Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Attacking Hillary

Many conservatives are very concerned about a possible Hillary Clinton presidency. Given the sad state of the Republican Party, this fear may become a reality in the 2008 elections, even given Hillary's high negative ratings, and unimpressive demeanor. In an effort to prevent such a state of affairs, many conservatives are aggressively attacking Hillary, bringing up Whitewater, Vince Foster, and many liaisons of Bill.

This is unfair. Hillary may have been engaged in corruption in Whitewater. There may have been suspicious circumstances in the Vince Foster case. Both of these cases, however, happened around fifteen years ago, and no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by the Clintons was found in either circumstance. Maybe Hillary was actively involved in wrongdoing over a decade ago. Maybe not. It is unlikely that any new evidence will surface proving conclusively her guilt or innocence.

Even worse is the absurd criticism of Hillary for her husband’s affairs. Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. It is very possible that he had affairs with Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broaddrick, and possibly others. It is absurd, however, to try to blame Hillary for her husband’s misdeeds. What do these people expect Hillary to do? Sell the story to Larry Flynt?

Do conservatives want to send that message that old, inconclusive allegations of wrongdoing is the best they can do against Hillary? Hillary Clinton is weak on most issues. Conservatives should focus on those issues, not on ad hominem attacks.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Congress Inaction

It is remarkable how quickly things change. Less than a month ago, according to Congress, immigration reform was absolutely essential. Now, no one even mentions it. At the moment, pulling out of Iraq is on the table, and most of Congress seem to think that this need allows no delay. In a month, after the Democrats inevitably fail to push through their war agenda, the situation in Iraq will be (to Congress) much less urgent. It is bad enough that Congress can't get anything done, but it would be nice if they could least remember what problem they are trying to fix after their first solution fails.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Pointless Global Warming Debate

Al Gore hosted his giant Live Earth concert over the weekend. The goal of his mega-concert was to raise awareness of global warming (because there may be four people left who don't know about it), and inspire the world to do something about it. Sadly for Gore, he was met with a cool reception.

The entire global warming debate is almost pointless, however. Even if the argument that humans are indeed the principal cause of global warming is granted, then it is far too late to do anything about it. All of Al Gore's goals for limiting human consumption of fossil fuels are insignificant when compared to the sheer amount of carbon dioxide we use for our most basic needs.

A major part of Gore's plan for the prevention of global warming is limiting the amount of electricity that we use. He asks Americans to do little things like using florescent light bulbs, turning down the thermostat, and cleaning dirty air conditioning filters. All of these things are quite doable, but also quite useless. If Americans, simply by performing these little tasks, managed to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by twenty-five percent (a doubtful scenario, but just barely possible), then we have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by just two percent. If we reduce our transportation emissions by a quarter, then we would reduce emissions by another two percent. If we completely eliminated all of our industrial greenhouse gases, we would lower the world carbon dioxide levels by three percent.

These goals represent what only the most optimistic of environmentalists would ever anticipate. The stark reality is that carbon dioxide emissions will almost certainly rise over the next decade.

The Kyoto Protocol is thought by many environmentalists to be a much needed measure to slow global warming. Since the United States hasn't ratified it, this line of thinking goes, the cause of preventing global warming has hit a wall. Simply by signing this treaty, the United States could take an effective and much needed step against climate change.

These folks ignore the inconvenient truth that such a measure would devastate the economy. They also disregard the fact that few of the nations that have signed are actually bothering to abide by any the treaties provisions.

Even worse news for those who favor the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol is the fact that the provisions written out in it are completely powerless to slow climate change, even if all the nations of the world signed it and honored all of the provisions in it. Jerry Mahlman of the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimates that controlling the earth's carbon dioxide emissions would "take forty successful Kyotos". Considering that the various countries of the world can't handle even one Kyoto, it is literally impossible to see it agreeing to slash its emissions by forty times the amount agreed to in the Kyoto Protocol.

If it is impossible to curb greenhouse gas emissions what is the proper response to global warming? It might seem frightening to do nothing while our entire climate drastically changes (assuming the global warming folks are right) for the worse. (Remarkably, the "experts" seem to agree that nothing good will come out of global warming). However, reducing carbon dioxide in any meaningful amount is an almost impossible goal, especially with Al Gore around with his mega-mansion and his private jets.

If global warming is happening, the best thing for humanity would be to try to simply adjust to it, and not try to push against it. If global warming occurs, there will be definite drawbacks for us. But there will also be benefits. For example, Siberia will probably be a more hospitable. The amount of arable land in the world will probably increase. Humanity can't stop global warming. It can adapt to it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Al-Qaeda is Back To Full Strength

Al-Qaeda is now at its pre-9/11 strength. It seems to me, and I am not a military expert, that if Al-Qaeda is all that strong, they probably have a country (or possibly countries) that they use as a safe haven. Maybe we should find out which countries these are and do something about them? Syria and Iran are both notorious sponsors of terrorism, and we doing nothing about either. We attacked Iraq for far, far less than what we know Iran and Syria have done.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Live Earth Observations

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said that he believed that those who don't believe in global warming are "traitors", and should be treated as such. Those who disagree with global warming are not traitors, since treasonous acts are ones that that threaten to overthrow the state. I don't necessarily expect a whole lot from Kennedy, but is it too much to ask that he get the simplest of terms right? I don't think it is.

Jane Goodhall gave a greeting in chimpanzee language to the assembled Live Earthers. I have to say, that is a heartwarming sign of inclusiveness for all the chimps watching. Sadly, her message was in English, so apparently all the chimpanzees are in the dark as to what she said.

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Inepitude of Congress

In the months since they have taken powers, the Democrat controlled Congress has launched over three hundred investigations. It is a measure of the incompetence of the Democrats that out of three hundred investigations, only one has produced anything at all. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the U.S. attorney firing investigation seems to have hit a wall. So, at this point, the Democrats have started three hundred investigations- and gotten nothing.

In addition to the above not so sterling feat, Congress has gotten nothing done on immigration, border security, or the Iraq War. It briefly stood up to Bush on Iraq, telling him that timelines for withdrawal were an absolute must, and without solid timelines and frequent progress reports, the surge in Iraq was doomed to failure. Then Bush vetoed their bill, and suddenly timelines weren't so important after all.

Congress then turned its gaze to the immigration problem, and somehow succeeded in created a bill that seventy-eight percent of the country disliked, an impressive if unintentional feat. The immigration bill fell apart, so at this point, Congress has struck out three straight times- on investigations, war, and immigration.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Pardoning Libby

Bush has spared Scooter Libby from prison. It is good to see Bush remaining loyal to one unjustly accused, and preventing him from spending two and a half long years in a prison cell. Many liberals are complaining about the pardon, but it is not like Libby is getting off easy. He still has to pay a fine of $250,000 and faces two years' probation. Still, it was a courageous and necessary move by Bush.

Michael Moore is going to Iran. Maybe we could "accidentally" cancel his passport while he is there. It would show him how well most bureaucracies work, and also give him an extended view of life in Iran. Locked up in one of Ahmadinejad's prisons would help him lose some weight.

It turns out that Michael Moore is not going to Iran. I regret the error. At least he can spend some time with Fidel Castro if he wants to hang out with a maniacal dictator.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Newt for President???

Newt Gingrich, although he has already announced that he will probably not run for President, is suddenly being mentioned again as a candidate. Bob Novak recently wrote that Newt's decision of whether or not to run will depend on the status of Fred Thompson's candidacy. Gingrich had it all worked out; he would bank on the conservative discontent with the Big Three (Giuliani, Romney, and McCain), and announce in the fall, after he figured that any momentum any of those had would be at least partially exhausted.

Unfortunately for Gingrich, Fred Thompson came out of nowhere and quickly catapulted himself to the top of the Republican polls. Gingrich's support rapidly evaporated, and he found himself on the outside looking in. He is now, although this could change at any moment, simply a conservative pundit with a run for the Presidency low on his list of priories.

Newt Gingrich is all about Solutions. I know this because he is always careful to work the word "solutions" into everything he does, says, or writes. He is trying to present himself as a guru of conservatism, a master of Solutions, and, inevitably, the next Reagan.

Gingrich is not the next Reagan, however. He barely qualifies as the next Bob Dole. As Speaker of the House, he faced off against Bill Clinton. He lost. Why does he think that anyone will consider him a threat to Hillary?

Adjectives that would describe Newt Gingrich include intelligent, outspoken, and bright. Unfortunately, "calculating" works as well. He has attempted to establish a solid foundation for a Presidential run, all while claiming that the White House is not a big deal to him. It is obvious, however, that he has, and has had for a long time, his sights set on the Presidency.

He wrote a book called "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America". It should have been called "What I Would Do If I Were President". He publicly asked Dr. James Dobson for forgiveness for his checkered martial career on Dobson's radio show, in a clear attempt to woo the Christian right. He has even started up a radio commentary which airs on the Michael Reagan and G. Gordon Liddy shows. Ronald Reagan had a radio commentary too.

While there is nothing wrong with playing hard to round up support for a Presidential run (a la Fred Thompson), it seems to me that that is something a little devious, perhaps Machiavellian in him planning a run two years in advance, but never publicly stating what his intentions are.

Newt also has a few positions that are somewhat suspect from a conservative perspective. He believes that global warming is manmade, and something should be done about it. He is not in favor of government regulation of the environment, but instead favors "'green conservatism". Although some to the details are a bit foggy, it seems that he would try to persuade polluters to stop through incentives given for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. While it beats anything the Democrats could come up with, Gingrich (who claims to be a small government fan) seems to forget that an option like the one he proposes would be very expensive. After all, if there was a cheap way to reduce emissions, many companies would already be using them, if only to get the government off of their backs. "Green Conservatism" seems to be the handing out of subsidies to big business.

Newt Gingrich's judgment is also questionable when you consider that he supported Harriet Miers' Supreme Court nomination. Anyone who supported that amazingly misguided appointment may not be suited for the Presidency.