Friday, February 11, 2011

Military Dictatorship In Egypt?

Unrest in Egypt is getting worse and not better. What is unclear is which groups stand to gain if, or more likely when, Hosni Mubarek is forced to step aside. We would love to see true democracy, but should be concerned about the Moslem Brotherhood (backed by Obama, of course.) Egypt has tried to retain a secular government in the face of a tide of dangerous fundamentalism. Inviting a religious group to the table is a bad idea. Just because they came does not mean they should get to sit or speak.

History shows us that revolutions such as the one brewing in Cairo tend to turn out badly much of the time. Radicals shove aside moderates and spill blood when they consolidate power. Radicals want to control the people body, mind, and spirit. Radical Islamofacist terror will be bad for Egypt, Israel, Europe, and the United States.

In 1933, German democracy selected Communists and Nazis overwhelmingly in elections for the national legislature (Reichstag.) Its system required the President to choose a government from the dominant political parties. The President selected what he thought was the better of two evils, the Nazis. Of course the Communists had already killed thousands and wrecked Russia. The Nazis had not done as much yet, although they eventually would. The best case scenario for that desperate nation would have been a temporary seizure of power by the military.

Is that what is best for Egypt? If the Moslem Brotherhood or any other Islamic front group try to seize power, the military needs to step in and shove them aside. We need no more radical religious groups running nations in the Middle East. It is not a great result, but better than a lot of alternatives if true democracy cannot be established.

This all being said, that military government (as we have seen this morning actually take over the country) needs to put together a transition plan to democracy that reflects the secular nature of the country and respects all of its religious groups. It needs to promise to prevent terror as well. Hopefully, temporary military rule will result in real democracy and positive change for Egypt.

Feral Pigs and Such

On Tuesday, Fox News ran a story about the growing menace of feral pigs. Farmers complained about the destruction to crops. Suburbanites are upset about their lawns. The United States Department of Agriculture and state governments are concerned as well. The population of feral pigs around the country is approaching 4 million, according to expert estimates. So it's pretty obvious what ought to be done. Michigan has a new policy that allows anyone with a hunting license to shoot them at any time since they breed so quickly and in such large humbers.

Fox had to dig up the animal rights expert, though. He protested the "persecution of pigs" and suggested that someone go out and neuter them instead of hunting them. This was his best, serious suggestion.

This is animal rights at its worst. Armchair thinkers who have never been around an animal larger than a golden retriever or more dangerous than a kitten. Imagine trying to actually catch a pig in a sty to neuter it. Now imagine doing it to a feral pig in the woods. How dangerous is that? How much does it cost? The armchair left isn't interested.

What is amazing is that this very same group likely supports free range chickens as opposed to those cooped up. Wouldn't these be "free range pigs?" Wouldn't it be better to get your pork from wild hogs than those kept on a farm, from an animal rights point of view?

Just a typical statement made without thought by the animal rights movement.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GOProud At CPAC Is the Right Call

CPAC is facing strong criticism from social conservatives due to its inclusion of the group GOProud in its upcoming event.

CPAC is a conference that operates on many levels. There is an elite level where very important folks mingle, drink, eat, and celebrate conservatism. For those without several hundred to spend, there are speeches and a floor with hundreds of booths. This is probably where GOProud will be.

GOProud is a group like the Log Cabin Republicans. In other words, they are gay conservative Republicans. That may sound like a contradiction, but it isn't. Republicans and conservatives are split between those who are predominantly socially conservative and those whose interest lies more in economic liberty. The latter are more likely to be socially libertarian. Additionally, this is where most young conservative/libertarian, Republican voters are.

The Republican Party and conservative movement are moving strongly towards positions of liberty and rights. This will tend to alienate old social conservatives, but revitalize the Republican brand among the younger. Personally, I see a contradiction between the concept of less government interference while using the law to prevent legal connections between gays. Civil unions for all couples, gay or straight, would best reflect these values of limited government in people's lives.

Our combined enemy is statism that can evolve into mercantilism, fascism, or socialism. Obama's vision could send us down any of those three paths and none are good for America. We need to bind together and fight for liberty, rights, and less government. If that means that gay couples end up with civil unions or that people end up being able to grow and smoke pot on their own private property, so be it. I don't care about what people do in private on their property or in their bedrooms. I want the government less involved in all of our lives.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What About Henry Gassaway Davis, Stephen Elkins, or Harley Staggers Day?

State legislators can come up with some good ideas and some not so good ideas.

In this year's session, eleven have decided to sponsor a meausre to make Senator Robert Byrd's birthday a state holiday.

Byrd had one paramount cardinal virtue. Show up for work every day that you possibly can. His efforts to get to votes in his advanced age approached the heroic. How ironic that some want to honor that dedication with giving folks a day off.

Also, let's not forget that Senator Byrd has not been our only legislator of note on the national stage. Harley Staggers served his congressional district faithfully for decades and helped to save railroads in the late 1970s. Henry Gassaway Davis and Stephen Elkins served in the U. S. Senate and helped to build the industrial base that sustains our state today. Arthur Boreman and Francis H. Pierpont risked capture and execution as traitors against the Commonwealth of Virginia to stay loyal to the Union and help create the Mountain State.

I'd like to say that Senator Byrd would be against this, but the man did like having his name attached to stuff. Despite the possibility that he would be elated by this kind of honor, it would be better to recognize his memory at the beginning of every session by having a reading of the United States Constitution and a pledge that each member will have it be his guide. That was Senator Byrd's other sincere political love. Remember him with something productive, not inactivity paid for by the taxpayers.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Rolling the Dice: Natalie Tennant

Natalie Tennant tossed her hat into the gubernatorial ring last week, confirming long held suspicions of her ambition.

Tennant was the first female Mountaineer and is well-known as a newscaster in the Charleston-Huntington market. Her hometown is in Marion County, giving her connections with two of the largest centers of population in West Virginia. She rode that name recognition as well as a winning personality to victory in the Secretary of State race. Now she is taking a serious gamble.

Earl Ray Tomblin, current acting governor, has the advantage of semi-incumbency and a long career behind him in the State Legislature. However, his southern West Virginia base could hurt him in the eastern counties. It is also difficult for long term legislators at any level to compete for statewide office because of their lengthy voting record. It's easy for opponents to highlight votes and stances at different points out of context. Tennant's lack of experience means that she has very little to attack, outside of her lack of experience.

And that in itself is dangerous. With uncertain economic times and our state economy under attack by the federal government itself, we need a governor who will stand up to the feds and protect our jobs and interests. There is no evidence that Natalie Tennant has any track record at all in fighting for this state. Republican candidates and Earl Ray Tomblin himself understand that coal is a vital part of our state economy. What has Tennant done in her career that has shown support for state jobs?

Democratic voters need to think about experience when they head to the polls, as opposed to personality.