Thursday, January 31, 2008

Breathless Blitzer

Democrat Love-Fest hosted by Breathless. They were so happy to be talking to each nice. Barak was digging his own grave by agreeing with Hillary every time she said something.

Kenya - State Department Equivocates

The U.S. State Department just can't seem to figure out that there is ethnic violence going on in Kenya.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer, visiting the African Union summit in Addis Ababa after visiting Kenya, reportedly told journalists: "There was ethnic cleansing in Kenya. I listened to the victims."

However, spokesman Sean McCormack said at the department’s daily press briefing that he would "let her [Frazer's] statement stand on its own."

"Jendayi Frazer... was reflecting back to the press corps her first hand view of the situation in the Rift Valley based on her travel there," he added. McCormack reported that a State Department office is collecting information on the violence in the Rift Valley, and the office would report its findings sometime in the future.

"Very often, the case with these kind of circumstances is that you don't have a full understanding, a complete picture of what happened, until the situation is over and things have calmed down," he said.

Good to know that the State Department is taking this thing seriously...sort of how they did in Rwanda...

Kenya - News and Perspectives from the Ground III

Alan sends an update from the ground in Kenya:

You may be aware that a couple of days ago an opposition (ODM Orange party) was shot and killed, after midnight outside his gate. He had been visiting with friends until that time, and drove himself home. It appears to be a politically motivated murder as nothing was stolen and he was shot at close range multiple times.

Now just today (31st) another opposition politician (Kalejin tribe) has been killed at a Police road block near Eldoret. We do not yet know the circumstances surrounding this, but it has set off further violent demonstrations following a period of relative calm. Friends are in Kisumu and have had to take refuge in a vehicle at the Kisumu Police Station owing to the riots there.

We have also heard that there is burning and looting in the tea estates near Kericho...The death toll since early January now stands at over 850 and at least 300,000 people are displaced.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Republican Debate Disgrace

This debate made me want to vote for Ron Paul. Not because I think Ron Paul is a good candidate...but because all the others were like little children bickering over who said what. At least Paul made the point that we ought to be debating policies instead of bickering over details.

McCain's smirking and whining about Romney's negative ads, Huckabee complaining every chance he got that we wasn't getting enough time, Romney claiming that Reagan would support all of his policies...just weird.

McCain was at his worst...thin-skinned, taking dishonest potshots at Romney...he gave the appearance of a small, arrogant and ill-tempered man.

These aren't statesmen. Are there any around? Or is the system set up so antithetically to statesmanship that no bona fide statesman would play the game?

Maybe I just need some sleep and I'll feel more confident in the morning...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kenya - State of Nature, State of War

For those who say that ethnic hatred has nothing to do with the violence, read this...

This story illuminates what everyone with their eyes open has known...ethnic conflict is the main cause of the violence. Conflict such as this thrives in the state of nature because each individual sees themselves as the "executioner of the law of nature." When the government has exacerbated the problem with corruption and granting political favors the list of offenses against the law of nature is long.

Kenya's rapid descent from political protest to all-out ethnic conflict, further fuelled yesterday by the murder of an opposition MP who was shot twice in the head outside his home, has raised fears that the enmity may soon be irreversible.
Now gangs are beginning to take advantage of the anarchy...
Analysts say it may soon get a lot worse. The violence appears increasingly orchestrated, with violent gangs such as the Mungiki, a Kikuyu criminal sect, becoming involved.
When there is a dissolution of the social contract, people then are thrust into a state of war.
"People have completely lost faith in the government's ability to protect," said a Kenyan conflict expert working for a humanitarian organisation, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "Unless a solution is found quickly, guns will be used and the dynamic of this trouble will change completely."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Kenya - Understanding Kenya's Politics

Stephanie Hanson of the Washington Post has an interesting link-saturated run-down of Kenya's politics. It matches Alan's account somewhat. She talks about the corruption at the government level and more broadly across society.

Midway through, she summarizes:

Though much of Kenya's ethnic violence can be attributed to political manipulation, there are economic inequalities between some ethnic groups, and long-standing bitter disputes over land, particularly in the Rift Valley.
This is the only mention of the land disputes, though this and the ethnic revenge seem to be the main reasons for the number of killings.

She concludes:
For Kenya's economy to take off, it must distribute power among ethnic groups. "Kenya could be a shining example," says Barkan. "But it could unravel further politically and the economy could become moribund." Juma believes for regional imbalances to be addressed, the country needs to upgrade its infrastructure. He suggests that a large-scale government employment scheme, structured like the New Deal in the 1930s United States, could employ youth to do this. [emphasis mine]
I would disagree with this assessment. Government does not have to "distribute power" or create an African New Deal. It simply needs to protect the natural rights of its citizens -- life, liberty, property. It has failed miserably at this because of the rampant corruption that has created an environment of self-serving politicians. Urging more government action is giving the arsonist a match and telling him to "do some good."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Hobbit

Came across this a little late, but it appears Peter Jackson will be producing the Hobbit...good news for LOTR fans...

Jackson and New Line cinema had a major falling out and placed any new movies in danger...details here.

This story talks about what the makeup of the actors will possibly be..."It will be a movie to remember."

D.C. v. Heller, Part II

As SCOTUS boldly moves into the controversial arena of 2nd Amendment interpretation, some believe that this could be the beginning of a Constitutional revolution...

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog says:

It is a far more ambitious project than may be widely recognized. If it ultimately were to succeed, Congress’ power to spend under the General Welfare Clause would be severely curtailed, economic populism — freedom, especially, for small merchants from pesky government rules — would have a new birth, the bundle of ownership rights in property would expand markedly, the power at all levels of government to intervene to advance progressive social causes would be shrunken considerably — just as a few examples.
Sounds good to me!

A commenter added these interesting remarks...
Philosophical shifts in legal jurisprudence have always come at the tail end of the electoral shift that produced the justices who formulated the doctrinal change. There is a political realignment in America every forty years or so....The Reagan Revolution is almost 30 years old. The views of Roberts, Alito, and Scalia, are representative of their political icon: Reagan and to a lesser degree Bush. But the Reagan era is over or soon will be. Whether that is good or bad is irrelevant. The laws of political cycles are immutable. There is nothing that anyone can do about it. Five years from now, the Roberts court will most likely produce conservative opinions that a loose majority believes conflicts with their values and does not reflect the way America should be governed.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kenya - News and Perspectives from the Ground II

Alan adds:
Even today we hear that in Nakuru (In the Rift Valley- the Lake is famous for large flocks of Flamingo) last night up to ten people were killed and today roving gangs of youths are confronting the police, and have blocked the main road to Uganda.


Clearly life is by no means 'normal' at present. We are thankful that the level of violence has receded, but even now the newspaper is reporting on a daily basis, deaths, injury, rape and destruction of property. The official death toll is now over 650 persons. One of the attached photographs is of an small town near Eldoret, called Burnt Forest and the destruction can clearly be seen. These burnt down homes are in isolated groups and targeted families of specific tribal background. On my flight to Eldoret I saw many burnt homes and destroyed school buildings. Such senseless damage!

An International team headed by Kofi Annan and Ugandan President Museveni have arrived in Kenya. Many are pinning their hopes on this team that they will be able to bring the protaganists together. Some of the displaced persons are leaving the temporary camps, but most do not want to leave as they still feel it is unsafe. Recently gangs of youths managed to tear up about a kilometre of the railway which passes through the Kibera slum area. The day before a freight train in the same area had been stopped and looted! This is the only railway line to deliver goods to Uganda (there are other road routes) and it has finally been repaired under heavy security. The cost $183,824!

Kenya - News and Perspectives from the Ground

A friend living in Kenya writes with his view on the possible causes of the unrest:

There is no single cause for the present unrest. Yes, the recent announced election result is a part of the problem, but the following also have to be considered:

  • There is a small wealthy elite, huge number of very poor, and virtually no middle class in the societal structure of Kenya
  • Kenya is one of the most corrupt nations in the world, and therefore there is an uneven distribution of assets, including International Aid and Tax revenues.
  • The country of Kenya is plagued by tribalism. The Kikuyu are the largest tribe and the present President is from that tribe. His rival, Raila Odinga is a Luo which is the second largest tribe. President Moi, the previous President is a Kalenjin.
  • When the Kikuyu, peacefully took back the reins of power five years ago, President Mwai Kibaki sacked all the Kalenjin who had been appointed by President Moi. In the early days of Independent Kenya, Tom Mboya (Luo), a rising political figure and challenger to Kenyatta, (Kikuyu, 1st President f Kenya)was assassinated in Nairobi. The Luo suspect to this day that this was a politically motivated event. And in February 1990 Robert Ouko, (Luo) then Foreign Minister was murdered. Even Raila Ondinga's father was imprisoned more than once for extended periods.Now the Lou are convinced that they have been robbed of presidential leadership in this current election. And the Luo are known to be fighters!
  • It is stated that the Kikuyu cannot accept a Luo President as the Luo’s. unlike the Kikuyu’s do not practice circumcision. The Kikuyu therefore are unwilling to accept leadership under a Luo.
  • Kenya, which is the size of Texas, has a growing population with limited arable land. The pressure on land use, especially in certain tribes has led to settlement in other areas of Kenya. Often the land was bought privately at a fair price, but sometimes,(owing to corrupt practices) Government funded settlement schemes have been occupied by others than those intended, and this has led to animosity. The ethnic clashes, and burning of farms in the Eldoret area are an example of tensions over land, coming to the surface.

Here endeth the history lesson. I just wanted to let you know that although it appears that everyday life has returned to most areas of Kenya, the present troubles are but a symptom of deep rooted mistrust and bitterness. Please pray that there will be genuine reconciliation and a political leadership in this country that will look to the welfare and betterment of the people.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Republican Nomination - McCain

I'm hoping for an open convention because...why not? I've never seen one and I think it'd be great fun! However, for what it's worth, this is why I think the eventual nominee will be McCain.

People can't stand a vacuum (one of only two commonly used words in the English language with a double "u"-- The continuum contains great vacuum, but I'd hate to have to vacuum the continuum.). However much people profess to love democracy and teamwork, they require a leader. It makes them uncomfortable to lack a sense of direction, and they will lurch toward the perceived leader in order to fill the vacuum. Because McCain is a strong leader with more experience than any of the other current candidates, he will probably be the one.

RCP shows he retains a significant lead nationally. I'm looking forward to eating my words since Florida could change a lot of things and economic perceptions could give Romney a real boost--he's surging in FL right now...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kenya - ODM's William Ruto Speaks

William Ruto, a "leading member" of the ODM has accused Kibaki of being a "fraudulent man." Oil-for-(my) Food Annan's first attempt to forge a compromise didn't seem to go too well...

Though, according to

The meeting was the most significant event and strongest ray of hope to end post-election violence that the country has plunged into and so far claimed more than 600 lives and left almost 300,000 displaced.
I suppose just getting them to talk together while their country fractures is a step in the right direction. It just seems to me that their pleas for peace are still very much muted by their own interest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fred - No one here but us RINOs!

There's a lot of chatter about why Fred's campaign didn't take off...much of it has to do with his approach to the campaign, lack of fire, bad timing with the current of "change" sweeping the nation, etc.

I understand that one must understand the current climate to perform well in any endeavor. There are rules by which the game must be played. Fred did not play by those rules and paid the price. I know that some supporters are upset at him because they saw the possibility of what he had to offer aborted because of his refusal to play along.

However, I reserve my disdain for Mr. Average Joe Voter. Despite what many have said, we made up our minds long ago as to who we were going to vote for, and Thompson's "late" entry into the race asked us to re-think, which is apparently too difficult to do.

What it really comes down to in my mind, is that we have lost our ability to think through principles and apply them to real life. We let the culture guide our thoughts toward the latest crisis without even considering what the principles are that lie behind it, let alone a sober consideration of the possible solutions.

Fred's consistent discussion of first principles was lost among the tempest policies -- security, immigration and change. This tells me several possible things: 1) Republicans are now just as power hungry as the liberals, but with a good end in mind, 2) Republicans no longer understand first principles, but have mindlessly attached themselves to policy stances, 3) Republicans have been thrummed senseless by the merciless, incessant dripping of the liberal agenda through practically every media outlet, and have become so emasculated that only a small step toward collectivism is considered a victory.

Tony Phyrillas somewhat sums up my it's back to the drawing board to figure out the lessest of three evils...

Monday, January 21, 2008

McCain the Fiscal Liberal

Giuliani is beginning to attack McCain's record. Finally...someone is pointing out his incredibly miserable conservative voting record.

Kenya - One more victim

From the Houston Chronicle:

Wesley Ngetich, the 2006 Chevron Houston Marathon runner-up who pushed the race's three-time champion David Cheruiyot to a then career-best time with a personal best, has been killed in the spreading tribal violence that is rocking his native Kenya.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another Perspective on Kenya

Wangari Maathai, a 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate, gives her perspective.

Here is a page to give you perspective from Kenyan bloggers.

This guy was chased out of his hometown.

Mad Kenyan Woman posts about her experiences in a poetic, gripping style.

What's Happening in Kenya, Part III

Here is a brief, though very much incomplete chronology of events in Kenya.

Odinga is switching to a "new phase" of protest which will include boycotting companies perceived to be allied with Kibaki.

The first words I've seen reported of Odinga urging peace were reported in the Washington Post:

"No need to kill somebody because of his tribe, even if he did not vote for me," Odinga told several hundred supporters as he came out of a church service in Nairobi's Kibera slum, its roads blackened with the remains of days of flaming barricades.

Odinga said a memorial service would be held at a sports field in central Nairobi on Wednesday for those who had died and repeated a call for more demonstrations from Thursday, despite police orders to prevent rallies.

"You can beat our body, but you cannot break our spirit of justice," he told cheering supporters, some holding up banners reading "Raila our solution" or "Kibaki hand over to Raila."

This East African editorial gives a perspective on what is going on behind the headlines:
Kenya is being held captive by two groups of people. Those whose primary objective was to rig the presidential elections — call them the ethnic riggers — and those who inflame ethnic hatred and cause death, destruction and displacement — call them the ethnic warriors.

The concept of being “Kenyan” is alien to them, because their sense of Kenya is linked to geographical boundaries and nothing more. So, ruling Kenya is a ticket for tribal domination. Indeed, for them a Kenya without the other “tribes” would be a much improved Kenya...

If we do not reject the politics of the riggers and the warriors, if we do not embrace democracy — which, with all its faults, is surely the system of governance with the least faults — and if we do not deal with the long-standing and underlying ethnic tensions that divide Kenya, Kenyans will pay a high price....

Kenyans must reject this and recapture the common ground. But what should the common ground be?

(i) That the presidential election results were deeply flawed;

(ii) That too many Kenyans feel disenfranchised as a consequence;

(iii) That Kenya is afflicted by deepseated ethnic tensions linked principally to poverty and a sense of marginalisation, which must be dealt with;

(iv) That the post-election feelings of disenfranchisement can only worsen the ethnic tensions;

(v) That the post-election violence is abhorrent and must be stopped;

(vi) That the ethnic warriors and the ethnic riggers must be brought to justice;

(vii) That every step must be taken to return those displaced to their homes, to help them rebuild their lives and compensate them for their loss of property;

(viii) That a government be constituted that is broad based and inclusive;

(ix) That steps be taken to restore legitimacy to the position of the president in the eyes of the majority of Kenyans, whether through new elections after an agreed period of time or through a new and different constitutional dispensation. In any event, if a new election is to be called, President Kibaki, if he so wishes, should be allowed to run again and the constitution be amended on a one-off basis to permit this.
Like it or not, though 650 killed and 2,500 displaced is still a monstrous thing, the strong police presence seems to be preventing the genocide that occurred in Rwanda. Again though, the government must figure out a way to fairly identify and protect property right and establish a rule of law. This, however, seems to be a very difficult proposition due to the frayed concept of "Kenyan" and the poor sense of justice prevalent in African nations generally.

According to the AP,
Land always has been a tool of Kenyan politicians, who distribute it as favors to their own and allied tribes, and use it as a weapon, settling their supporters in hostile areas in order to win votes at election time.

Republican Scorecard

CNN has the current delegate count

Fred Continues to talk First Principles

He addressed supporters last night and consistently preaches the importance of our first principles. It really is a shame that he started so late...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Un-Reasons to vote for a candidate

Un-Reasons to vote for a President:

1. Unity - Unity for what purpose? Unity of itself is a hollow shell, waiting to be filled by meaning. A unified team of professionals can both rob a bank or save a life. A promise that one will reach a bi-partisan compromise is fraught with Constitutional problems. I am convinced that one particular party is dominated by those who want to recreate American society into its grand utopian vision. A compromise with those individuals is a pyrrhic victory. This is because every compromise takes us a step away from Constitutional principles, albeit not as big as Teddy might like. They are masters at incrementalism. These compromises then weaken the conservative party either because of disgust by its constituents, or a slow melting of principles once held dear.

2. Change -- Same as above. Change of itself is mere action. People want action from our federal government, for some reason. I would like to see action, but action on correcting so many of the grievous errors they've foisted on us (McCain-Feingold, Earmarks, Amnesty, etc.)

3. Personality -- Personality is important. However, electing on personality alone is setting up your executive branch for demogoguery. In interviews over who people are going to vote for (no matter the candidate), I hear personality being cited the most (he speaks well, he sounds like he cares, he's got what it takes...). This is dangerous. When an individual cites policies with no clear delineation of the principles underlying then (Obama) or if it contradicts his past record (Huck) many people can then attach their agendas to that candidate. These attachments will hold no weight when that person is in office.

Reasons to vote for a President:

1. Principles -- The foundational principles that one subscribes to both in the campaign and in historical demonstration of experience will shape the decisions that are made in the future. This is the single most important consideration, but the one most overlooked.

2. Policies -- This is the next most important reason, but not because of particular policies. One should look at whether or not the candidate's policies are consistent with stated principles. You should look to see whether or not principles are consistently held throughout changing political environments. If they fluctuate, they are NOT deeply held.


I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops.

The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation-building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders.

Candidate George W. Bush, October 3, 2000

(As an aside, I do believe he meant what he said when he said it, then 9/11 occurred which required him to re-think. My point is that, as a governor, this belief was merely theoretical-- having had very little foreign policy experience--and thus much more susceptible to change.)

3. Virtue -- An individual of high character will not be swayed by the waves of courtiers whispering sweet promises. He will not cower before foreign leaders. He will not govern by popular opinion. He will not bend founding principles to pursue the siren song of utopian visions.

We need an individual of high character with correct principles and consistent policies. This is the type of leader we should be voting for. Read this book for six stellar examples.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fred - Campaign Speech

Blogger for Newsweek, Andrew Romano, wrote an entry about a "feisty Fred." A telling line from the story demonstrates the media's, thus the American people's, distaste for principle-centered discussion.

And the opening movement of his stump speech--a drawn-out disquisition on the Founding Fathers--belongs in a high-school history classroom, not on the campaign trail.
There it is...a discussion of our first principles should not be in this type of's boring! We want titillation and entertainment! It's much easier to be charmed than taught!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Smile! You're on Candid Chimera!

Animal-human embryo research is approved

Scientists at King’s College London, and the University of Newcastle will inject human DNA into empty eggs from cows to create embryos known as cytoplasmic hybrids, which are 99.9 per cent human in genetic terms.
Tellingly, this line from the article indicates the abdication of the lawmakers to take their role as moral influencers seriously,
Last January the authority deferred its decision and began a consultation on the issue, which reported in September that the public was broadly supportive.
It appears, at least by this paper's account, that the go-ahead for this was prompted by public support. This article gave no indication that the lawmakers engaged in a reasoned discussion on the wisdom of sanctioning such an unprecedented action.

The BBC article makes clear what the purpose is:
Scientists want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs in a bid to extract stem cells. The embryos would then be destroyed within 14 days.
I wonder what you think?


“Nonsense is nonsense whether it rhymes or not, just as bad half-pennies are good for nothing whether they jingle or lie quiet.” —Charles Spurgeon

Obama Republicans?

Obama compares himself to Reagan in the sense that Reagan put us on a different "trajectory."

"Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not," he said, describing Reagan as appealing to a sentiment that, "We want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing."
He is aiming to transform America into his own image because he sees that the American people are ready for...wait for it...CHANGE!
The relabeled progressives still adhere to their socialistic utopian idealism and are biding their time, salivating over the possibility of majority in all branches of the federal government so they can continue to give us their oppressive hugs, oaths to the Constitution notwithstanding.

The comments are alive with hope that he can create a new coalition and draw Republicans over to his side. The fact that this is even a hope for someone like Obama shows a Republican party bereft of actual conservative leadership. Where people are led, they will go, and Republican leaders have ceded leadership to those with more desire for power by becoming fiscally indistinguishable over the last eight years.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boumediene -- habeas corpus debate continues

Here is a good discussion on the arguments in the Boumediene case. I will summarize more when I have time...but below is a brief summary of the arguments by Jonathan Cohn, a DoD attorney:

Misconceptions: 1. Detainees are innocent, 2. They have no representation -- far more process than any combatants have received in the history of warfare, 3. Detainees don't have good representation, 4. Gitmo is like "Hotel California", once you check in you can never leave.

What will happen if habeas is given? Would they have the same rights? We simply don't know. Habeas review is unprecedented. Results would be intolerable.

Current War: 10,000 detainees; WWII 2 million

Imagine imposing civil rules in wartime? Could terrorists enter the courts and review classified information? Court should not impose a regime of habeas review.

Congress tried to strike a proper balance, hopefully the court won't upset that balance.

Fred's New Ad

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Kenya - ODM Marende elected speaker

After five hours of debate, Kenya's 10th Parliament elected as speaker of the house an ODM member. This is significant since he is a member of the opposition party and carries much weight.

There was much rancor because of the rigged elections:

When opposition leader Raila Odinga, who claims he won the December poll, walked into the house, one of his Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) supporters shouted out: "Mr President."

Altogether his side of the house stood to attention - many with a natty orange pocket handkerchief visible - to further show their allegiance.

Minutes later, no such respect was given to President Mwai Kibaki, whose announcement as "Mr President" was greeted by jeers of "shame, shame" from opposition benches, where bums stayed firmly on seats.

The country is bracing for the protests called for by Odinga tomorrow.

Romney Trounces McCain in Michigan

Murkier and murkier...Romney soundly beats McCain 40-26 among registered Republicans.

Bill Lacey gives his two cents...

Bobby Jindal - LA Governor

Bobby Jindal was sworn in yesterday as Louisiana's governor. Keep your eye on this guy...I have a feeling we'll be hearing much more from him in the future.

Fred - Fundamental Principles

Video of Fred stumping about "fundamental principles." The interview at the end -- Fred speaks "Reaganistically"

Goldwater Speaks

“…We see and cherish diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, of motives, and accomplishments. We don't seek to live anyone’s life for him. We only seek to secure his rights, guarantee him opportunity, guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed.”

--Barry Goldwater, 1964 Republican Presidential Nomination Acceptance Speech

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Horse Race

RealClear Politics has the overall average of the polls...paints an interesting picture...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Fred Talks Issues

Fred Talks Religion

From CBS:

A woman asked him if he would “as a Christian, as a conservative” continue President Bush’s programs to combat global AIDS.

“Christ didn’t tell us to go to the government and pass a bill to get some of these social problems dealt with. He told us to do it,” Thompson said.

“The government has its role, but we need to keep firmly in mind the role of the government, and the role of us as individuals and as Christians on the other.”
This is true "compassionate conservatism" where the role of the government is in its proper place. The original intent of this idea was to eliminate the religious bias evident in government funding. His separating individual responsibility from government responsibility is something that we've lost since Reagan.

A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take everything you have. - Ronald Reagan

What's Happening in Kenya? Part II

Apparently, Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has called for protests Wednesday - Friday. The police have attempted to quell the violence, however, they are under a "shoot to kill" order during the demonstrations. The African Union has attempted to broker an agreement, but left with no results.

Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, will now lead a group of eminent African mediators in a new push to resolve the crisis.

Mr Annan urged both sides on Friday to work with his panel, which includes Graca Machel, the wife of Nelson Mandela, and former Tanzanian leader Ben Mkapa.

In this interview, Odinga states that he would consider power-sharing as a way to peacefully segue Kibeki out of power.

UPDATE: Wanyama Masinde has some ideas about how to solve the crisis

What's Happening in Kenya?

650 people killed, 2,500 people displaced, elections rigged.

At first blush, this doesn't seem to make sense to Americans used to peaceful elections. To make sense of it, we need to understand the details and, more importantly, the fundamental importance of Les Rex (Rule of Law) and Property Right.

First, read this article for the details...Kenya's current president, Mwai Kibaki, was re-elected under suspicious circumstances. This from the East African:

This came out clearly after the chaos that unfolded in Kenya following the December 27, 2007 election. Three days after polling, the Electoral Commission chairman Samuel Kivuitu declared the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki re-elected by around 230,000-majority vote.

THIS TRIGGERED COUNTRYWIDE VIOlence that has left hundreds of Kenyans dead, rendered thousands homeless and sent hundreds more into exile.

It seemed preposterous that Kibaki could win the election at the eleventh hour when he was already trailing his rival, Raila Odinga, by around a million votes!

NOR DID IT MAKE SENSE THAT VOTers would elect 99 of the 210 MPs from Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement compared with 43 MPs for Kibaki’s Party of National Unity — and, at the same time, fail to elect Mr Odinga president!

In any case, Mr Kivuitu later admitted he didn’t know who won, and that he declared Kibaki “winner” under pressure from Kibaki officials and other vested interests. Commissioners Jack Tumwa, Joseph Dena, David Ndambiri, Samuel arap Ng’eny and Jeremiah Matagaro also publicly doubted the results.
In an interview, ODM presidential candidate Raila Odinga made the claim that they have been protesting for over a year President Kibaki's stacking the election board with his supporters (one being his personal lawyer) in order to do this very thing.

He has not said much to quell the violence.
When the opposition leader was asked by the BBC if he would urge his supporters to calm down, he replied: “I refuse to be asked to give the Kenyan people an anesthetic so that they can be raped.”
Tribal issues play a major role in the violence. The two largest tribes are the Kikuyu and Luo. Kibaki's tribe, Kikuyu, dominated government due to cronyism. When they rigged the election, Kenyans were infuriated and have victimized many innocent Kikuyus.

Many among the Luo have also seen this as an opportunity to retake tribal lands they believe belong to them. A gentleman I know, of the Kikuyu tribe, has had his family's business completely destroyed by Luo -- all buildings, vehicles, produce -- gone. People have fled to Nairobi to escape tribal repercussions.

It seems to me that tribalism is a factor, but the underlying problem is corruption, which undermines respect for law. An underlying theme of every third world country is corruption.

For example, in the 80's the Ethiopian famine that was popularized by Sally Struthers was not caused only by a lack of rain, but by corrupt government officials that left grain on the docks, refusing to provide it to their people.

I don't know that Odinga is the man to bring about clean government (he allegedly promised Northeast Kenyans Sharia Law if he was elected), or if his comprehensive land reform would be based on anything remotely akin to property right (though he did say that his land reform would make land "accessible to people who want to use it for productive purposes." This may mimic John Locke's theory of property right.)

However, he at least seems to understand 2 things: The initiator of this conflict was the rigging of the election (rule of law) and the land issues must be addressed (property right).

UPDATE: Click "Kenya" label for ongoing updates and insights

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Iraqi Government Meets Benchmark #2

The political progress in Iraq is slow -- a major component of NPR's critique of the Surge. The Dems have changed tactics from saying the Surge isn't working to saying that we have bought off our enemies and no political progress is being made.

18 Benchmarks for success in Iraq were passed into law by Congress in the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007. One key benchmark is to "enact and implement legislation on de-Baathification."

The Iraqi Parliament made significant progress toward this benchmark yesterday.

You think this will be promoted or discussed on NPR?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fred will not talk about process

At the end of this interview, he continues to refuse to talk about process...gotta love it...

Fred Gets a Solid Endorsment

Human Events, the standard-bearer of conservative thought for years, has endorsed Fred. Fred must win here to go on...and I think he has a good chance...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Indiana Voter Law

It always unsettles me somewhat when it is so much easier to vote, than anything else that has to do with the state of Pennsylvania. When we moved here, I had to drive to the DMV three different times because I didn't have the 47 types of ID required. But, to vote...just sign your name!

Indiana has tried to make requirements stiffer by requiring photo ID's be shown prior to voting. This, of course, has ended up in the SCOTUS via a consolidated cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita.

"At issue... is the constitutionality of a 2005 Indiana law that voters who show up at the polls without a photo ID will be allowed only to cast a provisional ballot, to be validated later at another place only if they can travel there and then prove identity. It has been upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court, leading to appeals to the Supreme Court by Democrats or their state party apparatus."

What problem to the Dems have with photo ID? They believe that placing requirements on voting equates to a Republican conspiracy to institute poll taxes affecting the "indigent, elderly and minority."

The Dems have really dumbed down the definition of disenfranchisement from someone desiring to vote and being prevented from doing so to a restriction that may prevent someone from voting who hasn't done due diligence to figure out what the requirements are.

The Indiana law is a bit required a photo ID with an expiration date. A photo ID is more difficult to attain for elderly people who no longer drive, and an expiration date severely limits the options available to use as proper ID.

However, the states retain the Constitutional right to enact such policies as they see fit to ensure a republican form of government. This case attempts to mount a facial challenge to the Indiana law. This case, though possibly harming some, does not rise to the point at which the Justices will say that this law is "always, and under all circumstances, unconstitutional."

Stubborn Facts makes a point about disenfranchisement.

Report from Alison Hayward, assistant professor of law at George Mason who was there, then engaged in a lively discussion of the case.

Comments on Fred

Live Blog of the debate with a Fred bias

Fred did indeed have a good night...I do wish that he had gone after McCain a little more, especially on the immigration issue, where he is weakest.

He was "riled."

Good analysis.

Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 7

Immigration -- big issue
Push for immigration reform failed, mainly bc of your plan, secure borders first.
McCain -- failed bc American people had not confidence that feds would do the job. passed a law we didn't enforce...I will secure the border and have the border governors certify the borders are secure...same old story about wife of servicemember...get at the end of the line...learn borders first and I know how to do that...

Form of amnesty?
Romney -- Secure border, fence, employment verification of some kind -- we all agree, what do we do with the 12 million? No special pathway or privilege...look at person by person...time period...they go home...get in line with everyone else...humane and generous...won't give special privilege to illegals.

How would you find them?
Thompson -- High Fences and Wide Gates...we decide when to open and close gates...enforce border, crack down on employers...on front end...end sanctuary cities by cutting off discretionary federal funding...enforcement by attrition...we must be concerned about another 12 m...Huck's in-state tuition for illegals...

Denying a path to citizenship...willing to concede Hispanic vote?
Paul -- we must enforce the law...think in economic terms...if you subsidize something you get more of medical care, education, amnesty...some of our people won't work because of the welfare state...some of our border guards are in Iraq...we're going to lose some votes, but hte law is the law

Bush's outreach to has fallen sharply.
Huck -- there is not great support among Hispanics for illegal immigration...must have secure border...9 point immigration policy...the govt. doesn't have to "round everybody up" to go home. When people are here, they should live in the light not the darkness.

Would you object to sanctuary cities as pres?
Rudy -- It would be absurd to not allow illegals to report crimes...helped to bring crime down, more than any city in the history of America. Children of illegal immigrants in school...what was I going to do? Keep them on the streets...we report so many to INS, they asked us to stop reporting...must change behavior here, not all that different from NY...need tamper-proof ID card...not enough border patrol.

Brit -- Have a good night.

Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 6

Change...McCain & Hillary won...experience more than change?
Romney--Nope. I keep hearing that Washington is broken...seems incapable of dealing with issues. Same people keep making promises and nothing whole life has been about bringing change to things I've touched...Olympics, Massachusetts...I will bring change...

Are you part of the solution or problem?
McCain--pretty obvious answer...I've been involved in one of the most important changes..the Surge. If we had listened to the qaeda would be saying they beat us...saved $6b on a bum deal for a tanker...ask Jack Abramoff is I'm an insider...he'll tell you during visiting hours...I have never asked for or received a pork barrel project for my state...I'm looking forward to the changes I could make as Prez.

You raised taxes...higher at end than beginning, increased size of govt.
Huck -- my idea is to get job done...signed pledge that i would not raise taxes as know what I raised? Hope. The courts ordered us to put more money into education...8th best in the nation now...was 49th. Worst road system in the one of the best. Better natural can hunt and fish without.

Thompson -- Tax pledge...Huck said it was a dangerous thing to make a tax pledge, b/c you can't foresee, after pressure, he signed the tax pledge. [Ed. Note: The Thompson campaign’s crack research staff digs up this detail on Huckabee and the tax pledge. On Meet the Press last year he said,

I think you got to be very careful. I, I wouldn’t propose any new taxes. I wouldn’t support any. But if we’re in a situation where we are in a different level of war, where there is no other option, I think that it’s a very dangerous position to make pledges that are outside the most important pledge you make, and that is the oath you take to uphold the Constitution and protect the people of the United States.]

My own record...went to DC, passed 5 major tax bill, welfare reform, balanced budget, worked with Clinton, National Right to Life folks have endorsed me...voters respond to a sound conservative message...rule of law, market economy, not tax and spend, anyone can grow up and expect to achieve the American Prez we can do a lot more good things...

Huck -- I appreciate your passing Welfare Reform, governors made it work. We had to govern at the state level.

What experience and skills do you bring that makes you better than McCain?
Rudy -- Change the Dems are talking about is the change out of your pocket. Changes in the wrong direction. Responds talking about Castro and the Arab prince. I was involved in foreign policy issues all the time.

McCain -- I've been involved in every foreign policy event for the last twenty years, and before that participated in them...respect for everyone on the stage, but I am more qualified

Southern Baptist Convention -- women submit graciously to husbands -- politically viable?
Huck -- Religion is off-limits except when you ask me...let me pass the plates, we need money....if you know my wife...passage was spoken to Christians, I wouldn't impose it on anyone, but will practice it unashamedly...explains Ephesians passage...has nothing to do with presidency...doing what a marriage ought to do...not 50/50 but 100/100...teaches us how to love.

Do you have electability?
Paul -- We've only had two little primaries...I'm Constitutional...should they write me off? Are you suggesting that I'm not electable because I'm a strict constitutionalist? Follow the money...what's going on here? This isn't appealing to Republicans? We used to want to abolish the Education Dept, now we've doubled it...I'm sticking to the principles. I am less Republican because of these principles?

Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 5

Iran -- Reacted Passively to Iran's provocation rather than aggressively. Did he respond correctly?
Huck -- I'll trust the President and the military leaders. If you interact aggressively with U.S., you will see the U.S. ship, then the gates of hell. I support the military leaders...that's what we train them for. We can't show that you can just "kick sand in our eyes." If they do engage us..severe penalty.

Thompson -- I agree, you can't take judgment away from military more step and they would've been introduced to those virgins they're looking for...they're clearly testing us, have taken British hostages..some insight into how they're thinking;...Rev. Guard has taken over and they're gonna get a little more frisky...they will be destroyed if they're not careful

Rudy -- This incident reminds of that the NIE shouldn't give us a false sense of confidence. Impose serious sanctions on Iran...indications of domestic difficulties...maybe use this incident and not see Iran as benign...

Revolution Guard What would you have done if you were captain?
McCain -- a bit presumptuous to answer that...references Barbary pirates, WWI, outbreak of WWII...maybe they think we're weaker because of NIE, maybe they haven't stopped their nuclear capability...agree with President's statement about the freedom of the seas...don't think this wasn't a very serious much oil goes through...we will stick to principles of freedom of the seas.

Paul -- More caution than what I'm hearing on this stage...Reminds me of the Gulf of Tonkin...5 small speed boats...we're ready to start WWIII over this? That voice may not have come from those vessels...some in the administration are disappointed about the NIE report because they want to bomb Iran.

Brit -- They responded that they supported the captain's decision to be passive...what are you responding to?

Paul -- People are looking for an excuse to bomb Iran...don't blow this incident out of proportion.

Romney -- Don't read Iran's press releases...Iran is a serious threat...designed to test our defenses...saber-rattling...Iran is a very troubled nation...we need to put extraordinary pressure on Iran...

Surge has worked...warned against bringing more troops home...
Can this position work to win the election?
McCain -- Can Dems win when they deny facts on the ground? Can Sen. Clinton retract statement of suspending disbelief? You have to suspend disbelief that it's not working. Today is an historic's been a year since the decision was made to go forward with the Surge...decision on troops coming home with be made by the man who should have been Time's Man of the Year: Gen. Petraeus.

Bush in Middle East
Rudy -- Steps that the PA now takes to accomplish: 1 accept right of Israel to exist 2 forego terrorism -- Reagan, trust but verify -- I support the Surge from the beginning...goal must be a stable Iraq as a stable ally of the U.S.

McCain -- I condemned the Rumsfeld strategy

Should Pres be there today?
Paul -- If we weren't there, there would be more incentives to come to agreement. Israel could've taken care of things in the first Iraq invasion.

McCain -- I don't want to trade with them

Paul -- we used to be allied with Hussein and Bin laden...what about all those weapons we're giving the Sunnis? It's time to come home! [big applause]

McCain -- It's not American presence, it's American has nothing to do with the length of's about the casualties...we should support them and not condemn what they're doing.

Let's move on...

Bush said...We will not trade stability for democracy..

With Pakistani people turning against Musharraf, should we be backing him?
Thompson -- Go against a poll? [laughter] We know the news is good b/c we read so little about it in the New York Times. Visited Prez Musharraf...democracy in Pakistan is a long-term security interest...govt in question...our people irresponsibly calling for his resignation, etc. Who are you going to replace him with? Remember they are nuclear capable...we must support him and encourage him to move toward democracy...he needs to help us more in the west where OBL probably is...our national security interest requires the weapons don't fall into the wrong hands.

Romney -- foreign policy is no longer checkers, but 3d chess -- must understand everything -- 1. be secure 2. some general to work with us to capture OBL Think more broadly than the hot-spots...we must move the world of Islam toward modernity...we have to fight the hot spots, but ultimately muslims need to reject the extreme

Are we throwing good money after bad?
Huck -- lost $12b in Pakistan...ask Musharraf for better accounting...not "the best idea' to push Mush. out...we need to communicate our displeasure about his reluctance to go after OBL. Addressing Paul -- We have one true ally in the Mid-East -- Israel...cannot give the world the impression that we'll stand by while neighboring countries vow to destroy it.

Paul -- we treat Israel as a step-child...undermine their sovereignty...they'd be a lot safer...why do we arm their enemies? No purpose in failing to treat Israel in an adult fashion. If they assumed more responsibility they'd be safer.

Rudy -- Absurd. Israel is a close and strong of a few...defense of Israel is of critical importance...Mush. clear picture on who would replace...I could convince him to go after OBL.

Thompson -- To Huck's point on giving money to the military...we helped train their military...they lost people fighting the Taliban...of course we're going to cooperate...


Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 4

Thompson -- Romney -- it's not a response -- give me 1.5 minutes-- They believe it IS over...this is a fight for the soul of the Republican party...he would be a Christian leader but would have liberal policies...Guantanamo, illegals, endorsed NEA, would sign a bill to ban smoking nationwide...Huck

Huckabee -- quip about being over the target...I appreciate the analysis...I'll give the facts...I cut taxes, spending - hadn't been done in my state...cut 11% out of the budget...stayed faithful to the things of Reagan...Club for Growth would be protesting state kept electing me.

Your conservatism for voters to decide
Rudy - Reagan was elected b/c he was the strongest leader...peace through strength and empowering people...I worked for Reagan...he appointed me twice...his principles will apply now to different circumstances...I believe in strong national defense like him...I believe we must pursue principles of lowering taxes, restraining principles...disagreements on social issues...but if we want to win in states that Reagan won...a broad and inclusive outreach.

9/11 truthers? Do you embrace that rhetoric?
Paul - I've abandoned those viewpoints. I can't tell them what to do? let me participate in the current debate...have we lost our way? It's gone...we're not fiscal conservatives any more...we're big govt. people...we're entitlement people and we talk about liberty?? We won by condemning the Dems for policing the world and that's what we're doing now...and our economy is suffering and the dollar is crashing...we have lost our way...I've never voted to spend one penny of SS fund...


Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 3

Romney - economy - 4 points - missed them...
McCain - starts out tough -- gotta tell the truth -- straight talk -- there are some jobs that aren't coming back -- we need to take care of them -- community college solution to meet needs of IT revolution -- economic fundamentals are strong, we're in a rough patch

R&D is long term, what kind of short term govt. fixes would you propose? Would you support if they add to the deficit? 1 - We need to stop out of control spending. 2 - stop sending 400b overseas to oil producing companies (how?). Will veto pork barrel -- saved 6b dollars for the taxpayers--won't be Ms. Congeniality

Economic stimulus package?
Huckabee -- I hope we're not headed toward a recession, but if we are, this is why: 1. Gas prices - everything costs more due to transporation costs -- we need to become energy independent, 2. Sub-prime mortgage crisis, 3. health care and 4. education costs. People are not getting ahead.

1. Don't raise taxes, cut marginal rates, go to Fair Tax

You proposed a tax cut to increase revenues-many don't believe they do
Rudy - Some tax cuts do add to revenues, others don't. Cuts lead to significant increase in productivity -- Club for Growth approves -- Cut corporate tax will produce more -- it can't be anti-competitive. Must be willing to cut spending - like Ronald Reagan --

Do you believe tax cuts pay for themselves?
McCain - They stimulate economy. Must make tax cuts permanent. Was part of the Reagan revolution...he knew we had to cut spending at the same time...we failed.

Govt. program to stimulate economy?
Paul - What kind of program? If we don't do the right thing...we will go into recession...and it will last for a long time. Easy credit train people to do the wrong thing...we have to know the Austrian theory of the business cycle...the housing market is in depression and the dollar is down...artificially low interest rates cause the bubble, which brings on the recession

Tax plan wouldn't help in the short term, what should we do?
Thompson - The govt. never loses as much revenue as the "experts" say they're going to. It does stimulate growth. Problems: Unemployment up to 5%, Subprime into the general market, consumer credit market in general is affected b/c money is getting tighter and tighter...we don't know about recession...we need to count on the Fed to do the right thing...speed up depreciation schedules, deduction for capital expenses...lower income people don't pay taxes to start with, so we have to do something there...we need to make the tax cuts permanent.

Reagan coalition is gone...You're not running another Reagan term..
Huckabee - That's not what I said, said another Bush term. Reagan coalition...middle class doesn't feel that they are a part of the party as they should...lower taxes, cut spending, strong national defense, strong pro-life, 2nd Am is just as important as the first. I was part of that coalition. We need to recapture it...our party is just as interested in helping the people at the bottom as at the top.

Footsoldier in the Reagan army
McCain -- Reagan principles we've gotten away from. '94 we came to change govt. and govt. changed us -- "bridge to nowhere" - example -- abandoned environmental principles established by Teddy Roosevelt -- return to principles of less govt. lower taxes. family values. strong defense. which helped us in bring down the Iron Curtain

Coverage for abortion services on a national level?
Romney -- The decision to include abortion was required by the court -- my term was pro-life -- nation Right to Life awarded me because of my decisions...the only way to take the White House is to go back to Reagan principles. Not only the White House, but keep America strong. Examples of Reagan's strength.

Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 2

Going back to the annoying 1.5 minute format...quick hitters that lend itself only to sound bytes...

Republican Debate - 1/10/08 - 1

Starting with the National Anthem...tsk tsk...those Republicans are so jingoistic..

Republican Debate - 1/10/08

Starts of with introductions like a sporting event...then when people started getting into it, shouting out the names of their favorite candidate a loud voice came on rebuking the shouters because, "this is a very serious debate, we're here to hear the candidates and not you!" They still haven't started, but everyone's quiet...

Though I think there is some room for interaction...during the Lincoln Douglass debates, after Lincoln made a particularly good point, a gentleman shouted, "Hit 'im on the wooly side!"

I think generally speaking, the Republican people are more civilized than the Dems ("iron my shirt" and the girl that flashed Hillary...but they were probably both plants...)

More as the debate goes on...Brit has just started...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

McCain -- Comeback?

Why is McCain's victory a "comeback?" He hardly campaigned in Iowa and took 3rd. He campaigned hard in N.H., where he won the 2000 primary primarily because independents are allowed to vote, and subsequently won. He's been a front-runner there for a long time. This is the first primary...there have been no "comebacks" by anyone and the race is still wide open.

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline commented on his excellent victory speech and I find that I agree.
Compare to the Democrats' victory speeches...

Why Did Hillary Win New Hampshire?

She cried and Bill had her back (even though it's still all about him -- watch the clip -- he starts out ostensibly defending her, but at the end of his rant, notice who he's talking about). Together they are arguably the most powerful political force in the U.S. ... which gives me the shivers. But mainly it's because she cried.

People haven't like her because she has gotten more strident in her rhetoric...and people don't like angry women. But, she spoke from her heart and cried because she loves this country so much. So, our feminized culture, weened on Oprah and Barbara Walters, braved the harsh elements and voted for the tired old warhorse who has been advocating "change" for 35 years.

I posted on Liberal Fascism (Here is Jonah Goldberg's blog about the book) and briefly mentioned Hillary's collectivist intentions. She states it very clearly...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

NPR Takes Aim at the Surge

Always one to look for bad news among the good, (assuming a conservative can take credit for the good), NPR did a hit piece on the Surge this morning.

They started by recognizing that the Surge has reduced violence (something apparently everyone but Bill Richardson can acknowledge), BUT, says the articulate Guy Ross in an ominous, all-knowing tone, what CAUSED the cease in violence. The answer, according to the smarmy voice, is that we've "bought off" our enemies.

This policy was given to the Bush administration by a writer for the "neoconservative" [Note: I do not endorse the whole of the wiki definition, the entry will give you lots of info, mostly from the liberal point of view] Weekly Standard who works with the "neoconservative" American Enterprise Institute. ("Neoconservative" is a pejorative term recently concocted by liberals to describe a perceived shadowy movement that is trying to [horrors!] export democracy to other nations. Ill-advised as that policy might be, the shadowy mutterings of a Straussian conspiracy are the stuff of Roswell, JFK and the vast right wing conspiracy.)

General Petraeus gets a 3 second sound bite saying that he credits the decline in violence to the increase in troops and the strategy employed. Several retired officers and Jim Webb (who gets expert status on this particular issue because his son was fighting in Ramadi) get multiple opportunities to criticize the CLC program, which they claim is merely paying people to be nice to us.

Smarmy Guy concludes the piece by stating unequivocally that each group is arming as we speak, preparing for a future, much bloodier civil war.

Is there no room in the heart of NPR for confidence, optimism or even a lack of smugness when offering critique? The answer, of course, is ... how naive of me to even ask the question...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fred on Illegal Immigration

More Fred

Sunday, January 6, 2008

DANIEL Ranks the Candidates

You can view last night's debate here. Also, I caught the debate on Foxnews reflections....

I like the format...the staged high school popularity contests "moderated" by self-important liberals were farcical imitations of serious discussions. In these last two debates, we were actually able to hear the candidates talk ideas, though I do wish there were more of them.

When asked about principles last night, here's what they said:

McCain - military service, the transcendent nature of our war with radical Islam, cites Declaration
Romney -- family, principles of an "eternal nature", importance of strengthening families, economy and military. Strong in all areas. I, for one, don't want the federal government attempting to "strengthen" my family.
Giuliani -- Safety. Cited Reagan.
Huckabee -- Not policies, principles. Cited Declaration, humans created equal. Rights come from God, not government.
Thompson -- First principles based upon Constitution. Goes on with a very important explanation of the Constitutional principles. Something that no other candidate does.
Paul -- Peace and Prosperity

My take on the candidates:

Huckabee -- he says good things (strong military, secure the border, etc.). You can see Newt's influence here and there (large monetary incentives for energy inventions). He cited the Declaration when asked about principles. However, he's having a hard time coalescing his record with his current rhetoric. He was nailed on the immigration issue when he tried to explain that he wasn't punishing the children with his now-tougher stance on illegal immigration. When asked if he could honestly say he is ready to lead given his lack of foreign policy experience, he gave answers that shows that he indeed, has no foreign policy experience. When talking about health care, he went on about prevention and said the system is upside-down. Ok, so what's the plan? Nothing.

Romney -- The Foxnews focus group was all about Romney. They saw him as very convincing. Much talk about change and leadership from all the candidates, but especially Romney. He emphasized his executive experience, saying that we don't need experts, but leaders. He played the change card from outside Washington.

McCain -- says that he is an agent of change within the government and has been for twenty years. He said that Americans want "leadership" not "management." He actually mentioned McCain-Feingold at this debate...that's one piece of history that he probably should not have brought up. He talked about his leadership in the military and his breadth of experience in foreign policy. He repeated how he was ahead of the curve on the Iraq surge. I think that he and Thompson are the most knowledgeable candidates on foreign policy.

Thompson -- I think obviously the most knowledgeable and committed to Constitutional principles. The others never even bring it up. He explained well-thought out plans to address social security, health care, tax policy, illegal immigration and homeland security. He was like a professor explaining to Huck about the habeas corpus rights that enemy combatants would receive if they were detained at Leavenworth, rather than Guantanamo (which Huck said should be closed down).

Giuliani -- I don't have much time for him. I respect him for what he did in New York and would vote for him if he was the nominee, but he seems to me to be a hedonist whose highest principle is safety.

They talked about the Fair Tax -- Thompson made the point that it's not a bad idea, but that it would require a Constitutional Amendment to ensure that the income tax never comes back. Instead, he proposes an option for the taxpayer that is flatter and much more easily workable.

So, which candidate meets The King's Academy's standard of leadership? The standards of

  • knowledge - a firm grasp of founding principles, current issues facing the nation and engaging ideas.
  • wisdom -- willingness to apply founding principles, able to predict consequences of decisions and demonstrated ability to act toward results in line with principles.
  • and godly character (I'm not guessing at spiritual condition, but a publicly demonstrated quality of integrity).
Now, for the time you've been waiting for since reading the title of the post... See my terribly scientific and thoroughly unbiased ranking here on a scale of 1-10 on these three criteria.

After this debate, I still stick to my original analysis that any of these guys will be acceptable as President. They are not all leaders, but they would manage well.

For two good analyses, see Michelle Malkin and the guys at Powerline.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Vision Loss Redux Part VIII - Contained

Bi-weekly visit to the wizard revealed through the magic of fluorascein that there was no inflammation in any of my blood vessels...

Brief Recap:

1:30p -- Arrival in good spirits. This time prepared with reading material, already consumed lunch (specially designed to satisfy for hours) and referral. Check in. Have a seat.

2:00p -- Called back for the traditional drip torture, otherwise known as pupil dilation. Return from that room a little weepy, but otherwise held strong. Engaged in reading until 3:30p.

4:00p -- Technician complaining loudly and purposefully that the Wizard wanted her to perform a test this late in the day. For my part, I don't care about her conducting the test at the end of the day, because she will not be the one sticking sharp objects into my flesh. Am beginning to think that the other office might be better even though it's further...

4:15p -- I realize why I should be concerned about her conducting the test in a belligerent mood as she holds my eye open with her fingers and holds it there while carrying on a "disgusted with the Wizard" conversation with other nurses. As my eye starts to mummify, she randomly scourges my dilated pupil with blinding flashes of light, then tells me look "look left" and repeats the process over and over and over...all this with a knife jammed into my arm...but I still hold strong and refuse to tell my secrets...

4:30p -- Wizard comes and and analyzes the pictures after much ado (due to the belligerent one's inability to master a new software upgrade). Good news! No inflammation at all in any of the pictures! Scale back the prednisone. Call if any changes occur. See you in two weeks.

5:00 -- Close up the shop again...walk with the receptionist (Rose) out to her about the catch-22 we are in...symptoms have dissipated due to the prednisone, so we reduce the dosage because long-term prednisone usage is not good, but the prednisone is what is keeping this from happening. And we don't know the, one day at a time...more doctor visits in the upcoming weeks.

Republican Debate - January 5, 2008

Missed the debate tonight due to significant posterity investment today. The feedback is mixed on how the debate turned out. I am waiting to see it on Youtube and will give my comments tomorrow.

It appears that Fred did well...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Revealing Quotes

Quotes that I could find last night. I find it telling that the quotes are from the media darlings, irrespective of anything substantive:

With former President Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, standing to one side of her and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to the other, Clinton said, "I am so ready for the rest of this campaign and I am so ready to lead."
...instead of "lead", put "have my way." It's going to get ugly...

Obama, 46 and a first-term senator from Illinois, told a raucous victory rally his triumph showed that in "big cities and small towns, you came together to say, 'We are one nation, we are one people and our time for change has come.'"
Change! We need change! What kind? Doesn't matter! Does he know what he is doing? Who cares!?!
Huckabee celebrated his own victory over Mitt Romney and a crowded Republican field. "A new day is needed in American politics, just like a new day is needed in American government," the former Arkansas governor told cheering supporters.
A "new day", as in "an old day circa 1976"

Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Fred Thompson

In no particular order...

10. He does not kowtow

9. He doesn't put up with the political horse race nonsense and is attempting to focus the American people on issues critical to our nation's survival and prosperity, despite the media's obsession with minutiae.

8. Federalism - A candidate that takes the time to actually tell us that the federal government is NOT the solution to all of our problems and explains the concept of federalism, is one that seems to understand the Constitution. This is very good. We haven't had this since 1988.

7. Understands the source of our rights as from God, not government.

Individual Liberty . As Jefferson spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, our basic rights come from God, not from government, and that among these inalienable rights is the right to liberty. We must allow individuals to lead their lives with minimal government interference.
As I tell my students when studying the Bill of Rights...these are NOT a list of rights that our government gives us. They are a listing of innate natural rights that are protected from government interference. Any right granted by the government can be rescinded by the government. Any government that attempts to infringe upon inalienable (untransferable, i.e. the inability to transfer this right to you, no matter how much I wish to) rights, is immoral.

6. Understands and states that each liberty is coupled with a responsibility.
Personal Responsibility . The corollary to liberty is responsibility. No society can succeed and thrive for any duration unless free people act in a responsible way. All of us must take responsibility for our actions and strive to improve our own lives and to contribute to building a better society.
This is not a corporate responsibility (read collectivism) that we all have to (the poor, the middle class, the puppies, etc.), it is an individual responsibility. Teaching Sociology in the university, the textbook I was given was rife with scorn for individualism. This characteristic, it was said, was responsible for all sorts of ills, from stress to hegemony. The ones to emulate were the wise cultures that emphasize the group above the individual like the ever peaceful and happy villagers in South American mountain ranges.

These sophists ought to be glad for the individualism that has given them an environment in which all their needs are met, and they have the time to write pretentious screeds disguised at textbooks.

Whenever the government talks about a "moral imperative" or "our responsibility to help" be sure that they are not volunteering themselves, but you. Irrespective of whether or not you believe in the cause they are propounding.


more later...