George Sarant

A raw feed of material that may be updated or appear elsewhere.

Archive for April 2009

THE DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY

leave a comment »

The die has been cast for now. Arlen Specter’s defection to the Democrats makes it even more likely that much of their agenda is going to go through. For better or worse that is what we are going to have to live with, at least until there is enough blowback that can be attributable to these actions. Until that occurs the Republicans are fairly irrelevant, and internecine squabbles about the degree of conservatism don’t really matter. There will only be a shift when the public perceives that things have gone badly, which is not the case now. Hyper-partisanship is a waste of time.

It does not follow that the most radical policies being proposed will be enacted. A larger Democratic majority means a more varied party, and most politicians don’t vote ideologically as much as for what they perceive to be in the interests of their constituents. Inevitably there are geographical differences, and it is not yet clear i.e., that representatives from energy and industrial states are going to go along with the carbon tax. There are diverse interests at play and there still has to be some give and take and compromise. The more there is the less damage there will be, so all is not yet lost.

Advertisements

Written by georgesarant

April 29, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

THE EQUIVOCAL PRESIDENT

leave a comment »

For the first time in history we have a President whose commitment to this country is equivocal, if not tenuous. Only such a man could go abroad and criticize the US as though he were somehow above and apart from it. Only such a man could go abroad and apologize for his country, while shaking hands with Latin American radicals who excoriated the US, because he does not believe in this country and he does not believe it is good. It requires a radical transformation from the anointed one.

At first glance his soft approach might not seem bad, to the extent that it ratchets down anti-Americanism. But our enemies will only perceive this as weakness, and take advantage of it. He has called off the war on terror, released “torture” documents and photos giving aid and comfort to our enemies, and allowed that the Attorney General might prosecute officials of the prior administration for legal advice they gave that kept the country free from attack for seven years. Republicans must let it be known that if these political inquiries proceed, using the power of the state to punish political enemies, that the next time there is a Republican President they will go after the Obama administration for the treason they are committing.

What we have here is the most radical administration in American history, empowering the far left while claiming to be post-partisan. This is not surprising given that the instincts of Obama and his wife have always been those of black radicals, which was successfully hidden from the electorate and helped by the awful campaign run by John McCain, who refused to raise such issues. Under his policies we can expect the country to grow weaker, more vulnerable, and poorer as the government expands into every aspect of life. The policies of this administration make it a near certainty that Americans will be attacked again, and there can be no doubt who will have been responsible.

Written by georgesarant

April 24, 2009 at 8:18 PM

Posted in international

Tagged with ,

GEOLOGICAL CHANGE IS BEYOND OUR CONTROL

with one comment

The one constant phenomenon throughout billions of years of geological history is that the earth is constantly changing. The continents shift, life evolves, the temperature fluctuates, and everything from anthills to mountains come and go. Throughout most of this history carbon dioxide has been present in the atmosphere, sometimes in greater quantities, sometimes in lesser, but there is no doubt that it is a naturally occurring gas. In fact every time we breathe we are exhaling CO2 (and plants are taking it in). It is therefore the height of absurdity for the EPA to label CO2 a pollutant. This is a political, not a scientific judgment. This of course opens the door to onerous government regulation that is going to cost us all dearly in terms of higher energy costs.

This is not to deny that there is a relationship between CO2 and global warming, or even that some of it is man made. The question is how we approach the problem. The horrendous costs and social disruption that are likely to result from C02 regulation are as disastrous as the consequences of simply leaving it alone, while modestly working towards more energy efficiency, but for cost savings, not cost increases. That there may be rising oceans and geological consequences does not require that we go into panic mode to address them and undermine our entire energy, industrial, transportation, and home infrastructure. Rather we should simply deal with them as they arise. Nothing lasts forever, and the earth will inevitably shift and change in any case, so what purpose is served by severely punishing ourselves, while the Chinese go on burning coal anyway? We are more than capable of adapting to circumstances as they arise. The costs will outweigh the benefits and we will be that much poorer as a result. Far greater problems could be addressed at a fraction of the cost according to the copenhagenconsensus.com. The self-flaggelation we are about to undergo at the hands of this administration is historically unprecedented. It is only about ten thousand years since the last ice age ended, and in half that brief time our civilization flourished. What are we going to do about the next ice age? What are we going to do if a series of volcanos erupt simultaneously, causing more atmospheric change than all our efforts combined? Government cannot manage anything effectively, yet we are now expanding its role to manage not merely laws and institutions, but the global environment itself. Unfortunately over time it will be abundantly clear that this is far beyond its competency.

Written by georgesarant

April 18, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

MUTUAL PARANOIA

leave a comment »

I have been getting a lot of Email lately from right-wing fringe elements regarding coming social chaos and collapse, secret concentration camps being set up, UN troops here, etc. This is reminiscent of the 90s “black helicopter” stories. This is the sort of paranoia that percolates when the “other” side is in control of the government.

The “government” in turn, through the Department of Homeland Security has announced there is a potential “terror” threat from right-wing groups, while presenting no evidence and including such menacing baddies as American veterans. Janet Napolitano subsequently gave an inadequate apology to veterans.

It is less than reassuring when the department charged with security is as nutty as the people that are purportedly a threat.

Written by georgesarant

April 16, 2009 at 11:44 PM

Posted in government

Tagged with

THE WRONG TEA

leave a comment »

There is a groundswell of enthusiastic activism for the various “tea parties”’ taking place around the country on April 15, which of course is the federal income tax deadline. I recall the atmosphere of such undertakings going back decades. What they do mostly is allow the committed to feel as though they are doing something about an issue they care about. But the policy consequences aren’t all that clear. The administration in power will simply look out and decide “those aren’t our voters.” This is not meant to discourage such activities, which by all means should take place, but the consequences beyond feeling good are likely to be muted, particularly because April 15 represents the wrong tax.

As it stands now barely half the population pays any income tax, which limits how much traction the issue can have. There is however, a good deal of resentment about “taxes,” generally. For most people the federal income tax is the least onerous tax they pay. Where they primarily get hit is with state and local taxes. For most people who pay taxes the single most burdensome levy is the property tax, which is a local tax. This is mitigated for some by the fact that it is deductible from federal taxes, but in terms of sheer dollars this is the biggest single tax for homeowners of modest means. That, along with other state fees and taxes, is where the real burden lies. Thus to be effective anti-tax efforts should focus on the most objectionable taxes most people actually pay, which are in fact local. The good news is that tax protest at this level is likely to be more effective.

Written by georgesarant

April 14, 2009 at 9:34 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

AMERICAN HEROES

leave a comment »

There is a certain kind of man that this country still produces, despite all the prominence given to defective “celebrities.” He is not the sort to seek the limelight, never engages in shameless self-promotion, and abides by an ancient code of honor in all endeavors in life. Such a man is Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama, who was willing to sacrifice himself to save his crew, prior to his rescue by US Navy Seals, whom we can also be justly proud of, (and Pres. Obama deserves credit for authorizing the rescue). Such a man is Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, who successfully landed his commercial jet in the Hudson River, saving all the passengers. The heroic nature of such men may be masked by their quiet of day to day competence, but when the occasion arises they are there at the ready. They are men who seek nothing more than to live peaceful, normal lives, but who resolutely extend themselves in a burst of heroic grace when the situation calls for it. Although they are “old white men” they are the sort that ought to be held up as role models, instead of the egomaniacs who seek the public spotlight or, the Hollywood sort of posturing,i.e. feigning courage where none is required (the George Clooney Syndrome). These are the sort of men that the reflect the best of what we are, the best of what we have been, and hopefully the best we shall continue to be.

AND SCOUNDRELS

Execrable members of the congressional “black caucus” recently met with the Castro brothers in Cuba, and subsequently heaped praise upon them, while calling for an end to US restrictions on the Cuban dictatorship. Not a word about the countless thousands of victims of the regime, nor of the political prisoners held in miserable conditions for having the temerity to dissent. They didn’t whisper a word about those victims to Castro, as they were too busy discussing American “racism.” They didn’t even ask to see the dissidents languishing away as political prisoners. No, these communist sympathizers gushed over Castro, because of course the United States is responsible for all that is wrong.

Written by georgesarant

April 12, 2009 at 4:59 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

SPANISH MAGISTRATE ATTEMPTS TO INDICT AMERICAN OFFICIALS

leave a comment »

A Spanish magistrate recently began preparing “indictments” against former officials of the Bush administration for allegedly approving “torture” at Guantanamo Bay. Unfortunately this is more than a frivolous procedure on the part of the lunatic left. There are some countries where preposterous claims of “universal” jurisdiction hold sway. The same procedure was used by Spanish courts to tie up General Augusto Pinochet in the British legal system, notwithstanding the fact that he was from another country, Chile, not Spain. This pernicious doctrine essentially asserts that individuals from one country can be “indicted” by another country’s legal system for “human rights” violations or “war crimes.” That means that if this were to continue former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, advisers John Yoo, Douglas Feith and others could be arrested in a third country based upon a Spanish court indictment, threatening any travel or vacation they might take abroad. This is not a partisan issue, as it could be applied to officials of any administration on spurious grounds, or for that matter the American military. Nor is just an American issue; i.e. consider what would happen to Israelis under such political charges. Merely advising the President is certainly not a crime here,even if it is not good advice, and we cannot tolerate it being construed as such elsewhere.

It is bad enough that the Obama administration is considering joining the International Criminal Court, which engages in similar mischief. If this type of “indictment” is not forcefully resisted it represents a serious infringement of American sovereignty. While some cheerleaders on the far left welcome this kind of political persecution, the Obama administration has thus far wisely rejected it domestically. Activities of American officials in the United States can only be addressed in American courts and clearly this approach has no traction, which would otherwise lead to an endless round of retaliatory investigations between political parties.

Did we not do the same thing against Nazis in the Nuremberg trials? Apart from the outrageous notion of equivalency between the Nazis and Americans or Israelis, there are fundamental differences. We were victors in a war in control of territory without a functioning government, whose former officials had overthrown the laws of their own country. We do not currently recognize “international” jurisdiction over American citizens and this should not change, and certainly we cannot allow some pipsqueak prosecutor in a foreign country to issue “indictments” against American officials without severe consequences.

Our response must be strong and unequivocal. The administration must reject any such procedure as an infringement on American sovereignty. In the event that the Spanish government allows this to go forward we should withdraw our ambassador from Spain, make it clear we do not recognize their authority, and issue a strong warning that we will retaliate against any country that attempts to hold an American citizen under such bogus charges. Should this occur, we will respond militarily, just as we did against the Barbary pirates two centuries ago. The Spanish magistrates are morally no better and we should go after them in a reciprocal fashion for threatening Americans. This is, after all, a purely ideological abuse of power by foreign politicians, and ultimately it comes down to politics and power. In that respect we hold all the cards so there is no reason not to tell the European Socialists where to go.

Thus far the response of the Obama administration has been less than reassuring. This has been dismissed as “a matter for the Spanish courts,” which in effect says it is none of our business. But it soon will be and the issue cannot be ducked indefinitely. In this light we must now be heard as forcefully possible. The American people will not knowingly surrender their sovereignty and we cannot allow it to disappear by stealth

Written by georgesarant

April 4, 2009 at 4:36 PM