Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Using the State surplus.....

Last week I heard an incredible (maybe not so incredible considering the party of "spend it all, worry about how to pay for everything later") statement on the news by the governor, she didn't want the entire surplus used, just hang on to $500 million of it. Shades of government "budget cuts". (Increase the budget by 6% and then reduce the increase to 4% and call it a cut.) We have had a new tax rammed down our throats to pay for road projects (like the bike lane on some roads in King County) and others for which there are NO plans as yet in place and these clowns want to SPEND the surplus. The economy is in good enough shape to have a surplus in the state treasury and the state house and senate are gleefully making plans to spend the entire amount for their pet projects without even a backward glance at previous deficits in the budget. (I seem to recall that a "large deficit" was one of the many problems that Gary Locke had to try to solve in the last budget. Something that without the work of the (not)elected governor, Senator D. Rossi, the budget would not have been balanced.) (Isn't this a hoot, we have a "selected" governor...?) One of the Republicans was trying to point the way to fiscal responsibilty in his statement, but the impression that I got was he was only on for appearances sake. The more that the generally greedy group wants to spend the more I want to scream.

Income vs Sales Taxes....

My brother and I agree on most things with mostly genuine respect for each other's opinions where there is disagreement. One of those areas is in the arena of taxes. He is more in favor of an income tax than a sales tax and I tend to be more the other direction. Before anyone gets the idea that I like the current tax structure in this state, let me categorically state that most of the people of the state of Washington are taxed way beyond what is necessary. I really don't think that either sales taxes or income taxes really would ever go down, especially with the Dems in charge of the two houses and the governor all seeming to think that raising taxes even when there is a surplus is a good idea, ie; the gas tax. I refuse to believe that the government really needs to know what I earn, and that is my second biggest reason that I don't want an income tax in this state. (What is it with these gov types that as soon as they get elected they decide that the surplus really ought to be used to expand spending and then when there is no surplus they decide that the way to pay for the many new programs is to institute more ways of taxing people?) The primary reason I don't want an income tax in Washington has to do with the incredibly insatiable black-hole(ish) demand for the government to want MORE. The thing that bothers me is that even when the VOTERS try to put restraints on government spending, the ones who have been elected and the ones in the bureauracracy work extra hard on finding ways around the restrictions. The standard seems to be, in order for us to govern you poor simpletons who really don't know how to spend your own money in the way we believe you need to spend your money, we can't possibly consider spending less, reducing the size of the bureaus, finding less intrusive ways accomplish what needs to be done or any of the ideas that have to do with using less. I stand against the income tax in this state simply because those in power would have new ways to make my life a lot poorer and the size of government a lot bigger. Wait a minute, I just had an idea, why don't we all go to work for the State of Washington, then we could pay our taxes with the money we earn from the state? NAH!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I want to wish one and all a very, Merry Christmas today.

As you go about your day, please stay safe, and think upon the Reason why we are celebrating today. As the saying goes, Jesus is the reason for the season.

May God shine His blessings on you this, and every, day.

See you next week!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sunni's want ties to Americans now

As reported here, major Sunni "insurgent" groups recognize that it is now in their best interests to cooperate with US forces against what they term "outside influences".

Just as the average Iraqi Sunni's figured out that it was better to vote this past Thursday, so that they could have a voice in the new government, so it appears as if the major groups that have fought against the US have figured out that this is a losing proposition, and have decided to join with the US instead.

Note to Dem "leadership": This is NOT the time to cry "Retreat"!

Kerry calls for Bush impeachment

As reported here, the junior Senator from Massachusetts is calling for the impeachment of President Bush, on the grounds that "he misled the country into war.". Later, in kind of a reprise of his "I voted for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.", Kerry said he was "just kidding". I don't think so.

This from the man who lied to Congress in the 1970's about his involvement, and what he supposedly witnessed, in the Vietnam War, remarks which led to even more aggressive torture of American POW's at the hands of the North Vietnamese; this from the man who claimed to have been in Cambodia in Christmas, 1968 at the orders of President Nixon - who didn't take office until 1969 - saying that the memories were "Seared - seared!" in his mind; the man who with RINO Sen. John McCain, closed out any further attempts to find out if there were any more POWs/MIAs still being held in Vietnam; this from the man who still refuses to sign Form 180, to release ALL of his military records to public scrutiny, and yet claims that he has released all of them, which is categorically false.

This from the man who first voted for the war in Iraq, but who now says that it was a mistake, and says that he supports our troops, but that our military forces are "terrorizing innocent women and children" in Iraq. You call that supporting the troops? This from the man demanding, along with all the other defeatist leftists in our government, that our troops be brought home immediately, leaving the recently voted on Iraqi government to it's fate, much as he advocated for the government of South Vietnam 30 years ago.

I call on Sen. Kerry to issue a statement saying that not only does he not advocate the impeachment of President Bush, but that he would oppose any such efforts brought forward.

Although that would be the ethical thing to do, based on Kerry's "ethical" record, I won't be holding my breath waiting for him to do that.

Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist

As reported here, the media really is biased, according to a study performed by Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author.

Now, as many of you know, I have taken the time to document the obviously left leaning tendencies of the MSM, and most notably the Associated Press, who seem to have a serious problem with the fact that George W. Bush is the President of the United States and go out of their way to cast him, and other members of the Administration in the worst possible light. So, the basic premise of the study does not come as a surprise to me at all.

What does come as a surprise, however is the following:
- The study group did not ask for, nor did they receive any funding from outside groups;
- The study group bent over backwards to put aside personal biases, in order to come up with as objective a study as they possibly could (and it appears that they succeeded;
- Some of their results made me go, 'Hmmmm!', as I was surprised at their conclusion. Which results? Go read the article to find out. You may be surprised yourself.

Hat tip: Hollie_is_right

Iran's President at it again

As reported here, the President of Iran once again made outrageous statements denying that the Holocaust ever took place, then contradicts himself and says that if it did take place, then the Europeans should create a new state for Israel in Europe to make up for the Holocaust that didn't happen. This is the second time he has denied the Holocaust happened, and is on top of the "wipe Israel from the map" remarks he made earlier; these remarks have sparked outrage across Europe, the US and Israel, and may pose problems for the Iranians when nuclear talks reconvene later this month.

This man is certifiably insane. He totally disregards established fact, in that the Holocaust did happen, and then calls for Europe to establish a place for the State of Israel in Europe, to make up for something that didn't happen? That is absurd nonsense.

Then, in other remarks, he blames the US for a plane crashing into a building in Tehran because we won't sell Iran any spare parts? Aren't there any factories in Iran? Aren't there any engineers in Iran who can design the tools necessary for those factories to make the spare parts needed? Blaming the crash of an airplane into a building because your country hasn't figured out how to make your own spare parts, is like the Dems blaming President Bush for the hurricanes hitting the Gulf Region of the US. Both are totally absurd nonsense!

Not only is this man certifiably insane, he represents a clear and present danger, not only to the Middle East, but to the entire world. He needs to be dealt with, and soon.

Lawyers for convicted terrorist want part of conviction overturned

As reported here, defense attorneys for Ahmed Ressam, the 'millennium bomber', are appealing part of his 22 year sentence, on the grounds that instructions to the jury regarding one count were flawed. If the appeal is successful, his 22 year sentence could be reduced by 10 years. Which court was the appeal filed in? Why that paragon of non-sensical bunch of legislating from the bench crowd at the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, of course.

But, before you get too excited about that, the government also plans to appeal Ressam's sentence - as being too short. We'll see who wins this legal wrestling match.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Withdrawal vs. Redeployment

Amanda B. Carpenter of Human Events asks some prominent Dems about their take on remarks made by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md), that withdrawal of American forces from Iraq would be a disaster, leading to civil war there, and creating a haven for terrorists. Read as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex) all dance around the issue of "withdrawal" vs. "redeployment", with dear Nancy sounding rather incoherent on the entire subject (not to mention being rather long winded in her verbal "dance" around the issue).

What is the difference between the two concepts? In this particular context, none. If we "redeploy" our forces from Iraq, we will essentially be withdrawing our forces! As a matter of fact, let me provide you with a definition of the word "withdrawal".

From, we find that "withdrawal" means

1. The act or process of withdrawing, as:
a. A retreat or retirement.
b. Retreat of a military force in the face of enemy attack or after a defeat. [Emphasis mine]

On the other hand, "redeployment" usually (but not always) infers the transfer of military forces from one combat zone to another combat zone. Surely, they aren't suggesting that we "redeploy" our forces from Iraq to Afghanistan (which is currently the only other active combat zone in the region)? I think not. No, they are merely playing the semantics game, to make themselves sound less like the defeatists they truly are, using the word "redeployment" instead of what they really want to say - "retreat" - so they look "good" to their constituents. Their semantic game playing is dishonest, and their dishonesty is shameful.

Howard Dean: Just Plain Wrong (Again)

Recently, DNC Chairman Howard Dean made the ridiculous assertion that the Iraq war was "unwinnable", and that anyone who thought differently was just plain wrong. No, Howard. What you said is just plain wrong, and I'm not the only one who thinks that, as ND Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D), also thinks that you're just plain wrong, and that you should shut up.

What I find somewhat amusing is that, towards the end of the linked article, Howard says that his just plain wrong remarks "were taken out of context." Taken out of context?

Just plain wrong again, Howard.

Giving tree demonized

As reported here, an elementary school principal has knuckled under to some PC minded parent who objected to a Christmas Giving Tree, because it has "religious overtones". The Giving Tree has now gone away, replaced by a "Giving Counter". Giving Counter? Oh, please.

Okay, first off, show me in the Bible where Christmas trees are mentioned. Anyone able to quote me chapter and verse? I didn't think so. In reality, Christmas trees originated in paganism, not Christianity, but to get the pagans to convert to Christianity, early Church officials "absorbed" the symbol, and merged the celebration of Christs birth, into the pagans winter solstice celebration. Kind of an early form of PCism.

I'm not the only one up in arms about this, either. Although I don't often agree with uber-liberal
Ken Schramm, in this particular case, I agree with him 100%. (See, Ken? You can find common ground with a member of the VRWC, after all.)

The strongest economy you've never heard of.

Pejman Yousefzadeh, over at TechCentralStation, writes in this excellent piece about the US economy, saying in effect, that it's the strongest economy you've never heard of.

I'm no economist by anyone's wildest imaginings (I rely on Quicken to keep my checking account balanced), but even so, I knew, deep down, that our economy is strong, and getting stronger.Three areas hit extremely hard by the bursting of the bubble were San Jose, CA., Portland, OR., and Seattle, WA. I can't speak for conditions in San Jose or Portland, but I will tell you this. Washington State's economy, and quite noticably here in Seattle, is rebounding quite nicely (in spite of the anti-business tax laws here), fueled in part by the housing industry, and renewed sales of Boeing aircraft. Now, I said all that to say this. I didn't need an article to tell me the economy is strong - I could just tell by how people around here are acting - but I certainly do appreciate the article, since it just affirms what I've been sensing for some time now.

Hat tip:
Hollie_is_Right, via Banner

Former Greenpeace co-founder praises US for rejecting Kyoto Protocol

As reported here, Patrick Moore, who helped found Greenpeace and then later, Greenpeace International, but left when he felt the group had become too radical, praised the US for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is an international treaty that seeks to reduce so-called greenhouse gas emmisions to 5.2% below 1990 levels by the year 2012.

Mr. Moore, who is attending the UN conference on climate change being held in Montreal, noted that Canada now emits more so-called greenhouse gases than the US does (according to the UN, up 24% since 2004), which means they aren't doing very well at meeting the Protocol. Other industrialized nations struggling to meet the Protocol are Japan, and 11 of 15 European Union member states. Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK recently stated that it's highly unlikely that Britain will ever meet the Protocol.

Some in attendance at the conference say the Protocol is dead, while others dispute that notion.

What's obvious here, is this. The Protocols, based on alarmist, junk-science, established criteria that was immediately impossible to meet, if you wanted to sustain economic growth and boost employment. The technology does not yet exist to accomplish the dubious goals set out by the Kyoto Protocol!

Does this mean I'm all for unregulated expansion of industry, regardless of the damage to the environment? Of course not! I like clean air and water just as much as the next person does, and I try to do my part to keep my city clean by disposing of things properly, and trying to keep my water use to the necessities. Heck, I even use mass transit to commute to work!

But what we do not need, is a set of criteria based on pseudo-science, to tell us how to care for the environment! Could we do better at what we're doing? Certainly. Could we do more? Possibly, but we need to find a balance between protecting the environment and protecting economic growth. Being unemployed, while prices of goods and services continue to rise, is not my idea of a good time.

A personal note

I just though I'd let everyone know that I'm a little "under the weather" here right now, hence the lack of posts on what is my usual day for posting (Sundays, usually).

But, I'm feeling a little bit better than I have over the past several days (little being the operative word here), so in between the odd coughing and sneezing fits, I'll see what I can post for you today.

Man I hate getting a cold/the flu ...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Well said, Senator!

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn) recently wrote a piece for OpionionJournal, in which he stated that an early withdrawal from Iraq would be disastrous for both Iraq and the US, and laid out some suggestions for how we could be doing things better.

Two things about this.

One, I'll be honest and say that I was against Sen. Lieberman and his running mate, in their bid for national office, mainly because that he is a Democrat and I'm not. However, Sen. Lieberman embodies the meaning of the term 'loyal opposition', in that, his focus in national affairs is the health and well being of the Republic, and as Patrick Devenny says in
this piece, " ...always putting national security above fleeting partisan advantage."

Two, Sen. Lieberman's hopes for the White House are surely doomed (if indeed he still harbored any), if the invective he is receiving from the fringe elements of his party are any indication. Sen. Lieberman, in my opinion, is to be applauded for what is truly a courageous stand by submitting his piece, as I'm certain he knew in advance how others in his party would view his position. Sen. Lieberman, also in my opinion, is cast from the same molds as the likes of the late Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson, and former Sen. Zell Miller. It really is too bad that there aren't more like him - on both sides of the political aisle!

A moral war

Victor Davis Hanson says that the moral onus in the war in Iraq should be placed where it belongs - in the laps of the critics and naysayers.

Key al-Qaida "Associate" Killed in Pakistan

As reported here, a key al-Qaida "associate" (their word, not mine) was killed by Pakistani forces, with help from the US, in an area of Pakistan that is reportedly used as a hide out by members of the terrorist group, as well as Taliban fugitives. There are somewhat conflicting reports on just what happened, but the key thing here is that, through cooperation, Pakistan and the US struck a major blow to the planning hierarchy of al-Qaida, as the man killed - Hamza Rabia - was the number 5 man in the terrorist organization, primarily responsible for planning international acts of terror.

One more down, and the hunt for the rest continues.

Plot to attack Saddam trial thwarted

As reported here, Iraqi security forces uncovered a plot by the Sunni "1920 Revolution Brigades" to attack the trial of Saddam with rockets, when it resumes on Monday. There is no mention whether anyone was arrested, but the assumption here is that there were.

One question in my mind, however is this - presumably, the rockets that were going to be used are unguided rockets (unguided beyond the initial aiming, that is), so what would have happened if the rockets had taken out Saddam, along with the others that were obvious targets? Presumably, this attack was designed to kill as many of the prosecutorial side as possible, but with the use of unguided munitions, there is always "collateral damage" - in essence, other people die, too - which in this case would have been nearly everyone else in attendance, including Saddam, which makes no sense whatsoever in my mind.

But then again, not much of what the terrorists are doing in Iraq truly makes any real sense, now does it?

Torture vs. Interrogation

As reported here, after tens years of not being allowed to investigate allegations of torture in China, Manfred Nowak, UN Torture Investigator was allowed to meet with 30 detainees held in China, Tibet and the Muslim-majority region of Xinjiang. He also met with families of those held, and will be issuing a report on his findings in 2006. Many of those he interviewed asked him not to reveal their names for fear of reprisals against their families by the Chinese government. China instituted a ban on torture that leaves permanent scars in 1996, and Mr. Nowak says that incidents of torture are declining, but haven't stopped yet.

Now what China still does to it's own people, and what has been alleged that US has done to terrorist detainees in Iraq and Gitmo are two totally different things. China persists in acts of actual torture, perpetrating physical abuse resulting in actual harm to those who have been detained, and has been doing so for centuries. What has been done to the terrorist detainees that even remotely resembles what the Chinese do? Nothing. Yet, our forces are vilified by the loony Left - most notably Sen. Kennedy, who in my opinion is guilty of manslaughter, but has never been brought up on charges (remember Mary Jo?) - for engaging in proper interrogation techniques, which have nevertheless been characterized as torture.

Were there abuses at Abu Ghraib? Yes. Were those responsible held accountable? Most of them. Was what they did out and out torture? No. Humiliating, yes. But torture? Absolutely not. While China has engaged in outright torture of it's own people, you hear little to nothing about it, and yet the MSM and the loony Left goes absolutely ape over what happened at Abu Ghraib, citing the protections of the Geneva Convention - which in the case of the detainees in Iraq and Gitmo do not apply, which they don't seem to understand!

Where is the moral outrage over the outright, verifiable, torture being conducted in China from the MSM and the loony Left? Nowhere to be found. Want to know why? Because President George W. Bush isn't Chinese.

County Executive Order seems to bar hire by Sims

As reported here, an Executive Order, signed by former KC Executive Gary Locke bars hires of former county elected officials for two years after they leave office, something "King" Sims apparently "wasn't aware of". Now that he is, does this mean that the two positions created for outgoing council members Carolyn Edmonds (D) and Steven Hammond (R) will now not be created, or will they be opened to competition? Time will tell as to the answer to that.

You would think that, as one of the first orders of business upon assuming an executive position, that a review would be done to find out what your predecessors had ordered, so as to avoid any "Oops!" situations such as this. "King" Sims has been in office long enough now that you would think that he would have had something like this done, but no.

I thought you were supposed to be a smart guy, Ron. Guess that really isn't the case, though, huh?