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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Played for Fools by CNN
Why would the Republican Party hold a presidential debate and allow the opposition to control the questions and format?

Why would the Communist News Network (CNN) be allowed to control the forum that helps choose the republican presidential nominee?

It makes no sense. And the results were worse than even I would have predicted. Questions were asked by democrat party members, Hillary supporters, and were designed to evoke negative associations with fringe elements.

Questions were asked with the Confederate battle flag in the background. Candidates were challenged to profess their religious zealotry, and one questioner carrying multiple firearms asked about gun control while menacingly pumping a shotgun and making veiled threats against anyone answering in an unsatisfactory way.

When will the republican party learn that a large chunk of the main stream media is fanatically opposed to them, and they do everything they can to shape the political process against them?

It's shameful what CNN did last night, and even more shameful that the republicans continue to allow themselves to be manipulated. Rather than discuss important issues, the candidates were slimed by the opposition.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Annapolis is so cliche
So Bush has finally succumbed to the mindlessness of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. One of the few remaining distinctions of note that made him stand out as better than his predecessors has fallen to the wayside.

Ignoring Israel and Palestine was working just fine, at least as well as the decades of others pretending that talking can fix the problem.

But too many people, mostly "journalists" (whatever that may mean) and state department weenies, including Condoleeza Rice, are too fixated and dependent on the parade of the usual suspects characters and they needed a hit to satisfy their addiction.

Nothing substantive will come of Annapolis, and I don't even think Bush expected anything more. But now all the denizens of Foggy Bottom are glowing because unlike Iraq this is a career enhancer that they know how to deal with. The mainstream media are atwitter because this is news that they already know how to categorize and write about without someone helping them with press releases.

Nothing will happen, but the people who add more control than value will be happy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I was right about stem cells
One of the annoying things about some political issues is that both sides are wrong, but no one ever seems to notice because they're too tied up in partisan finger pointing that bears little resemblance to truth. That's why it's so satisfying to see an argument reduced to zero after a predictable but not assured development happens.

I'm talking about stem cells. The theory is that stem cells, which may be exploited for their property of being able to transform into any type of differentiated cell, would be the cure for cancer and any number of diseases. Three cheers for stem cells! The only problem is that stem cells were only available from embryos. Thus is the genesis of the political argument.

Some say that it's murder to do research involving stem cells, and wanted to stop all research. Others said that we must grow embryos to create more stem cells. Those are the two extreme sides. Most mainstream arguments divided on federal funding of stem cells, except that each side misrepresented the arguments in order to make political points.
What was most annoying is that even otherwise rational people, such as the Instapundit, have bought into the distorted arguments, allowing those against the federal funding to be portrayed as being against science.

Then there were those of us who supported science, yet don't support government funding of science. I was sure that absent government funding, the scientific breakthroughs would occur even faster than with the government funding. That's because the government only funds while one is looking for the breakthrough. Private funding is much more interested in exploiting breakthroughs. It's human nature that bureaucracies and institutions that operate by lobbying for government support will not be so focused on results as they are focused on doing enough to get more funding. The difference is subtle but can be dramatic, especially the longer it takes to find the breakthrough.

To me, both the sides of the political argument were obviously wrong. And events have proven me right. Absent government funding, it now appears that scientists have found a way to make stem cells from adult skin cells. No embryos needed. I'm sure much more research is needed to make this useful, but the possibilities are proven and this ends the stem cell debate.

Will we learn from this happy result? Will we learn to keep politics out of science? Will the earth stop rotating? Of course not.

Science will continue to be politicized more and more, in geometric proportion to the amount of funding provided.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Who is Funding Ron Paul?
I'm amazed at accounts of Ron Paul's miraculous fund raising of more than $4 million in one day. But no one seems at all interested in where this money came from.

I've been a supporter of Ron Paul for many of his principled statements in the past decade. He has a strong libertarian strain in him and is big on limiting the power of the federal government, but his pacifism and his tendency to go along with the Libertarian Party's insistence on blaming America for the 9/11 attacks has left me quite opposed to him.

And now that he's been much more public in these debates, I'm pretty convinced that he's just a loon. The Libertarian Party and Ron Paul are confusing simplistic slogans with the necessary traits to govern. You can't govern by blaming us for being attacked. You can't govern by ignoring attacks or letting our country get humiliated by terrorists. We must win the war.

But honest people can disagree. I'm willing to believe that Ron Paul and his supporters are honest and well-intended.

But let's face it. They're mostly a bunch of pot smoking dead heads. Not that there's anything wrong with that, some very good friends of mine are pot smoking dead heads. They're great people. But mostly, they don't have $4M to give away in a day.

So where did that money really come from and why isn't anyone looking into that question? I have my own opinions and here's what I think.
The republican party has no leg up on the democrats. It's too early to say who the nominee will be on either side of the aisle, but it's clear what some anti-American forces are up to.

Move-on.org, an organization funded by George Soros, and supporting numerous communist and anarchist organizations is driving for power in this country. They are attempting, and succeeding, in driving the political debate to a leftist extreme that really hasn't been seen in this country before. They've succeeded in driving the democrat controlled congress into an anti-military, anti-defense, anti-American posture and have driven their support down to 11%.

There is no counter to the democrat leftist lurch. The democrat party is now committed to Move-on.org's extremism. They've done this by saturating the compliant media with lies, slurs, anti-Americanism, and conspiracy theories galore. George Soros is tossing his money, and I'm sure other organizations (perhaps the Chinese, and Islamic entities) are joining in too, to usurp America's interests and freedoms.

In the old days we would blame the communists but now the communists are supposed to be all gone so no one bothers to question the motives of these organizations. But if you look close enough you'll see that the organizers of these movements are the same ones from before. Palestinian communists, CAIR, hard core anti-capitalist labor unions, etc.

So what's this got to do with Ron Paul? It's this: If these nefarious organizations want to control the debate they can't simply drive the democratic party to the extreme left, they need to legitimize that move by making it appear that the Republicans also have a branch supporting extreme left positions. No one thinks that all democrats and all republicans will adopt these extremist views, but if only one part adopts them then it is easy to recruit the sane democrats into the ranks of the republicans.

So where did this money for Ron Paul come from? I think it came from organizations such as Move-on.org. It makes perfect sense. It gives the illusion that these extreme political positions are in fact main stream and makes their acceptance more likely.

Ron Paul supporters don't have $4M to give away. This came from someplace else. I believe it was a result of massive campaign contribution fraud. It's not hard at all to create ficticious people to give money to political causes.

So the conclusion of this rant is that campaign donation restrictions are just like gun control. If you outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns. If you outlaw campaign donations, then only those willing to break the law will get money donated. By limiting who can support political causes, law abiding people will comply with those limits, yet people with a lot of money and an inversely proportional amount of ethics can inject their money wherever they see fit. Campaign finance laws are subverting the political process by allowing nefarious parties to fraudulently contribute money to candidates to shift the political debate.

But you never see this in the news, you never see the source of this money being investigated. Because then we would have to admit that the Emperor has no clothes.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Saluting the Health Service
This summer my battalion did its annual training, as it often does, at Camp Bullis just north of San Antonio. Most of the units that train there come from Fort Sam Houston or are associated with that base in that they are doing medical support training.

This year one of the units was in the medical field, but they weren't army. Nor were they navy or Air Force. They were the U.S. Public Health Service Corps and were all officers of some sort from Captains (O-6) to warrant officer. Most of them looked like they had never been in a uniform ever before and were very awkward with military customs.

Most of my Marines, even some of the senior ones, complained about them for their complete lack of bearing. Many refused to salute them.

This would not do. We can't have Marines deciding what ranks they would be respectful to and which they wouldn't. These Health Service officers may be goofy, they may be embarrassed by salutes or deferential treatment, but that's their problem, not ours. I had to explain to my Marines that we would be observing proper customs and courtesies with these uniformed people, not because of what they were, but because of what we were.
I talked with some of these Public Health officers, they were training for civil emergencies and other uses of their organization. I don't know if they were any good at what they did, but I'm glad that they took their job seriously enough to spend a few weeks in the summer in a slightly rough camp. I also hope that their exposure to the Marine Corps through our little unit left them with an impression that we were a well disciplined outfit.

It would not do for these people to return to their civilian lives and have to tell their friends and family that they met some Marines and saw nothing special about them. Instead, I hope they were able to go back and tell others that even though they knew nothing of military customs and courtesies they were still accorded proper respect by us.

And that's how it's supposed to work. That is what discipline is about. Doing the right thing even though there's a good chance that there are no consequences for not doing the right thing.

This story came to mind when I was discussing the treatment of prisoners. It's popular for people supporting one political party to make wild statements that we should of course allow torture of prisoners, or that waterboarding is not torture and thus should be allowed. Republican conservatives have abandoned so many principles lately in an effort to stay in power that they no longer are recognizable as a party of any principles.

I know that many people claim that such treatment of prisoners is justifiable, legal, or even desirable, but the basic equation has not changed. The US should not mistreat prisoners with waterboarding and other such behavior, not because these prisoners merit good treatment, but because of what we are.

My Marines may have grumbed inside about the quality of the Public Health Service officers that they were saluting, as did I. But salute them we did because it was the right thing to do. It was a way of showing what we are about.