Saturday, June 30, 2007

More about Moore

Michael Moore released his new movie, Sicko, the other day. As a member of his e-mail list, I have been getting a lot of smug e-mails talking about how successful his new movie is. Every time I see anything he writes, I am reminded how much I hate everything Michael Moore stands for. He is a complete Socialist. Socialism, in my opinion, is one of the most evil forms of government ever, and I cannot stand to see someone and popular and influential as Michael Moore endorse it. His philosophy is to take money from the rich and hand it out to the poor. Never mind about private property. Also, never mind about where you are going to get more money once all the money you took from the rich is gone. You can't get it from the rich, because they are not either not rich anymore or have moved to Switzerland or some little island in the Caribbean to shelter their money. You always end up with a small clique of corrupt leaders while the people starve. Nice philosophy there, Mike.

I realize this post has little literary merit and rambles, but I just wanted to quickly say what I think about Michael Moore.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Bloomberg Effect

Michael Bloomberg is, by all indications, seriously considering a run for the Presidency. According to unnamed and probably erroneous sources, he is willing to spend one billion of his own dollars on his campaign. Although it is doubtful that Bloomberg would spend that kind of money, his actions of the past couple of weeks do suggest that he is willing to spend a considerable amount of both time and money in a bid for the White House.

Bloomberg has recently announced his resignation from the GOP, paving the way for a potential announcement of an Independent candidacy.

This possibility worries people from both parties. The Republican camp worries that the fact he is a former Republican would split the Republican vote. They see Ross Perot in Michael Bloomberg.

Democrats are perturbed about the possibility that Bloomberg could split the Democrat vote. They note that his policies are mostly left-wing, and that few conservatives would seriously consider voting for him.

Realistically, though, neither side has much to worry about at this time. It is uncertain as at just which set of voters Bloomberg would appeal to. It would be impossible for him to get the conservative vote, given his liberalism. It is possible that he would have a little more luck with liberals, but only a little. While his policies are left-wing, he is not very far left. Liberals still remember Ralph Nader's run in 2000 that took just enough votes from Gore to hand the Presidency to George W. Bush. They do not want to see this happen again.

Bloomberg seems to be laboring under the impression that there is a massive grassroots movements waiting to sweep him into the White House, or least into the running. Unfortunately for him, most of the nation seems to be reasonably satisfied with the available candidates. A Rasmussen poll showed that only seven percent of the countries would be very likely to vote for him and twenty-seven percent at all likely to cast their vote for Bloomberg. Sixty percent are not likely to vote for him. It is difficult to see where he would gain any more support, given the lateness of his potential run.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Moore Hypocrisy

Remember how Michael Moore challenged Fred Thompson to a debate over health care? Thompson's response was good, but it probably wasn't necessary. Moore was supposed to debate Tom Delay on the same topic, but has dropped out the scheduled date for the debate. What a hypocrite.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Case Against Rudy Giuliani

When Rudy Giuliani announced his candidacy, I fully expected him to crash and burn. His differences with the right-wing base of the Republican Party would send him, if not to the bottom of the pack, then at least to the middle. Unexpectedly, he soon was sitting proudly at the top of all the Republican polls.

Undaunted, I assumed that talk radio, the same talk radio that took down John McCain in 2000 because of his liberal views, would do the same to Giuliani. Didn't happen. On the contrary, hosts like Sean Hannity let Giuliani put forth the John Kerry Theory of Abortion, which is that while abortion is doubtless absolutely morally wrong, it is nonetheless (according to Giuliani's website) a "deeply personal moral dilemma, and people of good conscience can disagree respectfully", which apparently means abortion should be legal. It seems that abortion is the only "moral dilemma" that government should stay out of (remember that there are hate crimes laws). Since Sean Hannity and his ilk are the epitome of aggressiveness when it comes to attacking liberals, his pandering to and support of Giuliani came as something of a surprise.

To sum up the case for Giuliani, his supporters argue that his brilliant leadership of New York City and heroic response to 9/11 qualify him to be President of the United States. It is undeniable that he was an amazingly effective major of New York (the murder rate dropped 73 percent under his watch). It is equally undeniable that his response to 9/11 was truly inspiring. However, a superlative performance as a mayor does not necessarily make one into a superior candidate for president.

Giuliani has departed in many ways from the topics that concern his conservative constituents. His position on abortion is the most notorious example of his rather liberal views. Giuliani, rather confusingly, allows that abortion is wrong, but it really isn't government's role to decide that for everyone. This position is apparently designed to pacify the pro-lifers, but falls just a bit short of that goal when you consider the fact that pro-lifers believe that a fetus is deserving of all human rights. Reasoning from these principles, abortion is effectively murder. Staying aloofly above the fray does not tend to be an effective strategy for conditions like these.

Many conservatives, though, just ignore the illogic of Giuliani's position and reassure themselves by emphasizing his oft stated promise to appoint strict constructionist judges to the Supreme Court. Bearing in mind the fact that even pro-life presidents like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush appoint pro-abortion judges to the Court about half the time, it seems reasonable to wonder what percentage would be pro-life with a president who supports abortion. (On an unrelated note, his website cites Justices Scalia, Roberts, and Alito as his models of jurisprudential excellence. While all are good Justices, what about Clarence Thomas?)

Giuliani also proudly claims to have caused a dramatic upswing in New York City adoptions and subsequent reduction in abortions (when listening to Rudy talk, you get the impression that before he arrived, New York City was an unlivable hellhole that he single-handedly made into an urban paradise. That impression, unlike most impressions that politicians try to convey, is actually correct). He declare that he caused a 66 percent increase in adoptions, and that he will bring that same hunger for raising the adoption rate to the White House. The truth, however, is much less appealing. There was in fact an increase in adoptions, but after a spike midway through his term, they fell dramatically. This makes one wonder why, if Giuliani is such an expert at raising the adoption rate, he couldn't keep steady for an extra three years.

Giuliani is also trying to reinvent himself on the issue of gay marriage. On his site, he proudly proclaims that "he does not - and has never - supported gay marriage". This isn't quite true. In 2004, he opposed George Bush's proposed ban on gay marriage. He also extended New York City benefits to gay and lesbian couples. If these acts don't necessarily translate into a full-fledged support for the legalization of gay marriage, they do at least suggest that he may be too comfortable with the legitimization of homosexuality for many conservative voters.

While I don't want to seem like a sleazy tabloid reporter hunting up a scandal, it does seem like the fact that after his second divorce in 2000, he moved in with a gay couple (while dating another woman) may illuminate at least part of his attitude towards homosexuality. Having very close gay friends doesn't necessarily make one part of the Rainbow Brigade, but it isn't exactly an automatic qualifier for the Moral Majority either.

The same applies to the gays rights parade he once marched in. Maybe he really is against gay marriage. But if so, he certainly has an odd way of showing it.

Rudy Giuliani may fail most miserably, from a conservative perspective, on the subject of gun control. On his website, he explains his restrictive gun control measures as a natural result of his zeal to protect New Yorkers from the tsunami of violent crime engulfing their city. Since he is obviously quite good at fighting crime, I (and nearly all reasonable people) find little wrong with his stated position on gun control. There is, however, more to the story. (Can you detect a pattern here?) During his tenure of major of New York, Giuliani sued gun manufacturers for among other things, making too many guns! The gun industry is "an industry which profits from the suffering of innocent people", according to the Giuliani lawsuit.

Rudy Giuliani's consistently supported repressive gun control measure during the Nineties. He supported Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban. He called for national gun registration. When Congress was about to terminate an assault weapons ban, Rudy ran up to Washington to plead with them to keep it in force. It is clear that America's guns would not be safe in the event of a Giuliani presidency.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Irony in Action

Talk about irony -- Socialist Michael Moore has his new film "Sicko" pirated. I hope that Mike enjoys giving away his product for free, as they do in his beloved Socialist countries like Cuba. Speaking of Cuba, Cuba's health minister praised Moore's movie because it shows Cuba's "human values". In related news, it is unclear whether "Sicko" will be screened in Cuba. It seems the government controls all media. Nice "human values" there, Fidel.

More irony -- the least deserved Nobel Peace Prize in history has been stolen -- by Yasser Arafat's old Hamas friends. I just wish he was alive to see it gone.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Candidate thoughts

Fred Thompson has caught up to Rudy Guillani in the Republican race. The abortion issue has caught up with Guillani, and I don't think its over yet. I have a feeling that Sean Hannity will drop Guillani as his candidate of choice, and start supporting Thompson.

Hillary Clinton is trying to sell herself as an ex-jock. Wow.

Monday, June 11, 2007

A Defense of Fred Thompson

George Will has just written an interesting article suggesting that perhaps Fred Thompson is all fluff, and no substance. He goes so far as to compare Fred to the famous Holland Tulip Mania of the 1630s. The point is that Thompson Mania is basically just as ridiculous as Tulip Mania, except that the Tulip Mania produced something with aesthetic value.

Will is an excellent writer, and his writing is very good here. Unfortunately, the facts he marshals to prove his thesis are pretty weak. In fact, they are pretty much nonexistant.

He mentions Thompson's obvious personal appeal and air of sincerity. Oddly, though, Will concludes that his charm must mean that he has no real ideas. Will finishes off his evidence-free assertion by remarking that Thompson is "ninety-nine percent charm".

This makes one wonder if Will has ever read anything Thompson wrote, or listened to any of his radio commentaries. How many other candidates, before they jumped in the race, actually talked about their ideas on the radio? In front of an audience of about twenty million? Does Rudy Giuliani, who is George Will's favorite candidate, have any original ideas?

Maybe Will missed the story of how Thompson aided the Libby defense team. Or the episode where he helped prepare John Roberts for his Senate grilling. Maybe he has forgotten Fred's great response to Michael Moore's invitation to debate. George Will should read these articles, which are transcripts of Thompson's radio addresses. These articles lay out his positions clearly.

George Will does manage to make one legitimate criticism of Thompson when he quotes Thompson about the 1986 immigration bill that gave amnesty to so many illegal aliens: "Twelve million illegal immigrants later, we are now living in a nation that is beset by people who are suicidal maniacs and want to kill countless innocent men, women and children around the world." Now, that thought makes absolutely no sense, and is in fact amazing in its sheer stupidity. But what Presidential candidate hasn't had a few gaffes? Ronald Reagan once suggested that he believed that nuclear missiles, once fired, can be recalled. Rudy Giuliani once said "Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do", a statement that makes Fred Thompson's immigration declaration look like the work of Socrates.

In his last paragraph, Will for some reason concludes that Thompson bubble will burst soon. Why? All that he has managed to prove so far is that Thompson has charm and made at least one stupid gaffe. Is this going to derail Thompson's campaign?

Ironically, Will fails to mention the one thing that could block Thompson's nomination-namely, abortion. Thompson started out in politics as a pro-choice moderate, and was seen as pro-choice all the way up to 2000. National Review ran a piece discussing the possible Vice-Presidential candidates, and mentioned that Thompson was pro-choice. Thompson then contacted the National Review staff and told them that he was pro-life, which he has been up until June 6th. During an interview with Sean Hannity, he seemed to be on the verge of saying that he wouldn't criminalize abortion at the state level if he had the chance (it's a confusing clip that you can watch here). However, Hannity cut him off, saving him from saying that he was pro-abortion. At this point, interesting, no one can say for sure exactly what Thompson's position on abortion actually is.

Since Fred Thompson has not expressly said that he is pro-choice, we should give him the benefit of the doubt on that issue. Even if he was an abortion supporter, however, he would still be the most conservative of the Big Four. Giuliani is very anti-gun (he participated in lawsuits against gun manufacturers as major of New York), and is pro gay marriage has well. McCain is a liberal as well, and no one is sure what Mitt Romney's views are from day to day. While I like George Will, he is wrong on this issue.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The Democrat Debate

I was intending to watch the entire Democrat debate last night, but I got bored after watching about a half hour. Luckily, I did watch the "War on Terror" part, which is the important part. Apparently, the rest of the debate was pretty boring.

I thought that Hillary did a fairly good job. While she can't help her distinctly irritating voice, which manages to sound both shrill and gravelly. She sounds like a police siren with laryngitis. She did, however, manage to avoid any embarrassing gaffes. She also allowed that there is indeed a War on Terror, something that John Edwards resolutely refused to do.

It didn't help, though, that when others were talking, she stared into space with a rather scary fixed smile. She has a tendency to stare ahead with blank, robotic stare with an icy cold, pale face. Occasionally, for variety, she dabs (dabs? I should say smears), a little rouge on her cheeks, which doesn't help.

Obama, in my opinion, was terrible. He stammers and moves his hands like a tenth grader at his first public speaking event, and he has an annoying way of stating the obvious with an air of originality. For example, during the debate he proudly claimed that it is important to lead. What a deep thinker.

It also doesn't help when Obama talks about diplomacy. He seems to think that diplomacy is a magic word that solves everything. He seems to want to come across as Mr. Thoughtful, but, unfortunately, he only comes across as Mr. Dork. Tough guys are rarely diplomats.

Edwards sounded like a door-to-door salesman, Bill Richardson came across as a fat slob, and Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich looked like total nuts. Joe Biden didn't look too bad, though.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Paradox of Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has published a new book, called "God is Not Great; How Religion Poisons Everything", detailing the many iniquities of religion that has rocketed up of the bestseller lists. The main premise of his book is that religion in general, and Christianity in particular, have been responsible for most of the evil in the world. Hitchens is apparently a quite nice guy, a perfect person to have a drink or ten with. (If you can't drink all ten, Hitchens will pick up the slack. By his own admission, he is pretty fond of alchohol). Hitchens has a few screws loose, and frequently makes claims that are ridiculous, such as his belief that Mother Teresa was actually evil (she opposes abortion) and that Stalin's atheist dictatorship (bear in mind that it was illegal to own a Bible in the Soviet Union) actually was a theocracy (yes, a theocracy). Instead of making him look like a balanced logical man of letters, these statements make him look like the atheist version of Westboro Baptist Church.

Even more importantly, though, his basic premise that religion is morally bad is impossible. If there is no God, then there no objective good or evil. Any attempt to make a distinction, even the most basic, is simply a matter of opinion. It is like saying red is a better color than blue. Without an objective judge, there cannot be any sort of moral standard.

Taking a look at some of Hitchens's writings, it is obvious that he does make use of an objective moral standard. In this rather odd piece about Mother Teresa (I told you Hitchens was a little nuts), Hitchens writes: "She (Mother Teresa) was a friend to the worst of the rich, taking misappropriated money from the atrocious Duvalier family ...". Notice the use of the word "worst". Who is Hitchens to say that the Duvalier clan is immoral? As compared to what? Hitchens's own personal standard of morality? If so, why his? Wouldn't the Duvalier's moral standards count too? Without the aforementioned objective moral judge, every act is equally good, and equally evil. All morality is a matter of personal opinion.

The Duvaliers were responsible for the exucutions of any individual who disagreed with them. Ask Hitchens, and he would opine that these acts are murder. Ask Francois Duvalier, and he would say it is Darwinism, that he is fighting to survive in a tough world. Who is right? Who decides?

Although the above example is valid in theory, in practice it might lack punch, since the Duvaliers have few supporters and social Darwinism is going through a down period right now. However, there is another illustration of this point that my resonate with the average person a little more. Hitchens received a good deal of publicity after his comments following the death of the Reverend Jerry Falwell, during the course of he responded to a question that asked whether he believed Falwell would go to heaven (if, of course, there is such a place). Hitchens responded that he wished that there was a Hell, so that Falwell could go there.

Now, here are two intellectual leaders who are diametrically opposed on nearly every moral issue. Falwell is against abortion, for religion, and against gay marriage. Hitchens is for abortion, against religion, and for gay marriage. Both of these men are intelligent (yes, Hitchens is a nut, but he is capable of brilliant insights on nonreligious issues. No one defends the Iraq war better, and his writing style is first-rate). But they are absolutely opposed on most moral issues. Who's standard is right? Can morality be proved from logic alone? No, because all proofs depend in some way on certain fundamental postulates (a postulate, by the way, is a statements assumed to be true without proof). The only way for there to be any postulate regarding morality is for there to be a God, who's opinion would by definition by infallible. Without this attribute, there cannot be any sort of moral judgement of the kind Christopher Hitchens makes use of.

While this fact doesn't prove there is indeed a God (after all, maybe all morals are subjective), it does at least prove that Christopher Hitchens's central thesis is grounded in illogic.

Friday, June 1, 2007

I could write at great length about the insane immigration bill the President is forcing on us. But, as it happens, Thomas Sowell has already written everything you would want to know. Here it is: part one, part two, and part three.
Read La Shawn Barber and Michelle Malkin too.

Thoughts on the candidates

Hillary Clinton is still feared as a wildly popular candidate by the GOP, even though most dislike her. The fact that Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback, neither of whom are exactly electoral juggernauts, are both within single digits of her does absolutely nothing to dampen that misguided conviction.

Hillary is again demonstrating her true colors as a comparative nonthreat with this illuminating picture. Apparently the technology involved at the Silicon Valley summit she was attending doesn't include spellcheck. Remember, this is the lady who is in favor expanded pre-K programs. It really doesn't pay to talk about education if you have that much trouble spelling, Hillary.

It does give some ideas for slogans for Mrs. Clinton, though. Maybe she could use "Tommorrow's Tecknology Twoday" as a slogan. Or maybe "Educatun for the Futur" or "Raysing You're Tackses Hi-er". It would show that she will not discriminate against the disadvantaged in our society. Since she and her liberal friends think that poverty means that education and success are forever beyond one, slogans like these could she her genuine compassion for these underprivileged folks.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, although diametrically opposite politically, have many features in common. They are both handsome, well spoken men with odd religions (or in Obama's case, odd ex-religion. Since his middle name is Hussein, though, it still counts unless he changes it. Some religions leave lasting marks). In both cases, no one really thinks overmuch about their politics, which is fortunate, since both are basically soundbite machines with no original ideas. Both get support because they are fairly safe candidates who are relatively personable. Neither will be elected President (Obama's campaign is flagging, and Romney's never really got started).

Rudy Giuliani has lost a good deal of support in the last month, much of it because of his position on abortion. While any Republican who supports abortion faces an uphill battle, Giuliani has done a poor job of spinning his message. He spends a good deal of time on Sean Hannity's radio show, which is a good move, since Hannity rares presses him for coherent answers. However, his answer to the abortion question is very poor, for two reasons. The first reason is that he has only one speech, which he uses, reuses, and then rereuses, apparently under the impression that no one has every listened to him before and that it is new to everyone. The second problem is that his speech sounds stupid. After the customary "what is your stand on abortion" question, Giuliani launches into his answer, which he delivers hurriedly in a flat monotone with no cadences at all. "I hate abortion I would counsel someone against an abortion but I believe that it is not governments role to determine whether not someone has an abortion etc. etc. etc." Not very inspiring.

Fred Thompson is running. I believe that he will shake up the Republican field immensely. He already has twenty-two percent of the nation prepared to vote for him. Not bad for someone not in the race.