Friday, December 15, 2006

The Israel Problem

Victor Hanson has another good article up. The whole Arab world is intensely jealous of the economic and military success of Israel. And yet, Hanson asks:
Where alone in the Middle East is there his dream of an Arab middle class of sorts? Where do Arabs have good schools? And where is there adequate medical care?

Ask the over one million Palestinians who live in a democratic Israel.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Mitt Answers Questions on NRO

Quoted in full:
December 14, 2006, 5:00 a.m.

A Primary Factor

Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in an exclusive pre-Christmas 2006 interview.


It seemed that the second the 2006 elections were over we were onto 2008, and already the campaign seems to be in full swing — even before some of the potential candidates have set up official exploratory committees. And among the most talked about on the Republican side is Mitt Romney, who is just about to finish his term as governor of Massachusetts. He agreed to be e-interviewed by National Review Online Editor Kathryn Lopez (who — full disclosure — has some pro-Romney tendencies). The full interview — in which he addresses Iraq, gay marriage, abortion, religion, and more, appears below.

Kathryn Jean Lopez: Governor, you recently got back from a trip to Asia. What were you doing there?

Gov. Mitt Romney: I traveled to Japan, China, and South Korea. Two things from my China trip stand out. First, they will be a more powerful economic competitor than we in America recognize. They are hard working, market oriented, and smart. They even have some lower taxes in some areas than we do. Bottom line: They are competing to win. Second, it is important for us as a nation to reach out to China and to chart out a course that is consistent with a free economy and a free society. This goal must be consistent with our own principles.

We also had the opportunity to go to visit the DMZ when we were in Korea. Imagining what goes on behind that border is one thing — but standing there, staring into North Korea is chilling. Communism and the brutal repression there have exacted an extraordinarily heavy penalty on the people of North Korea and the contrast with the exuberance and prosperity of South Korea could not be more stark.

Lopez: China is, of course, a bit of a human-rights disaster too. Did you have qualms going there at all?

Gov. Romney: I believe in building bridges not walls. We specifically addressed the detention of a Massachusetts citizen, Yang Jianli, with Chinese officials and we asked for special attention and consideration for his early release. Working with China on our own security interests — including the isolation of North Korea — must not be at the expense of our commitment to freedom and basic human rights.

Lopez: What did you make of the Iraq Study Group report that was released last week?

Gov. Romney: The members of the Iraq Study Group deserve credit for their hard work. But their recommendations read like the product of a flawed process — one more focused on reaching consensus for the sake of reaching consensus. There were a few recommendations that I found especially striking: Suggesting that somehow the Israel-Palestine conflict is a root of sectarian and insurgent violence in Iraq is just wrong. Sunnis are killing Shia and vice versa. Pressuring Israel won’t change that.

Proposing that we negotiate with terrorist regimes like Syria and Iran — without a rigorous analysis of how our incentives could ever be aligned — is just counter-productive. I have no quarrel with talking, especially if it yields valuable intelligence and insight about an adversary. But that’s a far cry from actually negotiating with Iran, which sponsors Hezbollah, has nuclear ambitions, and has been clear in its intention to wipe our ally Israel off the map. And Syria is systematically undermining the sovereignty of Lebanon and funding and arming terrorists. Any suggestion that we might trade something for their help or forbearance is out of the question. When considering a negotiation, one must ask what kind of leverage we have, and recognize that there are situations where we have more to lose than gain by negotiating.

Finally, inferring that our troops may be withdrawn from combat positions before Iraq is secure runs counter to my view and to the views I have heard from some of America’s most accomplished military leaders. I am not suggesting that there are simple solutions for Iraq. But it is clear to me that some of these recommendations will not meet our objectives in Iraq, or in the broader long war America is fighting today.

Lopez: You just finished up a term as head of the Republican Governor’s Association. Do you feel a bit like you couldn’t have been RGA president there at a worse time, given all the November losses? Do you regret at all not running for reelection as governor?

Gov. Romney: This certainly was a difficult year. We knew going into the sixth year of a two-term administration that we would be going against history to try to pick up seats. A wartime election only added to that difficulty. We raised an unprecedented $27 million for the governor’s races — almost 50 percent more than ever before — and we were able to reelect great governors like Sonny Perdue, Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Carcieri, Jim Douglas, Bob Riley, and others and elect new governors in places like Florida, Idaho, and Nevada. The bad news is that we lost six governors, but the good news is that we only lost six governors.

I loved being governor of Massachusetts and feel we accomplished a great deal. I’m proud of what my team was able to get done by applying Republican principles and reaching across the aisle. And now I look forward to devoting my time to new challenges.

Lopez: As you know, in recent days the Boston Globe and the New York Times, as well as the Boston newspaper, Bay Windows, have run pieces about your 1994 race against Ted Kennedy and your run for governor that appear to be in conflict with your current position against gay marriage. Are they?

Gov. Romney: These old interviews and stories have frequently been circulated by my opponents ever since I took a stand against the Massachusetts supreme-court ruling on same-sex marriage. This being the political season, it is not surprising this old news has appeared again. But I have made clear since 2003, when the supreme court of Massachusetts redefined marriage by fiat, that my unwavering advocacy for traditional marriage stands side by side with a tolerance and respect for all Americans.

Like the vast majority of Americans, I’ve opposed same-sex marriage, but I’ve also opposed unjust discrimination against anyone, for racial or religious reasons, or for sexual preference. Americans are a tolerant, generous, and kind people. We all oppose bigotry and disparagement. But the debate over same-sex marriage is not a debate over tolerance. It is a debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage and it is a debate about activist judges who make up the law rather than interpret the law.

I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. I believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman and I have been rock solid in my support of traditional marriage. Marriage is first and foremost about nurturing and developing children. It’s unfortunate that those who choose to defend the institution of marriage are often demonized.

Lopez: And what about the 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans where you indicated you would support the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and seemed open to changing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military? Are those your positions today?

Gov. Romney: No. I don’t see the need for new or special legislation. My experience over the past several years as governor has convinced me that ENDA would be an overly broad law that would open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges.

As for military policy and the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, I trust the counsel of those in uniform who have set these policies over a dozen years ago. I agree with President Bush’s decision to maintain this policy and I would do the same.

Lopez: Congressman Harold Ford and 33 other Democrat House members voted for a federal marriage amendment this year; you don’t hear a whole lot of coverage of facts like that — or criticisms that they might be as mean and hateful as Republicans who vote similarly are regularly characterized. Does the mainstream media have double standards for Republicans?

Gov. Romney: Well, they do tend to ignore a lot of facts on this issue. How many people have heard that marriage amendments or referendums this year passed by large margins including by 84 percent in Tennessee; 84 percent in South Carolina, 58 percent in Virginia, and by 59 percent in Wisconsin? In 2004 similar measures passed by wide margins in 13 states. California passed a referendum by 61 percent opposing same-sex marriage in 2000. This is a mainstream issue on which most Americans are fairly united but coverage often doesn’t reflect that.

Lopez: In a 1994 debate with Senator Kennedy, you said “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my Mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” Further confusing matters, the Boston Globe reported in 1994 that “as a Mormon lay leader [you] counseled Mormon women not to have abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life was at risk.” Governor: What is your position on abortion today? On Roe? How do you account for what is obviously a change — certainly publicly — on the issue?

Gov. Romney: My position has changed and I have acknowledged that. How that came about is that several years ago, in the course of the stem-cell-research debate I met with a pair of experts from Harvard. At one point the experts pointed out that embryonic-stem-cell research should not be a moral issue because the embryos were destroyed at 14 days. After the meeting I looked over at Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction — it just hit us hard just how much the sanctity of life had been cheapened by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality. And from that point forward, I said to the people of Massachusetts, “I will continue to honor what I pledged to you, but I prefer to call myself pro-life.” The state of Massachusetts is a pro-choice state and when I campaigned for governor I said that I would not change the law on abortion. But I do believe that the one-size-fits-all, abortion-on-demand-for-all-nine-months decision in Roe v. Wade does not serve the country well and is another example of judges making the law instead of interpreting the Constitution.

What I would like to see is the Court return the issue to the people to decide. The Republican party is and should remain the pro-life party and work to change hearts and minds and create a culture of life where every child is welcomed and protected by law and the weakest among us are protected. I understand there are people of good faith on both sides of the issue. They should be able to make and advance their case in democratic forums with civility, mutual respect, and confidence that our democratic process is the best place to handle these issues.

And yes, as a private citizen I have counseled women not to have abortions.

Lopez: Does that mean you were “faking it” — as one former adviser has suggested — as a pro-choicer in your previous political campaigns? Why should anyone believe you’re really pro-life now?

Gov. Romney: I believe people will see that as governor, when I had to examine and grapple with this difficult issue, I came down on the side of life. I know in the four years I have served as governor I have learned and grown from the exposure to the thousands of good-hearted people who are working to change the culture in our country. I’m committed to promoting the culture of life. Like Ronald Reagan, and Henry Hyde, and others who became pro-life, I had this issue wrong in the past.

Lopez: Since we’re on the Internet here: How tech savvy are you? Are you constantly plugged in or tend to use staff to filter a lot of the blogs and things? Do you use a crackberry? What’s your view of the importance of this new media?

Gov. Romney: I do spend a fair amount of time on the Internet. I use e-mail, have a Blackberry with me at all times, and get almost all my news online.

The new media is a great force for the democratization of information. No longer can just a few newspapers or television stations control what information we have access to. The monopoly on news has been broken wide open. I trust the people and the power of ideas to triumph in the free and competitive information market that the new media provides.

Lopez: So I gather you might want to run for president. When are we going to hear a Romney exploratory announcement? As you know, Senator McCain, Mayor Giuliani, Sam Brownback, and others — on the Democratic side, too — have already become official explorers. What’s your delay?

Gov. Romney: My term as governor doesn’t end until January 4, 2007, and I will be making my decision after the first of the year after having the opportunity to get together with the whole family over the Christmas holiday. We are already starting the 2008 political season earlier than ever before so I’m sure the American people don’t mind getting a chance to enjoy their holidays before the campaign season begins again.

Lopez: Besides giving your family a last chance to talk you out of running for president, what are you doing for Christmas?

Gov. Romney: I’ll be doing what I enjoy most in life which is playing with my ten grandchildren, catching up on a lot of reading I want to do, and talking with my wife, Ann, as well as to my sons and daughters-in-law about some interesting possibilities for the new year.

Lopez: Will an exposé on Mormon Christmas celebrations hurt you in the primaries?

Gov. Romney: This may sound strange to some, but my grandchildren will be eagerly awaiting presents to be delivered to their homes by a bearded man in a red suit led by a pack of flying reindeer. The lead reindeer, by the way, has a red light bulb for a nose — certainly a YouTube scandal waiting to happen.

Lopez: Read anything good lately?

Gov. Romney: A few of my current favorites are The Cube and the Cathedral by George Weigel, The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, America Alone by Mark Steyn, The Places in Between by Rory Stewart, and Bill Bryson’s latest book The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

Lopez: Thanks so much for your time, Governor. Merry Christmas and we’ll all see you in 2008.

Gov. Romney: Merry Christmas to everyone at NRO.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This is why America is the Greatest Country

I will quote Mark Levin in full:
For so long we've been flooded with stories about our military intended to paint these brave men and women as abusers, torturers, and murderers. I hope John Murtha, Ted Kennedy, Dick Durbin, Andrew Sullivan, and their like take the time to read the ABC News story below. Our armed forces are made up of magnificent human beings.
Marines Save Iraqi Baby to Honor Fallen Soldier

A Routine Mission Turned Into a Mission to Help Sick Child

Dec. 7, 2006 — - The story of a group of Marines' quest to save a sick baby in war-torn Iraq gives some hope to humanity this holiday season.

At the center of the story is Navy medic Chris Walsh and the 1st Battalion 25th Marines. The Marines were patrolling the streets of Fallujah in June when they faced an enemy attack.

"An IED exploded immediately adjacent to Chris' vehicle, so they all piled out to chase the trigger man," said Capt. Sean Donovan.

But the Marines had a surprise encounter in their pursuit.

"And as they did so, a woman came from one of the houses calling to them that the baby was sick. So they stopped, and Chris came up and looked at the baby," Donovan said. "And this was baby Mariam, and it was immediately clear to him that this baby desperately needed care."

Baby Mariam was just 2 months old and suffering from a rare intestinal abnormality. Under the threat of another attack, Walsh had to make a quick decision.

"Right on the spot, the mission changed from the trigger man to the baby girl," Donovan said.

A routine military mission suddenly became a lifesaving mission for Walsh and those around him.

"The shared willingness to engage this mission was the bravery of the family in bringing her forward," Donovan said.

Visiting Under Cover of Darkness
For the next three months, Walsh and the team made house calls under the cloak of darkness into the dangerous city to help the baby.

They were trying to get baby Mariam stabilized, taking photographs, consulting experts, and trying to get her papers to leave the country for medical care.

Staff Sgt. Ed Ewing led the visits.

"We showed up at all different times of the night," Ewing said. "They never knew when we were coming. We did that purposely to protect us and protect their family."

As months went by, the unit continued its routine patrols. On Sept. 4, tragedy struck when one of their Humvees was hit once again by an IED.

This time three men in the unit were killed — Lance Cpl. Eric Valdepenas; Cpl. Jared Shoemaker; and Walsh, baby Mariam's guardian angel.

For those who survived, saving baby Mariam became a eulogy to their fallen comrade.

"To honor Chris, to honor the other men that died in battalion, we had to go through with the mission and keep fighting," said Father Marc Bishop.

Mission Accomplished
Eventually the Marines won their fight, and baby Mariam was granted permission to leave Iraq.

Dr. Rafael Pieretti from Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital performed the surgery, which took place in October.

"She's doing well," Pieretti said. "She's gained weight. She's socializing more. She has a different life."

On the eve of baby Mariam's arrival, Walsh's mother, Maureen, received a letter from Donovan, telling her the story of a life that was saved because of her son's big heart.

The letter from Donovan read in part: "Although he won't be visible, Chris will be very much on that patrol, the hope for Mariam's very tiny life having arisen from the charity and gallantry of your son."

Recently Maureen Walsh met baby Mariam.

"It made me feel like Chris was there," she said. "He wanted something like this. He wanted to make a difference in somebody's life."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Romney Will Attract Lots of Attention

This Corner reader hits the bullseye with his defense:
I don't want to beat the subject to death, either, but perhaps as a Mormon I should say a few things, partly in our defense and partly to set things straight.

1. The term "Mormon" isn't like "colored," but it's probably headed that way. The anti-Mormon crowd uses it sneeringly, and so it is becoming associated with them. However, for now most Mormons don't take offense at the term, although they do generally prefer "LDS."

2. On Temples: Yes, only members of the Church in good standing can enter. One must be interviewed by a Bishop and a Stake President (analogous to a Catholic Priest and Bishop) in order to confirm that status. This isn't very different than things done by other religions: in the Jewish Temple, for example, only certain men were allowed to enter. Of course, we have many meetinghouses that we regularly use for meetings and activities and anyone is welcome there; Temples are relatively few in number and are not used for general meetings.

3. On Mormon "garments" (underwear): These are very analogous to the vestments worn by priests and ministers in other churches. We have a lay priesthood, not a paid clergy, so members of our priesthood work at jobs like any other person, and wearing symbolic clothing is not always practical. We count among our members farmers and lawyers, doctors and salesmen, bus drivers and educators. If we wore sacred symbolic clothing on the outside we would be thought strange for having everyone dress the same; we don't mind being thought strange, but you can see that however we did it, people would make fun. The garments represent our covenants with God; they're reminders that we should try to be obedient to Him and that He is our Creator and Father. Many people of many faiths wear reminders of one sort or another, from crosses on chains to religious medallions to special aprons to a particular style of dress. Some religious people wear their hair in particular ways. By wearing such garments under our clothing, however, we are not trying to hide our faith. On the contrary, we are strongly encouraged and taught to share our message openly and freely; I think everyone knows enough about us to know that we generally do just that.

4. On being a "loony" religion: Yes, there are parts of our religion that must be taken on faith. K-Lo, your comment about transubstantiation (in which we do not believe) is perfect. I think any religion, including any Christian religion, requires faith in one way or another. In fact, believing that Christ rose from the dead on the third day (which we do believe) and that this was not a story started by followers after His death requires faith. Can anyone prove that the Bible is the inerrant word of God? Or that Christ was born of a virgin mother? These beliefs must appear "loony" to outsiders, too. "Loony" is very much in the eye of the beholder.

I'm not trying to convert anyone here, but such comments and questions are going to come up more often if Romney runs. Frankly, such a thing makes many of us nervous as we know that many of our most sacred beliefs will be ridiculed. We do remember lots of anti-Mormon persecution and we still experience some of it today, although now it's not nearly as bad as when the governor of Missouri issued an "Extermination Order" against us, saying that the Mormons should either be expelled from the State or exterminated.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Must Read

Democrat and Mormon sci-fi writer, Orson Scott Card, gets it.
How do the Islamicist tyrants answer the obvious success and growing appeal of Bush's democracy program?

They kill people, of course.

But they also tell the story, over and over: "America will never stick it out. We'll keep killing Americans till they give up and go away, and then you will answer to us!"

Until they believe that the Islamofascists are never coming into power, many people will remain afraid to commit themselves to democracy.

Some Stories are Too Dark Not to Tell

Thought there is much of good in the world, evil continues unobstructed. The Sudanese dictator pays the Janjaweed to murder and rape throughout the Darfur region. The National Redemption Front has organized to oppose the Janjaweed.

It is rediculous that so much attention is paid to problems in Iraq when so many other places face far worse evils. How can we fight evil on one place and totally ignore worse evil elsewhere? A Washington Times story is here.
Since the United Nations and United States are frozen voyeurs of this genocide because they honor the sovereignty of Sudan, which refuses to allow U.N. troops to enter and end the mass murders, these rebels are now killing Sudan's murderous forces and being killed by them -- adding to the rivers of blood.

President Hinckley Becomes Oldest Church Leader Ever

6 November 2006

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week, President Gordon B. Hinckley — president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — became the oldest prophet in the history of the Church.

On 3 November 2006, President Hinckley was 96 years old and 133 days, surpassing President David O. McKay, who died at 96 years and 132 days on 18 January 1970.

During the October 2006 general conference of the Church, President Hinckley said: “If I last a few months longer, I will have served to an older age than any previous president. I do not say this to be boastful but rather grateful. ... The Lord has permitted me to live; I do not know for how long. But whatever the time, I shall continue to give my best to the task at hand.”

Thursday, November 02, 2006

John Kerry is a Fool

Kerry has long despised the military. His 1971 testimony before the Senate is now infamous. The Boston Globe has an interesting story too. In a 1972 campaign, he said:
I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown.
His recent insult of the troops proves that he still holds the same world view. He is normally a good enough politician to hide what he really thinks. Even if his excuse of botching a joke is true, his actions show that he really does loathe the military.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Ironies of our Era Abound

This article on NRO has a disturbing account of the slippery slope of the marriage debate. On the surface, gay-marriage activists seek acceptance by legalizing gay marriage. After gay marriage they seek to legalize polygamy and polyamory. The result of their advocacy will be to entirely destroy the entire institution of marriage.

The irony of this age is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, once derided for practicing polygamy, will end up being one of the strongest voices against polygamy. The prophets were truly inspired to release the Family Proclamation in 1995. Its message will protect those who follow its counsel.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Great Clip From Mitt

As usual, thanks to NRO for having a link to this great clip of Mitt putting a reporter in her place.

One Immigration Solution

There are two parts of the immigration problem. One is that it is very easy to enter the US illegally. The enticements of jobs, money, and opportunity make it very hard to combat illegal immigration.

The other half of the problem is that countries illegal immigrants leave are so bad that no one wants to stay. If they want to enter the US and leave Mexico, how can you stop them. There have been a few improvements in making it harder to enter the US, but that doesn't make anyone want to stay in their homeland. If Mexico had a free and open society and opportunities for jobs and prosperity, there would not be this huge flood of people leaving.

I think the US should encourage economic reform for societies who have people who want to come here. There should be standards of overcoming corruption, putting the dealings of government in the daylight, and cultivating opportunities to take advantage of the vast natural and human resources of these countries. These countries could be given more freedom to enter the US as they become more prosperous.

To make it hard to enter the US will help, but to give them a reason to stay home will do far more.

Also, the US can set the example in shedding daylight on government and overcoming corruption. If this was the policy of the US, many problems would be solved across the hemisphere.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

When a Christian Man Can Enter a War

This is from John Bytheway who quotes President David O. McKay in the April 1942 General Conference (the first conference after Pearl Harbor was attacked):
There are two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter, mind you I say enter - not begin, a war: one, an attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his free agency. And two, loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third. Defense of a weak nation being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Preventing Torture

I am amazed at the naivete of the people who argue against all "torture" or coercive interrogations. I am just fine with someone arguing against torture. I hate when they use stupid arguments. Here is the latest one:
Make no mistake — logically, that's where the ticking-bomb scenario takes you. [Hillary] Clinton insists that she wasn't really saying that torture should be legal — no, no, of course not. She still thinks that torture is immoral, ineffective and counterproductive. It's just that for an "improbable but possible eventuality" such as a true ticking-bomb scenario, she thinks that we should make "a very, very narrow exception within very, very limited circumstances."

And this wouldn't undermine the Geneva Convention? You'd better believe that countries such as Syria, North Korea and Iran would also just love to carve out some "very, very narrow exceptions" to treaties banning torture.
This is a stupid argument because Syria, North Korea, and Iran ALREADY VIOLATE GENEVA CONVENTIONS. It is well known that these countries hold political prisoners and starve, torture, and kill them. North Korea's gulags and reeducation camps are infamous.

Our good behavior is not going to change their bad behavior. If you want to argue against coercive interrogations, fine. But don't pretend I am an idiot.

As a side note, I am surprised to (partially) agree with Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

On Vietnam

I once had an interchange with an idiot on who said Iraq and Vietnam were both unwinnable wars short of genocide. I think that is patently absurd. The U.S. military is the best fighting force in the history of this planet. None have sacrificed more to bring freedom and hope to the rest of the world.

The media of the day portrayed the Tet Offensive to be a disaster of biblical proportions for the U.S. military. Military history, however, tells a different story (no surprise there). NRO had a link to this site:
The summary of the Wikipedia entry on the Tet offensive captures the current view of military historians, even if it is quite different from the conventional wisdom of the Boomer editors and producers who set the agenda in the mainstream media:

The Tet Offensive can be considered a crushing military defeat for the Communist forces, as neither the Viet Cong nor the North Vietnamese army achieved any of their tactical goals. Furthermore, the operational cost of the offensive was dangerously high, with the Viet Cong essentially crippled by the huge losses inflicted by South Vietnamese and other Allied forces. Nevertheless, the Offensive is widely considered a turning point of the war in Vietnam, with the NLF and PAVN winning an enormous psychological and propaganda victory. Although US public opinion polls continued to show a majority supporting involvement in the war, this support continued to deteriorate and the nation became increasingly polarized over the war.[1] President Lyndon Johnson saw his popularity fall sharply after the Offensive, and he withdrew as a candidate for re-election in March of 1968. The Tet Offensive is frequently seen as an example of the value of propaganda, media influence and popular opinion in the pursuit of military objectives.

The Boy Scouts is a Favorite Target of Leftists

This was good, so I will just quote Jay Nordlinger (from NRO):
It may be too much to speak of a war on the Boy Scouts, but they are certainly being . . . hampered. A couple of items: In Berkeley, Calif., “a Scouts sailing group lost free use of a public marina because the Boy Scouts bar atheists and gays.” (I’m quoting from a news story.) Okay, that’s Berkeley — Berserkley, whatever.

In Connecticut, “officials dropped the group from a list of charities that receive donations from state employees through a payroll deduction plan.”

Okay, that’s Connecticut, land of nutmeg and nutters.

And in Philadelphia? “The city is threatening to evict a Boy Scout council from the group’s publicly owned headquarters or make the group pay rent unless it changes its policy on gays.”

Just a little more quoting: “On a separate matter, federal judges in two other court cases that are being appealed have ruled that government aid to [the Scouts] is unconstitutional because the [organization] requires members to swear an oath of duty to God.”


No, it’s too much to speak of a war on the Scouts. But should I say “too much” or “too early”? Will there come a day when the Scouts will be some kind of underground organization?

These are weird times, my friends.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mitt Hits a Line Drive

I am so glad to see Mitt getting the message of the Family Proclamation out in the public square. Even if he has no luck in the presidential arena, his message will do some seroius good. NRO has a summary here. The money quote is this:
“Marriage,” Romney said, “is primarily about the nurturing and development of children.” He added, “A child’s development is enhanced by the nurturing of both genders. Every child deserves a mother and a father.” And, driving the point home: “The price for same-sex marriage is paid by children.”
NRO also has a link to this great website supporting Mitt.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Problems in France

The Corner on NRO points out this article about French Muslims.
Scores of youths had attacked seven officers who had tried to arrest a man for not wearing his seat belt while driving. The driver refused to stop and later rammed a police car trying to block his path.

Les Mureaux Mayor Francois Garay criticized aggressive police tactics that left "the people on the ground to pick up the pieces."
This opposition to police action sounds like the opposition to the mission in Iraq: "Don't oppose the criminals (terrorists) or you will make them mad."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

An Interesting Quote on War

I found this interesting quote on NRO and thought I would preserve it for later use.
John Stuart Mill... is no conservative favorite, that’s for sure, but this is arresting:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Why fighting terrorism is always good:

A recent intelligence report claims that the war in Iraq is responsible for creating more terrorists. That may be true, but it is only because the world perceives the Islamofascists to be winning. Once it is clear that the US is winning, there will be no major recruitment of new terrorists. Victor Davis Hanson says it this way:
Most people have no ideology, but simply accommodate themselves to the prevailing sense of an agenda’s success or failure. Just as there weren’t more than a dozen vocal critics of Hitler after the Wehrmacht finished off France in six weeks in June of 1940, so too there wasn’t a Nazi to be found in June 1945 when Berlin lay in rubble.

It doesn’t matter whether Middle Easterners actually accept the tenets of bin Laden’s worldview — not if they think he is on the ascendancy, can bring them a sense of restored pride, and humiliate the Jews and the West on the cheap. Bin Laden is no more eccentric or impotent than Hitler was in the late 1920s.Yet if he can claim that his martyrs forced the United States out of Afghanistan and Iraq, toppled a petrol sheikdom or two, and acquired its wealth and influence — or if he got his hands on nuclear weapons and lorded it over appeasing Westerners — then he too, like the Fuhrer in the 1930s, will become untouchable. The same is true of Iran’s president Ahmadinejad.
Hanson concludes his comparison thus:
We can argue whether the present-day Islamic fascists have the military means comparable to what was had in the past by Nazis, Fascists, and militarists — I think a dirty bomb is worth the entire Luftwaffe, one nuclear missile all the striking power of the Japanese imperial Navy — but there should be no argument over who they are and what they want. They are fascists of an Islamic sort, pure and simple.
Preventing these crazies from obtaining worse weapons is worth almost any price.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Some people just don't get it

Over and over, liberals cry, 'Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11!' Another article I read (it is not worth a link) said that Fox said it over and over until people believed that Saddam was specifically involved in 9-11. I have watched a lot of Fox and no one has ever argued that.

What is inarguable is that Iraq was involved with al-Qaida. (Interesting, isn't it, how liberals who love 'nuance' can't distinguish between 'Iraq helped on 9-11' and 'Iraq was involved in al-Qaida.') Iraq had no specific role in 9-11, but they were a country proven to have gassed thousands and they would have loved to create some 9-11-like event.

Despite the 'Bush lied' garbage, Saddam did TRY to get uranium. He may not have gotten it, but he TRIED to. Had Saddam been successful, we would have two crazies on the verge of nukes by now. Saddam and Mammoud.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The world could always be more dangerous

I had never even thought of this potential problem. Mark Levin said:
I know from my days at the Justice Department that our prisons would become more difficult to manage if they were sprinkled with terrorists, including the problem of recruitment.
Were terrorists in normal jails, we would have some very scary people on the streets in no time. Jihadists would recurit already crazy people to becoming new terrorists.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Email to The Corner at NRO

I sent this in response to this article at National Review Online. I doubt they will publish it so I will here.
Philosophers have argued about evil since time immemorial. If God is good, and God is all powerful, how can He allow evil to happen? Also, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, God created all things. Therefore, some conclude, God created evil. Some deny the existence of evil. Others question the existence of God. Others still, wonder if God could really be all powerful.

The Mormon perspective is that creation was not ex nihilo. Things you see were made of something. Even all of humanity existed as spirit children of God before birth on this planet. Good parents sometimes raise bad children. Children bring something with them from their previous life. This is not some funky version of reincarnation. Actually it is a belief that birth on earth is a step forward in eternal progression.

Mormon theology teaches that one thing we had before birth and we bring with us is our moral agency. There was a war in heaven where one third of His children chose not to follow God and thus were denied the opportunity for mortal birth. They remain disembodied spirits for eternity because of their choices. This moral agency is something so precious to God that he will not interfere with it, even if it means suffering in this life. Without our agency and choice, we would be automatons to be acted upon, not Children who knowingly choose to become more like God by choosing good.

The Mormon question is not 'Why evil?', but 'Why agency?' Clearly there is some purpose which is higher for God than preventing suffering. The Mormon answer is found in God's statement in Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Something about this mortal experience prepares us to become more like God and to return - not for the first time - to His presence.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Today on Mitt Romney

I laughed right out loud at this one.
The First Wives' Club [Kate O'Beirne]

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Governor Mitt Romney's great-grandfather had multiple wives and two great-great grandfathers had 10 wives each. The article allows that Romney "is a confirmed monogamist of nearly four decades and polygamy has been absent from his family going back two generations." While some might note the upside of generously sharing those handsome Romney genes in the past, current history is noteworthy. Should Mitt Romney join a 2008 race that included John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and George Allen, the only guy in the GOP field with only one wife would be the Mormon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Not Yours To Give

Here is an article from David Crockett about why government should not be in the business of charity (link).

The short version of the article is that to give money to some, the government must take it from others who may be worse off. I wish that an attitude like that would become acceptable again. Instead, even the best political candidates still plan on some form of taxation and redistribution of wealth.

Such is the state of the country that charity is mandated from Washington and taxes determine almost all business decisions and purchases and even life decisions.

Crockett closes with these lines about congressmen:
Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Signs of the Times

The nut-case president of Iran, Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad, wrote a letter to President Bush recently. The letter says, in part:
Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ (PBUH), the great Messenger of God, Feel obliged to respect human rights, Present liberalism as a civilization model, Announce one’s opposition to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and WMDs, Make “War and Terror” his slogan, And finally, Work towards the establishment of a unified international community – a community which Christ and the virtuous of the Earth will one day govern, But at the same time,Have countries attacked; The lives, reputations and possessions of people destroyed and on the slight chance of the … of a … criminals in a village city, or convoy for example the entire village, city or convey set ablaze, blah, blah, blah.
The excerpts read on the radio contain all sorts of examples of the pot calling the kettle black. Mammood, referring to the United States, pointed out how
History tells us that repressive and cruel governments do not survive.God has entrusted The fate of man to them. The Almighty has not left the universe and humanity to their own devices. Many things have happened contrary to the wishes and plans of governments. These tell us that there is a higher power at work and all events are determined by Him.
Liberalism and Western style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems.

I did not know that Giddianhi was a type of latter-day loonies. His letter to Lachoneous had the same tone:
Lachoneus, most noble and chief governor of the land, behold, I write this epistle unto you, and do give unto you exceedingly great praise because of your firmness, and also the firmness of your people, in maintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and liberty; yea, ye do stand well, as if ye were supported by the hand of a god, in the defence of your liberty, and your property, and your country, or that which ye do call so.

And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men who are at my command, who do now at this time stand in their arms, and do await with great anxiety for the word - Go down upon the Nephites and destroy them.

And I, knowing of their unconquerable spirit, having proved them in the field of battle, and knowing of their everlasting hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them, therefore if they should come down against you they would visit you with utter destruction. 3 Nephi 3:2-4

This happening was not on my list of items to check off as signs of the times but it happened. Now it is on the list and checked off. It may be like Isaiah, in that we will recognize its fulfillment when it happens.

Monday, March 27, 2006

France and Europe are messed up.

Last week sometime, French students were rioting by the millions over freedom given in a new law to employers. The students were bent out of shape because this new law made it easier to fire younger workers. Unemployment among young workers in France is supposed to be 25% to 50% in some areas. The business owners won't hire them because it is too hard to fire them. The youth complain that having to compete for their jobs is too much like evil American Capitalism. Sheesh. And I thought our welfare nanny state-ism was out of hands.

About a month ago Muslim youth were rioting in the streets of France for some of the same reasons.

Elder L. Tom Perry recently delivered a devotional at BYU-I and said of he and his wife's trip to Europe:
We witnessed the de-Christianization of Europe. Europe is beginning the 21st century in a new and uncharted phase of history. People of these great nations are embracing secularization. Most secularized value systems reason that the human being has total autonomy. An individual does not have to give an accounting to anything or anyone except himself and, to a certain extent, to the society in which he lives. Secularization becomes a force for bringing about false ideas and the breaking down of old traditions that have held civilizations together.

This secular lifestyle has a spiritual and moral price. It has brought with it a curse of extreme worldliness and selfishness, the decline of public and private morality, and the defiance of authority, favoring individual freedom over responsibility to society, community and the world. Another result is a declining birthrate to below replacement levels. Filling the gap of these reduced numbers will be those of strong non-Christian faiths. It is forecast that the native German population will drop from 85 million to 25 million by the turn of the next century.

My concern is that we are following the same pattern towards secularization. We have embraced and committed ourselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ which is completely contrary to Satan’s plan. He is doing all he can to destroy families. Throughout your life, you must set an example to safeguard the principles and doctrines which will bring the blessings of the Lord.

People don't understand the consequences of their actions. People cut ties to families (or never even make those ties in the first place), turn to government for help, and then they wonder why society and civility fall apart.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Prophetic Optimism

A writer for Deseret News sat next to President Hinckley one night at a dinner and was impressed with his optimism.
As for me, I now have a new motto. In fact, I think it is how I will remember President Hinckley. The eternal optimist — literally eternal — who will always bow in reverence, but never in defeat.
A man whose departing words to us were through a smile.
"The best is yet to come."
This is in the face of terrible suffering around the world and on the horizon. The good which is coming will far outweigh the bad.