People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The 'Truth' As Only They See It

I had a fascinating conversation with a female acquaintance over before-dinner drinks Tuesday evening (at Angelo's, Atlantic City; try the mussels) ... no, let me be accurate ... a LIBERAL female acquaintance, who proceeded to cite a "fact" regarding the man she hates more than any other on this planet (Osama Bin Ladin isn't even a close second, Cheney is).

She told me that, according to a recent poll, 50% of the American people want George W. Bush impeached.

I burst out laughing (not a good-mannered thing to do in such a genteel and tasteful setting) and told her she was out of her mind (which would explain why she's a die-hard Democrat). She asked me:

"Have you read the book 1984 in recent years?"

In fact I had re-read it just months ago and told her so.

"Do you realize how we are now facing the exact same kind of oppression here in the United States, as a direct consequence of the machinations (behind the scenes, in the dark of night) of Bush/Cheney, that Orwell outlined in his book?"

Again I disturbed the social hierarchy seated around me with uproarious laughter (and nearly spewed my appetizer).

We are all being spied upon ... Our neighbors are disappearing into re-education camps ... There are spooks in our television sets ... Repressiveness ... Control ... Control ...


Is this the same George Bush who can't get an immigration bill passed?

I started to explain the fact that George Orwell's book was a story about the absolute control of communication within, and freedom-of-action of, the masses, us proles, and about a pervasive, all-seeing government having perfected the ability to monitor the daily actions of the citizenry (right down to the personal journal that the protagonist, Winston, kept), even into the bedroom. Totalitarianism in its purest form.

But I stopped. And simply told her that she'd lost her freaking mind. And changed the subject.

To try to reason with people like this is an act of futility. And I wanted to enjoy my alcohol.

I was reminded of that conversation when I read this letter to the editor of the Roanoke Times:
Bush can't handle the truth

What does it mean to win in Iraq? What will it take to win?

Bush demands we follow the military lead. But do we know what the military thinks?

Bush has punished those who disagree with him. He has pressured people in various agencies to his own political whims, no matter the facts.

Also, as in the Valerie Plame case, the White House campaigns to discredit those who disagree with him. For Bush, there is only his reality and no other. Whether he knows reality or not, he is deceptive.

Bush says wars are hard and demands sacrifice, but what is hardest for a nation to bear is when the casualty is truth and they can no longer trust the people who presume to call themselves leaders of the country.

With such a dishonest man overseeing the war, how can we know what the military truly thinks about what it means to win, or what it will take to win?
The truth.

Noun: doublethink

"To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies—all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth." *
* Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, London, pp 35, 176-177

Are There Buses Running To Arlington?

County leadership in Arlington County (pro-gay marriage by 15%) thinks that those trying to solve the illegal immigration problem over in Prince William County are being too hard on the many Mexicans breaking our laws every day they are there:

Prince William's efforts attacked
By Kiran Krishnamurthy, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Fairfax -- Hours after a federal court struck down a Pennsylvania town's attempts to crack down on illegal immigration, several Northern Virginia leaders attacked Prince William County's recent efforts targeting undocumented residents.

"What you have done is strike fear," J. Walter Tejada, a member of the Arlington County Board, told Prince William County Board of Supervisors member Michael C. May. "The damage has been done."

Barbara F. Favola, a Arlington supervisor, cautioned Prince William officials to flesh out unintended consequences, both in terms of community relations and possible health consequences if services funded only by local dollars, such as vaccinations, are denied to illegal immigrants.

"You'd be extremely foolish" to make undocumented families go through hurdles for vaccinations and well-baby visits, she said. (link)

Sounds to me like we've found a temporary home for Virginia's 103,000 illegal immigrants. Arlington County, where no benefit will be denied, where no cost will be too great, where no burden on the local taxpayers will be too steep.

The bus leaves at 9:15. Bienvenido a Arlington!

A Man More Despised Than Osama Bin Ladin

Michael Vick showed up at court yesterday.

The bastard.

Pulling In Opposite Directions

It probably says something that, while I routinely excoriate "middle-of-the-road" Republican candidates for president (is McCain a moderate or just a boob ...) for their big-government views, the dudes over at the Roanoke Times do the same to the Democrats, but for opposite reasons:
Editorial: Shunning the 'L' word
Who among the Democrats will stand up for liberals? Not Sen. Hillary Clinton, apparently.

"Liberal" died on Monday at the hands of Sen. Hillary Clinton and in full view of the gazillion other Democratic presidential candidates, none of whom came to its rescue.

Clinton was asked during the gimmicky CNN/YouTube debate* to define liberalism and then declare whether she is indeed a liberal.

Liberals couldn't help but be heartened by her opening response, when she reminded Americans that the word "meant you were for freedom ... for the freedom to achieve ... willing to stand against big power and on behalf of individuals. ... it's been turned up on its head, ... it's been made to seem as if it is a word that describes big government."

She then needed to say: I'm here to tell you, that's wrong. Liberals still believe in freedom, in helping those who don't have all the advantages gain the tools needed to improve their and their families' lives.

She didn't. She went all neo-lib, called herself a progressive, a modern progressive, a modern-moderate progressive. Whatever. (link)
I have a suspicion that Hillary is not the candidate of choice over in the boardroom at the Times.

Somehow it seems fitting if she gets elected. If I had to put up with George W. Bush's liberal tendencies, the fellas at the Times should have to endure eight long years of Hillary's "modern-moderate progressive" (or "whatever") leadership.

We will all go through life disappointed, I fear.

* I wondered what kind of abject dweeb would actually sit down and watch such a mindless exercise. Now I know.

As Long As It's Not With My Tax Dollars

Washington D.C. is losing its National Children's Museum to Prince George's County, MD. And people in the nation's capital are upset about it. Why is not clear.

The news:
Children's Museum Finds a Home in Md.
D.C. Fixture Set for Pr. George's
By Jacqueline Trescott and Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post Staff Writers

The National Children's Museum announced yesterday that it has agreed to move across the Potomac to Prince George's County, the second D.C. landmark to be lured away by developers of the National Harbor project in recent months.

"The waterfront location is wonderful, and, combined with the forest area, it provides extraordinary outdoor venues for the museum and visitors," said Kathy Dwyer Southern, the museum's president. The museum will occupy 140,000 square feet, and its officials will revive a fundraising campaign to secure $130 million. They plan to open the facility in 2012. (link)
$130 million.
A museum for and about children.
In Maryland. Thank God.

On Executive Privilege

Kimberly Strassel, writing in the Wall Street Journal, sums up the president's position on executive privilege and where it's positioned relative to the Constitution:
This is a constitutional issue, but you don't have to be Robert Bork to get your head around it. The Founders created three separate (but equal) branches of government. The Constitution gave each their own powers, while also supplying checks to prevent the branches from encroaching on each other.

Congress gave itself the right to issue criminal contempt citations long ago, and bully for it, but there's nothing in legal history to suggest that in this case it has the right to apply that power to the president or his subordinates. It'd be one thing if [House Judiciary Committee Chairman John] Conyers had proved beyond doubt that a crime had been committed. He hasn't. Instead, this is a straightforward battle between Mr. Bush's claim of executive privilege and Congress's claim of oversight. Both sides, in theory, have a legitimate case.

So the idea that Congress now gets to win this battle by simply declaring the other side criminal is bizarre. Under that twisted logic, Mr. Bush has just as much right to grant himself a similar power and hold Mr. Conyers in criminal contempt for interfering in executive-branch business. This is not, obviously, a very grown-up way of settling constitutional disputes.
"Beneath Contempt," July 27, 2007

Now We're Getting Somewhere

It looks like we have gotten through to the knuckle-draggers in Congress finally:
Senate OKs $3 billion to guard border
By S.A. Miller and Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times

Border security prevailed in the first major skirmish on immigration since President Bush's broad guest-worker bill collapsed last month.

The Senate yesterday passed $3 billion in emergency spending for immigration and border enforcement, adding it to the 2008 homeland security spending bill ...

Yesterday's $3 billion amendment pays for high-tech border surveillance and thousands more border agents over the next five years. (link)
Good for them.

The downside is in the fact that there is no tax revenue to pay for the massive - and otherwise wasteful - $40 billion Homeland Security bill, so the expenditure will go right into the national debt bucket.

Still, we must secure our borders. This is a good first step.

Well, This Explains The Democratic leadership

I've been wondering how it is that so many politicians seem so distressed these days. It now becomes clear:

Reefer Madness Is Real: Docs

July 27, 2007 -- London - Using marijuana seems to increase the chance of becoming psychotic, researchers report in an analysis of past studies that rekindles the issue of whether pot is dangerous.

The new review suggests that even infrequent use could raise the small but real risk of this serious mental illness by 40 percent. (link)

It all becomes clear ...

It Made Perfect Sense To The Soviets Too

Bart Hinkle on our federal farm subsidy program:
[C]orn farmers are set to receive $10 billion in direct payments during the next five years -- despite record high prices for corn driven in large part by demands for ethanol (which demand, in turn, is driven by federal mandates with the blessing, and encouragement, of President Bush).

Then, to help poor people afford to buy foodstuffs whose prices are driven up by federal policy, the federal government will hand out food stamps under the auspices of the very same agency -- the USDA -- that manages the farm-subsidy system. Presto! Another built-in constituency led to believe it is dependent on politicians for economic security. Got a problem with your benefits? Call your local congressman -- and don't forget to vote.
"Farm Program's Persistence Reveals Continental Drift," The Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 27, 2007

It's Easier Than Legislating

Democrats seek Gonzales probe, subpoena Rove

Democrat Plans On Raising More Taxes

Well, it's the dawn of a new day. Let's see which Democrat intends to "soak the rich" now:

Oh, it happens to be the fabulously wealthy prima donna who sheds crocodile tears for the poor (at 35,000 feet while traveling in his private Gulfstream G550):
Edwards Proposes Raising Capital Gains Tax
By Leslie Wayne, The New York Times

Calling the current tax code “badly out of whack,” former Senator John Edwards yesterday proposed increasing the capital gains tax on upper-income investors and using the money to provide tax-free savings accounts and expanded tax credits for lower-income workers.

The Edwards campaign said his plan would raise the tax rate on capital gains, which are profits from investments, to 28 percent from the current 15 percent for taxpayers with incomes over $250,000. It would remain at 15 percent for those who earn less than $250,000. (link)
Yeah, that'll work. We didn't need a strong economy anyway.

On Poverty & The Environment

Environmentalists are well-off white boys with cash and time on their hands. The Navajo nation has traditionally included the most impoverished people in the United States.

Any bets on which side will win this fight?
Navajos and Environmentalists Split on Power Plant
By Felicity Barringer, The New York Times

Burnham, N.M. — For the Navajo nation, energy is the most valuable currency. The tribal lands are rich with uranium, natural gas, wind, sun and, most of all, coal.

But two coal-fired power plants here, including one on the reservation, belch noxious fumes, making the air among the worst in the state. Now the tribe is moving forward with plans for a bigger plant, Desert Rock, that Navajo authorities hope will bring in $50 million a year in taxes, royalties and other income by selling power to Phoenix and Las

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, teaming with local groups like the San Juan Citizens’ Alliance, point to environmental shortcomings in the federal government’s tentative blessing of the plant, as laid out in a 1,600-page draft environmental impact statement and an analysis by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. (link)
This over a bogus we're-all-going-to-die theory.

The Navajo president, Joe Shirley Jr., asked a question that deserves an answer: "Why pick on the little Navajo nation, when it’s trying to help itself?”

Because they don't give a damn about you, Joe. So starve.

We Let Them Make Calls?

The New York Times this morning is demanding that government do something about the high cost of a collect call from prison.

Not mentioned is the number of former reporters who are making those calls and running up a sizeable tab each month there at the Times.