Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for October 2010

The Bourbon Democrats

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Rumors abound that should Harry Reid be defeated – may it be so – that Charles Schumer of NY or Dick Durbin of IL will replace him as Democratic leader:

If Reid falls, a power vacuum will emerge in the Senate and, according to reports, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Richard Durbin want to fill it. Most political observers think Schumer is best positioned for the Senate majority leader post, but Durbin’s a close second.

Schumer, who is the most outpsoken liberal in the Senate, and Durbin, who has likened our troops to Nazis – true, he apologized, but only after being called on it – are poster children of the left. If this election goes as expected, it will be a repudiation of liberalism. Should either of these men take the leadership of the democrats in the senate, then it will be clear that the democrats will have learned nothing from the election.

Like the Bourbons, who famously forgot nothing, and learned nothing.

Written by martinipundit

October 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm

In the End, They Caucus with Pelosi and Reid

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The news is full of democrats running away from the President, from Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Obamacare, Stimulus, Cap’n Trade, and the general legislative agenda of the first three. The gubernatorial candidates are perhaps to be excepted (though the RI democrat who said the President could “shove” his endorsement was way over the line in terms of disrespect).

All these senate and house democratic candidates who are trying to distance themselves from Obama et al., and who are touting their putative independence, are forgetting one thing. And they are hoping that the voters forget it as well. It is the Achilles Heel of the independence argument, and it applies to every Blue Dog, regardless of how they voted on any legislation.

It is this: every single one of them caucuses with the democrats and thus allows Pelosi and Reid to maintain their majorities. They can vote against it all, but they can’t change the fact that every democrat elected to Congress is a vote to maintain the status quo of the leadership. Regardless of how they themselves vote on specific bills.

Written by martinipundit

October 25, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Wish I Could Vote for This Guy

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Living as I do in the Massachusetts 8 district, I have very little hope of an upset in my district. That’s because ‘my’ congressman is running unopposed, pretty much guaranteeing a democrat win. I am certainly hoping for a change in Massachusetts 4, but I fully expect the voters in Newton to check their intellect at the door again. (I Personally know two voters in Newton who have lost their jobs due to Barney Frank’s actions vis-a-vis Fannie and Freddie. I fully expect both of them to vote for him regardless. Is it any wonder these dinosaurs are arrogant and drunk with power?)

Today, though, I came across a video of the guy running against Stenny Hoyer in Maryland 5. I could wax at length, but I think the guy speaks for himself. Watch:

Stenny Hoyer misrepresented the role of Congress in spending, and then both threatened and physically assaulted his opponent after he was called on it in a debate. Hoyer is a thug, and Lollar is both an officer and a gentleman. His response to Hoyer’s assault is laudatory – it’s not like he couldn’t wipe the floor with Hoyer who no doubt counted on just that kind of restraint. Lollar is exactly the sort of person we need in Congress and I wish I could vote for him. If you live in Maryland 5, I urge you to support Charles Lollar.

His website is here.

Written by martinipundit

October 21, 2010 at 11:18 pm

It’s Beyond Don Draper

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Michael Graham has a great piece in the Boston Herald about Barney Frank:

Could Don Draper sell Barney Frank?

Don Draper is the central character on the popular and (as I can personally attest) addictive TV drama “Mad Men.” He is a marketing miracle worker, the prototypical ad man from Madison Avenue’s heyday.

He’s a guy who can sell anything. But I bet Barney Frank would leave him stumped.

Who is Barney Frank’s market? If you’re a “good government” white-collar suburbanite, Frank’s been a disaster. When he’s not in a personal relationship with an executive at an agency he oversees (Frank’s former partner, Herb Moses, was an executive at Fannie Mae) Frank’s on vacation to the Virgin Islands riding the private jet of a Wall Street tycoon – another person whose industry he regulates.

So maybe you’re a results-oriented pragmatist who just wants politicians who keep the trains running on time. Has any congressman ever wreaked so much economic damage on his nation?

Even Frank admits that he had “ideological blinders” about Freddie/Fannie. His push to put the taxpayer on the hook for high-risk loans to special-interest borrowers was done in the name of liberal politics, not economic rationality.

He now claims he just didn’t know any better. But everybody knew better in the summer of 2008 when Frank claimed “Freddie and Fannie are not in danger.”

Two months later they were bankrupt.

Here’s just one frightening phrase from a memo in Frank’s congressional committee: Fannie and Freddie participated in transactions “that would not normally be considered to be economically viable.”

“Not considered economically viable” could be Frank’s campaign motto. From opposing Reaganomics to opposing welfare reform to opposing the Bush tax cuts, Frank’s been wrong on nearly every major issue since taking office in 1980.

Read the rest. Barney Frank benefits from smart people who don’t think before they enter the ballot box. Mr. Graham thinks he will again. I’m afraid he’s right, but I’m prepared to be wrong. After all, Scott Brown did carry most of Frank’s district.

Oh, and for the record, Mad Men is a great show.

Written by martinipundit

October 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Joe Sobran, R.I.P.

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Today I read Ann Coulter’s column with great sadness – Joe Sobran has died.

I do not recall his National Review days, and indeed, I first became acquainted with his superlative writing through his book “Alias Shakespeare.” As a fellow Oxfordian, I was intrigued by his writing, and later became a devotee of his columns as published on his website. I did, over the last few years, lose track of his writings in the overall internet din.

I’m sorry I did. I enjoyed his writings immensely, and I now learn that no less than Ann Coulter was a fan too.

May flights of angels carry him to his rest. He now knows for certain who wrote that line.

Written by martinipundit

October 7, 2010 at 12:02 am

Democrats and Ground Zero

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This one has been hard for my liberal friends. They simply don’t get it. It certainly won’t help their understanding when cogent analysis of Bill Clinton’s views weigh in:

Bill Clinton is beneath contempt. He was in Egypt and said in defense of the ground zero mosque, that it should be built and dedicated to the 60 muslim victims of 9/11. What about the non-muslim victims? What a disgusting display of pandering. I’m so sick of our political leaders excessive pandering to muslims. If they are going to speak before muslim audiences, why not at least have the courage to condemn the oppression and violence in the name of islam? Why couldn’t Clinton have condemned the persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt while he was there?

MartiniPundit fully associates himself with this notion, and wonders the same about Bill Clinton. I’d also like to add my amazement that the Dems continue to control the voting of American Jews despite their manifest anti-Semitism.

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October 6, 2010 at 1:46 am

USS Ranger CV-61

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World War II marked a transition in naval warfare that very few people foresaw. After all, while there had been changes in naval technology over the preceding centuries, they had largely been confined to three aspects: gunnery, armor, and propulsion.

In the Golden Age of Sail – a period which continues to hold my fascination – cannons and sail held supreme. Later in the nineteenth century warships adopted steam engines, actual armor plate, and guns which while connected to their forebears were magnitudes more powerful.

Students of history know that these big gun ships dominated throughout the nineteenth century and became supreme in the early part of the twentieth culminating in the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet who both clashed at Jutland. No one knew it at the time, but that was essentially the high-water mark of the all big gun ship. More such ships would be built and commissioned for the next couple of decades, and some would be incredible. The HMS Hood – one of the most elegant ships ever built would ultimately be sunk by the German battleship Bismarck, herself a tour de force of naval architecture. (Her design predecessors Scharnhorst and Gneisenau showed stunning beauty.) There were American battleships in this league about which I have previously written.

Yet aircraft carriers are somehow different. Maybe it’s the mystique of Pearl Harbor, but I can’t help but notice the tremendous success of the British whose Swordfish aircraft successfully attacked the Italian fleet at Taranto months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Of course, it must be allowed that the Japanese both knew of and studied the Taranto attack.

That’s the transition. World War II marked the transition of naval supremacy from the all big gun ship to the aircraft carrier. Some debated it at the time, but there is no disputing that in the Pacific, the United States after Pearl Harbor had lost the eight battleships of the Pacific Fleet. The US Navy was left with the carriers to bring the fight to the enemy, and I suspect that the stalwart American sailors were just as surprised as anyone else when those carriers not only proved equal to the task but the masters of it.

That brings me to the postwar aspect of things. It is simply an axiom that combat reaps lessons. Four years of the most intense conflict, in which technology becomes a weapon itself, will yield lessons which the observant may improve their ability to wage war. In a postwar context, the USS Ranger, CV-61 may be the first ship to embody those lessons.

Now, it is true that other ships were built and designed before the Ranger. The USS United States was probably the most significant, though she was never in any danger of completion. The Ranger herself was a member of the Forrestal class, and she followed that ship as well as the Saratoga. USS Independence rounded out the class.

The reason Ranger is important is she was built from the start with the angled deck so critical to modern carrier operations. Invented by the British – very clever people where naval technology is concerned – the angled deck allowed for simultaneous takeoff and landing operations. It also eliminated the danger of a landing aircraft failing and crashing into other planes forward on the deck.

From an American point of view, though many WWII carriers were converted – Essex class and others – it was the Forrestals, led by the Ranger, that incorporated this new and critical innovation.

The Ranger has a more personal meaning for me – my cousin commanded a squadron of A-4 Skyhawks off of her in the Vietnam War. Her service to the country was exemplary, and at this time her fate remains unclear. I hope she becomes a museum ship as I would dearly like to go aboard her. Here she is in her prime:

USS Ranger

A glass raised to the entire class: USS Forrestal CV-59, USS Saratoga CV-60, USS Ranger CV-61, and USS Independence CV-62!

Written by martinipundit

October 5, 2010 at 2:13 am

Posted in Military, Ships

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