Comments Posted By mannning
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All I and other pragmatists are asking for is putting these jokers in their proper place and take them for what they are; entertainers. Their popularity is a symptom of the dearth of leadership on the right at the moment. And I suspect once that situation is resolved, Limbaugh and his ilk will fade in influence and importance.

Yes, they are entertainers, but with an important difference. They are also conservative in their worldview, which is a huge improvement over commedians of the left, and the likes of Alan Colmes.

I thought this was obvious; no one I know is running around waving a sign saying "Limbaugh for President", or "Coulter for Senator". Meanwhile, we are indeed running around trying to find viable candidates for openings in 2010, and a Messiah of our very own to run in 2012. That, to me, is the key missing ingredient, not this awful soul-searching and interparty rifting that gives the opposition such a hilarious opening to downplay conservatism.

Conservatism has just about always been a movement of major political segments, just as the Republican Party has been a coalition that hoped to weld all kinds of odd groups into an election winning behemouth--one group being plain old conservatives. This is why Moran is correct in saying, in effect, that social litmus tests should be forgotten during party election buildup time. A vote has no marks of origin on it.

However, I have yet to see what Moran calls "moderate conservatism" defined or interpreted in sufficient detail (issue by issue), which, as we all know, is where the devil is. I do hope that he continues to develop this theme in expanding scope and detail, for in the end a viable and believable party line may be forthcoming that helps to bring all of the factions closer together, and perhaps helps to add a few independents as well.

This is a great hope! There is no doubt in my mind that we need every vote we can get to defeat the Democrats in the next few elections, and finding common ground for the voters to rally around is the way to go.

Comment Posted By mannning On 6.05.2009 @ 15:10


The proverbial pot calling the kettle black?

Comment Posted By mannning On 5.05.2009 @ 21:08

".....if you are pro-choice, or pro-gay marriage, or pro-amnesty, kindly realize that no one is going to listen to you so...."

Pro-choice vs pro-life is basically a religious or faith-based issue. As such, there is no reason to use it as a litmus test, unless we are to begin excluding many faiths from the tent for their differing views on a passel of issues. Shelve it as a litmus test!

Pro-gay marriage vs anti-gay marriage is fundamentally a marriage tradition issue coupled with a religious issue against gays per se. In most cases, I believe we are not talking about over-the-top gay activists, but rather, substantial citizens that make a real contribution to society, and can make a significant contribution to the party as well. Shelve it, too, as a litmus test.

Amnesty is basically a humanitarian problem, tagged with the fact that illegals broke the law in the first place. In my opinion, the final solution to this problem has not yet been fully articulated.

I fail to see how making it a litmus test is appropriate when the send-them-all-home approach is so very brutal and insensitive to the majority of Hispanics, and when we ourselves certainly helped to create the problem by not enforcing the law in the first place.

We need that better solution, not a litmus test, and we need more people in the party that truly understand the issues involved.
Shelve it as a litmus test!

Note that I said to 'shelve it as a litmus test', not ever to forget, though, the complexity, the animosity, and the controversy that underlies each of these social issues or the crying need we have to find just resolutions for them in our society.

Comment Posted By mannning On 4.05.2009 @ 21:12

Moderates? Who Needs 'em

The quote in #36 above is most frequently attributed to Lord Tytler(1748-1813),but it has also been attributed to numerous others--- Tocqueville, Marx, Disraeli, and more.

Comment Posted By mannning On 1.05.2009 @ 06:52

What better justification is there for strict fiscal conservatism?

Comment Posted By mannning On 1.05.2009 @ 06:15

Democracy in trouble

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage."

--Lord Alexander Tytler on the fall of the Athenian republic

Comment Posted By mannning On 1.05.2009 @ 06:04

Take a concept like “fiscal conservatism.” Let’s define it (arbitrarily) as “The State should not take from citizens more than is necessary for the maintenance of a just and moral society.”

Yes, it is arbitrary, and it is useful to show the interpretive differences that arise. But, it isn't anywhere close to what I define as fiscal conservatism:

1. Expenditures must not exceed revenue. When revenue falls, so must expenditures. (exception: see #5)

2. Entitlements must be capped at no more than X% of gross revenue. If gross revenue falls, so must entitlements.

3. Security, including law enforcement, HSA, and defense, must be capped at Y% of gross revenue. (see exception in 10. below)

4. No legislation can be passed unless the means for its funding are fully aired, voted upon and fully funded at the same time.

5. Deficit spending legislation must require a 2/3rds vote in both houses.

6. The current deficit must be paid off over 10 years(perhaps 20,or you name it, I can't keep up!)by deducting the yearly payments from gross revenue available.

7. Earmarks must be outlawed, and any other devious means for dipping into the common till must also be outlawed.

8. To aid avoiding cronyism, there must be term limits for Congressmen.

9. No bill can be passed until it has been read fully by all congressmen personally, debated in both houses, and without tricky maneuvers by the party in power to avoid a floor fight.

10. Emergency spending must be legislated and passed with a 2/3rds favorable vote in both houses.

11. The President must be given a line item veto power that can only be overridden by a 3/4th majority of both houses.

12. Progressive taxation must be abolished, and a Fair Tax installed in its place, plus all other federal taxes by any name must be abolished.

13.Any excess revenue must be used to reduce the national debt.

14. No bill should be presented that exceeds Z% of gross revenue to the government, or that is projected to exceed this yearly revenue percentage in out years. (see #4,#5)

15. There must be no riders to bills that are not germane to the principal issue of that bill.

X and Y above might be established as their current value. Z might be set at .5%: the idea is to reduce the number of omnibus spending bills.

Of course, there isn't any chance at all that these provisions would be put into law now. But some legislation that moves the mark in these fiscally conservative directions may be possible post 2010 or 2012.

Comment Posted By mannning On 29.04.2009 @ 14:34


A good addition, busboy. Your rule says "do the job by the book, or it will blow up in your face." I like that rule! Prudence is a virtue that most conservatives value, along with justice, temperance, and fortitude, of course.

Comment Posted By mannning On 30.04.2009 @ 22:14

busboy raises a good point. If torture does not yield good information, then what is the point of it?

1. This boils dowm to how one selects the prisoner to be subjected to hard interrogation. It is obvious that few line soldiers possess much in the way of actionable intelligence. So, the first objective is to establish the stature of the prisoner in the ranks of the enemy.

2. For the current brand of terrorists, this is not an easy task, since they wear no uniforms, have no insignia, and their buddies will usually not give their leaders away. It thus takes time to ferret out who the bossman is from a group of captives. It may be necessary to use some limited hard methods simply to get to the bossman.

3. Once the bossman in identified, there is still the problem that even he may have very limited knowledge of the grander scheme of terrorist operations. What this leads to is a very careful development of the command structure of the terrorists over time and through many interrogations, and identification of those who must possess significant intelligence. In this, the low level bossman may be able to help a bit.

4. Slowly and painfully the command structure is defined, with or without hard interrogations, and the main leaders are targeted for capture.

5. It is when a "superboss" is captured that interrogations become prolonged and serious, since the probability of finding actionable intelligence is highest with such a person. Here is where hard interrogation methods may well be employed more fully.

6. Since much of the important information such a major leader possesses is extremely time sensitive, it is necessary to find out all he knows about imminant operations quickly, before the enemy reacts to his capture and changes things to minimize the impact on their operations.

7. The interrogations may succeed or fail to produce good intelligence, for quite a large variety of reasons. When they succeed, it can be spectacular; when they fail, it can be one of the most frustrating situations imaginable for all concerned. This is true regardless of the methods used.

8. The one thing that seems to be true is that the interrogators will find out over a long period of time most of the life history of the captive, where he has been during his lifetime, what he has been trained to do, and the names of just about everyone he knows. Whether any of this information leads to real actionable intelligence is problematical. Some bits of information may turn out to be useful when correlated with other sources.

9. The answer, then, is: despite high expectations, especially of saving lives, and despite a careful identification of the probable knowledge of the captive, we do not know going in what the result of any form of interrogation may be, and the possible failure to garner anything of importance is always present.

Yet, it is reported that significant intelligence has been forthcoming from our captives at Gitmo. I imagine that the detailed facts about this will not emerge for some considerable time.

Comment Posted By mannning On 30.04.2009 @ 12:21

Yes, busboy, but you won't find it in any field manual or operations manual of the government for obvious reasons.
No Western government would document such statements.

So you can take it as hearsay if you like, but all I will say is that I fully believe them to be true.

Comment Posted By mannning On 28.04.2009 @ 16:16

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