Friday, October 22, 2004

October 23, 2004 - "Me John Kerry. Great White Hunter!"

Today's Commentary: October 23rd, 2004

"Me John Kerry - Great White Hunter!"

Hello Thinkers!

Like most people, I have hobbies which do a great deal to recharge my batteries and calm my nerves. Fishing is one example. Getting up to watch the morning sun rise over the Atlantic, smelling the salt air, chasing striped bass and their friends of the salty deep does for my soul what confessions never could. Bike rides, golf, camping and of course writing are also things I enjoy. But one of my hobbies has a truely special place in my heart. Why? Not for the reason you may think. Not because I have been doing it since I was a kid - I haven't. Not because it gets my brain-train back on track faster than any other hobby - it doesn't. And not because I am exceptionally good at it - far from it.

No. Shooting has a special place in my heart because it annoys exactly the kind of people I want to offend. If you are a sissy who thinks an inanimate object like a firearm is evil and nobody should own them, then you are precisely the person I want to antagonize. Stationary targets, skeet, trap - you name it, I love it. And if it pisses off someone with blue hair who drives around with a PETA bumper sticker on their '93 Civic and has more metal in their face than I have in my tackle box? Sweeeeet!

Apparently John Kerry has a hobby that offends people too. It's called topic straddling.

Recently John Kerry marched out into the marshes of Ohio, shotgun in hand, with the intent of blasting a goose out of the sky as a way to convince the residents of the Buckeye State that he's just a regular guy like them.

And this is despite the fact that he has a 20 year senate voting record diametrically opposed to the 2nd Amendment. He co-sponsored a bill to ban semi-automatic shotguns (S. 1431), even though he accepted one as a gift from a representative from the United Mine Workers of America.

I could list all the anti gun, anti ammunition, anti gun owner legislation this "hunter" has voted for, but I think you get the idea. And now with 2 weeks left in the heated presidential election, we are supposed to believe Johnny Hair was out in the marshes of Ohio because he enjoys being with "the guys" that much - that he just lives for the smell of primer in the morning. I guess the windsurfing out there must really suck.

Luckily, I have been in touch with the rumor mill from this battleground state and there are some tidbits which have not made the mainstream press yet. Apparently, the first flock of geese came in low about 15 minutes after "les chasseurs d'oie" got into their blind. However, the geese bolted when they heard Kerry calling Jacques Chirac from his cell phone asking permission to open fire. Later, after verifying UN approval, another flock came in, and the group began shooting - at which time Kerry fled the blind until he realized that the shots were being fired from his hunting party, and not the geese. Upon returning to the blind, reports are Johnny Hair mentioned that he dropped his travel manicure set on their way in and left to retrieve it. It is unclear how many purple hearts he applied for after going through the thorn bushes on the walk back from the hunt.

Glancing at any of the photos from the big hunting trip one notices that Kerry did not carry the goose he allegedly shot, back from the field. Hunters do hate to get dirty. Especially if a photo-op gets ugly and goes back to a vegetarian voting base. I have a hard time picturing Johnny Hair coming home with a dead 25 pound goose, plopping it on the kitchen table with a resounding thud, and saying "Here you go Teresa! I killed it, you clean it."

When the press asked Kerry why someone else was carrying his dead goose, he replied "I'm too lazy. I'm still giddy over the Red Sox. It was hard to focus."

And this guy wants to be commander in chief? What will he do when he is forced to stay up late listening to war briefings? Nuke Wyoming?

Kerrys double standards do not stop with double barrelled shotguns.

During the second presidential debate, Kerry was asked what he would say to a voter who "asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion." To which he replied:

"Now, I believe that you can take that position [legislating for abortion] and not be pro-abortion, but you have to afford people their constitutional rights."

Unless of course it's that icky 2nd Amendment. In which case the Constitution be damned.

Kerry also said in the same debate: "But I can't take what is an article of faith for me and legislate it for someone who doesn't share that article of faith, whether they be agnostic, atheist, Jew, Protestant, whatever. I can't do that."

Really? Well what about rape, theft and murder? These are also things that his Catholic background looks down upon. Why should he be passing these "articles of faith" on the American people as well? The fact is he hasn't. His most prominent legislation includes a "save the dolphins" law (whew! that must have taken some brass onions), a posthumous award to Jackie Robinson, and laws declaring "world population awareness" weeks in '89 and '91 - when his senate activity was seemingly at its peak.

Kerry continued this straddling theme in the third debate when he said:

"Well, I respect everything that the president has said and certainly respect his faith. I think it's important and I share it. I think that he just said that freedom is a gift from the Almighty.

Everything is a gift from the Almighty."

Well except for unborn children, in which case it is perfectly fine to insert a metal spike into the base of their skulls once their head pops out. Hopefully God saved the receipt for that gift. Kerry also made a rare trip to the senate to actually vote against the unborn victims of violent crime act which would have made it a seperate crime for injuries or death of an unborn child. But what the hell? Who is he to say that expectant parents should be upset by the loss of their progeny?

Kerry continues later in the same debate: "And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people."

Hmmm. No conflicts there I guess.

Whether you are for or against abortion, for or against guns, for or against our actions in Iraq, Kerry consistently has a pattern of "respecting our beliefs" and voting against them. Some say that now, in our fight against terrorism, we cannot have a leader that does this. I disagree - we can NEVER have a leader that does this.

For all the birds he may have missed on his hunt, John 'six-pack' Kerry really does not need to worry. This "man of the people" still has a goose at home. One with a bad accent, that lays golden eggs.

Friday, October 15, 2004

October 15, 2004 - The Lazarus Effect

Hello Thinkers!

This is going to be a short one - for me anyway. We are just over a month away from our new arrival and one entire side of my house has been ripped down to the studs (and beyond) repairing some long unnoticed water damage. Needless to say, the nursery does not look like a nursery just yet - more like Home Depot. Between these and other tasks in my sights, writing commentaries has had to take a back seat.

However, recent statements from the campaign trail have truely left me flabbergasted. Specifically the prose from John Edwards. He has been called many things from "The Breck Girl" to "Ambulance Chaser" to "Breast Implants for the Kerry Ticket" to the lowest of the low: "Trial Lawyer". But it is now time to add a new moniker: "Snake Oil Salesman". This week, in Iowa, Edwards made claims alluding that if elected, the Kerry/Edwards team will cure paralysis. Now Al Gore inventing the internet was pretty good, but this takes the cake.

Maybe these outrageous claims mean that Elizabeth Edwards needs to put the doughnut down and get ready to sing - after she's through telling all of us how the Cheneys are ashamed of their lesbian daughter (and I thought Teresa was the one without any class).

Why do I say this? Because the polls you and I see from the alphabet soup news networks are about as useful as a pre-debate manicure. The polls that really indicate where things are going will never be seen by the general public. They are run by both campaigns, cost huge bucks, and are guarded like crown jewels.

Back to Senator Sally from North Carolina. If his internal data is showing a Bush lead, then he's pulling out all the stops, which apparently include promising a cure for paralysis. If Bush or Cheney ever did this, it could cost them the election. But since a guy whose heart is 'in the right place' said it, well that's OK - the media will generally give him a pass (remember Deny, Deflect, and De-emphasize?)

I have always tried to keep my rantings to The Thinkers original, and include only snippets from other sources as supporting evidence or cannon fodder. However, Charles Krauthammer is one of the smartest political TV talking heads I have ever seen, and he's paralyzed. If you have never read his work or seen him on TV, I humbly suggest you check him out. Since I cannot say this any better than he, this time I break my own rule and include his most recent article below.

Hey who knows? Maybe if Kerry/Edwards do win the election, the rotted pine studs and particle board sheathing in my house will magically self-repair and my writers block will be cured by their liberal necromancy.

Anything to Get Elected
Charles Krauthammer

October 15, 2004

WASHINGTON -- After the second presidential debate, in which John Kerry used the word ``plan" 24 times, I said on television that Kerry has a plan for everything except curing psoriasis. I should have known there is no parodying Kerry's pandering. It turned out days later that the Kerry campaign has a plan -- nay, a promise -- to cure paralysis. What is the plan? Vote for Kerry.

I'm not making this up. I couldn't. This is John Edwards on Monday at a rally in Newton, Iowa: ``If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.''

In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery. Hope is good. False hope is bad. Deliberately raising for personal gain false hope in the catastrophically afflicted is despicable.

Where does one begin to deconstruct this outrage?

First, the inability of the human spinal cord to regenerate is one of the great mysteries of biology. The answer is not remotely around the corner. It could take a generation to unravel. To imply, as Edwards did, that it is imminent if only you elect the right politicians is scandalous.

Second, if the cure for spinal cord injury comes, we have no idea where it will come from. There are many lines of inquiry. Stem cell research is just one of many possibilities, and a very speculative one at that. For 30 years I have heard promises of miracle cures for paralysis (including my own, suffered as a medical student). The last fad, fetal tissue transplants, was thought to be a sure thing. Nothing came of it.

As a doctor by training, I've known better than to believe the hype -- and have tried in my own counseling of the newly spinal-cord injured to place the possibility of cure in abeyance. I advise instead to concentrate on making a life (and a very good life it can be) with the hand one is dealt. The greatest enemy of this advice has been the snake-oil salesmen promising a miracle around the corner. I never expected a candidate for vice president to be one of them.

Third, the implication that Christopher Reeve was prevented from getting out of his wheelchair by the Bush stem cell policies is a travesty.

Bush is the first president to approve federal funding for stem cell research. There are 22 lines of stem cells now available, up from one just two years ago. As Dr. Leon Kass, head of the President's Council on Bioethics, has written, there are 3,500 shipments of stem cells waiting for anybody who wants them.

Edwards and Kerry constantly talk of a Bush ``ban'' on stem cell research. This is false. There is no ban. You want to study stem cells? You get them from the companies that have the cells and apply to the National Institutes of Health for the federal funding.

In his Aug. 7 radio address to the nation, John Kerry referred not once but four times to the ``ban'' on stem cell research instituted by Bush. At the time, Christopher Reeve was alive, so not available for posthumous exploitation. But Ronald Reagan was available, having recently died of Alzheimer's.

So what does Kerry do? He begins his radio address with the disgraceful claim that the stem cell ``ban'' is standing in the way of an Alzheimer's cure.

This is an outright lie. The President's Council on Bioethics, on which I sit, had one of the world's foremost experts on Alzheimer's, Dr. Dennis Selkoe from Harvard, give us a lecture on the newest and most promising approaches to solving the Alzheimer's mystery. Selkoe reported remarkable progress in biochemically clearing the ``plaque'' deposits in the brain that lead to Alzheimer's. He ended his presentation without the phrase ``stem cells'' having crossed his lips.

So much for the miracle cure. Ronald D.G. McKay, a stem cell researcher at NIH, has admitted publicly that stem cells as an Alzheimer's cure are a fiction, but that ``people need a fairy tale.'' Kerry and Edwards certainly do. They are shamelessly exploiting this fairy tale, having no doubt been told by their pollsters that stem cells play well politically for them.

Politicians have long promised a chicken in every pot. It is part of the game. It is one thing to promise ethanol subsidies here, dairy price controls there. But to exploit the desperate hopes of desperate people with the promise of Christ-like cures is beyond the pale.

There is no apologizing for Edwards' remark. It is too revealing. There is absolutely nothing the man will not say to get elected.

October 8, 2004 - Breaking News!

Hello Thinkers,

This has been a truely fascinating week in the news. The reports coming off the wire have been staggering in their earth shattering ramifications which have challenged our long standing beliefs. Not since Copernicus proposed that the earth rotates on an axis and orbits the sun have our paradigms been so shaken. Look around you, your world will never be the same.

First, in the realm of space, a NASA press release has rocked the scientific community to its core. After decades of tests, satellite lauches and high altitude atmospheric samples, NASA has concluded that the sky is in fact blue. The long term impact of this discovery may not be felt for years to come.

Second, in the study of human biology, the New England Journal of Medicine has recently released the results of a multi year - multi cultural study that has redefined a millenia of our understanding of human behavior. Apparently after intimate sexual relations, men generally prefer to sleep and women generally prefer to talk. Social and cultural institutions across the world are reeling from this news.

The last breaking story in this watershed week was reported by several outlets, including the Washington Post. As incredible as it may seem - as impossible as it may be to believe, according to a CIA report, Saddam Hussein paid off French government officials, businessmen, and journalists in an effort to end UN sanctions and restart his weapons programs. Shocking indeed.

Apparently, the Iraqi ambassador to France was instructed to utilize a $1 million 'donation' to "remind French Defense Minister Pierre Joxe indirectly about Iraq's previous positions toward France, in general, and the French Socialist party, in particular."

Mon Dieu! It is so unlike the French to do anything like this.

This was $1 million paid to the French Socialist party - you know, the party of the (smelly) people. In the late 1990's (who was the US president then?) Iraq used an oil voucher program to influence the French to oppose US initiatives at the UN. Tariq Aziz himself indicated that several influencial, if not principled, Frenchmen received significant quantities of oil to resell for ridiculus profits in return for efforts to lift UN sanctions.

Who could have ever, ever believed this?

Uncharacteristically, officials from France, Russia and amazingly, the UN have warned against making judgements against them based on this information. Personally I am dumbfounded that any of these groups could have been bought out.

Who would have thought that the UN which has Sudan, Cuba, China, Zimbabwe and similar Gardens of Eden to be on their Human Rights Commission, could have compromised their principles? Who would have thought that the French and Russians who, along with the Chinese and North Koreans, sold weapons to Iraq illegally, could have lowered themselves to the point of selling their UN influence to Iraq? Not me.

Who would have thought that the UN, which hired Kofi Annan's son to oversee the monitoring of shipments for the corrupt Oil For Food program, would have taken cash over principle?

Even more shocking, what are the major news media outlets focusing on from Charles Duelfer's reports? That there were no stockpiled WMD in Iraq. The headline of high level corruption going up to Jacques Chirac from the Oil For Food program is getting a pass from the likes of CBS. (One quick sidebar on CBS news is that early reports indicate that Dan Rather is pushing to include a canned 'laugh track' for the Nightly News and 60 Minutes programs.)

Amazingly, the French press is effectively ignoring everything except the lack of WMD.\ForeignBureaus\archive\200410\FOR20041008d.html

That 'global test' is sounding better and better all the time, isn't it? If you think so, I have another shocking news flash for you. The word "gullible" is not in the dictionary.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

October 3, 2004 - John Kerry: The Tower of Babble

Today's Commentary: October 3rd, 2004

John Kerry: The Tower of Babble

I really enjoy beer. Especially when the temperature and humidity drop and the heavier beers become more palateable. But for the past few years I have been cutting back on my carbs, and now, though I still imbibe, the Phil policy is to make my beer intake count. This means the Buds and Millers are basically out unless I'm really hard-up for a brew. This policy choice puts me in a bit of a dilemna at times in my quest for the full-effect beverage. For example, I think Sierra-Nevada pale ale is probably the best looking beer out there. It has a wonderful dark hue and watching the bubbles rise in the glass can be virtually hypnotic. However, I don't think it is the best tasting beer out there. And after all, taste is why you end up selecting a beer ultimately, not because you want something to stare at.

Why do I mention this? Simple. Substance is what truely matters, not the amber (or orange) hue of your selection.

I have spoken to a few ardent bush supporters since the recent presidential McDebate (you know who you are). Their response was uniform - extreme stress from watching Bush get his ass handed to him by Jean Francois Kerry. The press seems to agree in the verdict that Kerry won the McDebate. I don't. Like my beers, I judge candidates more on substance, not panache.

Sure, Kerry was polished and carried himself in a presidential way. He had no uncomfortable pauses and his cheeks were nice and rosy. I thoroughly expect the polls of people (read that as 'not necessarily registered and likely voters') to show Kerry gaining recently lost ground, maybe even taking a lead. Given this, why do I think Kerry lost? It was his content, not his delivery. And what was the content? In a nutshell it was "I am still the panty-wearing, pacifist, francophile that will subvert decisions of American defense to the tin horn despots some refer to as the UN."

If the security moms were listening, they didn't miss it.

First, Kerry was pushing the cessation of US development of nuclear 'bunker buster' weapons. Why? If terrorists and their networks are building effective defenses against us deep underground, why should we deny ourselves the weapons that can get at them? Would they grant us the same courtesy? Johnny Hair apparently thinks so.

Next, why does Kerry want to start up bilateral talks with North Korea? He chides the Bush administration for not building appropriate alliances, but he would reward a vicious dictator, who is actively creating nuclear weapons by having exclusive talks with him? What does he have in mind? What would he offer them? Is he trying to validate the rousing success of the Clinton/Albright policy towards North Korea? Kim Jong Il has already launched a missile over Japan - apparently for shits and giggles. Why does Kerry want to legitimize this tyrant?

Then, Kerry criticizes Bush for correctly turning away from the Kyoto global warming treaty. As if signing this economic Do Not Resuscitate form would suddenly get France and Germany to send troops to Iraq and persuade Al-Queda and other Islamo-facists to cease any plans to attack the US?

The coup de grace of the McDebate however, came from Johnny Hair's remarks on the Iraq war not passing the "global test." Huh? He claimed that he would not put our security in the hands of other nations - who is he kidding? He attacks Bush on rushing to war - yet our invasion of Iraq was the most telegraphed punch in military history. Did Kerry want the US to wait for Chirac to give us the A-OK? How many more resolutions did Kerry want? My second biggest beef with Bush on the Iraq invasion is that he neglected the most fundamental tenets of military success - deception and suprise. My biggest beef is that he still has the kid-gloves on.

Zell Miller was right on the money. Kerry would let Paris decide when the US needs defending. This is clear despite his claims to the contrary. Kerry's entire orientation is that of 'global village' first, America second. If the RNC is smart, Kerry's "global test" comment will feature prominently in future ads.

As I stated either directly or indirectly in the past, I view my choice of this years presidential candidates as being roughly equivalent to the choice between surgery to remove my appendix (Bush) and having the festering tissue explode in my gut (Kerry). And I REALLY do not want to have my appendix explode in my gut.

If any of your liberal friends tells you Kerry won the McDebate, just tell them "Maybe. But Kerry is all foam and no beer."