Friday, January 21, 2005

Comedy Central

The confirmation hearings for Condoleeza Rice have been the greatest object lesson of the differences between Democrats and Republicans. There comes before the august body of shameless blowhards (on both sides) a stately lady of color. Republicans see a woman of substance, exceedingly well-spoken and erudite, skilled and gracefully poised who happens to be black. Democrats see their worst nightmare: an educated black woman who defied the quota system, rose out of poverty despite their best efforts, and managed to avoid teenage pregnancy through faith and good judgement. The stage is set for tremendous entertainment.

Senator Dodd wants to know “How do you feel about torture?” He wants Rice to talk about what she believes constitutes torture and what she’s going to do to see to it that no terrorists are tortured by American soldiers. What I want to know is: what forms of torture Condi is going to authorize to get these terrorist thugs to reveal the information necessary to defeat their cohorts still at large. Sure, I think torture is wrong. Beating people to death is torture. Burning people alive is torture. Raping people is torture. Cutting someone’s head off is torture. Endless monologuing, mindless drivel, and questions that take 10 minutes to ask might be torture. Forcing someone to listen to Madonna is wrong, but it isn’t really torture. Neither is denying someone clothing. I can live with Americans using sleep deprivation - most people have a boss who does. Senator Dodd, why are you so hot to provide creature comforts to the murderers of American citizens?

Senator Kerry doesn’t want Condi to tell him we’re at war, he wants to know why nuclear materials control isn’t on the agenda and why we aren’t more aggressive in signing nuclear arms reduction treaties. No great surprise there. He wasn’t interested that we were at war during the elections, why should he care now? By the same token, he was all for scrapping our nuclear deterrent during the cold war and hoping the Soviets would do it too. “He was wrong then and he’s wrong now.” The consistency was nice, though, when Kerry made a point of expressing how well qualified Rice was before he voted against her confirmation.

Senator Boxer was in a tiff demanding to know why Condi had sent a letter deep-sixing a unanimous Senate resolution on the human rights of terrorists. “We had good words, eloquent words, and you had them struck out,” she whined. So what that they were duplicitous...err, I mean duplications? A good law is worth writing into law twice! As Rice pointed out, the terms were included in a previous document and the language the Senate used would have extended rights and privileges to terrorists that many citizens don’t even enjoy. What I’d like to know is why Senator Boxer doesn’t understand that terrorists aren’t signatories to the Geneva Convention or any other international treaties?

Senator Chaffee was very disappointed that Rice squandered the opportunity to take a stand against torture. Does Chaffee think that 9/11 was an unauthorized urban renewal project? Or perhaps, that beheading is a new weight-loss treatment? Perhaps Chaffee feels that the terrorists are really freedom fighters. I don’t care how Rice ‘feels’ about the use of torture. Her feelings are immaterial. The law governs what she can and can’t do. Only in Chaffee’s mind do her feelings carry any value. He want’s Rice to ‘feel their pain,’ I just want the terrorists to feel pain.

Senator Biden cluelessly wants to know “When, God love yah, will you tell us the whole story? And, for God’s sake, don’t listen to Rumsfeld, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.” Didn’t he get the memo about separation of church and state? Psst, Joe, you can’t use the ‘G’ word. And, of course, we should listen to Joe Biden, cause everybody knows, he knows what he’s talking about. I mean he gets the first-hand reports from the field. He sees the troop deployment plans, troop strength reports, support materiel allocations, opposition estimates, mission evaluations.... right? Doesn’t he? I mean, he gets daily briefings, right? He knows what’s going on. Well, at least, he thinks he does and if that’s good enough for him, it should be good enough for us.

Senator O’bama was the only one that had a half-way decent question. He wanted to talk about the model in which we decide to leave off diplomacy and go to war. “Some tyrants are ok, our friends, and some are not.” It was a pity he squandered his opportunity in favor of Bush-baiting. Barak, good buddy, when a person controls the armed forces of a nation, uses them to attack his neighbors, rape, torture and murder his people, further destabilize the least stable area of the world, divert money from schools, hospitals, food-production, etc. to military spending, it becomes clear that that person is the winner of the who-do-we-attack lottery. I know he’s a busy man, but how did O’bama miss the 12 years of UN diplomacy and Hussein’s decades of armed thuggery before that. But then, he also missed the roll-call of nations in our coalition force and our “allies” that collaborated with Saddam.

The Senate confirmation hearings would have made great comedy if the Democrats didn’t seriously believe the simply laughable and anti-American things they do. Real comedy is much closer to home. Chuck Gregory, Springfield’s own town-jester, continues to entertain with his Socialist Comedy Revue. Last week he quoted an obscure socialist internet magazine allied with the Center for Caregiver and Patient Advocacy. I’d rather go to the source: Jose Pinera, the former secretary of labor and social security for Chile who oversaw the transition from “pay-as-you-go” to privatization. “Given the choice,” Pinera reports, “93% of Chilean workers chose the new system...The whole working population of Chile has a vested interest in sound economic policies and a pro-market, pro-private-enterprise government...The savings rate of Chile was 10%...It has gone up to 27% of GNP.” A very quick (and honest) Google search turned that up, as well as an article this very day (Jan. 19, 2005) in the Kansas City Star that discusses ‘the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ of Chile’s system. Of course, our own Moore-on-in-chief, has no interest in the truth, only in ‘the Ugly’. In the ‘World According to Chuck,’ I am the fear-monger who wants to “pauperize” America, but isn’t Chuck the one threatening dire poverty, refusing to fix Social Security now because it “won’t go broke for twenty years,” and promoting double-dipping your paycheck each week? In fact, the plan Chuck likes is to dive into your paycheck with ever-increasing payroll taxes to bolster a system of modern serfdom. Chileans pay better attention to their politicians now that they have a vested interest, we could learn something from that.

As a post-script, I’d like to reply to Rick Smith. Rick, in all sincerity, if you’re “not in a position to regurgitate numbers” on an issue, you should do some research. Michael Chrichton just released Storm of Fear, his new novel on global warming. Like you, Chrichton wasn’t an advocate of global warming, but felt that the possibility merited some awareness and action. By the time he completed his research, he understood that there is absolutely no merit to the theory. Another person you might want to read is Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish scientist and former leader in Greenpeace. In an effort to contradict and debunk Julian Simon, an opponent to global warming, Lomborg gathered his sources and researched the theory. The result was his book The Skeptical Environmentalist which exposes Greenpeace and the global warming theory as a complete fabrication based upon skewed research, faulty documentation, and outright lies. As for deforestation, consider these tidbits: the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a report showing global forest cover actually increasing from 30.04 percent in 1950 to 30.89 percent in 1994 and Canada, which the Greens reported was turning 200,000 hectares of forest into paper each year, was actually, each and every year, growing 174,600 more hectares of forest. Don’t believe everything you hear without checking it out yourself. While you are at it, you might want to actually look into Bush’s EPA and find out what they are actually doing, because it’s not what you think.

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