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Niche Politics


Some people are making a lot out of the Democrat's incoming chairman for the Intelligence committee's lack of knowledge about the composition of al Qaeda.

Some of these same people look favorably on term limits to reduce the opportunity for corruption.

Do you see a problem here?

I'm pretty up-to-speed on things in the world. I certainly know who the bad guys are. But I couldn't have answered the question of "al Qaeda: Sunni or Shi'ite?" In fact, I heard a report the other day give some pretty great facts showing that a minority of Shi'ites are mostly the problem, so that would have been my guess too. But no... Sunni is the answer.

I don't think it's reasonable that our representatives in Congress should have expertise in these areas. Their pre-Congressional lives are not devoted to such things. They get assigned to committees based on whatever abilities they possess and what political stance they have with their leadership. But in no way does that guarantee expertise of any kind.

The Middle East is ridiculously complex. Our western mind won't quickly grasp that eastern mind, and so we look to experts to steer us. And more so if we adopt term limits.

Rep. Silvestre Reyes, the man in the hot seat here, has been in Congress since 1997. Now imagine him with a two-term limit. A short four years, half of which is campaigning for the next election since he's in the House. The other half would be reading legislation, listening to debate, and attending committee sessions.

I just don't see this system to be a recipe for expertise-building. Which says more about the need to re-think our system than it does about the inadequacies of those elected. If we expect expertise, then we need to have a system of orientation/education in certain niches and long-lived representation. Here, the Senate seems more appropriate with its six-year term, and maybe two terms of that is right.

If we don't want them to be in Washington long enough to establish their own corruption, then they're going to have less expertise. Two terms of two years each for the House is quite short, and tougher to be smooth at corruption in that time frame.

What's the goal?

Gotcha politics is fun, such as the recent defeat of our nation's Secretary of Education by the guy who played Lenny on Laverne and Shirley in a celebrity Jeopardy match.

But this simply goes back to my firm belief that government should rarely be expected to be an answer for anything. The true experts, the passionate, life-long folks who devote themselves to a subject and skill, they are the ones in the market who will have the right answers. The free market of individuals has the better solution.

All the more reason to restrain the power of government.


by Brett Rogers, 12/12/2006 8:52:53 AM


I'm all for reducing and restraining the power of government. Where does the solution lie? State Department setting policy with guidance, oversight, and input from congress, the president, CIA, NSA? Who really is the guru here? Who do we trust? I don't see any administration in the past 30 years getting the middle east right.

My personal solution lies here (Bella, you might want to stop reading at this point) Negotions just do not work, bullies and thugs just aren't wired for that. Call this my "No greater friend, no worse enemy" policy (not sure who I need to quote for that but I fully believe that is the United States). History shows this to be true, just take a look at Japan, WWII and our relationship now. With my solution, nobody ends up with 5 testicles 20 years down the line.

Personally I think the Secretary of Education could have taken "squiggy", I always thought Lenny was the smart one. Maybe a spelling bee with Dan Quayle is in order?

I bet we can all agree I am gonna get coal in my stocking this year. A whole lot of coal.



Posted by Pale Rider, 12/12/2006 1:13:06 PM

Oh yeah, corruption. You make an excellent point about the negative effects of term limits. Thinking about the source of the power and corruption a bit more, I think true reform of lobbying and campaign finance is needed, along with a boost in pay. Maybe if we had that term limits would not even be needed?

Satan just called. Said he likes my solution to the middle east, likes it very much, likes how I think. Did it just get hotter in here or is it me? :)



Posted by Pale Rider, 12/12/2006 2:06:19 PM

Yikes. That's all really. Beyond that, I'm speechless.



Posted by Bella, 12/12/2006 7:25:09 PM

Know my first choice is always "No better friend" but where do you draw the line with people who have no respect or tolerance for others who do not share their views? How long do we let Iran sit there advancing their nuclear program while threatening to obliterate Israel and anyone who stands with them off the face of the planet? Iraq is a mess because its being fought in a politically correct manner. We won't succeed there as long as we are not willing to destroy the will of those still fighting. That means being willing to get nastier than the enemy. War truly is hell. If its going to be done, be prepared to go all the way.



Posted by Pale Rider, 12/12/2006 8:25:26 PM

How do we wage war with an enemy that belnds seamlessly into the civilian population? It's not a nation that we fight. Bombing Japan worked because it stopped the imperial imperative. No such thing here. Cockroaches we fight, not bees in a hive.

War like this requires intelligence because their coordination takes communication. We can monitor that, but we're restricted by privacy advocates who think that Bush and company want to pull a J. Edgar Hoover and catch us talking naughty into our phones and in our email.

The best approach, in my opinion, that is both respectful of privacy and non-interfering is to wall the borders, punish those who act illegally, and to have a strong anti-missile defense system.

Will that work? I doubt it. We're too porous, due to our desire to make money and due to our willingness to listen to those who who think we're trampling rights underfoot. It will take a catastrophe to bring us back together and do what is necessary. That's unfortunate. It will cost us thousands, or - worse - hundreds of thousands of lives.

I hate that we have to choose between abdication of privacy and death, but we didn't start this. So be it.

Don't like this? Got better ideas?



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 12/13/2006 11:09:25 AM

I started to write more detail on how I see we wage war with this kind of enemy, but the solution I see is horrible, it requires being more evil than those we face, and was just too dark. I read the words and just felt darkness. So if anyone really wants to know you're gonna have to take me out and load me up with scotch first.

Maybe it's the season and that I still hold out that at our core, regardless of race or religion, most people do want to live peacefully and be happy. I hope someone much smarter than I can figure out a better way. I just don't see it right now and agree that it is going to take a catastrophe before we all get on the same page and start doing what is necessary to protect ourselves.

I was watching a show of Carlos Mencia's on Comedy Central recently and he was talking about why terrorists will never get across the Mexican border. He poined out that the 9/11 highjackers came thru Canada and gave an example of what would happen if they came through Mexico. I laughed my ass off and you know there is probably some truth in what he said.



Posted by Pale Rider, 12/13/2006 1:12:13 PM

I wonder how Dubya would do on Celebrity Jeopardy.



Posted by Bella, 12/13/2006 2:31:05 PM

Um, yeah... Gotcha politics is fun, as I say above, but pointless. I expect better of you, Bella.



Posted by Brett Rogers (, 12/13/2006 2:44:59 PM

The pointlessness was sort of my point. I really wasn't making any sort of commentary beyond that. I was actually trying to lighten a sort of scary mood. My bad.

Having said that, I'm gonna stick to reading, not playing. I find some (not all, mind you, just some) of the things on here disturbing, but I'm not really inclined to argue. It matters not.



Posted by Bella, 12/13/2006 4:29:06 PM

I cracked a smile at the thought of W on Celebrity Jeopardy. I can see it now, "I'll take Nuclear Physics for 100 Alex..."

Some of my commentary is scary and disturbing. Lightening the mood was probably a good thing. :)



Posted by Pale Rider, 12/13/2006 6:45:58 PM

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