Saturday, December 31, 2005

Sorry for not blogging

Sorry for the dearth in blogging this week. Spending lots of time with family and had one day of ill health. Blogging should resume on Jan 2nd. In the meantime, I want to wish all of my readers (all two of you)a happy and prosperous New Year.

Mike N

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Here is another op-ed of mine published at opeds@opeds.com on March 30th of this year.


March 30, 2005


We don't understand each other
Michael Neibel

Much has been made recently about the attitude of European peoples toward the American people. It was said that Europeans couldn’t stand George W. Bush but still respected the American people. This notion had to be tweeked a bit however when a majority of voters gave the hated Bush a second term.

To say there is an ocean of misunderstanding between the two is to indulge in typical British understatement. It’s a chasm and getting wider. But I think it can be explained at least partly by looking back at the way the Enlightenment, which was born in Europe, evolved on both sides of the pond.

The idea that man should be free was spreading rapidly during the Enlightenment. It was considered “enlightened” for governments to allow their peoples to be free and to foster free markets, free press and so on.

But that’s where the evolution of the European Enlightenment stopped and leveled off never to evolve further.

Across the ocean however, the winds of change were still blowing. A small group of men decided to take the Enlightenment one step further. They declared that man’s freedom was his by right and not by permission.

The idea that man had an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that governors could govern only with the consent of the governed, created a whole new mindset in America.

In Europe, the source of man’s freedom was deemed to be the permission of the enlightened and benevolent state whereas in America, the source of man’s freedom is man’s right to life.

In Europe, the mindset that some men are destined to rule others, (thus the institution of royalty), that the state can force its peoples to make whatever sacrifices it declares necessary, is a mindset that was left untouched by the European Enlightenment.
In America, that mindset was destroyed. It was replaced with the idea that if a man whishes to make sacrifices, he is free to do so, but if he doesn’t want to, no one will force him to. His life belongs to him not the state. (In fact, what most people consider sacrifices really aren’t, but are trades. But that’s another topic for another time).

A few years ago about 20,000 Europeans died in a heat wave mostly because they didn’t have air conditioners. To many Americans those people were sacrificed on the altar of environmentalism just as if each one had been laid on a stone altar and killed as an offering to the gods of the wilderness.
Can you imagine 10,000 dying in America from a heat wave? Why the outrage would be heard on Pluto. The powers that be would be no more. They would be recalled or impeached immediately and you would see politicians scrambling to announce: “An air conditioner in every house and apartment guaranteed.”
But what really amazed me was the seeming lack of outrage by the Europeans over the death of so many for such a preventable reason. I was reminded of the movie “The Time Machine” where the protagonist goes into the future and meets a race of people called the Eloi. He encounters the Eloi in a scene where a young female is flailing in the water on the verge of drowning while her fellow Eloi just stood around watching and not lifting a finger to save her. They just turned and walked away as if to say “The Morlocks are providing us with an effortless living. Lets not rock the boat.” The protagonist could not believe what he was seeing.
And neither could I. It was as if the Europeans just turned and walked away as if to say “We have our cradle to grave welfare system. To maintain it, these sacrifices are necessary.”
This is not to say America is without its forced sacrifices. We like however to think we are learning from our mistakes and discovering non-sacrificial ways of doing things.

But I believe it’s this issue of forced sacrifices that divides Europeans and Americans. As long as Americans have lots of material goods, single family homes, SUV’s, air conditioners, etc., Americans will be viewed by Europeans as not sacrificing enough regardless of how much Americans do give away. It’s sad but true.

I’m afraid that if Europeans cannot consider a non-sacrificial lifestyle as moral then the differences between us will have to remain profound. I don’t see us Americans taking any steps back, though there are American voices trying to get us to do so. Even now there are voices calling for “shared sacrifices” which we now know is a euphemism for “forced sacrifices.” I think most Americans would like to see the Europeans join us. To do that, they only need to take their “Enlightenment” that one step further and declare man is sovereign by right.

Michael Neibel

My past op-eds

Here is an op-ed of mine that was published at op/eds.com on Dec9th 2005.



December 09, 2005


The Bush lied mantra is nonsense
Michael Neibel


Judging by the letters to the editor of my local newspapers, it is truly amazing how many people still cling to the “Bush lied” nonsense. They don’t understand how utterly ridiculous they sound. Most Americans understand that there is a difference between being wrong and lying.

Americans supported Bush’s action in Afganistan and they supported the Iraq war as well. It was known that Saddam Hussein was a loose cannon; a man who invaded his neighbors twice and used WMD’s against Iran and his own people; a man who could not be trusted.

It was also known how much anthrax Saddam had in 1991. The UN weapons inspectors however could only find some of it. Saddam could not account for the rest of it. The inspectors could not determine one way or another, the presence of WMDs.

The inspectors are not responsible for the protection of the American people. That is President Bush’s responsibility. He wasn’t getting a definitive answer as to whether Saddam still had WMDs. His only option then was to go in and look to make sure. He did.

I liken it to a case where you and your wife and kids come home from a trip and as you enter the house you see a gun laying on the kitchen table. You turn to your family and say, “Stop. Nobody goes into the kitchen. There’s a gun in there. For reasons of safety we have to assume it is loaded until I check it out myself.”

So you go into the kitchen, pick up the gun, take it apart and find that it is in fact empty. Does this mean you lied to your family? Of course not. But when it comes to your family’s safety, did you do the right thing? Absolutely.

Also, to think Bush lied one would have to believe that he lied to his entire cabinet and they were all dumb enough to believe him, even though they were the ones with all the evidence (intelligence) and could see for themselves.

It takes a great deal of dishonesty to say Bush lied and even greater evasion to believe it yourself. Mr. Bush did the right thing by going into Iraq. His only mistake I think was in stopping at Iraq. There is another gun in Iran and the Iranians are trying hard to load it.








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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Get Rid of Them

I see the Senate knocked down a bill that would have allowed drilling in ANWAR. I for one am in favor of drilling there. Every drop of oil we can get from some place other than the middle east is certainly preferable to dependency on the ME. But this post is about what I think is the masochism of the Republican party. There seems to be a small band of Republican Senators who routinely oppose almost everything Bush and the party leadership wants.

So why does the party put up with them? If I were the party chairman I would hold a meeting of top party officials and advance the notion of inviting a few of these guys out of the party. An announcement that there would be no money coming from the RNC for the re-election campaign of say a Lincoln Chafee ought to do it. Mr. Chafee would probably be a Dem by noon next day. Maybe a few of his birds-of-a-feather friends would become irate and join him, (what a pleasent thought).

But it would do something the Republicans need right now: it would send a message to the electorate that the GOP intends to stand for GOP principles and will not tolerate subterfuge. The electorate however is presently getting the opposite message: that the Repubs will bend over backwards to enact the Dem's legislation.


To my way of thinking, the people elected the Republicans because they favored what they percieved to be Republican principles. (The fact that the issue of "what are those principles" is rather foggy right now, is beside the point.)For the Chafees and Hagels and Specters and others to resist their own party is to spit in the faces of the electorate. It is as if they are saying "We were just Kidding! We didn't mean the things we said we stood for. We actually think the Democrats are right and that's why we keep voting with them." I am not kidding here. Why would these gentlemen keep voting with the Dems if they didn't think the Dems were right and their own party wrong? Get rid of them!

As I said in my blog intro, I'm not a Dem or Rep. so I don't care if both parties self-destruct. But the Republicans remind me of that comercial I saw recently where two hockey players face off, the puck is dropped and the two players look at each other then say "Go ahead." "No you first." "Oh I wouldn't think of it. After you."
Sheesh! They're both republicans!

There's no spine, no ambition, no desire, no leadership atop the Republican party. Are you listening Mr. Mehlman? Get rid of them.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Slants of the MSM

My first post will deal with how one reporter slanted his article against Bush and for Democrats. On Nov. 14th 2005 my comcast home page carried an article by a Terence Hunt, AP White House Correspondent which reported on Bush's first real defense of the Iraq war.

His first paragraph starts with: "ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska - President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the Iraq war..."

When there is a debate, two sides usually express their views and let observers decide. But when Bush responds to critics he's not debating, he's "escalating." Also, notice the use of the word "bitter." It's an adjective that carries a negative connotation, something bad, undesirable, unwanted. So by "escalating" the "bitter" Bush is increasing the bad, undesirable etc. In other words, Bush is making things worse.

Now let's continue that sentence: "...on Monday, hurling back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world."

Now we see that Bush is "hurling" while the Democrats are only "criticizing" and "expressing worries." (What an animal that Bush is!) And what's up with the "once expressed" bit? Does this mean the Dems only "expressed worries" once and then shut up and never said anything again?
(Sigh) If you think Mr. Hunt is stretching the truth here you'd be right. Nevertheless, it is the truth; the Dems did "express worries" once--just before the other hunert thousand times.

Mr. Hunt continues: "'They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now,' Bush charged." Mr. Hunt could have used "Bush said" or "Bush claimed" if he wanted to be matter-of-factual about it but he chose the more aggressive "Bush charged."

And: "Bush went on the attack after Democrats accused the president of manipulating and withholding some pre-war intelligence and misleading Americans about the rational for war."

So, accusing the president of manipulating, withholding and misleading is not attacking, but responding to that non-attack is attacking!

In the sub-conscious or even the semi-conscious mind of a casual reader certain images will be associated: Bush = "escalating," "hurling," "charging," "attacking" which equals aggressive, violent, uncivil and dangerous. Democrats= "debate,""criticize," "express worries," "accuse" which equals peaceful, discourse, concern and civility.

Mr. Hunt obviously wanted to get his readers in the proper anti-Bush frame of mind early in this article. He is good at it. There are lots of ways to slant an article and I'll post them when I see them.
Mike N

Friday, December 16, 2005

Introduction

Hello everyone. I'm new at this so bear with me please. The purpose of this blog is to post my 2 cents on anything and everything that annoys or impresses me.

You can call me an extremist. I'm an extremist for capitalism, an extremist for property rights, gun rights and any others that fall under the concept individual rights.

I like to observe and then post on what I see, hence the blog name.

I've been an independant voter all my life so I'm not a Dem or a Repub.

At 63 I don't feel old. I prefer Charelton Heston's quote (from memory) "I'm not old. I have a long historical perspective."