John Wayne is the Duke. Elvis is the King.

John Wayne's Holster: November 2006
John Wayne's Holster
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Monday, November 13, 2006

A Day Late and a Dollar Short!

As I am sure most of us are already aware, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld resigned last week – the day after the GOP got “thumped” at the polls. I am sure some will differ with me, but overall I think Rumsfeld did a fairly good job during his tenure with the DoD. That being said, the situation in Iraq is in dire need of new leadership and a new direction. I don’t think many will argue with me on that one.

Bush himself recognized this, but somehow he was a bit slow to act. Perhaps a bit stubborn as well. Had Bush replace Rumsfeld a few weeks ago - before the mid-term elections - he may very well have saved more than a few seats for the GOP.

The past weeked on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer interviewed White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten. Asked why Bush did not make the change prior to the election, Mr. Bolten stated that “…[the President] was determined not to inject an important national security decision into the electoral process just a few days before the election, because that would have sent a terrible signal to our troops, to our allies and to our enemies.”.

Sounds like spin to me. If that is indeed the case, then why change after the election? Isn’t the President still sending the same kind of signal to our troops, allies and enemies?

In all likelihood, the President made decision to remove Rumsfeld at the suggestion of James Baker and the Iraq Study Group. It is no secret that Mr. Baker is not a member of the Donald Rumsfeld fan club. In a recent New York Times article Baker states “…that neither Mr. Bush’s “stay the course” message nor what the White House calls the “cut and run” approach of critics offers a way out”. Moreover, in his book, Work Hard, Study and Keep Out of Politics, Baker points out many of the “costly mistakes" made in the Iraq war, but he lays the blame for those mistakes at the door of the Defense Department (read: Rumsfeld), not the White House.

When you consider that the decision to remove Rumsfeld was most likely made weeks before the election, it seems even more ridiculous that Bush did not make the move sooner! Bush may very well have cost his party the majority control.

If the last two years of his Presidency turns into a lame duck session - as some think it will - he can go stand in front of the mirror if he is looking for someone to blame!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

Now its official! With Tuesdays mid-term elections, the Democrats have taken control of both houses of Congress. They hold a 229-196 advantage in the House of Representatives and a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.

Many Republicans are in disbelief. It was thought by most of the pundits that the Dems would gain control of the house, but most thought the GOP would maintain the majority in the Senate. The fact that both houses were lost should serve as a big wake-up call to the Republican Party!

Looking a little closer at the elections, several things become apparent. For starters, the Dems have a big mess to clean up. As they will soon find out, it is not much fun walking in behind an elephant. Perhaps the biggest thing to keep in mind it this - Conservatism did not lose! Republicans lost!

I say that for several reasons. First, many of the Democrats elected on Tuesday were not strong liberal Democrats of the Kennedy or Pelosi mold. Rather, they were conservative Democrats of the Joe Lieberman mold. Incidently, the Independent Joe Lieberman defeated the Dems chosen candidate Ned Lamont in Connecticut. Second, eight states had some sort of referendum regarding the protection of “traditional marriage” up for a vote. In 7 of 8 states, those referendums were passed. Similarly, 11 states had proposed restrictions on the governments ability to seize private property for public use. In nine of those states, property rights were protected.

I also believe that the recent vote reflects more about the peoples dissatisfaction with the current Presidential administration than peoples affection for liberalism. It is not the Dems offer a better plan - in fact they have none. This vote was about change for the sake of change.

In other words, the recent loss at the polls by the GOP is due largely to the arrogance of its leaders and the fact that many Republicans have betrayed the conservative principles that got them elected in the first place. It seems that the Republicans were trying to be all things to all people. They were trying to move to the middle to make themselves more “presentable” to a wider range of voters.

Well I got news for them. I didn’t work!

Take a look at the GOP’s behavior during the Bush years. They have rejected the cornerstones of the party’s philosophy. The GOP has long prided itself in reducing taxes, shrinking the government, controlling spending, and maintaining a strong national defense. Those are the principles Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich represented. But sadly, they are not the principles of George W. Bush or the current Republican leadership.

Bush has increased the size of the government, and the GOP went along without much of a fight. While Bush did reduce taxes, he has increased spending in a major way. And this was all done during a time when we are at war and expeditures are higher than usual. Military spending aside, Bush has spent money like a drunken sailor – with the major difference being that the money Bush spent was ours. At least the sailor is spending his own money.

Bush’s spending habits are the antithesis of everything the GOP has prided itself on. In fact, Bush has outspent Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society. Even when you adjust LBJ’s numbers for inflation, Bush still wins hands down. To be fair, the Senate Appropriations committee has to share some responsibility for the increase in spending with all their earmarkings, pork-barrel projects, and bridges to nowhere. However, that committee is chaired by Thad Cochran (R-MS) and is controlled by the GOP. Moreover, Bush has signed off on everything they slid across his desk.

National security is another issue. While many, including myself, will argue that the war in Iraq was necessary, most will agree that the Bush administration has failed miserably in managing the war. On top of that, they have left us virtually unprotected at home. Our borders remain open, allowing the passage of millions of illegal aliens who are placing an unbearable financial burder on our country. In addition, other unseemly characters are also passing through like shit through a goose. These people mean to do this country harm. Many citizens in our country have been trying to get the Bush administration to do something to check the flow of illegal immigrants. Instead, Bush is pushing a workers amnesty program while the border still remains open. Bush was finally dragged kicking and screaming, and agreed to build a fence. But in case you missed it, the money to build the fence is not to be found.

I could go on, but I think the point has been made. The GOP lost because they betrayed their principles and arrogantly patronized their base. Now is gut-check time. They still have a chance to regain some of their lost power in the 2008 elections, but that will require them to get back to their roots. If they don’t, you can count on the Dems increasing their power and running the show for a long time to come.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What To Make of the Ted Haggard Tryst?

Ted Haggard is a homosexual and he snorts crystal meth!

So what!

Mr. Michael Jones, a gay prostitute, claims that he sold crystal meth to Pastor Haggard and engaged in “drug-fueled gay sex” with him.

Wow! Sounds pretty hot!

While Haggard admits to purchasing the crystal meth, he denies the gay sex charge. Haggard suggests that only a massage was involved. Jones, on the other hand, claims the relationship was sexual and lasted for at least three years.

As far as the drugs go, Haggard states that he never actually used the crystal meth. He claims that he purchased it out of curiosity, but later discarded it.

OK, whatever. And Bill Clinton never inhaled, right?!

To be fair, it should be mentioned that Jones failed a lie detector test. Not that it necessarily means anything as far as the legitimacy of his story goes….

Personally, I could care less about the lifestyle Haggard leads. It’s his life! Although, I think he should probably seek another line of work. It also seems – from the perspective of Evangelicals – that Haggard might have a few demons that need exercising.

All the Evangelical BS aside, there is something important that needs to be pointed out here. Contrary to what the left would lead you to believe, Haggard is not a hypocrite.

Sure he preached about the evils of drugs and homosexuality. And I believe that he thinks they are wrong! The fact that he himself got caught engaging in those activities does not make him a hypocrite.

It only makes him a sinner!

I am sure most of us have deliberately done things that we knew were wrong. I know I sure have – and more than once!

Did someone say crystal meth?

So why are the media making a big deal about Haggard’s moral shortcomings?

I am sure the fact the he is an Evangelical preacher had something to do with it, but there is more to it than that. Perhaps it is no odd coincidence that Jones’ allegations come the week before election day, when several states have so-called “gay marriage” initiatives on the ballot. In fact, Jones admits that the timing of his release (of the story) was intended to influence voters!

Wow, that part of the story was not widely reported!?

Personally, I don’t see any reason why two guys (or girls) can not have civil unions that would grant them the same rights and privileges as married couples. However, I do find it cowardly and disingenuous that some last minute political stunt – the so-called “October surprise” - has to be pulled in an attempt to sway the votes.

But I guess that’s politics for ya!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

WHO Seeks to End Female Genital Mutilation

Male circumcision is a cultural practice that has been going on for thousands of years. It essentially involves the removal of the foreskin. Historically, circumcision was performed for a variety of reasons. In various cultures it served as a "sign of submission to a deity, a rite of passage to adulthood, a mark of defeat or slavery, or an attempt to alter esthetics or sexuality".

Circumcision has also been performed on females. The reasons, however, are quite different. It is rooted more in a males desire to dominate or control females. In practicing cultures, females must be "pure" or virgins in order to be acceptable for marriage. The men in these cultures, on the other hand, do not have to be pure. In fact, in many cases, the men are quite experienced, and may even have venereal diseases at the time of marriage.

The practice of female circumcision is quite grusome. It involves the removal of the clitoris and the majority of the labia. The wound is then stitched so that the remaining labia will heal together, essentially creating a wall of flesh extending from the anus to the urethra. A matchstick or some similar object is typically put in place to create a hole though which urine can flow. How considerate!

The "circumcision" can be performed with a knife, a pair of scissors, a piece of glass, or perhaps a sharp stone. On top of that, it is typically done without the benefit of anesthesia and frequently leads to a variety of painful complications - both short-term and long-term.

When you consider what is really being done here, it is readily apparent that the term circumcision is really a misnomer when it is applied to females. Genital mutilation seems more appropriate. If males were subjected to the same thing, it would be the equivalent of lopping off the glans (the head), then slicing open the scrotum, tucking the trunk inside, and stitching the scrotum back up – all without any pain killers. Of course, a small hole would have to be placed in the scrotum to allow urine to drip out.

Many countries have laws forbidding genital mutilation. The only effect of these laws is that they appear to have driven the practice underground. As such, female genital mutilation is still commonplace today in many parts of the world, particularly in those regions where muslims or animist religions dominate. It is also common is the west in regions where practicing immigrant populations are concentrated. It even happens in the US.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently undertaken an educational effort to put a stop to this barbaric practice in counties where it is a common practice. Let’s hope that they are successful.