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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Jews and God

I read a satiric piece entitled GOD NAMES NEXT "CHOSEN PEOPLE"; IT'S JEWS AGAIN "Oh Shit," Say Jews that "reported" that God had decided to open up to all religions the title of "the Chosen People". The Jews had been it for 10,000 years and the term was up. Remarkably, he chose the Jews again. None of the other religions even filed the forms to apply. They had seen what the title did to the Jews. Some rabbis were trying to bring up the rule about no religion serving consecutive terms. But God did not entertain that idea.

Bill Suda writes (who writes like ee cummings):

just skimmed harold blooms's new work jahweh and jesus (reviewed last sunday in times book review - membership required by the NYT). characteristically provocative. aims to debunk notion of "Judaeo-Christian tradition." appears to believe old and new testaments represent a discontinuity (as do the main religions emanating therefrom.)

Responding to both, Allen Gorin writes:

1) Regarding Bill's point on the "Judeo-Christian" tradition, there is a discontinuity between the two faiths on certain matters of theology. That said, there is an important overlap between the two faiths, especially in the context of American culture, when it comes to values. A Christian and a Jew can reach the same value or public policy position through a different faith journey. This is what Dennis Prager is focusing on in his ongoing series of articles collectively entitled "The Case For Judeo-Christian Values."

2) David Klinghoffer recently wrote a book entitled "Why the Jews rejected Jesus." In it, he cites a Talmudic story about how the Jews got to be "the chosen people." According to the story, God made the offer--of choseness--to every group on the face of the earth, only to be turned down. The last group he turned to was the Jews, who got the "honor" by default. The Talmud explains the point of the story as bringing Jews down a peg or two, lest they think they were chosen because of any special characteristics. Further, and as Neal implies, being chosen to introduce the concept of ethical monotheism into a pagan world has been much more of a burden than a blessing for the Jews--as it would have for any other people.

The Homeless Are Lazy? My Lord!!!

Last night's Kudlow show had an impressive array of experts on economic matters including Steve Moore, Lawrence O'Donnell, Robert Reich and the wonderfully honest and brilliant economics professor Walter Williams.

The 2 stock experts (Mike Holland, Money Manager and Chairman of Holland & Company and John Augustine, Fifth Third Asset Management Chief Investment Strategist) along with the free market proponents Moore and Williams showed the "liberals" up on economic theory and practical results. O'Donnell defended confiscating oil company profits after the fact since they were gotten by unconscionable price hikes after a national tragedy.

The highlight was Williams' answer about the homeless people in America. He said there are plenty of jobs out there and "they should get off their lazy butts and go to work." I thought Reich and O'Donnell were going to faint after that bit of bald honesty.

Any takers on whether the old professor will offer an apology for that one?

Substance Over Show

In an essay entitled "Progress in the Mideast", Charles Krauthammer discusses the enhanced security in Israel and the "Palestinian maturation" created by the fence between Israel and Palestine and the steadfast policy of Ariel Sharon. This is being done, not through Rose Garden photo-ops with promises and kisses, but through rational policy directed by Sharon and endorsed by President George Bush.

Krauthammer believes the disangagement by Israel, targeted assassinations of terrorists and avoiding any pretense to a peace partnership has forced the Palestinians into a sink or swim adulthood. Now, Palestinians will suffer from the effects of terrorism within their own sovereignty.

The decisions of Sharon were painful to the many Jews moved from the now Palestinian territories. However, their displacement was a cost in exchange for greater Israeli security and Palestinian responsibility.

Concludes Krauthammer:

Sharon represents the majority of Israelis bent on achieving that equilibrium. It will not only bring stability and relative peace, but it also offers the contours of an ultimate settlement. That's why even old regional antagonists see the promise of this moment -- all achieved, mind you, without a single Rose Garden ceremony.

It is substance over show.

Thanks to Allen Gorin for providing this link.

Friday, December 02, 2005

NYT: Bolton Not Going Along Is Bad For US Diplomacy

Bill Suda provides this link from the NYT editorial page:

The NYT editorial "Blocking Reform at the U.N." bashes John Bolton for his "threatening to hold up its entire two-year operating budget unless his demands for major reforms are met almost immediately".

The editorial provides readers neither the specific reforms proposed by the UN, the budget proposed nor our ambassador's stated or written arguments against either. The editorial merely claims that his arguments indicate an intransigence towards the august organization. Like other Americans (see Skip March's comment below), my inclination is to support Bolton because of the mismanagement (if not outright corruption) of Annan

What the NYT claims is diplomacy means going along with the proposals. The reporter mentions the reforms include some limits on who can serve of the civil rights commission and who oversees it. We get no specifics about Bolton's arguments. Writes the NYT:

His demands and his threats to bypass the U.N. if it doesn't bow to them have fed the impression that the whole reform agenda is a power grab by Washington. Hard as it is for Americans to believe, much of the world now suspects Secretary General Kofi Annan of being Washington's lackey.

Mr. Annan made a promising start earlier this year at building a consensus for reform, only to have it derailed by Mr. Bolton. Soon after taking over the American mission this summer, he issued a long list of last-minute demands. As a result, a special international summit meeting that had been organized to adopt real reforms ended up endorsing a document that was mostly fudge and mush.

What demands? Other than refusing to go along, I have no information about the substance of Bolton's position. I may agree or disagree but this report has not provided anything.

But actually it may indicate more about the NYT. The mere refusal of Bolton to approve everything proposed is by definiton a "lack of diplomacy". Shall I accept on faith that the UN proposals should be accepted without any offer of compromise? Is that what the world wants in order for the US to regain its lost stature on the world stage?

Maybe the NYT should provide some background information. Otherwise, I cannot accept their characterization of Bolton's behavior.

From Skip:

Mr Annan building a concensus for reform???????? Building a concensus with who...the General Assembly that has resisted reform for how long? The same General Assembly that the writer suggests ought to have powers of management and appointments taken away from?? How about some legitimate, uncorrupted leadership.......to start. The move towards concensus for reform hasn't been derailed by Bolton...it has been derailed by exactly those that need to be reformed. How hard is that to figure out

Skip

Media Blackout of Lieberman and the Israel-Jew Equation

The 3 major networks have blacked out the Lieberman op-ed in the WSJ discussed a few posts below. Given our nightly reports on anything done by the allegedly corrupt war-hero Murtha and the geopolitical genius Sheehan, shouldn't the former VP-candidate and senior senator from Connecticut get some national face time?

Not if he said anything positive about the war and its likely effects on US interests in the Middle East.

Can it be any clearer that the MSM has a rooting interest in the War Against Terror and this administration? Given that, how can a fair-minded American make a rational decision against it based on the blatant position staked by the MSM?

Steve Mucscatello provides this MSM roundup:

• The Washington Post did not acknowledge Lieberman’s comments in its Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 editions. This despite running a front-page story on Nov. 30 headlined, “U.S. Debate on Pullout Resonates As Troops Engage Sunnis in Talks.”
• The New York Times had no space for Lieberman, either. They did find room, however, to run a Nov. 30 story headlined, “Senator Clinton Calls for Withdrawal from Iraq to Begin in 2006.” This “call” took place in a letter Clinton wrote to constituents.
• The Boston Globe carried a 479-word Associated Press story on Nov. 28 that perverted Lieberman’s comments, focusing on the potential of a “significant” withdrawal in ’06 rather than the progress in Iraq that Lieberman hoped to report.


At least the liberal blogs have provided coverage of Lieberman, though their commentary includes nuggets like:

“Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew (who are generally very anti-Arab and Palestinian) and an AIPAC whore. This war was fought for O.I.L. (Oil Industry, Israel, Logistics of Military - Military Industrial Complex). He's not Connecticut's Senator, he's Ariel Sharon's.”

“This is all about Israel wanting a huge U.S. military presence in the ME [Middle East], and nothing more for Liebershitz. I can't blame Israel for wanting a big bully presence at their back door, so draft-dodger Liebershitz should just be honest about his intentions for BSing us about Iraq.”

Give liberals their due. They really know how to attack their opponents without resorting to racist name-calling and broad generalizations. For the hard of reading, let's follow this equation: 1. A Jewish Senator plus 2. The Middle East equals 3. Jewish Support For Israel.

Read in this column by Clarice Feldman more about this equation's use by liberals like Russert, Matthews, Sheehan, Joe Wilson and Farrakhan.

Here is the liberal's hero Joe Wilson:

“The real agenda in all this, of course, was to redraw the political map of the Middle East. Now that is code, whether you like it or not, but it is code for putting into place the strategy memorandum which was done by Richard Perle and his study group in the mid-90s, which was called ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for the Realm’. And what it is, cut to the quick, is if you take out some of these countries, or some of these governments, that are antagonistic to Israel, then you provide the Israeli government with greater wherewithal to impose its terms and conditions on the Palestinian people. . .But that is the real agenda. You can put weapons of mass destruction out there, you can put terrorism out there, you can put liberation out there. Weapons of mass destruction got hard-headed realists on board, through a bunch of lies. . .”

Oh, I get it. Jews lie to Americans in order to begin a war against peaceful Muslims so Israel can continue its dominance over peaceful Palestinians. Christians and Muslims die for the sake of those manipulative Jews. That seems to wrap it up very neatly.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy.

I was watching George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh last night on PBS. I thought: "What great music! That famine really gave some awesome musicians a chance to get together and throw their hearts into quite a gig." But, did they really provide any long-term solution to that famine or have the Bangladesh Concert progeny done the same for famine and disasters in general?

The answer is "No".

These artists reacted with emotion to people in need, grasped the moment, raised some money and gave us a memorable concert. There have been so many disasters and so many concerts since then. But we see that the human toll is greatest after any disaster where the country is not economically advanced. Our Katrina is a case in point with the death toll around 1,000 from Louisianna. We were all expecting many multiples of that in the initial days of the hurricane. Such would have been the case almost anywhere else in the world.

The hard work in truly alleviating such suffering takes assessing the problem from all angles and implementing models that have worked. The free market model always wins in comparison to government solutions. However, the liberal mind-set is for government to present and administer the solution. That is where the incompetence, inefficiency and down-right corruption (with political spoils) lead to continued disaster.

A few posts down I referred to the subtitle of the Thomas Sowell book: Vision of the Anointed. The subtitle is Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy.

In essense this answers the question of why liberals often do not argue policy but instead pursue ad hominim attacks on their ideological adversaries. When choosing a position on any policy matter, the liberal takes the position that, on its surface, satisfies his moral ethic. Generally this means giving away money (and who originally earned it?). With great success they find ways to give away money to solve local problems like the homelessness, unwed mothers, hungry children or global problems like alleviating hunger or third world poverty. Naturally, helping these needy people is laudable.

However, immediate money for immediate needs is merely palliative. The long-term eradication of a problem or, at least, providing a real solution for some of the causes of the problems are missed due to the inherent affinity for mass programs only created and handled by government. They ignore the voluntary and individual approach. They ignore the free market approach. They see such proposals as not caring. And people who do not care as much as them are greedy and immoral (synonymous?).

Getting back to the "Self-Congratulations" concept, when your position is grounded in your own version of morality and your ideological opponent is immoral, there is no need to listen to what the opponent is saying. It is grounded in evil.

As a liberal, it took my eventual recognition that every Republican-conservative was never as mean or immoral as I had assumed. I began to listen to their proposals and whether any had a chance at success. By looking at conservatives as equally as interested in alleviating problems, I began to listen and read their proposals. Add in the record of the liberal welfare approach and I became convinced that the free market approach is one that will work.

I can deny "benefits" to people and offer alternatives that provides long-term sustainable goals and still know I am doing some good. I support social policy that enhances the individual and voluntarism. This is the plan that works.

Dissent and The Opposition Party Today

Skip March posts the following:

Prior to the 2000 Presidential election Ted Kennedy accurately observed that Democrats were losing at the ballot box at the State and Federal government levels. His answer to the voice of the people was to block and overturn that voice through the courts. He cleverly and deceptively disguised this opposition tactic as a preservation of our constitutional rights. This position incorrectly postulates that the courts know better then the people as to what our constitutional rights are.

Recently on "Meet The Press" Howard Dean clearly indicated that the Democratic Party does not have a plan, whether it be regarding domestic policy or foreign policy. In fact, according to Dean the opposition Democratic Party doesn't have to have a plan, it just has to block any policy President Bush and Republicans support. In other words, the Democratic Party's position is to simply block the will of the people, not provide substantive alternatives. Dissent from other Democratic Party leaders tells us that they support the Kennedy/Dean position of blocking, overturning the will of the people and offering nothing of substance.

Some months ago I was having a conversation with someone who was wearing a button that stated, "Dissent is Patriotic". My immediate thought was no, dissent is dissent. It can be patriotic or unpatriotic, but dissent is dissent. I was going to bring this observation up, but decided not to since previous statements from this individual were long on anti-Bush bombast and short on specifics.....never mind.

At the core of Democratic Party dissent regarding Iraq is the premise that President Bush lied, misled, manipulated, distorted (pick one) intelligence to get us into the war. This is in direct contradiction to their own conclusions on Iraq intelligence pre and post 9/11. It is also in direct contradiction to any conclusions made by investigative committees co-chaired and in part populated by Democrats themselves (i.e 9/11 Commission, Charles Robb's WMD investigative committee, etc.). This is not to mention conclusions made by every other major intelligence agency in the world.

This dissent, which is a lie in itself, not only denigrates a sitting President but also the Presidency, not to mention the United States and its political institutions. Fortunately, the majority of Americans recognize this dissent as a political ploy. They also recognize that it is injurious to our troops, despite hollow claims of support for our troops. When the core of specific dissent is a lie, then it brings into serious question not only the messengers of that dissent, but also the dissent itself. Frankly it's a shame, no its shameful. Certainly this particular dissent is irresponsible and, by the way, unpatriotic.

Murtha Was A Hero. Not Now

After quoting many of the accolades heaped upon John Murtha by Republicans while recalling no recognition of Oliver North's heroic military career by Democrats, Ann Coulter sums it up with:

If Republicans were one-tenth as rough with the congressman who wants to withdraw troops in the middle of a war as they are on a congresswoman who calls it cowardly to withdraw troops in the middle of a war, we might have a functioning Republican Party.

Who Is Dick Morris Talking About?

Who is this?:

[She] has done everything on her own. She graduated near the top of her class at the U of Denver at the age of 19. A Masters Degree from Notre Dame, a doctorate from Denver. She became a tenured professor in her 20s. At 34, she was negotiating directly with Gorbachev hammering out the details of German reunification as the President's chief advisor on Soviet relations. She is fluent in Russian and French. A world class concert pianist. She has an incredible mind and will.

Who is this?

Everything [she] has accomplished has come in the wake of her husband's achievements. She became a partner at the ______ Law Firm because ____ became Governor. She got health care reform because he became president. She got the Senate nomination in a state in which she had never lived without a primary and with $45 million for the race because he was president...

She is not a creative person and performs tasks through memorization and dedication. She is a hardened advocate but not a subtle mind. She has great discipline but little intellectual curiosity. She is sincerely devoted to the ideals she stands for -- a vastly greater government role in health care, education, and the lives of people with a much greater tax burden to match. She is as close as we have to a genuine European Socialist in our politics.

I'll give you a hint. Neither have had dinner over my mother's house.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ignorance Is Dangerous

Thomas Sowell wrote this in his Random Thoughts column:

A recent e-mail from a man who says that my writings have changed his mind notes that this has not been all to the good. He says he was perfectly happy as a liberal but now he is frustrated when he hears the kind of nonsense that he used to accept without having to think about it.

Count me as another convert frustrated over liberal dogma accepted as true. After receiving a copy of The Vision of the Anointed, I began to confront my long-held beliefs about the programs of an activist government that I had always endorsed. The empirical data proves since the 1960's that these programs have been not only failures, that they did not ultimately erase the problem to be solved, but actually created more or exacerbated existing problems. (I know the liberal answer is these programs were underfunded.)

One example of a failed government program is minimum wages.

I knew first-hand that when I began working in 1977 that I started at the minimum ($4 or $5 per hour) and within a few years made more and added a promotion raise to boot. I worked on the fishing docks of Point Judith, Rhode Island in the marine hardware store. I did not know a davit from a shackle. I was on my own and shared a 3 bedroom apartment with friends. I supplemented my income in various ways including at one point working 3 jobs. I paid my rent, bought record albums, took out my girlfriend, frequented certain drinking establishments and thoroughly enjoyed life. It was hard but I was young and was up for the task. I had a ball.

Guess what? Most minimum wage earners are in their teens and early twenties. Many others are retirees working a few hours a week.

Through Sowell and other economists, I have learned that rarely are such min wage earners family men with 4 children as portrayed by the MSM. Also, we know that the minimum wage laws reduce the employment opportunities for many teens and minorities. Employers will go with fewer employees or machines to avoid over-paying unskilled workers.

In his Applied Economics, Sowell explains that discrimination by employers has no cost when wages are dictated. But allow employers to charge what they want and there is a cost in denying a black a job at $2 per hour in exchange for hiring a preferred though equally unskilled white at $5 per hour. The history of the world shows the employer that harbors extreme prejudice will not exercise discrimination when he favors his wallet and business returns over his emotional race hatreds.

Another economist who I adore is Walter Williams. He has admitted that he discriminated in his life. He chose his wife at the exclusion of considering all other women. What a bigot!

Here is Williams' take on minimum wages, not from the harm it causes, but just who receives it.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sixty-three percent of minimum wage workers receive raises within one year of employment, and only 15 percent still earn the minimum wage after three years. Moreover, only three percent of all hourly workers and two percent of wage and salary earners earn minimum wages. Most minimum wage earners are young -- 53 percent are between the ages of 16 and 24.

Furthermore, only 5.3 percent of minimum wage earners are from households below the official poverty line; 40 percent of minimum wage earners live in households with incomes of $60,000 and higher, and over 82 percent of minimum wage earners do not have dependents. My stepfather used to tell me that any honest work was better than begging and stealing.

When I began that minimum wage job in 1977, I complained about the hourly wage to my grandfather. My grandfather asked me, "Do they pay you in American dollars?" I replied they did. He then asked, "What are you complaining about?"

I stopped complaining.

Not long ago I had a discussion with my liberal cousin about gun control. He wants all guns removed from the populace. Without going into the Constitution's protection of that right, I brought up various arguments (see John Lott) about the increase of crime whenever citizens are disarmed. He did not want to hear it and attacked the motivation of the studies rather than the data.

Finally, he smugly said, "That is my opinion. Everyone is entitled to his opinion."

No doubt.

But there are grades of value to opinions. Informed opinions beat uninformed opinions in my book. Uninformed ones become dangerous when they are attached to a vote in America. And his self-congratulation over having a strong opinion supported by nothing but his feelings proclaimed his high moral stature. Moral superiority is a dangerous admixture to ignorance.

Which brings us back to the subtitle of Sowell's Vision of the Anointed.

It is: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy.

No wonder I am a big fan.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Katrina: Journalists Gone Wild

The exaggerated claims during Katrina points to reporters not following traditional journalistic principles as described by Matt Welch in Reasononline.

He debunks all of the wild claims of rapes, throat slashers (the ham-slinging-slasher!) and helicopter snipers (no helicopter pilots could possibly discern such give the noise). He writes:

From a journalistic point of view, the root causes of the bogus reports were largely the same: The communication breakdown without and especially within New Orleans created an information vacuum in which wild oral rumor thrived. Reporters failed to exercise enough skepticism in passing along secondhand testimony from victims (who often just parroted what they picked up from the rumor mill), and they were far too eager to broadcast as fact apocalyptic statements from government officials—such as Mayor Ray Nagin’s prediction of 10,000 Katrina-related deaths (there were less than 900 in New Orleans at press time) and Police Superintendent Edwin Compass’ reference on The Oprah Winfrey Show to “little babies getting raped”—without factoring in discounts for incompetence and ulterior motives.

He adds they had massive need for assistance that would not be received absent hysterical claims.

I might add that anything to make President Bush look unresponsive to human suffering is a slant too tempting for liberal journalists and TV show hosts to avoid. Actually, it is no temptation. It is the prism within which all events are viewed.

Keep it coming MSM. You haven't lost all customers yet.

Housing Bust Waits A Bit Longer and Longer and Longer

Experts have predicted the housing boom will turn into a bust now that interest rates have increased. The NYT headline today is Home Sales Fall 2.7%, Suggesting a Drag on '06 Economy. Of course, October numbers say something different.

It is reported in Breitbart.com (their headline stated:New Home Sales Hit Record Level in Oct.):

The Commerce Department said that sales of new single-family homes shot up by 13 percent last month, the biggest one-month gain in more than 12 years. The increase pushed sales to an all-time high seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.42 million units...

Sales were up in most regions of the country, led by a 46.9 percent surge in the West and a 43.3 percent jump in the Northeast. Sales also rose by 1.9 percent in the South but were down 9.5 percent in the Midwest.

The nationwide jump in new home sales was the one bright spot for housing last month. Sales of previously owned homes fell by 2.7 percent, the National Association of Realtors reported on Monday, and construction of new homes and apartments also fell during the month.


Could the decrease in previously owned homes be because people have been buying the new ones?

The NYT had this comment from Patrick Newport, an economist at the research firm Global Insight:

"The evidence is consistent with a slowing housing market but one that is still very strong".

Slow but strong?

With the average interest rate on 30-year mortgages at 6.28 percent, the housing continues to be quite affordable. Economists and real estate experts are properly pessimistic about this facet of the economy as they have been over the last 4 years in other areas of the economy. So the boom should continue. They remind me of Kramer in "The Contest" episode: "Starting Now!!!"

Joe: They'll Be Scratching Their Heads At This One

A minority of one is the true iconoclast. Joe Lieberman says Iraq has shown great progress and it would be a massive mistake to withdraw too soon. Here is the first para and read the rest here:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Profiles In Courage? They may throw him out of the party!

And Joe, why should we stay?

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.

So, it is a just cause and protects Americans by removing Iraq as a base of terrorist operations and, thus, from a direct strike on our continent. If he only read a book on economics, he would be my candidate in 2008.

Skip March adds:

Being a resident of Connecticut, I for one am very proud to have Joe Lieberman as one of my Senators...what a stand up guy! The Democratic Party's multiple positions on Iraq have now evolved into a "we tell the enemy our plan and trust the enemy to respond peacefully because our presence is the reason they are blowing up innocent people". Now that the Bush Administration has responded forcefully to Democratic lies about the President fabricating intelligence, they have to come up with some game plan. Miraculously, Dems have not gone so insane as to demand immediate withdrawal. However, the elevator does not go to the top floor with these guys when insisting that we have to go public with our war plan. And for Dems to claim that they ware taking the lead on having Iraqi's take over responsibility for their security is more fabrication on their part as this has always been part of the Bush plan.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Freedom To Practice Religion, Not Freedom From Religion

A widely distributed email that discussed the history of America and its Judeo-Christian roots contained the following quote from Patrick Henry:

"We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."

This led Skip March to opine:


OK..let's go to the source.

The First Amendment of the Constitution states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion".

It is interesting to note that the amendment specifically refers to Congress and its power in regards to religion. The Framers of the Constitution, having just come off a near fatal experiment with the Articles of Confederation as well as the tyranny of an all powerful central government, learned important lessons. One of these is that the central government must have specifically enumerated powers and that those powers must be limited and few. They also recognized that a central government should not, and in fact could not, regulate, define every aspect of individual citizens' lives. Thus our federal form of government and the 9th and 10th amendments.

They recognized that outside of the specifically stated powers and rights of the Constitution, all other related decisions must be made at the state, local and individual level. So if a community and its citizens want to put up a creche scene or menorah or whatever symbols that represent that community and its citizenry, it can. One could also argue that the federal government and any of its branches has no business or power to interfere with these local decisions.

Now as to whether the Framers ever contemplated excluding references to faith or faith symbols from our lives, any supporting documents, quotes, etc point overwhelmingly to an answer of NO. To suggest otherwise would be rewriting history. Interesting to note those who want keep wanting to rewrite history, isn't it. This is not to say that the Framers were without biases as illustrated by Jay's and Henry's quotes. ( Jay is quotes as saying: "Americans should select and prefer Christians as their rulers."). However, the enumeration of specific rights also speaks to the Framers' recognition of that human frailty.

Neal Phenes: I would add that fears about prejudices centuries old should not be a worry for non-Christian Americans today where the large majority of people do not hold such exclusionary beliefs. As a matter of fact, Jews in America who follow Foxman of the ADL have done more to hurt Jewish causes by this irrational fear of Christians than anything skin-heads, Klanners can muster. The worry should be of avowed preachers of genocide from Iran than friends from the "Bible Belt".

And Jay notwithstanding, the other Founders were decidedly more tolerant of others than their fellow countrymen of the 1700's.

French Altruism

Low growth and production in France have been extolled as virtues by Paul Krugman. He says the French prefer family life and leisure over busting their humps at jobs like workers in the United States do (see this analysis from Donald Luskin in NRO).

It is reported that six homeless have died in France since the arrival of winter temperatures. The picture with the linked article shows Parisians walking past a homeless man laying on the sidewalk in broad daylight.

I guess they are hurrying to their family hearth at days end (3:30 in the afternoon) for a little wine and brie. At least New Yorkers would drag the guy to a subway grate for warmth.

EXXON Cheney Matter

Drudge follows the developments at CNN over the X on Dick Cheney's face during a CNN broadcast of a recent speech. A phone operator was fired for telling a complaining viewer:

"We did it just to make a point. Tell them to stop lying, Bush and Cheney. Bring our soldiers home."

In a release from CNN:

"A Turner switchboard operator was fired today after we were alerted to a conversation the operator had with a caller in which the operator lost his temper and expressed his personal views -- behavior that was totally inappropriate. His comments did not reflect the views of CNN. We are reaching out to the caller and expressing our deep regret to her and apologizing that she did not get the courtesy entitled to her. "

This is not an issue of "courtesy". It is an issue of CNN being exposed as anti-Bush. Every story will portray Democrats as "moderates" and every Republican as "conservative". While such is clear to anyone familiar with the news spin of the network, denial of such a bias is ludicrous. We are better served to know the ideology of the network and then interpret what it broadcasts, like Russians did for decades while reading Kremlin news outlets (read Natan Sharansky's Fear No Evil). I do that every weekend with my NYT. Find the spin, negate the statement and you find the news! It's a game.

CNN should have said, "At least we did not place a Swastika over his face". Now, would that be beyong the envelope?

NJ Prof Shows Us The Left's True Colors- Again

An English professor at a NJ college, outraged at the school conservative group Young Americans for Freedom's invitation to a decorated Iraq-war hero to speak on campus, e-mailed the conservative student organizer stating that:

"I will continue to expose your right-wing anti-people politics until groups like yours won't dare show their face on a college campus. Real freedom will come when soldiers in Iraq turn their guns on their superiors and fight for just causes and for people's needs."

So much for the marketplace of ideas. So much for confidence in one's convictions that open debate will mark them as true. So much for open discourse on a college campus. So much for academics seeking both sides of an issue for students to make their own judgments.

As to the suggestion that soldiers kill their officers, we see the open admission of the Left's position on the military. Why can't all of them be so honest in their position.

Calling the group's flyers "fascist propaganda" we see the strongest argument of the Left: name-calling. Their best is very weak. Now, whom is for freedom?

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