put up more to replace them. This took a lot of work, but it was worth it.

I wonder what the liberals would do if somebody ripped down their flyers. Could they find the dedication to repost everything a dozen times?

I love how the Herald called our flyers childish. It wasn't all the mustache-drawing and horn-drawing that was childish, it was our advertising our event.

Liberals are obsessed with Nazis. They kept drawing swasticas and writing "seig heil" on our flyers. What's funny about this is that last semester, some actual Nazis from National Vanguard posted flyers around campus. They didn't get torn down. The flyers were attacking Israel, so the left probably agreed with them. The liberals are closer to Nazis than they are to us!

Eventually, other people started doing take-offs of our flyers. One flyer promoting another event said "not as conservative as Ann Coulter, but just as crazy." Another flyer said "Ann Coulter is a deadhead," along with a picture from her website. We aren't sure whether this was supporting or attacking her.

I know I can't be objective here, but I still love the "Ann Coulter is coming to WMU...Are you offended yet?" It just perfectly captured the reaction of the liberals.

It's touching how liberals recycled our flyers. But they forgot that in the slogan "reduce, reuse, recycle," reuse comes before recycle. I rescued at least a dozen flyers from recycling bins and put them to good reuse.

My favorite flyer defacement: In Sangren Hall, somebody disliked our "Liberals are wrong about everything" flyer. He wrote "including civil rights, affirmative action..." So liberals are both for and against racial discrimination. Priceless.

If you have any interesting flyering-related anecdotes, please post them in the comments.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What an event!

Wow! Everything came together great! The event was just about perfect. Ashley particularly deserves credit for all her hard work in bringing Ann Coulter to campus. What follows are some of my observations, feel free to add a comment on anything else related to the event.

There were more than 2000 people in that room: 1400 seated, and hundreds standing and sitting. I heard that about a thousand had to be turned away. The line ran down the hall, down the far stairs, and down the hall on the first floor.

The speech was great. Coulter is great at the one-liners, and she really demolished the left. I'm not sure what my favorite joke was (any thoughts?) The best substantive fact of the speech was that after Marxism Congressman Ron Dellums said that he wanted to demolish all our intelligence agencies, the house democrats elected him chairman of the armed services committee. Who says liberals aren't traitors?

The low point for me was when Coulter strayed a little to close to neoconservatism. Saying that we can impose a revolution is highly problematic.

The audience was very respectful. I was surprised. The security worked out very well. The metal detectors were a pain (for the people who had to go through them), but they were worth it. Putting on a show of force was very effective.

The question-and answer session was fun. A number of conservatives asked questions. The liberal questions were laughable. It's really pathetic that this was the best they could do. Derek Moss was a hero for asking college republicans in the military to stand up.

Overall, what an event! I'm still running on a Coulter buzz the next day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Great lecture

So since I'm still pumped about the Ann Coulter event, I blogged about it all. I was thinking about going out and having dinner with everyone but as soon as I got back to my place and sat down I realized how tired I was. So I called it an evening. But if anyone is interested in my thoughts (or wants to get a copy of my picture with Ann) go to my personal blog at http://www.xanga.com/dan12r

George Washington's birthday

Today is George Washington's birthday. Washington was an incredible man. He fought the French and Indians as a young man. He was a successful plantation owner (who was the richest President ever). He commanded the American army during the Revolutionary War. His courage, dedication and leadership were indispensable to our victory. He was President of the Constitutional Convention. He was the first President of our country. (More on Washington here).

Perhaps most amazingly, he turned down the chance to become king, choosing instead to help found a constitutional republic like none that had ever existed before. He believed in very strict limitations on government power. He should be a hero to all conservatives. He was truly the father of our country.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Tancredo was right

Last semester, Congressman Tom Tancredo spoke at WMU. He was attacked in both an article and an editorial in the Western Herald for voting against a bill providing relief for victims of Hurricane Katrina. Tancredo's belief was that the money would be misused and wouldn't go to the people who needed it. He was right. This article by Congressman Ron Paul (who also voted against the bill) details how the money was wasted.

At least one newspaper has seen the light. The Sioux City Journal attacked Congressman Steve King for voting against the bill, but recently changed its mind.

Until people recognize that wasting money is not compassionate and saving money is not cruel, we will continue to have out-of-control spending in Washington.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Of Capitalism and Communism

In the February 15 edition of the Western Herald, Mr. Ron Riekki wrote an editorial discussing the flyers for the upcoming Ann Coulter event. Mr. Riekki made a few remarks that are worth a second look (not that the remarks themselves had any value, but that the issues that they mentioned were significant).

Mr. Riekki discusses the liberal “positions” of raising taxes and raising the minimum wage. Sen. John Kerry’s stance against tax cuts for the rich seems noble due to the vast fortune that he has earned through his “I do” to Madame Heinz Kerry (to say nothing of the former Julia Thorne). Mr. Riekki suggests that those tax dollars could have been sent to aid the hurricane victims. This stance seems to suggest that the government should take a page out of Robin Hood’s book – rob the rich to help the poor. But why are Democrats obsessed with using the money of those who work to help those who don’t?

Democrats are communists, not capitalists. If taxation serves to redistribute wealth, then the goal of amassing wealth is simply to help people who are unable to amass wealth. The goal of capitalism is to amass wealth, whereas the goal of communism is homogenization.

The Democrats goal, it seems, is to destroy our country. Capitalism is a purely economic ideology that is compatible with the ideas like freedom of speech, liberty, and other ideals that are espoused by our democratic republic. Communism is not compatible with freedom of speech, liberty, or most of the other ideals that are the foundation of our country. Legislating in favor of communist values in a capitalist country only serves to weaken the economy and the foundation of that country.

Mr. Riekki also asserts that the liberal organizations’ flyers promote something positive when they discuss raising the minimum wage. I will first address the marketing aspect of these flyers.

When a “living wage” advocate sees a flyer promoting a meeting about raising the minimum wage, he becomes interested in attending the meeting. However, almost every other individual looks at and then moves on unaffected. When any individual who cares about politics looks at a flyer that says “Liberals are wrong about everything,” a reaction occurs within them almost immediately. It is for this reason that more people will attend the Ann Coulter speech than attended the “Raise the Wage” event.

Secondly, as one of my colleagues noted in an earlier post to this blog, the Democrats main reason for the “Raise the Wage” initiative is to grab votes for Granholm in November. If Democrats were actually interested in poor people they would do something that helped create jobs, not something that destroys jobs.

Lastly, if Mr. Riekki and the liberals at WMU are interested in what Ann Coulter or the College Republicans think, they can come to the speech and to the meetings that are advertised on College Republican flyers. These flyers may be found in the nearest trash can.

We will not be silenced

A recent opinion piece in the Western Herald by Ron Riekki attacks the College Republicans. Riekki's main point seems to be that we should never criticize anybody, because that would be negative, which is bad. "Liberals are Wrong About Everything" isn't a slogan, it's a speech title. It's also a statement of fact. You can agree or disagree. Our flyers don't exist to make nuanced arguments; they exist to advertise a speech.

Riekki notes in passing the rampant defacement of flyers, but claims that this is our fault because we dared to say that liberals are wrong. The poor liberals just couldn't control themselves!

He makes mention of some "positive" liberal flyers. I guess he didn't notice the "Bush Step Down" and "American War Crimes" flyers that liberals have posted in the past. Maybe they weren't as "omnipresent" as our flyers. Or maybe Riekki's "no criticism" rule only applies to us.

He goes on: "Instead of utilizing class and integrity with their posters, they’re aiming for argumentation, a furthering of bipartisanship, [I think he means partisanship, not bipartisanship] a bigger gap in the country. And I’m not even mad about it anymore. I used to be furious. Now I just feel weak. I feel sad when I see those posters and disappointed with WMU and especially the WMU Republicans. Because I know they could aim higher. They could try a little harder at creating a positive college atmosphere, but instead they’ve got their sights set on Jerry Springer meets Bill O’Reilly radical emptiness." Everything was great until those darn conservatives spoke up!

Finally, Riekki alludes to the attack against Buchanan last year. Apparently that was our fault too: "Let’s not try and [sic] create environments where someone feels so disenfranchised and constantly mocked that they [sic] want to throw a pie in Coulter’s face. Instead, let’s keep things professional in the political arena." So now he excuses assault because the perpetrator "feels so disenfranchised and constantly mocked." What makes him think that some liberals assault speakers because they feel bad instead of just being fascists intolerant of any disagreement? Why does he condemn us while excusing them? Unfortunately for Riekki's despondant liberals thesis, the purely informational flyers with just the time and location of Coulter's speech were just as likely to be defaced or torn down. It isn't the "offensiveness" of the flyers that liberals object to, it's the mere fact that someone might hear a different point of view.

This is so typical of a liberal. After reading his piece, I wondered how consistently Riekki applies his "don't be negative" rule. Surprise, surprise! It turns out that three of his last four columns are spent attacking things he doesn't like. Aside from attacking us, he also attacks rich people and attacks the war in Iraq.

Ann Coulter has described liberalism as "the absolute conviction that there is one set of rules for you, and another, completely different set of rules for everyone else." Looks like Ron's just been made. Rest assured, as long as there are liberals on this campus, we will continue to expose them. That feeling of weakness means you're losing.

Political Ideology Test

This site has a short test that claims to determine your political ideology. I like this test because it attempts to differentiate between various ideologies on the right like conservative, neoconservative, paleoconservative, libertarian, and paleolibertarian. I first took it a couple years ago, and it rated me conservative. Recently, I took it again after a few of my views had changed, and it rated me paleoconservative first, paleolibertarian second, and conservative third! This surprised me since I don't consider myself a paleoconservative. So how about it, fellow College Republicans? Take the test and post your results.