Twenty Years Ago Today

...The Berlin Wall came down. It hardly seems possible that it has been twenty years since that momentous event. For me, as a former resident of West Berlin for almost four years, it was a joyous occasion.

West Berlin was a huge city, and there were large areas of it where the Wall was not even visible. Still, it was always a looming presence. We knew that the Wall was there, and we knew that the people on the other side of it were not free. They were held on the other side by guards with machine guns and dogs, by barbed wire and concertina wire and tank traps and mines.

And then, almost miraculously, the Berlin Wall fell, the guards and their dogs and their guns disappeared, the wire was taken down, the mines disarmed. The Iron Curtain vanished in a cloud of rust. The people in the East, who had not known freedom in half a century, suddenly emerged to blink and bask in its bright light. It was a beautiful thing to see.

Today, even twenty years later, watching the dominoes symbolizing the Wall toppling, I can't help but smile.


Why I Like George W. Bush

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, secretly visited the hospital at Fort Hood, Texas, last night to comfort the wounded from the cowardly terrorist attack and their families, according to Fox News. They asked the base commander that there be no press coverage of their visit.

To me, this was a very classy act. They were there to do what they could to console the victims. They weren't there for a photo op to make themselves look good.

The Bushes have a ranch about thirty miles from Fort Hood, so it was a little easier for them to get there than for President Obama, who will be there Tuesday for the memorial service. Still, this wasn't something that they were duty-bound to do. They did it because they care about the members of our armed forces, just as they did when President Bush was in office. This is why he was so popular with most service members then, and I dare say that he remains so now. The Bushes are good people, who put up with a lot of calumny about them for eight years. And although I didn't agree with everything he did, I miss him.


A Muslim? I'm Shocked, Shocked!

Admit it: The first thing you thought to yourself when you heard about the atrocity at Fort Hood yesterday was, "Is it a Muslim terrorist attack?" The FBI quickly pooh-poohed that notion, saying, "No, no terrorism here, move along." But on Fox News, Shepard Smith was coy, refusing to name the murderer even after all of the other networks and the AP had already released the name. They got it wrong, of course; they named him as Major Malik Nadal Hasan, said that he had been killed, and rumored him as a convert to Islam. His actual name was Major Nidal Malik Hasan, he's a native-born American Muslim of Palestinian descent, an Army-educated psychiatrist and it turns out that he is still very much alive. As in most chaotic breaking news situations, the initial reporting was inaccurate.

Most of the news outlets are puzzled about why he might have committed such a heinous act, shooting 43 people and killing 13 of them (so far). All you need to do is look at the pictures of him in a local 7-11 yesterday morning and all is made clear. He looks like he just walked in from Peshawar. That is not the normal garb for an American military man. It IS the normal garb for a devout Muslim. Somebody dressed like that very well might have no problem murdering soldiers that he viewed as oppressing his co-religionists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course, most of the media doesn't want to use that particular M-word, because it is politically incorrect to do so. The message they've been giving us since 9-11 is that Muslims are no different then we are and that it's just a coincidence that every time you turn around and hear about another terrorist plot being foiled or some immigrant doing an "honor killing" on his daughter or wife for becoming "too Westernized," it's a devout Muslim who is involved.

It's time to say something that is politically incorrect but true: If immigrants from ANY society do not accept the basic tenets of our society, that is, individual liberty and religious freedom, then THEY DO NOT BELONG HERE! And from everything we've seen in the news, both from here and in the U.K., France, Germany and other places in Europe, devout Islam is incompatible with Western civilization.

The Europeans are in a lot more trouble than we are, because they've allowed a lot more immigration from Muslim countries (often in their former empires) than we have. Now, many of those Muslims are law-abiding citizens, but it's apparent that the ones who are not are very, very dangerous people. The Europeans fought Crusades for several hundred years to keep the Muslims from conquering Europe. Now, in the space of the past few decades, those same Muslims are well on the way to accomplishing that ancient goal by peaceful immigration.

More importantly, any Muslim in our military or in any position where he can harm our society has to be considered suspect at this point. It's like having a python for a pet: 99% of pythons are perfectly good pets, if you like that sort of animal, but the 1% of the time when the python gets loose and strangles the baby that makes you think that you'd be better off if nobody kept pythons as pets and you just left the pythons back wherever it was that they came from. Our country could get along just fine without pet pythons or Muslim immigrants equally well.


An Interesting Election Day

Especially considering that there weren't any races locally affecting me. Republican-endorsed Conservative Doug Hoffman lost to Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23, by a margin of a few thousand votes, fewer than were cast for Dede Scozzafava, who was still on the ballot, although I'd guess that those six or seven thousand votes were mostly mail-in absentee ballots. That just shows the flaw in absentee voting: If things change on the ground at the last minute, your vote can be wasted, which is why I always show up at the polls in person on election day. The good news is that the RINO Scozzafava wasn't elected, and next year, perhaps the Republicans of the district can choose a candidate more to their liking than Scozzafava was.

The news elsewhere was good, however. Barack Obama's magic is gone. He personally campaigned for Democrat gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds in swing state Virginia and incumbent Jon Corzine in blue state New Jersey. Deeds was crushed by Republican Bob McDonnell in Virginia, and even the Democrat political machine in the Garden State could not save Gov. Corzine, who was defeated by Republican Chris Christie by a decisive margin.

Now, it is said that all politics is local, and of course local issues like high property taxes and poltical corruption in New Jersey came into play. However, given Obama's heavy personal involvement in the two big races, the defeats show that his support is not enough to get Democrats over the finish line, even in heavily Democrat states like New Jersey, if the people are angry about the economy, unemployment, extreme government spending by Congress, and Democrat schemes to ram through expensive agendas like health care reform and cap-and-tax global warming that will make our economic problems worse, not better.

My guess is that the Obama-Pelosi-Reid health care and cap-and-tax plans are dead in the water, because we are only a few months away from the 2010 congressional primaries. Any congresscritter from either party who votes for them is likely to see a strong challenge in the primaries in any district that is not mostly populated with far-left liberals. Those Blue Dog Democrats who were swept into power last year on Obama's coattails will be committing career suicide if they vote for those schemes, and they know it. This is why Obama and his minions were in such a hurry to ram things through. Now they're probably too late, which is a damn good thing.


Dogs and Cats, Living Together

Unless you're a political junkie, you've probably never heard of Dede Scozzafava, Bill Owens or Doug Hoffman. You probably have no idea what part of the state New York's 23rd congressional district is in. But since NY-23 is one of a handful of special elections on Tuesday that will serve as a referendum on Barack Obama's presidency so far, it's a story to keep an eye on. It's a traditionally Republican congressional district, although one that went for Barack Obama in 2008.

President Obama tapped the district's Republican congressman, John McHugh, to serve as Secretary of the Army, which opened up the seat for the special election. The law in New York is that local party bosses get to select the candidates in special elections like this one; there's no primary system or anything like that. The Democrats chose a liberal, Bill Owens. The Republicans also chose a liberal, Dede Scozzafava, whose positions on most issues would be at odds with most people who call themselves Republicans.

One peculiarity of New York politics is that there are a lot of different parties that have candidates on the ballot; sometimes, candidates run as members of more than one party. In any case, the Conservative party chose a Tea Party activist named Doug Hoffman, a fiscal conservative with an accounting background. God only knows that they could use an accountant in Washington!

Well, numerous Republican luminaries, starting with Sarah Palin, endorsed Hoffman over Scozzafava, saying that she was too liberal. Other Republicans, like Newt Gingrich, said that party loyalty was more important than ideology and threw their support behind Scozzafava.

The end result was that Scozzafava ended up running a distant third in the polls, with Hoffman and Owen running neck-and-neck. And so, on Saturday, Scozzafava apparently did the honorable thing and suspended her campaign, seemingly so that the Republican/conservative vote wouldn't be split and throw the election to the Democrat. Because, you know, Republican contributors had given her campaign some $900,000 and it wouldn't be right to help out their political opponents, right?

But yesterday, Scozzafava shattered any illusion of honor, and threw her support behind the Democrat! This was the biggest case of someone being a turncoat in New York since Benedict Arnold tried to betray West Point to the British. Scozzafava couldn't have been a bigger RINO (Republican In Name Only) if she'd had a horn growing out of her forehead!

She proved by her dishonorable action that people like Sarah Palin, Fred Thompson, etc., were exactly right about what kind of congressperson she would have been: Another liberal useful idiot that would go along with Obama's schemes to turn the country into a socialist paradise. Well, Dede, don't the the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya on the way out. Good riddance to you!

And not to be gratuitously insulting, but I saw a picture of her on the sidebar of another blog, just over a picture of Hillary Clinton, who looked absolutely svelte by comparison. I think there's a new Cankle Queen in town!

The good news is that Doug Hoffman should get most of the Republican vote and hopefully will win NY-23 handily on Tuesday. Then the voters in that district will get the responsible representation that they deserve.