Archive for May, 2012

Memo For File CLVII

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

He was ninety. She was ninety. They both spent their entire lives in Bellingham, Washington. I don’t know if they met each other, but they both cashed it in last year, 2011. She on February 3rd, he on November 7th. By which time, neither of them had a thing to do with me for some thirty years or more. Neither one of them remembered me. That much, I can pretty much promise.

They are the two lowest points of my K-through-12 educational career. They failed me, but not before I failed them. She was my home-room teacher in sixth grade, and he was my “guidance counselor” or some such, in high school. With noticeably mixed feelings, Dad e-mailed me his obituary. Dad doesn’t like to speak ill of the dead any more than I do.

Truthfully, I don’t know why we have career counselors in high schools. The kids who can really make something of themselves, all have the same thoughts about it: Oh alright, I’m to take career advice from some guy who’s a career counselor in a high school. Eyeball-roll. This one thought I should scrub toilets on an Air Force base somewhere. Oh, okay…thankfully, nobody took that any more seriously than I did. All these years later I have to wonder: What purpose was served by this? I still don’t know.

As for her, I remember her mocking condescension like it was this morning: “Morgan, I’m going to pair you up with Michelle, who I hope has more common sense than you do!” The “hope” syllable could’ve shattered a wine goblet, if it were within earshot. Sixth graders shouldn’t say things like “Lady, you’re a fucking bitch,” but I certainly thought it. And, once a sixth-grader thinks such a thing, thirty-five years later one should expect them to recall such thoughts with some regret. But I have none. I know, it was the seventies and all…very trendy to see lots of potential in the lasses and none at all in the lads…but can you say “out of line”? I don’t recall what I did to disappoint Mrs. R so much. But I knew at age eleven this was uncalled-for, and I still know it.

There is an ugly truth here, one not too often acknowledged. I’ve had other teachers who saw much more potential in me. I should write about them, as well. They certainly deserve it. But, for now, it is an observation worth making:

These two, who were so convinced I’d be good for nothing better than cleaning commodes, inspired me as much as, perhaps more than, their opposites. My twenty-five thousand square foot mansion with its seven buildings and its Batmobile-turntable with the Bugatti Veyron spinning around on it…these things have yet to materialize. But I’m not scrubbing the toilets either. Reality is as distant from one of these visions as it is from the other; so who is to say I am not to attain the other? Vroom vroom.

And I think that’s the take-away. We humans have this tendency to sketch lines in the dirt, for each other; to make these paths, and expect the others not to stray outside of them. But real life is more of a vast expanse of ocean, than a narrow pathway. We should not be hesitating to stray outside of such boundaries, indeed, we should celebrate when we do so. Even if we blunder our way through them by pure accident.

VeyronMy son came to visit on Spring Break. I’ve been receiving his school reports, and they reminded me of my dysfunctional relationship with Mrs. R. So, in that one week, we had a few conversations about getting into the matronly-females’ “R-Loop.” That means, the loop in which some overly-opinionated female, overly-enamored of her own perceived authority profile, speaks to a younger male round of head and blonde of hair, who might be a trifle difficult to understand — for no purpose but to command him out of the way. Day by day, month by month, she has nothing else to say to him: Stand over here, stay out of the way, let Michelle take care of it. That’s the R-loop. Some marriages are like that. Poor, dumb, pitiful bastards.

Turns out, our conversations about the “R”-loop resonated. I didn’t know it at the time, but after he went back home I was awash in e-mails from his Mother, and his teachers, that things were going much, much better. They didn’t understand it, but he was staying out of their R-loops. They didn’t understand…but I did…and he did. My boy, age fourteen, learned things I had not yet learned at age twenty-five. And he made good use of it. If you want to be capable, you need to communicate to people that this is your vision. They won’t figure it out on their own. And if they don’t figure it out at all, you need to keep that separate from your own vision for yourself. Keep your life on that wide-open sea, and off that narrow road fenced in and paved by others, who don’t understand you and don’t claim to understand you. Stick to your own potential, at its zenith.

No, I don’t have the Bugatti Veyron yet. I may never have it.

But I’m not scrubbing toilets either.

That’s my potential: I’m not likely to end up scrubbing the toilets, I might as well try for the Veyron.

That is the potential we all have.

California’s Debt Picture Grows Bleaker…

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012


Just disgusting.

[Gov. Jerry] Brown did not release details of the newly calculated deficit Saturday, but he is expected to lay out a revised spending plan Monday. The new plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1 hinges in large part on voters approving higher taxes.

The governor has said those tax increases are needed to help pull the state out of a crippling decade shaped by the collapse of the housing market and recession. Without them, he warned, public schools and colleges, and public safety, will suffer deeper cuts.
Under Brown’s tax plan, California would temporarily raise the state’s sales tax by a quarter-cent and increase the income tax on people who make $250,000 or more. Brown is projecting his tax initiative would raise as much as $9 billion, but a review by the nonpartisan analyst’s office estimates revenue of $6.8 billion in fiscal year 2012-13.

This is part of a pattern that doesn’t change much from one story to the next…and it isn’t entirely a California story. Notice at the end of what’s excerpted above, there is this dispute about how much additional revenue can be expected from the tax increase. I don’t know what methodologies were used — I can hazard a guess — but it doesn’t matter, nobody’s got any business projecting or estimating anything. It all ends up being an exercise in predicting who’s going to hang around, bend over and take it up the chute.

That isn’t a predictable thing. Our track record of trying to do so, is pretty lousy.

Missing Their Alpha Channel

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

In the next few minutes, I’m going to go to work and start messing around with code that works with compressed images; the images are conceptually represented by pixels, and each pixel consists of channels. There is a channel for each of the primary colors, and then there is an alpha channel.

I don’t like mixing work with the blog, but I cannot stop thinking about the alpha channel where these liberals are involved. Lately. It’s like they’re missing it. See, what we use it for in computer graphics, is transparency. It represents a fractional number between 0.0 and 1.0, with 1.0 being opaqueness and 0.0 being complete transparency, as in, it’s invisible and you can’t see it. You might have noticed the Windows operating systems, post-XP, make a lot of use out of this with window frames and menus and icons and such; things, lately, have transparency. They have cool frosted effects, and if you look closely you’ll see they’ve got this Cheshire Cat fade-out-of-existence thing going on as you trace from the center of an icon out to the edges. Okay, that’s the alpha channel. Each pixel possesses this property of “how much of me is really here.”

If an application converts an image that contains some of this transparency, to a format that doesn’t support it, it’s pretty evident what the desired behavior should be: You prompt the user first, then you save what can be saved. When you go back the other way, of course, the new alpha for each pixel will have to be 1.0; it can’t be anything else. This is a perfect illustration of the way the liberal mind works.

Conservatives, by and large, seem to have the ability to preserve this “how much is really here” attribute with the ideas they carry around in their heads.

And liberals, by & large, don’t. They know exactly what the idea is, just as a color format that supports only red, green and blue knows exactly what each pixel’s red, green and blue are. But with transparency unsupported, every pixel has an alpha of 1.0. Every. Single. One.

As I remarked yesterday at Teach’s blog where he was reporting on the environmentally-friendly candy bar that costs twenty bucks…one of the activists behind it, began to discuss the wind-powered transportation methods which are apparently responsible for this consumer snack costing so much at the point-of-sale. Well, what came out was creepy, creepy, creepy…

The next step is to build a much larger sail-powered cargo ship, a 3,000 tonne EcoLiner equipped for container traffic and fully competitive with the oil guzzling competitors…We want to re-establish sailing ships as a natural alternative to an anti-ecological culture. We want to see a revival of the great age of sail, as a means of Fair transport for cargo around the Atlantic…

“We want to see.” The word “hope” would have carried a tacit acknowledgement that it might not happen, so the word “want” has to be used instead, since everything is absolutely certain, especially where Mother Earth’s future health picture is involved. We saw this in the legendary monster thread, as Severian was very capably summing up in a comment he committed a few minutes ago:

…I find that the most surefire “tell” that you’re dealing with a liberal (apart from the sanctimony, of course) is that they will not admit even the possibility of limits on human knowledge…
In fact, I’m trying to recall the last time I’ve heard a liberal say “I don’t know” about any matter of consequence. Ask ’em where the nearest post office is or the price of rice in China, and they’ll happily admit ignorance. But ask them what we should do about genocide in Darfur, or the regulation of the entire world economy, or the navy’s defensive doctrine on the Pacific rim, and all of a sudden they’ve got all the answers….

This is, from my observations, why the monster-thread became a monster-thread. For three weeks or so, as time permitted, some four or five of us took issue with the statements of the hybrid-group-warmist construct known as “Zachriel” — on the alpha channel. That is to say, with a few debatable exceptions, none of us really challenged any of the “primary colors” of the ideas…the red, the green, the blue. The point that came up again and again, was no, you don’t really know that. Through over four hundred comments, the plurality of persons represented under this account never once engaged this challenge directly. Never even demonstrated an understanding of the distinction. He/she/it/they just continued to re-recite the red, the green, the blue…repeating the idea…failing, or perhaps refusing, to even consider the “just how sure are we about this” aspect of it. The limits to human knowledge. The transparency factor.

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “we don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.” That is, interestingly, and perhaps ironically, the kind of spirit that is required to make things work. You can’t do it until you develop a practical understanding of how other things work; you can’t do that until you develop some curiosity about it; and you can’t develop any curiosity about it if you think you already know everything.

Liberalism, today, is a 24-bit image format missing its alpha channel. It insists — correctly — that is has computed everything the right way, restoring RGB from a YUV representation, re-computing saturation of each primary color from the shading and tinting effects, used a lossy compression/decompression scheme verified to produce the desired result, used a peer-reviewed encryption algorithm, run a checksum to prove the restored results are good, et cetera, et cetera. But knows nothing about what it doesn’t know, because at the very first step, the alpha channel was stripped out and there’s no transparency, read that as residual uncertainty, information about anything. This is most noticeable when they talk about the environment, and what is about to happen to us. They talk about “science” but all too often have absolutely nothing to say about probability. Every little thing that might happen, is gonna happen.

Of course, if and when it doesn’t happen, in another day or two that will all be forgotten and it will be time for yet another round of predictions…visions…want-to-see-happens…24-bit pixels missing their transparency channels, “known” as absolute certainties.

Well, I know how to get a Tea Party guy to talk exactly the same way: When you stop talking about climate change, and move the discussion to the public debt growing out of control. But since I don’t see anybody else lining up to give the U.S. Treasury any unexpected Christmas presents like the five dollar bill Grandma used to send you…ya know what? That side of it seems fair, to me. Economics, on some level, works that way. Climate doesn’t.

DJEver Notice? LXXV

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Awhile back we had linked (somewhere) to this “hairpin” page that had compiled an impressive gallery of women eating salad by themselves, laughing their heads off about something.

It’s an interesting meme, in that one doesn’t realize consciously how overused it is until one sees it compiled together like that; one specimen says absolutely nothing, a whole collection makes a point about what’s going on. Although there’s room for debate about what that is. I suppose what we’re seeing is: People like to watch happy women eating healthy things? Grumpy women eating salads, on miserable rainy days, nobody’s got too much interest in that. Or a jolly full-figured type feeding her gaping maw with a dripping greasy trip-tip, wouldn’t go over as well either.

Well I just made a discovery: Google Images is just stuffed full, like twenty pounds of flour in a ten-pound sack, with girl and laptop computer pictures.

Now…what could that mean? Hmmm…not sure. I see we do have some boy laptop, but within that I notice an abundance of 1) comical effect, as in “boy using laptop” is simply a stepping stone on the way toward a punchline, which is more of the main point; 2) confusion and frustration over how to work the darn thing; 3) some combination of 1) and 2); and 4) Mom, or some smarter female instructor type, giving him helpful pointers on how to use it. Hmmm. Might have missed it, but I didn’t notice one single wise benevolent all-knowing patriarch giving the cuties some pointers on how to use their laptops.

Another difference: My girl-query doesn’t contain the world “laugh” or “smile.” Doesn’t have to. Chicks are required to smile in picture-land, pretty much all of the time. Even the one in the dominatrix outfit getting ready to chainsaw her laptop, has a big grin on her face.

This one needs more thought than the salads. I’m really not sure what to make of it…I’ll have to ponder this, solemnly and studiously, frowning at my computer in a very manly way.

Cat Toast Motor

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

From Gerard.

Those who are unfamiliar with this hypothesis and might still be unclear on what’s happening here, can read up over at this page to see how it all works.

Fidelity to Failed Ideas

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

It’s terribly unfortunate that, out of an entire four-year cycle of politics, we’ve not seen the national economy recover in any substantial way. That’s a long time for it to be languishing the way it’s been. But it affords us a unique educational opportunity because we’ve been able to watch two presidential administrations — one archetypically liberal, running for re-election, and the other one whatever passes for “conservative” in this day & age, and not — defending their stewardship over economic matters, without being able to bring any record of solid success.

The differences are quite striking. The take-away: Anyone who wants to start understanding the difference between conservatives and liberals, without getting into the nitty-gritty nuts-&-bolts differences in priorities & worldviews, simply has to follow both types around long enough to see their ideas fail and then watch how the idealogues react to the failure of the ideas. President Bush’s sympathizers and apologists brought a lot of different defensive arguments to the table during the meltdown of ’08. There were some lowered-standards, as in, 9/11 changed everything and you had to expect some economic sputtering in the aftermath of a calamity such as that; there were some better-than-it-looks excuses, which carry a bit more weight, since hey, the unemployment rate was quite low and there were other measurements to indicate things weren’t that bad. And there was some finger-pointing at the democrats. Which also carries weight, since the democras took over Congress before things really fell apart. Mixed in with all this, there was some admission that mistakes were made. Stuff was tried that, had the opportunity been presented for a do-over, would not be tried again. And that makes an impression on me because I hear the same thing out of Reagan apologists, answering the charge that the public debt “skyrocketed” during Ronald Reagan’s two terms. Deals were made that were not good deals. Again, with a do-over, things would’ve been done differently.

Loop, EndlessNow I suppose it isn’t a fair comparison because President Obama is running for re-election, and consequently, we have a lot of people running around coming up with defenses for His failed policies who are paid to come up with those defenses, and this is bound to have an effect on what the defenses are going to be. Nevertheless, I surmise that it is because of the President’s political leanings that we have no, absolutely none, zip, zero, zilch, nada, no-can-do, nothing being said anywhere about what has been done over the last four years that could’ve & would’ve been done differently with the opportunity for said do-over. It’s time to defend the record and I’m seeing nothing out of His team, at all, except craven distractions. Mitt Romney bullied someone in high school and his supporters and campaign contributors are, well, I’m not sure what…poopy-heads or something.

The take-away: Conservatives are capable of admitting mistakes and liberals aren’t. Oh, I can hear the double-whipped mocha lattes spurting through the liberal nostrils at the very suggestion. But it’s true. Conservatives can defend the leadership, as in the character and the decision-making ability of a person or of a team, without standing by each and every little decision they made about everything. They can say “Yeah, that one there, that was a learning experience.” Liberals can’t do that because they’ve got this rule in place…thou shalt not speak ill of anything connected in any way to The Sun King. And by my Louis XIV reference I do not specifically mean to pick on Barack Obama. They’ve got all these demigods who are to be elevated and kept clean and pure in every way. History does not possess the authority needed to indict them of anything; they can’t make mistakes. Good liberals cannot stoop to that low, low level of admitting “Obama probably shouldn’t have said anything about Skip Gates and the Cambridge Police Department.” Can’t form the words. Can’t get the thoughts crystallized. It’s sinful to even be headed in that direction.

This is significant, when you think about it. If we can’t admit mistakes, we can’t learn. We end up about as wise, with our approach to any given problem, as we were when we emerged from the womb.

In addition to the philosophical implications there are the fiduciary ones. Barack Obama’s ideas are generally not inexpensive. He claims credit for thinking big, and he claims this with some legitimacy, for His ideas are indeed grand, big, weighty ideas. But they are grand and big and weighty only because the taxpayers are forced to fund them. The questions about the long-term consequences of these cash outlays are not entirely motivated by partisanship; the government’s solvency has measurably deteriorated throughout this cycle, and there are serious ramifications for the country if the proponents of the big-spending Obama ideas can’t admit that any of them were mistakes, and their unthinking and unreasoned response to every inspection is to double down. I mean that literally. Double down. Some of the most insistent and loud liberals out there, pressed to defend the Reinvestment Act against its clear and obvious failure, will recite the rote litany that it failed because it wasn’t big enough. And they’ll be perfectly straight-faced about it when they say this, seemingly unaware that they’ve become caricatures of those who shouldn’t have anything to say about anything.

This leads off into something else I’ve noticed about the difference between conservatives and liberals. As was pointed out in Sultan Knish (hat tip to Gerard again), what we see playing out before us in this political divide is something that could be called an “efficiency war”:

It’s a basic power struggle over whether the government will starve the people or the people will starve the government. Like most political power struggles it begins with a crisis and a program for resolving it by transferring power. Depending on which crisis and which program wins the day, there will either be a massive transfer of power from the government to the people or an equally massive transfer from the people to the government.
Despite all the ambitious efforts to reduce everything from skyscraper construction to a human breath to a number and to impose penalties accordingly so as to nudge the offenders away from their carbon crimes, the real criminals fly off someplace warm by the thousands to discuss the need to use less fuel and be more energy efficient. The resort conferences are only a drop in the ocean of government which is swiftly flooding everything in sight.
The regulators cannot regulate their own efficiency, yet they insist on regulating ours. They waste by the truckload and while hectoring us ceaselessly about waste. They erect government buildings where the lights burn all night, yet begrudge us an extra kilowatt on the side. They cannot live within their means, yet they insist that we live within theirs. That we not only pay their bills, but that we make do with less for ourselves.

The inefficient cannot create efficiency. The United States and the European Union cannot bring efficiency to their own finances. And part of their waste involves imposing efficiency programs on us. The efficiency programs are themselves waste and worsen the crisis. Garbage in and garbage out defines the process. The government throws money and resources into making the outside world efficient, when the outside world is already more efficient than it is. The sole outcome is to bring down the efficiency of the real world closer to government standards. [bold emphasis mine]

I’ve observed this before, myself, saying (paraphrased) that our national conflict has to do with whether it’s appropriate or called-for, for our most non-productive people to be telling the productive people how to do their producing. Vice President Joe Biden admitted as much, I think, when he said “I never had an interest in being a mayor ’cause that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a senator for 36 years.” Maybe he was joking about this, or forgot that he was still speaking on the record. Biden has a history of opening questions like those, and not settling them; he shows no sign of breaking form here. I think we can all agree, intentionally or not, there was some truth uttered here. If so, this partially addresses the dilemma defined above — how do you get anything done when you can’t admit your mistakes, and therefore can’t learn, and you end up dooming yourself to approaching every challenge that comes up with the wisdom you already had the day you were born, and nothing more? Answer: You don’t. Humility, wisdom…efficiency…these are things you need only for “real” jobs.

With these “fake” jobs, you don’t “have to produce” so there’s no need to do any of this learning. Which is important, because when you learn, you almost always have to do this course-correction the conservatives are able to do that the liberals are not able to do; you have to say “given the opportunity to make that decision again amid identical circumstances, I would have chosen this other option.”

For some time now I’ve been fascinated with “real” liberals, meaning, people who struggle in “real” jobs like I do, who are my peers, confronting challenges similar to mine — often even with greater competence than I can show — and then make the mistake of so thoughtlessly voting for liberal politicians. Through the years, I’ve come to the realization that they do not think much of their own everyday struggles. They actually feel some measure of shame about it. It shows up in the tiniest little things. Like, a weekend approaches in a hot summer and they, just like me, look forward to cooling off in a theater with powerful air conditioning where they can watch a movie about someone having an adventure, and pretend to be in a different world for a couple of hours. We have that in common. But it means something entirely different to someone like them, than it does to someone like me. I’m leaving a bunch of drudgery at the entrance to the theater, and they’re leaving genuine shame. Worrying about error handling and texture compression formats and my kid’s doctor bills just causes me a dull headache — offset by the understanding that, ultimately, I’m going to get it all done. They worry about the same things and they seem to be genuinely troubled by their station in life. Like there’s something terribly, terribly wrong with this realization they made, that the entire universe is not their personal property after all.

The Position's FilledSo their answer is, I think, to live vicariously through someone else who does own the universe. Barack Obama. He never makes a mistake, because if He ever does, the mistake stops being a mistake on the spot and instantly flips, pancake-like, into The Right Thing To Do. Even when He makes a hairpin-turn on some tangential social issue it’s a process of “evolving,” so again, the need to admit that something was done the wrong way, is entirely obviated. That’s when things get rather strange. Barack Obama has always been in favor of same-sex marriage, the chocolate ration has always been 22 grams, and Oceania has always been at war with EastAsia.

I’d actually have better confidence in left-wing leadership if they made more — uh — liberal use of the 1984 memory holes. That would at least enable them to change course when they find they’re headed the wrong way. Alas, though, they’re determined to do this very sparingly; it’s only available as an option to extend the political lives of the Obama/Napoleon/Kennedy/Sun King demigods, the monarchs who are incapable of ever making mistakes. The middle-managers who adjudicate each situation out in the real world, make the policies fit the grand vision that was laid out by their betters, are far lacking in the authority required to trip this fuse. They’re obliged to stick to courses that are demonstrated by history and common sense to be wrong. That’s why Sheriff Joe Arpaio got so frustrated, I think, with our Attorney General: “Clean your own house, Eric Holder, before you come trying to clean mine.” It is, once again, a classic conflict between the efficient and the inefficient; between those who have some actual responsibilities, and those who only pretend to have some.

Isn’t that exactly what Sarah Palin said? “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” That’s the fissure right there, the hairline crack widening into a yawning chasm. That’s the split. People who have, and therefore make decisions like someone who has, “actual responsibilities.” They set standards for themselves, and they lack the means to have the last word on how events are interpreted — or don’t pursue this in any way…so, when they fail the standards they set for themselves, a fail is a fail is a fail, and that’s that. Then they’re forced to say “One thing I could’ve done to turn that around, is make a different decision back here…” And they change their behavior. Not because they consciously think that’s glorious. Quite the opposite. They’re simply forced to. They say…I’m trying to get something done here, aren’t I? Well, that thing I did back there, that doesn’t get it done. I shall have to do it differently. The latest demonstration of how mega-awesome I am and people like me are — it doesn’t even enter into it. It’s just an error being corrected, nothing more and nothing less.

The other way to do it is to simply pretend to meet a standard. Then, when you fail it, you do what Obama’s trying to do right now with the economy: Change the standard, by means of making sure you always, always, always have the last word. Obfuscate. Confuse. Distract and deflect. Even lie if you have to.

That is the approach of mental children who never really grew up, who never learned how to do learning. Out here in the real world, conservatives see that and roll their eyes at it. We say to ourselves, there’s a man who isn’t as big as his job. I hope I’m not like that. Because there’s a very sad aspect to it: The iconic demigod and his supporters, keep repeating over and over how uber-wonderful he is, and they are, because there’s a need to. That’s just a terrible way to go through life, and we recoil from the very impression of it. We wince in genuine proxy embarrassment. Liberals, out here with us, toiling with life’s more mundane but real challenges the same way we are, but feeling dirty about it, look at people like Obama and Holder and Biden and say: Wow, how awesome, I wish I could be like that. They can’t answer the obvious question, “like what?” for there is absolutely nothing describably superlative about these people; they’re mediocre in every measurable way. The liberals are living their lives through someone else, whom they only believe to embody excellence because they reject any doubts that they are indeed excellent. So they outwardly crave this lofty height of personal excellence that, at some quiet, deeper level of their consciousness, they understand really isn’t there. They entrust people with a fifteen trillion dollar economy who they wouldn’t trust to walk their own dog…even if they didn’t like the dog.

That’s America’s political divide, right there.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News and Washington Rebel.

“Let’s Have a Real Debate”

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Burt Folsom makes a good point:

During the last week, we have seen the president support three political positions: gay marriage, a raise in the minimum wage, and a cut in the interest rate on loans to college students. These issues have one thing in common: The president’s supporters claim that those who oppose gay marriage, oppose a high minimum wage, and oppose the lowering of interest rates on college student loans must really hate gays, hate the poor, and oppose education. If you don’t favor President Obama’s programs, you hate the groups targeted by the programs. Thus, we have no serious debate on the merits of either side of these issues, and that is unhealthy.
Politicians always try to demonize opponents, but until recently it has usually failed because our free press asks presidential candidates the tough questions that force a real debate to take place…With President Obama, however, the mainstream press so far has not asked the president–or his supporters–the tough questions that force a public debate on complicated issues. The November election is very important–let’s hope reporters begin asking both sides the tough questions that yield facts that voters can use to make informed choices. Maybe those who oppose this are the ones who are “anti-education.”

Not sure if this is a coordinated conspiracy, but I do know we’ve got a problem with nobody having anything to lose from the situation — among those who wield influence. President Obama and His supporters, of course, emerge as clear winners if all these discussions boil down to “I’m a much better person than that other guy over there because I’m in favor X.” As far as the press goes, their incentive for keeping this going seems to be nothing more complicated than they’re just plain lazy.

The real problem, however, isn’t that we as a society are ensnared in a potpourri of policy initiatives that are wrong. We are, of course; but the real cost we’re paying for this is that there’s no end to the conflict. Those who support gay marriage or higher minimum wage or discounted loans to college students, solely to prove what wonderful awesome nice kind people they are, are never going to be done proving it. They’re inebriated on, and addicted to, this elixir of “I’m nice and that other guy’s mean.”

So we could give ’em every little thing they want, and they won’t be done.

I’ve also picked up the impression that they, by and large, don’t care too much about these issues. Their motivation seems to be: We’re unhappy that those other mean people, who disagree with us, have any influence on the outcome at all. When they pontificate and proselytize and donate and struggle to win, I think all they really want is some kind of assurance that their influence is unilateral and dictatorial, and the influence of the other people is negligible, insignificant, easily overcome. To the extent that this might be true in some cases, it is not consistently, everlastingly so; when you play, sometimes the other guy’s gonna win. That’s just the way life is.

And so this tyranny-of-nice, until such time as it is confronted directly, will continue. Endlessly. The “real debate” cannot, and will not, happen.

Related: (hat tip to Instapundit) Did the media drive the gay marriage debate?


Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Burt Prelutsky sounds off:

Quite honestly, the only people I ever hear from who are dopier than liberals are those who identify themselves as conservatives and insist that Republicans and Democrats are identical.

Anyone who would suggest that there is no difference between Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner or Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, is one very dumb bunny. No difference between the likes of Henry Waxman, Al Franken and Charles Rangel and Darrel Issa, Peter King and Paul Ryan? No difference between Joe Biden and Dick Cheney? No difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? You have to wonder what madcap pharmacist is supplying these alleged conservatives with their stupidity pills.

How can anyone who takes the Second Amendment seriously insist there’s no difference between the two parties when gun sales are booming, all thanks to such flame-throwing racists as Eric Holder, Al Sharpton and the Black Panthers? The good news is that income taxes on the gun industry have jumped 66% since Obama’s election, and it’s mainly due to increased sales, not Obama’s counterproductive tax policies. It’s ironic that the man who is most opposed to law-abiding citizens owning weapons not only selected Eric (“Operation Fast & Furious”) Holder to be his attorney general, but has personally done more to hype American gun sales than any prior president.
For those of you who continue to insist that it makes absolutely no difference if the president is a Democrat or a member of the GOP, please keep in mind that if John Kerry had won the 2004 election, he would not have named John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Instead, he would have seated a couple left-wingers in the mold of Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Now, by a show of hands, is there anyone out there who doubts that with six left-wingers on the Court, there would be the slightest chance they’d decide that ObamaCare is unconstitutional?

I would imagine Mr. Prelutsky has been provoked into this latest by the many reactions to Mitt Romney coming closer to securing the Republican nomination. The not-a-dimes-worth-of-difference people do have their reasons for so opining, it should be noted. Romney does have problems with his conservative credentials, and one has cause for concern when one notes the contest has come down to this. The system does have more than a whiff of riggishness about it.

I’m often fond of summarizing these situations with complex and emotionally charged outlooks on the world and life, in terms of very simple math problems. See, Barack Obama and people like Him, are celebrated as special people and have been celebrated as that for so long, that they can’t deal with losing the identity. Oh, you thought I meant black people? No…there are tons and tons of privileged, pampered whites in this crowd I’m describing. They say jump, the crowd says how high…it’s worked this way since third grade, or earlier, and nobody envisions it ever going any other way, because they don’t, and they don’t because nobody else does. So they go through life frustrated because they know there’s something different about them — but that something is never really defined. Something to do with speaking well, being confident, but they’re actually apprehensive deep down inside. They can’t shake the feeling that maybe, whatever is special about them, might be something external to them. And this fills them with fear. Because that would mean everything inside, is just humdrum and ordinary.

So the question comes up: What is one plus one? Barack Obama will immediately rule out “two” as a possible answer because, hey, that’s what an ordinary person would say. Thus we see, with this simple math exercise, someone like President Obama “enjoys” a greater likelihood of getting it wrong, than an answer-producing method that relies purely on random chance. You’re better off rolling the dice to answer the one-plus-one problem than asking President Obama. And, because it works that way with the simple problems, it works that way with the more complicated ones as well. People like Obama have this natural phobia, a natural revulsion, against the common-sense answer. They’re more likely to get it wrong than a decision-making method that works by chance.

The trouble with Mitt Romney is — he will say “two,” but if someone else says “one,” “three” or “five” he’ll reply with “yes, that’s just fine” or “yeah, that’s perfectly alright.” This is why he’s having trouble appealing to conservatives, who understand that we live in a mathematical world…therefore, there is little value in choosing the right answer, if you don’t recognize that all the other answers must therefore be wrong.

So I understand both sides of this.

What I do not understand, are the people who somehow insist that now, these last two or three weeks, as April morphs into May in twenty-twelve — this is the time when Mitt Romney has to be taken down by any means necessary. The opposite is the truth. To the extent that the Romney ascension represents a problem…and I believe that it does…the time to attack that problem is all the other times. For now, if the one-plus-one-is-three guy is to be sent back to Illinois next January, there is going to have to be a coming-together of all the people who recognize that this is what has to happen. There’s going to have to be some emulsification. Can’t build a castle with bone-dry sand.

Who Would Use the Phrase, “Julia Decides to Have a Child”?

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Weekly Standard investigates, hat tip to Maggie’s Farm.

One aspect of President Obama’s philosophically revealing — and mock-worthy“Julia” web ad doesn’t seem to have garnered as much attention as one might have expected…When Julia, who never entirely seems to grow out of childhood in her own right, hits the age of 31, we are told that she “decides to have a child.”

This is peculiar phrasing. There’s no mention of Julia having first decided to get married, and no mention of Julia’s husband — or even of her dating anyone — in any of the snippets shown from any of the stages of her life. Perhaps the ad simply doesn’t mention Julia having gotten married because it was one of the few noteworthy events in her life that didn’t involve the active assistance of the federal government.
Aside from the total lack of romantic spirit on display in this stage of Julia’s life, one wonders what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime Democratic senator from New York, would have thought of this ad. Moynihan famously highlighted the decline of the American family — particular of black Americans’ families. He highlighted that, as of 1963, the out-of-wedlock birthrate had risen to an alarming 24 percent among black Americans (from 17 percent in 1940), compared to 3 percent among white Americans (from 2 percent in 1940). He noted that this “breakdown” in the family structure “led to a startling increase in welfare dependency.”

Yep. Back in those exciting days when Bill Clinton was finishing up his first term, not that long ago by any means…the conservative/liberal conflict was pretty clear-cut. The conservative position represented in the new Gingrich Congress was, our social-services safety net had become something of a vicious cycle, as the largess of the state had created a dependency class, which in turn reproduced without the mainstream concerns about where the college fund comes from, how does Sugarlump get hold of a car & how does he get insured…and then each new generational wave threw itself upon the over-extended safety net. A caused B and B caused A, with no end in sight, so something had to be done. The liberal response was twofold: 1) Nuh-huh, that doesn’t happen, and 2) Well, it does happen and you tighty-righties need to just get used to it, it’s a necessary evil.

Fast-forward to Anno Julia, and the debate has shifted quite aways without our consciously noticing it. And the direction in which it is shifted is not a good one. The debate has not come closer to being resolved, it’s drifted further away, as we now disagree on what the goals are. As anyone who’s watched “Life of Julia” can recognize right away, when President Obama campaigns for re-election this year, He will be doing so on behalf of a constituency that, from His explanation of it, thinks things are supposed to be this way — and who’s to say they are not.

The verb “decides” is a powerful one that also shows a new direction for the national discourse about these social services. Conservatives used to be rightfully piqued about having to subsidize someone else’s lifestyle choices, and classically, the liberal rejoinder has been that these are not lifestyle choices. Again, with the faceless cartoon-figure of Julia, we see President Obama has subtly — or not so subtly? — given up on that. The message that comes across, which is already familiar to us through the many, many other things Obama has had to tell us, is: Yeah, it’s a choice, and what of it? This is the new “greatness” of America, that everybody does whatever they feel like doing, and because we’re going to fleece those selfish rich people, stupid isn’t gonna hurt.

That does seem to be the goal. Hakuna Matada, means no worries for the rest of your days…we’ll just tax the rich people.

The peculiar thing is, the Obama brand of liberal thinks the country has “grown” into this childlike mindset. They think this is the culmination of stage after stage after stage of our national development…or maturity…or evolution. And this is where their viewpoint sputters out and just stops working entirely. How do you aspire toward the next stage of development, when the next stage of development is analogous to one of a helpless newborn infant suckling at a tit? Well, that’s the situation, isn’t it? Gimme, gimme, gimme, if I want it and have to wait for it, I’m gonna cry.

How can anyone of sane mind evaluate this as a way of living, and not come to the conclusion that it’s a process of regression rather than one of maturity? This is the real sea change with the “Life of Julia” slideshow. I can understand some people are just lazy and ignorant, don’t want to spend any time learning about what’s going on, just wanting their stuff…even maybe excuse it. But something new is happening when the President’s slideshow asks us to pretend up is down and in is out.

Come to think of it, “Julia” was the name of the female lead in 1984, wasn’t it?

Adventures in Dentistry

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

On another occasion Mother accompanied me to the dentist, where I was to have an aching tooth removed and replaced with a bridge. After my work was accomplished the dentist, a kindly, sensitive man, offered to examine Mother and promptly informed her that she was overdue for dentures. She was not hard to convince, and asked him to proceed at once. using me as interpreter, he explained that five badly infected teeth needed to be extracted at once, and if she was ready he would anesthetize her and proceed. She scoffed at the anesthetic, saying, “I don’t need that.” Thinking that she didn’t understand, the dentist explained that novocaine would lessen the pain, but she waved his explanation aside impatiently. The poor dentist was shaken at the thought of what he was asked to do and looked at me questioningly. Upon receiving my confirming nod, he applied himself to his arduous task. The first tooth had a huge root and required all his strength to extract. Certain that Mother would be unable to bear another such ordeal, he again offered anesthetic, but again she refused. After each extraction he repeated this offer, and each time she refused. When the dreadful job was finished without a word of protest from Mother, the exhausted dentist wiped his brow and turned to me. “Could you have done that?” he asked wonderingly. “I wouldn’t even try,” I assured him.

Mother stayed on with us while her gums healed and her dentures were fitted. She and the dentist became the best of friends. I frequently wonder how often he recounted this story to his colleagues for I doubt he ever had another patient to match her fortitude. (Immigrant Girl: A Memoir, pp. 67-68.)

That was jotted down by Sigfrid Eidsness Ohrt, in the early 1980’s as she approached her ninetieth birthday; it recounts the long hard winter of 1917 in Saskatchewan when her mother, Ragnhild Fjelde Eidsness, showed ’em how it’s done back in the old country. Norwegians don’t need no stinkin’ novocaine.

Her grandson just repeated the exercise an hour or two ago. Last dental exam for me was probably sometime about the time she wrote those words, a little over thirty years ago. Not sure how it compares to having five dead infected teeth pulled. But I, too, took the “Braveheart” approach and hey, I think I outdid you because my teeth are all alive, Granny.

That having been said, I would have to encourage the next generation not to follow my example. I was joking last night that my dentist might not have been born yet the last time I saw a dentist; the hygeinist tonight, at least in her case, confirmed it. That’s probably a good baseline threshold. If the person cleaning your teeth wasn’t born yet the last time you had your teeth cleaned, your maintenance schedule is in need of revising.

Anyway, yeah, the gums need some tender lovin’ care, they’re getting it. The bones are holding up pretty well. Miraculously well, really. I credit my own brushing, the minerals in the water in Arizona, and a good diet. Anyway…I’ve been “invited” back in another four weeks.

Obama Supporters Want Romney to be More Like McCain

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Ann Althouse is glad he’s not taking them up on it.

Isn’t it funny, this “treason” incident? Obama supporters everywhere are chastising Romney and holding up McCain as the exemplar of how to respond to overstatements about Obama:

A backer introduced Romney by slamming President Obama for taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, comparing Obama to Ronald McDonald. And when a woman said Obama should be tried for treason, Romney didn’t disagree and asked the woman to follow up her question.

Later, when asked by reporters about the treason comment, Romney said he did not believe the president should be tried.

But by then, the moment was already being compared unfavorably to Sen. John McCain’s handling of a similar situation during his 2008 run against Obama.

When a woman said she couldn’t trust Obama because “he’s an Arab,” McCain responded immediately and forcefully: “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

That was awfully nice of McCain, but let’s remember he lost. And I think I remember him having a rather exaggerated fear of criticizing Obama. Now, I think McCain had some reason to worry that people in the audience would say something racist or arguably racist or somewhat racial and that anything like that would be exploited by the Obama campaign. But at this point in American history, 4 years later, we are free to criticize Obama. Romney doesn’t need to go all beta when an audience member states her antagonism to Obama in a strong way. He doesn’t need to scold and discipline Obama’s antagonists. Romney’s approach to answering the question asked was just fine, though it perfectly understandable why the Obama campaign would like Romney to get sidetracked into defending Obama.

I wasn’t aware there was anyone still taking the whole “new tone / civil discourse” thing seriously anymore. Only the grossly misinformed, I suppose…maybe the people who read L.A. Times?

“Ninth Circle of Business Hell”

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Troglopundit, by way of Ed Driscoll at Instapundit:

This is a bit of a leftover from this couple-days-old post, about Wisconsin launching up the lists of “business friendly” states since Gov. Walker took over:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Texas remains the top state for business and California still holds the title for the worst, according to an annual ranking of states by Chief Executive magazine released on Wednesday.

Chief Executive each year surveys CEOs and asks them to grade states in which they do business. This year 650 responded, giving Texas high marks “foremost for its business-friendly tax and regulatory environment,” a report on the survey and ranking said on the magazine’s website.

“Texas easily clinched the No. 1 rank, the eighth successive time it has done so,” the report said. “California earns the dubious honor of being ranked dead last for the eighth consecutive year.”

California “appears to slip deeper into the ninth circle of business hell,” the report said. “Each year, the evidence that businesses are leaving California or avoid locating there because of the high cost of doing business due to excessive state taxes and stringent regulations, grows.”

I believe what I’m feeling right now is called “Schadenfreude.”

Yeah…which I don’t share, and can’t share, since I’m sitting right here.

This does have the look and feel of repetition of an experiment that has been tried many times before and found futile. The question posed by the experiment would be: Once you put an organized and governed region — a state — under the tutelage of the unproductive, thereby placing unproductive people in charge of determining how productive people are to produce…and, as a direct consequence things start to go to hell…can the trolley ever be knocked far enough off the rails that the unproductive people eventually are forced to pull their heads out of their asses whether they want to or not? Can that happen? Does the machinery have a fuse that pops at some point?

And the answer science provides based on the experimentation that’s been conducted thus far, is rather unmistakable. Every time the coffers run dry, as I’ve noted before many times — and they do — the policies need no change, because the policies are not to blame. Those darn taxpayers didn’t pay enough, that’s the problem. In other words, there’s a reason that unproductive people are unproductive, even if they’ve been elected to California’s Assembly and Senate. If they had what it took to say “Hey, this whiz-bang idea I had is not netting the results I wanted it to, I shall have to try something else” — for the most part, they wouldn’t be there. They are where they are, because of what they are and how they do things. They lack this ability. And they’re making the decisions.

So…no fuse. It’s been tossed away and replaced by a paper clip. The machinery will just juice up and juice up some more, until the whole thing melts down.

“Taking a Good Joke To[o] Far”

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Neal Boortz is in a state of alarm, and I myself in one of extreme discomfort, to see an unelected Obama administration sub-czar using Marxist rhetoric to justify the current policies on his personal blog. That isn’t hyperbole, the bureaucrat really is quoting Karl Marx from Das Kapital, and in a laudatory way, to show us what direction we need to go.

But what really floored me, was this sign-off in which he critiques the use of the term “class warfare.” How dare you peons notice what we’re doing and start describing it in accurate terms! Stop it!

To warn against class warfare only makes sense if there are classes, and more than that, if there might be a reason to be answered for one of the classes to do battle. There is only so much to go around, and the efforts of one group or the other to assert a claim to a larger share can be called class warfare. It can be a war waged through changes in the taxes, in a restructuring of incentives and pay scales, an increase in the benefits given to the poor, or revolt. The first three are legitimate means in our society, and it is really taking a good joke to [sic] far to suggest it is damaging to the body politic for members of society to look at the differences in income and take action to redistribute in their direction. [bold emphasis mine]

So I guess we’re all done arguing over whether these people are followers of Marx or not. There’s no disagreement.

Now, if you’re tasked to maintain or build something that is actually supposed to work, interestingly, you’re going to be seeing the entire situation differently than a Marxist. Think about a pressure plate absorbing pressure inequitably, so that a force is dispersed throughout four square inches rather than a hundred and forty-four square inches. Think about one bearing out of six absorbing a disproportionate share of the stress, load and heat as the shaft spins. There, too, out in the real world will be a problem of inequality that must be solved…and soon, for a mechanical breakdown is imminent. What’s the first step? Anybody? Bueller…?

You aren’t going to think like a Marxist, because the first question you’ll need to have settled is why? Specifically…what is it that is special about these four square inches, or about this one bearing, that divides up the load in this way. Look into that, and you’ll find something crooked. Maybe the part that is absorbing all the stress, is the part that has to be replaced. Or maybe it’s something else. Maybe the shaft is out of alignment. Maybe there is a rule of adjacency going on here, like, one generator picks up a load because the generator next to it on the circuit, isn’t putting out the way it should, and you’re dealing with a rolling blackout.

In either case, the first step is to get inquisitive. Right here. Things should be uniform and they’re not — why? What’s special about this one thing?

Marxists, I’ve noticed, never seem to do that…ever. Of course, we know why. It’s obvious. They cannot afford to.

A has far more money than B, and this causes all of these problems that need to be fixed toot-sweet…”there is only so much to go around”…”take action to redistribute”…to take the mechanic’s attitude and start asking, why is there more loot in the orbital space of A, than around B, is to take the conversation in a place where the Marxist cannot afford for it to go.

After all, when you’re the guy who doesn’t have very much, it doesn’t matter what you need to do to get hold of more. Some poor people do have their principles of course, and can see the pitch coming from a mile away; they say, no, I’m not going to vote myself someone else’s property, I’m going to see what I can do about my own situation. Such a feeling can dissipate as one’s plight becomes more desperate. The thing of it is, though, by then you’re willing to do anything else, just as well. Like — put some serious thought into the possibility you’ve been raised the wrong way, maybe consider that hard work and dedication might be the keys to prosperity, find yourself an internship, become an old-fashioned apprentice-type, go to a night school, bust your ass…maybe that’ll lead somewhere just as well?

The constituents of the Marxist are not dedicated to Marxism. They just want their circumstances to get better…or, to not get any worse. That’s all. Point is, the Marxist cannot spend too much rhetoric examining causes of things. None at all, really.

He wants to reach not just any ol’ poor-person, but a special kind of poor-person. The kind who is poor, and destined to remain poor, because he or she can’t or won’t accept the idea that circumstances might have causes, that maybe what’s being endured is nothing more than a consequence to a prior action…or lack of action. Of course, middle-class types are just as suitable, provided they don’t know they’re middle-class, and think they’re being oppressed just because they’re missing something someone else has.

Because hey, who’s going to join up with a “redistribution” effort if he expects to be on the wrong end of the redistribution? I know I know, Warren Buffett and Stephen King talk about it a lot, but I still don’t see them taking the time to sit down and write “extra tax” checks to the U.S. Treasury. No, people support property redistribution schemes when they expect to profit from them. Period.

And most people who support such schemes, simply haven’t thought on it enough to see it another way. Either they’re unskilled, or old, or both, or else they’re concerned about someone else in whom they see little or no potential for achievement. That’s what Marxism is; it is the nemesis of human achievement, in all available aspects. Meaning, it doesn’t see human achievement as a possibility, has already invested its entire existence against it, and it will not permit it to happen.

Food Stamps in Georgia Cut Off

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

“Something went wrong.”

“My babies don’t deserve that.” Quite right. I hate what’s being done to these kids, even more than I hate what’s being done to the grown-ups.

The “glitch,” and the mystery aspect to it, are all inventions of course. What’s gone wrong is completely obvious: They have a non-self-sustaining economic model here, one in which the coin that acquires goods and services, is nothing more involved or helpful than simple cosmetic anger. One simply wanders into the “marketplace,” whelps in hand, and rants to get stuff.

Damn straight, something went wrong. The well ran dry. Now everyone’s in a crazy mad-dash Musical Chairs contest to not be someone; the “Julias” and their whelps are trying not to be the poor dumb schmuck left without the foodstuffs (and skills), and the bureaucrats, in turn, are trying not to be the poor dumb schmuck who’s blamed for the mess.

Thus ends the experiment.

Best Sentence CXXVII

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Tim Nerenz, Ph.D., takes the 127th award for BSIHORL (Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately).

Examining the beneficial and purifying force of competition, he comes up with this gem:

It’s neither the sheriff nor the priest that keeps the first auto mechanic honest in a small town; it’s the second mechanic.

Then, BSIHORL in hand, he goes in for the kill:

That European socialist model of corporatist protectionism has produced 40 years of job and wage stagnation over there; and we are in year number four of proving it was no fluke. In 2009 – the most recent year of U.S. government data on business mortality – there were 171,000 fewer new businesses formed in the United States than the number that failed.

In Wisconsin, over 12,000 firms went out of business in 2009. With them went 103,000 jobs that are never coming back. No amount of seasonal adjustment to monthly BLS job estimates will change that. It is the formation and growth of new businesses that will lift this state and this nation out of the mire.

The fact that 2009 is the most recent data our government has compiled on business formation tells us how little the government monopoly understands about the American economy it has taken upon itself to regulate.

How can a government that still doesn’t know the number of business starts, stops, expansions, and contractions from 2010 expect to regulate the economy in 2012, or enact policies that promote economic growth in 2013? Can any candidate for any office from either party cite a single business formation statistic while he/she is bloviating about jobs and employment?

The government monopoly can’t possibly do a good job of centrally managing a real-time global economy using information that is three years old. And yet, they are about to add health care, energy, and our banking system to the scope of their direct control – how could that possibly turn out well for us?


Monday, May 7th, 2012

…is headed in the wrong direction, and so are we.

“If All You See” #398

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Need to link to these things William Teach puts up, a bit more often than I do. “If all you see is an evil burger and an evil beer, you just might be a Warmist.

A Single Word, Begins with “E”, Means Lower Standards

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

More weekend wisdom from my Hello Kitty of Blogging account:

Thought for the day:

If an alien from another planet, fully capable of understanding our language, competent in logic and common sense but entirely unfamiliar with our modern culture, were forced to live with us for about a week or so…I’m sure he’d come to the conclusion that this word we use, “environment,” has something to do with diminished expectations and/or lowered standards.

Companies who talk about protecting the environment, charge a goddamn fortune and their products & services don’t do anything.

Politicians who talk about the environment, just raise our taxes and make everything more expensive.

Scientists who talk about the environment, don’t even practice science.

And the everyday-everywhere-everyman who talks about the environment, is just a smug foppish snot who likes to feel superior to everybody else, doesn’t do shit, knows even less.

Yes, the pattern is becoming clearer by the year…in fact, by the week. You hear the word “environment” and the next thing you see is going to be someone wriggling out of being held to any standard. For anything.

To which I subsequently added, to bolster the case:

If a car is good for the environment, it won’t take you where you want to or need to go (this is the primary function of the thing we call a “car”). If you drive it and get in any kind of accident at all, you’ll be deader than Princess Di before you can say “Princess of Wales.”

See? Environmentally friendly. Doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do…and you’re expected to know this, because of the “E” word. It’s just expected now.

If a shampoo is good for the environment, you may as well wash your hair with the wastewater from your dishwasher.

If a baby’s diaper is good for the environment, you may as well shove cotton balls up the baby’s ass.

If a light bulb is good for the environment, it won’t light the room.

If you stay in the hotel and the hotel is trying to protect the environment, it means the maid doesn’t do anything.

And…toilets that are good for the environment. Let’s not even inspect that in any kind of sordid detail.

If beer is good for the environment, it won’t get you drunk.

If drain cleaner is good for the environment, it won’t clear the clog in your drain.

If paint thinner is good for the environment it won’t thin the paint.

If you have friends & family who invite you to an environmentally-conscientious Thanksgiving dinner, there’s no turkey involved.

If swimming pool shock treatment is good for the environment, you’re wasting your time using it.

An environmentally considerate vacuum cleaner — it won’t even start to clean your carpet. And forget about sucking up that bowling ball.

Switched out my girlfriend’s closet light bulb with a good old-fashioned hundred-watter. She can tell the difference between her black clothes and her dark blue clothes now. She likes that. Yep…a little bit more damage to Gaea because of our high expectations of being able to get dressed in the morning, competently. We’re selfish that way.

“…Allows Women to Stand Up For Their Right to Equal Pay for Equal Work…”

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

So just in case I missed it, the Barack Obama campaign sent me an e-mail letting me know of the instantly notorious “Life of Julia” slideshow/presentation. One thing immediately jumped out at me: Twenty-four hours previous, when I viewed the images myself, I noticed all these Obama policies affecting the life of the fictional/composite/faceless/cartoon-figure Julia, had something to do with eliminating options for somebody else. Julia benefits from a service, because money was taken forcibly from taxpayers — or borrowed from her son Zachary in the form of a swelling public debt — to provide it. Julia is given coverage or contraceptives, because her health insurance provider has no choice but to offer it, thanks to Obama.

Who is President, it seems, throughout all of the 64 years of the show. But let’s ignore that for now.

So after the slide show presentation about force force force force force, I couldn’t help noticing this e-mail blurb telling me all about it, was full of allow allow allow allow allow. Either someone’s lost track of what they’re doing here, or the packaging is strikingly different from the contents. I think it’s the latter. To be clear, no, I’m not thinking Obama’s team rolls out of bed in the morning and asks “How can we force people to do things, today, that they don’t want to do?” Rather, I think that is a natural consequence of looking for new ways for people to sue people.

This Lilly Ledbetter act is a perfect example. What a public relations win that is. People get all squeamish with feminism when it starts insisting on free contraceptives, abortion-on-demand, airlines should be forced to hire fat flight attendants…but…first and foremost, Americans are fair. We don’t think it’s right that someone should be paid for the same job at a lower scale, just because she’s a woman, or has a different skin color or sexual preference. The very thought of such a thing offends us deeply. Nationally. And so this part of feminism has never become unpopular. It won’t, and it shouldn’t.

But one has to wonder — how come in 2012 it’s still part of the fight? And the truth is, it’s not. The Lilly Ledbetter law doesn’t equalize pay. It changes the parameters under which lawsuits may be filed. I said democrats are constantly looking for new ways for people to sue people, and that’s what Ledbetter is all about. It changes the rules under which such a lawsuit may be filed; not altogether doing away with the statute of limitations, but certainly weakening it. Essentially, making it legally very dangerous to hire women.

For all the noise made about it, I’m not sure why it was needed. I asked Wikipedia about it, and the article on Ms. Ledbetter pointed to this guy over here who said

Ledbetter admitted in her sworn deposition that “different people that I worked for along the way had always told me that my pay was extremely low” compared to her peers. She testified specifically that a superior had told her in 1992 that her pay was lower than that of other area managers, and that she had learned the amount of the difference by 1994 or 1995. She added that she had told her supervisor in 1995 that “I needed to earn an increase in pay” because “I wanted to get in line with where my peers were, because… at that time I knew definitely that they were all making a thousand [dollars] at least more per month than I was.”

Yet…she waited to sue until 1998, when her retirement was imminent. This was well over five years after she had learned of the pay disparities. It was also after a supervisor whom she blamed for much of the alleged discrimination had died, making it impossible for the employer to refute those allegations.

Indeed, Ledbetter’s lawyer didn’t even argue that the Supreme Court should extend to her claim, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, its rule in some other contexts that time limits should not begin to run until the employee discovers the alleged discrimination. “Because Ledbetter does not argue that such a rule would change the outcome in her case,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, “we have no occasion to address this issue.”

As Alito explained, the logic underlying the relatively strict congressional time limit was that lawsuits filed years after the alleged discrimination — and after key witnesses have moved on or died, memories have faded, and records such as performance evaluations have been discarded — make it difficult or impossible for defendants to disprove false or misleading discrimination claims.

It’s less than clear, by the way, that Ledbetter was a victim of discrimination at all. Her years of poor performance evaluations, plus repeated layoffs affecting her eligibility for raises, convinced a federal magistrate judge that her relatively low pay did not prove sex discrimination. The jury disagreed and awarded Ledbetter back pay and punitive damages. Maybe the jury was right; maybe the magistrate judge was.

So in truth, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 does not allow women to stand up for their right to equal pay. The first thing to be realized when you read a sentence like that is, in progressive language, “stand up for” always means destroying something. It’s either protesters interfering with the lives of perfect strangers by smashing storefront windows, or stalling a commute on a bridge somewhere, or else it’s litigation.

Next to the bin Laden kill, the Ledbetter Act may be Obama’s most promising path to a second term. It’s got everything. It works from the fair-pay attribute of feminism, which is by far its most appealing one; and it does what left-wingers like most, which is to make it easier for lawsuits to happen. Also, it confers special super-rights on females without singling the females out by name. Wage discrimination lawsuit — that’s a chick, right? Everybody knows that’s a chick. Okay, you don’t need to worry about statutory time limitations when you file these lawsuits. Takes chicks extra time to make up their minds, ya know.

Upton Sinclair, looking back on his experiences in political life as a socialist, said,

The American People will take Socialism, but they won’t take the label.

I think he was right. But it needs an update: The American people will always love freedom, but they have a blind spot recognizing attacks upon it. It speaks volumes, to me, that the focus group that Obama’s people used to test the Life of Julia fanfare, seems to think so highly of this concept of allowing things. I’m doubting like the dickens that the Tea Party or the right-wing radio talk show hosts were aptly represented in such a group; I think it was a moderate to left-leaning focus group. Even there, Americans are nuts for possibilities and opportunities.

There is hope there. Obama had to lie about what He did.

Hey Republicans, this is how you win. You following along, here? The election is about allow-allow-allow versus force-force-force…if you do a good job making sure your policies are different from the incumbent President’s, then you’re on the right side of this thing. Americans want to be able to do things, but they’re not wild about a feeding-frenzy of lawsuits to make that happen. Just tell the truth about who’s doing what.

I’m upping my previous fee for this valuable political consultancy, from $0.00 for the last time I helped you out, by thirty percent…times are tough, and hey, I’m a dude, I figure I’m worth it.

What is a Woman?

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Well let’s see…President Obama is particularly interested in telling us all the things His wonderful initiatives do for women throughout their lives, and so He’d like to tell us how they benefit from His wise tutelage womb to tomb. From this, since America’s First Holy Emperor is infinitely wise, of course, we get a good solid definition of women. We get a fairly complete picture of who they are, what they do, their contributions to society…although I can’t shake the feeling that this last item was not the primary focus of the presentation…but that could be because they’re more about taking than giving, or something?

They design web pages. That seems to be the big take-away insofar as why we bother to keep chicks around. Mothering isn’t a big deal, since it consists of standing in front of the house while the school bus picks us up and takes us to Kindergarten. They design web pages their whole lives — twenty-first-century version of embroidering and sewing, if you will — and somewhere along the line they have kids. No need to mention any dad anywhere. So they soak up these really nice pricey educations, and use those educations to design web pages, get knocked up, drop little aspiring web page designers, get old and collect Social Security.

And vote for the right party, we can safely presume that is part of the vision as well.

Ed Morrissey (hat tip to Terri):

At least they picked the right name for their fantasy woman trapped in an all-encompassing government; Julia was the name of the lead female character in George Orwell’s 1984, after all.

One point jumps out at me from Obama’s “Julia.” Not once in this timeline does Team Obama mention anything about a second Obama term. There isn’t one new policy or proposal in it. For a campaign with the slogan “Forward,” that seems a little odd. Just when does Obama plan on discussing his vision of a second term…December?

Morrissey links to David Harsanyi, from whom he excerpts capably, and so I shall not repeat the exercise. But I’m just lovin’ Harsanyi’s headline:

Who the hell is “Julia,” and why am I paying for her whole life?

Quite right. Politician gets voted in — usually, but by no means always, a left-winger — and politician pushes for some new program that confiscates money from people who probably won’t vote for the politician, to provide benefits to people who are more likely to. Politician runs for re-election and says “look at all the wonderful programs that I provided…” Which is a deception, oh let’s call it what it is, a lie. Nobody who is acquainted with what’s going on, is suffering from any delusions that anything was provided. Except by the taxpayers, against their will.

Some people vote for the politician based on this lie, others do not fall for it. Note that this is an objective measurement, it is not right-wing spin, it just happens to come to the same conclusion as right-wing spin because the spin happens to be correct. There is the suckered, there is the un-suckered, and it’s no more complicated than that. Somehow, the ones who are suckered…by this very, very plain and very, very unsophisticated slight-of-hand…are supposed to be smarter than the people who aren’t fooled.

I mean, very much smarter. Just complete rocket scientist geniuses. Ever argue with one of them? But here’s the paradox: According to their own vision, the most productive among them are going to leave this plane of existence at a prosperous and wrinkly old age…probably with a green burial involved so their rotting carcasses don’t pollute Mother Gaia too much…with absolutely nothing left in their wake to say that they were here, save for oodles of web pages. And an adorable little fatherless consumer the government helped them raise. That, according to the progressive narrative, is the cream of the crop. Meh. With all due respect to the web page design industry, that doesn’t look like a genius to me. And the static nature of the technology, I have to say, leaves me concerned. How old is Julia when she kicks it? A hundred? A hundred and ten? Nobody comes up with anything innovative or new in all that time, we all just sit around reading web pages Julia built?

Well, of course not. If someone invented something, Obama would have to share the credit. We saw well He does that, when Seal Team 6 made bin Laden into fish food.

Terri sez…

I am, as a woman, offended. But worse than that…creeped out.

T-Rex’s “Life of Julianne” is a work of art because it illustrates the cultural divide in the country, something Obama’s slide show seeks to avoid. One thing that immediately sticks out is that this life has more a sense of purpose…through community, and family. Some parts of it, minus the web page designing, look like this other life over here.

Which I suppose some people find off-putting, it must be said. Well, hey…things that recall one of George Orwell’s most tragic and sinister novels, can be a little off-putting as well.

We do have a cultural divide in this country. Half of us read things like 1984, Logan’s Run, Atlas Shrugged, Brave New World, Anthem and We…and we see warnings. The other half seems to think of these as instructions manuals.

Question: If this is the Obama vision of a woman’s place in society…what is there for the men to do with their lives?

Update: Oh, well here’s one answer to that question: Cease to exist?

Thanks to Dean Esmay for linking this.

Lessons From Star Wars

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

1. All Annoying Things Come to an End. Think about it: Darth Vader is really Anakin Skywalker. Anakin is a whiny annoying little shit; Darth Vader is not. Darth Vader is a business executive who practices the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He rates his subordinates according to results, period. If they don’t deliver, he crushes their larynxes with The Force, with cool lines like “You have failed me for the last time, Admiral” or “Apology accepted, Captain Needa.” His helmet looks like a skull. He has a cool cape. He does not say silly irritating whiny things “From my point of view, the Jedi are evil!” No list of scary movie villains is complete without Lord Vader, which says something, what with that monster-fest that took place a few decades back with Frankenstein and Dracula and all those other guys…so what happens…Anakin becomes Darth Vader. Jar Jar meets his fate, as does Queen Padme who’s almost as annoying as Israeli-born American actress Natalie Portman. Even the Ewoks suffer an Endor Holocaust. Every single Star Wars character that is annoying…save for Luke and Threepio…ceases to exist. And Luke and Threepio stop talking. The moral is unmistakable: Just wait it out. Whine not about those who annoy you, lest you become them. They will be gone, in time.

Jar Jar be que2. Don’t Let the Women Make Decisions. Think about this one, too. What happened right before Chewbacca, Luke, Han, and Leia were trapped in the garbage pit? Next to a long fall down a garbage chute, what was the very most recent thing that happened? The chick took charge of her own rescue, snatched a rifle away from somebody, blasted open the grating and decreed that everyone should follow her down the chute…which they then did, obediently enough. And then, in Attack of the Clones, what was the last thing that happened before Padme and Anakin were captured in the droid factory? Same thing, right? The girl takes charge. Anakin says “Oh don’t worry, I’ve given up trying to argue with you.” Yeah, that was a win, wasn’t it. There’s only one other female in the whole Star Wars movie universe, and it’s Mon Mothma, who orders an attack on Death Star II…which turns out to be a “twap,” right? Thirty-six years earlier, Padme instigates a vote against Chancellor Valorum, and gee, now that we think back on it, that’s exactly where all the trouble gets started. And then, back on Naboo, she barks orders at her bodyguards and her royal servants and so forth at Theed Palace on Naboo…the six or seven or eight of them scale the walls, like they’re all Batman or something — how does that turn out. They get captured, right? Padme, Leia, Padme, Leia…captured, captured, captured, captured, captured. And then rescued. Sometimes. Yes they’re very tough and strong-willed and bull-headed, but their judgment just isn’t very good.

3. Your Grammar Mangle if the Good Lines You Want. Hey c’mon…face facts here. Yoda’s got a lock on all the memorable lines, and it isn’t because he’s old, short, wise or green. Even “Around the survivors a perimeter create” is a cool line, and they go up from there. The verbs in the sentences, last, you put, you must…or…something. Yes, practice it takes. Like they’re going out of style, your commas you must use, or forget it you should.

4. Lightsabers. What a stupid idea. They don’t even work. But still it must be said: Star Wars revolutionized movie-making…the franchise is, without a doubt, the single biggest event in the movie industry in all of the twentieth century, and the movie industry is nothing without the twentieth century. It couldn’t have happened without lightsabers. And lightsabers wouldn’t be lightsabers without lightsaber sounds. Vvvvv-vvvvvvvv….vvvvv..vvvvvv….wksssshhhh!!!! VVVVVVVVVPPPPPP!!!!!!

5. Good vs. Evil. This is the only serious thing on my list. It takes a little bit of deep thinking, so bear with me here…there are two types of drama, high-contrast and low-contrast. With high-contrast, good is good and evil is evil, and they’re both pure. Low-contrast is more of an Occupy Wall Street sparkly-vampire kind of hipster/trenchcoat drama…that means, the good guys have something slimy and unscrupulous about them, and the bad guys have a streak of good in them. Think about the kinda-sorta-bad-guy who’s forced to rob a bank, or assassinate someone, because the really-super-duper-rotten-bad-guy has kidnapped his daughter. So he’s doing bad things but he has a good excuse for doing them. My point is — this shit goes in cycles. We have the classic westerns in the fifties and early sixties, in which the guys in white hats have these “showdowns” with guys in black hats. Pure good versus pure evil. And then we have the seventies, with the hard-boiled cop movies, where the bad guys are all-bad, the cops want to take them down, but the cops are like Dirty Harry…you might want them saving your wife or mother from being raped, but you wouldn’t want your kid to turn out like them. And then you have Star Wars which is a reboot, where we have pure good against pure evil. And then, we entered the grunge age, where it becomes more about the noble anarchy opposing the imperialistic thuggish authority…continuing on forward into the twenty-first century with the Marvel Comic book characters coming to the movie screen. Every single “good guy” has ridden on a stolen motorcycle, without a helmet, at least once. Well…I think humans are genetically programmed to have a greater appreciation for the higher contrast, the stories of pure good against pure evil. Which doesn’t make a lick of sense at all, if you believe in evolution as a way of explaining away God. But if you think we were put here by a Higher Power, it makes perfect sense. And, in either case, it is undeniable. We, as a species, can watch Matt Dillon face off against pure-evil bad guys in Dodge City, all day long. But we tire quickly of the grunge/hipster/trenchcoat/sparkly-vampire/bad-guy-kidnapped-my-terminally-ill-daughter-and-I-have-to-rob-this-bank stuff. The latter does not work for us, in the long run, we tire of it quickly and we have no attraction toward it unless it’s forced on us and there isn’t anything else available for us to watch. When the rubber hits the road, we’d much rather watch Marshal Will Kane shoot Frank Miller dead, and then ride off triumphantly into the sunset. That’s where our hearts really live. We want to see good triumph over evil.

Governor Rick Scott…

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

We need you. Well DONE, sir!

Mayor Bob Buckhorn, you stay put.

Cherokee Liz…

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

…is, I think, in a process of meltdown.

Native-American or not, she is quickly becoming an amalgamation of everything about politicians that annoys me. She’s talked up everywhere in progressive circles as if there’s something remarkable about her, as if she’s accomplished amazing feats that only she can do, and I can’t find anything about any aspect of her that is outside the mediocre. She just got caught in a lie and her reaction is to accuse-the-accuser of discrimination against women…a Saul Alinsky tactic, perhaps chosen with competence, but executed badly.

She doesn’t strike me as particularly knowledgeable. She doesn’t impress me as an above-average, or even an adequate, public speaker. Just another middle-age butter-faced progressive white chick in a pantsuit, doing a lot of whining.

Yeah, I know, I have acquaintances and accomplices who chastise me for noticing these women are ugly. It’s not a critique against them, as individuals; I agree, that would be wrong. But the trend is unmistakable, and I maintain there’s nothing at all wrong with noticing the trend. Senate election after Senate election, Supreme Court nomination after Supreme Court nomination, nothing ever changes…because it’s part of the left-wing sense & sensibility that there’s something wrong with women being appealing to men. You have to wonder who got passed up. It is, after all, supposed to be about equal opportunity. Well, females, by & large, are nice-looking. Three quarters of them look better than these witches.

That quote of hers that was trumpeted up by MoveOnDotOrg, is just dumb. If I agreed with it, and I don’t, I’d see nothing special about it. It isn’t well-said, it isn’t thought-out, if I scribbled out something like that and someone came by and said “Freeberg, you need an editor” I wouldn’t take issue with it; I’d just dish out my stock answer of “Yeah, I know, can’t put one on the payroll yet.” No, it’s not a magnificent piece of prose by any means.

None of which means much, since I don’t live in Massachusetts. But she is a very annoying woman and I have to wonder how she got chosen. I grew up in a college town myself; I’ve had occasion to meet the middle-aged-hippy-woman who’s on the faculty at the campus, who doesn’t believe in eating meat and burns incense at home and droning on about patriarchy and nobody-made-it-on-their-own and what-not. A little bit of them goes a long way. I don’t know why anyone thought the voters would flock to her. And that’s before she got caught lying to advance her career.

Hopefully, some of the immolation happens to affirmative action, as well. I suppose it’s already detonating, the way progressive causes do, by first going through a name change. Been awhile since you’ve heard it called AA, right? “Diversity in hiring/contracting” or some such, you’re supposed to call it now. Hope it suffers a huge black eye because of this. We’ve got these greedy white girls gaming the system. Something must be done!

“The Nutty Things Liberals Say”

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Prelutsky is bringin’ it again.

I know that those on the Left pride themselves not only on their compassion and on holding the deed to the moral high ground, but also to having brains so enormous that they can barely make it through doorways. Well, it ain’t necessarily so.

For instance, while speaking at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention in Washington, D.C., Attorney General Eric Holder said this to his host: “Thank you for your partnership, your friendship and your tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless, and to shine a light on the problems we must solve, and the promises we must fulfill.”

You would have thought he was praising some great humanitarian. Instead, he was paying homage to the man who got his start as a publicity whore back in 1987, when he accused white cops of having raped a black teenager, who had only made the accusation as a way to conceal from her mother the fact that she had spent the weekend shacked up with her boyfriend. Sharpton followed that up by singling out a couple of New York Jews for street justice. Predictably, they were subsequently killed by black mobs.

More recently, Rev. Sharpton, who now hosts a show on MSNBC, was down in Sanford, Florida, and once again, in concert with the Black Panthers, he was inciting racial violence.

As Bernard Goldberg put it in a recent article devoted to Sharpton’s litany of sins, “This kind of nonsense gives cynicism a bad name.”

Yes. Myself and others have been noticing, it seems to be this sense of extreme-goodperson-who-knows-it-all, with side helpings of “my side’s always right and those other guys never are,” and “Look what I’m saying, this ought to make my homies happy and keep me in the club’s good graces for another three minutes”…moves them to say exceptionally silly things.

Also, there is an anesthetizing effect, or rather, a dampening effect. They’re used to telling the rest of us what to think, what to remember, and what to forget. And let’s face it, they’ve been doing it awhile, so the rest of us are accustomed to being told. Barack Obama says on January 20, 2009, future generations will look back and say this was the moment the oceans receded…by January 21 nobody knew about it except for some right-wingers on the radio, and the situation persists today.

Joe Biden, who is busy serving as Obama’s consigliore, admitted, “I never had an interest in being a mayor because that’s a real job. You have to produce. That’s why I was able to be a Senator for 36 years.” So, as a reward for being lazy as well as stupid, he winds up being the man a heartbeat away from the Oval Office. Still, while he’s right about his own deficiencies, he still manages to be wrong when it comes to mayors, as proven on a daily basis by the likes of Michael Bloomberg, Antonio Villaraigosa and Rahm Emanuel.

Recently, while delivering a speech at Alabama A&M, Louis Farrakhan told an adoring crowd that Jesus Christ had been a black Muslim. He also took the time to refer to Jews as “a synagogue of Satan” and accused white Republicans of praying for Obama’s death. I wasn’t too surprised that the predominantly black student audience cheered his words, but I was a bit taken aback to learn that he’d been invited down by the A&M Poetry Club and the A&M Democrats. Frankly, I would have expected better from the poets.

My head came close to exploding when Hilary Rosen took Ann Romney to task for never having been a member of the work force. For one thing, anyone who thinks that raising five boys is easier than being a liberal flack clearly has straw for brains. For another, Ms. Rosen is a lesbian. I have no bone to pick with lesbians, but I can’t deny that I find it ludicrous when the likes of Hilary Rosen and Rosie O’Donnell take it upon themselves to lecture American women on how they should live their lives.
Speaking of women, we should never forget that it wasn’t too long ago that Hillary Clinton, whose engraved business cards read: “The Smartest Woman in the World,” announced that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad was a reformer. But, as I recall, she also had very complimentary things to say along the way about her husband and Barack Obama, so perhaps she just has a soft spot for tall liars.

Finally, it should be acknowledged that almost as noteworthy as the things that left-wingers say are the things they don’t. For instance, while constantly railing against the way that Republicans treat their womenfolk, when have you ever heard Obama utter a negative word about the vile manner in which women are dealt with in Islamic societies?

It’s all about appealing to the constituency and staying in the good graces of the club. A good litmus test to apply to a liberal who wants to “discuss” something, and I dunno, it seems gauche and rude to actually go applying it, but maybe I should start: Ask the lefty to acknowledge Thomas Sowell, Sarah Palin and Charles Krauthammer might have a better lock on reality than Peggy Joseph, the notorious “Obama gonna put gas in my car and pay my mortgage” fan-lady on Barack Obama’s campaign trail.

Seems silly to even think about applying such a test. Perhaps it is. But too many left-wingers would not pass it, and yet, they want to discuss things. Which leads to endless micro-circular round-robins like this.

Well, that’s on them. Watching it happen on a Wednesday, and then forgetting all about it by Thursday morning, is our fault. Hillary Clinton claimed to have been named after Sir Edmund Hillary. She’s said many other dumb things…and that’s just her.

Of course people who are left of leaning, will respond with some cute clips of George W. Bush, maybe Dan Quayle as well, stumbling through something — entirely failing to consider the causes. Some left-wing volunteers sifting through endless volumes of speeches, interviews, et al, looking for “oopsies”; a bit too much No-Doz, or maybe, not enough. That is not what I’m complaining about here with the liberals. All caught up on their sleep cycles, their bloodstream perfectly well balanced in gluten, protein, iron, and I don’t even want to think about what else they’re accustomed to having in there…pulse and blood pressure normal, not a care in the world, no pounding headache, nuthin’ — they strive to show how smart they are, and reliable as rain, they peel off. It’s a doozy, you don’t have to sit through anything to find it, you can listen randombly and here it is…here comes another gem, and you’ll have to listen to a right-wing radio talk show if you ever want to hear about it again. Oh, really Joe? Clean and articulate, you say…and this is a big fucking deal? Hey, that’s great. Just great.


Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

First impressions: I’m probably not that good at stepping into the shoes of the squishy, moderate, “casually-informed” voter, but this strikes me as very well done.

Were I advising them about it, I’d say take those few moments at 3:05+ or so, about how awful and evil those Republicans are, and strip them out. The rest of the video makes for a powerful, compelling, positive message, and these 30 seconds don’t fit in with it. The “and still, He persevered” is particularly silly; can’t stick to ideas being sold, they have to keep veering off into talking up the personality who is selling them to us. So it’s back to the Holy Healer nonsense from four years ago.

I’m convinced this would be even more saleable if that were left on the cutting room floor. Along with the bin Laden thing, too, probably. Surely someone has suggested it. But those who put the clip together — who clearly know what they’re doing — chose to leave that all in. Possible explanations: Their talents come from keeping the right-brain engaged in their work, essentially gratifying themselves almost on a hormonal level, with every second of footage produced. And, darn it, it felt so good to take a few swipes at the Republicans. Or…they have research that says the electorate, at least the squishy middle of the electorate that these kinds of media are intended to reach, will tolerate some messaging of the form “Our side is so much better than that other side.” At least, from the liberals they will.

Medicators medicate. It’s what they do. That’s why their situation is ever-constant: We’ve all been living through some interminable period of darkness, with the greedy selfish one percent dominating and oppressing everybody, at least, everybody who ought to matter. But the clock is stuck at almost-dawn, with the sun just about to peak over the hills in the East, and when it’s daylight the locks on the treasury will be shattered and the stolen fortunes will spill out in the streets and our champion will tell everyone to grab all they can, and the widows will be sustained and the babies will be fed and the awful oppressive meanie people will have big frowns on their faces as they realize how much they suck, and…and…and…we’re always right there, at the very last moments of the long dark night. Keep watching the hills in the East.

So they don’t deal with time very well because, as we’ve seen, they haven’t got an answer for “Okay now it’s daylight and you’re in charge, what ya gonna do?” That is where this video breaks down. Of necessity, and by design, it is tailor-made for people who do not make use of their long-term memory faculties, at least, not with comprehending the phenomena of American politics. On November 5, 2008, the Medicator class got their dawn. And on 1/20/09 their Replacement Jesus was ensconced onto the throne. Therefore, to those who pay attention to history even at just a cursory level, it’s a bit silly to be playing the “last few minutes of the long cold dark night” thing in 2012.

Now, how would a Republican sway a squishy-moderate who’s all ready to re-elect America’s First Holy President as a result of watching this powerful video? If the job were left up to me, I would jump to 2:09 and make the case there. Reform…reform…reform…cheaper…can’t deny…guaranteed…more affordable…all sounds good, but you know what’s really being talked about? Force, force, force, force, force, force, force. The government big enough to give you everything you want, as they say, is big enough to take away all you have. And this government makes nothing cheaper. It subsidizes and pays for absolutely nothing. It acquires things, often on behalf of others whose votes are being sought, by confiscating money from other people…forcibly…and, when that is not sufficient to pay the tab, it borrows in the name of those who are not yet born, but will be, with thousands of dollars of debt over each newborn head. More force.

That’s why the video is effective. It succeeds in appealing to the right half of the brain, reaching out to the Medicators on their primitive-instinct pleasure-center level, and deftly sidesteps the darker ruminations about a fiat economy.

The one-word mantra of “Forward,” on the other hand, is a complete disaster (hat tip to The Other McCain).

The Obama campaign apparently didn’t look backwards into history when selecting its new campaign slogan, “Forward” — a word with a long and rich association with European Marxism.

Many Communist and radical publications and entities throughout the 19th and 20th centuries had the name “Forward!” or its foreign cognates. Wikipedia has an entire section called “Forward (generic name of socialist publications).”

“The name Forward carries a special meaning in socialist political terminology. It has been frequently used as a name for socialist, communist and other left-wing newspapers and publications,” the online encyclopedia explains.

The slogan “Forward!” reflected the conviction of European Marxists and radicals that their movements reflected the march of history, which would move forward past capitalism and into socialism and communism.

The Obama campaign released its new campaign slogan Monday in a 7-minute video. The title card has simply the word “Forward” with the “O” having the familiar Obama logo from 2008. It will be played at rallies this weekend that mark the Obama re-election campaign’s official beginning.

There have been at least two radical-left publications named “Vorwaerts” (the German word for “Forward”). One was the daily newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany whose writers included Friedrich Engels and Leon Trotsky. It still publishes as the organ of Germany’s SDP, though that party has changed considerably since World War II. Another was the 1844 biweekly reader of the Communist League. Karl Marx, Engels and Mikhail Bakunin are among the names associated with that publication.

East Germany named its Army soccer club ASK Vorwaerts Berlin (later FC Vorwaerts Frankfort).

Vladimir Lenin founded the publication “Vpered” (the Russian word for “forward”) in 1905. Soviet propaganda film-maker Dziga Vertov made a documentary whose title is sometimes translated as “Forward, Soviet” (though also and more literally as “Stride, Soviet”).

Conservative critics of the Obama administration have noted numerous ties to radicalism and socialists throughout Mr. Obama’s history, from his first political campaign being launched from the living room of two former Weather Underground members, to appointing as green jobs czar Van Jones, a self-described communist.

The European Marxists like the word because it lives within those last-few-moments-of-the-long-dark-night. You don’t motivate people to join your cause with “Yay, we’re already there.” So the carrot is constantly two or three inches in front of the donkey’s nose. Forward!

This is awful for the Obama team, because every propaganda poster from Europe’s many disastrous twentieth-century experiments, is a free iconic campaign gift to the Republicans, and imagery is powerful. Now, whether they’re smart enough to use it, is another thing. But the fact remains, the word has some very dark connections and they’re not coincidental. It’s a package deal: The state plays a game of “Robin Hood and the Sherrif of Nottingham are one and the same,” keeping the ignorant masses in a state of perpetual bloodthirsty euphoria by pretending to loot itself. More laws, more taxes, more social programs, more force, less freedom, a fiat economy, and, interestingly, everlasting hostility against the Jews always seems to be inextricably woven into the design, either by intent or by consequence, but it’s always there.

On a philosophical level, where the conservatives can go from here — and there is a lot of time to do this — is to attack this lock-busting sunrise moment, when the walls of the coffers are shattered and the treasure spills out in the streets and the starving widows and orphans scoop it up. That seems like “economic justice” until you think on it awhile; right off the bat, there are two big problems with it. One, the starving widows and orphans who are even worse off, and don’t happen to be anywhere near the place where the coins are hitting the pavement, so their plight persists; two, the people who happen to be close by and are in a position to grab what they can when the bolshevik champion yells “Go!,” who were already doing rather well. These two problems point to the plain fact that this isn’t an equalization of living standard at all, and has nothing to do with any kind of justice, it’s just theft.

The sunrise moment ends up being nothing more than an exchange of a free-trade, merit-based system that produces inequalities, for another one that is corrupt, decree-driven, essentially random, and still produces inequalities. And, of course, there’s no plan for what happens after the sunrise. Somewhere an enemy has to be defined to keep the masses all riled up, so the people in charge start purifying their own ranks. Revolutionaries do have a habit of executing their own for not being revolutionary enough.

In fact, that inspires a rather interesting and poignant question. What happened to the 2008 theme of unifying us and bringing us all together? Did that just turn out to be too self-satirical, too awkward, too unworkable, invited too much ridicule maybe? Just not going to try to pretend anymore?

Update: Via Gerard: Once again, you knew it was coming…