Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sarah Palin

John McCain's choice is purportedly Sarah Palin.

I believe that. Bill Kristol is right again.

Who is Sarah Palin?

Anyone in the world can answer that better than I.

John McCain's Vice Presidential Pick

I predict former Michiganian and unrepentant Massachusettsite Mitt Romney will be declared John McCain's, the Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 2008.

I hope Bill Kristol is right and John McCain chooses Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as the VP candidate.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Michigan State University football schedule 2008-2009

Saturday, Aug 30
Sport Event Location Time Coverage
Football California Berkeley, Calif. 8:00 PM ABC
Saturday, Sept 6
Sport Event Location Time Coverage
Football Eastern Michigan East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 PM Big Ten Network
Saturday, Sept 13
Sport Event Location Time Coverage
Football Florida Atlantic East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 PM ESPN or ESPN2
Saturday, Sept 20
Sport Event Location Time Coverage
Football Notre Dame East Lansing, Mich. 3:30 PM ABC
Sunday, Sept 28
Sport Event Location Time Coverage
Women's Soccer Iowa East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 PM Big Ten Network
Saturday, Oct 4
Sport Event Location Time Coverage
Football Iowa (Homecoming) East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 PM ESPN, ESPN2 or Big Ten Network

Saturday, Aug 30
Opponent Time Coverage
at California 8:00 PM | ABC
Saturday, Sept 6
Opponent Time Coverage
vs Eastern Michigan 12:00 PM | | Big Ten Network
Saturday, Sept 13
Opponent Time Coverage
vs Florida Atlantic 12:00 PM | | ESPN or ESPN2
Saturday, Sept 20
Opponent Time Coverage
vs Notre Dame 3:30 PM | | ABC
Saturday, Sept 27
Opponent Time Coverage
at Indiana TBA |
Saturday, Oct 4
Opponent Time Coverage
vs Iowa (Homecoming) 12:00 PM | | ESPN, ESPN2 or Big Ten Network

2008-2009 SCHEDULE
( Click on an event for complete event information )
Date Opponent / Event Location Time / Result
08/30/08 at California TV Berkeley, Calif. 8:00 p.m. ET
09/06/08 vs. Eastern Michigan TV East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 p.m. ET
09/13/08 vs. Florida Atlantic TV East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 p.m. ET
09/20/08 vs. Notre Dame TV East Lansing, Mich. 3:30 p.m. ET
09/27/08 at Indiana * Bloomington, Ind. TBA
10/04/08 vs. Iowa (Homecoming) * TV East Lansing, Mich. 12:00 p.m. ET
10/11/08 at Northwestern * Evanston, Ill. TBA
10/18/08 vs. Ohio State * East Lansing, Mich. TBA
10/25/08 at Michigan * Ann Arbor, Mich. TBA
11/01/08 vs. Wisconsin * East Lansing, Mich. TBA
11/08/08 vs. Purdue * East Lansing, Mich. TBA
11/22/08 at Penn State * State College, Pa. TBA

Next Event


Aug. 30, 2008
Berkeley, Calif.
8:00 p.m. ET



from Michigan State University Official Athletic Site

Joe Biden's dishonesty steeped in his arrogance, or vice versa

An angry Joe Biden.

Fallacy: “I went to law school on a full academic scholarship. The only one in my law school to have a full academic scholarship.” – Joe Biden

Fact: He had a partial scholarship that was based on economic need.

Fallacy: “I graduated with three degrees from undergraduate school.” – Joe Biden

Fact: He had/has one undergraduate degree.

Fallacy: “I went back to law school and ended up in the top half of my class.” – Joe Biden

Fact: He later released is law school transcript which revealed he placed 76 out of 85.

A number of the details for Joe Biden's rampant dishonesty, or at least his prevalent dishonesty regarding his own history can be found in this New York Times article.

The above was adapted from Brian Davenport. It originally appeared as a message to members of the Facebook group Stop Barack Hussein Obama: (One Million Strong AGAINST Obama).

Charlie Wilson confused his candidates with Osama bin Laden

Charlie Wilson claimed he supported a President Osama bin Laden instead of Obama and Biden. The question I have, is why he made the slip-up. I do not believe it was merely that the names sound the same. I think there is a deeper psychological confusion regarding the three men in Charlie Wilson's mind.

Olbermanniacal Melodrama in the Denver Convention

Robert Ferrigno writes an interesting and realistic piece of fiction detailing some of the behind the scenes of the Democrat National Convention, 2008, especially regarding the fried perspective of dishonest Partisan Keith Olbermann.

I only call him a dishonest partisan because he is a partisan and still pretends to be objective. Of course, instead of being the Edward R. Murrow he wishes to have us believe he is, he is a diva.

Maybe the NRO article is not a realistic piece of fiction. Maybe I have too much fun with it. Maybe it is merely parody and I enjoyed it too much. Would Barack Obama confront an electoral delegates lock-up against Senator Clinton with such a mix of stand-offish and personal tactics?

Michigan state History museum hours

Michigan Historical Museum, Lansing
(Admission is free, although there may be a charge for special programs.)

  • Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Obamessiah III

From the Corner

Misunderstood Messianism [Ramesh Ponnuru]

Jonathan Chait writes, "The Cult of Obama is no stranger or kitschier than the Cult of Reagan or the (short-lived) Cult of George W. Bush. . . . It's true that a lot of Obama supporters have unrealistic expectations of what he could accomplish as president, but that is not a good reason to vote against him."

Three points. First: Reagan had actually accomplished a few things—for example, he had had a successful presidency—before anything resembling a "cult" formed around him. The lionization of Obama given his meager accomplishments is a much stranger phenomenon. Second: When political movements exaggerate their leaders' virtues, their opponents will make fun of them. Chait has written articles ridiculing the Right's Reagan-love; why can't we do the same thing? Third: The point of the McCain campaign's attacks on Obama as a celebrity is not to make people vote against him in disgust at his supporters. It is to suggest that once the halo is taken off him, he isn't a very compelling figure. Agreeing with that assessment as I do, I don't see anything wrong with putting it forward (although there are of course better and worse ways to do it).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I hate network TV coverage of the Democrat Convention

I turn on the television and instead of seeing the Convention and what may possibly be occurring there, or shown to the attendees, I am among those subjected to the talking heads of the respective network bloviating about what they think matters or interviewing some fool.

  • I do not respect Katie Couric.
  • I barely respect the oblivious Partisans at PBS.
  • I do not care what the ABC Disney folk want to present.
  • Brian Williams is the least offensive, but I did not turn on the Democrat Party National Convention to hear him and Dan Rather throw out prognostications.

I assume if I had cable these same feelings would apply to Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. I want C-SPAN.

I just want to see.

Archbishop Charles Chaput on faith & politics

Separating Church and state does not mean separating faith and political issues. Real pluralism requires a healthy conflict of ideas. In fact, the best way to kill a democracy is for people to remove their religious and moral convictions from their political decision-making. If people really believe something, they’ll always act on it as a matter of conscience. Otherwise they’re just lying to themselves. So the idea of forcing religion out of public policy debates is not only unwise, it’s anti-democratic.


Monday, August 25, 2008

the Biden Spot

Jim Geraghty noted exactly where/when Senator Joe Biden was pegged as Senator Barack Obama's VP choice. What is also included are links to interesting stuff we all need to read and here. Ultimately I believe Joe Biden is a choice that is most beneficial to Senator Obama's Presidential opponent and anti-supporters.

Explosive Tumors!?

There is an episode from Stargate Atlantis Season 3 called "Sunday" where a nominally well-loved, popular character is written out by an enormously trivial-sounding B-plot macguffin. I don't know how I feel about that.

Down to brass tacks.
  • Senator Barack Obama has selected former Nemesis Biden as his running mate. To be fair I would feel safer with President Biden than President Obama as far as experience goes, but ultimately the Democrat platform typically mirrors the more cynical and pessimistic swings, moods, shifts, and views of the country. I am not saying that those views are not valid at one point or another but I emphasize that no matter how everyone can believe what they want to belief, government policy should not be based on worst instincts, primal instincts, fears or feelings.
  • It is hideous that both Presidential candidates choose to frame those who produce and manufacture, distribute en masse, the fuels that power our daily commutes, as villains to be combated. In one television advertisement John McCain promises to "combat Big Oil". Why must companies, corporate entities, people, be vilified for these candidates to be self-glorified, especially given that life would not be possible as we know it without these entities? In my mind these candidates become less and less worthy of the office simply for the weight of the false sins heaped on these other folk. John McCain seems like a lesser man for his attacks.
  • The 2008 State Republican Convention was a success in that all that they required to occur did. All I was required to accomplish was made done.
More later....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Americans United for Life

official website - Americans United for Life

Guerilla Congress dontgo facebook release

The following is something I want to remember and I need a point of reference.

We're Ready - It's Showtime!

August 4 at 1:51am

On Sunday, over thirty Republican Members announced that they would return to the House of Representatives to continue the Guerilla Congress's phantom sessions. Members will continue to discuss the need for an 'all of the above' energy plan with visitors, and keep the pressure on the Democrats to reconvene the House and allow a vote on offshore drilling.

The session is expected to begin around 10 AM Eastern. The designated Twitter hashtag for who are stepping up to get footage from the event is #rth, and has offered to promote any media uploaded to the website. The Twitter feed #dontgo, accessible at, will be used by members and other observers to relay information about the event itself outside the Capitol.

If you plan to report from the event, be sure to stick to #rth and upload to From there, we will need all of you to alert the media about the Eyeblast content and promote it as much as possible.

Be sure to follow and Rock the House for continuing developments tomorrow.

Americans United for Life and Saddleback Civil Forum

Media Advisory: AUL President Dr. Charmaine Yoest to Attend Saddleback Civil Forum, Will be Available for Interviews

Los Angeles -- Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President of Americans United for Life, will attend the Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency, Saturday, August 16, 2008, in Lake Forest, California. This will be the first public forum between the two candidates.

In the discussions leading up to the event, one topic has been consistently minimized: abortion.

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, has said he will be more interested in “uniting” questions, and has suggested he will stick to topics such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, climate change, and human rights.

However, recent reports that the Democratic Party has modified its platform language regarding abortion make the issue particularly relevant and timely. The conversation is certain to continue with the addition of a statement supporting both Roe v. Wade and “a woman's decision to have a child.”

Dr. Yoest said, “to try to establish a moral equivalency between motherhood and abortion is offensive to millions of voters."

“Abortion remains a key issue for millions of American voters. I hope the candidates will engage this important issue at the forum,” added Yoest.

Dr. Yoest will be available for interviews immediately following the event.

About Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which every human being is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS' Frontline program chronicled AUL's successful efforts in Mississippi.



Media Contact

Matthew Eppinette


Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour release


Unlikely Group to Star In Sept. 10 Fundraiser Featuring Huckabee, Barr and More

WASHINGTON, DCFor 15 years, the Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest has brought together so many political opposites. Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, Dennis Kucinich and Ed Gillespie and so many more “enemies” have called a truce in the name of comedy. Only at this annual fundraiser can Democrats, Republicans and people of all political persuasions grace the stage together.

However, on Wednesday, September 10th at 7pm at the world-famous DC Improv ( 1140 Connecticut Ave, NW ), members of the internationally-acclaimed Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour will break new ground for the show’s 15th anniversary: trying to solve the never-ending conflict in the Middle East .

“Some of the best comedy comes from conflict,” said show producer Richard Siegel. “And who’s got more conflict than Israelis and Palestinians? It’s like ‘The Odd Couple,’ but of Biblical proportions.”

The Tour, the featured act of the evening, consist of the only partnership between Palestinian and Israeli standup comedians in the world and have performed several tours throughout Israel and in East Jerusalem. The four-member troupe consists of Palestinian Ray Hanania, “ Second City ” veteran Aaron Freeman (a black Jewish convert), and Israelis Yisrael Campbell and Charley Warady. While diplomacy and fighting have not settled the differences between Palestinians and Israelis and Jews and Arabs, they decided to give stand-up comedy a try. Hanania and Freeman will represent the group and close the show on Sept. 10th.

The star-studded competition for the prestigious “Funniest Celebrity in Washington ” title will feature former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, current Libertarian presidential nominee Bob Barr, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), David Shuster from MSNBC’s “Hardball,” nationally syndicated radio host Jim Bohannon and many more.

Individual tickets for the event are $200, while a VIP package of a table for eight, seating with a celebrity and VIP reception passes costs $5,000. Comedian Brett Leake will deliver a private show to VIP ticket holders.

Proceeds from the event will benefit VSA arts, an international nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. VSA arts provides educators, parents, and artists with resources and the tools to support arts programming in schools and communities. VSA arts showcases the accomplishments of artists with disabilities and promotes increased access to the arts for people with disabilities. Each year millions of people participate in VSA arts programs through a nationwide network of affiliates and in 55 countries around the world. VSA arts is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit

For more information about the Contest and tickets, contact Richard Siegel at (202) 250-9193 or visit or


MySpace Bulletin - The Argument Against Idiots "The Rich"

From: Operation Rooster

Date: Aug 19, 2008 3:48 PM
Subject: The Argument Against Idiots: "The Rich"
Body: "Arguments Against Idiots" is a feature of Glenn Beck's free email newsletter. This is where Glenn gives you the arguments that you're idiot friends will throw at you concerning various topics, and he gives you the facts to combat the idiotic arguments.
You can sign up for Glenn's free email newsletter by going to glennbeck. com.

The Issue:
"The Rich"

What The LIberal Whiners Say:
'The rich should be willing to pay more'

'As Barack Obama said, If you believe in good schools, good roads, if we want to make sure that kids can go to college and if we don't want to leave a mountain of debt for the next generation, then...we've got to pay for these things'

'You conservative-Christians claim to be so into the Bible, why don't you read it sometime! We're supposed to take care of the poor'

Your Winning, Logical, Reasoned, Argument:
Why? Why should anyone be willing to have their hard-earned money taken from them by force, and then wasted by an out-of-control government?

2. So, the only way to have good schools is to spend more money? Then why are some of the worst schools in America, scholastically speaking, in Washington DC, where we spend the most money per student? New York spends the most per student at $14,119 yet ranks 44th in SAT scores. DC ranks 3rd in spending-nearly $13,000 per student, yet ranks 51st, yes dead last.
As for leaving a "mountain of debt for the next generation", here's a concept…CUT SPENDING!

3. We sure are. And if you can show me even ONE verse in the King James version of the Bible where it says that governments should tax their citizens more to help the poor, I'll swallow the Bible whole, join the democrat party right now, donate 50% of my income to the federal government, and do bake sale fundraisers for Barack Obama.

INDIVIDUALS have the responsibility to take care of the poor NOT governments…each person is responsible for himself and his family, then if he can't make it, his other family members should step in, then friends, then church organizations. If none of those can help then, as a last resort, the government is there. If we had these values, there would be no need to forcefully take obscene percentages of successful people's income from them.

For more news and info you need to know from America and around the world go to operationrooster. com.

You can catch my updates on "Texas Fellowship" Saturday night through Thursday night (12:00 am eastern/9:00 pm pacific) by going to www. blogtalkradio. com/txfellowship.
You can also listen to past shows.

Please check out my other sites: Tim’s Troop Tribute and Tim’s 9/11 Tribute.

Feel free to (and please) pass along to others anything in this bulletin or on the site.

To repost this bulletin with the links (links take you to the entire article): hit the “reply to poster” button below the bulletin, copy this bulletin, paste into your new bulletin.
The Argument Against Idiots: "The Rich"

who is this young woman?

What do we know about her?

She like to walk on the beach?

She enjoys traveling?

Does she like long drives, car rides?

Does she dance?

I wonder if she appreciates attention, the spotlight.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tim Walberg campaign kick-off - 2008 Eaton County

The announcement arrived in my e-mail Inbox as follows.

Please join us at..
Congressman Walberg's Eaton County Campaign Kickoff!
Thursday, August 7, 2008 at 1:30pm
Linn Products, Inc.
1200 Lipsey Dr., Charlotte
Please join Congressman Walberg and other Eaton County leaders for a special rally, including Representative Jones and Sheriff Raines, as the Congressman officially begins his campaign in Eaton County!


That was unnecessary as I received a personal phone call from Congressman Walberg's Deputy Campaign Manager. I also know members of his District field staff. Despite that I doubt the Congressman knows my name, and perhaps would not be able to recognize my face (and why would he), it is always fun to have a connection that one can maintain, and does maintain, with a political entity, individual.

Mind you, so far this has not helped me get a job, so my mother would to some extent question the utility of maintaining these relationships, and to a large but not total extent I agree.
We would both agree that there is some (great and incalculable) value to keeping Congressman Walberg in office and preventing the ascension of State Senator Mark Schauer to the DC-based federal legislature. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction serving my community in this small way. The Walberg Campaign needs warm bodies in its events and rallies; I enjoy serving in nearly any relevant role, and believe it or not, this is relevant. These things must get done. I must play my part.
I will admit to being more than a little jealous of the Walberg Deputy Campaign Manager for a variety of reasons and purposes. This covetousness must be dispensed with. I have my hopes, eternally, about finding continuous political work, work in my field that takes place over an indefinite period of time with no pre-determined ending but I have lapses in faith and I will always look in the Private Sector. One can still be a political animal and work in the Private Sector, and sometimes old dreams, even logical visions, just have to die. I never give up. The mission is not about me; the Crusade must continue.

So I took time out of my day to see Congressman Walberg at the Eaton County kick-off. It was one of a plurality across the Michigan 7th District.

Congressman Tim Walberg greets supporters.

Congressman Walberg approaches the dais.

Congressman Walberg approaches the dais and greets supporters.

The owner of Linn Products, Inc. introduces the first speaker, State Representative Rick Jones.

State Representative Rick Jones begins his speech.

Rep. Jones, who is also the former Sheriff of Eaton County, introduces the next speaker.

The next speaker is the Mayor of Charlotte, MI, Deb Shaughnessy.

Eaton County Republican Party Chairman Dr. Tim Tarry.

He introduced the legislator.

As he begins his speech he thanks everyone for arriving, including but not limited to the spy for Mark Schauer's campaign who is obvious enough in the crowd. The spy refused to wear a sticker. The theme of the speech is energy.

The gas can is symbolism. Part of the political play in this energy crisis involves stuffing supporters' fuel receipts into this gas can and taking this gas can to "Mother Pelosi", House Speaker Pelosi, as a rhetorical instrument demanding actual legislative deliberation, instead of Congressional vacation.

At this point it started to rain, so we retreated inside of Linn Products. I cannot recall what they make: something metal. I have more photographs inside the plant, but I do not care for them enough to just upload them here. Ultimately as we all arrived Congressman Walberg thanked various individuals as he could, and mentioned quite fervently State Senator Schauer's rather naked rhetoric and legislation on energy. The representative from the Schauer campaign was there with a video camera; he almost looked like a tourist and acted vaguely friendly but he refused a sticker, and was there for the simple purpose of taping the speech hoping for something that the Democrat campaign could use out of context. The best the spy could hope for though was some fresh intelligence on the Congressman's talking points, because there was nothing (that I could hear or notice) that would compromise Tim Walberg in the collective mind of his District, in the speech.

Tim Walberg mentioned (as I knew) that he was one of so-called "Guerrilla Congress" standing in the US House Chambers, congregating with other supporters of energy policy reform on a federal level, coincidentally all Republicans, in the face of Speaker Pelosi dismissing our fair and legally appointed, elected Representatives, so she could pursue a book tour.

The theme of this speech, and I reckon this campaign, is energy. There are a number of different elements and notions about gathering and distributing energy, including availability, cost and benefit. One wants petroleum to be less expensive and the American dependency not in the Middle East. The partisan stance on the Left rejects traditional terrestrial energy (I do not doubt that this rejection is related to the green lobbies and the global warming movements, which support the Democrats) in favor of un-traditional terrestrial energy, and "alternative energy", neither of which has been proven in a wide-scale, economically viable and reproducible model.... and to some extent the "alternative energy" envisioned by President Bush in 2006, Governor Granholm a few years ago, and State Senator Schauer and Senator Barack Obama now, is of a greater science fictional quality than the moon shot when President Kennedy called for it way back then. Naturally Americans, including the "Big Oil" companies, use petroleum because it is the most efficient and least expensive fuel resource. The logical course of action, based on that, is to seek more petroleum. What is also logical, aside from keeping an eye on the basket we put the energy eggs in, is also to seek more baskets, different eggs, and keep a sort of open eye to what we know works and what we theorize might work.

I am only sightly oversimplifying when I state that the Democrats keep a firm dogmatic view towards the use of unproven technologies as the best choice, with the most national resources (at least what resources that the government can directly and indirectly control) dedicated towards vitalizing those technologies. I prefer the Right-Wing view, which is quite simple. We Americans support everything that does work, keeping in mind what might work. So we should release, allow, American petroleum companies to search for, pump, drill, refine, and take up, own, acquire all that black gold energy that is possible. The best goal is for government to get out of the way.

Congressman Walberg understands this. There is no high tax for a large company, be it an energy company or not, that is a moral default position, or morally is a default position. Unlike various advertisements for Senator Obama's Presidential campaign or those seeking to tear Congressman Walberg from his seat there is no automatic American expectation for a producing company to be heavily taxed, and it is no sin for in American minds for a profitable company to not be punished for those profits, even if the product distributed that led to those profits is egregiously expensive. On the other hand, this ties in to the politics of class envy, which is a classic tactic of the Left. I hate that.

Nominally the solution to a necessary good being overly expensive is to increase the supply, which would lower the price. The Guerrilla Congress seeks to do that. It is not a Guerrilla Congress, however, if the Legislature convenes as normal and then, finally votes for the regulatory reforms, or at least publicly deliberates on regulatory reform as the Democrats stonewall, that would allow various "Big Oil" companies to pursue actions which would ultimately result in lower fuel prices

It is sick that the Democrat candidates talk about "alternative" sources of energy but they are not interesting in diverse sources of energy to the point where they would seek to support the original petroleum establishment. Eventually fossil fuels will burn out and run out, but crippling the industry to use those fuels while they are available hurts our economy now, and discourages the principal actors when it comes to innovation later.

When it rained, the Congressman took the speech inside the plant. He asked us to sign the petition, to send messages however we could.

Before it rained the Congressman described his photo opportunities at various gas stations.
He also referred to a television advertisement that he had filmed, one which gave him the opportunity to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and not do so just for fun.

Naturally when the speech was over those of us that could took Walbeg lawn signs.

It was good.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Template Update

This was long in coming.

I already backed up my old list of links and blog roll so if you want to know what I removed, go find the old list and just compare. The why I removed what I did may come later if I care.

So what will I add?

Five Michigan blogs I like or wish to try out: that's what.

I am a Contributor to

Political News and Commentary with the Right Perspective.
as it is.

Let's keep going.

Akindele Unleashed
"The Urban Conservative Movement will begin through Akindele Akinyemi. The only urban conservastive blog in the State of Michigan that tackles issues from a controversial point of view Mr. Akinyemi is aiming to change the minds, hearts and souls of those who are lost in the wilderness of Michigan."

Akindele Akinyemi has the right perspective for the Problem(s) of Detroit. I would have abandoned the city and tried declaring it not a part of the country. Mr. Akinyemi has more faith and hope than I do and thank God that he does!

Jack McHugh's Blog
"Hopefully not-boring, not-trite comments on politics, policy, culture, history and more"

I'll confess I may just want to be invited back to his house for the next barbecue.

Koss Country
"American Triumphalism in Action"

Brian Koss is a friend and colleague of mine in a variety of endeavors past and present. I was going to add his blog to a different, more important list on my blog, but I procrastinated.

Congressman Tim Walberg
Tim Walberg is the Congressman of my beloved 7th District and he defends liberty. He is also one of the only politicians to throw off my natural suspicion of politicians. Which means I have to devote special energy and attention to scrutinizing him. Whatever the case, I actually, genuinely trust this particular elected official.

I already had Jack Hoogendyk's Core Principles on my list.

Michigan Taxes Too Much
"Michigan burdens its Taxpayers as well as Michigan Issues, Satire, and Commentary"

This should require no explanation.

Part of the above is to make a good attempt in the Right Michigan Bloggers Challenge.
Part of it is community obligation.

Although I will add Shamus Young's

It is a good weblog.

UPDATE: Dean Esmay is out! So how could I have forgotten to add

Swing Vote better be good

Swing Vote Swing Vote
Rating: PG13, Run Time: 124 min Extras: DLP
11:00 a 1:40 p 4:25 p 7:10 p 9:55 p

Kevin Costner is a good actor, but a terrible judge for scripts.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barack Obama is wrong because talking sometimes makes it worse

The following is obviously stolen from the Weekly Standard. It is for what I have been searching these many weeks since my return from Nebraska. It was simpler than I thought once I had the right terms in mine to Google.

The Weekly Standard

The Talking Cure
Sometimes it makes things worse.
by Max Boot
06/23/2008, Volume 013, Issue 39

Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century
by David Reynolds
Basic Books, 576 pp., $35

Nixon and Mao
The Week that Changed the World
by Margaret Macmillan
Random House, 432 pp., $27.95

Question: "In 1982 [sic], Anwar Sadat traveled to Israel, a trip that resulted in a peace agreement that has lasted ever since. In the spirit of that type of bold leadership, would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"

Barack Obama: "I would."

With that off-the-cuff answer, given at a Democratic presidential debate last July, Barack Obama unwittingly launched a controversy that, almost a year later, shows no sign of dissipating. He might have responded differently--and spared himself a lot of agonized backtracking on the part of his aides and supporters--if he had been able to read beforehand David Reynolds's Summits.

Reynolds is a professor of international history at Cambridge whose previous book, In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War, was a fascinating account of how Winston Churchill wrote his World War II memoirs. He is, to judge by Summits, a man of the moderate left, or so I gather from his use of stock phrases such as "rush to war" when discussing the diplomacy that led up to the invasion of Iraq. There is no reason to think that he intended this book to be an indictment of the Obama mindset. But that is how it reads.

To be sure, he presents the advantages of summits: "Face to face across the conference table, statesmen can sense each other's needs and objectives in a way that no amount of letters, phone calls, or emails can deliver. Summitry can also cut through bureaucratic obstacles that block progress lower down." But he also warns that "the potential dangers are immense." Those dangers loom especially large, at least to this reader, in his discussion of six major 20th-century summits, most of which did not have a very happy outcome.

In his introduction, Reynolds notes that the term "summit" was coined by Churchill in 1950 when he called for "another talk with the Soviet Union at the highest level"--or a "parley at the summit." The metaphor was inspired, Reynolds believes, by news accounts of the British expeditions to scale Mount Everest. While the term is of recent vintage, the practice of leaders meeting with one another is, of course, ancient. In centuries past, kings or emperors would meet, usually on the boundary of their domains, so as to avoid the submission implicit in one monarch visiting another's court. (A famous get-together of this sort occurred in 1807 between Napoleon and Czar Alexander I on a raft on the Niemen River. The result was the Treaty of Tilsit, which created a short-lived Franco-Russian alliance.)

Reynolds argues that a qualitative change in summitry occurred in the early years of the 20th century--"made possible by air travel, made necessary by weapons of mass destruction and made into household news by the mass media or newsreels and television." The first summit of this sort, he writes, was Munich--hardly a propitious beginning.

The Munich conference of September 29-30, 1938, was the third in a series of meetings held over the course of that month between the British prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, and German chancellor, Adolf Hitler. The impetus was Hitler's bullying of Czechoslovakia over the alleged mistreatment of ethnic Germans living in its Sudetenland region. Paris was allied with Prague, and Chamberlain feared that if Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, the result would be a general European war. This he was determined to avoid at all costs, not least because he, along with the rest of the British government, was in the grip of exaggerated estimates of the potential havoc that German bombers could wreak on London.

Writes Reynolds:

In 1938 Nazi bombers lacked sufficient range to reach London from Germany: this only became possible in 1940 when Hitler controlled the coasts of Belgium and France. Here was a massive intelligence failure about weapons of mass destruction. It skewed defense policy toward airpower and diplomacy toward isolationism.

While fear was an important impetus for appeasement, Reynolds highlights another, less-known motivation: arrogance. The hubristic Chamberlain thought that, through force of personality, he could bring Herr Hitler around and change the course of history: "I have only to raise a finger & the whole face of Europe is changed," he wrote to his spinster sisters.

As it happens, it was Hitler who raised his finger and Chamberlain who changed. In their meetings, the Nazi dictator escalated his demands from "autonomy for the Sudeten Germans to a transfer of territory." Chamberlain caved in. In order to make his surrender more palatable to domestic opinion, he got Hitler's assent to a vague statement about the importance of harmonious Anglo-German relations in the future and "the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again." It was this "piece of paper" that Chamberlain claimed, on his return to 10 Downing Street, would usher in "peace with honor peace for our time."

Some revisionist historians have suggested that Chamberlain was a realist who wisely acted to postpone a war for which his country was unprepared. This ignores the fact, Reynolds notes, that in 1938 Germany was not ready for war, either, and that if Hitler had insisted on taking the plunge there was a high-level conspiracy among military and government officials to depose him. Chamberlain's appeasement took the pressure off and gave the Führer new confidence on the path of conquest.

"Our enemies are small worms," he told his generals in August 1939. "I saw them in Munich."

The prime "worm," for his part, genuinely and pathetically believed in Hitler's assurances of goodwill. Chamberlain told the cabinet, "When Herr Hitler announced that he meant to do something it was certain that he would do it." That kind of credulity is one of the great dangers of summitry. It is all too easy to conclude that the person across the table is being open and honest when he is actually faking sincerity--a skill cultivated by many politicians in both democratic and despotic systems.

Even Churchill, the leading critic of appeasement, was susceptible to this failing in his dealings with another dictator. In January 1944 he remarked that "if only I could dine with Stalin once a week, there would be no trouble at all. We get on like a house on fire." Later that year, after his second visit to Moscow, he wrote to his wife: "I have had [very] nice talks with the Old Bear. I like him the more I see him. Now they respect us here & I am sure they wish to work [with] us."

Churchill's transatlantic partner, Franklin Roosevelt, labored under similar illusions about "Uncle Joe." He wrote to Churchill in March 1942: "I think I can personally handle Stalin better than either your Foreign Office or my State Department. Stalin hates the guts of all your top people. He thinks he likes me better, and I hope he will continue to do so." (Interestingly, FDR had a better measure of Hitler, whom he never met. In January 1939 he described him accurately--more accurately than Chamberlain, who had met him three times--as a "wild man" and a "nut.")

Churchill and Roosevelt were to be sorely disappointed at Yalta in 1945, the second summit that Reynolds dissects. He argues that Yalta gets a bit of a bum rap because it has often been associated with the Anglo-American "sellout" of Eastern Europe. Actually, Soviet domination was dictated by events on the ground: "By February 1945, when the Big Three convened at Yalta, the Soviets were in control of much of Eastern Europe. They could not be evicted except by force, and it was politically impossible for Britain or America to turn on their ally in this way."

Even so, Yalta was a failure because Churchill and Roosevelt did not succeed in drawing Stalin into a cooperative long-term relationship, as they had hoped. The Soviet dictator skillfully manipulated them to give the impression that he was making concessions even when he wasn't.

Roosevelt, for instance, offered territorial incentives in the Far East for the Soviet Union to join the war against Japan. FDR thought he had scored quite a coup when Stalin agreed--little realizing that "Stalin, as we now know, was desperately anxious to get into the Pacific war as soon as he could extricate his combat troops from Europe." -Roosevelt was also "much gratified" by how the Soviets came around on the proposed United Nations Organization: After initially demanding 16 votes (one for each Soviet republic), Stalin scaled down his demand to "only" two to three votes. In fact, Reynolds writes, this was probably his bottom line all along; he only pushed the larger demand "to gain credit for use on other issues."

One of those issues was Poland, where Stalin was determined to assure future Soviet domination. The Western leaders knew they could not stop him, but they wanted to at least "ameliorate" the situation, as Churchill put it. They didn't achieve even that much, since Stalin never had any intention of holding "free and unfettered" elections of the kind they demanded.

Both Churchill and Roosevelt oversold the "spirit" of Yalta when they got home, leaving their publics and successors unprepared for the descent of what Churchill in the following year would call an "Iron Curtain" across Europe.

It was an attempt to lower the resulting superpower tensions that created the conditions for what, after Munich, was surely the most disastrous summit of modern times. This was the meeting in Vienna on June 3-4, 1961, between Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy--a meeting that Barack Obama has, inexplicably, cited as evidence of the advantages of meeting your foes. Quite the opposite: It showed the dangers of rushing ill-prepared into a meeting at a disadvantageous moment.

Kennedy sought the two-day get-together to get a better sense of the Soviet leader. What he saw, and even more what Khrushchev saw in return, ratcheted up Cold War tensions. The Soviet leader was already unimpressed by the botched Bay of Pigs invasion on April 17. The Vienna talks confirmed his initial impression that his interlocutor was "very inexperienced, even immature"--not "a man of intelligence and vision," like his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower. This encouraged Khrushchev to bully Kennedy, warning him that "if the U.S. wants war, that is its problem."

Immediately after the summit, Kennedy told James Reston of the New York Times that the meeting had been the "roughest thing in my life." For a veteran of PT-109, that's saying something. He went on to complain that Khrushchev "just beat the hell out of me. So I've got a terrible problem. If he thinks I'm inexperienced and have no guts, until we remove those ideas we won't get anywhere with him." Bobby Kennedy thought this was "the first time the President had ever really come across somebody with whom he couldn't exchange ideas in a meaningful way." (One wonders if Obama has met such a person yet.)

Of course, the upshot of the Vienna summit was that Khrushchev went ahead with plans to build the Berlin Wall and, when Kennedy did not resist this provocative move, to install nuclear missiles in Cuba--what he called throwing "a hedgehog down Uncle Sam's pants." Reynolds contends that another result of Vienna was the growing American commitment to South Vietnam, undertaken by Kennedy to show that he was tougher than he looked at first glance.

"Their ill-tempered encounter, which degenerated into a test of virility," Reynolds writes, "constitutes a classic example of how not do summitry."

After Vienna, no American president rushed into another early summit, but none could entirely avoid the lure of these occasions, either. (Churchill once noted "how much more attractive a top-level meeting seems when one has reached the top!") The fourth summit that Reynolds focuses on is the 1972 meeting in Moscow between Richard Nixon and Leonid Brezhnev, although he also gives considerable attention to the tête-à-tête earlier that year between Nixon and Mao Zedong--a meeting momentous enough to warrant its own book: Margaret Macmillan's grandiloquently titled Nixon and Mao: The Week that Changed the World. Both meetings were long in the making: They did not occur until the final year of Nixon's first term, and they were both preceded by what Macmillan describes as "three years of delicate feelers, of careful signals sent out and usually but not always received, of indirect contacts, of intense internal debates, and, finally, of direct negotiations." The culmination of these preparations came in trips to Beijing and Moscow by the man the press had dubbed "Super K"--national security adviser Henry Kissinger. Nixon and Kissinger, those two inveterate schemers, wanted to use an opening to Beijing to apply pressure on Moscow, and vice versa. One of their top goals was the isolation of North Vietnam: They hoped to win at the negotiating table with Hanoi's allies what Americans no longer had the willingness to fight for on the ground.

For a while the administration's diplomacy seemed to live up to the hype. But only for a while. In the wake of these summits, the United States and North Vietnam did reach agreement in 1973 on the Paris Peace Accords. Nixon and Kissinger sold this as a guarantee of South Vietnam's independence. But they had privately told the Russians, Chinese, and North Vietnamese that they simply wanted a "decent interval" between American withdrawal and Communist victory. What they got was an indecent interval. (Whether it would have been a different story if not for Watergate, as Nixon and Kissinger later claimed, is impossible to say. Probably not.)

The other achievements of Nixon and Kissinger's fabled summitry look little better in hindsight. The 1972 meeting with Brezhnev produced agreement on SALT (the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, as well as a statement of Basic Principles of U.S.-Soviet relations. These laboriously crafted treaties did not slow the Soviet arms buildup or Soviet adventurism in the Third World, and before long, "détente" had become a millstone around the neck of Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford.

"The ultimate beneficiary of Nixon's summitry," Reynolds concludes, "was Leonid Brezhnev."

Of all Nixon's summits, the one that he was most proud of was the one with Mao, probably the greatest mass murderer in history. As he prepared to leave Shanghai, Nixon called his visit to China "the week that changed the world." Margaret Macmillan, the respected author of a history of the 1919 Versailles peace conference, endorses this "bombast" but does not really back it up. The momentous change in China did not occur as a result of an hour of "amicable and, at times, jocular" chitchat between Nixon and Mao but as a result of Mao's death in 1976 and the accession to power of the reformist Deng Xiaoping. Such internal shifts are always far more important than fleeting encounters between world leaders.

This elementary insight received further confirmation in the late 1980s when Soviet-American relations thawed to a far greater extent than they had in the 1970s. This was due to the coming to power in Moscow of a Communist reformer dedicated to reducing arms expenditures and in Washington of a conservative dedicated to consigning the "evil empire" to the "ash heap of history." Many of Ronald Reagan's early moves--raising the defense budget, increasing support for the anti-Soviet mujahedeen in Afghanistan and the Nicaraguan contras, launching the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)--were denounced at the time for being overly provocative. We know now that they helped pave the way for perestroika and glasnost, and the end of the Cold War.

It was Margaret Thatcher who first recognized that Mikhail Gorbachev was different from his predecessors: "I like Mr. Gorbachev," she said after meeting him for the first time in 1984. "We can do business together." His new foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze, also proved more accommodating than his hard-line predecessor, Andrei Gromyko.

Reagan sought to take advantage of the opportunity by inviting the new Soviet leader to a parley. The meeting was held in Geneva in November 1985. Reagan immediately gained the advantage when he stepped outside into the cold to meet the Soviet leader without benefit of an overcoat, thus projecting an energetic aura. Behind closed doors he steadily parried Gorbachev's attacks and adamantly refused to trade SDI away in return for deep cuts in both sides' nuclear arsenals.

Gorbachev upped the ante the following year at the Reykjavik summit: He offered to abolish both the Russian and American nuclear arsenals in return for an end to Star Wars. But after flirting with a deal, Reagan wisely replied, "Nyet." Instead, he would eventually agree in 1987 to a more limited accord eliminating short-range and intermediate-range land-based nuclear missiles. The Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty included tough verification procedures that had been missing in previous arms-control pacts.

Without doubt the increasingly amicable talks between Gorbachev and his American counterparts--first Reagan, then George H.W. Bush--contributed to the peaceful end of the Cold War. But they were more symptoms than cause of this profound transformation in world affairs. The same might be said for the most successful example of summitry in recent history: the 13 days of meetings at Camp David in September 1978 among Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Jimmy Carter, and their senior aides.

Carter deserves credit for orchestrating a breakthrough, but it would not have been possible if Israel and Egypt had not had leaders ready to make sacrifices for peace. Sadat had proved his seriousness the previous year by flying to Israel. Begin reciprocated by visiting Egypt. That laid the groundwork for the Camp David deal under which Egypt agreed to end its war with Israel and Israel agreed to return the conquered Sinai desert. Although, during the negotiations, Begin had repeatedly said he would not dismantle Israel's Sinai settlements, in the end he did just that, and his conservative Likud party backed him up.

This monumental achievement--the first peace accord between Israel and one of its Arab neighbors--has become the prime exhibit whenever anyone cites the virtues of talking to one's enemies. But as Bill Clinton learned in 2000, when he convened a copycat summit at Camp David between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, imitation can be not just unflattering but downright dangerous. Because Arafat was not as committed to peace as Sadat had been, the negotiations led not to a settlement but to another round of fighting. That is another warning (one that Reynolds does not mention) of the dangers of negotiations.

There is yet another omission in this book that Senator Obama would do well to ponder. Reynolds chronicles meetings between the leaders of Britain and Germany, the United States and the Soviet Union, Israel and Egypt--all countries of relatively similar -stature. Note what he doesn't describe, because it never happened: Dwight D. Eisenhower did not sit down with Kim Il Sung, John F. Kennedy did not chat with Fidel Castro, Jimmy Carter did not break bread with Pol Pot, Ronald Reagan did not engage in repartee with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Why not?

The most obvious obstacle was the difference in stature: By meeting with these petty dictators, an American president would have granted them legitimacy and diminished his own standing. That might have been a price worth paying in return for a real breakthrough, but none of these leaders demonstrated a sincere desire for accommodation on any terms other than his own.

Neither has Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, Raúl Castro, Bashar Assad, or Hugo Chávez--the motley crew that Obama, assuming his campaign rhetoric is to be believed, proposes to meet during his first year in office. If any of them were willing to make Sadat-like concessions, no doubt President Bush (or President McCain) would be willing to talk with them, too. What sets Obama apart, and makes his pledge both eye-catching and dangerous, is his willingness to meet without "preconditions"--that is, without some good reason to believe in advance that something positive will emerge.

Obama must hope that his personal magnetism and savvy will carry the day: that, at worst, he will emerge with a better understanding of his adversary and, at best, with a Nobel Peace Prize. That is what Chamberlain, Kennedy, Nixon, and many other summiteers of the past thought as well. If the history of "parleys at the summit" teaches anything, it is that there is danger in "jaw jaw" as well as in "war war"--and that sometimes the former can make the latter more likely.

Max Boot is a senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign -Relations, a contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD, and a foreign policy adviser to the McCain campaign.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama in Lansing and the Tire Gauge Stunt

Most individuals know that Senator Barack Obama arrived in Lansing on Monday (August 4th, 2008) and performed a speech at the Lansing Center. Logically with a throng of Obama supporters and would-be supporters it was an excellent opportunity for Republicans, detractors of Barack Obama, and supporters of John McCain to assemble and affect some kind of response. I made the joke that the crowds essentially resembled "religious fanatics." Well, I joked continuously that they were religious fanatics. This is somewhat unfair to many of the Presidential candidate's supporters, yet I am getting into the habit of referring to some Democrat candidates as those who promise something for nothing, and hint that that sort of thinking is dangerous for a society. I also made the joke that many were there just to touch Senator Obama's clothes. This is more or less part of a societal meme and borderline sacrilege on my part than serious commentary; yet there is a strange resemblance between political rallies and religious revivals and politicians, statesmen, would do well to make the content of their speech and action reflect the distinction(s) between the two.

Interestingly enough, this is not only Senator Obama's 47th birthday, but the day before Senator McCain's tire gauge attack really made a genuine impact across the country.

The response that was launched on that day involved a pack of approximately seven people (not being a journalist means I forgot to feel obligated to take a proper count, let alone a proper picture of us) acting as volunteers. Included in that group were three official McCain staff operatives, including the intern from the Farmington Hills office (the head office of the McCain Campaign in Michigan), and three volunteers, as well the official camera man.

Two McCain staffers.
The intern attempting to give out a tire gauge to Obama supporters.
The intern talking with the media.
The McCain staffer talking with the media.

Another volunteer, who shall remain nameless, handing a tire gauge to a Bob Alexander registrar.
This is the same volunteer handing another gauge to another Alexander supporter.

(There are no pictures of me because I took my own pictures).

What is interesting is that Gretchen Whitmer (if I recall correctly) and Mark Schauer refused tire gauges, even after the explanation. Since this is before the "McCain gives out tire gauge" thing gained national attention we showed up incognito and were passing out the gauges as a public service, explaining it straight, as if it were a useful thing to follow Senator Obama's advice to check your tire pressure to save gasoline and petroleum, and thus reduce the need for oil and curb the need for more oil. Interestingly State Senators Whitmer and Schauer do not seem to care. The point was to make some sort of a stir and highlight the ideas as ridiculous. I think we failed. At the time I thought it was a stupid idea and a wasted opportunity. As conservative talk radio show hosts and various pundits may think it is clever now, and for all I know it has made a negative impact against the Democrat candidate, at the time it was simply one day before it became widely known. In hindsight it was one poorly-executed part of a fine idea. We had about six or seven volunteers and I believe one individual with an inexpensive video camera. We certainly did not give out many tire gauges and we ran out quickly.

One analysis later from a fellow volunteer simply came out the staff simply was not quality. I have no qualm with that analysis. Our half of the event was a failure. It is fine that we were invisible as volunteering for McCain. But we did not make such an impact to take even a fraction of attention away from Senator Obama's speech.

As it is, I think the tire gauge giveaway is an excellent idea in hindsight, if done in a proper volume. Anything that brings up a discussion of the "energy crisis". I believe most people do not get the joke, which mostly implies that no matter how much gasoline one saves by keeping their tires at the proper air pressure, or how efficient that keeps one's automobile, it is something that a lot of people were doing anyway, or should have been doing, and so is not worth much. The second implication is that even with the most efficient fuel economy one's automobile is capable of, that is not a replacement for simply seeking more fuel.

The greatest reason the tire gauge stunt is effective overall is that it actually casts a lighter shade to the whole election. While staying close to the issues, making fun of what an opposing candidate says, advises or implies quite effectively keeps everything from getting too serious, reminds that John McCain and company are not as humorless as the Republican Party's collective reputation would have people believe. That routine automotive maintenance alone is as great a contribution towards ending fuel price problems as seeking more energy sources is ridiculous, but this exhibition is more politically effective than any mere words spoken by a Senator could ever be.