Archive for October, 2009

Nordlinger’s Final P.S.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

The Corner:

I keep hearing that Glenn Beck is just a blowhard opinionist, contributing nothing but hot air. If that is true, why do we keep learning news from him? About Van Jones, about ACORN, about Anita Dunn . . . I mean, isn’t that the New York Times’s job? No? What a strange era we’re living in.

Hat tip to The Macho Response (which has some images NSFW).

D’JEver Notice? XLV

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

We have left, and we have right. Each side is suffering from a conflict between the radicals who seek power and the “moderates” who have it. The fringe-kooks at the extreme edges, and the anointed suit-and-tie people who control the purse strings of the party. So three splits, one two either side, and a big one in the center; four factions. Fringe-kook left, White House, Republican beltway crowd, and tea party people.

The fringe-kook left has a message they’re trying to get across when they approach the “mainstream” left to do their bidding. You could call it a “Van Jones” platform. Something to do with destroying capitalism and pretending you’re trying to save the environment.

When the tea party people try to gather greater influence over what’s going on…with varying degrees of success…it’s that nutty, irresponsible, extreme position of anti-Eugenics.

I note that in all three of these splits, the position on the right is the one more respectful of human dignity, and the position on the left is the one more hostile to it.

Newt Gingrich, suit-and-tie beltway Republican, defends his endorsement and his words almost sound like the beginning of something reasonable:

Third-party candidates like conservative Doug Hoffman, Scozzafava’s challenger, often serve only to divide the GOP, says Gingrich. “Just look at what’s happening in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race,” he says, pointing to the campaign of independent candidate Chris Daggett, who has siphoned support from Republican candidate Chris Christie. “What’s happening in New York and in New Jersey should be a sober warning to every purist in this country.”

“If you seek to be a perfect minority, you’ll remain a minority,” says Gingrich.

But Allahpundit’s words make more sense, to me…

In other words, he’s treating this race as a litmus test to prove how big-tent the GOP can be. But … why? There’s no good reason to make this district, which should be a safe Republican seat, into a bellwether. Get a conservative elected and then find some socially liberal libertarians in purple districts to champion next year.

Yeah, sorry…this “tent embiggening” for its own sake, after awhile it looks precisely like the lunacy it’s supposed to be trying to avoid. You’re in favor of something so cherished and so fundamental to the American Experiment as human dignity…but you’re only a fair-weather friend to it, because you seek victory? Huh?

My counsel would be to just stick to principles. If they’re not “mainstream” you want to stay kooky. Seriously. Otherwise, what’s the point. There is none, besides just winning…and if you’re willing to become just whatever, in order to win, you’ve rounded a sharp bend in the road and what you’re doing no longer has anything to do with staying cool, moderate or reasonable. What you’ve done then, is try to avoid becoming a wild-eyed zealot, and then fail at it.

K and L

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

K, as in Kelly, as in Kelly Brook; and L, as in Leeann, as in Leeann Tweeden. The decision just gets tougher and tougher and tougher.

In the end, it has to go to Leeann. She’s got kind of a worldly-wise aura about her without being snotty or conceited about it, and I like her politics. Lovely as Kelly is…and sweet…borderline angelic. Wisdom wins the day, and I’ve always liked Leeann.

Memo For File CI

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

James Taranto does the most capable job yet of summarizing how badly the “indecision on Afghanistan” situation has deteriorated:

“The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said,” Reuters reports from aboard a U.S. military aircraft:

Gates did not say when he expected U.S. President Barack Obama to decide on whether to increase troops, a decision complicated by rising casualties and fading public support for the stalled, eight-year-old war.

But he pointed out that further high-level deliberations would need to wait for the return of cabinet members from foreign travels through part of next week.

“It’s just a matter now of getting the time with the president when we can sort through these options and then tee them up for him to make a decision,” Gates said.

But Agence France-Presse reports the president hasn’t yet chosen whether to choose not to decide:

President Barack Obama has not yet determined whether he will make a decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan before the November 7 election runoff, a US official said Tuesday.

“The UN, NATO, the US stand ready to assist the Afghans in conducting the second round,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.

“Whether or not the president makes a decision before that I don’t think has been determined.

“I have continued to say a decision will be made in the coming weeks as the president goes through an examination of our policy,” he added.

It really bolsters your confidence in the president’s ability to achieve victory in what he used to call a war of necessity, doesn’t it?

But we suppose it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and snark. Barack Obama is president of the United States, and he is juggling all kinds of urgent responsibilities. Such as this one, reported by the New York Times:

Mr. Obama will fly to New York on Tuesday for a lavish Democratic Party fund-raising dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for about 200 big donors. Each donor is paying the legal maximum of $30,400 and is allowed to take a date.

And hey, if you don’t like it, grab a damn mop! As Obama said just last week at…uh, another lavish Democratic Party fund-raiser.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports from Washington that “frustrations and anxiety are on the rise within the military” as the president dithers over Afghanistan:

A retired general who served in Iraq said that the military had listened, “perhaps naïvely,” to Mr. Obama’s campaign promises that the Afghan war was critical.”What’s changed, and are we having the rug pulled out from under us?” he asked. Like many of those interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals from the military’s civilian leadership and the White House.

Shouldn’t it be the enemy that fears reprisals?

During the presidential campaign, Obama’s opponents mocked him for frequently voting “present” on difficult questions that came before the Illinois Senate. This is even worse. The commander in chief is absent without leave.

Speaking just for myself, I must agree the CinC’s absence bothers me quite a lot; but I’m even more bothered by the lack of conceptual policy direction in that absence.

Well, He is our President, so His problem here is really ours. And this one is one we’ve had since long before He came along. But Obama has exacerbated the situation somewhat, and to me this represents the most glaring indictment against His leadership style.

To figure out what I mean by that, imagine yourself driving a car down a freeway. Speeding up and slowing down demands that you apply some judgment; moving the steering wheel to the left or right demands a little bit more. For the engine to actually detonate the gasoline and turn the crankshaft, requies none at all. There is a trade-off at work with all these things: A strong process demands little judgment to take place, a weaker one requires a strong leader.

Look to software development for a superlative illustration. During development there is testing, and during the testing there is a human finding out what’s going on and using that data to make a decision about the next test. Once the development is done, the decision-making has been hardened, goldenized, and packaged into what becomes the product. The human component has been removed, because a capability has been incrementally built up to replace the human component. The product is a strong process that is now completely on auto-pilot. It has been fully defined.

Obama’s style of leadership is the antithesis of this, and demonstrates once again the perils of personality politics. We had an election not quite so much about what policies would be put in place, but rather about which one among the candidates was the most wonderful fella. And…insert the obligatory paragraphs about what a swell guy Barry is. But there’s a price to be paid for all that charisma-or-whatever. In the absence of a decision from Him, there is a vacuum that is something of a spectacle in the extent of its emptiness. What I really mean here is illustrated by the rhetorical question: “If Obama won’t announce His decision anytime soon, then what is He at least likely to do?” It’s like predicting which way a football will bounce. If you had a heart attack at the wheel of your car and perished on the spot, the car would still possess some momentum. If your death spasm didn’t involve a violent jerking of the wheel, the car would likely continue in something of a straight line before veering off the road. But that’s not the case here. We really don’t know what’s going to happen.

I speak somewhat beyond the extent of my knowledge. Perhaps, behind closed doors, there are whispers about what The Great One finds to be an appealing direction and what among the various strategies He finds most abhorrent. But it’s likely that if this was the case, there’d be some way to find out about it. All I really know is this: Obama is as much a politician as any of the others, and now is the time for Him to read some polls. He is bridging a schism within His party that is not helpful to Him in any way. It is a fracture between the “Blame America First!” crowd that He would just as soon we all ignore, and pretend it doesn’t exist; and those other leftists who really do want the nation to continue surviving so they can continue to make it into something that clashes more horrendously with its original design than they realize.

To the last of those, you have to add the numbers of those who aren’t quite so liberal but voted for Obama just because He isn’t George W. Bush. Those who bought into the Soros-funded fairy tale that our military operations were suffering under a layer of weak and disinterested leadership, and perhaps The Holy One would be the fix for what ailed us. Yeah…that’s probably not looking like quite such a swell idea right about now. Had aliens abducted George W. Bush, it would be fairly obvious what general direction our military policies in those theaters would take. (And that’s presuming our acting President Dick Cheney was indecisive and in need of some direction, which is laughable whether you love ‘im or hate ‘im…but we’ll go ahead and presume it for the sake of our hypothetical.) What, on the other hand, is to take place right now if our Wonderful Leader Barack Obama is abducted by those same aliens? This is my indictment against our current administration, and the true extent of the horror involved is evident only to those who can think on it awhile. The lack of direction is far greater than we should allow. There is absolutely none. Our current leadership is so wonderful and perfect, that the process itself has withered on the vine. There is no process at all.

For our direction, we look to whatever twitch happens to pop in between those two big floppy ears of His.

Cassy is linking to a column by Richard Cohen, who evidently is being blackmailed, called “Perfection may be President Obama’s biggest flaw.” There we go again. Forget for a moment about what a laughable self-parody this media suck-up is…and think for those moments about the actual damage involved in failing to put together a process because of the lack of need for one, resulting from the extreme heights to which Dear Leader’s wonderfulness ascends. It’s all fine & good we have some direction on all those other issues on which The Great One has spoken…and indeed there’s no shortage of those. Afghanistan aside, Holy Man seems to have an opinion on just about everything.

But nobody knows what’s about to happen in Afghanistan. Ever since Jeremiah Wright got thrown under the bus and we were given our Holy Directives not to think about that bigot anymore…nobody really seems to have a clue about the sources of Obama’s amazing insight. Every time President Obama bothers to source them, it seems they all point back to — Him. “I just think…” is standard prologue to just about every little decision made, or value system expressed, large or small.

Strong leader. Weak process. If He’s gone, or dead, or abducted, or incapacitated — or, once in awhile, it emerges that He really isn’t that strong of a leader, gasp! — there’s no direction or momentum accumulated whatsoever. Nothing can move.

Now add to that, the other charge…that Cohen, along with slobbering people like him, live in a desperate denial of exactly what attributes make their idol so appealing to them. For if they were ever to face that, they would face what exactly it is that they have become…and it would be like the Gorgon Medusa looking in a mirror. As I said over at her place,

The Morgan Freeberg rule of leftist idolatry:

Middle-of-the-road people, and conservatives, would much rather have Sarah Palin watch their kids or grandkids over an entire weekend, than Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi or the late Ted Kennedy;

Liberals, too, would rather have Palin watch their kids&grandkids over an entire weekend than Obama/Pelosi/Kennedy…
We aren’t really in disagreement about what qualities these people have. Not when we bet important things on those ideas…like the welfare of our families. What we disagree about are which qualities are important in the people who occupy our most influential and important offices. To conservatives it’s all about integrity and strength [of] character. To liberals it’s all about the ability to sell things against the interests of the person who buys them; the ability to compellingly portray things as the opposite of what they truly are. Leftists want our “leaders” to have exactly the aptitudes they would recoil in horror at seeing developed in their own children. They want their/our leaders to lie to us, as competently as is possible.

This was not always the case. Jimmy Carter was hired in to a job that, it turned out, demanded talents in which he was decidedly lacking…because although he was perceived as a milquetoast and a weakling, at least he was a somewhat nice guy. It was post-Watergate. Ever single made-for-teevee movie villain was middle-aged, with thinning hair, big fluffy eyebrows, and a nice tailored three-piece suit. Heroes, on the other hand, wore plaid shirts unbuttoned down to the belly-button, and jeans with leggings that flared down to the size of bicycle tires by the time they reached the ankles. Formality, it was thought — especially cold, corporate, bureaucratic formality — was a sign of treachery, and we wanted to avoid treachery.

That was wrong-headed, but far superior to what we have going on now. Now, a good leader is someone who can sell things. And we’re not terribly concerned about the ability to sell true things…that’s a job that completes somewhere around the same spot where it begins, isn’t it? No, Bill Clinton was most popular among his fans when he started a debate about the meaning of the word “is.” When, with crafty lawyerly double-talk, he led his own impeachment trial to a conclusion that was distant from where common sense would have taken it. That was the real draw. The demonstrated ability to convert something into the opposite of what it really was. Had he truly deserved to be acquitted, his base wouldn’t have been nearly as impressed. Had he really not had sexual relations with that woman Ms. Lewinsky, he wouldn’t have drawn nearly so much reverence and awe. Behold the unmasked, naked, and altogether unappealing appeal of the modern liberal superstar: It is the power to deceive. It is directly contrary to those attributes responsible parents, of all ideological flavorings, seek to instill in our children.

And so now we have Obama, who is so wonderful that Richard Cohen says such a level of perfection is a problem. Gee, maybe that’s what’s causing global warming! Well, what makes Barack Obama so wonderful? This is what turns the Gorgon Cohen into stone if & when he should ever gaze into Perseus’ polished shield: We are enamored of those soothing nasal dulcet tones coming from PresBO not so much when He expresses truth, as when he bends it — alters it from what it was previously. There are damn few campaign promises to fulfill, and what ones He did make, nobody expects Him to fulfill them anyway. He can sell things contrary to the interests of those who buy them, He can explain everything as the opposite of what it really is, He can argue with dictionaries, He can tell us socialized medicine is what’s needed to fix our ailing economy, He can even tell us the solution to a suffocating level of debt is to take out more debt. He can tell us hot is cold, wet is dry, up is down and — dare I say it — black is white. Which brings me to that other thing: Anybody who dares argue with Him is a racist.

Every single situation He puts His hands on, is like warm putty in them. He is encumbered by nothing. Every slate his marker meets, starts out blank. And, because He is such a skilled politician, it stays that way.

Here, I plagiarize shamelessly from something I heard on Season One of Yes, Minister: “He’s the kind of fellow who can follow you into a revolving door, and come out first.”

So it’s fair to conclude, is it not, that something must be terribly amiss for a leader who enjoys such an array of rare advantages, to struggle for such a time making a decision about something. Hey Barry — if there are none among your constituents that hate America, and I’d be a racist for even daring to think so…what’s the hold-up?

Majority Backs a Public Option?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Well, well…summer’s over and it’s time to go pick out costumes and pumkins…start up the family squabbles about who travels where for Thanksgiving…and lookee what we have here.

Americans remain sharply divided about the overall packages moving closer to votes in Congress and President Obama’s leadership on the issue, reflecting the partisan battle that has raged for months over the administration’s top legislative priority. But sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.

Yeah sure, that’s just what everybody figured was missing from the American experiment: More excuses for the government to fine people.

So they got the poll they wanted. This is just wonderful, our politicians are now like the little kid told “absolutely not” by his Mother, who then without skipping a beat runs off to ask Dad. Just wait until after Labor Day and take another poll. Problem solved. And you get to say you’re Doing The Work Of The People.

It's Not About Health CareI wonder…what if it was an “or,” and not an “and”? What if we could have a more involved and paternalistic government, a government upon which larger numbers of our so-called “citizens” absolutely, positively depend…or…we could get this “access to health care” for the 43 million, or 30 million, or 47 million, or whatever the magic number is today.

I predict you would then see lots of ObamaCare pushers opposing the coverage for the 30 million, and opting instead to pursue the more paternalistic government. Can it be denied any longer this is where their priorities are? What does a requirement to purchase health care, have to do with making that health care available to people? If that was the hitch in the giddy-up, how come we weren’t told before that this “47 million people without coverage” included so many who chose not to have it?

Why have the public option? With Obama in charge, isn’t it just child’s play to regulate these insurance companies into dealing with their customers more compassionately? How come there is so much priority put on it during the negotiations? Why is it so critically important to certain people…certain people who are inside the beltway? What do they have in mind?

Whatever your answers to those, one thing is certain. This isn’t listening. This is a case of politicians knowing exactly what they want to do from the get-go, and selecting, colluding and conspiring to produce the poll whose answers they would like the best.

Poor suckers. You’re going to be so sore you won’t be sitting down for a week, and they didn’t even kiss you first.

Balloon Hoax Cartoon

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Alright, alright, alright. I’ll talk about the goddamn balloon:

Is that perfect, or what? American Spectator, by way of blogger friend Rick.

When I heard about the Dan Rather memos, my first thought was “What?? Proportional space, as in…kerning? Someone thought that came from a 1974 typewriter? Really?”

When the thundering din of global warming reached its modern crescendo, my reaction was “What?? World’s ending, and the solution is to pay higher taxes? Which will then be scattered to nebulous places, and nobody’s even asking where? People are falling for this?”

And when I heard about the balloon, I couldn’t help but think “What?? It was up there in the sky, and people couldn’t just look at it and figure out if a 40-pound boy was in it, or not? They thought it should zip around and bob to and fro exactly the same way, with or without?”

In all three cases my parting thought was “Who in the hell are the ‘ekspurts’ working on this, and what in the world are they smokin’?”

Yesterday morning the radio guys were talking about the balloon. One of them made a keen observation: We have reached a point in our societal evolution, and it is a sad point indeed, one where “famous” and “infamous” mean exactly the same thing for all practical purposes. A celeb’s a celeb.

Simultaneous with that, I think we’ve reached a point where real expertise is dead. An expert is no longer someone who offers an opinion that reflects truth — an opinion on which you could wager something that is tremendously valuable to you, like the health of a loved one or your life’s savings. An expert is simply someone who will offer an opinion that will find a hospitable reception with large numbers of others, whether it has merit or not.

Which lowers the bar tremendously, because it means anyone who shares the same opinion is also an expert.

So really, the word ends up meaning just whoever states the popular sentiment more forcefully and a bit earlier than the average bear. And there’s an exorbitant cost to be paid for this. Popular theories — typewriters in 1974 put out stuff that looks like this, there’s a boy in the balloon, the world’s gonna end and you have to pay more taxes — produce awkward, in some cases insurmountable, conundrums. Inconsistencies that would force a real expert to reject the theory without regard to how popular it is, or at the very least ask a brand new round of hostile questions about it.

And now that we’ve re-defined the word “expert,” nary a peep is uttered.

Not good. Funny for a day or two in the right setting, but over the longer term, not good at all.

There’d Be a Lot More Racists, If Wishing Made It So

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Roger Simon, writing in Pajamas Media:

Like many Americans who spend hours in their cars, I have heard [Rush] Limbaugh a great deal – and I often disagree with him because he is more ideologically conservative than I am. But not once have I heard him make a statement that was racist. Not even close. But that doesn’t stop Keith Olbermann (and many others) from putting words in Limbaugh’s mouth he increasingly seems never to have uttered. Indeed, they did not have verifiable evidence in the first place that Rush had said such a thing. They simply “wished” it were so.
What we have then among the media and Internet race-baiters is a form of nostalgia for racism – a longing for the days when you could simply brand your enemies with the “r-word” and discredit them and everything they have to say in one extreme melodramatic gesture.

Yes, it’s reactionary and, no, it’s not working.

We’ve been sold a big ol’ bill-o-goods here. A year ago we were being told just elect Barack Obama, and racism will be a thing of the past. How could it not be? A black guy as President. It would be impossible for anyone to proffer the notion, even for an instant, that any vestigial remnants of racism remained anywhere.

And our reward has been precisely the opposite. Forces loyal to Obama, with His consent or without it, have become highly energized in the perpetual pursuit of marginalizing opponents by any means necessary. And their boss’ skin color, far from being irrelevant, gives them an easy cudgel for at least attempting to do this. Every single day.

The Limbaugh episode proves that if, in their current assignment of pulling out the ‘r’ word yet one more time, they find they don’t have any ammunition — no problemo. They’ll just make some up.

But this isn’t actively planned by Obama, and it isn’t all Him. There is a slimy, insidious “coattail effect” at work here: If someone else has something to gain from this race-card, which doesn’t have to be played with intellectual honesty anywhere…then hey, as long as we’re on the subject…

And so in 2009 it seems we haven’t gotten over it. We’re practically taking a bath in it. What’s the solution? Soft stigma? Lots of work to be done there; if you’re a liberal and you manufacture some quotes from Limbaugh about James Earl Ray, or about the wonderful benefits of slavery, it seems you’re surrounded by peers and pals who think now you’re just a swell guy. It would take a lot of stigma to offset that kind of adulation.

How about good old-fashioned lawsuits for libel and slander? That has a way to go too. Last I checked, Limbaugh did a capable job of defending himself in the Wall Street Journal…and now Al Sharpton is threatening to take out a suit against him.

So I don’t know.

There it is. We were promised something would be going away forever, and now it’s all over the place, rather like someone disposed of a wet turd by throwing it in a fan. Only two possibilities remain: Large numbers of people, and I do mean large, will get mad as hell about this.

Or, we’ll continue to wallow in the stink, because not enough people got mad enough about it. So whoever’s dishing it out will conclude it’s all okay, and behave accordingly.

So far, it would seem what has been taking place, is the second of those two. You can make your own decision about whether to be happy, sad, or indifferent about it. What it says about Obama’s value, in terms of performing as the product He was supposed to be, is undeniable. He’s the polar opposite of what His country was promised.


Monday, October 19th, 2009

Glad you voted for Obama to register your dislike of all those Bush spending deficits. How’s that workin’ out for ya?

The GAO is not having a swell time with it…

Weaknesses in the economy and financial markets–and the government’s response to them–have helped boost federal budget deficits, which reached a record level in fiscal year 2009, the General Accountability Office reported on Thursday.

The situation probably won’t improve any time soon: “While a lot of attention has been given to the recent fiscal deterioration, the federal government faces even larger fiscal challenges that will persist long after the return of financial stability and economic growth,” the report says.

The GAO has been publishing long-term fiscal simulations since 1992, in response to a bipartisan request from Congress. According to the GAO, lawmakers asked for the projections because they were concerned about the long-term effects of fiscal policy.

Lawmakers were right to be concerned, the latest report indicates: “GAO’s simulations continue to show escalating levels of debt that illustrate that the long-term fiscal outlook remains unsustainable,” the August-October 2009 assessment said.

But don’t worry about that. Worry about who’s getting kicked off of American Idol.

Scannit’s Father-in-Law

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The FARK folks are weighing in on the Axelrod comments about Fox News. It’s shaping up about how you’d expect.

And then Scannit offers this(2009-10-19 06:55:44 PM)…

I have an IMHO observation on how liberals and conservatives deal with people or organizations that differ with their views.

A conservative will invite a liberal/moderate to listen to someones’ opinion on the radio, watch a news segment or read a particular author. A conservative welcomes opposing points of view as part of the vetting process. Call it ‘competition’.

A Liberal seems to want to silence [or] put out of business any opinion or competition that differs from their view. They will mock, belittle and try to chastise someone that would actually listen, read or watch someone with THAT point of view.

Case in point. My father-in-law is a BIG liberal. At 83, he’d probably put a lot of liberals here to shame with his views and debating skills. He actually told me (while I was dating his daughter) that he felt the government should do Everything. Gov’t was the End-All, Be-All.

Now I differ greatly with [his] views, but he has the right to say and think anything he wants, he’s earned everything he’s got and he’s well read in his views. He just feels that others don’t deserve things they’ve earned.

So when I tell him a quote from Glenn Beck or something from Mark Levin, his response was to scoff at me and say “You gotta stop listening to them”… He will not even consider an opposing viewpoint. Just get in line and stop your griping, its the only fair thing to do. What I would call a typical liberal.

Reminds me of this.

With liberals these days, everything has to be centralized. We can’t have news to prepare us for debate about things; we have to have debates about news, and once the debate is concluded we have to keep the news “clean” and “pure” so there are no dissenting opinions about anything.

Add Insurance Companies to Obama’s Enemies List

Monday, October 19th, 2009

And man, is The Holy One ever ticked. Mister Cool is really wantin’ to lay down the hurt. Again.

In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to challenge industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums.

“It’s smoke and mirrors,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s bogus. And it’s all too familiar. Every time we get close to passing reform, the insurance companies produce these phony studies as a prescription and say, ‘Take one of these, and call us in a decade.’ Well, not this time.”

Rather than trying to curb costs and help patients, he said, the industry is busy “figuring out how to avoid covering people.”

“And they’re earning these profits and bonuses while enjoying a privileged exemption from our antitrust laws,” he said, “a matter that Congress is rightfully reviewing.”

The president’s attack underscores the sharp break between the White House and the insurance industry as the health care debate moves closer to a climax. When Mr. Obama took office, he and his advisers had hoped to keep insurers at the table to forge a consensus. But as the months passed, the strains grew — until this past week, when industry-financed studies attacking the Democratic plan signaled an open rupture.

Hat tip to Neo-Neocon, who adroitly summarizes the state of things as they are…

I can’t recall this level of invective from any American president in my lifetime…Everybody’s a liar except him. [emphasis mine]

I’d like to take this opportunity to reprint Item #9 from the list of ways To Motivate Large Numbers of People To Do a Dumb Thing, Without Anyone Associating the Dumb Thing With Your Name Later On:

Inject a Snidely Whiplash Into the Situation, Even When There Isn’t One

People have an ingrained instinct to fight each other. They tire quickly of fighting forces of nature, such as the human propensity to spend unearned money, gravity, inertia, or anything of the like. Those things are timeless and inexhaustible. But a human opponent is exhaustible.

You don’t need to offer a possibility of victory, in order to fire up the collective adrenaline of a group of ignoramuses. To simply roll out a communication medium by which the many can convey their dislike of a few, or of a one, is sufficient. In fact, you’ll find it is quite adequate to communicate the message only to that one guy! Letter-writing campaigns — they are nothing more, than this. Just a coordinated attack to blitz some dirty so-and-so with a bunch of boilerplate e-mails…that say nothing more than that the dirty so-and-so is a dirty so-and-so. From a bunch of malcontents who already are on record thinking the dirty so-and-so is a dirty so-and-so. And the dirty so-and-so knows it, and the malcontents are already perfectly aware of that. Purely redundant hustle-and-bustle, in other words. This is far more inspirational to people than you might initially think.

It’s a sad thing about people. If they find someone needs help, they’re moderately aroused into action to make sure that person gets help. But if they catch wind that a dirty rotten so-and-so has gotten away with shenanigans, they feel much more passion about setting things “right.” Overall they’re in a much bigger hurry to inflict pain than to offer aid and assistance where it’s needed.

This is most true of the people who are most energized about conveying the opposite impression. Of all our neighbors, the cruelest and meanest are the ones with all the theatrical “compassion.”

Says more about the rest of us than it does about Obama.

But it might be a productive exercise to cast a jaundiced eye toward whatever politician makes a speech, a year, or an entire career out of churning up hatred. There are people overseas who really want to kill us. Do they have to earn “profits” or “bonuses” before Our Holy President can work up some lathery emotion against them for a change?

Hey…maybe that’s the solution to the problem. Someone get the word to the White House that Al Qaeda is making a profit. And they’re receiving bonuses.

Green Brothels

Monday, October 19th, 2009

They’re helping to save the planet. Yay!

One bordello, hoping to stave off falling demand in the economic crisis, has begun offering discounts to customers who pedal bicycles to the door.

“It’s very difficult to find parking around here, and this option is better for our environment,” said Thomas Goetz, who owns the brothel Maison d’Envie, or House of Desire.

Barack Obama May Be Re-Elected…

Monday, October 19th, 2009

…simply by making more people dependent on government for the essentials of their daily lives.

Assertions that things would be much worse if Stimulus II had not been passed cannot be refuted because they are based on bald claims about numbers of jobs “saved.” Because those cannot be quantified, the assertions are unfalsifiable and analytically unhelpful. They are, perhaps, helpful to the administration by blurring the awkward fact that since Stimulus II was passed, the unemployment rate has risen from 8.1 percent to 9.8 percent, and probably soon will pass 10 percent.

But one-quarter of Stimulus II will be spent this year. Another quarter will be spent in 2011. Half will be spent in 2010, an election year. Which suggests that Stimulus II is, and Stimulus III would be, primarily designed to save a few dozen jobs — those of Democratic members of the House and Senate. When the democrats come up with a plan, it can’t fail. The unfalsifiability that Will identifies is an intrinsic attribute that is always present. Until you can create an alternative universe in which the democrat-plan was defeated but where everything else remained the same, there’s really no way to test it. Any of it.

But this feeling is still broadcast nevertheless…that you and I continue to exist because of them. Our jobs were “saved.” A million jobs might have disappeared on Obama’s watch, but without Him in charge the number might have been two million.

Same thing happens under the opposition, and of course it all works differently. Now you’re talking about “failed policies over the last eight years that created the mess we’re in now.”

The Gagdad Question

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Gagdad Bob, that is. He’s wondered about it before, I think we all have, and it keeps coming back to him, as it haunts us all.

Many on the left especially object to “labels,” but what is it that makes it so easy to divide the majority of people into two ideological camps, with so many seemingly unrelated issues falling into line?

What is the relationship, say, between global warming hysteria, belief in government imposed racial discrimination, and support of the judicial redefinition of marriage? What do these things have in common, if anything?

Or, on the other hand, what is the common thread between limited government, a strong military defense, and freedom of school choice? Why are people who want vouchers also less likely to favor state imposition of “homosexual marriage,” while the same folks who believe in catastrophic global warming don’t see global jihad as a big problem? Why is Obama much harder on Fox News than Iran? And what’s his real problem with the First Amendment?
I might add that I really want to be fair to the left. Of course we like to kid, but it really is a curiosity. Why do so many issues hang together in the way they do? For most liberals, the answer is easy: it’s because conservatives are evil, greedy, racist-sexist-homophobes. And for most conservatives, it’s because liberals are wrong and misguided. But why are we evil or they wrong in such systematic ways? Why does one person imagine that Rush Limbaugh is a “hatemonger,” but not see that Keith Olbermann is the real deal? And why are right wing televangelists and left wing tenurevangelists both so tediously predictable?

Well, here’s how I solve the problem. You begin with the “hard” contradictions, reasoning that whatever force is at work polarizing us, it should be strongest and therefore most easily detected there. For me, this is a duality of other seemingly-unrelated issues: The death penalty and abortion. This right to life the “right wing” seems to think the unborn have, appears to be identical to the right to life the “left wing” thinks convicted murderers have. Both sides are selective about when & where people have an “absolute” right to life and both sides selectively relax this supposedly sacred right in certain situations.

The left, however, on closer inspection doesn’t really treat this as a “right” (pun not intended), but rather something the state is — we are — not allowed to do. If the convicted murderer is waiting for his execution date and then a fellow prisoner murders him in prison, you won’t find too many left-wingers inspired to talk about the murdered convict’s “rights” that were violated. So this isn’t really about human dignity, it’s about prohibition for prohibition’s sake — a subtly different thing. Are there any human rights we have, just because we’re human, that trump the things our government wants to do? Just a year or two ago that was an easy question to answer in lefty-land. With one of their own in charge, though, the well runs dry. We have the right to speak freely…seek redress of grievances…be secure in our homes, papers and personal effects…until such time as this would conflict with the passage of “good” legislation, then you can forget about it.

And this speaks to the issue of why a convicted murder who is proven to take the lives of others casually, even recreationally, enjoys a “right to life” that an inconvenient baby does not. It also explains why there is a zeal on the left side of things that is not present on the right — I should say, among those inclined toward conservatism. It is about human dignity or lack thereof. If Gagdad Bob makes an exhaustive list of these issues, in fact if any of us do, he/we will see this straight, consistent line cleanly divides those two concepts: People are glorious autonomous captains of their own vessels — versus — people are cattle to be managed.

And the leftist passion comes from a Faustian bargain. Once you’ve given something away that makes you, and everyone like you, less dignified…you want everyone else in earshot and line-of-sight to participate in the same exchange. It helps to preserve the fantasy that the thing you’ve given away was never really there to begin with.

“Liberals: Losing Their Version of The American Revolution since 1783”

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

That’s from Andy.

Trouble is, liberals understand just like anyone else that someday they’ll be gone, and like anyone else they have this primal desire to be remembered for something.

But in their unique situation the epitaph is the struggle itself. Normal people dream of a future in which their successors, perhaps their direct descendants, achieve what we today can’t even envision…making use of things we have completed, whose construction they, in turn, will not be able to envision. In other words — normal people dream of progress.

Liberals dream of a future in which their successors struggle exactly the same way they do. They nurture the same lusts that were visited upon The Foolish Old Man Who Moved the Mountains. Those who remember them…those who struggle with the “benefits” of the old man’s struggles…struggle in exactly the same effort that captured the energies of the old man himself. Same struggle. No progress.

Examples? Let’s start with every single social program you would care to name. Haven’t you noticed this; they’re all hailed as this-or-that liberal politician’s “lifetime achievement.” But they all have to be fiddled-with. Social Security has to be “shored up.” The Internet needs its own version of the “First Amendment.” We need more hate crime legislation, more gun control legislation, the minimum wage has to be hiked yet again, more more more more more.

It moves, sure enough; but it isn’t linear. It’s circular. Like a hamster on a little metal spinning wheel…is doing something that’s circular.

And they are the ones called “progressives.”

Go figger.

Anyway, I think this is what creates the contradiction, the dichotomy. The job must be “finished” — and yet, at the same time, a piece of the job must be left unfinished, so that those who come afterward can continue to work it over. It’s the only thing they have that has something to do with immortality.

White House vs Fox

Sunday, October 18th, 2009


White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Fox News Channel is “not really a news station” and that much of the programming is “not really news.”

“I’m not concerned,” Axelrod said on ABC’s “This Week” when George Stephanopoulos asked about the back-and-forth between the White House and Fox News.

“Mr. [Rupert] Murdoch has a talent for making money, and I understand that their programming is geared toward making money. The only argument [White House communications director] Anita [Dunn] was making is that they’re not really a news station if you watch even — it’s not just their commentators, but a lot of their news programming.

“It’s really not news — it’s pushing a point of view. And the bigger thing is that other news organizations like yours ought not to treat them that way, and we’re not going to treat them that way. We’re going to appear on their shows. We’re going to participate but understanding that they represent a point of view.”

In the Newsweek dated later this month, Jacob Weisberg says Fox News isn’t just bad, it’s un-American.

There is no need to get bogged down in this phony debate, which itself constitutes an abuse of the fair-mindedness of the rest of the media. One glance at Fox’s Web site or five minutes’ random viewing of the channel at any hour of the day demonstrates its all-pervasive slant. The lefty documentary Outfoxed spent a lot of time mustering evidence that Fox managers order reporters to take the Republican side. But after 13 years under Roger Ailes, Fox employees skew news right as instinctively as fish swim.

Rather than in any way maturing, Fox has in recent months become more boisterous and demagogic. Fox sponsored as much as it covered the anti-Obama “tea parties” this summer. Its “fact checking” about the president’s health-care proposal is provided by Karl Rove. And weepy Glenn Beck has begun to exhibit a Strangelovean concern about government invading our bloodstream by vaccinating people for swine flu. With this misinformation campaign, Fox stands to become the first network to actively try to kill its viewers.

Typical liberal — “there is no need to get bogged down in this phony debate, just think what I tell you to think.”

Well, it’s true that a real debate has the potential to point out facts inconvenient to both sides, and become needlessly distracting. To me, it all boils down to just one thing:

I don’t recall it ever becoming an issue to the Bush administration whether-or-not, or to what degree, a hostile news media was allowed to ask scrutinizing questions or reverberate uncharitable opinions.

The reasonable reader cannot help but wonder, how “good” an administration can be for the country if it’s so concerned about public relations, with so many “real” problems on its plate crying out for wise, practical solutions, be they popular or not. What kind of government needs to dispense guidance to its populace about what news to watch, and what news not to?

Fact-checked any Saturday Night Live skits lately Mr. Axelrod?

Rachael Leigh Cook and the Common Good

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Rachael Leigh CookClassic Liberal is pointing back to us with another Sunday post that contemplates deep thoughts about sociopolitical human interaction over the generations, and a vision of female loveliness which today is Rachael Leigh Cook.

The sociopolitical theme for today is the balderdash commonly named “Common Good.” Which, you will notice, always indicates someone is being personally and unfairly harmed. There’s a necessity arising to indicate you’re doing something “good” for somebody, which ends up being “common,” since everyone can plainly see you’re hurting someone. “The two worst scourges of humanity in the twentieth century were socialism and fascism…” the essay begins. Go and read.

I was just thinking about this stuff the other day. Had a “D’Jever notice?” moment.

When a common problem is confronted by two solutions to be implemented against it simultaneously…and the two solutions are opposed from one another in that one of them demands that individuals take responsibility for words and deeds, and the other solution absolves individuals from any such responsibility…it is a common human mistake to systematically credit all desirable results that ensue, on the solution that absolves. And, further, to blame all deleterious events on the solution that does the demanding.

It’s an important observation because it’s very rare that we go full-tilt absolving people of personal responsibility, and somehow we don’t seem to be comfortable taking a hard line on demanding personal responsibility out of people either. It is in our nature to mix the two together. We seem to persist in thinking that sewage mixed with a fine wine results in something besides sewage.

And so we start out with this mixture, and then the next mixture does a better job of absolving responsibility…since that produced “good” results and the alternative produced all these “bad” results. Think of the “banking crisis” being blamed on “Wall Street greed” and not on government intervention…think of “skyrocketing healthcare costs” being blamed on “greed” and not on torts. Once you recognize the signs, it’s everywhere you look.

We absolve personal responsibility, punishing those who committed no crime other than meeting their responsibilities and earning the profits that resulted from doing so. And then we do more and more and more and more of it. Then we wonder why capitalism is screwing us over so badly.

It’s not leaving us. We’re leaving it.

Shepard Fairey Admits Wrongdoing

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Shepard FaireyFresh on the heels of the phony Limbaugh quote scandal, we find the iconic Obama image is based on a lie.

“Change you can believe in” is rapidly degenerating into “change you should take with a large grain of salt.”

In a strange twist to an already complicated legal situation, artist Shepard Fairey admitted today to legal wrongdoing in his ongoing battle with the Associated Press.

Fairey said in a statement issued late Friday that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others in the legal proceedings, in an attempt to conceal the fact that the AP had correctly identified the photo that Fairey had used as a reference for his “Hope” poster of then-Sen. Barack Obama.

“Throughout the case, there has been a question as to which Mannie Garcia photo I used as a reference to design the HOPE image,” Fairey said. “The AP claimed it was one photo, and I claimed it was another.”

New filings to the court, he said, “state for the record that the AP is correct about which photo I used…and that I was mistaken. While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong. In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images.”

Lots of reward for not very much talent. This is a situation that draws in people of low character. Lots and lots of them. To such an extent that after awhile it becomes futile to blame the substandard bits of human fluff for their substandardness. Kind of like blaming the dust bunnies for congregating in your computer’s power supply…or bacteria for multiplying in cheese. It’s just something that’s bound to happen…

Get Out of the Way and Grab a Mop?

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Yeah there’s a problem with being stuck in perpetual campaign mode. You’re never quite sure what you want your opposition to do…and at times it can lead to awkward juxtapositions.

Like this one:

Hat tip to Hot Air, by way of Another Black Conservative who makes it real simple: Stop pissin’ on the floor! Hat tip for that one to Legal Insurrection.

Something tells me a more apt analogy has something to do with digging a hole.

“The Government Makes Sure the Fewest Suffer, and Those That Do Aren’t Important”

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Frank from IMAO doing what he does best…being smarmy, and having fun.

Conservative arguments against President Obama are becoming increasingly silly. They oppose Obama rescuing businesses despite all the jobs on the line, they’re against government taking control of health care from soulless insurance companies, and they oppose increased taxes on energy consumption despite the sorry state of the environment. And why do they oppose these most sensible actions? Because of their irrational, brain-dead obsession with liberty.

Of course, everyone likes freedom — to a point — but there are a number of loud, stupid Americans who just take it to ridiculous extremes…Liberty doesn’t feed your family. Liberty doesn’t heal you when you’re sick. Liberty doesn’t educate your children. A strong government can do all those things, but apparently that’s against liberty…

Just look at this ludicrous debate over health care reform. Of course the government should provide health care for everyone; how obvious can anything be? The government has the money and smart people working for everyone’s interests to make sure all get health care, so why would anyone be against that? …The advantage of having the government in control is that it makes sure the fewest number suffer, and those that do aren’t particularly important.
So what would be optimal in this country if we stopped the mindless liberty worship? I suggest slavery. Yes, I know it has a long awful history, but think about it. With slavery, everyone is guaranteed a job. Slaves get food and shelter. And we can make sure all needs are met by forcing people to take the jobs they are best suited for.

Slavery is true freedom, because it is freedom from want and worry. It may have been a horrible thing when racist southerners were doing it, but think of how great it could be if benevolent liberals looking out for the good of all were in charge. I would say it is, in fact, the ultimate progressive ideal.

But how are we going to sell slavery to people when they don’t even want a public option?

“Working and Spreading, and They Are a Cancer on Our Society”

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Rush Limbaugh has penned the editorial we have been wanting to see:

The sports media elicited comments from a handful of players, none of whom I can recall ever meeting. Among other things, at least one said he would never play for a team I was involved in given my racial views. My racial views? You mean, my belief in a colorblind society where every individual is treated as a precious human being without regard to his race? Where football players should earn as much as they can and keep as much as they can, regardless of race? Those controversial racial views?

The NFL players union boss, DeMaurice Smith, jumped in. A Washington criminal defense lawyer, Democratic Party supporter and Barack Obama donor, he sent a much publicized email to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying that it was important for the league to reject discrimination and hatred.
As I explained on my radio show, this spectacle is bigger than I am on several levels. There is a contempt in the news business, including the sportswriter community, for conservatives…”Racism” is too often their sledgehammer. And it is being used to try to keep citizens who don’t share the left’s agenda from participating in the full array of opportunities this nation otherwise affords each of us. It was on display many years ago in an effort to smear Clarence Thomas with racist stereotypes and keep him off the Supreme Court. More recently, it was employed against patriotic citizens who attended town-hall meetings and tea-party protests.

These intimidation tactics are working and spreading, and they are a cancer on our society.

I recall hearing someone say this was part of an attempt to keep conservatism from being mainstreamed. That sounds like Rush; maybe I heard it on his show, and thought I’d read it in an article. It was right after this thing was announced.

Anyway — it’s worse than that. As liberalism has become emboldened, “conservatism” has taken up its traditional standard of simply cautioning waitaminnit. As in, waitaminnit, how do you enter arms control treaties with dictators who routinely make promises and then break them? Waitaminnit, with the dollar in free fall from the accumulation of all this debt, where’s the money going to come from to do that? Waitaminnit, didn’t we try this before? Waitaminnit, if we’re supposed to be a color-blind society…how about just once, for a change, we try to be one?

That kind of conservatism is mainstream already. It is a matter of simple, durable logic. When the concepts discussed become sufficiently simple, there is such a thing as an “absolute center.” As in…when a nation seeks to revitalize its economy, a tax cut is more absolutely-centrist than a tax increase. If you have some measure of intellect you can apply and don’t just follow crowds & slogans, you would have to be hoodwinked in some way to support the tax increase over the tax cut.

So this is an attempt…a successful attempt…to make fringe-kooky stuff look centrist, and vice-versa.

I have a list — and I’ve been linking back to it with increasing frequency, as the world has gone increasingly mad — called How To Motivate Large Numbers of People To Do a Dumb Thing, Without Anyone Associating the Dumb Thing With Your Name Later On. That list, other than crediting President Obama for inspiring the last two items, makes no mention of conservatives or liberals. None whatsoever. The third item on the list is “Switch Moderation and Extremism with Each Other.” That means to fool people into thinking whatever seeks to turn everything upside down, doesn’t, and whatever doesn’t, does. Then you describe your revolutionary but dumb idea in terms that suggest it is just the natural, common-sense thing to do…and anybody who opposes it, necessarily, must be a firebrand of hatred, prejudice and acrid zeal.

This NFL-Rush-Limbaugh thing has been a pretty good example of what I was talking about.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Bear in Car

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Denver Post:

The car alarm was blaring, and there was a light moving around inside.

A couple in the Colorado Mountain Estates subdivision near Florissant thought someone was trying to steal their car early Wednesday.

When deputies from the Teller County Sheriff’s Office responded at about 2:30 a.m., they discovered a young bear in the car.
[T]his bear — like so many others — was very smart and had learned how to open car doors.

But as the bear rummaged around the car causing extensive damage, the door closed and it couldn’t figure how to get out.

A wiser bear.

And something that used to be a car.

Superman and Cell Phones

Friday, October 16th, 2009

From The Correctness.

D’JEver Notice? XLIV

Friday, October 16th, 2009

This is thought-provoking; blogfather John Hawkins summarizes five take-away lessons from the Limbaugh/NFL controversy.

1) Liberals are so obsessive about their politics that it perverts and warps every other human impulse in their life.

2) The racist double standard is alive and well.

3) In the eyes of the NFL, the worst thing you can apparently do is be a conservative.

4) The mainstream media puts ideology above facts when conservatives are involved.

5) Conservatives are too forgiving.

There’s a lot of good thinking going on behind the link and you should go read it all. But to me, the real garden tool in the bicycle spokes, the one bothersome nugget you’d be asked to explain to the space alien living in your garage (and you’d never be able to explain it)…is…

CNN fact-checked a Saturday Night Live skit. Limbaugh was saddled with the burden of proving he did not say these things. Which he didn’t bother to do…but it got proven anyway.

That which was proven false — is that which was acted upon. By those who know it is false.

Regarding the other matter in which Obama is mocked for not getting much accomplished…the fact-checking ends up ridiculing itself. At a high, abstract level, the point about Obama being something of a do-nothing remains overall a valid one; as far as what is acted-upon, that’s up to each voter. But there was at least a likelihood that with some “fact-checking” the impact of the skit could be blunted, because there was motivation to put the fact-checking on the air.

It certainly wasn’t to enlighten us.

Steven Colbert once famously said “facts have a well-known liberal bias.” In a way, he’s right. Facts…spoken facts…facts put out there. That’s because of Hawkins’ lesson #1. Being a good liberal means getting the last word in on everything.

If a conservative hears something that offends him, he rolls his eyes, shakes his head, mutters something about the world and a handbasket…and goes on about his day.

If a liberal hears something that offends him, it’s time for a revolution. And so the first impulse of everyone else is to let the liberal have the last word. Most of us…nearly all of us…have precious little time to spare for a revolution.

I’m watching the morning airhead news go on and on across one commercial break after another…about some kinda thing involving a balloon. What a wonderfully healthy change of diet it would be to shine that scrutinizing expose light…that harsh, harsh light…on this weird, funny, inexplicable thing we do that you would not be able to explain to the space alien. Inspect that for an hour as people get ready to go into the shower, gulp their coffee, tighten their neckties, remind their kids not to be late for the bus, et cetera. Speaking just for myself, I have a lot more curiosity about this than I do about balloons.

Twilight of Honeymoon IX

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

We’re less than a year after that halcyon election, and it would seem its centerpiece has officially become a piece of retro. Interesting times, huh?

In what may be the ultimate job rating, 43 percent of voters say that they would vote to re-elect President Obama if the 2012 election were held today, down from 52 percent six months ago, from April 22-23, 2009.

Obama’s job approval rating comes in at 49 percent this week. That’s down just one percentage point from late September, but it marks a new low approval for the president — and the first time the Fox News poll has measured his approval below 50 percent.

Lesson: When people are oh so sure about something because “everybody” else is oh so sure about it…they aren’t. Confident people don’t decide things that way.

Pundit and Pundette, who got it from Gateway Pundit.

“If Only He Could Reduce Tension with Fox News”

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Ron Radosh, writing in Pajama’s Media about the war on Liz Cheney:

Maureen Dowd, the most overrated op-ed columnist writing today, penned the most mean spirited column she has ever written and perhaps the most inaccurate. She accuses Ms. Cheney of “regarding bipartisanship with the same contempt as multilateralism and multiculturalism,” and along with her father and sister, of leading “the charge against Obama, painting him as a wishy-washy loser who turned America to mush.”
[D]idn’t the Nobel Prize Committee respond to its critics by saying that Obama won the prize for contributing to a “world with less tension.” But as Sean Curvyn writes on his website (permalink), “It’s a less tense world. Tell that to the Chinese dissidents…By conceding to the Russians on missile defense, he is reducing ‘tension’ with Putin. By granting the Iranians further stages of delay before there are any real consequences for their pursuit of nuclear weapons, he is reducing ‘tension’ with the Persians.” As he quips aptly, “if only he could reduce tension with Fox News.”

How Are We Affected by the Public Debt?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Tony Blankley:

As boom- and bust-prone as high finance always has been and remains, the greatest systemic risk to our economy is not Wall Street. It’s the growing federal debt (and weakening dollar) being enacted by those Washington politicians — the ones who want to protect us from Wall Street.

It soon may be not a risk but a certainty of generations-long economic stagnation and hard times as a direct result of “unsustainable” and ever-growing national debt, driven by a federal budget almost half of which is to be paid for each year by borrowing money — primarily from China — and already weakening the dollar such that foreigners are trying to get rid of their dollars any way they can.

But Obama’s in charge and Europe loves us, so everything will work out all swell right?

Vertical Man, Vertical Man, Doing the Things a Vertical Can

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Gagdad Bob:

“Horizontal man, in denying the vertical, necessarily replaces it with a counterfeit version that substitutes the collective for the One and human will for the Divine authority. Taken to its logical extreme, this manifests as the demagogue, the cult of personality, or the dictator-god who expresses the vitalistic will of the people. But all forms of leftism lie on this continuum. So much of the pandering of the left is merely totalitarianism in disguise — a false absolute and a counterfeit vertical.”

And there is no one so inflated with narcissistic hubris as the leftist social engineer who will save mankind from its own self-inflicted wounds. The leftist can give man everything but what he most needs, and in so doing, destroys the possibility of man. As Eliot said, the leftist dreams of a system in which it will be unnecessary for anyone to be good. But man is the being who can — and must — choose between good and evil.

Likewise, “the moment we talk about ‘social conscience,’ and forget about conscience, we are in moral danger” (Eliot). Eliminate the idea of moral struggle, and “you must expect human beings to become more and more vaporous.” Since man is placed at the crossroads where he is free to choose between good and evil, this again eliminates man…

They have a fight, and Horizontal Man wins.

What is Cowardice?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Sippican Cottage begins a chapter with a deep thought:

What is cowardice? I dunno. My father said it was a kind of vanity. Every coward thinks they’re special. That they’re the very first one to feel afraid. They think that if brave people felt the way they did, they’d never do anything heroic. They figure intrepid people are simply too dumb to be as frightened as they should be. It’s a great way to claim to be superior while cringing in the corner.

C-3PO: Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately three thousand seven hundred and twenty to one!
Han Solo: Never tell me the odds.

Offensive Flag?

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

KATU News, Portland, OR.

Flags are OK again at an Albany apartment complex after the property manager reviewed the policy and decided she didn’t have the legal standing to ban flags from the exteriors of apartments and vehicles parked at the complex.

“If people want to fly any flag of any nationality, it’s their right,” said Barb Holcomb with Oaks Apartments.

KVAL News also contacted the American Civil Liberties Union to ask whether the policy banning flags from the apartment complex violated any laws. The answer from the ACLU: No.

But Holcomb said she received different legal counsel that led her to believe she is wrong to ban the flags.

“When a tenant rents the unit, the inside of the unit belongs to the tenant,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “All automobiles and things attached to the automobiles are the personal property of the tenant.”

Seems like obvious stuff, no?

Well the previous story was quite the “WTF??” moment.

Jim Clausen flies the American flag from the back of his motorcycle. He has a son in the military heading back to Iraq, and the flag – he said – is his way of showing support.

“This flag stands for all those people,” said Clausen, an Oaks Apartment resident. “It stands for the people that can no longer stand – who died in wars. That’s why I fly this flag.”

But to Oaks Apartment management, Clausen said, the American flag symbolizes problems.

He was told to remove the red, white and blue from both of his rides, or face eviction.

“It floored me,” he said. “I can’t believe she was saying what she was saying.”

Very reasonable editorial in the Democrat Herald that managed to make the point everyone else seems to have missed:

One has to sympathize with apartment managers in an increasingly litigious age, where people quickly take umbrage for any reason or no reason at all. But once you respond to these challenges with a rule that in an American town it’s against the rules to display the American flag on your own motorcycle or your own car, you have gone too far.

It’s quite reasonable — in settings in which a management has the proper legal authority, which is another issue — to issue bans on message-paraphernalia that include flags but carry a special exemption for Old Glory. The apartment management easily could’ve, would’ve and perhaps should’ve gotten away with this if they went that common-sense route.

But NO…(from the second story linked above)

Resident we talked to [sic] who had been approached to take down their flags all told us the same thing: that management told them the flags could be offensive because they live in a diverse community.

Attempts to find out for ourselves why management would ban flags were unsuccessful. KATU wanted to talk to management at Oaks Apartments, but no one has returned our calls. The woman we were told had made the decision said she was “not going to answer any questions.” [emphasis mine]

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.

Try this on: Just take the USA out of it to suspend the emotion, and think through this logically. You are a native of Country X and you are happy and proud to be a native of Country X. You also have a brother who is a native of Country X and has chosen to enlist in X’s all-volunteer military force. You don’t know if you’ll ever see that relative again…but you fly the flag of Country X to show your support.

Then you’re told because the community — inside of the borders of Country X — is diverse, the flag will have to go, because someone might be offended.

The issue is obviously not Country X’s superiority. It’s Country X’s culture, and whether or not Country X is allowed to have one. It should be obvious to anyone…anyone at all…that the scenario above would be hideously offensive to the flag-waver of Country X. How could it not be? And yet you’re being told a theoretical offense taken by someone…someone not only unidentified, but someone who has yet to happen-along…somehow trumps your very real, and very justifiable, present, current, right-now offense.

That, undeniably, is a second-offense.

The problem isn’t quite so much the manager’s passions against her country, although I suspect that is present as well. The problem is that, because the bell-curve of attention spans is shaped more like a backward-ski-slope than a bell, businesses have taken to communicating their actions and motives in well-worn cliches, like “in an effort to reduce our carbon emissions,” “to help save the planet” and “because we live in a diverse community.”

As my example illustrates, with the US of A removed and therefore all the passion connected to it removed, even the lazy observer can easily see: This is bullshit. If the object of the exercise is to remove or reduce the potential to offend, it is a fail on a massive level.

“Democrats Will Lose the House”

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

The Hill, via Hot Air, via Stop the ACLU:

Alarms are being rung about just how many African-Americans will vote without President Barack Obama on the ballot, and the New Jersey and Virginia governors’ races in three weeks will provide the first major test since the 2008 election.
The question at this point isn’t so much whether black voters will turn out at 2008 levels, but how big the drop will be — and then, whether it carries into the 2010 midterms.

Tom Jensen, a spokesman for the Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, has been among the most outspoken. He said the high number of Democrats with districts that are significantly black means such a turnout shift could be disastrous for Democrats.

“If what looks like is going to happen in Virginia plays out on a national level, I do think Democrats will lose the House,” Jensen said.

All three links at the top have some interesting discussion about this.

I’ve got money riding on this. Frankly, I consider it to be won already. There was something “special” about last year; nobody believes this more fervently than democrats. If you’re in the democrat party, you are required to believe it. If you don’t think there was something special about what happened last year, it is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.

Barack Obama won the presidency by an impressive margin in the electoral college…and 53% of the popular vote.

To insist there will not be a turnover next year, is to insist that people vote a certain way by a 3% margin when there is something special going on…and by something between 0.1 and 2.9 when there is not something special going on. Well, three percent, by any sensible reckoning, is well below what registers when there’s something special going on. The flippin’, she’s a-comin’.

Unless you don’t think there was something special going on.