timely quote

Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president.

Theodore Roosevelt

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bill Clinton's international deals could cause SoS Clinton problems

According to the AP, via Yahoo: Bill Clinton's worldwide fundraising for his foundation could cause problems for the (unasked) possible new Secretary of State...Hillary Clinton. There's even been talk that it could cost her the appointment.

Man, there's a lot of speculation on the details of something that's not happened. :)

Over the last few years, Sen Clinton has criticized China for arresting people who don't agree with them, Brazil for poor working conditions, Dubai for a business deal to buy a British company and Kazakhastan for human rights abuses. Former President Clinton has solicited donations or made business deals with each of the above. He has raised Over $350M for his foundation, which finances his library in Arkansas.

With all of the reported donations and deals that Bill Clinton has around the world, there will be speculation of conflict of interest, which could severly damage the credibility of the United States around the world. Will Secretary of State Clinton be considering her husband's business interests when she's talking to China, Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar, Morocco or Saudi Arabia?

There's already been some questionable "talks" with the former president:

Louis Freeh, the FBI director under the former president, said Clinton sought a library donation from Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah during a discussion of the investigation into the deadly 1996 bombing of Khobar Towers U.S. military dormitory in Saudi Arabia.

Freeh wrote in his book "My FBI" that the FBI was trying to get Abdullah to let the FBI question suspects the Saudi kingdom had in custody and that Clinton failed to pressure Abdullah.

Clinton denied Freeh's account, and has said his business dealings and foundation fundraising pose no political conflicts for his wife. The former president has so far refused to identify donors to his foundation.

Unfortunately for Sen (SoS) Clinton, Bill won't make that determination.

Matt McKenna, a spokesman for the former president, declined to comment on any potential difficulties that Clinton's activities could pose for his wife should she become secretary of state or whether the former president would alter any of his fundraising or other activities to avoid potential conflicts.

Of course, there could also be a few Clinton family squabbles. Can Bill Clinton step back from the spotlight enough to let his wife truly step up to be the diplomat she would have to be? Can the narcissist share the mirror?

Bill Clinton has cultivated the image of a senior statesman since leaving the White House and often makes speeches abroad. That role could be diminished if his wife were representing the Obama administration on international issues.

First, there has to be an appointment.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Clinton reportedly offered Secretary of State job

According to CNN, Pres-Elect Obama is talking to Hillary Clinton about the Secretary of State position in his administration. The story is backed by several sources, none of them named, so take it with a grain of salt.

"There was a serious discussion to determine whether, if offered secretary of state, she would accept it," said a source close to the Obama transition team.

Another source close to the Obama transition team said that asking Clinton to be secretary of state "has been of great interest to Obama for a while. You've got to assume that Hillary Clinton did not come to visit the city of Chicago."

Over the course of the past 24 hours, sources close to Clinton have softened their one-time solid public position that she would not be interested in a Cabinet post. Those sources now say Clinton is clearly contemplating various ways in which she can serve the Obama administration.

So Hillary Clinton is softening up to the new administration, after being offered the promise of power. Secretary of State is a perfect position for her. She can fly all over the world, bowing down to oppressive regimes while allowing them to set our foreign policy.

Clinton, however, remained mum Friday about the speculation over the meeting.

Clinton went to the meeting Thursday with Obama because "she knew Obama wanted to talk about whether she would have a role in the administration," according to two sources.

Obama and Clinton met in Chicago, Illinois, at the request of the president-elect, the sources said.

However, Clinton said, "I'm going to respect his process, and any inquiries should be directed to his transition team."

Rahm Emanuel denied his offer until the day the press said he accepted. We'll see.

I'm still waiting for the bi-partisan part.

folly's follies

Well, I've been looking for a place to post some more personal stuff: the non-political. I think this will do.

folly's follies

Here I'll talk about lifting weights, food, work, shooting and an informal beer review here and there. I do enjoy a nice beer.

So kick back and enjoy the ride; I'll try to make it interesting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Principles of Conservatism

I just found this essay over at Gates of Vienna. It covers the Ten Principles of Conservatism. The essay at GoV is by Dymphna, and the original principles are by Russel Kirk, adopted from his book 'The Politics of Prudence.' Read both.

Dymphna provides some incredible insight into the basis of conservatism. The original has made my Required Reading list on the right.

Kirk provides detail and analysis, but I will post the principles here with no comment. Anything I said would sully the incredible insight of the original author.

First, the conservative believes that there exists an enduring moral order.
Second, the conservative adheres to custom, convention, and continuity.
Third, conservatives believe in what may be called the principle of prescription.
Fourth, conservatives are guided by their principle of prudence.
Fifth, conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety.

Sixth, conservatives are chastened by their principle of imperfectability.
Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked.
Eighth, conservatives uphold voluntary community, quite as they oppose involuntary collectivism.
Ninth, the conservative perceives the need for prudent restraints upon power and upon human passions.
Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.

Seriously, go read them.

Ron Paul said something I can agree with. Really.

I figured I'd start this with a quick lesson in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Just in case you haven't yet read the Constitution, it doesn't give the federal government a whole lot of power. Since then, the power has been more and more centralized to Washington. This is contrary to Conservative thinking, which provides more power to the states.

Ron Paul has an Op/Ed at CNN.com that is worth a read. Now, I am not a Paul supporter, and I am not a Libertarian. But sometimes, people we don't really agree with say some pretty good things. I don't agree with everything in his piece, but the basic premise is sound.

In the rise and fall of the recent Republican reign of power these past decades, the goal of the party had grown to be only that of gaining and maintaining power -- with total sacrifice of the original Republican belief in shrinking the size of government.

Most Republicans endorsed this view in order to achieve victories at the polls. Limiting government power and size with less spending and a balanced budget as the goal used to be a "traditional" Republican value. This is what Goldwater and Reagan talked about. That is what the Contract with America stood for.

The opportunity finally came in 2000 to do something about the cancerous growth of government. This clear message led to the Republican success at the polls.

Once the Republicans were in power, though, the promises faded, and all policies were directed at maintaining or increasing power by trying to whittle away at Democratic strength by acting like big-spending Democrats.

This was part of the "new tone:" not responding to Democrat attacks and reaching across the aisle to create new spending and programs, all the while hoping the Democrats would like us more and quit saying bad things. It didn't work then, and it won't work now. Look at some of the greatest triumphs of the last eight years - McCain-Feingold and No Child Left Behind, written with and for Democrats. And John McCain's name showed up in many more.

Because we allowed the Democrats to not only frame the debate, but also set the rules and determine who could participate, the Republican Party spent eight years letting the left side of Congress speak without rebuttal. And that led to November 4th of this year.

Since the new alignment of political power offers no real change, we will remain on the same track without even a pretense of slowing the growth of government. With the new administration we can expect things to go from bad to worse.

Opportunity abounds for anyone who can present the case for common sense in fiscal affairs, for protection of civil liberties here at home, and avoiding the senseless foreign entanglements which have bogged us down for decades and contributed so significantly to our fiscal and budgetary crisis.

...

How can a party that still pretends to be the party of limited government distance itself outright from these views and expect to maintain credibility? Since the credibility of the Republican Party has now been lost, how can it regain credibility without embracing these views, or at least showing respect for them?

I concluded my answer by simply stating the Republican Party had lost its way and must reassess its values. And that is what needs to be done in a hurry.

But it might just take a new crop of leaders to regain the credibility needed to redirect the Party. It certainly won't be done overnight. It took a long time to come out of the wilderness after 40 years of Democratic rule for the Republican Party to take charge. Today though, time moves more quickly. Opportunities will arise. The one thing for certain is that in the next four years we will not see the Republic restored. Instead the need for it will be greater than ever.

...

To ignore the political struggle and only "hope for the best" is pure folly. The march toward a dictatorial powerful state is now in double time.

All those who care -- and especially those who understand the stakes involved -- have an ominous responsibility to energetically get involved in the battle of survival for a free and prosperous America.

I know a lot of people who are "hoping for the best" right now, and in the past, I have been one of them. I can't imagine not being involved today. We are in a position like no other in the last hundred years. We have the opportunity to reconstruct the republican party in a more conservative image.

We will need new people and a stronger desire to make this country everything we believe it should be. The recreation of the democrat party has begun, with a much more socialist slant to the policies and rhetoric. Most of the people who voted for Obama probably didn't understand what he really stands for. They will, soon enough, and conservatives need to be prepared to provide a real alternative, not just another version of the same thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Secrets and Leaks

From New York Times and FoxNews

The first private meeting betweek Obama and Bush seemed to go well, except for the NYT reporting the contents of the private meeting.

According to the NYT, Mr. Bush indicated at the meeting that he might support some aid and a broader economic stimulus package if Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats dropped their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia, a measure for which Mr. Bush has long fought, people familiar with the discussion said.

So pretty much, the Obama camp goes public with just enough detail to make it look like Bush is only worried about his legacy, and then Representative Rahm Emanuel, indicated on Sunday that no such deal linking auto-industry aid and a stimulus package with trade pacts was in the cards. “You don’t link those essential needs to some other trade deal,” Mr. Emanuel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

So the Obama "people" are telling the NYT details about a private meeting between the sitting and incoming president.

The outgoing and incoming presidents met at the White House in private, without staff.

So where did Obama's people get the information to leak to the NYT? According to FoxNews, Senior aides to both men said the two issues were part of a long discussion about automakers and the ability of the trade deal to help not only the economy but also a key ally.

If you ask me, Obama is characterizing the conversation the way he'd like it to have gone. "Mr President, I'd like to talk about helping GM. You know, Deutsche Bank has downgraded GM and projects that the company can't continue operations past the end of the year without assistance."

"Well, Barry, let me tell you what. Your boys over there in congress have been beating me up about this Columbia free trade thing. If you think you can get that done, then we can talk about GM."

Democrats close to both Mr. Obama’s transition team and to Congressional leaders seemed willing to call Mr. Bush’s bluff, calculating that he would not want to gamble that G.M. — an iconic, century-old American corporation with business tentacles in every state — would fail on his watch and add to the negative notes of his legacy.

The language they are using is framing the debate. Rahm Emanuel says that the auto industry bailout is an "essential need" and establishing free trade with our ally Columbia is "some other trade deal." And the President was "irked." We can't let them set the rules like this.

Obama had asked Bush to help the sagging auto industry during their private meeting in the White House, senior aides to both men said. Bush stressed the need to work with Colombia, but said efforts to make it sound like a horse trade were unfair and inaccurate, an aide told FOX News.

A senior administration official suggested that Obama be careful to keep his counsel and perhaps is unfamiliar with the long-held tradition of keeping confidential conversations between presidents.

Asked if the leak affected what appears to be a very smooth transition so far, the senior Bush aide said, "It won't affect what we have to do ... but it was disappointing. I think the Obama folks will be backing off this pretty soon."

Podesta did just that later in the day, saying that the press "mis-reported" the conversation. "While the topic of Colombia came up ... there was no quid pro quo in the conversation," Podesta said. "The president didn't try to link Colombia to the question of an economic recovery package going forward. They talked about both of them."

Sounds like they reported it as it happened. Obama and Bush had a private conversation, then Obama spoke about it with his people. Emanuel came out to bash Bush about trying to bargain bailing out another major industry for free trade agreements. Then they backed off after they got called on it.

We can't stay on the defensive like this. We had eight years of being on the defensive, holding to the "new tone." We can't be shrill or offensive, but if something like this comes out, we can't let it go. We have to speak up. Nietzsche said, "Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one."

Veteran's Day

On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

First, thank you to all veterans, past and present. Your sacrifices make life in America possible.

I understand the purpose of Veteran's Day because I was Navy from 1990-1996. I joined at 19 because I was lost and needed direction. I grew up a lot in the Navy. I met my wife (now my wife of almost 18 years) and we have two wonderful children and a good life. I learned discipline, I discovered my work ethic, I completed creating myself.

I spent the majority of my time on a minesweeper driving over underwater mines and making them blow up. I didn't get to go to the gulf, but I knew many people that did. I spent my time touring Europe and we swept in the north sea for several weeks. We helped find and blow up some old WWII mines...they make a very big boom. It is a really cool thing to see. There are literally thousands of mines left outside of the major shipping lanes.

I got out in 1996 after watching Bill Clinton gut the military for two or three years. He made me the conservative I am today. Once I saw what he was capable of with the military, I started looking at everything else he was doing. I didn't like what I saw.

It takes a special person to spend a full life serving their country. It also takes a special person to live with a military member for a lifetime. So this Veteran's Day, remember to thank the veterans for their service and sacrifices; and veterans, don't forget to thank your spouse.

Also, take a minute to remember all of those who have come before us. Those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Remember that they had families...wives, children, mothers and fathers. They all deserve our gratitude. If you know the family of an MIA or KIA serviceman, take the time to tell them you are grateful for their sacrifice. If you are that family, please accept my gratitude and sympathy for your suffering.

Celebrate Veteran's Day the right way. By celebrating veterans.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Obama's missing web page found

I'm sure you've all heard of the missing agenda from change.gov. It was reported in the Washington Times and liked through WorldNetDaily.com. Well, thanks to Israpundit, I found TeamSarah.org(registration required).

TeamSarah linked to someone who had copied all of the text out from the agenda pages and made it available here. So if you need a link to something from the old change.gov pages, you now know where to find it.

And if you expected someone's cousin's dog's former owner in that, you're not alone.

As for the pages disappearing, “We are currently retooling the Web site,” said Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro.

Edit: these pages are still available on barackobama.com.

A couple of stories

So Howard Dean is stepping down as the DNC chair. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. We knew who Dean was. We knew what to expect.

Who Obama will appoint is anyone's guess.

Based on his promise to be bi-partisan and his current hard-left administration picks, I have a suggestion for Obama for the DNC chair.

Karl Rove.

Come on, Obama. Hold up to the promise.

In other news, Terry McAuliffe (the former DNC chair) is talking about a run for Virginia Governor. Guess what his platform would be. Come on, guess.

Change. Yep. Really.

"I think I can make a difference. I think I can go out and fight for people. I think I can create jobs. I think I can take this state in a new direction, and the thing I'd like to do, too, is to come out with some big, bold ideas. I think that's what this state has to hear," McAuliffe said in the interview.

Big, bold, new ideas. That's deep.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Here comes the change

From Yahoo News, but there's a second version of this story. Read both.

President-elect Obama's transition chief said Sunday the incoming administration is looking to reverse President Bush's executive orders on stem cell research, oil and gas drilling and other matters.

It looks as if President-Elect Obama is starting already.

"There's a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for congressional action, and I think we'll see the president do that," Podesta said.

"They want to have oil and gas drilling in some of the most sensitive, fragile lands in Utah," Podesta said. "I think that's a mistake."

There's a great quote from Harry Reid about possibly keeping Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "He's not even a Republican," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said. "Why wouldn't we want to keep him? He's never been a registered Republican." Heh. Diversity.

Rahm Emanuel would not commit to a Democratic proposal to help the auto industry with some of the $700 billion approved by Congress to for the financial bailout. Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter Saturday to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that the administration should consider expanding the bailout to include car companies.

"Obama's advantage of course is he'll have the House and the Senate working with him, and that makes it easier," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. "But even then, having an immediate impact is very difficult to do because the machinery of government doesn't move that quickly." Executive orders "have the power of law and they can cover just about anything," Tobias said in a telephone interview.

But the Republicans are promising to stand up and resist...with smiles.

"There is going to be, I think, a willingness to try and get things done," Representative Eric Cantor said. "But at the end of the day I think you will see a Republican Party in Congress serving as a check and a balance against Mr. Obama's power and Speaker Pelosi's power."

"It's going to be a cheerful opposition," said
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind. "We're going to carry those timeless principles of limited government, a strong defense, traditional values, to the American people."

We'll see if that works. Here's to hoping.

Hey Joan, I'm beginning to think you're right. Think there's anything to salvage up there anymore. Think anyone up there is useful?

Rahm Emanuel says he's not "Hyper-Partisan"

From CNN.

So I guess Rahm Emanuel is going to "Change" (yes, he can...:) now that he is chief of staff for Obama. His record is very partisan, his voting record is 98.5% liberal, and the BBC's profile of him says he is an "aggressive operator".

He is described as a democratic bulldog. In the BBC article, Paul Begala described him thusly, "He's got this big old pair of brass balls," he said. "And you can just hear 'em clanking when he walks down the halls of Congress."

Govtrack.us lists him as a "Rank and File Democrat."

With Obama picking Emanuel, Podesta and other historically partisan democrats, I'm starting to wonder when the "bi-partisan" starts.