Saturday, December 26, 2009

Bill Maher is a fraud

This has nothing to do with any current news he may or not have made, but I feel the overriding urge to make the following definitive statement: Bill Maher is a fraud.

As we get ever closer to what appears to be the unavoidable passage of the so-called health care reform bill, I cannot help but recall Maher’s comments back in August on the “Tonight Show” with Conan O’Brien. That evening he went on a rant about the discussion in the public about Senate Democrats pursuing 60 votes in their quest to move their agenda forward. Referring to President Barack Obama, Maher insisted “he needs to drag them to it because they’re stupid.”

Very simply, the notion that the public at large lacks the intelligence, wherewithal, or even the fundamental right to make basic choices for themselves (particularly on matters such as their own health care and whether or not they will seek related coverage) and we must allow ourselves to be dependent on so-called experts to “guide us” in making any such choices is the most politically correct notion floating around in our society.

And that is what’s truly fraudulent about Bill Maher. For years he has portrayed himself as a champion of all that is politically incorrect – hence the name of his former television program on ABC. Yet, now he is spewing-forth an endless stream of modern progressive dogma.

Adding to the case against him is the fact most of his comments over at least the last 10 years have fallen in-line with the rest of the Hollywood establishment. This is further highlighted by Maher’s far-left stance on gun control and endless mocking of anyone who openly practices Christianity.

The picking and choosing of easy, overdone targets doesn’t end with Christians. I distinctly remember watching an airing of “Politically Incorrect” during which Penn Jillette called him out for using phrases such as “white trash” and "trailer trash.” He reminded Maher that these euphemisms “are racist terms” just as much as any ethnic slur directed at a minority. In this situation, again Maher falls back on the easy jokes and commentary – this time at the expense of Southerners, people living in rural communities, and white people in lower income brackets – because they better enable him to curry favor with Hollywood’s elite.

The truth is such material, including making fun of patriotism, is the easy way to get laughs anymore. These types of jokes and comments were edgy 30 and 40 years ago. Today, in the 21st century, they are commonplace in American pop culture.

Now, if Maher wants to be truly edgy and politically incorrect he ought to work on material that calls into question leftward ideas such as climate change. If he is so eager to mock members of a religious congregation, targeting the worshipers of modern environmentalism would cut harder against the Hollywood grain than anything else in circulation.

Otherwise, he is basically like Gwyneth Paltrow with chest hair – or or more simply Janeane Garofalo.

Cheap and easy jokes can go both ways, I suppose.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Guantanamo debate reveals Obama policy, Geneva Convention shortcomings

As the dust settles over the decision by the White House (a course of action spearheaded by Attorney General Eric Holder) to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several other Guantanamo Bay detainees, what I do not see the Obama Administration taking the lead on is working to establish a uniform approach toward future prosecution of terrorists.

There are three primary policy options to be considered on this issue of how the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay should be dealt with: prosecute them in a court of law; try them in military tribunals; or simply leave them at “Gitmo” indefinitely.

Each point has its ardent proponents who are as galvanized in their opposition to the other options as they are in their support of the one track which appeals most to them.

Several key principles stand at the heart of the respective arguments for those three approaches:

- Terrorists are criminals engaging in criminal activity and as such ought to be tried in a court of law in accordance with our Constitution;
- They are part of a larger, international collection of individuals who are at war with the United States and our allies and thus fall under the jurisdiction of a war crimes tribunal;
- They stand alone since their actions are of a military nature yet they are foreign nationals who operate in a manner which demonstrates they do not recognize the sovereignty of nations or their borders -- therefore they have no rights under either the United States Constitution or the Geneva Convention.

In each of these bullet points, however, the Geneva Convention is invoked in some way. This international treaty was drawn-up as a means to hold countries -- and in particular their government and military leaders -- accountable once peace is achieved for actions taken during times of war between them.

In the case of terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, we are left with a quandary that needs to be sorted-out before we begin picking-and-choosing how to move forward with the terrorism suspects currently in custody as well as those we can expect will be detained in the future. The problem, though, is there are valid arguments to be made on all three opinions.

Former President George W. Bush’s failing on this issue was he opted for Door #3 as time went on (although to their credit they did quietly pursue new homelands to relocate GiTMO detainees who were deemed to not be a threat) and continued along this path without any apparent plan to formulate a uniform policy beyond that. The key national security players in his administration assumed the American public would unanimously adopt the attitude, “Well, they’re terrorists so just let ‘em sit there indefinitely.”

What they failed to anticipate is Americans would become increasingly uncomfortable with the approach of leaving them incarcerated without due process of some kind -- be it through a civil or military court. While to a certain extent it is petty (not to mention nauseating) to insist some semblance of rights be extended to terrorists in light of 9-11 and the horrors being inflicted upon American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, we must remember we are a nation founded on principles and ideals of liberty, rights, and justice -- that our system of justice stems from liberty and rights and not the other way around.

Where President Barack Obama is failing on this matter is his administration blindly insists that we showcase the American judicial system for the world to watch and admire. Just as Bush arbitrarily chose to not deal with the legality of the detainment of Mohammed (more popularly referred-to as KSM) and his cohorts, Obama now is missing the point that al Qaeda operatives and other terrorists being held at GiTMO present an unprecedented situation for the America:

-To merely hold them in captivity without any form of due process simply is un-American;
-Foreign terrorists are not American citizens and therefore not guaranteed the same rights we and legal immigrants to this country enjoy;
-They also are not combatants commissioned by a sovereign nation with which we are in conflict.

But, there is an important caveat to that last point: one of the key conclusions of the Congressional 9-11 Commission is that since its formation roughly 20 years ago al Qaeda has been in a state of war with the United States and our Western allies while we relatively ignored them throughout the 1990s.

So, we have a group who are at war with the U.S. but do not fall under the provisions of the Geneva Convention -- yet because they are not American citizens they do not meet the same criteria for prosecution as in the cases of Timothy McVeigh and Jim Nichols.

Muddling the discussion even further is the fact most being held at GiTMO were captured on foreign soil by our military during combat. For most people, that last point seals the deal on the discussion: conduct military tribunals for these individuals and get it over with.

Standing in direct contrast, though (and keeping the argument going in an exhaustingly circular nature), is that we have come to accept the definition of terrorism as being criminal activity. Based on that, we are at the same time obligated to try them in a court of law.

All of these points and counterpoints bring us back to the fact Bush and Obama have gone astray with their respective policies on the matter. Their unifying mistakes are not researching and developing a new yet uniform manner and approach to bringing foreign al Qaeda operatives to justice; and then assuming their Presidential successors will simply follow their footsteps in dealing with them.

A hybrid approach of some kind needs to be established. Bush’s and Obama’s choices each have been the justice system equivalent of trying to ram a square peg through the round hole. But overcoming their blunders and preventing more of the same down the road will -- admittedly -- be a long process that would not just require but demand a completely open debate about how to resolve this issue.

The best and most trusted minds of American law need to be brought together with all views properly represented (meaning allowing neither the likes of Bill Clinton or John Ashcroft to hijack the process).

Whether we conduct military tribunals or continue with the efforts to try KSM in federal court, part of the reasoning is to adhere to the Geneva Convention. But since the Geneva Convention does not adequately address terrorists captured in the battlefield, we are left with the inevitable truth that Geneva needs to be updated under the same mindset to reflect this new reality. When I say “updated,” I mean amended not rewritten.

And, it goes without saying that adding such language to the Geneva Convention would inevitably be a time-consuming endeavor -- requiring delegates from a multitude of nations to agree upon its language. Then we have the time needed here in our country to hash-out a plan around which the people of the United States can unequivocally rally. Most importantly, it must not be a rush-job. To reiterate, to ensure it will be a solid policy the entire process must be public.

Related side notes:
With the trial of al Qaeda operatives -- KSM in particular -- the truly greatest concern is with the risk of compromising national security resulting from potential intelligence leaks during the process of disclosure. In order for the criminal trial to work all evidence must be made available to the defense counsel. I can’t see how this can take place without classified material exchanging hands.

Our nation already has had to deal with an attorney for one terrorist who passed along radical decrees and instructions for his client. What will we have to worry about taking place with this?

I would take time to ponder whether or not the Obama Administration has properly thought all this out. Instead I am going to give in to my bias and simply state the answer to that question is clear and easy to deduce: “No.”

Obama and Holder do not appear to be particularly concerned about protecting sensitive information tied to the capture of those facing trial. This is their Big Show for the world. As the Obama Administration’s approach to foreign policy continually comes under greater and harsher scrutiny, this President wants nothing more than to demonstrate to his critics and the public at large that his way is superior to his predecessor’s (not that it would be that significant of a challenge; but Obama thus far has actually managed to display less acumen for leading this nation on foreign policy than Bush). If it means selling out as much of our intelligence community and their sources in the field as possible, once again it is a sacrifice he is willing to make.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why does the Left hate Sarah Palin so?

As she returns to the national spotlight with the release of her new book, let us analyze this point: "Why does America's left establishment hate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin so much?"

You got me. I've thrown my main point out there really quick instead of building my way toward it as I usually do. But, this point needs to be driven home in an in-your-face manner.

The answer to the burning question above isn't too surprising when you take an honest look at the situation. The institutional left hates Palin with every fiber of their being because she is living proof a woman can achieve a high level of success in a predominantly male arena without having to compromise her values or guiding principles. And, she has done so as a member of the political party feminists have alleged for decades is responsible for continuing the oppression of women in our society.

Members of the Democratic Party despise the governor because her rise to national prominence has taken away something very precious to them. Since the Sexual Revolution took rise over 40 years ago, Democrats have laid claim to the notion (without saying in so many words) that gender equality is their baby and theirs alone. If you consider yourself to be a feminist to even the slightest extent, Democrats would have you believe they are the only political institution outside of the National Organization for Women that has your back.

By playing up mistrust and resent between the genders, they have worked hard to popularize the idea women who would aspire to reach greatness can only hope to do so if they vote Democrat.

And then along came Sarah Palin, governor of the State of Alaska and candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. There it was in the face of everyone, whether they knew it or not: the game of politics -- especially the role women play in it -- had changed dramatically.

Good luck convincing me that liberals, feminists, and all other Democrats did not rejoice at watching Palin's disastrous first national interviews. And when the news broke that her daughter Bristol had become pregnant at age 17, the moment must have been a nearly orgasmic one in the NBC Universal board room.

Now, during the resultant bashing of Palin's image leading up to the election, N.O.W. was conspicuously absent from the picture. Afterall, wouldn't an organization that claims to promote constitutional equality for women want to have one of their own to be a "heartbeat away from the presidency?"

The situation was quite reminiscent of their silent complicity with Former President Bill Clinton's infidelity during his administration. Undeniably, N.O.W. took a serious hit to their credibility since being unfaithful to one's wife is supposed to be one of the worst slaps to a woman's dignity a man could commit. The next domino fell on N.O.W. when Hillary Clinton announced they were reconciling and then in 2000 she ran for U.S. Senator in New York. Funny how opting not to leave a cheating husband can expedite one's own political aspirations.

Getting back on track (I do love my sidebars, being the right-wing Libertarian elitist I am)... There is a new nut in politics conservatives everywhere are trying to crack: in the months that followed the election and the Obama-Biden ticket won there remained so much focus on Gov. Palin. More than a year after the polls closed, liberal and alleged nonpartisan commentators continue to be relentless.

Virtually every time the dust has settled after a presidential election the losing running mate has faded quickly into obscurity in terms of the national scene. In 2008 and 2009, however, this particular former running mate continues to be thrust into the national public eye on a regular basis. Only once has she found herself there by her own choosing -- after speaking at a Republican event in Indiana.

Perhaps the Left's ire lies in this: in a turn of events that was unexpected for most people who watch political news coverage, Palin has retained a great deal of popularity among Republicans. Significant interest in her political career continues to remain high among conservatives, much to the chagrin of the liberal establishment. Once you finish perusing my blog, take a look at the Bumperstickers section of my MySpace profile. At the bottom of it you will see a Palin 2012 "button."

That is why the Olbermanns, Colberts, Lettermans, Fays, and O'Briens of our nation insist upon their continued chiseling at her public image.

The most newsworthy assault this past summer, however, backfired with interesting and entertaining results. David Letterman's recent flap -- joking about Palin's daughter getting "knocked-up" by New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez -- put her in a position where she was unequivocally compelled to speak out on her own behalf. Although it's not hard to figure out Letterman meant his joke to be about Bristol Palin, his lack of attention to details and fact-checking resulted in him appearing to be assailing the governor's 14-year-old daughter, Willow. That daughter was the one attending the Yankees game with her mother.

And given another opportunity in an NBC exclusive interview, Palin's eyes and the manner in which she spoke were as clear as many of us conservatives believed they ought to have been in 2008. Even as Matt Lauer tried press his point that she could be overreacting, the governor never relented and made her point succinctly.

The problem for the left in that particular situation is this: when someone makes an inappropriate remark about your loved ones, to not speak up and defend their honor would be equally as inappropriate. As a result of Letterman boneheadedly including (unintentionally or not) her underage child in his own campaign of character assassination, the door opened for her to step up and improve her image on her own.

Yet, in coverage of the story by broadcast and print media, Palin is again receiving zero support from women's organizations. If not for extensive digging through N.O.W.'s Web site,, and finally finding comments about Letterman in their "Media Hall of Shame" section, it would appear they were completely silent on this matter. Their comments on the story, though, are very brief.

People on the left -- especially those who claim to be gender equality advocates -- should have been just as vocal in their outrage over Letterman's bad joke as their counterparts on the right. It boils down to the risk to their credibility.

A common course of action people take when weighing an idea or issue is taking the sources into consideration before looking at the meat of their arguments. The left knows this perfectly well -- for example, that's why claims of prejudice, radicalism, and corporate-induced bias are frequently directed at Tea Partiers. Instead of challenging the points their opponents raise on a subject, simply question the presenters' credibility. Liberals are fully aware how often this works.

By not either arguing in defense of Gov. Palin in light of such a tasteless joke or more aggressively expressing distaste for the derogatory implications about female teens the joke used, so-called women's rights champions are lending even more legitimacy to the right-wing assertion that such groups are not interested in equal rights but are using that platform to further a specific ideological agenda.

And countering this point with action -- as opposed to outraged denial -- ought to be a priority to groups such as N.O.W. Should the general public accept and embrace the right's argument above about organized feminism, the damage to the credibility of women's groups could be too much for them to overcome. Public scorn for using a cause such as equality (particularly being of such importance to women of all political leanings) as a front for another political agenda would be swift and decisive.

As it stands, plenty of people in America (mainly folks who only follow politics casually -- at best) still perceive those who champion equal rights for women as being focused narrowly on this goal. When that perception changes for enough people, the aforementioned scorn will be enough to motivate more and more legislators and other key political figures to distance themselves from these special interest groups.

Their silence on the Letterman/Palin story, coming on the heels of the conspicuous absence of support for the governor during last year's campaign while critics, commentators, and comedians were unashamedly portraying her as an airhead (a label traditionally directed at women), has established a tangible and specific pattern to which those of us on the right can point and use as a foundation for our arguments.

If women's rights advocates persist in being selectively heroic in their defense of female public figures, the American masses will pick up on it. If this trend with feminists continues, they will only make it easier for political analysts and bloggers to discredit them.

It's one thing when I blog about it or someone infinitely more notable such as Greg Gutfeld, Neal Bortz, Glenn Beck, or Sean Hannity discusses the subject; but when folks in the grocery stores, health clubs, and coffee shops begin to have this conversation, it'll be a whole new game for the left.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The grass roots effort gets a dab of miracle grow

Tonight I attended my first Allen County Patriots meeting. I found about them through my affiliation with the West Central Ohio 9-12’ers via the Web site

I don’t know how else to put it, but this is one of those groups you have heard about if you watch or listen to Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity. They are everyday people who are rightly concerned about the direction to which our country is being taken. And, they have chosen to come together. I felt right at home.

Since I am not writing this as an official representative of the Patriots organization, I will not use people’s names. As we are a crowd who want to see our rights restored that we have seen steadily eroded over the years, I believe it is my responsibility to respect the right of privacy for my fellow attendees.

The president of Allen County Patriots is a gentleman who shares some uncanny similarities with me. He is 39, lost his job in our floundering economy, is unashamedly Christian, loves his country unequivocally, and also dreams of not only having children someday but hopes to raise them in an America that resembles the land in which he grew up and once knew.

And overall, the crowd was a dynamic mix of folks in their 30s, 40s, 50, 60s, and even older. In attendance were local professionals, retirees, blue-collar workers, widows, and good old fashioned small town folks of all walks of life.

The group’s president mentioned this was their fifth meeting. At this juncture, some steps and goals were explored. In addition to the standard positions for an organization’s executive board (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer) they also sought to fill four additional senior jobs: business liaison; education representative; media relations/PR coordinator; and a community/youth group coordinator. The first three positions were filled by volunteers while the last remains open.

The extra responsibilities within this branch of Patriots just may go far in assisting them with nine goals -- or “Courses of Action” for them to accomplish -- as agreed upon by the executive board. They are:

1. Develop an e-mail newsletter or Web site (possibly even both).
2. Organize a “Launch Party” for this winter to bring even more like-minded citizens together -- the president is hoping for Jan. 18, but some members thought mid-February might be a bit more optimum, but the date is not anything official.
3. State coordinating -- essentially, networking with other county and local groups.
4. Establish ongoing dialogue with area schools and PTAs.
5. Grow the Allen County Patriots to 500 members by June 2010.
6. Return to Washington D.C. for another national rally.
7. Begin ballot initiatives for November polls.
8. Host a debate among candidates for various offices.
9. Put a candidate on the ballot.

On several additional notes, one area upon which everyone in attendance agreed centered on item number 4 as members discussed the need for area schools to dedicate more time to teaching our children about both the United States Constitution and Ohio’s state constitution -- possibly even getting the schools to issue pocket-size Constitution booklets (much like the ones available at

The increasing rate of leftward political indoctrination in our schools made up part of the motivation to lean in this direction. Another point raised was the steady, gradual de-emphasis of American History as well.

On the point of hosting debates, the president emphasized the point of making sure in addition to the presence of a Republican and Democratic candidate running for a particular office there also would be an independent or third party candidate too (being a registered Libertarian, I wholeheartedly endorse this).

Another idea the president suggested spontaneously was having a day dedicated to rallying at the Allen County Courthouse. When the weather begins to improve in the spring, his suggestion was positioning group members at each corner of the block where the courthouse stands to hold signs both identifying themselves as Allen County Patriots and what their causes are.

Early in the meeting, the president mentioned the Patriots were not going to actively engage in fundraising just yet as they have not yet received 501(c)3 status. The secretary later added they were not necessarily pursuing full non-profit status since that would entail full disclosure of donations and activity to the federal government. The desire to maintain a reasonable degree of privacy being the key.

The next meeting for the Allen County Patriots has been scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 6 p.m. at The Meeting Place in Lima’s downtown.

New indicator suggests favorable atmosphere for Libertarian rise

It's very simple.

Read this article that appears on Yahoo! via the Wall Street Journal.

For those of us who desire a third party in America in an effort to balance the national political landscape, the news contained within the article hyperlinked above ought to serve as a rallying point.

With the manner in which the Republicans and the Democrats have been taking care of their business, their time of atonement (meaning, a vast reduction in their power in Washington and the capitals of all 50 states) has come due.

Many of us will have our chance to make that sentiment known in next week's elections.

I intend to vote my conscience Tuesday, November 3rd. Will you?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A new current is sweeping through America

Thank you for visiting my official blog. My efforts in this endeavor have been growing and evolving over the past year.

I will begin by reposting older blogs I have used in MySpace, Facebook, and the Activity Pit. I won't repost them all at once. Also, I will continue to intersperse new items with the old until the rehashing of old material has been played out.

Chances are, that won't take long (insert L-O-L and winking emoticon here).

As a favor -- since at this moment I have such a small number of regular readers -- please pass my url along to your friends and others whom you wish exposed to Libertarian ideals and philosophy.

Take Care,

Don Kissick
Lima, Ohio