Friday, May 30, 2008

What Do You Do in a Chair?


. . . or so my three-year-old son says.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

“Hey! I Resemble that Remark!”

Barack Neville Obama Doth Protest too Much

By now we’ve all read about President George W. Bush’s speech before the Israeli Knesset, in which he said:

This struggle is waged with the technology of the 21st century, but at its core it is an ancient battle between good and evil. The killers claim the mantle of Islam, but they are not religious men. No one who prays to the God of Abraham could strap a suicide vest to an innocent child, or blow up guiltless guests at a Passover Seder, or fly planes into office buildings filled with unsuspecting workers. In truth, the men who carry out these savage acts serve no higher goal than their own desire for power. They accept no God before themselves. And they reserve a special hatred for the most ardent defenders of liberty, including Americans and Israelis.

And that is why the founding charter of Hamas calls for the "elimination" of Israel.
And that is why the followers of Hezbollah chant "Death to Israel, Death to America!" That is why Osama bin Laden teaches that "the killing of Jews and Americans is one of the biggest duties." And that is why the President of Iran dreams of returning the Middle East to the Middle Ages and calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history. (Applause.)

[Emphasis added.]

We all know that Barack Obama and his allies on the left have taken the President’s words rather personally, as if the President were calling Senator Obama an appeaser, even though the President did not mention Senator Obama. What is so funny is that there are plenty of elements within Israeli politics that are appeasement oriented.

Bruce Ramsey, the editor of the Seattle Times makes excuses for Obama this way (via Little Green Footballs, emphasis theirs):

Democrats are rebuking President Bush for saying in his speech to the Knesset, here, that to “negotiate with terrorists and radicals” is “appeasement.” The Democrats took it as a slap at Barack Obama. What bothers me is the continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938.

What Hitler was demanding was not unreasonable. He wanted the German-speaking areas of Europe under German authority. He had just annexed Austria, which was German-speaking, without bloodshed. There were two more small pieces of Germanic territory: the free city of Danzig and the Sudetenland, a border area of what is now the Czech Republic.

See also more comments from Ace of Spades.

Remember the joke that was told about the French a couple of years ago? It went like this – FRENCH TERROR ALERT! The French have raised their alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two levels higher than these are “Surrender” and “Collaborate.” Well, it seems that today’s leftists have gone pretty much from “Surrender” to Collaborate.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) characterized our efforts in Iraq as “lost” pretty recently, and many foreign policy advisors in Sen. Obama’s Presidential campaign team are open sympathizers with the terrorist group Hamas. And let’s not get into the actions of the unhinged left, as enumerated by Concrete Bob.

Can’t any of them recognize our successes, or at least express a desire for us to win? I guess not, which may explain why the good young Senator, and his apologists, doth protest too much.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tenth District Convention Shocker!

Civil and parliamentary, with fairness to speakers. Greg has the details.

I was there, and not only ran into Greg, but also Joe and John. And I ate too many donut holes thanks to Bob McDonnell's campaign. Overall, it was a good day.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Happy Birthday Israel!

The State of Israel came into existence on the 5th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, 5708 (May 14, 1948). Immediately afterwards, the surrounding Arab countries declared war, and, miraculously, the fledgling state survived. Israel went on to survive the wars of 1956, 1967, and 1973, as well as numerous wars of attrition. Here is a map of the original U.N. partition:

You can see that the area reserved for the "Jewish State" was very small indeed and was pretty much set up for failure. Jerusalem was also not contiguous to the rest of the Israeli territory. You can easily find comprehensive histories of what has happened since then with a simple web search.
On a personal note, my mother was born in Israel and her high school education was interrupted by the Israeli War for Independence. I have a lot of family there, including a grandfather who is now 105 years old.
Thanks to my fellow bloggers who support Israel and it's right to a safe and secure existence.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

When Is Mark Warner Moving to Florida?

Inheritance Tax Hypocrisy

I saw an interesting item in the Wall Street Journal this past weekend about the late Senator Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio. Metzenbaum, who passed away recently at age 90, was a Democrat from Ohio, and was known for his leftist voting record and his baseless attacks on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He was also a self-made millionaire who made his fortune in parking lots, according to the article.

What’s so interesting about Metzenbaum and his ilk is the issue of inheritance tax avoidance. Here’s what the Journal had to say:

But we come today not to judge the late Senator, only to praise him for one last act of personal financial acumen. Though a lifelong Ohioan, the Senator moved to Florida in 2002, according to a declaration of domicile filed with the Broward County Clerk's office in 2003. In doing so, he avoided paying his home state's income tax (top rate: 6.55%).

More important as he neared the end of his life, the former Senator also saved his family from paying Ohio's death tax, which features one of the highest state rates (7%) and lowest asset thresholds – $338,333 – in the country. Florida famously has no income or estate tax, which is one reason other than the climate that it is home to so many northern-born retirees.

Howard Metzenbaum thus denied the state in which he lived most of his life a parting financial gift. But he has at least provided the rest of us with a teaching moment in tax policy. If a liberal lion like Metzenbaum is willing to relocate late in life to avoid his state's death tax, maybe living politicians in Ohio will better understand how their confiscatory tax laws are driving its citizens to warmer climes.

Another leftist dinosaur, Ted Kennedy, has a hard time explaining why his wealthy family pays so little of the inheritance tax with which the rest of us poor peons are saddled. See the video here. (I think Brian has run this before.)

This brings us to Mark Warner. As we know, Warner ran with a promise not to raise taxes. He lied. He also told us about how he was going to repeal the death tax. Well, as Jim Gilmore and Bob Marshall can probably remind us, Warner lied about that too. Amazingly, Mark Warner has applied his fortune to a foundation, in this case to provide health care to poor communities, or so his web site says. Of course, wealthy people also start these foundations to avoid paying taxes.

Thanks to the tax cuts enacted under Bill Clinton and especially George W. Bush, the amount of wealth in this country has increased, and with it an explosive growth in philanthropic foundations. I do not deny that these foundations (including Mark Warner’s) do a lot of good, but leftists like Warner are being hypocritical by raising taxes on the rest of us who do not have the means to set up this kind of tax avoidance.

Of course, this foundation money may not be subject to inheritance taxes. So Mark Warner gets some reprieve that way. But I wonder, has the former Governor drawn up a will? Is there more money that will be shielded from inheritance taxes? I think it is high time he makes a full disclosure.

I do not wish Mark Warner to win the U.S. Senate race in Virginia, but I will not be so mean as to wish him an early and untimely death. That being said, will Mark Warner also make the move to income- and inheritance-free Florida one of these years?