Friday, September 28, 2007

Things That Piss Me Off

Yeah, you probably can't imagine the genial, mild-mannered host you listen to and are highly entertained by every Saturday morphing into a younger, more handsome, but considerably heftier Howard Beale. And to be fair, I rarely reach that level of blithering rage outside of rush hour traffic and futile attempts to make my son do his chores and homework.

But if I found myself directly and personally confronted by situations like those that follow, all bets would be off....

~ ~ ~
Democrats are always for ever-higher, oppressive, more punitive taxes. And when I say oppressive, I mean oppressive, as Fred Thompson's homefolks are finding out:
Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.
Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.
Agents have already been watching out-of-state stores that sell cigarettes near the Tennessee border to “get a feel where problem areas are,” Farr said.
While declining to be specific, the commissioner said “problem areas” are generally along interstate highways with exits near the Tennessee border.
A jackbooted revenue-collector named Reagan? C'mon, he had to have legally changed his given name out of a twisted sense of ironic humor.
What are these "criminals" doing? Well, for starters, they're smokers, which in lib eyes is criminal all by itself. Beyond that, they are doing precisely what you would expect intelligent, adult human beings to do under such circumstances: obtain their smokes while legally avoiding the taxes their home state has tacked onto them by purchasing them in another jurisdiction.
Or, at least, it was legal.
HA! Fooled you, didn't I? Just a little feint toward what's become my trademark political fatalism since last November - in point of fact, it is the Tennessee Revenue Gestapo that is way, WAY over the line:
First, Tennessee has no jurisdiction over what stores in other states sell, even if the material was illegal, which tobacco is not. They can't conduct surveillance in Missouri, for instance. The fact that they are "watching out-of-state stores that sell cigarettes" should be enough to demand some resignations, starting with the commissioner himself.
Second, people do have the right to cross state lines to purchase legal commodities. If Tennessee wants to hike its cigarette taxes far beyond its neighbors, then it's the state's fault that its shop owners can't compete. It's not the fault of the consumer who makes a smart choice to cross the border and buy in bulk. Unless the product itself is illegal, the state of Tennessee has no right to interfere in that transaction.
To sum up the list, the Tennessee revenuers have violated federal sovereignty in interstate commerce, the 4th amendment, and the spirit of the entire Constitution. They are arresting legitimate, law-abiding citizens, stealing their cars, and threatening them with as much as six years in prison and a $3,000 fine per count for the possession of a legal product.
Did you know that the SCHIP "upgrade" the Senate passed the other day includes....a huge hike in cigarette taxes? What's Tennessee going to do now that they're in the process of creating a tobacco black market? Close their borders? Invade Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas? And when the feds start doing the same thing at President Rodham's direction, will Canada and Mexico be next?
~ ~ ~
Remember when three American soldiers were kidnapped by Islamist terrorists in Iraq a few months back? I bet you thought no stone was left unturned and no effort, or means, was spared in doing everything humanly possible to rescue them, right?
Well, yes, for the most part - but not right away:
U.S. authorities racing to find three kidnapped American soldiers in Iraq last May labored for nearly ten hours to get legal authority for wiretaps to help in the hunt, an intelligence official told Congress on Thursday.
The top U.S. spy agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, sent Congress a timeline detailing the wiretap effort as the Bush Administration makes its case to wary Democrats for a permanent expansion of its authority to eavesdrop on the foreign communications of terrorism suspects.
The timeline shows that at 10 a.m. EDT on May 15, after three days of developing leads on the whereabouts of the three soldiers who went missing south of Baghdad, U.S. agencies met to discuss ways of obtaining more intelligence.
Concluding at 12:53 p.m. EDT that requirements for emergency eavesdropping approval had been met, officials spent more than four hours debating "novel and complicated issues" in the case. They spent about more two hours to obtain final approval from then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who was traveling.
The wiretap began at 7:38 p.m.. Authorities then had 72 hours to obtain a special court's endorsement of the emergency authority, which was granted, a U.S. official said.
You may be wondering what the devil FISA has to do with using overseas wire-tapping of foreign overseas enemies to locate and reacquire captured U.S. personnel, well, overseas. It's not exactly straightforward or intuitive, I readily agree.
The answer is as unsurprising as it is infuriating:
McConnell told the committee last week that an outdated provision in the eavesdropping law made the approval necessary because the targeted foreign communications were carried in part on a wire inside the United States.
"We are extending Fourth Amendment (constitutional) rights to a terrorist foreigner ... who's captured U.S. soldiers," he said, arguing that this was unnecessary and burdensome.
"Unnecessary and burdensome"? Try mother-bleeping insane. And that's just what the Democrats want to take us back to, American lives be damned.
~ ~ ~
Mark Steyn contributes this little capillary-burster:
Okay, Muslim foot-baths in Kansas City airport, gender-segregated swimming sessions at French municipal pools, banning pork from Aussie hospital menus, no eating donuts for Belgian cops during Ramadan, no seeing-eye dogs or alcohol in Minneapolis taxi cabs, fine, fine, fine. Must be sensitive and all that.
But this is an amazing victory. In Vancouver, infidels can't smoke but Muslims can.
Perhaps I should disclose at this juncture that I don't smoke - which must frustrate libs everywhere since they can't use their quasi-neo-moralistic tobaccophobic dodge to confiscate any more of my hard-earned cash then they are already. I look upon smoking through "don't ask, don't smell" lenses. If people want to suck toxic fumes into their lungs and kill themselves prematurely, and I don't have to participate collaterally, that's their business.
Whereas it is the tax issue that fried me above, here it is the pandering to Muslims. And the fact that libs are extending that pandering to an act about which they are moral absolutists shows just how appalling this galloping dhimmism is becoming. It has prompted one blogger to ask a very salient question: "What about MY culture?":
By creating a special exemption for Muslims - who do seem to be the only immigrant group actively demanding these sorts of “cultural accommodations” we are basically declaring our Muslim citizens worthy of special treatment and, at the same time, unworthy of the health concerns which are purported to be the basis of general smoking bans.
This leads to the next logical query: Why are libs so eager to lavish special treatment upon Muslims? Trademark neurotic guilt? Vicarious self-loathing? A fearful pre-emptive "cultural protection" racket?
Try all of the above. Then imagine how much worse it's going to get after Hillary takes over. We may be under sharia law before the end of her first term.
~ ~ ~
Chapter Six Billion and Three on why I detest the UN:
For me, there was only one really memorable moment associated with Mahmoud's New York tour. It was on Tuesday, when Ahmadinejad gave a press conference at the United Nations. Somehow, Karnit Goldwasser made her way into the press conference and commanded a microphone.
If you don't know who Karnit Goldwasser is, a good place to start would be her appearance on Bill Bennett's radio show; we posted the audio here. Mrs. Goldwasser had been married to Ehud Goldwasser for only ten months when he was kidnapped by Hezbollah terrorists, along with another Israeli soldier, and spirited into Lebanon. That was in July 2006. Since then, Karnit Goldwasser has worked tirelessly on three continents to bring attention to her husband's plight and to try to secure his release. If there is such a thing as a hero in the world today, Mrs. Goldwasser qualifies. It has now been reported that the two Israeli soldiers were critically injured when they were captured by Hezbollah, and most observers doubt whether they are still alive. But Karnit Goldwasser has never flagged or faltered in her effort to save her husband, if that is still possible.
On Tuesday, she had the opportunity to confront the man who, more than anyone else, controls the organization that kidnapped her husband and either murdered him, or still holds him prisoner. The moderator called on her for a question. She was, as always, calm and intelligent:
"Why are you not allowing the Red Cross to visit them?" Karnit Goldwasser asked of her husband Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who was kidnapped with him. When Ahmadinejad didn't respond to her questioning, despite her having been called on by the moderator, she asked, "How come you're not answering me?"
Mahmoud appeared stunned; he looked around the room for someone to take him off the hook. The United Nations cut the power to Mrs. Goldwasser's microphone. She was escorted from the room, and Ahmadinejad, the distinguished lecturer, continued his press conference and his triumphal tour of New York, which included a dinner with Brian Williams, Christiane Amanpour, and other distinguished journalists and academics. And thugs handed out leaflets that said, "Kill the Jews."
Y'know, if Mohammed Atta and the boys just HAD to take down a building in New York six years ago....let's just say that they targeted the wrong one.
~ ~ ~

I want to thank you, Mike, for calling. I appreciate it very much. I gotta — Here is a morning update that we did recently, talking about fake soldiers. This is a story of who the left props up as heroes. And they have their celebrities.

One of them was Army Ranger Jesse Macbeth. Now — and he was a "corporal." I say in quotes. Twenty-three years old. What made Jesse Macbeth a hero to the anti-war crowd wasn’t his Purple Heart, it wasn’t his being affiliated with post-traumatic stress disorder from tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. No. What made Jesse Macbeth, Army Ranger, a hero to the left was his courage, in their view, off the battlefield, without regard to consequences, he told the world the abuses he had witnessed in Iraq. American soldiers killing unarmed civilians, hundreds of men, women, even children. In one gruesome account, translated into Arabic and spread widely across the Internet, Army Ranger Jesse Macbeth describes the horrors this way:

"We would burn their bodies. We would hang their bodies from the rafters in the mosque."

Now, recently, Jesse Macbeth, poster boy for the anti-war left, had his day in court. And you know what? He was sentenced to five months in jail and three years probation for falsifying a Department of Veterans Affairs claim and his Army discharge record. He was in the Army, Jesse Macbeth was in the Army, folks, briefly. Forty-four days before he washed out of boot camp, Jesse Macbeth isn’t an Army Ranger, never was. He isn’t a corporal, never was. He never won the Purple Heart. And he was never in combat to witness the horrors he claimed to have seen.

Probably haven’t even heard about this. And if you have, you haven’t heard much about it. This doesn’t fit the narrative and the template in the Drive-By Media and the Democrat Party as to who is a genuine war hero; don’t look for any retractions, by the way. Not from the anti-war left, the anti-military Drive-By Media, or the Arabic websites that spread Jesse Macbeth’s lies about our troops, because the truth for the left is, fiction is what serves their purpose. They have to lie about such atrocities because they can’t find any that fit the template of the way they see the US military. In other words, for the American anti-war left, the greatest inconvenience they face is the truth.

Jesse McBeth - which I have to believe is an alias, BTW - is an outrage all by himself. But that's not the outrage NRO's Peter Wehner is driving at.
It shouldn't take a crystal ball to divine what it is, either:
In the latest effort to target Rush Limbaugh, the left-leaning group Media Matters has manufactured yet one more false — and by now yet one more tiresome — controversy. This one has to do with Limbaugh’s use of the phrase “phony soldiers.”
According to the Media Matters narrative, on his September 26 program Limbaugh accused troops who want to withdraw from Iraq of being “phony soldiers.” Once Media Matters published this charge, key Democrats dutiful echoed it.
In a public statement, Senator John Kerry said this:
“This disgusting attack from Rush Limbaugh, cheerleader for the Chicken Hawk wing of the far right, is an insult to American troops. In a single moment on his show, Limbaugh managed to question the patriotism of men and women in uniform who have put their lives on the line and many who died for his right to sit safely in his air conditioned studio peddling hate. On August 19th, the New York Times published an op-ed by seven members of the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division critical of George Bush’s Iraq policy. Two of those soldiers were killed earlier this month in Baghdad. Does Mr. Limbaugh dare assert that these heroes were ‘phony soldiers’? Mr. Limbaugh owes an apology to everyone who has ever worn the uniform of our country, and an apology to the families of every soldier buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He is an embarrassment to his Party, and I expect the Republicans who flock to his microphone will now condemn this indefensible statement.”
What's that old Gorilla Monsoon line? "One lies, and the other one swears to it." Or perhaps it's that Media Matters has managed to accomplish what many had heretofore thought impossible: giving cherry-picking a bad name.
One thing's for sure: the reports of John Kerry's disappearance have been greatly exaggerated - momentarily, anyway.
Did you know he served in Vietnam?
~ ~ ~
MSNBC's David Shuster is an asshole. Just ask Tennessee GOP Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (and also see my gut responses in italics):
SHUSTER: "Let's talk about the public trust. You represent, of course, a district in western Tennessee. What was the name of the last solider from your district who was killed in Iraq?"
BLACKBURN: "The name of the last soldier killed in Iraq uh - from my district I - I do not know his name ...
ME: I don't know, Dave, but I'll just bet you do.
SHUSTER: "Okay, his name was Jeremy Bohannon. He was killed August the 9th, 2007. How come you didn't know the name?"
BLACKBURN: "I - I, you know, I - I do not know why I did not know the name..."
ME: Well, Dave, you know how hard it is to hire good staff these days. And I'm guessing your reason for knowing his name differs grotesquely from the reason you think I should know it, right?
SHUSTER: "But you weren't appreciative enough to know the name of this young man. He was 18 years old who was killed, and yet you can say chapter and verse about what's going on with the New York Times and Move"Don't you understand, the problems that a lot of people would have, that you're so focused on an ad. When was the last time a New York Times ad ever killed somebody? I mean, here we have a war that took the life of an 18-year-old kid, Jeremy Bohannon, from your district, and you didn't even know his name."
ME: That's what I thought, Dave. To paraphrase a favorite senator of yours, your disgusting attack, borne of your cheerleading for the treason wing of the far left, is an insult to American troops, including Jeremy Bohannon. In a single moment of this interview, you have managed to question my patriotism for criticizing your fellow travelers' attack on the honor of General Petraeus, a man whose boots you're not worthy to lick, and by extention the men and women in uniform who have put their lives on the line and many who died for your right to sit safely in this air conditioned studio using their willing sacrifice to peddle your hate.
By the way, how's this for an epilogue?:
One problem: the soldier in question wasn't from Blackburn's district. Another problem: MSNBC producers got the name from, which has been ompiling the names of deceased military personnel and feeding them to reporters for "gotcha" interviews.
Trust me, for creatures like this, "asshole" is a euphemism.