Saturday, February 09, 2008

Holy Toledo! It's Berkeley East!

Photo: Staff Sgt. Andre Davis talks to his commanding officer as he leaves the Madison Building after Mayor Carty Finkbeiner requested that the Marines leave the downtown location. ( THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH )

U.S. Marines have been booted from Toledo, Ohio. Mayor Carty Finkbeiner ordered the Marines out of town yesterday after they had maDe the four hour drive from their base in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A mayoral spokesman told the Toledo Blade, "The mayor asked them to leave because they frighten people. He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area."

The 1st Battalion, 24th Marines have conducted urban combat training in Toledo several times between 2004 and 2006. Ambushes and mock gunfights with blank ammunition are part of the exercises carried out in downtown Toledo. Recalling the 2006 urban patrol exercise, Lance Corporal Brandon Bukrey-McCarty said the skills he learned were useful during the unit's 2006-2007 deployment to Fallujah, Iraq.

Maggie Thurber, radio talk show host, former public official, and Toledo resident, writes on her blog, Thurber's Thoughts, "Marines don't frighten me! They give me comfort and confidence that our nation is so well-protected by such dedicated individuals. Perhaps it's only Carty who is frightened."

Thurber adds an update from NBC24: After the last exercise, Mayor Finkbeiner informed then Police Chief Jack Smith, the Marines were no longer welcome to "[play] war in Toledo". Former Marine Smith told the Mayor that "if one young Marine’s life is saved because of training he or she received in Toledo, Ohio, then it was worth the inconvenience."

Smith further said that since that objections were the Mayor's alone, then Finkbeiner would have to communicate those objections to the Police. Consequently, the current Police Administration was not informed until just a few hours before the Marines arrived.

After all the coverage and bad press Berkeley, you would think other communities would take note that attacking the U.S. Marine Corp on the home court is not a bright idea.

If you want to contact Mayor Finkbeiner, here is his official email address: I would bet that as a politician, Finkbeinder will learn his lesson the hard way as Berkeley Mayor Bates did.

Asked what they would do now, Marine Major O'Neill said, "We're Marines. We'll adapt and overcome."

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Weasle Berkeley Mayor Issues Non-Apology

There is a story being bandied about that Berkeley has apologized to the Marine Corps for a letter issued last Tuesday demanding the Marines abandon their recruiting office on Shattuck Street. Let me be very clear - The People's Republic of Berkeley has not issued any apology to any branch of the U.S. military. So far, Berkeley has only apologized to enemy armies. As of today, the Berkeley City Council is only rethinking the matter (see previous post.)

The confusion stems from a statement made by Mayor Tom Bates. The retired Army Captain said, "There's really no correlation between federal funds for schools, water ferries and police communications systems and the council's actions, for God's sake." As long as there is a Constitutional requirement for the Feds to "provide for the common defense" , there will always be a correlation between federal funds and all acts of local government.

He went to say, "We apologize for any offense to any families of anyone who may serve in Iraq. We want them to come home and be safe at home." These are weasle words. Bates is actually saying he's sorry members of the military and their families are offended by the Council's letter to evict the Marine Corps, but tough. It's the victims fault. Blaming the target of abuse is a common ploy of the enlightened liberal elite.

Whatever decision the Berkeley City Council reaches will be done on Tuesday of next week, February 12, the 199 birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Had Lincoln stationed the Union Army in Berkeley, Grant would have received an eviction notice, too. The Berkeley Council has no shame and isn't afraid to demonstrate a lack thereof.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Two Economies - One is Canadian, One Isn't

Mark Steyn was invited by Hillsdale College to speak at the Free Market Forum Sept. 29, 2007. This month's edition of Imprimis presents an abridged version of that speech.

Is Canada’s Economy a Model for America?

I WAS A bit stunned to be asked to speak on the Canadian economy. “What happened?” I wondered. “Did the guy who was going to talk about the Belgian economy cancel?” It is a Saturday night, and the Oak Ridge Boys are playing the Hillsdale County Fair. Being from Canada myself, I am, as the President likes to say, one of those immigrants doing the jobs Americans won’t do. And if giving a talk on the Canadian economy on a Saturday night when the Oak Ridge Boys are in town isn’t one of the jobs Americans won’t do, I don’t know what is.

Unlike America, Canada is a resource economy: The U.S. imports resources, whereas Canada exports them. It has the second largest oil reserves in the world. People don’t think of Canada like that. The Premier of Alberta has never been photographed in Crawford, Texas, holding hands with the President and strolling through the rose bower as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was. But Canada is nonetheless an oil economy—a resource economy. Traditionally, in America, when the price of oil goes up, Wall Street goes down. But in Canada, when the price of oil goes up, the Toronto stock exchange goes up, too. So we are relatively compatible neighbors whose interests diverge on one of the key global indicators.

As we know from 9/11, the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia use their oil wealth to spread their destructive ideology to every corner of the world. And so do the Canadians. Consider that in the last 40 years, fundamental American ideas have made no headway whatsoever in Canada, whereas fundamental Canadian ideas have made huge advances in America and the rest of the Western world. To take two big examples, multiculturalism and socialized health care—both pioneered in Canada—have made huge strides down here in the U.S., whereas American concepts—such as non-confiscatory taxation—remain as foreign as ever.

My colleague at National Review, John O’Sullivan, once observed that post-war Canadian history is summed up by the old Monty Python song that goes, “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m OK.” If you recall that song, it begins as a robust paean to the manly virtues of a rugged life in the north woods. But it ends with the lumberjack having gradually morphed into a kind of transvestite pickup who likes to wear high heels and dress in women’s clothing while hanging around in bars. Of course, John O’Sullivan isn’t saying that Canadian men are literally cross-dressers—certainly no more than 35-40 percent of us — but rather that a once manly nation has undergone a remarkable psychological makeover. If you go back to 1945, the Royal Canadian Navy had the world’s third largest surface fleet, the Royal Canadian Air Force was one of the world’s most effective air forces, and Canadian troops got the toughest beach on D-Day. But in the space of two generations, a bunch of tough hombres were transformed into a thoroughly feminized culture that prioritizes all the secondary impulses of society—welfare entitlements from cradle to grave—over all the primary ones. And in that, Canada is obviously not alone. If the O’Sullivan thesis is flawed, it’s only because the lumberjack song could stand as the post-war history of almost the entire developed world.
[The Lumberjack Song]

Today, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much every party in the rest of the Western world are nearly exclusively about those secondary impulses—government health care, government day care, government this, government that. And if you have government health care, you not only annex a huge chunk of the economy, you also destroy a huge chunk of individual liberty. You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher, and you make it very difficult ever to change back. Americans don’t always appreciate how far gone down this path the rest of the developed world is. In Canadian and Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is now a place where an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like running the health department. And if you listen to recent Democratic presidential debates, it is clear that American attitudes toward economic liberty are being Canadianized.

To some extent, these differences between the two countries were present at their creations. America’s Founders wrote of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The equivalent phrase at Canada’s founding was “peace, order and good government” —which words are not only drier and desiccated and stir the blood less, but they also presume a degree of statist torpor. Ronald Reagan famously said, “We are a nation that has a government, not the other way around.” In Canada it too often seems the other way around.

All that being said, if you remove health care from the equation, the differences between our two economies become relatively marginal. The Fraser Institute’s “Economic Freedom of the World 2007 Annual Report” ranks the U.S. and Canada together, tied in fifth place along with Britain. And here’s an interesting point: The top ten most free economies in this report are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Estonia, Ireland, and Australia. With the exception of Switzerland and Estonia, these systems are all British-derived. They’re what Jacques Chirac dismissively calls les anglo-saxon. And he and many other Continentals make it very clear that they regard free market capitalism as some sort of kinky Anglo-Saxon fetish. On the other hand, Andrew Roberts, the author of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples since 1900, points out that the two most corrupt jurisdictions in North America are Louisiana and Quebec—both French-derived. Quebec has a civil service that employs the same number of people as California’s, even though California has a population nearly five times the size.

In the province of Quebec, it’s taken more or less for granted by all political parties that collective rights outweigh individual rights. For example, if you own a store in Montreal, the French language signs inside the store are required by law to be at least twice the size of the English signs. And the government has a fairly large bureaucratic agency whose job it is to go around measuring signs and prosecuting offenders. There was even a famous case a few years ago of a pet store owner who was targeted by the Office De La Langue Française for selling English-speaking parrots. The language commissar had gone into the store and heard a bird saying, “Who’s a pretty boy, then?” and decided to take action. I keep trying to find out what happened to the parrot. Presumably it was sent to a re-education camp and emerged years later with a glassy stare saying in a monotone voice, “Qui est un joli garcon, hein?”

The point to remember about this is that it is consonant with the broader Canadian disposition. A couple of years ago it emerged that a few Quebec hospitals in the eastern townships along the Vermont border were, as a courtesy to their English-speaking patients, putting up handwritten pieces of paper in the corridor saying “Emergency Room This Way” or “Obstetrics Department Second on the Left.” But in Quebec, you’re only permitted to offer health care services in English if the English population in your town reaches a certain percentage. So these signs were deemed illegal and had to be taken down. I got a lot of mail from Canadians who were upset about this, and I responded that if you accept that the government has a right to make itself the monopoly provider of health care, it surely has the right to decide the language in which it’s prepared to provide that care. So my point isn’t just about Quebec separatism. It’s about a fundamentally different way of looking at the role of the state.

The Two Economies

So, granted the caveat that the economically freest countries in the world are the English-speaking democracies, within that family there are some interesting differences, and I would say between America and Canada there are five main ones.

First, the Canadian economy is more unionized. According to the Fraser Institute report, since the beginning of this century, the unionized proportion of the U.S. work force has averaged 13.9 percent. In Canada it has averaged 32 percent. That is a huge difference. The least unionized state in America is North Carolina, at 3.9 percent, whereas the least unionized province in Canada is Alberta, with 24.2 percent—a higher percentage than any American state except Hawaii, Alaska, and New York. In Quebec, it’s 40.4 percent. If you regard unionization as a major obstacle to productivity, investment, and employment growth, this is a critical difference.

I drive a lot between Quebec and New Hampshire, and you don’t really need a border post to tell you when you’ve crossed from one country into another. On one side the hourly update on the radio news lets you know that Canada’s postal workers are thinking about their traditional pre-Christmas strike—the Canadians have gotten used to getting their Christmas cards around Good Friday, and it’s part of the holiday tradition now—or that employees of the government liquor store are on strike, nurses are on strike, police are on strike, etc. Whereas you could listen for years to a New Hampshire radio station and never hear the word “strike” except for baseball play-by-play.

In a news item from last year, an Ottawa panhandler said that he may have to abandon his prime panhandling real estate on a downtown street corner because he is being shaken down by officials from the panhandlers union. Think about that. There’s a panhandlers union which exists to protect workers’ rights or—in this case—non-workers’ rights. If the union-negotiated non-work contracts aren’t honored, the unionized panhandlers will presumably walk off the job and stand around on the sidewalk. No, wait...they’ll walk off the sidewalk! Anyway, that’s Canada: Without a Thatcher or a Reagan, it remains over-unionized and with a bloated public sector.

Not that long ago, I heard a CBC news anchor announce that Canada had “created 56,100 new jobs in the previous month.” It sounded like good news. But looking at the numbers, I found that of those 56,100 new jobs, 4,200 were self-employed, 8,900 were in private businesses, and the remaining 43,000 were on the public payroll. In other words, 77 percent of the new jobs were government jobs paid for by the poor slobs working away in the remaining 23 percent. So it wasn’t good news, it was bad news about the remorseless transfer of human resources from the vital dynamic sector to the state.

The second difference between our economies is that Canada’s is more protected. I was talking once to a guy from the Bay area who ran a gay bookstore, and he swore to me that he’d had it with President Bush and that he was going to move to Vancouver and reopen his bookstore there. I told him that would be illegal in Canada and he got very huffy and said indignantly, “What do you mean it’s illegal? It’s not illegal for a gay man to own a bookstore in Canada.” I said, “No, but it’s illegal for a foreigner to own a bookstore in Canada.” He could move to Canada, yes, but he’d have to get a government job handing out benefit checks. His face dropped, and I thought of pitching one of those soft-focus TV movie-of-the-week ideas to the Lifestyle Channel, telling the heartwarming story of a Berkeley gay couple who flee Bush’s regime to live their dream of running a gay bookstore in Vancouver, only to find that Canada has ways of discriminating against them that the homophobic fascists in the United States haven’t even begun to consider.

The third difference is that Canada’s economy is more subsidized. Almost every activity amounts to taking government money in some form or other. I was at the Summit of the Americas held in Canada in the summer of 2001, with President Bush and the presidents and prime ministers from Latin America and the Caribbean. And, naturally, it attracted the usual anti-globalization anarchists who wandered through town lobbing bricks at any McDonald’s or Nike outlet that hadn’t taken the precaution of boarding up its windows. At one point I was standing inside the perimeter fence sniffing tear gas and enjoying the mob chanting against the government from the other side of the wire, when a riot cop suddenly grabbed me and yanked me backwards, and a nanosecond later a chunk of concrete landed precisely where I had been standing. I bleated the usual “Oh my God, I could have been killed” for a few minutes and then I went to have a café au lait. And while reading the paper over my coffee, I learned that not only had Canadian colleges given their students time off to come to the Summit to riot, but that the Canadian government had given them $300,000 to pay for their travel and expenses. It was a government-funded anti-government riot! At that point I started bleating “Oh my God, I could have been killed at taxpayer expense.” Say what you like about the American trust-fund babies who had swarmed in to demonstrate from Boston and New York, but at least they were there on their own dime. Canada will and does subsidize anything.

Fourth point: The Canadian economy is significantly more dirigiste (i.e., centrally planned). A couple of years ago it was revealed that the government had introduced a fast-track immigration program for exotic dancers (otherwise known as strippers). Now as a general rule, one of the easiest things to leave for the free market to determine is the number of strippers a society needs. But for some reason, the government concluded that the market wasn’t generating the supply required and introduced a special immigration visa. To go back to President Bush’s line, maybe this is one of those jobs that Canadians won’t do, so we need to get some Ukrainians in to do it. Naturally, the exotic dancers are unionized, so it’s only a matter of time before the last viable industry in Quebec grinds to a halt and American tourists in Montreal find themselves stuck in traffic because of huge numbers of striking strippers. What governmental mind would think of an exotic dancer immigration category?

Fifth and obviously, the Canadian economy is more heavily taxed: Total revenue for every level of government in the U.S. is approximately 27 percent of GDP, while in Canada it’s 37 percent. And yes, that 37 percent includes health care—but you would have to be having an awful lot of terminal illnesses each year to be getting your money’s worth from what you’re giving to the treasury for that.

Canadian Dependence on the U.S.

Yet, having criticized Canada’s economy in various features, let me say something good about it: It doesn’t have the insanely wasteful federal agricultural subsidies that America has. In fact, if a Canadian wants to get big-time agriculture subsidies, he’s more likely to get them from the U.S. government. I’m sure most people here know that very few actual farmers—that’s to say, guys in denim overalls and plaid shirts and John Deere caps with straws in the stumps of their teeth—get any benefit from U.S. agricultural subsidies. Almost three-quarters of these subsidies go to 20,000 multi-millionaire play farmers and blue chip corporations. Farm subsidies are supposed to help the farm belt. But there’s a map of where the farm subsidies go that you can find on the Internet. And judging from the beneficiaries, the farm belt runs from Park Avenue down Wall Street, out to the Hamptons, and then by yacht over to Martha’s Vineyard, which they really ought to rename Martha’s Barnyard. Among the farmers piling up the dollar bills under the mattress are Ted Turner, Sam Donaldson, the oil company Chevron, and that dirt-poor, hardscrabble sharecropper David Rockefeller. But what you may not know is that also among their number is Edgar Bronfman, Sr., who isn’t just any old billionaire, he’s the patriarch of Montreal’s wealthiest family, owner of Seagram’s Whiskey, which subsequently bought Universal Pictures. So the U.S. taxpayer, in his boundless generosity, is subsidizing the small family farms of Canadian billionaires. As a Canadian and a broken-down New Hampshire tree farmer myself, I wondered whether I could get in on the U.S. farm program, but as I understand it, it would only pay me for a helicopter pad on top of my barn and a marble bathroom in my grain silo.

Edgar Bronfman’s dependence on U.S. taxpayers is symbolic of more than just the stupidity of federal agriculture subsidies. In the end, there’s no such thing as an independent Canadian economy. It remains a branch plant for the U.S. Over 80 percent of Canadian exports come to America. From time to time, nationalist politicians pledge to change that and start shipping goods elsewhere. But they never do because they don’t have to—they’ve got the world’s greatest market right next door. So when people talk about the Canadian model as something that should be emulated, they forget that it only works because it’s next to the American model. The guy who invented the Blackberry email device is Canadian, but it’s not been a gold mine for him because he’s selling a lot of them in Labrador or Prince Edward Island. It’s been a gold mine because he’s selling a lot of them in New York and California and in between.

Canadian dependence on the United States is particularly true in health care, the most eminent Canadian idea looming in the American context. That is, public health care in Canada depends on private health care in the U.S. A small news story from last month illustrates this:

A Canadian woman has given birth to extremely rare identical quadruplets. The four girls were born at a U.S. hospital because there was no space available at Canadian neonatal intensive care units. Autumn, Brook, Calissa, and Dahlia are in good condition at Benefice Hospital in Great Falls, Montana. Health officials said they checked every other neonatal intensive care unit in Canada, but none had space. The Jepps, a nurse and a respiratory technician were flown 500 kilometers to the Montana hospital, the closest in the U.S., where the quadruplets were born on Sunday.
There you have Canadian health care in a nutshell. After all, you can’t expect a G-7 economy of only 30 million people to be able to offer the same level of neonatal intensive care coverage as a town of 50,000 in remote, rural Montana. And let’s face it, there’s nothing an expectant mom likes more on the day of delivery than 300 miles in a bumpy twin prop over the Rockies. Everyone knows that socialized health care means you wait and wait and wait—six months for an MRI, a year for a hip replacement, and so on. But here is the absolute logical reductio of a government monopoly in health care: the ten month waiting list for the maternity ward.

In conclusion, I’m not optimistic about Canada for various reasons—from the recent Chinese enthusiasm for buying up the country’s resources to the ongoing brain drain—but also for a reason more profound. The biggest difference between Canada and the U.S. is not that you crazy, violent, psycho Yanks have guns and we caring, progressive Canucks have socialized health care, but that America has a healthy fertility rate and we don’t. Americans have 2.1 children per couple, which is enough to maintain a stable population, whereas according to the latest official figures, Canadian couples have only 1.5. This puts us on the brink of steep demographic decline. Consider the math: 10 million parents have 7.5 million children, 5.6 million grandchildren, and 4.2 million great-grandchildren. You can imagine what shape those lavish Canadian social programs will be in under that scenario, and that’s before your average teenage burger-flipper gets tired of supporting entire gated communities and decides he’d rather head south than pay 70 percent tax rates.

So, to produce the children we couldn’t be bothered having ourselves, we use the developing world as our maternity ward. Between 2001 and 2006, Canada’s population increased by 1.6 million. 400,000 came from natural population growth kids, while 1.2 million came from immigration. Thus native Canadians—already only amounting to 25 percent of the country’s population growth—will become an ever smaller minority in the Canada of the future. It’s like a company in which you hold an ever diminishing percentage of the stock. It might still be a great, successful company in the years ahead, but if it is, it won’t have much—if anything—to do with you.

In that most basic sense, American progressives who look to Canada are wrong. Not only is Canada’s path not a model for America, it’s not a viable model for Canada. As Canadians are about to discover, the future belongs to those who show up for it.

Reprinted w/permission:
Hillsdale College: Pursuing Truth • Defending Liberty since 1844

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Friday, February 08, 2008

What Did the Archbishop of Canterbury Really Say?

Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has caught a lot of flak for saying that Sharia law should become the law of the land, that land being England. From reading the news reports and blogs one would think the Archbishop of Cantebury actually is advocating the adoption of the Islamic Shaira law and that Sharia's triumph over English Common Law is already a fait accompli. Nothing could be further from the truth. But we wouldn't know that without reading the lecture Dr. Williams presented at Lambeth Palace, February 7, 2008.

A commenter on the Times Online column, Article of Faith , Andrew Holden wrote, "The most that can really be said is that it's time [Dr] Rowan realised that he can't say anything complicated or difficult without overreaction and misrepresentation from those who can't be bothered to find out what he actually said and really engage with it."

You can read the Archbishops lecture at Indigo Continuum. Be warned, it is a long, dense, tradtional academic lecture chock full of arcanery.

There was another article the BBC had on its website, but all links to that story take the searcher to a different AoC story in which Williams is pilloried and expresses genuine surprise that his remarks should have caused such a ruckus. The following is the article that has essentially disappeared from the Internet in favor of the more inflammatory stories:

Brown 'rejects' Sharia law in UK

Downing Street has distanced Gordon Brown from the Archbishop of Canterbury's belief that some Sharia law in the UK seems "unavoidable".

The prime minister's spokesman said Mr Brown "believes that British laws should be based on British values".

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One the UK had to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

He said adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law could help social cohesion.

For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.

Dr Williams said Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".

In an exclusive interview with BBC correspondent Christopher Landau, ahead of a lecture to lawyers in London later on Monday, Dr Williams argues this relies on Sharia law being better understood. At the moment, he says "sensational reporting of opinion polls" clouds the issue.

He stresses that "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".

But Dr Williams said an approach to law which simply said "there's one law for everybody and that's all there is to be said, and anything else that commands your loyalty or allegiance is completely irrelevant in the processes of the courts - I think that's a bit of a danger".

"There's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law."

Dr Williams adds: "What we don't want either, is I think, a stand-off, where the law squares up to people's religious consciences."

"We don't either want a situation where, because there's no way of legally monitoring what communities do... people do what they like in private in such a way that that becomes another way of intensifying oppression inside a community."

Multiculturalism 'divisive'

Under English law, people may devise their own way to settle a dispute in front of an agreed third party as long as both sides agree to the process.

Muslim Sharia courts and the Jewish Beth Din which already exist in the UK come into this category.

Dr Williams' comments are likely to fuel the debate over multiculturalism in the UK.
Last month, one of Dr William's colleagues, the Bishop of Rochester, said that non-Muslims may find it hard to live or work in some areas of the UK.

The Right Reverend Dr Michael Nazir-Ali said there was "hostility" in some areas and described the government's multicultural policies as divisive.

He said there had been a worldwide resurgence of Islamic extremism, leading to young people growing up alienated from the country they lived in.

He has since received death threats and has been placed under police protection.
This is very important to the discussion: "Under English law, people may devise their own way to settle a dispute in front of an agreed third party as long as both sides agree to the process...Muslim Sharia courts and the Jewish Beth Din which already exist in the UK come into this category.

Also, the whole idea that Archbishop broached is not new in English law discoarse. The BBC program, Law in Action, aired "The end of one law for all?" in November 2006.

A number of parallel legal universes have been quietly evolving among minority communities. As well as Somali customary law, Islamic and Jewish laws are being applied and enforced in parts of the UK.

Islamic and Jewish law remains confined to civil matters. But the BBC's Law in Action programme has learned that the Somali court hears criminal cases too.

One of the most serious cases it has dealt with was the "trial" of a group of young men accused of stabbing a fellow Somali.
The fact that Somali customary law, Jewish, Islamic, and I would suspect Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic religious law are also being practiced in England, the Archbishop's call to "face up to the fact" that some Sharia in English law is "unavoidable" is really no more than a truthful observation and honest conclusion, not an advocacy.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Hamza to Face American Justice

Abu Hamza al-Masri, the radical Islaomofacist cleric who applauded the bombings of 9/11 and any other attacks that kill and maim Westerners, will probably be extradited to the United States to face charges of terrorism.

His only chance to avoid extradition is to appeal the ruling from The British Home Office and win the appeal. A Home Office spokesman said, "I can confirm that today the home secretary signed an order for Abu Hamza's extradition to the United States. This was a decision taken in the interests of justice. This was an extradition request from the U.S. and we honour these requests when we think it is appropriate." This follows a High Court decision last November when the court ruled there was nothhing preventing the Egyptian-born Capt. Hook wannabe from facing justice in the U.S.

Hamza, with his hook, faces 11 charges of participation in a plot to sieze 16 Western hostages in Yemen back in 1998. An Australian and three Britons were killed in a shootout when Yemeni troops stormed the terrorist's hideout.

The U.S. indictment accuses Hamza of trying to start in 1999 to 2000, a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon. He is also accused of providing support to al-Qaida and the Taliban. When convicted, Hamza will spend the rest of his miserable and pathetic life, or up to 100 years, whichever comes first, behind maximum security bars surrounded by infidels.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Berkeley Rethinks Letter Evicting Marines

Berkeley, California city council told the Marine Corps a week ago to move along, no need to stop here, we don't want your kind in our city as told us by Marie's Two Cents. The letter sent to the Marines declared publically "that Berkeley is against the war but supports the troops." Oh, well, that's different.

Senator Jim DeMint, however, didn't think so. A short time after news of the letter hit the web, Republican of S.Carolina DeMint reckoned that since the city of Berkeley didn't want a Marine recruitment office in their pinko city, they didn't want U.S. Marine Corps protection, either. As the Senator saw it, Berkeley should not get Federal money without accepting those who make their protestations possible.

Senator DeMint said he would draft a bill to cancel all the Congressional earmarks slated to go to Berzerkeley which is a rather sizable sum - $2.1 million. For all you Liberals, that's alot of real money that was confiscated from alot of real folk who don't want their money going to other people who don't have enough time to work but plenty of time to protest the Marine Corps. DeMint said the millions liberated from the People's Republic of Berkeley would be given to the Marines.

The earmarked money includes:

— $975,000 for the University of California at Berkeley, for the Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service;

— $750,000 for the Berkeley/Albana ferry service;

— $243,000 for the Chez Panisse Foundation, a school lunch initiative to integrate lessons about wellness, sustainability, and nutrition into the school curriculum;

— $94,000 for a Berkeley public safety interoperability program;

— $87,000 for the Berkeley Unified School District, nutrition education program.

Monday, Council members Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli proposed Berkeley rescind the letter to the Marine Corps. "I think we shouldn't be seen across the country as hating the Marines. If you make a mistake, like we did, you should admit it and correct it and move on," said Olds, who voted against sending the letter.

Hundreds of people were angered by the council's foolish act in their name and Olds heard from them, including many in her own Berkeley hills district. She said, "People are so mad about this. They have relatives in the service, and now they think they're not welcome in Berkeley. My twin brother was a Marine in World War II. He'd be turning in his grave if he saw this."

Dona Spring, another city council member, said they shouldn't be cowed by the hate mail and threats as she termed the messages from concerned citizens that reflect an opinion in opposition to hers. Spring said, "I still oppose the Marines recruiting in Berkeley because it's one way of protesting this wasteful war. Our military policy is a shambles. But we're not in opposition to the Marines; we oppose the policy that directs the Marines."

Medea Benjamin, a Code Pink spokeshole, said her group was disappointed the city may be pressured into rescinding the letter. "I hope they're not acting out of intimidation. Berkeley is a city of peace, and a recruiting station does not fit Berkeley's values."

The council will revisit the issue next Tuesday at which time, if they're smart, will veto, if not repudiate, their previous action. Hey, it could happen.

It seems there was plenty of intimidation and undue pressure that caused the Berkeley City Council members to favor such an ill conceived demand upon men and women with really big guns. I'm not so sure the values of Berkeley are worth or worthy of Marine Corps protection. Fortunately for the People's Republic of Berkeley, the U.S. Marine Corps will continue defending the sorry butts of the City Council members and their ingrate constituents whether the pinkos deserve protection or not. That's what Marines do.

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, is a former Army captain. Now that's sad.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Partisan Choice

The last choice to be made is Republican Presidential Nominee. The instruction reads, "Vote for One". Well, there is only one left for whom to vote.

X Mitt Romney

Well, that's it folks. Live-blog voting is at an end. I've done my civic duty and changed the course of the Sun, the Moon, Earth, and America. The rest of the countries be damned.

Now I must rush off to the polling place to cast my absentee ballot which, ironically, defeats the whole idea and purpose of the absentee ballot. But, without my absentee status, we would not have had this time together to vote and explore the mind of Indigo Red.

Thank you all for attending and see you again in November.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Props 94, 95, 96, 97

Almost done. I may have to get another Ale.

Props 94-97:


Ratifies amendment to existing gaming compact between the state and Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians; amendment would permit tribe to operate 5,500 additional slot machines;

Omits certain projects from scope of California Environmental Quality Act; amendment provides for Tribal Environmental Impact Report and intergovernmental procedure to address environmental impact;

Revenue paid by tribe to be deposited into General Fund; tribe would make $42,500,000 annual payment and pay percentage of revenue generated from the additional slot machines to the state.

The above is the summary of Proposition 94. The next three read exactly the same, except the tribal name changes: Prop 95 - Morango Band of Mission Indians; Prop 96 - Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation; Prop 97 - Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Immediately this looks good because the state will collect millions of dollars over the next several years. The State will allow these four tribes to increase the number of slot machines in their casinos in exchange for more California tax money collected on specified machines. So far, so good.

HOWEVER, the Indians get to choose which machines will pay out tax money. Essentially, the Indians are getting more gambling capacity and they get to tell the State how much the State can collect in taxes.

The Indians think they can fool us and maybe they can. I'm betting the white man has yet to forget how to write treaties. The tribes have already said that if they lose this go-round, they will go back into negotiations with the State of California.

This is a bad treaty. Renegotiate.

I vote: NO

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Proposition 93

My goodness! This so exciting!

Prop. 93:

Reduces the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years.

Allows a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both.

Provides a transition period to allow current members to serve a total of 12 consecutive years in the house in which they are currently serving, regardless of any prior service in another house.

This Prop is a bit tricky, even in presentation. All the other Props have their own full pages in the guide books, but this one is started on the last one-fourth of a shared page and is barely noticable.

Now, that's important because several years ago, California voted favorably for Term Limits. I thought it a stupid idea and still do. There are Legistators in Sacramento who also don't like the limits and have come up with this piece of snookery to hang on to their jobs for like FOREVER. Hiding the prop down in the corner may cause some folks to ignor this one resulting in a favorable result for the conmen in the Legislature like Fabian Nunez, a leader in the reconquesta movement.

On the surface, I think this is a good idea because what we have now is a system that requires office holders to leave their elected office before they become proficient and before they have learned how a bill becomes a law. One new Assemblyman demanded that the Legislative Sergeant-at-Arms take is bill that just passed the Assembly directly to the Governor for his signature bypassing that damned uppity Senate. The Sergeant-at-Arms had to patiently explain that all bills from the Assembly must go to the Senate. It's the law. The Sergeant-at-Ars is having to explain procedure more than ever before.

I think legislators should be able to spend their entire term limited career in the same office. My problem with this Prop is that it would apply the current crop of criminals who are simply using this initiative to increase their terms by upwards of fourteen years. It would apply to about 47 sitting legislators. I would support this prop with this change: all current legislators are termed out under the current rules; only newly elected offials would be able to take advantage of the extended terms.

My vote: NO

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Proposition 92

Prop. 92:

Establishes in state constitution a system of independent public community college districts and Board of Governors.
Generally, requires minimum levels of state funding for school districts and community college districts to be calculated separately, using different criteria and separately appropriated.

Allocates 10.46 percent of current Proposition 98 school funding maintenance factor to community colleges.

Sets community college fees at $15/unit per semester; limits future fee increases.
Provides formula for allocation by Legislature to community college districts that would not otherwise receive general fund revenues through community college apportionment.

In a state that allows illegal aliens to get a college education at the same cost as a native resident student, why would I want to favor this? The current fee is $20/unit per semester. I had to pay my way through the Junior College system and then the State University system. As I advanced, the fees increased because those folks working on campus received pay raises which the students paid - it's a user fee.

These college kids want an education, well here it is - GET A JOB! You want an education - pay for it yourself, it's your education, I already have mine. For hundreds of years, hundreds of millions of people have attended colleges and universities quite successfully without demanding the taxpayers foot the bill. A little less partying and more time working for your own future; you won't like it now, but you'll appreciate your education later. And don't major in Liberal Arts, no one really cares how basket designs influence the sexual dynamics of New Guinea natives. Actually learn something that will get and keep you off the public dole. Then you will understand why smart folks are Conervatives.

I vote: NO

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Proposition 91

Prop. 91:

Prohibits certain motor vehicle fuel sales and use taxes, that are earmarked for the Transportation Investment Fund, from being retained in the General Fund. Currently such taxes may be retained if Governor issues a proclamation, a special statute is enacted by a 2/3 vote of the Legislature, repayment occurs within three years, and certain other conditions are met.Requires repayment by 6/30/17 of such vehicle fuel taxes retained in General Fund from 7/1/03 to 6/30/08. Currently repayment is generally required by 6/30/16.Changes how and when General Fund borrowing of certain transportation funds is allowed.

This an easy one because the proponents of this initiative are urging a NO vote. Normally that would be stupid of the guys who brought the proposition. But this time the question was settled by Prop 1A in November 2006 that does nearly everything Prop 91 would have done.

It forbids the Legislature from taking the gas tax dollars collected to build and repair roads to use on non-transportation projects. One would think that a road building and repair tax woudn't need another law to specify the money can only be used for transportation. Welcome to the real world.

Alrighty then. I vote: NO

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Beginnings

This is a new experience for me - live blog voting. It's so exciting, I'm all atwitter! Ok, calm down, this is serious. The fate of the free world hangs in the balance. My singular vote could blow this election wide open. Aww, geez! Now I'm nervous again!

Ok, ok. Let's get started. Do I have everything I need to vote my absentee ballot?
Check list:

I'm at the kitchen table with my laptop. Check.
I have my ballot. Check.
Voter's guide booklet. Check.
AND the Voter's guide booklet, Part II. Check.
Blue or black ink pen - black ink, NRCC pen. Check
Bottle of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Check.

Ok, I'm ready.

Here we go folks! Hang on, it's going to be bumby ride!

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Republican Party Disintegration - We Did it to Ourselves

Tuesday, Super Tuesday, most of the country votes in what is the nearest we've come to a national primary. Even in the beginning of the year and the beginning of the primary voting, we Republicans are faced with voting for left-overs. And it's our own damned fault. It is disgusting to ponder how the Republican Party has disintegrated into a party of weak kneed, faux liberal pansy pantywaists masquerading as true conservatives as to even consider the likes of John McCain as worthy of any office higher than that which he already holds.

Political writer J.B. Williams is as disgusted as I am, but he writes better than me. With everything he wrote on February 1, I whole heartedly agree. Since I have ripped it off lock, stock, and barrel and put it here without so much as a by your leave so that you, good reader, do not have to click to somewhere else that may no longer exist - read it.

How the Republican Party Committed National Suicide

JB Williams

©2008 USA

Republicans no longer control the Republican Party and as a result, they can not advance a truly Republican candidate though the current liberal leaning primary process. By the time 99 percent of Republicans get a chance to vote in the primaries, all real Republicans have already been eliminated from the race. Lesser evil choices are all that remain by Super Tuesday…?

How it Happened

It happened by two important factors.

First, Republicans refused to unite behind any of the conservatives originally in the race. They were divided, and all of their candidates failed as a result.

Evangelicals think Pastor Huckabee is the real conservative in the race based solely upon his evangelical preaching from the stump. Fiscal conservatives think that business man Mitt Romney is the real conservative in the race. Anti-war isolationists think that Ron Paul is the real conservative in the race. Border security – national sovereignty conservatives thought that Duncan Hunter or Tom Tancredo were the real conservatives in the race. War on Terror hawks thought that Rudy Giuliani was the real conservative in the race and the base of the Republican Party, those who are fully conservative on all the above, thought Fred Thompson was the real conservative in the race.

As a direct result of these divisions, the one candidate that is by no means a real conservative in the race, John McCain, is currently leading the race for the Republican nomination. Failing to unite early behind one of the conservatives, left the door wide open for the worst possible result, John McCain.

The second factor is a broken primary process. McCain is not being nominated by conservatives or for the most part, even by Republicans. He is being nominated by liberal voters from liberal leaning states who hold the earliest primaries and vote to eliminate all conservatives from the race before “fly-over” Republicans get a chance to cast a single vote.

A Broken Party

Like it or not, the BIG TENT is collapsing. You can’t invite liberals to your table without inviting their ideologies along. Try this at home with your liberal neighbors if you think I’m wrong on this. They will be happy to eat your food and drink your wine, while they tell you all about the progressive benefits of socialism. They won’t shut up until you stop inviting them for dinner.

Yet this is what the Republican Party leadership decided to do years ago. Invite liberals across the aisle into the fold under the BIG TENT open society philosophy whereby all ideas are welcome if not equal, even when they aren’t.

Today, the base of the party is trying to figure out if or how it can wrestle back control of their party from the dinner guest they invited to the table years ago. The problem is this. RINOs now think it’s their party. They have exercised squatter’s rights. They are using the “possession is nine tenths of the law” defense to claim ownership of the Republican Party now and demanding that “right-wing extremists” (the foundation of the party) leave. The guests are tossing out the hosts.

A Broken Process

How do you expect to advance a Republican candidate via a process designed to net a liberal candidate, voted upon by liberals in Democrat strongholds? The answer is - you can’t. Yet this is what we do.

It is not possible to advance a conservative candidate using liberal RINO, Independent and Democrat voters in liberal strongholds. The Republican primary process MUST change.

The Long-Term Fix

Only registered Republicans should be voting in Republican primaries and Republican primaries must begin in Republican strongholds, not Democrat strongholds up east. There should be no such thing as “open primaries.” Even in many “closed primaries” in Democrat stronghold states, where Republicans seldom have even a chance of carrying the state, many Democrats and Independents register as Republicans for the sole purpose of skewing the Republican nomination. This can not be allowed to continue.

Further, if the Republican nomination process expects to ever advance a conservative Republican candidate, it must start its nomination process in Republican strongholds across the country, not the Democrat strongholds they start in today.

The ten most Republican states in 2004 (a Republican year) were Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alabama, Kansas, Alaska and Texas, in that order. Yet only one of these states has held a primary thus far, Wyoming. Before the rest will get a chance to vote, all Republicans are out of the race.

Other traditionally Republican strongholds are Indiana, South Dakota, Mississippi, Kentucky, Montana, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Pick the five most populated states from these two groups and start the nomination process there, if you want to see what real Republicans want for party leadership.

Three of the worst states in which to hold an early Republican primary are Michigan, New Hampshire and Iowa. Yet this is where we begin our nomination process?

Both of these things must change looking forward and they will have to be changed at the state level by simply getting Republican stronghold states to move their primaries up to the front of the line. Don’t count on any help from the Republican National Committee which has long since determined that Republicans must join liberals in order to compete with them.

The ONLY Short-Term Fix

These two changes in the nomination process will allow Republican stronghold states and real Republican voters to advance a real Republican candidate in the future. But it’s too late for 2008.

So a short-term answer for the immediate problem is also in order and only one option is available now…

That option is the subject of my last column,
Time for Some REAL Straight Talk.

Take a moment to read it quickly. Super Tuesday will set the next four years in stone. What we do between now and then makes a difference….

Republicans simply passed on all opportunities to do something smart and unite behind one of the conservatives in the race over the last several months. Now, doing something half-smart is the only immediate option available. Find a way to be part of the solution, not just an angry part of the problem acting out in childish temper tantrums and protest votes.

Half-smart is better than blindly foolish and all wrong any day…

Long term, things must change. But short term, our options are now limited to living to fight another day. Think about it!
I have read many other bloggers who had the right ideas and supported the right candidates, but got sucked into believing they didn't know so much about politics as the next guy and swithed their positions from one to another until the real McCoys were all gone. Now we're down to the dregs. And dregs they are. One who's claim to fame is having been shot out of the sky and the other organized an Olympic Games extravaganza, neither accomplishments being qualifications for Commander-in-Chief and Head of State of the most powerful ecomonic, cultural, and military nation this planet has ever seen.

Half-smart or half-wit, it's all our own doing. Pick one and hope it all comes out in the wash.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Four Firsts - So What!

First Black President
Barack Obama

First Woman President
Hillary Clinton

First POW President
John McCain

First Mormon President
Mitt Romney

This election year is full of firsts, as the candidate campaign machines constantly remind us. Not one of the firsts amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world. The question we should ask about all these firsts is, "SO WHAT?!"

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Winston Churchill Never Existed say 25% of Brits

Oxford, Cambridge, Kings College, Exeter University - England was once the home of higher education, was once synonymous with higher learning. Lately, however, Great Britain has lost their grip on reality.

A poll conducted by UKTV Gold television of 3000 British people shows they have nearly completely abandoned any pretext of education and intelligence.

The poll out Monday shows:

- 23% believe Winston Churchill, the World War II Prime Minister, is a myth.

- 47% reckon Richard the Lionheart, the 12th Century King is a myth.

- 23% believe the Crimean War nurse, Florence Nightingale, is a fictional character.

- 3% are of the opinion that Charles Dickens, one of England's most important authors, is fiction.

Mahatma Ghandi, the Indian political activist and non-violence advocate who brought about Indian freedom from Britain, and the Duke of Wellington, the commander of the armies that defeated Napolean at Waterloo are among the top ten persons thought to be only myths.

On the other hand:

- 58% think Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective in the Arthur Conan Doyle crime novels actually existed, and presumably, Dr. Watson and Prof. Moriarty, too. It's elementary, truly elementary.

- 33% of the English folk questioned reckoned the pilot/adventure hero of the W.E. Johns stories, Biggles, to be a real personage.

The Dark Ages, though missnamed, have been known as the Dark Ages because Western peoples are believed to have been stupid, ignorant, and superstitious, they had lost or destroyed the knowledge discovered and developed over thousands of years of civilzation by the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Etruscans, and many others. Are we entering a new Dark Ages due to willfull stupidity, ignorance, and superstition? If this poll truly represents the state of British knowledge, then the West is in really big trouble far exceeding the danger posed by Islam and its religiously fanatical fundamentalists.

Original story:
Yahoo News

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Ernie Pyle Death Photo Found

"COMMAND POST, IE SHIMA, April 18 (AP) — Ernie Pyle, war correspondent beloved by his co-workers, GIs and generals alike, was killed by a Japanese machine-gun bullet through his left temple this morning ..."

Only six days after the nation was stunned by the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, it was shocked again with news that America's most beloved World War II correspondent had been killed. The War Department and the Associated Press thought it best not to release the photo of Pyle's corpse to the public.

Ernie Pyle arrived in the Pacific theater of war in April 1945 after covering the European war in North Africa, Italy, and France for four years. The Army's 77th Infantry Division landed on the small island of Ie Shima on April 16. They were to capture an airfield located there while the primary battle was fought on Okinawa not far away. Though not the main battle, it was "warfare in its worst form ... Not one Japanese soldier surrendered, he killed until he was killed," Army photographer Alexander Roberts wrote later.

Three days into the battle, Pyle and three officers were riding in a Jeep in the early morning when they were attacked by a concealed Japanese machine gun nest. The four men leapt for cover in the roadside ditch. When Pyle raised his head to take a look around, he was struck in the head by a .30 caliber bullet, instantly killing him.

Photographer Roberts was just 300 yards away with other reporters and went to the scene as soon as he was aware that Pyle had been killed. Through continuos enemy fire, Roberts crawled forward to snap the photo with his Army issue Speed Graphic camera and crawled back. His action earned him a Bronze Star for valor under fire.

The photo he made that day was not released to the public and only a few copies have been known to exist. The photo was not seen by the public "out of deference" to Pyle's widow, Jerry. The AP of WWII was very sympathetic to the war effort and cooperated with the then named War Department and actually had a conscience, unlike today's AP which even Bugs Bunny called the Disassocited Press.

Yahoo News
Indigo Rose

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.