It’s all global warming, dontchaknow. Hurricane Katrina smashed its way across the U.S. because of global warming. Any winter that is extra cold or extra warm was caused by global warming. Whether the summer is wet or dry, it’s caused by global warming. Whether the Pacific is dominated by El Niño or La Niña, the cause is global warming. If you haven’t picked up the thread already, fans of the global warming theory view just about everything as being caused by global warming.

Even as terrible as the devastation from Hurricane Katrina has been, I didn’t think it would take long for people to start placing the blame for it on global warming, and — by extension — America. Sadly, I didn’t have to wait very long. German newspaper Der Spiegel quickly posted the following:

The toughest commentary of the day comes from Germany’s Environmental Minister, Jürgen Trittin, a Green Party member, who takes space in the Frankfurter Rundschau, a paper friendly with the Social Democrats, to bash US President George W. Bush’s environmental laxity. He begins by likening the photos and videos of the hurricane stricken areas to scenes from a Roland Emmerich sci-fi film and insists that global warming and climate change are making it ever more likely that storms and floods will plague America and Europe. “There is only one possible route of action,” he writes. “Greenhouse gases have to be radically reduced and it has to happen worldwide. Until now, the US has kept its eyes shut to this emergency. (Americans) make up a mere 4 percent of the population, but are responsible for close to a quarter of emissions.” He adds that the average American is responsible for double as much carbon dioxide as the average European. “The Bush government rejects international climate protection goals by insisting that imposing them would negatively impact the American economy. The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural catastrophes like Katrina and because of neglected environmental policies.” As such, Trittin also calls for a reworking of the Kyoto Protocol — dubbing it the uncreative title of “Kyoto 2″ — and insisting that the US be included.

So it’s somehow President Bush’s fault that the U.S. Senate voted 95-0 against ratification of the Kyoto Protocol in 1999, two years before Bush even took office. Now that’s understandable. But it’s not just the Germans who are bashing the President and Republicans for global warming. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has also jumped on the bandwagon with a recent post to Arianna Huffington’s blog that blames Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour for failing to reduce CO2 emissions in the U.S., thus contributing to global warming. I have already written about why CO2 isn’t the horrible global threat the Leftists make it out to be. It comprises less than 3% of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, but it’s the one that gets all the press. If the global warming busybodies really wanted to make a dent in greenhouse gases, they’d address water vapor, since water makes up 97% of the greenhouse gases. But they don’t. Even if there were something they could do about water vapor — and there isn’t — you can’t really place restrictions on a substance as vital to human life as water.

Environmentalist RFK Jr. points his finger at Republicans. Germans lay the blame for the Kyoto treaty not being ratified on President Bush. And raving moonbat Cindy Sheehan added, “And, should I dare say ‘global warming?’ and be branded as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ on top of everything else the reich-wingers say about me.” Ever the soul of tact and compassion, that lady. Depending on the sources to whom you listen, scientists are linking hurricanes with global warming — or not. Steven Milloy of JunkScience.com has written about this scientific tug-of-war for Fox News. He points up the scientific laxity in the claims of those who see global warming behind Katrina, and sums up with the following statement:

While Hurricane Katrina was very bad weather, that is a very long way from causally linking her with human activity. Global warmers may dispute that, but they’ll need more than naked assertions and junk science to make a case.

With a nod to Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog, there are some things we know and don’t know about global warming. These are three things Meyer identifies as known:

  1. Proven: Man-made CO2 has increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (best evidence from ice cores and samplings in Hawaii).
  2. Proven: Temperatures in the world have risen since 1900 (though perhaps less than typically reported due to under-correction for urban heat-island effects).
  3. Proven: The temperature rise in the first half of the 1900s was not man-made, having occurred before substantial man-made CO2 production, and therefore is attributable to some other (disputed and/or unknown) effect.

Meyer then outlines three things that have not yet been proven and are still up for debate:

  1. In Dispute: How much of the world temperature rise since 1950 was due to man-made CO2 output? Some unknown phenomena caused a pre-1950 rise, leaving open the question of how much this other phenomena raised temperatures in the latter half of the 1900s and how much was due to man-made CO2.
  2. In Dispute: How much will the world’s temperature rise in the future due to man-made CO2? Climate is a complex animal, and no honest-thinking climate scientists believe they have the right model yet, particularly since none of the most-used models explain history very well. Also, beyond climate, the economic models that drive CO2 levels in the climate model are hugely flawed, causing the models to way over-estimate man-made CO2 production.
  3. In Dispute: What are the positives and negatives of global warming for humans? The negatives are dealt with all too casually, in the sort of unproven scare story day-after-tomorrow unscientific approach that makes good NY Times Sunday Edition reading but does little to introduce any facts. The positives are never, ever mentioned. “Disinterested” climate scientists never mention that some parts of the world will benefit, in terms of longer growing seasons, or that most of the warming will occur in winter nights in the coldest regions, where warming would be welcome. Its almost as if they weren’t disinterested and had an interest in the answer coming out a certain way.

But there is one aspect of global warming that isn’t even being discussed by people on the Left:

  1. Not Even Addressed: How do the costs of limiting CO2 emissions, including decreased economic growth and increased poverty, stand up against the dangers? No one has done a good study of this, though people like Bjorn Lomburg have argued that the cost-benefit is much worse than solving some of the world’s other problems.

But for those people whose one and only drum is the bang bang bang of global warming, the earth is being destroyed at the hands of mankind. While it can be shown that the earth is warming, it is also true that the earth goes through cycles of warming and cooling, and our sun is currently in an active hot phase. And contrary to what environmentalists like RFK Jr. would have you believe, it has not been proven that mankind is responsible. Not that the lack of proof is stopping them. Expect to hear and read more people lay the blame for Katrina at the feet of mankind in general, and to place special blame on Republicans and President Bush.


Since Katrina has done its evil work, it is now our responsibility to help those who have been ravaged by it. I support LDS Humanitarian Services for charitable donations. While there are plenty of other organizations who do excellent work, 100% of all donations made to LDS Humanitarian Services go to the affected areas in the form of money and needed supplies. (Sure beats the way the U.S. Welfare system gobbles up 75 cents of every dollar it taxes from us.)

It’s our duty to help these people. They are our families, our neighbors, our friends and our fellow Americans. So let’s get to it.

I recently wrote about how the media will sometimes ignore one story while obsessively focusing on another. In the case of Cindy Sheehan, the media is focusing heavily on her story. Her plight as a parent of someone who died in the War on Terror isn’t unique, but her anger and defiance of the President has made her a cherished icon of the Left.

President Bush visited Utah on Monday, August 22nd to meet with members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. As with any visit by the President, the protestors came out. Since Utah is such a conservative state, it was odd to see the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson, actually issuing a call for people to come and protest. Mayor Anderson sent an e-mail to some like-minded people, outlining his wishes for the Presidential visit:

Don’t let him come to Utah and not see huge opposition, even in the reddest state. This would send such an important message. A tepid response will just send a message of apathy and resignation. Let the Bush administration — and the world — hear from Salt Lake City!!! The advocacy community should be organizing the biggest demonstration this state has ever seen!

To put Mayor Anderson’s words in perspective, Jerry Newberry, the communications director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said that he had no knowledge of any protests of a Presidential visit ever organized by officials in the VFW’s host city, let alone by the mayor of that city. But considering that Rocky Anderson is a Democrat, are you really that surprised?

Since the President was going to visit Utah, the Left decided to use its current cause celebre to rail against President Bush and his policies. A political commercial was created to run on Utah TV stations for a few days before the President’s visit. But KTVX, the local ABC affiliate, refused to run the commercial, citing it as an “inappropriate commercial advertisement for Salt Lake City.”

I first heard about all this last week on a Utah TV news broadcast, as the host explained how KTVX wasn’t going to run the commercial. The very next commercial break on that station included the Sheehan spot. Since this ad was targeted at Utah viewers, I’m not sure how many other people around the nation saw it. Here is the full text of the commercial, as spoken by Cindy Sheehan:

Mr. President, my name is Cindy Sheehan. On April 4, 2004, my son Casey was killed in Iraq. He was only 24, and he died in his best friend’s arms. Casey was so good and so honest. Why can’t you be honest with us? You were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction. You were wrong about the link between Iraq and al-Qaida. You lied to us, and because of your lies, my son died. You said he died for a noble cause. What cause? Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts. I love my country. But how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war? How many more soldiers have to die before we say enough? I know you can’t bring Casey back. But it’s time to admit mistakes and bring our troops home now.

Now that you have read the text of the commercial, I’d like you to consider it piece by piece.

“Mr. President, my name is Cindy Sheehan.” While this ad is ostensibly addressed to the President, it is actually directed at the people who are watching the commercial. Addressing it to the President makes the ad sound more consequential than a statement that begins, “I’m Cindy Sheehan, so listen to what I say.”

“On April 4, 2004, my son Casey was killed in Iraq. He was only 24, and he died in his best friend’s arms.” The death of anyone’s child is a tragedy, as I have written before. I am truly saddened that Ms. Sheehan’s son died. But at the age of 24, he was an adult, and he freely volunteered for his military service. Once you volunteer for the military, you go where you are ordered to go. I learned this at an early age while growing up an Air Force brat.

“Casey was so good and so honest. Why can’t you be honest with us?” This begs the question: where exactly did the President lie?

“You were wrong about the weapons of mass destruction.” Oh, really? I have already written about the Iraqi WMDs. There is a problem with proving a negative. To prove that there are no WMDs in Iraq, we’d need to scour the entire Iraqi nation, turning over every rock, digging deep into the sand, opening every container in a country the size of California. At that point, we could say we had proven that Iraq did not currently have WMDs. But as I have pointed out, Saddam Hussein had WMDs and used them against the Kurds. Since he never fully accounted for those WMDs, it is pretty safe to assume that they still exist. Syria is a good possible location for them, as we have seen from a foiled bomb plot.

“You were wrong about the link between Iraq and al-Qaida.” How can anyone deny that there was a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda? I have covered this before, so I’ll only quote a bit of what I wrote then: “Does the name al-Zarqawi ring a bell? He’s one of the ghouls who chopped off Nick Berg’s head. Know where he is right now? If you say Iraq, go to the head of the class. So here we have al-Qaeda: trained in Iraq, supplied with weapons from Iraq, plotting attacks in Iraq, launching attacks now in Iraq and, thanks to the corruption of the U.N.’s “oil for food” program, funded by Iraq.” In the year since I wrote that, more evidence has surfaced that Iraq and al-Qaeda had close ties. The link between the two is quite clear. But it may be that Ms. Sheehan misspoke, and really meant a link between Iraq and 9/11. President Bush didn’t make that claim.

“You lied to us, and because of your lies, my son died.” Notice that she first claimed President Bush was “wrong” and later stated that he “lied.” There is an important difference between being incorrect and being a liar. And in any case, Casey didn’t die because President Bush lied. He died because his unit was attacked by terrorists in Baghdad. OK, so that may be splitting a fine hair, but this is an emotionally-charged accusation, and it isn’t accurate.

“You said he died for a noble cause. What cause?” Oh, I don’t know, how about the freedom of 26 million men, women, and children from the tyrannical whims of a brutal dictator? Or is freedom not a noble enough cause? How about making Iraq into a honey pot for terrorists who want to kill Americans, pulling them away from defenseless civilians in the U.S. and funneling them into Iraq where our trained men and women in uniform can kill or imprison them? Or is the military’s resolution to stand “between their loved homes and the war’s desolation” not a noble enough cause? If Ms. Sheehan does not think these causes are noble enough, well, that’s a difference of opinion — but to claim there is no cause at all is facetious at best.

“Mr. President, I want to tell you face to face how much this hurts.” Why didn’t Cindy Sheehan tell President Bush this the last time she met with him, two months after her son died? Contrary to what some liberals might think, the President’s title is not Mourner-in-Chief and it is not really his job to “feel your pain.” We had enough of that under the last President; while he was busy diddling interns, his inaction against terrorist threats helped lay the groundwork for the current war. Nonetheless, I believe President Bush does recognize the pain Ms. Sheehan feels. More than that, he realizes that to turn away from Iraq now would place the lives of millions of sons and daughters, both American and Iraqi, on the line. He has the discipline to see past the public wailing of one grieving mother and recognize the potential tragedy of millions of grieving mothers if we leave Iraq too soon.

“I love my country.” I’m willing to take her word for that.

“But how many more of our loved ones need to die in this senseless war? How many more soldiers have to die before we say enough?” There is only one thing more painful than the loss of our armed forces in battle, and that is to lose the battle as well. Coming up second best in a war is the costliest price any nation can pay, because it means that the men and women who fought and died did so for a lost cause.

“I know you can’t bring Casey back. But it’s time to admit mistakes and bring our troops home now.” Thus, we would lose the war in Iraq, and the death of brave soldiers like Casey would truly be for nothing. Many leftists have tried to compare the current war to the debacle in Vietnam, so perhaps it’s worth pointing out that our military didn’t lose in Vietnam. Thanks to the acts of useful idiots who sapped the will of the people and of the government, America lost the will to fight, and the military was undermined and pulled out from Vietnam. This was a great victory for the leftists, and it is telling that their victory came at the bloody loss of our military men and women. We didn’t lose in Vietnam militarily — we lost politically, because the people’s will was sapped by tools like Cindy Sheehan.

Ms. Sheehan: the world has watched as your private life crumbles around you. Your family has publicly discredited your actions and asked you to stop. Your husband has filed for divorce. You may have supporters in the leftist community of anti-war protestors, but every one of the people you ought to hold most dear refuses to stand with you. That should tell you something. You stand alone. And I cannot imagine that the spirit of your son, who was willing to fight and die for freedom, stands beside you now. I believe he would be ashamed.

Since I’m sure not everyone is familiar with the history behind the events I’m about to cite, let me set the stage with a little background information.

It all began when the settlers moved in. They arrived from many different places, gathering together in the land that had become the center of their faith. The concept of Zion was of utmost importance to them. This land, they said, had been given to them by God, and no one had the right to take it from them. But whenever you have a small group surrounded by a larger, hostile populace that does not share their religious beliefs, you have a formula for trouble. It wasn’t long before there were armed conflicts between the settlers and their neighbors.

But religion alone wasn’t the only reason for friction between the settlers and the others. The fact is, the settlers were a devout, hard-working, industrious people who supported each other in their endeavors. They worked the land they had taken, made it productive, made it bloom. In the process, they also became very prosperous–often far more prosperous than their neighbors. And with the blossoming of the settlers’ land, there was likewise a poisonous flowering of the neighbors’ jealousy and resentment.

Over time, this jealousy caused the others to spread rumors about the settlers–about their habits, their beliefs, the things they did in their religious rituals. Much as with the blood libels of the Middle Ages, there were terrible falsehoods spread under the label of “the truth.” Honorable people who had no stake in the conflict were influenced by these rumors. In some cases they grew to distrust, even hate, the settlers–although in truth, the outsiders knew very little about them or their faith. Many came to believe that the settlers were the aggressors, in open defiance of the laws, and the instigators of a war upon their guiltless neighbors. In the end, officials decided that the settlers would have to abandon the land which they claimed God had given them. If not, they would be exterminated.

I’m sure you all know what happened next. The settlers had been driven out of their land, their Zion, their homes, so they fled to a new location. In a short three years, they had turned an unwanted swamp into one of the largest and most beautiful cities in the region. But again, fear of religious differences and envy of their prosperity stirred up the neighboring people to drive them out. After all, other people had been successful in driving these settlers out of their homes before; why not again? So the settlers gathered up their remaining belongings and left their land again in search of a new home. This time they chose to leave the nation that had failed to support and protect them, striking out for a territory that no one else wanted — a barren desert beside a vast, inland salt sea.

But enough about the experiences of the Mormons in America in the 1830s and 1840s. Let’s talk about Gaza.

It is remarkable to note the many parallels between the current Israeli settlers in Gaza, and the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in places like Missouri and Illinois in the 19th century. Both groups believe their land was given them by God. Both were hated by the people who surrounded them because of their faith. Both were removed from their lands by government fiat. Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs actually issued an executive order that “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace.” This Extermination Order wasn’t rescinded until almost 140 years later. Now the Jewish settlers in Gaza are being pulled from their homes by their own government. There is no official order to exterminate the Jews, as was made against the Mormons in Missouri, but the surrounding Arab people have made it clear that they consider it their duty to drive out or kill the Jewish people.

Rabbi Marc Gellman posed a very interesting question in Newsweek: “Why can 1 million Arabs live in peace within Israel but 9,000 Jews can’t live in peace in Palestine?” This is a key question that must be answered to understand what is happening in Israel. Rabbi Gellman answered his own question when he made the observation that “Arabs cannot live with Jews but Jews can live with Arabs.” Why should this be so?

To give a little perspective, here is a map showing the state of Israel in blue and surrounded by Arab League states in green. Notice that the tiny sliver of blue is the thorn in the larger Arabic side. The Arabs won’t be happy as long as tiny Israel continues to exist. There are many Arabic states in the world, but there is only one Jewish state on Earth, and the Arabs say that it must be destroyed.

A speck of blue in a sea of green

Jealousy of Jewish prosperity is one reason why Arabs hate the Jews; another reason stems from the age-old issues of religious differences between the Jewish and Arabic people. Both these people have a common ancestor, Abraham, but there has been bad blood between these cousins since the beginning. In the years since the creation of Israel as a Jewish state, Jews and Arabs have clashed multiple times, and there is no indication that this conflict will cease in the future.

If the pullout of the Israelis from Gaza follows the Mormon example, withdrawal will not solve the problem. Once the Mormons were forced out of Missouri, it didn’t take long for hostile people to force them out of Illinois as well. The Mormons solved the problem by choosing to leave the United States entirely, heading for the barren and unwanted valley next to the Great Salt Lake, and founding what is now Utah. But if the Israelis are forced completely out of the one Jewish nation on earth, where could they go? Antarctica? Mars?

Here I will prove that I cannot foretell the future, but I’ll try anyway. Unfortunately, the pullout from Gaza and a few settlements in the West Bank will not stop the hatred and attacks. It will only add fuel to the Arabs’ burning desire to remove all the Jews from Israel. The pullout will be decried as not being enough, and Israel will be asked to do more. Next, the Palestinians will demand full control of the West Bank and the removal of all Jewish settlements in the area. There will be no end to the amount of space and land the Palestinians will demand from the Israelis. When the Israelis finally put their foot down and refuse to give up more land, the Palestinians will complain that they can’t possibly live in peace and happiness unless Israel funds the construction of new buildings and other development in Palestine. Whether they would use these funds to improve their land, or to purchase weaponry with which to further attack the Israelis, remains to be seen.

The Mormons had to wait almost 140 years before the Missouri Extermination Order was rescinded. When will the desire to exterminate the Jews be rescinded by the Arabs?

I am not a journalist. I merely play one on TV. If I were a real journalist — and, more importantly, being paid to write — I’d be more consistent and not skip posting for a week or more. But it is good to be the boss. When you are the boss, you get to make the big decisions. And since I am the boss of CaptainsComments.com, I get to make the decisions about the way it looks, how often I post, and what I will write about. Likewise, other bloggers are equally free to choose what and when to post, and the mainstream media is just as free to write about what it wishes. But there are some major differences between a hobby site like mine, and a major news outlet like ABC News or the Washington Post. It is obvious that our size and scope are different, but there is also an issue of partisanship. I make no bones about being a politically conservative individual with some libertarian leanings. But the mainstream media doesn’t openly admit its own political biases and the way members of the media are mostly liberal-leaning in their political philosophies.

We all have our own agendas, but some people refuse to identify their agendas or try to hide that they even have an agenda, which really amounts to the same thing. Having the power to choose what to report or not to report means you have the power to push forward an agenda. I realize there are some very good things happening in Iraq, but based on what the mainstream media reports, you’d think nothing good is happening to anyone there. Imagine if I reported only the failures of your sports team. If you never heard about any of their successes and only got news of the failures, wouldn’t you start having a negative image of the team? You wouldn’t care that they had just been ranked at the top of their sport because the news would be about anything and everything negative. While Americans tend to love an underdog, a team that continually loses every game and is bad-mouthed every night would see its fan base dwindle over time.

Sometimes there is an advantage to mulling over a subject for several weeks before posting. While typing up this information, I had a news nugget fall into my lap that just happens to deal with this issue. Mark Finkelstein posted an excerpt of an interview of Captain Sherman Powell by Matt Lauer for The Today Show:

Lauer: Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re probably telling the truth, but there might be a lot of people at home wondering how that might be possible with the conditions you’re facing and with the insurgent attacks you’re facing… What would you say to people who doubt that morale could be that high?

Captain Powell: Well sir, I’d tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers I’d be pretty depressed as well.

Q.E.D.

So the successes in Iraq are a major non-story to the mainstream media, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. First, good news is not seen as news; second, the mainstream media is very liberal and has shown that it will do pretty much anything to affect President Bush negatively. And sometimes the necessary action is to keep silent about successes.

Speaking of silence, the mainstream media has been markedly silent about an issue affecting a liberal group — Air America. This liberal radio network was launched to compete with the very successful conservative radio market. So far, it isn’t doing too well. Its history has been clouded with financial woes, and this latest newsworthy debacle is no exception.

To boil it down: Air America Radio’s former chairman, Evan Montvel-Cohen, got a New York charity called the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club to give $875,000 to Progress Media, Air America’s parent company at the time. (Progress Media has since been bought by Piquant.) The Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club charity dealt with children and Alzheimer’s patients and got its money from the donations of private individuals and from grants by the government. Since the money was “borrowed” from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club, as explained in the words of Air America host Al Franken, it makes sense that someone needs to pay the borrowed money back. Al Franken explained, “[we] discovered this big loan from this Boys and Girls Club, and Rob Glaser, the new guy, who is the head of this new company Piquant, said OK, we don’t legally have to pay it back, because we’re a different company I guess, but we morally do, so they start making arrangements to pay it back.” As I see it, when a company is sold, its debts are also acquired by the parent company, so they are more than just morally obligated to repay the money. But I’m not a high-priced business lawyer, nor do I want to play one on TV, so the actual legalities are a mystery to me.

Both Michelle Malkin and Brian Maloney have been reporting on this irregular money transfer and are investigating it and the surrounding issues. But the mainstream media has mostly yawned at the story, and people have noticed. Maloney quotes a letter written by Michael Becker sent to the New York Times taking them to task for a very sloppy job of reporting this issue. I can’t help but believe that if the politics were reversed, the mainstream media would be in a frenzy to dig deeply into the dealings of a conservative company — and would report its findings fully and regularly to the American people. But because the Left-leaning news media is ideologically aligned with Air America Radio, it is fairly obvious no members of the mainstream media will be hopping up to report this growing scandal.

This is not the case when the Leftist media sees a chance to score against the Right. Cindy Sheehan’s son Casey was killed in Iraq last year. Since that time, Ms. Sheehan met with President Bush; while they disagreed about the war, the meeting was cordial. The account of this meeting is based on Cindy Sheehan’s own words. But now it is very hard to find a mainstream media source that acknowledges that Sheehan previously met with President Bush. Instead, everyone seems to be focused on her current vigil outside the President’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. What is she demanding? To meet with the President. The unspoken message is that she wants to meet with the President again. While her situation is lamentable, and the grief of any parent who has lost an adult son is great, her continuing sorrow at her son’s loss is not reason enough to merit another meeting with the President.

Since Ms. Sheehan is against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, she has become a rallying figure for the Left, and people are gathering to stand with her. I listened to the Randi Rhodes show on a local Air America station and heard a caller explaining how she and a friend were heading to Texas to be at Sheehan’s side. The caller identified this trip as her greatest spiritual experience. Cox and Forkum poked fun at the way the Left is practically deifying Sheehan in the mad rush to attack President Bush and the war:

Mother Sheehan

I mourn the loss of Casey Sheehan. Everyone deserves a good and long life, but the sad reality is that not all people get what they deserve. I am distressed to see that Ms. Sheehan chooses to use the death of her son to make political hay. While she stands up to express her opinion, she is open for response.

Matt Drudge is reporting some of the things said by Cindy Sheehan, and these bear reading:

We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!

In the sense that war is terrible and terrifying, I suppose you might be able to say the statement is true. But when over a hundred bombs go off in Bangladesh with the intent to maim and kill indiscriminately, the targeted war the U.S. is waging in Iraq ceases to be comparable to such blatant terrorism. And what was the reason for the Bangladesh attack, as explained by leaflets the terrorist bombers left behind? The goal of the bombing was to turn Bangladesh to Sharia law, and to “warn Bush and Blair to vacate Muslim countries, or to face Muslim upsurge.” Does it make sense to strike out against England and the U.S. by bombing Bangladesh, a nation that is 83% Muslim? Perhaps it does to a terrorist. But to Sheehan, these sorts of attacks don’t matter. President Bush is the biggest terrorist in the world.

We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now.

And you thought those green-and-black war images were taken with night-vision goggles in the dark. In Sheehan’s reality, the green glow comes from all the nuclear explosions in Iraq. I’m sure you remember seeing all this in the news: the crater that was once Baghdad, the fused and melted glass of Fallujah, and the flaming pyre that was Mosul. In all honesty, Sheehan is not talking about nuclear explosions. She is talking about the use of depleted uranium for bullets. As Steven Den Beste pointed out, you’d get more radiation by living 100 feet higher up a hillside than by living next to a ton of depleted uranium. Heck, you could coat the inside of your house with depleted uranium and get less radiation because it would block out the normal cosmic rays we get every day. The war we wage in Iraq is not a “nuclear war” in any normal or logical sense of that phrase, but it sounds horrifying, so the news media will probably run with it.

So here we have a woman, quite possibly mentally unbalanced, who is publicly mourning her son who died in Iraq. Her story is no different from the hundreds of other mothers who have lost sons and daughters in the war on terror, but because she is so vocally against the war and makes such a great figurehead to promote leftist causes, the media is all over her story.

All the news that’s fit to exploit.

We received a questionnaire in the mail from our liberal Congresscritter, so here are the responses we returned. My wife filled out the questionnaire and sent it off, so her comments are in blue. My additional comments are in purple, but they didn’t make it onto the questionnaire, only here.

1. Do you support expanding free trade policies like NAFTA, WTO and CAFTA?
(yes) (no)

Yes. I am not a trade protectionist.

While I’m not 100% satisfied with free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, it is a step in the right direction. A real free trade agreement doesn’t need pages and pages of treaty. The back of a postcard should be sufficient if the trade is truly free from government limitations.

2. Do you support using taxpayer funded vouchers to pay for education at private schools?
(yes) (no)

Yes. If I pay taxes for education, I should be able to choose where I may spend them.

I find it interesting that liberals are champions of “choice” when it comes to allowing a 14-year-old girl to have an abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent, but they flee from the idea of people using their own tax money to choose how their children will be educated.

3. Do you think it is more important to ensure that promised Social Security benefits are guaranteed before allowing the creation of private accounts?
(yes) (no)

No. I don’t think Congress will ever be able to “guarantee” Social Security benefits. I’d even be willing to kiss goodbye forever all the Social Security taxes I’ve paid to date if I could be assured a private account for retirement which I controlled.

Congress could ensure that the promised Social Security benefits are available if Congress would stop spending the surplus that this tax is generating. As it is, Congress gleefully appropriates the money for the general fund and puts treasury bonds (read: IOUs) in its place. Congress could allow this surplus to generate additional funds for future Social Security needs, but they are instead taking the money and promising to pay it back, plus interest, when it comes due. This is a false choice — the one is not dependent upon the other. And our Congressman should be smart enough to know that.

4. Do you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions?
(yes) (no)

No. Unfortunately, the phrase “right to make her own reproductive health care decisions” usually means “the right to kill the infant growing inside her, for any or no reason.” I am fully in favor of a woman’s right to use pre-conception birth control, to choose an OB/GYN, and other issues, but I am not in favor of redefining murder as a “right” merely because the life in question is inconvenient and unborn.

I realize that I haven’t written out my thoughts on abortion, an omission I should fix in the future. The Left is defining “choice” to mean abortion and abortion only, while I believe that a pregnant woman should have additional choices — for instance, to adopt out or keep the baby. I am disgusted by those who view abortion as just another method of birth control.

5. Do you support salvage logging and reforestation after a fire, or should a forest recover through a natural process?
(salvage logging and reforestation) (natural process) (mix of both)

Salvage logging and reforestation. We are a part of nature and might as well recognize it.

The devastating Western forest fires of 2003 could have been avoided if people and businesses had been allowed to log dead trees from the forests. Because they had been prevented from doing so by the environmentalist fringe of the Democratic Party, the forests had accumulated enough dead wood to make the fires hotter and more destructive.

6. Do you support broad based immigration amnesty for people who have lived, worked and paid taxes in the U.S. for more than 10 years?
(yes) (no)

Yes, provided they are otherwise law-abiding, both here and in their nation of origin.

This is probably the only area where my wife and I have disagreements (other than whose turn it is to get a backrub). I believe that entering the country illegally should bar you from ever becoming a citizen. Further, I don’t see how anyone who entered illegally could qualify for amnesty by having “lived, worked and paid taxes” for 10 years in the U.S. — how many illegal aliens will fill out their 1040EZ forms at the end of the year? The form asks for a Social Security number, and how could a law-abiding illegal get a Social Security number?

7. Do you support rolling back tax cuts for those earning $311,000 a year or more to cut the deficit and fund crucial programs?
(yes) (no)

Yes. [I didn't actually make comment here--but the figure $311,000 struck me as oddly arbitrary, the phrase "rolling back tax cuts" is weasel-speak for "increasing taxes" (possibly retroactively), and if the programs are that crucial, why not first cut the pork products our Congressman seems to specialize in and fund crucial items from those freed-up taxes? When I read this, I recognized the real question our Congressman was asking: "Do I have your permission to tax other people who are richer than you, so I don't have to cut my own pet programs?" Feh. -- TPK]

Yes, this does seem like a strange and arbitrary number. And again, this is a false dichotomy — the tax rate cuts under President Bush have done nothing to cause the deficit to rise. In fact, the government is reporting a rise in income tax dollars received, as has happened every time income tax rates are dropped. We do not have a tax revenue problem; we have a tax spending problem. And Congress is in charge of spending.

8. Last year, the major oil companies reported record profits of $100 billion. Do you support federal price controls in order to bring down the price of gas?
(yes) (no)

No. Why should their profits be used as a justification for punitive legislation? If they cannot control their own prices, they deserve to go out of business. Consumers will seek alternatives, if prices continue to rise.

“Ooo! Evil corporations! Bad people making money!” Oh, puh-leese! This sort of talk comes from someone who has a problem with the Tenth Commandment and covets other people’s successes. Assuming that the major oil companies actually made a profit of $100 billion last year, they are certainly entitled to make a profit in their business. If people believe they are making too much of a profit, the market will shift to other, cheaper energy sources. The free market will react and adapt to changing prices far better and faster than if it is goaded into action by economically inept Congressmen who poke it with sharp sticks.

9. Do you support legislation to increase the federal minimum wage?
(yes) (no)

No. Increasing the minimum wage simply increases prices across the board.

And it has been shown that the lowest paid people suffer the most when the minimum wage goes up. Some people who are being paid at minimum wage lose their jobs each and every time the wage goes up. Liberals champion raising the minimum wage to help out the little guy, but it is the little guy who is hurt most by losing his job. This is Quinn’s First Law in action: “Liberalism always generates the exact opposite of its stated intent.”

10. Do you believe that the federal budget should be balanced by cutting spending, raising taxes, or a combination of both?
(cutting spending) (raising taxes) (both) (balanced budgets don’t matter)

Cutting spending, but not for Constitutionally-mandated military spending.

Agreed. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states what is the responsibility of the government. Last time I checked, the military was specifically listed in that section, but social programs and continued funding of PBS and NEA are not. Again, the government doesn’t have a problem with revenue — it has a problem with spending.

11. Do you believe all Americans should have access to government sponsored health care?
(yes) (no)

No. “Government sponsored” simply means “paid for by taxes.” I would prefer to pay for my own health care rather than be subject to additional taxation.

And everywhere government sponsored health care has been established, it cuts costs by limiting access and treatments. That is why Canada and England have such long waiting lists for the simplest treatments. It is a failed system, but it has many supporters in government because it means the government gets to meddle in the health care arena. Again, check out Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and tell me where it says Congress has the authority to legislate a national health care system.

12. Do you believe the U.S. should set a firm timeline for withdrawing troops from Iraq?
(yes) (no) (undecided)

No. We still have troops stationed in Germany, South Korea, Haiti, Bosnia, etc., etc., etc. Why should Iraq be the sole exception? President Bush has made it blatantly clear why announcing such a date would be foolish. I might add: so exceptionally clear that one would have to be a halfwit, or a Democrat, to continue arguing the point.

Yes, it was made exceptionally clear, but there are none so deaf as those who choose not to hear.

13. Do you support a national energy policy focused on investing in clean, renewable energy, improving energy efficiency and reducing our reliance on oil or an energy policy that depends upon further development of the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries?
(renewable energy) (fossil fuels and nuclear)

Renewable energy. We should look into safer nuke energy as well–but duh, I’m always in favor of greater energy options. This isn’t a question. By the way, didn’t Bush already propose such a policy?

False choice again. This isn’t a case of either/or, and any Congressman worth his salt should be able to recognize that fossil fuels and nuclear are the best power sources we have, and balance them with the need to continually explore other avenues of power. If Congress were really concerned about our reliance on foreign oil, they would allow us to drill for oil in ANWR.

14. Do you support the permanent extension of the government’s powers under the Patriot Act to search through all citizens’ financial, medical and library records?
(yes) (no)

The words “permanent” and “all” make NO my only possible answer. However, I do believe the Patriot Act has been useful to date in helping to wage the war on terror effectively.

I’m leery to grant any power to government on a permanent basis. I do recognize that we have a slippery enemy whom we are fighting, and I recognize that previous examples of rights being trashed during wartime (Civil War, World War II, etc.) went away as soon as the war was over. If Congress and President Bush really wanted to make inroads against terrorism in the U.S., they would act to seal the borders. If bad men destroyed priceless paintings in your home, it would be smarter to lock down the house than to put security cameras on the rest of your paintings and leave the doors wide open.

15. Would you support a five-cent increase in the federal gas tax dedicated to projects like rebuilding bridges and maintaining I-5 and other major routes?
(yes) (no)

No. These gas tax increases always seem to go awry, somehow. Better to do without them.

If this tax were only applied to transportation needs, Congress would have a better argument, but as it is, tax money raised for specially earmarked funds always seems to find its way into the coffers of other “necessary” projects. When Washington State decided to drop the cost of its yearly car tab fees from hundreds of dollars down to a flat $35, the people against the drop pointed out the many projects that would be affected by the change. When I saw the list of programs funded by the car tabs, I realized that the “transportation only” promise had probably never been kept.

Now I have a question for you, Congressman. How ignorant or foolish do you think your constituents are? This whole survey reads like a push-poll, deliberately designed to generate large numbers of specific responses. You might at least try to appear even-handed next time. –TPK

What does he care? Having won the last election with 61% of the vote, he feels no pressure to be even-handed. He has “a mandate.”

Several news items have recently burbled to the top like shrimp rolling about in a bubbling pot of gumbo — surfacing long enough to be seen, then sinking slowly back into the pot. Or, depending on how fast the gumbo is bubbling, the “shrimp cycle” may bring it back to the surface again and again, or it may stay at the top for a spell.

OK, now I’m hungry for some yummy Cajun food.

President Bush has nominated Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Rumors flew that Judge Edith Brown Clement was the President’s pick to fill Justice O’Connor’s vacancy, and the liberals instantly mounted an attack about the President’s poor choice. Once Roberts became the official pick, the contrary liberal voices apparently crossed out Clement’s name and wrote in Roberts’. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since the Washington Post pointed out that the Democrats had the same battle plans in place for whomever the President nominated:

Democrats signaled that whoever the nominee is, their three likely lines of attack will be to assert the White House did not consult them sufficiently, then paint the nominee as ideologically extreme and finally assert that the Senate had not received sufficient documents about the candidate. But Senate Democratic aides said they will focus for now on bipartisan consultation and not publicly prejudge the nominee.

Cox and Forkum do a great job of lampooning this Democrat attitude.

Liberal Dems attack any choice

I have already written about Senator Dick Durbin and his claim that Guantanamo Bay is equivalent to the Nazi concentration camps or the Soviet gulag. While that story boiled fast and furiously for days, this recent story on Senator Durbin rolled to the top and just as quickly sank out of sight. According to Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, Senator Durbin confronted President Bush’s Supreme Court nominee John Roberts and asked him what he would do if the law would require a ruling that would be against his Catholic beliefs. Senator Durbin says he didn’t ask Roberts that question, but Turley stands fast. “Did!” “Did not!” Although I don’t know Turley and can’t vouch for his honesty, I’d be inclined to believe his side of the story over anything Senator Dick “It’s a gulag!” Durbin has said.

So assuming this line of questioning was accurately represented, it shows that Senator Durbin views Roberts’ religion as pivotal to his confirmation. There is just one problem with asking a judicial nominee about his religion — it violates Article VI of the Constitution:

…no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

This is why you won’t normally hear Senators asking a nominee about his religion; instead, the Senators will ask about the nominee’s “strongly-held personal beliefs.” Just once I’d love to hear a nominee retort by asking the Senators to define what that phrase means, exactly, and watch the Senators attempt to spin their religious test as anything but a religious test.

Speaking of nominations, President Bush’s nomination for ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, was installed by President Bush as a recess appointment. This action prompted the standard condemnation by the Left — so standard, in fact, that it was described as predictable. In his response to the President’s appointment, Senator Ted Kennedy stated the following:

It’s bad enough that the administration stonewalled the Senate by refusing to disclose documents highly relevant to the Bolton nomination. It’s even worse for the administration to abuse the recess appointment power by making the appointment while Congress is in this five-week recess. It’s a devious maneuver that evades the constitutional requirement of Senate consent and only further darkens the cloud over Mr. Bolton’s credibility at the U.N.

This so-called “evading” came because the liberal Senators wouldn’t allow Bolton to have an up-or-down confirmation vote, and President Bush acted completely within his power, appointing Bolton once the Senate recessed as specified in the Constitution: “The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.” Senator Kennedy describes this completely Constitutional act as “devious,” but he seems to like it well enough when it is used in his party’s favor. He was quoted in the Washington Times in 1999, saying the following about recess appointments:

I have long urged recess appointments to break this logjam — this irresponsible, unconstitutional Republican leadership position which fails to give people their due and fails to meet the constitutional standard.

Matthew Hoy points out that the Democrats caused this logjam themselves by not allowing the vote for Bill Lann Lee to take place; the majority Republicans were not going to vote Bill Lann Lee into the Department of Justice. There were enough votes to pass Bolton, but not enough for Lee. But in both cases it was the Democrats who chose to dig in their heels. Predictable.

And finally, Rep. Nancy Pelosi exposed her ignorance of the Supreme Court. When she was asked about the recent decision on eminent domain, she responded:

It is a decision of the Supreme Court. If Congress wants to change it, it will require legislation of a level of a constitutional amendment. So this is almost as if God has spoken. It’s an elementary discussion now. They have made the decision. [emphasis mine - CM]

Oh really? These nine robed Justices speak with the voice of God in their decisions? In that case, what does the esteemed Rep. Pelosi think of other Supreme Court decisions like the Dred Scott decision of 1857 — the one that declared blacks not to be American citizens, and decided black slaves could be legally handed back to their owners even if they had escaped to free states? Or what about the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case that said it was OK for the nation to be “separate but equal,” giving the green light to “Colored Only” drinking fountains and other egregious cases of societal racism and segregation? It took the “voice of God” almost 60 years to reverse the Plessy case sanctioning segregation with the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.

Forgive me if I don’t consider Supreme Court decisions to be equivalent to holy writ.

In the spirit of honesty and accuracy, I must acknowledge that Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives, not the Senate. But her wacky comments rank right up there with the rest of the Democrat Senators.