"They only win when they hide behind baby carriages."
An Israeli army boy sums it up in an essay by his mother.
Just mouthing off -- because I can.
An Israeli army boy sums it up in an essay by his mother.
Here are some images from Saturday's Fair Tax Rally in Orlando, Florida. Local police estimated the crowd size at 10,000-12,000 (despite the stifling heat). This second rally easily tops attendance at the first Fair Tax rally, in Atlanta last May. As radio commentor Neal Boortz (co-author of The FairTax Book) wrote before the rally:
We're trying to get a revolution going here. Revolutions take participation. The FairTax would be (all together now) the largest transfer of power from politicians to the people since this country was formed. Politicians aren't going to do this unless their jobs are on the line. Your purpose in showing up at the rally tomorrow in Orlando is to show them that their jobs are, in fact, on the line.
That this many obviously solid citizens (not professional protestors, students, or marginalized malcontents) who no doubt had many pressing things to fill their weekend with, would take the time and effort and face the heat and discomfort of joining a crowd like this to make a statement about a subject as "dull" and complex as taxation reform is, to me, astonishing.
I think by now our representatives in Washington have become aware of the news that a significant chunk of American citizens wants serious tax reform. Specifically, they want the Fair Tax enacted and the unfair, arbitrary, draconian, politically motivated, punishing and unnecessary income tax abolished. The Fair Tax as explained by Georgia Rep. John Linder, primary sponsor of H.R. 25, will provide the same tax income stream to U.S. federal government coffers while eliminating billions in disincentives and wasted time and expense. Additionally, under the Fair Tax, proponents claim, the U.S. would become an immediate tax haven for global investment.
The question now becomes: "What are lawmakers going to do about this?"Has your Senator or House Representative signed on as a co-sponsor or a supporter of the Fair Tax legislation now before Congress?
Charles Krauthammer states the obvious ("Lost Moral Bearings") about the Israeli-Hezbollah war. It astonishes me this even needs to be said, but I'm glad he said it:
What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security?
What other country sustains 1,500 indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities -- every one designed to kill, maim and terrorize civilians -- and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy's infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?
Hearing the world pass judgment on the Israel-Hezbollah war as it unfolds is to live in an Orwellian moral universe....
The failure of the Arabs to recognize a legitimate state created by the same historical process that created their own nations, and their continuing failure to recognize
in deeds rather than in words, are the root cause of the ongoing crisis.... Israel
We have already had decades of diplomacy, talks, “road maps,” and any number of various “agreements” that have all shipwrecked on Palestinian intransigence. Worse yet, every concession made by
to further the elusive “peace” has been met with more attacks and more terrorism. ... Israel
The idea that “diplomacy” is the silver bullet that will slay the monster of Middle-Eastern dysfunction is founded on false assumptions. Diplomacy works when both sides sincerely want an agreement and pledge in good faith to adhere to the terms of the agreement, when they have what contract lawyers call a “meeting of the minds.” And diplomacy works when there is a credible, serious deterrent to violations of the agreements. None of these requirements have been met by the major players in the Muslim Middle East. Indeed, for decades the Palestinians have continued to receive billions in aid from the West even as it has failed to live up to the core requirements of the various agreements: dismantling the terrorist networks and sincerely endorsing, in deeds rather than words, Israel’s right to exist....
Victory against terrorism will not take place in a single battle, but in a series of decisive actions against terrorist organizations and those who harbor and support them.
Claudia Rosett has written a ringing essay nailing the hypocrisy of the U.N. once and for all (via Instapundit)--as if her exposes of the Oil for Food corruption weren't already damning proof enough:
Over the past six years, Israel honored its commitment to peace. The U.N. — disproportionately — required in practice no such compliance on the Lebanese side of the border. The “peacekeepers” of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, called UNIFIL, sat passively looking on, costing about $100 million a year and doing nothing to stop Hezbollah from trucking in weapons, digging tunnels, and running the armed protection rackets with which it has kept a grip on swathes of Lebanon, including the southern border with Israel, parts of the Bekaa, and southern Beirut. Before the current fighting, UNIFIL had most recently distinguished itself for a run-of-the-U.N.-mill financial swindle involving a contingent of Ukrainian peacekeeping troops. On that subject, whatever laws might have been violated, the U.N. has — as usual with U.N. scams — refused to release details. Now, UNIFIL peacekeepers have been reduced to casualties of the crossfire, while Secretary-General Kofi Annan urges that we take what the U.N. has done wrong already, and do more of it.
Decades ago, when I still naively believed that the UN was an organization that would preserve world peace, ...
Sic transit gloria mundi is Latin for "Thus the glory of the world passes away." (There's your cultural literacy lesson for today, gratis.)
One of my favorite current historians, Victor Davis Hanson, has written a sobering reminder that life as we know it can (and eventually will) radically change ("The Fragility of the Good Life"):
...In our own new age of war, terrorism, huge debt, high-priced gas and frightful weapons and viruses that we try to ignore, we should remember that civilization's progress is not always linear. The human condition does not inevitably evolve from good to better to best, but always remains precarious, its advances cyclical.
The good life sometimes can be lost quite unexpectedly and abruptly when people demand rights more than they accept responsibilities, or live for present consumption rather than sacrifice for future investment, or feel their own culture is not particularly exceptional and therefore in no need of constant support and defense....
The current issue of Hillsdale College's Imprimis features Larry Arnn's entertaining interview with Milton Friedman in honor of the 25th anniversary of his landmark book (co-written with his wife, Rose), Free to Choose.
As always, Dr. Friedman is sharp as a tack and never bashful, but I liked best in this article his bright idea for the people of Iraq (my bold below); the idea is so obviously right, once you hear it:
LA: Let me ask you about demographic trends. Columnist Mark Steyn writes that in ten years, 40 percent of young men in the world are going to be living in oppressed Muslim countries. What do you think the effect of that is going to be?
MF: What happens will depend on whether we succeed in bringing some element of greater economic freedom to those Muslim countries. Just as India in 1955 had great but unrealized potential, I think the Middle East is in a similar situation today. In part this is because of the curse of oil. Oil has been a blessing from one point of view, but a curse from another. Almost every country in the Middle East that is rich in oil is a despotism.
LA: Why do you think that is so?
MF: One reason, and one reason only—the oil is owned by the governments in question. If that oil were privately owned and thus someone's private property, the political outcome would be freedom rather than tyranny. This is why I believe the first step following the 2003 invasion of Iraq should have been the privatization of the oil fields. If the government had given every individual over 21 years of age equal shares in a corporation that had the right and responsibility to make appropriate arrangements with foreign oil companies for the purpose of discovering and developing Iraq's oil reserves, the oil income would have flowed in the form of dividends to the people—the shareholders—rather than into government coffers. This would have provided an income to the whole people of Iraq and thereby prevented the current disputes over oil between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, because oil income would have been distributed on an individual rather than a group basis.
LA: Many Middle Eastern societies have a kind of tribal or theocratic basis and long-held habits of despotic rule that make it difficult to establish a system of contract between strangers. Is it your view that the introduction of free markets in such places could overcome those obstacles?
MF: Eventually, yes. I think that nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual's natural right to property, and giving individuals a sense that they own something that they're responsible for, that they have control over, and that they can dispose of.
What a great idea, and that it hasn't been implemented already in Iraq is a great tragedy and a lost opportunity.
Soon after I became a mother, I created a manilla file for myself that I labeled "Sex Ed, " into which has since gone many an article I hope to pass along to my children someday when the time is right. I consider it my job (and my husband's) to teach our children about love and sex; I don't believe it is properly the responsibility of a school teacher, coach, other children, the media, advertisers, corporate or non-profit representatives, or a "certified health instructor" to teach "the facts of life" to my children, as long as my husband or I are still breathing.
Other people, even if well-meaning, are not in a position to discuss sex in the context I use in discussing it with our children--as an integral part of the choices one makes, in order to attain the fulfilled, happy, healthy, and loving life one wants. To me, it's a BIG picture. Other people can't possibly care as much about my children and their future as their father and I do, nor can they possibly explain in the context of the values we hold, what we hope and wish for our children as we guide them. In fact, a part of the "sex ed" I impart to my kids is the sad necessity of being aware of how others, including self-styled "sex educators" and many in the general public and popular culture, may want to exploit them. No one knows better than their father and I how best to deal with our own children about these sensitive and intensely personal subjects at every stage of their development.
Anyway, Professor Mike S. Adams has just written an article I put into my file yesterday, entitled "I Had a Dream." The subject of the article is how some young college women today are sadly sucked into the sex industry, and constitutes a cautionary tale. I was most struck by the fact that a man (a thoughtful and compassionate man, it is true) has written a serious article as a cautionary tale for young coeds, which will probably do more actual, practical good for those girls who read it than innumerable semesters of "advocacy" or "consciousness-raising" by every feminist group, women's studies class, and women's center in their campus community.
Indeed, Dr. Adams has been for some time now reporting how college feminist groups around the U.S. have been advocating porn and the sex industry ("Buck naked at Bucknell" by Mike S. Adams, Monday, May 15, 2006--warning, graphic content). Back in my college days, feminists and campus groups were content to advocate pre-marital sex, promiscuity, and abortion under the rubric of reproductive rights; these days they seem to have added advocating homosexuality as a lifestyle choice and mainstreaming pornography and the sex industry, messages which have also saturated the popular culture throughout entertainment and advertising and right down to children's clothing (you can now dress your little girls in clothes from Target and Wal-Mart to make them look like minature sluts).
As the mother of a boy and a girl, I need to stay on top of this kind of trash that sooner or later will make its ways into the lives of my children. Thanks to writers like Mike Adams (doing yeoman's work from the campus culture wars), Mona Charen, Jennifer Roback Morse, and Thomas Sowell, and to groups such as Modesty Zone and The Independent Women's Forum, I can stay informed, supported, and, I hope, proactive.
So, I leave town for a few short weeks and what happens as soon as my back is turned? North Korea lobs missiles in the world's face, and war breaks out between Israel and Hezbollah.
I've been slowly trying to catch up on news (reluctantly, since much of it awful), wading back into the details of big stories only half-heard in transit while we were away on vacation. The usual suspects (my habitual and/or favorite blogs, as listed in my sidebar here) seem to have faithfully covered all topics with their usual deep contemplative focus and eloquence, so there is really no crying need for me to jump in, except as an appreciative reader.
I note that The Bookworm Room has been offering an extended, great discussion of the Middle East conflict and what it all means, as well as the promised First Crypto-Conservative/Neo-Conservative Carnival. This gracious and prolific blogger has also added my blog to her blogrole, for which I offer much thanks! This is a first for me. Now I feel even more of an obligation to keep posting.
But again, it's clear to me I'll never be authoritative, deep, or timely when it comes to blogging about current events. I just can't keep up, don't have the time or the physical stamina (or the interest?) or the talent to devote, as my favorite bloggers (again, see sidebar) do. So I am going to have to find or devise a niche apart from those I most admire, and be comfortable in that.
I am glad they are there, doing what they do. I can certainly blog that feeling of gratitude! And while they are hard at work, today I'm off to the local water park with a minivan full of kids. I'm grateful for that, too.
It's a great country we're living in now, despite all the faults we keep tripping over. And believe me, it's a bigger land, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, than we usually realize or remember-- bigger than the sum of all of us individuals pursuing our goals in our own little niches. Or perhaps it's partly great because of individuals pursuing our own goals and achieving our niches. I was reminded of the greatness (on so many levels) of our country while on our vacation, and I intend to remember and savor that now that I'm home.
Life is good. Keep working and playing, enjoying all the blessings that are ours.
We were two adults, a 15-year-old and a ten-year-old in one Honda Odyssey, driving 8,100 miles across the U.S. in 36 days:
Texas Canyon Summit Rest Area, I-10,
The Paradise Café,
Windfarms of Banning Pass,
“Palms to Pines” National Scenic Byway
Shield’s Date Gardens,
The Euro Café in the Paseo,
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Ty Warner Sea Center
The General Sherman (world's largest tree)
Katie’s Country Kitchen in
…and finally home.
I confess my family and I have been home safe from our long vacation for almost a week now. I have been avoiding returning to my blog until this morning, when the leisure to lie in bed and just think for awhile, after awakening, turned into the will and the wish to get up and finally blog, to say “Hello, again!”
Delightful and powerful as self-expression and surfing the internet may be, looking inward instead of living outward can be a trap if done in excess. It can also pinch nerves in your back and legs, deplete your bone calcium, keep you pale and crabby, make your thighs fat and your shoulders hunched, and cut into the housekeeping. Taking the time to blog early this morning before the kids are up, I am foregoing my daily three-mile walk before the heat of the day sets in. Is this a good trade-off? Quiet morning time when this old brain is most clear, is at a valuable premium. What is the balanced and the well-lived life?
I think my vacation has taught me that I am ready to try some changes from previous habits.
All I know is, the older I get, the more precious every minute of my time becomes. I know I have to spend it all wisely and productively. My vacation taught me that I need and want to spend more time living outwardly than I did before. My aging body tells me I can’t do all the sitting for hours that I did and wanted to before, without physical consequences. Yet my inner life that drives me to blog (or write in journals, emails, or letters, or want to write essays, articles, and fiction) is still there and will always be a part of me as long as I breathe.
Maybe if I keep my blog posts short and don't check email or anything else, and if Blogger cooperates in uploading this, and I can resist spending too much time tweaking and re-editing, I can still squeeze in a walk....I can see it happening as well as you. My airy vacation head, with my looking-outward eyes, is receding fast; it'll be gone before I even get all our digital photos organized and captioned. I'll be back into full normal squeeze (spending way too much time at this computer, in this seat) before I know it.