Wednesday, March 30, 2005
The strongest drive in humans is self-preservation. This woman must have a will somewhere inside her, because if she didn't, she would have passed by now. This further proves that she was not sick to begin with. She was not dying. Her brain may be damaged, but her will to live has not been damaged. And somewhere deep down there may be a person crying out for help and just can't. She may very well be able to understand some things, she just may not be able to communicate those things.
None of us know exactly what she feels or thinks. Only if you have ever been through it, can you really know. She may be fighting as hard as she can to prove to those that have brought on this calamity, are wrong. If the truth be known, she probably has more guts and more will power than any of us. And the rogue state of Florida is starving the body that contains that same courage and will.
I have said for many years that the Soviets were involved. The fact that these documents have been found, only further confirms what many have long suspected. The Soviets had their hands in a lot more and as time wears on, more will come to light.
However, the main point I would like make is, the truth always seems to surface no matter the circumstance. The issues and events that we argue about today, will all come to light in the future. The people that attacked Reagan for making his "Evil Empire" statement, can now see why he called them that. In the future, the people that have scorned the President's beliefs on the spread of liberty will see. What we see now is only the tip of the iceberg.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
But today, it has a new meaning. The Bush Doctrine (on the spread of freedom throughout the world) has theorized that once freedom takes hold in Afganistan and Iraq, it will spread to other countries. And it seems to be working.
The countries that have held free elections, since Bush took office:
The Palestinian Authority
Saudi Arabia- Local elections Only, No Women Voters.
The countries where democratic movements are forming and growing:
Egypt-Agreed To Have MultiParty Election For President.
The world watched the pride of the Iraqi people as they faced danger just by casting their ballots. They watched them disregard the threats and voted. The world will be getting more restless for freedom, soon. The world longs for a chance at self-determination; so don't be surprised if you see other countries getting restless and demonstrating it, this summer.
Special thanks go to Dr. Stephen Taylor of PoliBlog.com for giving me the link and also to VARepublicMan of Flaming Duck, for walking me through it. I have already posted a comment about Dr. Taylor's blog, so let me take a minute to recommend Flaming Duck.
Flaming Duck gives excellent perspectives on a variety of local, national, and international topics. There is even a fudge recipe for those that have a sweet tooth. (Be sure you have a good supply of insulin to chase it with.) The views expressed are intelligent and will stimulate you to think.
Give it a read. You will be glad you did.
The Final Four consists of Illinois, Louisville, North Carolina, and Michigan State. Two teams were expected to be in this round. The other two are mild cinderellas, yet all four have certainly earned the right to be playing, Saturday.
The first matchup Saturday pits the Illini against the Louisville Cardinals in a game that features a lot of athletic talent on both teams. Louisville was predicted by some to be in the Final Four last year, but they failed to live up to expectations. Not many mentioned them in the early stages of the season, yet, they have blossomed into a well coached and experienced team. They run, slash, and hit threes as good as anyone. What they give away in size, they make up with speed and defense.
Illinois is riding high after a nearly perfect season, thus far, and an outstanding comeback in the closing minutes of the game against Arizona, didn't hurt their self-esteem much either. The Illini now have momentum, talent, and renewed confidence on their side; and it all comes with a new coach that has been instrumental in getting this team to gel and stay focused, all season long. They are a deep, well balanced team with any of 3-4 players able to burn you, on any given night. They are outstanding on defense. Weber will be coaching against a coach that has a lot of experience playing in Final Fours, Rick Pitino. Look for an outstanding game.
The second game will match North Carolina against Michigan State. Roy Williams has revived a Tar Heel team that sunk to the depths of mediocrity, something that severely agitated people in Chapel Hill. Now that they are back under the guidance of the former Kansas coach, the team has lived up to its early season expectations. They are a solid basketball team.
Michigan State was not heralded as a possible championship contender early on. But as usual, Tom Izzo has them in true Tom Izzo form. They are clicking at the right time, even though they were much underrated and overshadowed by Illinois in the Big Ten. The Big Ten was not supposed to be as strong this year according to the NCAA B-Ball punditry elites. But after eliminating Duke, heads have turned and the MSU bandwagons are full. They have momentum, confidence, and talent.
All four teams play well as a team, play outstanding defense, and are well coached. All but three coaches are generally classified as three of the best in the game, with the exception seeming to be headed in that direction. Fans all know Rick Pitino, Roy Williams, and Tom Izzo, very well. But Bruce Weber is an up and comer. He came to the Illini from Southern Illinois University, after a stint as an assistant for Gene Keady at Purdue. He elevated SIU to a team that is expected to make the tournament after contending for (and winning) their conference, every year. Before him, they just hung out and played some games every season, then went home and waited for next year. He now has the Illini regenerated into a powerhouse team that has only lost one game all year.
Predicting a winner will not be easy. This tournament has been the most competitive of any I can remember, the games have been close, and in most cases could have gone either way. Any team that is left can win it all. But to attain glory and honor as a sports pundit, one must go out on a limb. One must demonstrate courage and predict, even at the risk of being dead wrong. Therefore, I predict:
Illinois over Louisville
MSU over NC
Both games will be close.
Monday, March 28, 2005
This is an area where I feel, the Administration is currently dropping the ball. If we continue disregard the massive flow of illegals, it is going to bite us back hard, real soon.
Read this and see what you think.
Friday, March 25, 2005
As I reflect on the events of this past week, I have watched this case divide the nation over one hot-button issue. I have previously posted my concerns about this case, so to rehash them now would be most redundant. But one irony still stands out and is worthy of rementioning; many people that have advocated the removal of the tube as humane and compassionate are some of the same people that are appalled at the death penalty for those convicted of heinous murders.
It is most difficult for me to understand how these people can say they believe that state sponsored death is wrong and yet be comfortable with the court ordered starvation of someone that was not convicted of anything. It is equally difficult to understand how those that are against the tube remaining out are some of the same people that are for the death penalty. In my mind, you either value life or you don't. Killing is wrong, no matter who we are killing. Executions are for the families of the victims and in most cases are nothing more than legal revenge killings. They do not benefit anyone, except the family. Society is already protected by the incarceration of the murderer and the execution does not bring any of the victims back. So saying that justice is served when someone is legally put to death, is not an accurate statement.
As Americans, it would be wise to examine reexamine our attitudes and value systems in this area. If we truly believe that we should be promoting a culture of life, we should ask ourselves why so many are taking hypocritical stances on this. Life is life. And if it is the Almighty's to give and take, why do so many of us contradict ourselves in these instances?
I am not Catholic and do not agree with much of the theological doctrines of the Vatican. But I give the Vatican hierarchy some credit, in that, they have remained consistent on the death penalty, abortion, and the Terri Schiavo case (they have been steadfast advocates for life in all of these issues).
But for now, we wait. We not only wait for Terri's imminent death, but we now must wait for the backlash and fallout. For every action, there is a reaction. And, behind every action and reaction are motives. Some are pure and some are not so pure.
In the period just prior to Mussolini's rise to power, socialism was beginning to rise in popularity in Italy. The forces that opposed socialism organized themselves well enough to gain power and implement what we now call fascism. Fascism was a reaction to socialism. And as it turned out, it became the driving force that plunged Europe and the world into another bloody war. The reaction was far worse than the original action, by far, in this case.
Today, I see the potential backlash in the Terri Schiavo case as cause for concern. We could see more liberals lose more power in the coming elections, giving the right more power and more free reign to implement their narrow agenda. As a centrist, this concerns me. I am for the balance of power. And although I lean just right of center most of the time, I am concerned when either party has no checks and balances. I become concerned because, no matter who is in power, power can and will be abused at some point in time, if there is no accountability.
It is my belief that the political pendulum will swing back hard in this instance. Perceiving that the leftist minority has sought to impose their narrow views on them, the right wing will strengthen and become more mobilized than ever before. More Democratic seats will be lost in Congress, in 2006. And it just might be that the Democrats will not regain the White House, for a long time. If there is no voice of reason that arises soon, if there is no one that can unite the nation under the banner of compromise and reason, the end result will be more extremism on both sides which will only result in less tolerance for those of us in the middle.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Today is a dark day for humanity. Today is a day that I am ashamed to be an American. I sit and watch a handful of people control the destiny of a poor defenseless woman, that cannot speak for herself. I see a state that has refused to intervene in a cold and calculated plot to allow one of its voiceless citizens, to die a long and miserable death, all because we are taking the word of a husband that claims this is what his wife wants. There is no written living will, nothing that can be posted or entered into court record, just the testimony of one man. Yet somehow, the so-called wise, educated people the people of Florida have picked to uphold the law in their state, have sided with the one man and his word. A person in small claims court would have to produce a receipt to receive a judgement, but in Florida one man (despite the protests of a mother, father, siblings, and countless others) can legally tell the judge, this is what she wanted, and presto. It is so.
Now, I am a strong advocate of anyone that is of sound mind to determine their own fate. If Terri were verbal enough to say, "I want to die, please let me", then I would have no problem. If she had a living will or if she were on a respirator and could not breathe on her own, I would not object at all. But such is not the case here. She breathes, she smiles, and reacts to family members she loves dearly; she just can't feed herself or swallow well enough to be fed.
Where is the anti-death penalty crowd that protests at every state sanctioned murder, also known as an execution. Where are the anti-war demonstrators that decry the killing of innocents in a military conflict. How about the people that keep the Iraqi prisoner scandals in the forefront, where the hell are they? Where are the anti-world hunger people like Bono, on this fine Saturday?
The better questions are where is the U.S. Supreme Court and why do they refuse to hear this case?
Michael Schiavo's attorney has compared the U.S. Congess and the President to Stalin. Stalin, alone, was responsible for countless deaths during his reign of terror, but these people want to prevent a death not cause one. They are trying to promote a culture of life, not a a culture of death. In reality, it is Mr. Felos, Judge Greer, and Michael Schiavo that are worthy of comparisons to Stalin, not those that want Terri to live. The blood will be on their hands and all of those that have had any hand in this by refusing to intervene to save her life. The blood will be on their hands and the U.S. Supreme Court for doing nothing and allowing one man with questionable motives to decide the fate of another.
So again I say, this is a sad day. I never thought I would see the day, when the rights of a helpless individual were so blatantly ignored.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
And seeing how this is primarily a political forum, I thought some of you would enjoy one of my all-time favorites:
Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff. Frank Zappa
Overkill, after the fact, is nothing more than a method of propaganda. The Fulton County Sheriff is clearly on the hot seat on this one. Sending 19 officers was a ridiculous display of force and an incredible waste of money and resources. (Five, for a shackled inmate, would have been more than sufficient.) I guess the Sheriff feels that overdoing it now will somehow atone for the fact that his department was grossly negligent. Maybe he feels in control now, something he wasn't on Friday.
Anyway, the lawsuits will soon be flying and soon the people of Atlanta will be footing the bill for the incompetence. If I were a citizen in Atlanta I would be upset. I would be upset that my world-class city and major tourist destination was turning into a place to avoid, because law enforcement has no basic critical thinking skills.
On second thought maybe I wouldn't be upset. Maybe I'd be furious enough to organize a recall effort on the Sheriff.
Since the annexation of Hong Kong, the Chinese government is realizing more revenue than ever, with much of it going towards the military. Their aim is to obtain Taiwan for the same purpose; they want more revenue for more military spending, with the long-term goal of matching the United States.
The world community needs to watch this. The balance of power tilted towards China would be the world's worst nightmare. Europe needs to watch this. But instead, they are lifting the arms embargo because Europe needs the business. The US needs to watch this. But as of yet, the Bush administration has yet to form a policy on China and Taiwan (other than the age-old generic ones used by earlier administrations).
The US, EU, UN, or someone needs to encourage a dialogue between Taiwan and China. Both parties need to see how far apart they really are, in order to know how far they must travel. China needs to drop the military threat as a bargaining chip and quit threatening to do so at every other turn. Taiwan needs to put the skids on the independence rhetoric, at least for now. And both need to put their stubborn egos on hold for a time, and speak. They need to stop acting like two brothers that have had a major falling out.
Where are the Europeans? Where are Chirac, Schroeder, and Putin? Where is the UN? Where is Kofi Annan? Where are the quintessential diplomats that have claim to have world peace as their ultimate goal? But sadly, I must also ask, where is the United States and the Bush administration?
I guess they will all show up, after the first round of missiles land on Taiwan. What do you want to bet, there will be an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss and debate possible wording for a resolution condemning China, if or when this happens?
Monday, March 14, 2005
Check out my post on March 2, titled "Terrorist Or Freedom Fighter. Read the last paragraph.
Did I call it or what?
Iran wants to restore the Persian Empire under the Shiite banner. Syria is leaving Lebanon. Hezbollah is and has been funded/sponsored by Iran. Therefore, Hezbollah will be the new power broker in Lebanon, if the world community doesn't take heed.
Replacing one form of tyranny with another, makes no sense at all. This is why Bush 41 did not remove Saddam in Desert Storm. Iran was/is poised and ready to enter any power vacuum in the Middle East, to extend its influence and political power. And Lebanon is as good a place as any, in their minds.
Regime change in Iran is the only hope, this imperialism can be stopped.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Action on this cannot wait. Plans must be implemented soon to avert a catastrophe. But so far, there are none.
Give this a read and think about it.
Saturday, March 12, 2005
No doubt they will investigate for weeks (maybe months), spend loads of money, and try to figure out how much they can sweep under the rug and how much they have to own up to. In the news conference this afternoon, the Fulton County Sheriff let it be known that he has only been in office for a couple of months, laying the foundation for future blame placing.
There is some measure of either poetic justice or just plain old irony in this case, though. The DA Paul Howard was the prosecutor that made the deal with the mother that had killed two of her kids, the one where if she was sterilized she could avoid jail time. And, the dead judge was the one that approved the plea agreement. What you read into that is up to you, but at the very least, you can see that we have an inept prosecutor that could very well screw this case up.
This kind of occurence is a statistic that could have been prevented, so easily. It made no sense to handle it this way, especially with what they already knew. Highly paid and trusted officials that work in law enforcement, should know that this is a principle taught in Corrections 101. The people of Atlanta should expect more and demand more, if they want it to remain a world-class city.
The man that was caught trying to smuggle shanks into the courtroom on Thursday, should have been shackled and not allowed to change into street clothes. The judge was reportedly aware of this, but for some ridiculous reason was not inclined to increase security in any way, shape, or form. As a result, the judge and two others are dead, one is in the hospital, and a dangerous criminal is on the loose.
You will no doubt hear the pundits opine for days and the official investigation will drag on for weeks, but the fact remains this whole thing could have/would have been prevented with a little common sense.
When will the ACLU and others begin to see that some policies and procedures are necessary for the overall public good and should supercede political correctness? When will they take up the causes of the vast amount of those in prison for minor drug offenses, and stop taking up the causes of thugs like this, thus freeing up valuable jail bedspace?
When will we stop the policies of being reactive instead of being proactive? When will we realize that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, is more than just an old saying?
When will we stop dropping the stack of plates to catch the one that is falling? When will we consider the rights of the law abiding masses over the rights of criminals?
Friday, March 11, 2005
Here is another article on the relationship between the old grand dame that allows abusive men into her life, without seeing the obvious warning signs.
Europe could be such a valuable ally and return itself to some of the greatest levels of class, grandeur, and (most of all) world leadership. If only they would wake up and realize that they are enabling the defiance of oppressive, intolerant nations that threaten their neighbors and sponsor terrorism.
Self interest has guided Europe since the early days of the Holy Roman Empire. Methods change, but motives seldom do.
Today, Europe has a self esteem problem, so she is flirting with a man that has the capabilities of making their relationship, an abusive one. They are just like the women that are only attracted to men that are domestic tyrants. They charm at first and once they have manipulated their way into a position of trust, they start the abusive cycle.
I recommend this article from the Regime Change Iran (RCI) weblog. RCI is a site that I read daily and is a valuable source of information on the Iranian situation, as well as other areas of importance in the Middle East.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
There are fiscal conservatives that are social liberals and fiscal liberals that are social conservatives. There are those that lean a bit to the right and those that lean a bit to the left. There are those that do not trust either party, even to the point of wanting a third party and there are those that trust both, believing that both parties have their good points and bad points.
But many (like myself), take each and every issue, weigh it out completely, and give serious thought as to how they will form their opinion. Each case stands alone and I (like many others) will not be hemmed into a corner and drink either party's kool-aid. I will agree with both at some point in time, other times I will agree with neither.
But rest assured, the opinions I do form will be based on several factors:
1. How does the issue affect me, personally or professionally?
2. How do the solutions proposed, stack up with my personal value systems?
3. How will it affect those that disagree with me?
4. How much will it cost and is the cost worth it?
5. Why does the other side disagree?
6. Is there a compromise solution?
(These are but a few, there are many others)
Voting is also a deliberate process. When I vote for or otherwise support a candidate (for any office), I do so because I believe that candidate is what is best for that particular moment in time. I weigh what the needs of the city, county, state, or nation are at that given moment with what each candidate has to offer, and I make my decision accordingly. I have only voted one straight ticket in my life, only as a protest vote.
Whether you call us centrists, moderates, or whatever; it is our independent spirit that drives us to think our way through and form opinions based on what we consider sound reasoning, sound logic, and free thinking. We are independent voters. We swing elections.
Friday, March 04, 2005
Terri Schiavo is the woman who is being sustained by a feeding tube in a Florida nursing home.
The conflict is between the husband (who wants the tube removed because she allegedly told him she didn't want to live in a vegetative state) and the parents (who are still holding out hope for some form of recovery).
The parents claim the husband received over a million dollars for her care in some kind of settlement, which if she were dead, would go to him. He lives with another woman and has two children with her. He refuses to divorce Terri because he would not get the money, when she finally does die. Furthermore they allege that he has purposefully and willfully ordered treatments and therapies be withheld. These are such that could have helped Terri progress much further than she has.
The husband claims that the parents are clinging to what amounts to a fantasy. They are not being realistic and besides, Terri allegedly told him that she didn't want to kept alive by any artificial means, but there is no living will on file anywhere. Yet the courts that have heard this case so far, have favored him.
This is a tough one.
I understand the quality of life issue and firmly believe that a person should not be kept alive for the sake of the family. But I also see a husband that stands to gain somewhere around $1.4 million, if his wife dies. I see a husband that has established a new life for himself, which I cannot completely blame him for. But I also see a husband that may have not have Terri's best interests at heart, especially if he in fact did withold valuable therapy and treatment in order to speed the dying process, as her parents also claim.
I see those things and more. But the main thing I do not see is a written living will, signed by Terri Schiavo. What we have here is a legal system that is taking a husband's word for it. If I went to small claims court to recover some money, I had better have a written or printed receipt to prove that I really did purchase the product, where I said I did. Otherwise, my claim would be dismissed instantly.
How much more important is a document that determines whether a person lives or dies?
Forget the moral implications and the arguments, the fact remains there is no legal basis to allow the husband to have the tube removed. There is no living will and Terri is incapable of making that kind of decision. When something of this magnitude is considered, don't you think that the judges that we all depend on to interpret the law should err on the side of caution? Shouldn't they err on the side of life?
If the husband didn't care about the money, he would divorce her and I doubt anyone would think much of it. If he truly cared about her well being, he would let her parents care for her; he would let them use that money that was awarded to pay for her care, as it was intended. Unless there is another side I am not seeing, this guy seems like a major jerk.
The feeding tube should remain until we can be assured that this is not a diabolical plot by a greedy man, to eliminate his wife to gain fortune.
The Death Penalty
I am ambivalent on the death penalty.
On one hand I understand the need to punish and deter heinous crimes on the level of the Oklahoma City bombing. On the other hand I see that killing for revenge will not bring those people back.
Killing a murderer also lets him/her off the hook too easy. Would you rather be spend the rest of your life in prison, with no chance at parole, or would you rather be executed? But more than anything I have stated, I believe that the state should not have the decision to say who gets to live and who gets to die. That is best left to the Almighty.
I believe that abortion is wrong. In my opinion, it is comparable to murder. But there is one problem I have with making it illegal. It is very difficult (if not impossible) to make something illegal that was once legal.
Take Prohibition, for instance. They outlawed booze, which was once legal. But the black market took over distribution and people got it anyway. The demand never went away and people like Joe Kennedy made fortunes supplying it. As a result, the mob was allowed to grow because of Prohibition.
In the case of abortion, make it illegal and watch the back alley butchers reappear. Gone will be sterile technique and back will be the high numbers of infections and sepsis leading to death. I don't know about you, but I would rather have my daughter get one in a clean, sterile environment and deal with her conscience later, alive.
Want to stop abortion? Do it from the demand side, it's too late to do it from the supply side. The only outcome that will come from outlawing it is, you will drive the suppliers underground which in turn will impose far greater risks. Give women more options and stop making unwanted pregnancies in single women, the scourges of the earth. It may not be an optimal situation and no doubt better decisions could have been made, but there are far worse things that can happen.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
This war however, does not know national boundaries and has not been officially declared. Declarations mean nothing anyway; all that is necessary for a state of war to exist is to have nations in two different hemispheres conduct hostile military operations against one another. And that we have.
It may not resemble WWI or WWII, but don't be fooled. This is the real deal. Most of the world does not know it yet, at least they don't act like it. Europe, where the other two world wars were primarily centered, has taken the appeasement approach. I believe deep down that there are many that are concerned on the continent, but their voices are not resonating as loudly as the Americans. Many believe that by coddling up to terrorists and nations that sponsor them, it will buy them time. They think that as long as they are mad at the U.S., Europe will defer the inevitable. This is known as the "Hoping the lion eats you last" theory.
As this article so states, I do firmly believe that this war began in 1979 when the Iranians wantonly and willfully violated international law, by invading our embassy. The sad thing is, this war will not be limited to just a few years. It may last many more and maybe two or more Presidents will have to continue dealing with the Islamofascists that seek to oppress the world, with their very narrow views of how a society should be.
They were at war with us, long before we were at war with them. They have been for many years. They have been allowed to grow in numbers and in boldness, virtually unchecked.
Give this a read. It is a bit long, but well worth the time. The author makes an astounding case. Take it all in carefully and think about it. He presents his claim with a lot of solid evidence. Anyone with an objective mind, will see and understand.
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
The motives, objectives, and intentions mark the contrasts.
The terrorist seeks to use guerrilla warfare terror tactics as a means of overthrowing freedom and establishing an oppressive regime. He wants to overthrow the peaceful existences that come with liberty and freedom and actively seeks to strip people of choices. He wants to oppress, not liberate. He does not care about innocent people, often targeting them.
The freedom fighter seeks to use whatever means available to him to overthrow a regime, but he does it for the purpose of liberating his people from an oppressive one. He, as best he possiblty can, targets authority and its forces, not innocents. He seeks more choices for his people, not less.
Global terrorists can trace their movement to Iran. It all began with the Iranian revolution. The Iranian people were duped into believing that freedom from the Shah and his regime meant freedom. Instead, they have been oppressed even worse and only succeeded in trading one form of tyrranny for another. If that isn't enough, Iran has been the major exporter of global terror since 1979, with the goals of implementing Islamic Law anywhere they can and seeking the destruction of Israel.
Hezbollah has been directly linked to Iran. Watch them, as the situation develops further in Lebanon. They may unleash a terror campaign to take over and install a Shiite Islamic government that curbs freedoms, instead of creating them.