Saturday, June 17, 2006

Voting For Defeat

If more evidence were needed that the Democrats are the party of defeat and retreat Friday's House of Representatives vote on the non-binding resolution provides it. The bill praises U.S. troops, labels the Iraq war part of the larger global fight against terrorism and states that an "arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment" of troops is not in the national interest. It passed 256-153:

voted against it. Only 42 voted in favor.

Why He Left the Left

Seth Swirsky explains why he, a standard sixties liberal, finally resigned from the Democratic party. It's an excellent piece that recounts a pilgrimage that will resonate with many. The Democratic party has shifted so far to the left over the last thirty years that many whose political views haven't much changed during that time find themselves coming to the realization that they presently have more in common with conservatives than they do with, Michael Moore, and the Democratic party leadership.

Swirsky's essay reminds us how very far the Democrats have moved to the left since the days of Harry Truman and John Kennedy. No doubt there are others who feel, like Ronald Reagan, another former Democrat, that they haven't left the party so much as the party has left them.

GW: Crunchy Con

I've argued on previous occasions that true conservatism conserves. It conserves the best of our cultural heritage and the best of our natural heritage. Thus, those who look at our natural places as potential targets of economic exploitation and development are, whatever else they may be, not fully conservative. It seems to me that to take seriously our Biblical mandate for stewardship over the land we inhabit entails in part that we preserve as much of its natural richness as possible consistent with human welfare (as opposed to human greed). It's with that responsibility to nature in mind that the news that President Bush is creating a vast new preserve near Hawaii is most welcome:

The world's largest protected marine area is being created around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, an archipelago 1,400 miles long and 100 miles wide that is home to rare marine mammals, fishes and birds. President Bush announced on Thursday his decision to create the nation's newest national monument from the vast chain of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies and seamounts.

Conrad C. Lautenbacher, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the new protected area in Hawaiian waters would dwarf all others. "It's the single-largest act of ocean conservation in history. It's a large milestone," Lautenbacher said. "It is a place to maintain biodiversity and to maintain basically the nurseries of the Pacific. It spawns a lot of the life that permeates the middle of the Pacific Ocean."

The region hosts more than 7,000 species, at least a fourth of them found only there and including some on the government's endangered list, such as the Hawaiian monk seal and the nesting green sea turtle. Bush decided to invoke the 1906 National Antiquities Act and create a national monument for the first time during his presidency, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the president had planned to use instead the National Marine Sanctuary Act, a law that would allow challenges from Congress and others to the decision, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage Bush. "This means the area will get immediate protection rather than having to wait another year," the official said.

With the national monument designation, the federal government can immediately begin a five-year phaseout of the eight commercial fishing permits in the area and impose strict prohibitions on any other extractive uses.

President Clinton used the act to create 19 national monuments and expand three others to set aside 5.9 million acres of land, mainly in the West, and he drew widespread criticism from conservatives.

About 132,000 square miles of the area already is designated either a coral reef ecosystem reserve or a national wildlife refuge. By making it a national monument, the government will have greater power to protect it. Expanding the existing reserve and refuge to a monument of 140,000 square miles will make it the largest no-take marine conservation area in the world, just ahead of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Does this make George Bush a "Crunchy Con"? No matter. He's doing a good thing and Viewpoint applauds him for it.